Contents: The Sir! No Sir! blog is an information clearing house, drawing on a wide variety of sources, to track the unfolding history of the new GI Movement, and the wars that brought the movement to life.
Where applicable, parallels will be drawn between the new movement and the Vietnam era movement which was the focus of the film Sir! No Sir!
Disclaimer: In accordance with title 17 u.s.c. section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.
The Sir! No Sir! Blog has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is the Sir! No Sir! Blog endorsed or sponsored by the originator. Links are provided to allow for verification of authenticity.
Please take a moment to email or phone Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, and ask him to immediately stop the deportation of U.S. Iraq war resisters. (The Canadian Border Services Agency falls under his ministry).
Also ask him why the federal government is refusing to respect the clearly expressed will of Canada's Parliament, that U.S. war resisters should be allowed to stay and that deportation proceedings against them should cease?
In a recent Angus Reid poll, almost two-thirds of Canadians said they want U.S. Iraq war resisters to be allowed to stay in Canada. Demand to know why the Harper government is unwilling to be accountable to Canadians.
Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day
It is more urgent than ever that we send a message to the Canadian government that Canada needs to welcome US men and women who refuse to participate in the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. There are three actions you can take today to help support the war resisters.
Add your name to the petition calling for the federal government to implement a provision to allow war resisters to stay in Canada. Initial signatories include June Callwood, David Suzuki, Maude Barlow, Shirley Douglas, Naomi Klein, Ann-Marie MacDonald, and many others. Please download a copy of the petition, sign it, circulate it and return it to the campaign.
Write a letter to the editor
Letters to the editor are an important piece of the public debate on this issue. The majority of Canadians opposed the war in Iraq and support the provision of sanctuary for US soldiers. Send a copy of your letter to the campaign to email@example.com.
The Struggle for Independence, Philadelphia, July 2 2008
In celebration of the American Revolution, Iraq Veterans Against the War will hold a “Patriots’ Town Hall Gathering” on July 2 at 5:30PM on the 3rd Floor of the AFSCME District Council 47 Union Hall, located at 1606 Walnut St.
The keynote speakers for this event will be John Braxton, U.S. Labor Against the War Steering Committee Member, and T.J. Buonomo, IVAW Organizer and Former Military Intelligence Officer, U.S. Army.
After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, U.S. officials rewrote the laws of Iraq to enable foreign investors to buy up Iraqi national assets without any requirement to reinvest much-needed capital into the country. One of the few Iraqi laws they kept in place was a Saddam-era law which prohibits public sector workers from unionizing. This legal measure has been used to suppress grassroots dissent against ongoing U.S.-Iraq negotiations over the role of foreign oil companies in Iraq’s energy industry. These highly secretive negotiations have in turn contributed significantly to political instability throughout the country, frustrating the ostensible U.S. military mission there. Iraq Veterans Against the War will highlight these issues and relate them to our own nation’s struggle for independence.
Mr. Braxton will speak on the struggle of Iraqi workers to unionize in the face of U.S. and Iraqi government repression. Mr. Buonomo will speak on the legacy of the American Revolution and its relevance to U.S. foreign policy in Iraq.
An easy way to help IVAW out is to use Goodsearch (http://www.goodsearch.com/) and put IVAW as the designated organization. For every search we receive a penny, while it may not seem like a lot if all of you used this instead of google it would make a big difference for us. This is a simple and easy way to support our work.
Paul Sullivan, Executive Director, VCS
Feb 27, 2008
A major news network is working on a story about Iraq War and Afghanistan War veterans who have attempted or committed suicide. The network is looking for a family who’s loved one sought medical care at VA after attempting suicide, and either survived or died. If you (either a veteran for family member) are interested please email VCS via e-mail at Paul@VeteransForCommonSense.org
FIRST NATIONAL SOLDIERS PROJECT CONFERENCE: HIDDEN WOUNDS OF WAR; PATHWAYS TO HEALING
May 16-18, 2008
Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD, psychiatrist Boston VA, Mac Arthur Fellow
Congressman Bob Filner, Chair -House Committe on Veterans' Affairs
Westin Bonaventure Hotel 404 S. Figueroa St. LA, CA 90071
Special Discounts for Soldiers Project Conference Attendees must be made through the following link: click here to reserve a room:
Military/Government employees call: 213 624-1000 for special discount
Registration $150 before 4/18/2008 , $200 after 4/18/08 or on site
Student (with I.D) $75 before 4/18/2008; $150 after 4/18/08 or onsite
Make checks payable to: LAISPS/The Soldiers Project and send to:
12011 San Vicente Blvd. #310 LA, CA 90049
for information or to request conference brochure
818-761-7438 or firstname.lastname@example.org
877-576-5343 Toll free
Free, Confidential Psychological Counseling for Soldiers
Southern California Area - Call us 818-761-7438 email@example.com Chicago Soldiers Project contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Soldiers Project-Washington email@example.com or 206–290–1035
Deployed or back from OIF or OEF?
Think you might have PTSD?
Don't fit in?
Sleep problems? Flashbacks?
Only your buddies understand you
Call us! We can help. 818-761-7438
Free.Confidential. No strings attached.
* Open to Any military person from OIF or OEF - including National Guard and Reserves, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Your extended family - while you're deployed or when you're back, Families and loved ones of soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice
818 761-7438 firstname.lastname@example.org
This is extremely big and timely news.
FRONTPAGE published an article today by Scott Swett, the proprietor of WinterSoldier.com and the author (along with Tim Ziegler) of “To Set The Record Straight – How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry.”
The article is entitled “Newly Discovered Army Reports Discredit ‘Winter Soldier’ Claims”, found here.
Read the article. It is devastating to both the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI), and to the IVAW and their upcoming "WSI – Iraq and Afghanistan" that they have so energetically tied, even in name, to that earlier event!
Swett has come into possession of and published on-line copies of the Army CID (Criminal Investigation Detachment) summaries of the investigations of the charges made by purported and real Army veterans and members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War at the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation.
Similar files and the findings they revealed from the Navy's NIS were written of years ago by the historian Guenter Lewy in his 1980 book ‘American in Vietnam'. While there has been indication that some others had seen those files, they have been missing from the available public record for decades.
Just yesterday I posted “A Vietnam Vet Replies to the IVAW Video”, in which I published comments and photos I received from John “Doc” Boyle. Boyle had sent them to me at the suggestion of a friend. That friend was Scott Swett. Scott and I have become acquainted via e-mail after my article last October in American Thinker, “Investigate the Winter Soldier Investigation”.
Today I find that John Boyle was instrumental in finding those files in the possession of an historian who had made copies before the record disappeared into the labyrinth of the National Archives! Scott and John, well done!
Some at IVAW, members and even non-members operating behind the scenes, have known all along what they were and are attempting. Others have been led, and I have to add willingly, down a primrose path by the old leftist guard of the VVAW and VFP.
Last January, I posted “Winter Soldier 2008 Preview” in which I addressed comments by IVAW member Matt Howard. Howard has become adept at mouthing the empty inanities and pseudo intellectual formulations passed on to him no doubt by and through those elders. At Dandelion Salad, Howard said: “So Iraq Veterans Against the War is taking back our history – the history that has been robbed from us. We are dispelling the myth that the Vietnam war ended when the Democrats started voting against it. Instead we are spreading the truth about how the American War in Vietnam ended. The Vietnam War ended when soldiers put down their weapons and refused to fight; when pilots dropped their bombs in the ocean.”
What struck me at the time I read that is that there are a great many serious historical works written about the Vietnam War, from a wide range of perspectives and political leanings. One can search and search in vain for any remotely serious historical analysis that will credit the ending of that war to anything as delusional as “soldiers put down their weapons…pilots dropped their bombs in the ocean…”
The only explanation for that, and other statements made and actions taken by IVAW members, including simply naming their event after and self-consciously equating it to the 1971 WSI, is that they have been fed a whole lot of outright hokum and garbage by the leftist elders recounting their halcyon glory days when they think they represented a great “resistance” movement within the ranks!
I will have more to say about this later, time permitting. For now, the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) now has the opportunity to know exactly what horse they had determinedly hitched their wagon to for these last few months, even to naming their upcoming event after what was, as many have said, a travesty and an injustice. It is probably too late for the IVAW to change the name from “Winter Soldier Investigation – Iraq and Afghanistan” to something like “Just Us Vets Telling of Our Experiences!”
The membership of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee can be found here.
The addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of members of the United States Senate can be found here.
Please feel free to use the following letter, copy pasted or in any form whatsoever or modified at your sole discretion, to contact members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on this matter.
Click Here to sign the petition, and forward the link to your email lists.
Dear Senator ______________,
During the Democratic Debate between Senators Clinton and Obama televised on the evening of February 21st, Senator Obama spoke of information passed on to him by an officer in the United States Army about our forces in Afghanistan suffering from a shortage of equipment and weapons. The very next day, a member and former Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Warner, sent a letter to Senator Obama, asking for information about these charges. Senator Warner wrote:
“...I, and I believe other members of SASC, have a responsibility to establish where in the military chain of command rests the ‘accountability,’ depending of course, on the accuracy of the facts…
What I need from you are the essential facts of when- the dates- the unit was deployed, to which brigade combat team, or other unit it was assigned, the name and current location of the captain, or other military personnel who shared the alleged facts with you, so that committee staff can debrief them.”
Senator Warner was, as should be the case, taking the oversight responsibility of the members of the SASC seriously.
The anti-war activist organization Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) has advertised widely that it will hold a public event it has entitled “Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) - Iraq and Afghanistan” near Washington D.C. next month (Mar. 13-16).
The event is self-consciously patterned after the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation held in Detroit by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). During that event, over one hundred purported Vietnam veterans “testified” to widespread and horrific atrocities committed routinely by American forces in Vietnam.
In April of 1971, Senator Mark Hatfield moved that the entire WSI “testimony” be entered into the Congressional Record, while also calling for the relevant investigatory agencies in the military to investigate the charges made. None of that “testimony” had been given under oath or in legally binding depositions or affidavits. Later that same month, Senator William Fulbright’s Foreign Relations Committee held hearings, well publicized on television, in which young war hero and VVAW leader John Kerry testified to the widespread atrocity “findings” of that WSI.
When military investigators for both the Army and Navy attempted to investigate the charges, those who had “testified” and could be located were almost universally uncooperative with those investigations. They would not give names, dates, units or details of events that would allow investigation to proceed. There is no record that the Foreign Relations Committee or any committee of the Senate ever held hearings to receive those follow-up reports. As such, the general theme of the 1971 WSI of widespread atrocities committed by American forces in Vietnam passed largely unchallenged into much of our culture. It has been a mainstay of the film industry for decades. It has harmed the image of American in general, and the honor of three million Vietnam Veterans in particular.
Various sources on the Internet and in print, including the IVAW, the VVAW and the Veterans for Peace as well as other organizations associated with them have been claiming that “testimony” given next month will be about a variety of matters including widespread atrocities, indiscriminate and unwarranted killing of civilians and destruction of property and infrastructure, torture of detainees, mutilation of corpses and the illegal use of Afghan bodies for medical “practice”, rampant sexual misconduct, racism and drug/alcohol use by American soldiers and on and on.
I (we) the undersigned request that the United States Senate Armed Services Committee take the following steps:
Make request of the Iraq Veterans Against the War that member(s) of Committee staff be permitted to attend the entire Winter Soldier Investigation “testimony” proceedings and be provided access to those testifying.
That in the event that staff determines that there has been testimony given that touches on areas where, in the words of Senator Warner, the members of the SASC “have a responsibility to establish where in the military chain of command rests the ‘accountability,’ depending of course, on the accuracy of the facts…”, the Committee or a Sub-Committee of its delegation begin proceedings to follow-up on the claims made.
That the Committee or Sub-Committee investigation be prepared to request and/or subpoena all documents and records, signed statements and recordings, audio, video or digital, that bear on the claims made and being investigated.
That those making such claims or professing publicly to verify those claims be requested or subpoenaed to appear before the Committee or Sub-Committee, under oath, to answer questions.
The IVAW has also publicly stated that it intends to have the unsworn “testimony” from the upcoming event also entered into the Congressional Record. In 1971 the Senate of the United States was derelict in its duty of both oversight and follow-up and in the reasonable regard and respect it should have shown in consideration of the sacrifice and service of the American armed forces and veterans.
I (we) request that the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee not allow what happened to a previous generation of veterans be allowed to happen to another and even be aided, as it was then, by the United States Senate.
The Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read, cutting off access to just about any independent site with the word "blog" in its web address. It's the latest move in a larger struggle within the military over the value -- and hazards -- of the sites. At least one senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so "utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream."
Until recently, each major command of the Air Force had some control over what sites their troops could visit, the Air Force Times reports. Then the Air Force Network Operations Center, under the service's new "Cyber Command," took over:
FNOC has imposed bans on all sites with "blog" in their URLs, thus cutting off any sites hosted by Blogspot. Other blogs, and sites in general, are blocked based on content reviews performed at the base, command and AFNOC level ...
The idea isn't to keep airmen in the dark -- they can still access news sources that are "primary, official-use sources," said Maj. Henry Schott, A5 for Air Force Network Operations. "Basically ... if it's a place like The New York Times, an established, reputable media outlet, then it's fairly cut and dry that that's a good source, an authorized source," he said ...
AFNOC blocks sites by using Blue Coat software, which categorizes sites based on their content and allows users to block sub-categories as they choose.
"Often, we block first and then review exceptions," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, a Cyber Command spokesman.
As a result, airmen posting online have cited instances of seemingly innocuous sites -- such as educational databases and some work-related sites -- getting wrapped up in broad proxy filters.
"A couple of years back, I fought this issue concerning the Counterterrorism Blog," one Air Force officer tells Danger Room. "An AF [Air Force] professional education course website recommended it as a great source for daily worldwide CT [counterterrorism] news. However it had been banned, because it called itself a blog. And as we all know, all blogs are bad!"
He's joking, of course. But blogs and social networking sites have faced all sorts of restrictions on military networks, for all sorts of reasons. MySpace and YouTube are officially banned, for eating up too much bandwidth. Stringent regulations, read literally, require Army officers to review each and every item one of his soldiers puts online, in case they leak secrets. And in televised commercials, screensavers and fliers, troops are told that blogging is a major security risk -- even though official sites have proven to leak many, many more secrets. Now there's the Air Force's argument, that blogs aren't legitimate media outlets -- and therefore, shouldn't be read at work.
But this view isn't universally held in the military. Many believe blogs to be a valuable source of information -- and a way for ordinary troops to shape opinions, at home and abroad. Gen. David Petraeus, who heads the U.S. effort in Iraq, has commended military bloggers. Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, who replaced Petraeus as the head of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, recently wrote (in a blog post, no less) that soldiers should be encouraged to "get onto blogs and [s]end their YouTube videos to their friends and family."
Within the Air Force, there's also a strong contingent that wants to see open access to the sites -- and is mortified by the AFNOC's restrictions. "When I hear stuff this utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.... Piles of torn out hair are accumulating around my desk as we speak," one senior Air Force official writes in an e-mail. "I'm certain that by blocking blogs for official use, our airmen will never, ever be able to read them on their own home computers, so we have indeed saved them from a contaminating influence. Sorry, didn't mean to drip sarcasm on your rug."
One of the blogs banned is In From the Cold, which examines military, intelligence and political affairs from a largely right-of-center perspective. It's written by "Nathan Hale," the pseudonym for a former journalist and Air Force intelligence officer, who spent more than two decades in the service. He tells Danger Room, "If knowledge and information are power -- and no one disputes that -- then why not trust your people and empower them to explore all sides of issues affecting the service, air power and national security?"
Obviously, DoD [Department of Defense] can decide what internet content should be filtered -- they spent billions on the IT architecture and billions more to maintain it. But if it's a matter of "ensuring worker productivity" and deterring "wasteful surfing of the internet," does it really make sense to block relatively small blogs (that just happen to focus on military and security issues), while allowing everyone to access ESPN or FoxSports? Wonder how much work time will be lost on filling out "March Madness" brackets, versus reading a military or intelligence blog?
In short, there doesn't seem to be any consistency in the current DoD policy. And that's no surprise. A few months ago, a senior Pentagon P.A. [public affairs] official told me that his service had no plans to engage the blogosphere, because their studies showed that "people don't rely on blogs for news and information." And he said it with a straight face.
The Air Force recently launched an $81 million marketing campaign to convince lawmakers and average citizens of its relevance in today's fights. By making it harder for troops to blog, an Air Force officer says, the service had undermined "some of their most credible advocates."
"The Air Force isn't getting the planes that they want because they are incapable of communicating their usefulness and applicability in this new war. Because Air Force officers talk more like corporate bureaucrats than cocky war fighters, no one is inspired or convinced of their pressing (and quite legitimate) need to modernize the force," he adds. "Air Force bloggers spoke the lingo of someone heavily invested in the fight, because they operate outside the survival-minded careerist world of public affairs, with many of them penning blog posts from theater."
Perhaps, says retired Air Force Col. Tom Ehrhard, who's now a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. But there are legitimate security reasons why blogs need to be restricted. Adversaries may be using blogs to take advantage of airmen, he notes.
It is increasingly clear that active exploitation could take advantage of airmen and civilians who want to inform and correct the often outrageous, false assertions on these blogs. In doing so, it is easy for well-meaning insiders to violate operational security (OPSEC) tenets, either directly or tangentially. We are in a different world today when it comes to sensitive military information, and foreign intelligence operatives surely understand this and will exploit it. As a former member of Strategic Air Command, where OPSEC was (rightly) an obsession, this has been obvious to me for some time in reading aerospace-oriented blogs. This policy strikes me as a timely reminder to Air Force professionals that they should be on guard when blogging, because someone is watching.
UPDATE: I'm getting a lot of conflicting data about exactly which blogs are blocked, and which ones aren't. Shoot me a note if you're currently in the Air Force, and would like to help set me straight. All off-the-record, naturally.
To: GI Special
Subject: Looking for Vets
Date: Feb 21, 2008
Anti-War Action! is looking for an anti-war veteran/conscientious objector of Iraq or Afghanistan who is interested in speaking at a rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan on March 15, 2008.
If you are AWOL or in some unauthorized status we will endeavor to protect your identity so that you can speak without fear of arrest. We will need to see a DD-214 or similar ID to verify your status. If interested, please reply to email@example.com
This letter from Jonathan Hutto was published in GI Special, February 11, 2008
This is Petty Officer Third Class Jonathan Hutto Sr., cofounder of the Appeal for Redress.
I'm writing to you to let you know of an action sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), an organization dedicated to protecting human rights around the world, to give soldiers' families a platform to discuss the problems they encounter while their family member is serving abroad, and to push for the ending of the war in Iraq.
As part of the Justice Sunday program entitled The War in Iraq: Who Pays the Price, the UUSC is encouraging children and youth to organize candlelight vigils for their congregations. We are collecting stories of children of U.S. soldiers, and stories of Iraqi children, to be read aloud during the vigils.
We hope that this will humanize the costs of this war in a very personal way, spurring people to take action. The UUSC is providing a wealth of resources to help people educate themselves, and get active together.
The bottom line is that we would like to invite active duty, active Guard, and active reserve personnel in your network to email me brief stories (written by themselves or their kids) about how the war has impacted their families. We will post these stories online along with other resources at www.uusc.org/justicesunday.
Stories can be as short as around 100 words and as long as 500 words.
Rough drafts are perfectly acceptable. I will contact the author if we have any questions.
We would like to receive stories by or before Feb. 15, and will accept stories through the end of February.
Unless anonymity is requested, we will credit the authors online.
Please email the stories to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward them to the UUSC.
You can also encourage your family members to encourage their religious networks organize vigils. Remember, to participate in any vigils, service personnel must be off base, off duty, and out of uniform.
Thank you for your enthusiasm in helping with this initiative. I am certain this can make quite a difference in a number of people's lives.