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!
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Critics of IVAW seem to come in a number of forms. Some of these, especially active duty GIs and some veterans oppose IVAW for principled reasons and should be respected. Still others misunderstand the goals and aspirations of the movement, viewing it as a continuation/re-run of the 1960s antiwar movement. There is, however a category which stands out from the crowd and it primarily consists of a collection of bloggers attached to and affiliated with the far right of the republican party. One of the worst of these is the aptly named Chickenhawk Express, whose work is most charitably characterized as ugly and bitter and occasionally veers toward the slanderous.
The following post includes a number of Robin's writing, about IVAW written since the Winter soldier Hearings:
IVAW and VFP leaders must be banging their heads on the wall trying to figure out what they have to do to get a little mainstream media attention. They held another "Arrest Bush and Cheney" Action back on March 19th but to their chagrin, no one covered it. They are just now getting some "publicity" from the "Independent" media (aka their inner circle of comrades) including a YouTube video. VFP and IVAW had BIG plans for this stunt...
The Veterans then proceeded to the National Archives where the Constitution is housed. We had originally planned a civil resistance action inside the National Archives, in the Rotunda, where the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence are displayed. The plan was for a number of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War to enter the Rotunda and to use plastic cuffs to secure ourselves to the massive gates at the entrance to the Rotunda. Our rationale in doing this would be that as fulfillment of the oath we took upon joining the military to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, we would now demand the arrest of those who had most grievously abused that document and all it stands for. Delivering the Warrant in the place of Constitutional housing, we would remain handcuffed to "guard" the Constitution until the aforesaid accused either surrendered themselves to us or to the appropriate authorities.
But the "crowds" waiting to enter the National Archives made the protesters change their tactics...
However, on Monday and Tuesday as we surveyed the huge lines wending around the block waiting to enter and realizing that we couldn't just cut the line and walk in, we changed our plan to an outside occupation with the same demand for a citizen's arrest. The outside plan turned out to be much better.
Yeah the new plan worked SOOOO much better...
Five veterans, Joel Kovel, Diane Wilson, Ellen Barfield, Malcolm Chaddock and Andrew Schoerky decided to handcuff themselves to the flagpole outside the Archives with a huge blowup of the Citizen's Arrest Warrant for Bush and Cheney. There was also a immense canvas replication of the Constitution that would be displayed. That morning as the Veterans gathered on the National Mall, Tarak from VFP, Adam Kokesh, Daniel Black and James Gillian from IVAW decided to climb over the 10 ft. spiked metal fence at the top of the front steps of the Archives and to occupy the 40 ft. high ledge on the front of the building with an upside down American flag (symbol of distress) and a megaphone so that they could speak to the crowd more effectively. Our assumption was that both the flagpole occupation and the Vets on the ledge would result in arrests but we felt that the Vets on the high ledge would have more time to speak to the crowd before the police would venture out to arrest them. (Thanks to VFP Pres. Elliot Adams for a leg up when we were climbing over the fence) As it turned out the Vets on the ledge were there for 90 minutes broadcasting before the Archive security ventured out to offer them safe passage if they would only leave the ledge peacefully. The police had opened the previously locked gate in the fence. After some discussion we decided to accept their offer. As we left the ledge to the cheers of the crowd below, a few of the police actually shook our hands. It seemed as if the police had made a decision not to arrest the Vets. Andrew, Ellen, Diane, Joel and Matthew decided to stay handcuffed to the flagpole, at least for a while, even though the march would move on.
Sadly there were no arrests, no scuffles with police and no street blockades. As far as the cheers of the crowd, watch the video. The only ones cheering are part of the demonstration itself. The crowd waiting to enter the National Archives looks bored.
Watch for FAIR and other organizations in the pocket of these groups to issue a demand for an explanation as to why the media failed to cover their "action". They are still whining about the lack of media coverage of Winter Soldier II. Maybe the mainstream media is smarter than I give them credit for being...
Talk about audacity... IVAW has issued a press release countering the testimony of General Petraeus and Amb Crocker. Here's snips from the press release...
WASHINGTON, DC - April 9 - Contrary to General Petraeus's testimony, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) attest that the major destabilizing force in Iraq is the ongoing U.S. occupation. What's more, U.S. troops are being commanded to perform acts that directly violate their moral codes and the rules of war, making a positive outcome exceedingly difficult to achieve.
Less than one month ago, over 100 veterans and active-duty soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan shared their eyewitness accounts of the occupations at Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. Their testimony illustrated how the ongoing occupation of Iraq is resulting in the dehumanization and abuse of the Iraqi people, the destabilization and breakdown of the U.S. military, and the emotional and physical injury and damage to thousands of U.S. troops.
Testifiers gave firsthand accounts of being ordered to raid the homes of innocent Iraqis, physically and psychologically abuse Iraqi prisoners, and indiscriminately shoot at civilians.
Dear Martha -I listened to the audio of the testimony and read the reports (from both sides) about the testimony given at WSII. Most of it was simply "war is hell and it sucks" type testimony. The "war crimes" and atrocities never materialized in the testimony. And as far as the "dehumanization" claims - give it a rest. Millard's "haji" story is as ridiculous as his claim of depleted uranium exposure. The abuse and indiscrimate shooting of civilians was mostly "I was told" testimony and no one has yet to go under oath with their claims.
"Petraeus continues to repeat the administration's talking points while ignoring what the soldiers on the ground know: the Iraq occupation is not working," said Kelly Dougherty, a former Military Police Sergeant in Iraq and Executive Director of IVAW
Frankly Kelly - IVAW keeps repeating the talking points from UFPJ, CodePink, ANSWER, Dahr Jamail, VFP and VVAW. The only ones ignoring what is happening on the ground is IVAW and those who have everything to gain by a humilating withdrawal of US forces while leaving Iraqis at the mercy of Al Qaeda. This isn't Vietnam and your retread of the same tactics will not work.
But to claim that you guys and gals know more than General Petraeus is beyond laughable.
The five year anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq sent the moonbats into a complete and total frenzy of protest activity. According to people on the ground in DC, the city was awash in the unwashed and covered in pepto bismal pink.
Jonn over at This Ain't Hell was all over the place. He went from protest site to protest site and recorded the events for posterity. He's got lots of pics and videos posted. But this scene makes me scratch my head.
What exactly does Medea flashing her goodies in a bed on the streets of DC mean? Is she protesting Eliot Spitzer? Or maybe she's looking for some hot hippie action. Weird - just freakin' weird.
Of course IVAW was out in force despite the lackluster WSII performances. King Kokesh led the pack. He certainly has a way with street theater. Too bad he's not a mime.
Every time I see the American Flag flying upside down, it makes me want to vomit. Yes - I know it symbolizes a country in distress but damn it sends such a negative image around the world. Oh wait - that's the point.
TSO over at The Sniper got in on some of the protest action. He's got several posts up about today's events but my favorite is his deconstruction of the anarchists and his lunch with Suzie Rottencrotch.
After suffering through WSII and now this, I hereby award Jonn and TSO the Blogger Courage Award. Sorry - not a money award but lots of hugs and my deepest respect for you two guys!
Vet in a Suit: Testimony from the Iraq Veterans Against the Wa.
Posted, by Anthony Swofford to Slate Magazine, March 17, 2008
It's been determined that taxi drivers have the most dangerous job in Iraq, and if the Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier event this past weekend had taken place in Baghdad, my taxi driver might have gotten us both killed. Luckily, it occurred at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md. On Friday morning, as we entered the campus from the Beltway, a dozen or so protesters held signs denouncing the testifying soldiers: "WINTER SOLDIER MY ASS," one read. Security was tight. The Montgomery County sheriff's department operated out of a mobile unit that looked so innocuous you might have assumed they were selling corn dogs after a Little League game. But the paramilitary attire of the nearby riot-ready cops would quickly disabuse you of that notion. By the campus' entryway stood a group of IVAW supporters acting as further security. My taxi driver tried to dodge them but got held up by a burly, middle-aged guy. "What is going on?" asked the driver.
What was going on? Approximately 55 former members of the U.S. military were preparing to testify about the ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan—or what the IVAW consistently refers to as "occupations." No brainchild of the Pentagon, IVAW modeled its conference after the controversial 1971 Winter Soldier event that vivified (some say fictionalized) war crimes, human rights abuses, and military waste then occurring in Vietnam. The IVAW has three unifying aims: immediate withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, reparations for the Iraqi people, and consistent and reliable medical care for all veterans of the war. Over the course of four days, the conference planned to address the continual breakdown and failure of military rules of engagement, the long-term societal cost of the war in the form of broken families and broken minds, the drastic privatization of the war in Iraq, racism and sexism in the military, and the future of GI resistance. And with Winter Soldier, the IVAW hoped to gain more media attention for the anti-war movement.
Entering the hall where the testimony was taking place, you might have thought you were at a "peace and social justice" conference at a Pacific Northwest liberal-arts college. Many of the audience members sported gray ponytails, and some of the security staff were members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. But most of the IVAW soldiers testifying were born after 1982. For them, the Vietnam War brings up images of Pvt. Pyle from Full Metal Jacket and Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. Many participants of Winter Soldier 1971 had worn combat fatigues, and the event had come together catch-as-catch-can, with few resources and little polish; but Winter Soldier 2008 felt like a finely produced corporate workshop. The women I saw testify were in business attire. And while some of the men were in faded fatigues and desert boonie caps, hip-slung jeans, and hoodies, just as many wore suits or sport jackets. These are the new anti-war vets, and they know how to use image and technology to their advantage.
Jose Vasquez, IVAW board member and president of the New York chapter, told me, "I'm interested in professionalizing the organization." Vasquez served nearly 14 years in the active-duty Army and the Army reserve, initially as a cavalry scout and later posting as a training NCO for battle medics. It looked to me as though he'd left the barracks just hours ago. He made me—a former Marine—want to shave my unruly beard, tuck in my shirt, and knock out 20 four-count push-ups for good measure.
Born in the Bronx, Vasquez grew up in California and signed up for the Army in 1992 at the age of 17. Now pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology, he's a soft-spoken man who cared deeply for the Army and the soldiers he warmly calls "Joes"; he'd planned to spend 30 years serving his country. After 9/11, he would have served in Afghanistan with few reservations; but by the time his unit got the call for Iraq in 2005, he'd been having doubts not only about the efficacy of the war but about the morality of serving. As a medic, he patched soldiers' wounds so that they could head out on another mission and kill again. After "a lot of soul-searching," Vasquez applied for conscientious-objector status, and more than a year later he separated from the Army with an honorable discharge. When he described the day he told the men he led that he was not going to Iraq with them, Vasquez sounded remorseful and sad. He misses the Army and his Joes.
Critics will instantly identify any soldier testifying about immoral behavior on the battlefield as a bad seed. So Vasquez implemented an exhaustive process to confirm the veracity of the testimony being offered; his title is "IVAW verification team leader." Drawing on his background as an anthropologist, he trained 14 team members, mostly combat vets, in the verification process. Membership in IVAW was not required in order to offer testimony. "We were willing at least to take testimony from anybody, whether or not they were a member. They didn't even have to agree with our points of unity. If you had a story to tell about Iraq and you were able to prove your service, then we would give you a venue to spread that word." All told, approximately 140 people have come forward to offer testimony. It wasn't possible to have everyone testify this weekend, but Vasquez vows that IVAW will give anyone with a story to tell the venue to do so.
Clifton Hicks, a dead ringer for a young Matt Dillon, served in the Army as a tank driver and .50-caliber machine gunner from 2003 to 2004. His own testimony—among other things, he recalled watching a five-building apartment complex full of civilians being riddled with gunfire from a warplane—troubled him deeply. When I spoke to him Saturday morning, the totality of the first day of Winter Soldier was wearing heavily on him. He told me that for the first time since becoming an anti-war activist, he felt like quitting. Re-experiencing the destruction of war and thinking about friends who had died made him feel again "that I no longer cared about my life. … I felt like the only way I could make things right is to just strip my clothing and walk naked back to Florida, you know. … Just pay a penance or something." A panel on Friday about the rules of engagement, Hicks said, was "hard-hitting." During it, much of the testimony was of witness: abuse of Iraqi prisoners and detainees, indiscriminate firing in urban areas, the quick erosion of the rules as soon as someone in a unit died. As Hicks told me, "That [panel] was the personal shit, the upfront shit. I murdered shitloads of people. Not 'I saw shitloads of people die from a distance and thought it was funny.' "
Jon Turner, a former Marine and current resident of Burlington, Vt., looks like he'd be more comfortable playing footbag or Frisbee than firing a weapon. On Friday afternoon, he'd given some of the more dramatic testimony. He opened by saying, "There is a term, 'Once a Marine, always a Marine.' But there is also a term, 'Eat the apple, F the corps.' " He then ripped off the ribbons pinned to his shirt, threw them to the ground, and declared, "I don't work for you no more." He had served two tours in Iraq with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion of the 8th Marines, operating in Ramadi and Fallujah. He then played a few videos he'd made while in Iraq. The first video he played was of his executive officer, after having called in a 500-pound bomb, saying, "I think I just killed half the population of northern Ramadi. Fuck the red tape."
Then he played video of a missile attack on a Ministry of Health building. He spoke about the standard procedure of a "weapon drop": When mistakes are made, you drop a weapon on the innocent dead man so it appears he was a combatant. He showed photos of a man's brain. "This wasn't my kill, it was my friend's," he stated.
When the next image of a corpse appeared on the big screens in the hall, he continued, "On April 18, 2006, I had my first confirmed kill. Ahh. This man was innocent. I don't know his name. I call him the Fat Man. He was walking back to his house, and I shot him in front of his friend and father. The first round didn't kill him after I hit him up here in his neck area. And afterward he started screaming and looked right into my eyes. So I looked at my friend who I was on post with and said, 'Well, can't let that happen.' So I took another shot and took him out." It took seven members of the Fat Man's family to move his body.
After his first kill, Turner says, "My company commander personally congratulated me as he did everyone else in our company. This is the same individual who had stated that whoever gets their first kill by stabbing them to death will get a four-day pass when we return from Iraq."
On Saturday, Turner and I sat outside on a bench. Some of his buddies were playing Frisbee nearby and a mutt dog named Resistance ran around on the grass, yapping among the former soldiers. Jon had a number of tattoos, nothing new for a military guy, but the ones that most interested me were the five small crosses on his left wrist, for the five KIAs of Kilo Company, and the Arabic script on his right wrist, which, he claimed, meant "fuck you." He had this on his right wrist because, as he said during his testimony, it was his "choking wrist." He left us all to imagine what that meant.
Jon has shaggy blond hair and a scraggly beard and a comely, easy smile. In him, I saw the ghost of a young, sweet kid who had joined the corps because he loved his country and he wanted to help protect it. And I saw the hardened and haunted young man who spends a lot of time chasing demons he thought he'd left in Iraq, among them the Fat Man and a man who had the unfortunate luck of bicycling by Jon's checkpoint on a day when Jon simply wanted to kill and the media embed was with another platoon, so his platoon had free rein.
Jon has PTSD. Jon has quit drinking and smoking. He still dips tobacco, but that's a minor thing, considering. He doesn't do therapy—got tired of that—but he talks to his friends from IVAW, better therapy than anything. He's started making art, and with a buddy in Burlington he makes combat paper—he reconstitutes camouflage uniforms Marines have worn in combat, turning the uniforms into paper that he binds into books. He's writing some poetry. He's trying to make something good from the waste that was Iraq.
Reprise of Winter Soldier anti-war conference held near D.C.
Distributed by the Associated Press, March 15 2008
Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are meeting this weekend at an anti-war conference modeled after a well-known 1971 gathering at which Vietnam veterans spoke out against that conflict.
The four-day event called "Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations," is expected to draw more than 200 veterans of the two conflicts through Sunday. It was timed for the eve of the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war next week.
On Friday, former soldiers and Marines addressed an audience of several hundred in Silver Spring. They spoke of having to make snap decisions about whether to fire on civilians, of soldiers firing indiscriminately on Iraqi vehicles, and of an apartment building filled with Iraqi families attacked by an American gunship.
Former Marine Jon Turner began his presentation by ripping his service medals off his shirt and tossing them into the first row. He then narrated a series of graphic photographs that brought gasps from the audience. In a matter-of-fact voice, he described episodes in which he and fellow Marines shot people out of fear or retribution.
"I'm sorry for the hate and destruction I've inflicted upon innocent people," Turner said. "Until people hear about what is happening in this war, it will continue."
The event drew dozens of counter-protesters who demonstrated outside.
"We want absolute specifics," said Harry Riley, a retired Army colonel who leads Eagles Up. "This is too important to our nation. The credibility of our nation and the credibility of our soldiers are involved."
The 1971 Winter Soldier in Detroit was similarly controversial.
John Kerry, then a young veteran, was a participant, and criticism for what he said at the time resurfaced during the Massachusetts senator's 2004 presidential bid.
"Kerry lied while good men died, and you guys are betraying good men," yelled a protester Saturday who managed to slip into the conference, which was limited to participants and the media.
The protester was roughly hustled from the room by members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, who are providing security for the event.
A Defense Department spokesman said he had not seen the allegations raised Friday, but added that such incidents are not representative of U.S. conduct.
"When isolated allegations of misconduct have been reported, commanders have conducted comprehensive investigations to determine the facts and held individuals accountable when appropriate," Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros said.
This announcement was published by EaglesUp, March 4, 2008
Washington, D.C., March 4, 2008 – A national coalition of pro-troop and veteran organizations is gathering in the Washington area next week to oppose a planned reenactment of Sen. John Kerry’s infamous “Winter Solider” anti-Vietnam War event that, like its predecessor, will feature “testimony” alleging atrocities committed by American troops this time in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Eagles Up www.eaglesup.us and other organizations are taking aim at Winter Soldier II, patterned after a similar event staged by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s Vietnam Veterans Against the War in 1971. Although most of the “veterans” who “testified” in Kerry’s event a generation ago were later found to be frauds, and their testimony was either disproved or impossible to verify, the damage to the Vietnam generation was long enduring.
Hosted by Iraq Veterans Against the War, the ANSWER coalition, CODE PINK, MOVEON.ORG, and associated organizations this generation’s Winter Soldier reenactment is considered to be on a par with its predecessor, with a twist. In 1971 the media accepted the stories of atrocities literally without question, and Kerry even testified before Congress using graphic images of torture and murder, which he claimed were widespread and American military policy.
But Eagles Up and the other pro-troop organizations including Move America Forward and Rolling Thunder will not allow this attack on our troops to go unchallenged. Vietnam and Iraq war veterans and their supporters are demanding that all who participate in the IVAW event submit to identification verification and that their claims are specific including times, dates, places, units involved, leadership and witnesses.
In addition, anyone claiming to have participated in or witnessed an atrocity without attempting to halt it or report it will be referred to the appropriate civilian and military authorities as participants in or accessories to war crimes. Eagles Up leader, Col. Harry Riley, US Army (ret.) said “We have two objectives: To counter and challenge IVAW Winter Soldier II (WSII) Testimony on March 14 by demanding ‘truth.’"
Col. Riley added, “Our second objective is to participate in a peaceful march in Washington, DC on March 15th that reflects a view of appreciation, uplifting, pride in America, our troops and families. This will be a positive event with flags, banners, patriotic music, fellowship, and oriented for the entire family of patriots.
“Americans are standing up to attacks on our nation and people from those that tend to support the constant drum beat of surrender," Col. Riley said.
Thousands will put "boots on the ground" in Washington, DC on March 14/15 to challenge one devious aspect of the threat on America – those that would have us surrender to the Islamic butchers and dishonor our warriors,” Col Riley added.
“It's a sacrifice for many of us to get to DC but it's also a sacrifice for our families and warriors to offer up their lives. The least we can do is protect their backs.”
Yesterday, and in spite of the fact these groups were not able to get more than 50 people these folks put on the best face and claimed it was because most of their supporters were up on Capitol Hill petitioning their Congressmen to not include the testimony offered by witnesses in the Congressional record.
By Steve Vogel, Washington Post Staff Writer , Saturday, March 15, 2008; Page B01
Grim-faced and sorrowful, former soldiers and Marines sat before an audience of several hundred yesterday in Silver Spring and shared their recollections of their service in Iraq.
The stories spilled out, sometimes haltingly, sometimes in a rush: soldiers firing indiscriminately on Iraqi vehicles, an apartment building filled with Iraqi families devastated by an American gunship. Some descriptions were agonized, some vague; others offered specific dates and locations. All were recorded and streamed live to the Web.
The four-day event, "Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan -- Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations," is sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War and is expected to draw more than 200 veterans of the two wars through tomorrow. Timed for the eve of the fifth anniversary of the war's start next week, organizers hope the soldiers' accounts will galvanize public opposition.
For some of the veterans speaking yesterday, the experience was catharsis.
Former Marine Jon Turner began his presentation by ripping his service medals off his shirt and tossing them into the first row. He then narrated a series of graphic photographs showing bloody victims and destruction, bringing gasps from the audience. In a matter-of-fact voice, he described episodes in which he and fellow Marines shot people out of fear or retribution.
"I'm sorry for the hate and destruction I've inflicted upon innocent people," Turner said. "Until people hear about what is happening in this war, it will continue."
Winter Soldier is modeled after a well-known and controversial 1971 gathering of the same name at which veterans of the Vietnam War gathered to describe alleged atrocities. John Kerry, then a young veteran, spoke at the Detroit event, which brought him to prominence. The soldiers' claims sparked lasting enmity, which resurfaced during Kerry's run for president in 2004.
The 2008 Winter Soldier will probably be no different. The event drew dozens of counter-protesters who were kept from the conference site at the National Labor College by a contingent of Montgomery County police. Although entrance to the event was limited to participants and the media, one protester managed to slip in and walked toward the stage, interrupting a speaker.
"Kerry lied while good men died, and you guys are betraying good men," the man yelled. The protester was roughly hustled from the room by several men in red knit shirts and jeans -- members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, who are providing security for the event.
Counter-protesters outside derided the event and were deeply skeptical of the claims being made inside. "We want absolute specifics," said Harry Riley, a retired Army colonel who leads Eagles Up!. "This is too important to our nation. The credibility of our nation and the credibility of our soldiers are involved."
Riley said those making allegations against the U.S. military should have to give sworn testimony instead of speaking at an antiwar conference.
Organizers said they have sought to verify the records of all soldiers speaking, including reviewing their service records and talking to other members of units. Some soldiers had videos and photographs, which were displayed yesterday on a large screen in the auditorium.
"The ubiquitous nature of video, photo and technology really sets this apart" from the original Winter Soldier, said Jose Vasquez, an IVAW member who directed the verification process. Organizers and speakers said Winter Soldier is not meant to vilify soldiers. Instead, they said, it is aimed at changing war policy.
"These are not bad people, not criminals and not monsters," said Cliff Hicks, 23, a former 1st Armored Division soldier from Savannah, Ga., who spoke about his experiences in Iraq. "They are people being put in horrible situations, and they reacted horribly."
A Defense Department spokesman said he had not seen the allegations raised yesterday but added that such incidents are not representative of U.S. conduct.
"When isolated allegations of misconduct have been reported, commanders have conducted comprehensive investigations to determine the facts and held individuals accountable when appropriate," Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros said.
Yesterday's panels included two sessions on "Rules of Engagement," in which soldiers and Marines described in emotional and often graphic terms incidents in which they said unarmed and innocent civilians were killed.
Most of the stories involved Iraq, though some took place in Afghanistan.
Two former soldiers who served with the 1st Armored Division described an attack by an AC-130 "Spectre" gunship on an apartment building in southern Baghdad that they said took place Nov. 13, 2003.
"It was the most destructive thing I've seen, before or since," said Hicks, one of the soldiers.
Adam Kokesh, a student at George Washington University who served with the Marine Corps in Iraq, said Marines were often forced to make snap decisions about whether to fire on civilians.
"During the siege of Fallujah, we changed our rules of engagement more often than we changed our underwear," he said.
On the screen, a photograph showed him posing next to a burned-out car in which an Iraqi man was killed after approaching a Marine checkpoint.
"At the first Winter Soldier in 1971, one of the testifiers showed a picture like this and said, 'Don't ever let your government to do this to you,' " Kokesh said. "And still the government is doing this."
At a session on shortcomings in veterans' health care, audience members sobbed as Joyce and Kevin Lucey described the suicide of their son, Marine Cpl. Jeffrey Lucey, a death they blamed on his inability to get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mental health specialists were on hand to help speakers and audience members, and a workshop was offered on PTSD.
Those who spoke yesterday described the experience as intimidating.
"It was terrifying for me," said Steven Casey, a former 1st Armored Division specialist from Missouri who also described the AC-130 attack. "I knew somebody needed to hear it. All I wanted to do is say what I saw. I'm not accusing anyone of a crime."
Thoughts of an Ex-Marine Officer Turned Peace Activist, by Camillo "Mac" Bica, originally publised in Truthout.org, March 15, 2008
Often as I've marched and demonstrated for peace, I've been verbally assaulted, accused of being un-American, unpatriotic, even treasonous by those who carried American flags, sang inspiring hymns, and boisterously and stridently asserted their patriotism, love of country and support for the troops through bullhorns.
Most of this criticism I dismissed as a failure to understand the nature and the reality of war and the moral and political obligations of citizens in a democracy. I was confident in my patriotism, my love of America and my concern and support for the troops. I had, after all, served honorably as a motivated United States Marine Corps officer in Vietnam. But when this disparagement and denunciation began coming from fellow veterans, I became disquieted and felt the need to seriously ponder the possibility that perhaps I had gone astray, violating some sacred trust or bond. So, what I offer in this essay is a thought experiment in self-examination, an introspective journey into the mind and motivation of a former Marine turned peace activist.
Perhaps my first realization in this exercise was that I allow at least the possibility that war, under very specific circumstances not easily or often met, may be just, moral and necessary. Therefore, I am not an absolute pacifist and, in the strict sense, I am not antiwar.
I realized as well that I believe in the Constitution, the rule of law, and support the fundamental purpose and mission of the United Nations, flawed though it may be, "to maintain international peace and security and to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace." According to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX), (international law), the unjustifiable and unwarranted "use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State," is a crime of aggression. Therefore, I am anti aggression and unjust, immoral and unnecessary war.
Further, I believe in the rights and dignity of all human beings. Rational analysis of the facts has convinced me that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake - unjustifiable and unwarranted - based as it was on false or distorted intelligence, deception and lies. Not even President Bush still believes, if he ever did, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction or was linked to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. While the Bush administration has offered, after the fact, various other explanations for the war, e.g., removal of a tyrant, democratization, etc., none seem sincere nor constitute justification under international law. Consequently, the invasion of Iraq is aggression. I am anti the Iraq war.
At this writing, many in our country are celebrating the "success" of the surge and of the "new" military strategy in Iraq. However, military success and improved strategy does not afford a moral and legal basis for continuing, even escalating, the occupation - the aggression against the Iraqi people. How could achieving "victory" in such a scenario, i.e., the triumph of the aggressors over their victims, be legally and morally justified? I am anti the continued occupation of Iraq.
My personal experiences in war led me to conclude that the morally tragic and legally reprehensible incidents such as have occurred at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan were not the anomalous actions of a few aberrant individuals (I do not blame the troops), but were the direct and inevitable consequence of the Bush administration's incompetence, arrogance and contempt for the Constitution and the dictates of international law and treaties. What threatens the fabric and foundations of our way of life in these dangerous times is not some amorphous, enigmatic horde of bloodthirsty terrorists. Rather, it is the assault upon truth, individual freedom and the values of justice and morality we hold sacred. I am anti the Bush administration.
It is clear from history that such criminal behavior, arrogance and hypocrisy - the characteristics of a rogue nation - brings no credibility, prestige or standing in the world, only disdain, animosity, hatred and righteous indignation. Nor do acts of aggression bring glory or vindication to those already killed or wounded in battle. Justice and morality, the values I associate with being an American, require that an unjust and immoral war be ended immediately; that the aggressors possess the moral courage to acknowledge their crime; that they make retribution to the victims of their aggression and apologize to the citizens of the aggressed nation and the rest of the world community for their transgression. I am anti rogue nation.
My respect for the military convinces me that the lives and well-being of our young men and women are not automatically forfeit upon enlistment, relegating them to the status of cannon fodder. Sending inadequately prepared National Guard troops into combat and then failing to provide them with body and vehicle armor is unconscionable and criminally negligent. Repeated combat tours and insufficient time for rest and rehabilitation between deployments increase the likelihood and inevitability of psychological, emotional and moral injury that is devastating and life-altering. Finally, the "stop-loss" provision that prevents our servicemen and women from leaving the military once their term of service has been completed is disingenuous and a violation of contract. I am pro military. I support the troops.
It is apparent that the burden of this war is not being shared fairly by all Americans. Only a fraction of our citizenry is directly affected, while the vast majority go about their consumption-driven lives as usual, oblivious to the sacrifices of our soldiers, sailors and Marines and to the death and destruction being prosecuted in their names. It is not support, therefore, nor is it patriotic, to remain silent when our troops are placed in harm's way unnecessarily, to kill and be killed subject to the whims and ineptitudes of our political leaders. I am anti apathy and I have learned that if patriotism means unquestioning allegiance and blind obedience, such patriotism is inconsistent with democracy and with basic human decency. Such patriotism is an abeyance of our human reason. Such patriotism is inhumane and immoral. Such patriotism is to surrender our power to think critically. Such patriotism is a profound failure, both intellectually and morally.
As has been clearly demonstrated by the unconscionable treatment of our wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at Veterans Administration facilities across the country, our returning veterans are not receiving the quality of care they deserve and require to recover from their injuries and experiences in war. I am outraged by this lack of concern and support for those who sacrificed so much for our country. I am pro veterans.
The fundamental moral principle of respect for persons requires that we protect those most vulnerable from being enticed, seduced, brainwashed and deceived into becoming complicit in crimes of aggression and cannon fodder for corporate war profiteers and opportunists. We are morally obligated, therefore, to protect our impressionable young people by striving to ban recruiters from our high schools and colleges and by urging our representatives to rescind the No Child Left Behind Act's military recruitment provision which requires schools, in order to receive financial assistance, to provide military recruiters with students' contact information. Second, we must inform the underprivileged - who see the military as their only alternative to poverty, crime and unemployment - of other educational and employment opportunities available to them other than by joining the military. Finally, we must make clear to all prospective enlistees the realities of military service, the horrors of war and the immorality and futility of the war in Iraq. I doubt this information is contained within a recruiter's motivational packet of hats, tee-shirts, bumper stickers and violent video games. Under this administration, with potential enlistees facing the inevitable prospect of fighting an immoral war of aggression, I am anti recruitment.
The fact that so many of our heroic sons and daughters are languishing abandoned, their emotional and psychological injuries untreated and their needs ignored, is a national tragedy and disgrace. The fact that America has become isolated in the world, respected no longer for our ideals but feared for our brutality, no longer admired for our values of justice and freedom but hated for our hypocrisy and intolerance, should bring a tear to the eye and anger to the heart of every true patriot. I am pro America.
As a result of this exercise in self-examination, I have realized that I am anti aggression. I am anti unjust, immoral, and unnecessary war, but not anti war. I am anti the Iraq war, however; anti the Bush Administration, anti rogue nation and anti recruitment. In addition, I am pro military, pro veteran and pro America. I have realized as well that the outrage I feel regarding the corrupting and disgracing of America by those political leaders and their coconspirators who cherish not our values and way of life but only wealth and power requires - no demands - the true patriot to embrace truth and to cry out in condemnation and protest. Finally, despite the criticisms and disparaging comments and accusations by credulous veterans, I have realized that my activism and dissent are an expression and fulfillment of my moral and patriotic duty. I am confident, therefore, that I am more the patriot today as I demonstrate for peace than when I wore the uniform of a United States Marine.
I am constantly amazed at how rank and file chicken hawks continue to beliueve that the War in Iraq is protecting us from terrorism, and seem to be driven insane when they are shown irrefutable proof that the bill of goods they were sold was a forgery. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been trolling through the outer reaches of the virtual universe looking for everything written about the upcoming Winter Soldier hearings, and while the left has its fair share of thoughtless fools, who revel in insulting rank and file soldiers with no understanding that there is a world of difference between the brass and lifers on the one hand and those enlisted men and women who now find themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This stupidity however, pales in comparison the unadulterated brutality of the Orwellian alternate universe Chicken Hawks fly around in. I realize it is a lot easier to read the cliff notes to James Joyce's Ulysses than it is to struggle through the original, but you are not going to be able to do anything more than scrape through a multiple choice quiz about the book and will certainly learn nothing. The same is true with the upcoming Winter Soldier Hearings and the Iraq Veterans Against the War, which are denounced by people based on what they have been told by Scott Swett, John O'Neil and their fellow swift-boaters. Not one of them have bothered to read the transcripts of the Winter Soldier Hearings, but they state with absolute certainty and conviction that the supposed eyewitnesses could only describe war crimes that they were told about third hand and never witnessed.
One of the most unpleasant of these accusers is a lady who proudly class herself Chicken hawk Express. In one of her latest attacks on the credibility of the witnesses at the events in DC this week, she makes the following blanket statement "all in all it looks like it will be the same old thing - claims of "I was told", "I didn’t actually witness but heard about it", ad-nausea." She ends her attack with the threat that the participants had better be sure of their facts because she and her colleagues would be fact checking everything with Lexis-Nexus. While I have access to Lexis-Nexus, it unfortunately does not go back as far as 1971 so one can not use it to check how many times “I was told” and “I didn’t actually witness but heard about it” appear in the transcript. However, I do have access to the Sir! No Sir! Archive dataabase (http://www.sirnosir.com/library/articles/search.html) and was able to do a phase search for both. The phrase "I didn’t actually witness but heard about it" does not appear once in the transcripts. As for the phrase “I was told”, it appears 19 times.
One witness uses it in the context of shoddy medical treament he received after being wounded over the Easter Weekend in 1969 :
“My Easter of '69 wasn't exactly what I'd call a treat. I was wounded. They decided that I wasn't wounded bad enough to be dusted off, so I waited a period of approximately nine hours while I was laying in a pig sty to be dusted off. When I was dusted off, I was taken to the hospital. I will say the treatment I got was fast, but efficient, it wasn't. I was taken into the operating room and worked on. They completely neglected the wounds on my arms and, of course, I had to say, "I don't think you're finished yet." So they sewed up the wounds on my arms. I was then released to get to a ward. I was put in a ward where there was no medic, no supervisor. I was told by the man laying next to me that I was hemorrhaging. Well, since there was no one in the ward that meant I had to get up and walk back to the operating room and open the door and say, "Doctor, I'm not done." Then they put me back on the table and said, "Oh, I guess you're not!" And they finished it up. “ (http://sirnosir.com/archives_and_resources/library/war_crimes/winter_soldier/1st_infantry_1.html)
While the transcripts of the hearings are unpleasant reading, the witnesses are very clear that while they and their fellow GIs committed brutal and unspeakable acts, they were extremely careful not to blame enlisted men or junior officers. The Winter Soldiers, like many in the GI movement laid the blame squarely on the corporate elites who profited from the war, successive administrations and their political allies who were determined not to be the first Americans to lose a war and the brass, who in an effort to ensure victory unleashed the full force of American might upon the population of South Vietnam.
The fact they held the brass and the corporate and political elites responsible for what was occurring in Vietnam was made crystal clear, by William Crandall, who in his opening statement remarked “We intend to tell who it was that gave us those orders; that created that policy; that set that standard of war bordering on full and final genocide. We intend to demonstrate that My Lai was no unusual occurrence, other than, perhaps, the number of victims killed all in one place, all at one time, all by one platoon of us. We intend to show that the policies of Americal Division which inevitably resulted in My Lai were the policies of other Army and Marine Divisions as well. We intend to show that war crimes in Vietnam did not start in March 1968, or in the village of Son My or with one Lt. William Calley. We intend to indict those really responsible for My Lai, for Vietnam, for attempted genocide.”
In an effort to win the war, grunts and junior officers were ordered to “uproot … hundreds of thousands of peasants from their villages and … [move] … them into government refugee camps. The villages were then razed and the destroyed areas proclaimed free-fire zones. Vietnamese found in these zones were automatically considered Viet Cong and … subject to American fire without warning.” (Christian Appy, Working Class War 226-227) Reading through the transcripts of the hearings, most of the atrocities described occurred in these free fire zones.
The indiscriminate killing of Vietnamese, vividly described by the Winter Soldiers, within these free fire zones was driven by the equating iof “victory … [with] … a high body count. … The pressure on unit commanders to produce enemy corpses was intense, and they in turn communicated it to their troops.” (Ibid 227) As Philip Caputo observed, in his memoir a Rumor of War, “if it’s dead and Vietnamese, its VC” which resulted in “even the narrowly defined goal of killing communists proved, in practice, merely an effort to produce Vietnamese corpses.” (ibid 227).
While no detailed study of the political affiliations of the Winter Soldier Witnesses exist, Dr. Hamid Molwana and Paul Geffert detailed “profile study of members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War”, published in 1971 as the appendix to The New Soldier allows one to draw some conclusions. The majority had enlisted, were politically conservative and had either felt the “US was justified in being there” (28.5%), or had “[n]o strong feeling about our intervention or non-intervention” (47.5%) in Vietnam. When asked what had radicalized them, Molwana and Geffert found the majority of the membership of VVAW (62%), and by implication the Winter Soldiers, had been radicalized by their experiences in Vietnam , not as been claimed over the last 30 years by either the undue influence of civilian activists in the United States or the various Communist Parties in power at the time. A similar drift is occurring among servicemen deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and it is this drift, not the machinations of washed up old communists and former VVAW members, that is the impetus for the Winter Soldier Hearings.
For the second time in 40 years, American Servicemen and veterans have felt it necessary to publicly challenge the synthesis of military action with the goals and needs of corporate imperialism. Unfortunately, for the last 30 years these servicemen have been successfully misrepresented [swiftboated] as accusing their fellow GIs of unspeakable acts, it is up to us, to support, stand with and amplify their challenge.
This particular insightful analysis was originally posted by "GI Jane" to her blog The Foxhole.
IVAW losers to host “Winter Soldier II”
Filed under: Assorted idiots, Politics — sfcmac @ 3:22 pm
SFC Jonn Lilyea, U.S. Army (RET) of This ain’t Hell (http://thisainthell.us/blog/) is a good buddy, a blogger, and a fellow war veteran. He’s going to be covering something next month called “Winter Soldier II”; a circus hosted by a bunch of malcontents from the IVAW, “Iraq Veterans Against the War”.
For the uninitiated, the original “Winter Soldier” took place in 1971, with John Kerry at the forefront of the farce.
John Kerry lied before Congress in 1971 during the so-called “Winter Soldier Investigation”. He denigrated his fellow veterans with fabricated tales about atrocities he never witnessed, and hopped into the political sack with Jane Fonda, and the V.V.A.W. (Vietnam Veterans Against the War); a wonderful organization that voted on whether to commit political assassinations during a November 1971 meeting. He also traveled to Hanoi, shook hands with the VC, and offered his support. His picture still hangs in the Ho Chi Mihn museum. His “war hero” persona has some flaws. The embellished circumstances involving his Purple Hearts and his subsequent behavior are clearly indicative of lack of character, integrity, and the leadership it takes to be a respected member of our government. He shouldn’t have been a Senator, let alone Presidential candidate.
Former members of his Navy Swift Boat unit revealed some aspects of Kerry’s unethical behavior in Vietnam. Kerry “reenacted” his adventures in Vietnam with a movie camera, conned the Navy out of 4 Purple Hearts for Band-Aid “wounds” (one of which was self-inflicted), and threw someone else’s medals over the Whit House fence during an anti-war publicity stunt.
For a complete expose on the 1971 “Winter Soldier” sham check out this website: http://www.wintersoldier.com/
Phonies like Jesse MacBeth, Scott Beauchamp, and Adam Kokesh, have either fabricated stories about themselves or their fellow sevice members and don’t have the decency to be ashamed.
Now comes a motley group of ex-military misfits, hosting a Winter Soldier redux.
The IVAW (http://www.ivaw.org) attracts some pretty undesirable characters. Read the “profiles” and comments on their website. Not one of them has any outstanding achievements. They omit full disclosure of their military backgrounds, and some of them are dumb enough to think that Buck Sergeants and Privates can “retire” under normal circumstances.
One of them in particular, Jonathan P. Dewald, has a unique way of “expressing” himself. His rants are clearly indicative of an emotionally retarded individual. Throwing imbecilic tantrums against the military and his own country is his way of compensating for his intellectual impotence. For someone who served in the Army, he’s totally clueless about the reasons for the WOT.
To top it all off, he’s not even a war veteran, yet he’s been allowed into an organization with the “Iraq Veterans” designation in the title. How token.
The Islamofascist goal of a world Caliphate is lost on the X-Box generation. In the IVAW, he’s in good company.
I previously blogged about these losers here: http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2007/11/09/former-military-malcontents/
Veterans angered by disgraceful organizations like the IVAW, not only served, but actually deployed to war; an item missing from Dewald’s DD214. It’s highly probable that they padded their ranks with asshats like Dewald. Evidently, they think numbers will make up for the lack of legitimacy and integrity in their clique.
The IVAW brings shame on themselves in an attempt to drag all veterans into the gutter of their anti-military/anti-war ‘activism’. They abuse their status as “veterans” for the purpose of bad-mouthing the WOT as well as the country.
They feed the maws of radical groups like Code Pink, A.N.S.W.E.R., and MoveOn.org, and serve as a propaganda tool for Islamofascists who don’t like the fact we struck back and are erradicating them on their own turf.
There will be a lot of leftwingnut rhetoric at their little get-together next month, but they should know that most veterans will defy their bullshit.
The Left loves to tout groups like the IVAW as if they are ‘heros’ bucking the system, when in reality, there’s no honor or bravery in collaborating and joining ranks with an organization of traitorous malcontents.
I wonder if John Kerry will be on hand.
The Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) video has been circulating on the Net for over a week, and can be seen at IVAW's Army Sergeant's site, Active Duty Patriot. A friend of mine received an e-mail from a former combat medic in Vietnam, John "Doc" Boyle. "Doc" served as Company Medic in D Co.,19th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Army), Quang Ngai Province, RVN, 1967-68. The friend suggested that Mr. Boyle forward the e-mail and accompanying pictures to me, which he did, with permission to use the material.
I gave some thought to how to present Mr. Boyle's material, and then simply decided that "as written" is the only method that will do it justice. Mr. Boyle writes with strong emotion, and the photos go a long way in showing why that is the case. Yet he does so without detriment to the intellectual soundness of the points he makes. So also, and something the relative youngsters of IVAW don't seem to be able to or want to grasp, his ire is directed at the legacy the first WSI bequeathed, unfairly, to 2.9 million Vietnam Veterans for what has been the majority of their lives, and that the same may happen to another generation.
What the former combat medic says about medical triage in combat as opposed to how it was presented in the IVAW video is extremely telling.
"IVAW's new preview video of their 'winter soldier' tribunal is just awful. If this is the best they can do, they will never withstand critical inspection. Talk about propaganda! I now *get* that this is timed as an effort to make the war an issue in the election campaign; or, more exactly, to delegitimize any candidate who supports a now 'unfortunately' (to them) successful war.
The event plans look like an exact duplicate of WSI - 1971, including journalists and 'professionals.' Obviously the IVAW's mentors are folks we have run into before. The video is all mournful music and long sections of ominous but generic Iraq war zone videos and graphic photos with zero context: no captions and no voice over, no set-up comments and no after-word comments. The 'witness' talk has no connection to anything depicted in the videos and still photos. None.
One gruesome image is a body with a blown up head, obviously a sniper head shot - but we are not supposed to notice the guy has a suicide bomb vest on. Another body is burnt to a crisp - but we are not supposed to remember that it is a photo from Fallujah of a Blackwater contractor's desecrated body prior to the infamous bridge hanging by insurgents. The 'implication' is that these are all results of 'awfu' American military actions - 'atrocities' (but that word is unspoken - let pictures say the thousand lying words they dare not speak). Going for the emotional gut shot, not rationality or even honesty - or, just like B. Obama - not even any content beyond emotional appeal (or, in this case, emotional aversion).
The three 'witnesses' in the video have not one concrete or specific detail to tell among them. It is all the generalized whining of group therapeutic narcissism, common in the 25 Army WSI witnesses from 1971 whom the CID investigators declined to be bothered with. No dates, no place names, no unit designations, no personnel names. Nada. Pitifully forced angst. And hokum.
Reality check: One 'witness' tells of an American soldier seriously injured in a vehicle roll-over. He claims the soldier was given zero medical help (zero!) because the medics invoked triage protocol and said he was going to die anyway.'Oh, the inhumanity!' we are incited to think.
The 'witness' totally misrepresents what 'triage' means. Triage is only invoked in mass casualty situations where the available medical resources might be overwhelmed by the number of casualties - time wasted on those badly hurt but who cannot be saved, taken away from those less seriously hurt who could have been saved if resources had been properly rationed. Yet this "witness" does not refer to any other casualty in this incident but one. There is no such thing as triage of one casualty. The casualty did die, reports this witness, hours later 'enroute to the clinic.' BUT, if they did 'triage' him out, how did he wind up on his way to a hospital for treatment? The internal inconsistencies are embarrassingly obvious to anyone who knows anything about such situations.
There is not a medic in the Army or Marines (Navy Corpsmen) I ever heard of who would not risk his own life to save another soldier, let alone prefer to not *inconvenience* himself over a dying guy. It's what we were trained for; it's what gives meaning to our even being there. I've personally given CPR to the already dead! In the attached photos (ED: scroll down), I am under that rolled bulldozer with the casualty, and you can see one of our boot soles in the shadows at the center of one of the photos. He did die (three days later in the hospital - the 20 year old on the stretcher - I've blurred his features here deliberately). He stopped breathing while I was under that dozer with him, while between us was a hot engine over the middle of his body and concertina barbed wire wrapped all around. I could not quite reach him - an arms length separated us.
The frustration was agonizing and my own predicament did not even occur to me until later. We literally moved heaven and earth to save him. While the engineers dug out with shovels around the sides, and they searched for wire cutters and flak jackets as heat shields for me to use, a crane was brought up and actually lifted the damn dozer off of us. The heroes of MedEvac did mid-air CPR and got him to a hospital alive.
THIS is why we Nam Vets are so pissed at these goddam liars ever since 1971, and now - unbelievably - again.
Tell them: we know what you are! We are watching you! We will not be silent this time!
Never, never again!
John Boyle Company Medic D Co.,19th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Army) Quang Ngai Province, RVN, 1967-68"
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!”