Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The IVAW Bus Arson That Wasn't

At about 9:30 pm on Friday, January 11, the IVAW’s bus caught fire at a truck stop in southern New Jersey. Nicknamed “The Yellow Rose of Texas”, the vehicle was a total loss. Fortunately the driver, Vietnam Veteran and anti-war activist Jim Goodnow was not hurt, though he was on the bus attempting to take a nap when the fire started. While the bus is often referred to on the Net as IVAW’s bus, there are also statements that Mr. Goodnow himself is the owner-operator. Whichever the case may be, Mr. Goodnow and IVAW have my condolences for what must be a substantial loss, especially Mr. Goodnow. He lost personal possessions along with his livelihood, at least temporarily.

Over the days following the fire the story had “been posted all over the place” in the words of our IVAW friend ‘army sergeant’ writing at Active Duty Patriot.

However, what was written about the bus fire was light on what could be important details. This post from OpEd was reposted in many places and is a good example. The site of the fire is identified only as a South Jersey truck stop. No town or city was identified. It speculates that the fire could have “been anything from ARSON, to ATTEMPTED MURDER.” [Caps theirs] There is nothing about what fire department was on site and whether they were investigating an arson or recommending that such be done. It ends by stating that Mr. Goodnow was planning to contact the ATF Arson Squad the next day, and that readers should “Stay tuned”.

I have stayed tuned, for over two weeks, but there has been nothing to tune in to. However, the seeds were planted for what followed. That this bus was festooned with overtly political signs and slogans, from “Impeach Bush-Cheney” to “Don’t Invade Iran” makes it at least within the realm of reason to speculate that it was possible that someone torched the vehicle out of a political motivation. What was and is not reasonable was to conclude, without evidence, that it must have been arson, an intentional attack and that folks could be sure of the ‘type’ of party responsible. What follows opens me up to a charge of nut-picking, but is done here for another reason: as a guage of the intense reactions the story, as given, fueled.

From the Democratic Underground, a sampling:

“They'd have killed Jim just for sh*ts and giggles. We need to treat the rethug bastards the way we dealt with the Confederates and the Nazis, with rifles and soldiers. Welcome to the Second American Civil War!”


“BUSINESS AS USUAL in USAmerika. Just ask anyone who worked for Civil Rights in this f**ked up country...Or anybody who was active against the last Vietnam war...USAmerika is a f**ked-up, violent, racist outfit. That ain't gonna change soon...”


“I live in south Jersey and I don't know what is more troubling to me:
1. The very real possibility that some fanatical Bushites attempted to harm a peace lover; or
2. The fact that not one single local news station or newspaper has even mentioned this incident.”


“If I was a betting man, I'd wager my life savings it was a Freeper Nazi who did this. We know it was a pro-war thug who did it. The government needs to watch these people like a hawk.”


“Paranoia, proud and unafraid, here on DU! Many of these posts assume that George Bush himself gave orders for his black ops team to destroy the bus. How about a Bartcop Chinaco tequila shot of reality here? He was at a FREAKING TRUCK STOP! Truck stops are full of right-wingers, usually working 48 hour shifts, high on coke or ecstasy to stay awake and complete their runs, listening to Rush Limbaugh and Faux News, out of their minds. Isn't it more likely that some of these truck drivin' zombies freaked out and decided to torch the hippie liberal bus?

And someone answering that last post:

“I read through them all and I hadn't seen that ["Many of these posts assume that George Bush himself gave orders"]. Seems like most people are thinking that if it was arson, it was probably a right-wing nutjob, like you suggest. Comments like that set up a strawman argument where people feel they have to say, "Oh no, I wasn't implying George Bush did it. Golly." When instead we should be noting that the Bush-sponsored fascism has created a**holes who think this is a reasonable response to people who protest their government's illegal wars. So while he probably had not done it, the subtext to all this is that he might as well have done it.


“I wonder if the Justice Dept will treat this as an act of terrorism?..I'm sure the FBI will now bring its vast resources to bear on this new threat to national security, the bus-burning branch of Al Quaeda.”

DailyKos was, of course, similar:

“Burning peace buses? Someone remind me what freaking time we're living in.”


“It keeps astounding me that the self righteous, hyper religious folks in our nation are the ones that resort to violence in the face of someone else's opinion.”


“It doesn't astound me a bit, unfortunately Those who feel that they have righteousness on their side, or feel that they are "standing up for God" will always believe that the ends justify the means for if the end result is that God's will (as they see it) is done, then they may, and in fact must do anything and everything to make it so.”

There were many others, including:

Peace Bus, The Yellow Rose Torched

IVAW Bus Torched

IVAW bus, nicknamed "Yellow Rose," burned by arsonists in NJ

IVAW Bus Firebombed

'YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS' Peace Bus Destroyed In Deliberate Arson Fire

Attempted murder and arson in order to stop the advancement of peace!

IVAW Bus Firebombed - Author: Veterans For Peace

Even though our IVAW friend Army Sergeant at Active Duty Patriot made some attempt at tamping things down, he also simply concluded that it had to have been a deliberate fire:

“... I suspect that the culprits, if in fact my theory is correct, likely didn't give a thought to his presence either way…it was most likely a cruel and violent act, perpetrated on the spur of the moment by ignorant people…Whether these people had devious and dastardly plans or not, they still deserve to be found and charged.”

On January 20th, in the comments at this very site with VVAW's Bill “Watermelon Slim” Homans, I called Mr. Homans on it when he claimed that “IVAW's bus was torched in New Jersey this week. SOMEBODY is trying to intimidate IVAW...”. He admitted there was no proof of that.

In nearly three weeks there has been no follow up and nothing to confirm that this was indeed arson. To be fair, in the discussions at DU and Kos, there were folks asking if there was any confirmation that this was arson and an attack, yet those voices were frankly driven over by the mob. Reasonableness need not apply for many.

In a 2000 report on arson investigations, the DOJ reported that there were nearly 400,000 vehicle fires in 1997 alone. The overwhelming majority were not arson. The report states that almost 16 percent of fires were considered actual or potential arson, and that includes ‘suspicion’ of arson. Even though the report states that that figure is likely conservative, due to the potential destruction of evidence of arson by the fire itself, that would still leave hundreds of thousands of vehicle fires that were not arson. I pointed out to Mr. Homans that almost coincidental with the IVAW bus fire, there were others that were not arson, including a school bus, a city transit bus and a college sports team bus.

With that lack of follow-up and no regular media reporting on what would be a significant story if it indeed were a politically motivated arson, I tried to find out on my own. Photos of the bus being towed showed that the tow truck belonged to Riehl's Towing & Maintenance, which I found out was in Clarksboro, NJ. Riehl’s told me that the responders were members of the Carney’s Point Fire Department. When I contacted them, the Deputy Chief told me that there was no arson investigation and would not be. The fire began in the closed engine department and burned outward, and was believed to have been caused by an equipment malfunction or failure. There was no indication of, much less evidence of arson.

They knew that weeks ago. The day after the fire Riehl’s towed the truck to a salvage yard, not a facility where criminal evidence would be kept.

So why has IVAW and others let the story and assumption of an intentional crime linger, when they could have cleared it up?

Most of the sites that tell of the fire also give information on how to make contributions to replace the bus. There is nothing wrong in that. Yet charitable giving and contributions are often motivated by appealing to emotions, and the greater the emotion - the greater the giving.

This over-the-top screed comes from Virginians for Peace and Accountability – Larry’s World:

“During the evening hours of Jan. 11, 2008, another event destined to enter Amerika's Political Hall of Shame occurred at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. There, the venerable Yellow Rose of Texas Peace Bus, owned and driven by Vietnam veteran Jim Goodnow, was set ablaze by perpetrators yet to be suddenly had become too much of a threat to those cowards who have no means of discourse other than abject violence...they chose to kill our messenger of Truth-and-Hope as expressed by Goodnow and his fellow members of Veterans for Peace...Those of us who value that message now have the opportunity to help Goodnow resurrect the Peace Bus -- by sending a donation...In this world of political unrest, there's only one thing worse than assassinating a patriot activist: assassinating the IDEA that motivates his commitment and spirit.”]

This similar rant appeared on OpEd on 1/16:

“Who's Afriad of the Yellow Rose Peace Bus?

Jim was headed to South Carolina to hook up with some peace activists there...Jim pulled into a rest area...and decided to take a short nap. While he was preparing for his nap, he saw a man walk by the bus, to the edge of the parking lot, look carefully all around him, and walk back towards the bus. When he went around the back of the bus, the man was out of sight and Jim didn’t give it much thought. He had turned off the engine and was ready to settle down for his nap when the back of the bus was quickly engulfed in flames. Jim escaped unharmed, but the bus is almost certainly a total loss and he lost most of his clothing and bedding which were near the engine compartment. Jim has received lots of threats over the years as he has boldly staked his claim of free speech, and while investigators have not yet determined if this was an act of arson or not, it only fits in with the new atmosphere of brown shirt style intimidation that the Bush/Cheney regime has engendered with vile rhetoric and criminal actions.

But Jim Goodenow will not be silenced and whether repaired or replaced, The Yellow Rose will rise again. You can help by going to and contributing...”

So what do we have? If age and wisdom come to a person, they will generally come to understand that even in the little things a person or an organization will reveal how it will act in greater things, a pattern of behavior and a window into character. We had a story that was light on details, so light that it took considerable effort to follow-up. We had insinuations and claims of crime and pronouncements of the guilty parties by association, with no proof offered. That fired up the emotions in this small cause, which was to raise money to replace the bus lost due to a not terribly uncommon and not criminal event.

Is there a pattern here? Will the Winter Soldier Investigation next March be light on details, making it hard to verify charges and insinuations? Will that WSI intend to fire folks up through emotions, so as to further a cause as opposed to, say, further understanding of the truth? From the IVAW website:

"IVAW will also arrange to make available copies of the Winter Soldier transcript highlights to support the various efforts of the antiwar movement."

That's the cause.

All we had with the torched bus was - highlights!

As they say, stay tuned!

Monday, January 28, 2008

WSI 2008 and Media D.U.P.E.S.

DUPES or D.U.P.E.S. It's an acronym for "Date, Unit, People, Event and Signature".

Members of the media, I implore you: when the IVAW holds its Winter Soldier Investigation media event in March 2008, think "DUPES"!

Let it guide you! When there is "testimony" about atrocities, serious crimes or repugnant behavior by our armed forces remember that you are journalists, with a responsibility and ask for:

D - Date(s)
- when did this happen?

U - Unit(s) - what military unit was involved?

P - People
- who were the individuals involved?

E - Event(s)
- what exactly occurred?

S - Signature(s)
- did the "witness" sign an affidavit, a deposition or a report to superiors, and thereby go on any kind of binding legal record about this?

If you hear about gross war crimes, atrocities and such at WSI 2008, and report that, gosh, you heard about gross war crimes and atrocities and such at WSI 2008, and you don't ask about the important and critical details that allow verification (or debunking), well, there might be a word for what that would make you, and it is not "journalists"!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Warning: Vile Video Jihad Propaganda

Robin at Chickenhawk Express went looking for the recent IVAW atrocity claims at Jihadi websites, and found this! Yes, this is a video passed around the Net with the intent of getting American troops killed in revenge.

Don't go there unless you have a strong stomach and can tolerate extremely distasteful language.

But if anyone can recognize either of the two folks in the video, who are claiming to have committed or have knowledge of a serious crime, there is a required recourse to law.

JAWA Report has more.

PS: More from ChickenHawk Express on the WSII "fact checkers"!

Listen Up, People!

I've been gone for a week and out of touch. Did get to spend a few days with the son temporarilly at Ft. Lewis whom I have not seen very much of the last four or so years. Enjoyed that immensely.

Came back to this....

Some things about this site, that doesn't have to hold true for any other - but this one is mine.

Grim Reaper and anyone else - if you are not formally associated with an organization but post in such a way, even if inadvertently, that can lead others to believe that is the case - don't! Represent yourself or an organization for whom you do have that position and responsibility.

FB Eyes - I am a strong supporter of the Stolen Valor Act. That is a law. As a law, it establishes penalties for wrongdoing, and those penalties can and should come about as a result of a proper investigation of crimes - not supposition, speculation and intimidation thrown around on a public website with personal information about people I am quite sure you did not ask if you could so post that info about them. What you are doing here is wrong! You are working from a presumption of guilt, something our country's laws and I stand opposed to, and are threatening. Yes, I read the thread twice. It is threatening. That is not the purpose of the law. If you have grounds to believe a law has been violated, you have recourse to the proper channels, and should pursue them. To simply point at another and imply you are after him with no grounds to do so is frankly indecent.

Mr. Homans, you are I are no doubt going to disagree about many things, and I take exception, strongly, to some of what you've said here. Having said that, you did not deserve the threats and intimidation aimed your way. I apologize that this happened to you at my site. That I was away is not an excuse. BTW, I do not require that everyone use their real names, and recognize that there is sometimes reasonable grounds for using a pseudonym. However, and just to point out, I don't. Scott Swett and Michael Connelly didn't, and Bill Homans didn't.

Folks, this site is about seeking facts and truth. I actually and truly believe that if adherence to the truth is maintained, that truth will prevail. This site is not about personal attacks, threats and intimidation. If that's what you want, it's a free country, but do so at another site. There's plenty of them.

IVAWSgt did not set out to invite bloggers and milbloggers to WSII. That was my request to IVAW, and IVAWSgt pursued the request. I did so because I believe that is a very good means to proof test what is said/claimed at this WS. The milblogging community has shown itself to be excellent debunkers (MacBeth, Beauchamp, etc.).

Monday, January 21, 2008

War Crimes Are Encouraged - Details Aren't!

Again indebted to Jay, who sends the unsurprising word thar Michael Moore has picked up the Anti-war group says war crimes are "encouraged" story, as has DU – from Michal Moore.

Matter of fact, if you Google “war crimes are encouraged”, you get a whole bunch of the usual suspects passing the IVAW fed story around! More on Google blog search. And remember, there was no detail of a single encouraged war crime in the piece! No details on how these crimes are encouraged! Nothing to fact check! The bobble heads did and do what bobble heads do – their heads bobble up and down in total acceptance.

Oh, and it’s gone video on YouTube!

As an anonymous commentor pointed out, News 10's Brian Dwyer might have earned the DUPE mantel.

I’m leaving in several hours and will probably be off-line for nearly a week. Combination trip. Few days on day job (aerospace) business. Few days with the son currently stationed at Fort Lewis (1st Group). And perhaps a day or so doing some research in the area. If that pans out, you’ll hear about it.

So, while I’m gone, a huge hat tip to the first person who spots the “war crimes are encouraged” story and/or video on an Arabic-English or fully Arabic site. It usually takes a few days, but it gets there, as jihadi recruitment material. They don’t need details either.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Winter Soldier 2008 Preview - for Money!

Here we go with a Winter Soldier Investigation 2008 preview from News 10 in Watertown, New York. The report is about what was said by IVAW members at a, -er, fundraiser held at the Different Drummer Cafe:

(quotes are in italics)

Anti-war group says war crimes are "encouraged"
1/19/2008 5:10 PM
By: Brian Dwyer

WATERTOWN, NY - "I was messed up in the head. It was okay for me. I laughed afterwards. We all did. It's just the way things go."

Iraq war veteran Jon Turner said it was almost expected of him to pull the trigger on people who didn't need to die. So he did.

"It was my decision," Turner said. "I made it. Now I have to live with the fact I see someone's eyes screaming at me after I shot them."

But Turner says it wasn't his choice to be encouraged to do it from higher ranking officers. He and three other veterans speaking out Saturday at the Different Drummer Cafe in Watertown said committing war crimes is not only the way things go, but it's unofficial policy.

I’ll interrupt for a sec. Note the usual pattern: kinda short on details like who, what and where, dates, units involved! Unofficial policy? Turner has spoken before. From something called the Journalism Student’s Online News Service:

"I joined the war because I wanted to kill," Turner said, "But when I identified my dead friend, Richard James, after he got shot in the forehead, I saw that something was wrong in that war."

I am not sure that “I wanted to kill” is a common or indeed proper motive for enlistment and isn’t rather a sign that Jon had some issues before his service. Continuing with the report on the fundraiser:

War crimes "encouraged?"

A group of Iraq war veterans are planning a gathering in Washington D.C. in March to talk about war crimes they've seen or committed during their tours of duty.

"The killing of innocent civilians is policy," veteran Mike Blake said. "It's unit policy and it's Army policy. It's not official policy, but it's what's happens on the ground everyday. It's what unit commanders individually encourage."

Unit policy, Army policy but not official policy! Mike Blake has a history, including disrupting the funeral of a fallen soldier, Cpl.Timothy Swanson, much to the distress of the slain young man’s family. Robin at Chickenhawk Express has more.

The group, part of the national organization called Iraq Veterans Against War are planning an event to be held in Washington, D.C. this coming March called "Winter Soldier" that will have veterans all speaking about war crimes they committed or witnessed during their tours of duty.

"These decisions are coming from the top down," veteran Matt Howard said. "The tactics that we use. The policies that the military engages will create situations, create dynamics, create, ultimately, atrocity."

Matt Howard is something of a pseudo-historian. He is quoted at Dandelion Salad as having 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.”

Really? Think he got that from his deluded VVAW elders who are having acid as opposed to combat flashbacks? 1972 was the last year in which we had a sizeable military presence in Vietnam. By the end of that year, we had about 24,000 troops in country. In the spring of that year, the North Vietnamese communists launched the EasterTide Offensive. After being badly beaten in the Tet Offensive of 1968, it took the communist North that long, nearly four years, to be able to gear up for another major offensive. We had only about 75,000 troops in country, and of those the “only U.S. Army ground combat units left in Vietnam were the 196th Light Infantry Brigade and the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division”. Mr. Howard should read “North Vietnamese Army's 1972 Eastertide Offensive”. It was American air power that was decisive, and rather than drop their bombs in the ocean, they took the fight to the enemy while seeking to spare civilians:

“The Soviet-built Lang Chi hydroelectric plant, located 63 miles northwest of Hanoi on the Red River, was capable of supplying up to 75 percent of Hanoi’s electricity, but breaching its dam could drown as many as 23,000 civilians. On June 10, F-4 laser bombers put 12 Mk .84s through the 50-by-100-foot roof of the main building, destroying the plant’s turbines and generators without putting a crack in the dam.”

We had begun the Vietnam troop drawdown in 1969, after our forces dealt the North a devastating blow during Tet. By 1973, our in country troop level was 50! South Vietnam fell in 1975.

South Vietnam did not fall because our troops laid down their weapons and our pilots dropped their bombs in the ocean. But Matt, while those VVAW guys mentoring you are possibly having Jim Massey-like memories that they are feeding you, they probably do have some great dope they'll maybe share!

IVAW hopes to have 100 veterans speak at the event. Once it ends, they'll document the testimony and package it for Congress.

Okay then! Package it for Congress! It is a repeat! And I truly hope they expect that John Forbes Kerry is the man obligated, obligated to enter this one into the Congressional Record! And, they'll have signed and transcribed documents about their claims BEFORE the WSI. They just don't want to let them out, even to the bodies with the lawful responsibility to investigate charges of crimes, and certainly not within sight of debunkers.

IVAW says it expects a number of veterans from Fort Drum to be at the event and it is hoping to get more veterans to attend and speak at the event and will help pay for any active duty soldier who wants to go and listen.

Yup, policy. So maybe IVAW will explain why the Surge strategy, which was not just increasing troops deployed by over thirty thousand, but moving combat units out from the larger forward operating bases into smaller outposts located in the areas where the civilians live – led to a drastic decrease in civilian deaths! If killing civilians is unit and Army policy, even if unofficial, wouldn’t more troops in closer proximity to the civilians have meant – more civilian deaths, not less?

Vague talk of ‘unoffical policy’, and no details to follow up on. But, they probably raised money, so it’s all good!

Thanks to Jay for the heads-up!

UPDATE: More fundraisers and more getting out the word about the upcoming WSI.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

IOWAHAWK Disembowels the NY Times

I left a significant amount of spittle on my monitor over the NY Times anti-military smear job.

IOWAHAWK devastatingly turns their own modus operandi back at them:

"Bylines of Brutality

As Casualties Mount, Some Question The Emotional Stability of Media Vets

An Iowahawk Special Investigative Report
With Statistical Guidance from the New York Times

A Denver newspaper columnist is arrested for stalking a story subject. In Cincinnati, a television reporter is arrested on charges of child molestation. A North Carolina newspaper reporter is arrested for harassing a local woman. A drunken Chicago Sun-Times columnist and editorial board member is arrested for wife beating. A Baltimore newspaper editor is arrested for threatening neighbors with a shotgun. In Florida, one TV reporter is arrested for DUI, while another is charged with carrying a gun into a high school. A Philadelphia news anchorwoman goes on a violent drunken rampage, assaulting a police officer. In England, a newspaper columnist is arrested for killing her elderly aunt.

Unrelated incidents, or mounting evidence of that America's newsrooms have become a breeding ground for murderous, drunk, gun-wielding child molesters?"

Read the rest. By way of comparison, it took several Times reporters and staffers to come up with their story, whereas IOWAHAWK seems to be a one man operation who simply has good Google-Fu. When the Times faces another round of layoffs due to ever decreasing readership, might I suggest they look at every mook from the editor on down who cobbled together that odiferous brain fart masquerading as news.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Update: Bloggers & Milbloggers at WSI 2008

There’s movement. I’m not privy to all contacts being made with IVAW, but these are public.

Read the comments at Active Duty Patriot’s site. Former SFC (Army, 20 years) Jonn Lilyea of the blog This ain’t Hell but you can see it from here is interested. Jonn also blogs at Red Maryland. Hope he gets the details and can make it.

Milblogger Zero Ponsdorf of Another Voice has also contacted IVAW about attending.

Eight weeks to go, folks!

UPDATE: Word is spreading among the Milbloggers. Here's Argghhh! The Home of Two of Jonah's Military Guys on the subject. Scroll down to "Winter Soldier for Iraq and Afstan".

IVAW to the Anti-War Left: It's Our Party and We'll...

I wrote about the rift on the antiwar left regarding Winter Soldier Investigation 2008 weeks ago. Well, they've ironed out their differences and come together in pursuit of a higher goal.....NOT! Whadareyakiddinme'?

From yesterday, 1/17/2008:

Bay Area United Against War Statement in Response to IVAW

"In response to the Iraq Veterans Against the War Open Letter to the antiwar movement: We oppose any demand on the movement to refrain from mobilizing against the war. This demand has hurt the struggle in the United States to end the war. We support all actions of the movement to end the U.S. war on, and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. We urge the whole movement to come together to organize unified protest actions."

Okay, if their unity is not their strength, maybe it's their truthfulness, or maybe it's their reasonableness, or maybe it's their calmness of demeanor, or maybe it's their....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fake Military Heroes

This is worth seeing. When soldiers and Marines are not being smeared, others try to steal what's theirs by effort, sweat, sacrifice and blood:

Former Navy SEAL Steve Robinson wrote "No Guts, No Glory," exposing dozens of military imposters.

And like my BP wasn't stratospheric already....


WSI 2008: NY Times Warms Up The Crowd!

In the seventies the NY Times was anti-war (Vietnam) and liberal. Even so, when Mark Lane published his 'Conversations with Americans', it was exposed as a fraud by NY Times reporter Neil Sheehan. The book claimed to tell the stories of Vietnam atrocities from the accounts of 32 veterans. In a review in the New York Times Book Review, December 27, 1970. Sheehan found both stories and storytellers that were fakes, and that Lane had not exerted any effort to verify any of the claims as long as it fit his anti-war goals. Mark Lane was on the initial steering committe of the VVAW setting up the first WSI at the time. After Sheehan and the New York Times exposed his book as a fraud, Lane was dropped from the WSI steering committee but worked with VVAW behind the scenes.

I have not written on the recent NY Times piece on the rampaging and murderous veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan until I was reasonably certain I was past the point of a very likely aneurism if I made the attempt. Besides, froth and spittle do my keyboard no good.

The Times article is the one which had:

"The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war."

Expect Pinch's current crop to do all they can for Winter Soldier 2008 next March. Honesty at the Times is a thing of the past.

I waited, and that is probably good, since many better than I have gone all ugly with good cause on the Grey Lady, including:

Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee writing at Pajamas Media deconstructs:

Brian Epting was sentenced to six years for vehicular homicide when he lost control of his car while drag racing in 2005 and killed Robert Duffy, a World War II veteran. Is the Times seriously implying that his deployment to Iraq in 2003 is to blame for a drag racing death?


Robert G. Jackson was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, as was Johnny Williams Jr., which cannot readily be tied to military deployments. Likewise, James Pitts has psychiatric problems predating his deployment to Iraq.


Christian Mariano was acquitted for acting in self-defense, and yet the Times still included him on this list.


Jared Terrasas had a conviction for misdemeanor spousal abuse prior to his deployment to Iraq


Jessie L. Ullom had already been charged with abusing his infant son before he saw combat.

More at:

Bruce Keslar at Democracy Project.

Villainous Company

Mark Danziger at Winds of Change.

John J. Dilulio Jr. at The Weekly Standard.


There were questions in some of those and the comments that followed about how many Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In July of last year, the Department of Defense reported (and as quoted by Speaker Pelosi’s office so that has to be correct!) that nearly 1.6 million service members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

121 - 1,600, the math!

DOJ homicide rates per 100,000 by age here.

Then there's those for whom math and persepctive are probably impossible.

At DailyKos, the reaction is - about as should be expected.

This Kos thread’s discussion ended when someone asked “..121 people are dead ... correct .... but how does is compare? ... how does it compare to other wars? .... how does it compare to the incidence rate of similiar deaths in the general US population? Can it be put into perspective?”

No, there is no attempt to smear soldiers! None at all!

UPDATE: Excellent roundup page.

Winter Soldier 2008: The First Bogus Claim?

In their hype for the upcoming (March 2008) Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) redux, the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) have probably already made their first bogus claim:

“In what will be history's largest gathering of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan…”

How can they possibly make that claim and know that will be the case? Simply, they can’t.

The IVAW claims “over 700 members”. Here is just one “gathering” of many of its kind of veterans of the Iraq War that has already occurred. That was a homecoming ceremony held at Fort Lewis in Washington State for most of the 3,600 members of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

(By the way, I strongly suggest reading the entire piece from Tacoma’s News Tribune. If you get to the part where Colonel Townsend calls out to the troops in formation “Units! Retrieve your wounded!”, and read what follows, and are not are most likely dead.)

That single “gathering” of veterans of Iraq had present multiples of the entire IVAW membership! Then too, and it cannot be told enough, a veteran or active duty service members does not even have to be a veteran of either Iraq or Afghanistan to actually and legitimately become a member of - Iraq Veterans Against the War. Many folks and the media get confused about that, as with the Philadelphia Enquirer’s headline of a story involving IVAW:

“An Iraq veterans group, based here, seeks to halt the war.”

Jesse MacBeth, an IVAW member in 2006, doctored his DD214 to commit fraud in obtaining Veterans Benefits. He lied about his service record when he claimed to have served as a Ranger in Iraq. He lied about atrocities that never happened. He was a total fraud, but, he was not illegitimately a member of IVAW. That he served forty-two days in the military after September 11, 2001 before he was discharged and had a DD214 at all was and is enough to meet the military service qualification for IVAW membership.

IVAW does not, based on their website, disclose exactly how many members they have and how many of those have actually served in either Iraq or Afghanistan. However, if every member of IVAW was a veteran of either or both of those theatres, the group would have one member out of every twenty-one hundred and more who has served. Or, if IVAW multiplies its membership twentyfold, they could then boast that they have as members fully 1% of those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan!

It will be interesting to see whether IVAW sticks to that claim next March about their WSI being the “largest gathering of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan”, and if they do, how they would verify that if challenged on it.

Well okay, when challenged on it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

IVAW Goes “Oops!" on Winter Soldier...

In my comment's discussion with IVAW's Army Sgt that led to IVAW’s publicly agreeing to invite milbloggers to their WSI next March, we got into some things that I think someone at IVAW belatedly realized could be a serious problem for them. I was pressing Army Sgt on testifiers signing depositions or affidavits and on IVAW providing full transcripts and detailed information of the testimonies they receive. Army Sgt was doubtful that IVAW had the resources to transcribe the material before the WSI or to get anyone to sign anything. I then quoted to Army Sgt from the IVAW's own website and their questionnaire form for submitting testimony as follows:

"Veterans should give as much detail as possible concerning dates, places, and units involved. However, we are not interested in naming individual soldiers below the rank of O-3...Methodology - Ideally, the collection of testimony should be done in person. Use the questionnaire to get a general sense of the veteran's wartime experiences. The preferred format for collecting the testimony is an audio or video recording in digital or analog accompanied by a typewritten transcript. If you don’t have the capacity to transcribe the interview send us the recording along with pages 2 thru 4 and we will have it transcribed. If you cannot record it try to take as detailed notes as possible. Include details: dates, locations, number of times events occurred, presence of any NCOs/officers, and a brief description for each response to the best of your ability. DO NOT include names of any military personnel with the rank of O-3/E-8 or below. Ask the veteran to review and sign the consent form before the interview.
Provide them with a copy as well."

In short, IVAW is planning to have signed statements and full transcriptions well before the WSI.

That's the "Oops!"!

If one goes to the IVAW site to the Submit Testimony page for Winter Soldier, it reads:

"Submit your testimony and Evidence

If you would like to submit your testimony to Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, contact the Winter Soldier testimony/verification team at This team will be responsible for collecting and verifying the authenticity of the testimony. We need combat veterans to join our verification team. Contact Perry O'Brien for more information."

Something went missing from a few days ago. In the earlier version, right after that statement above was this:

"If you would like to submit testimony, download the Winter Soldier Questionnaire as a PDF document or Microsoft Word file.
A Winter Soldier Evidence Collection Form will be available for download soon."

Those links still work as of right now, even though the statement on the Submit Testimony page with the links has gone. Feel free to download them! And yes, I've saved the older files complete. Here is the earlier version of their Submit Testimony page. Here is the pdf of the questionaire that I've saved, in case theirs goes missing. Suddenly they don't want people to see those questionnaire files, that speak about details, signatures and transcriptions.

Two big reasons why this is an "Oops!".

One, IVAW won't be able to say they don't have compiled and signed testimonies and transcripts when asked. They will!

Two, someone there just might have realized the legal jeopardy. If their folks testify to actual or claimed crimes, and IVAW has written and signed detailed statements about those crimes, and they withhold them, well, that could well be a crime itself. At the least, after they give their WSI "testimony", any legal follow-up to claims of crimes can and will rightfully request or subpeona all records that might shed light on that alleged crime being investigated. Now there's a public record that IVAW is indeed collecting that material and will have it.

UPDATE: To be frank, I think the odds of anyone at IVAW facing legal jeopardy for their “WSI testimony” is extremely slight. Same holds true for legal jeopardy for withholding information that IVAW has but won’t release.

However, WSI is meant to be nothing but a media event. That’s where they will take a hit. When asked, and they will be asked, even by the regular media, for details, thanks to their own Website’s pages they won’t be able to claim that they don’t have such detailed information such as dates, events and units, and that transcribed with signatures of supposed witnesses.

The claim
is that the IVAW “budget for this undertaking is extremely large. A documentary film will be made, the hearings will be webcast, people will be flown in from around the world, etc...”

IVAW is holding WSI fundraisers, such as here
and here.

If at WSI they claim war crimes and atrocities, they have no excuse, financial, resource or otherwise for not providing the public with the details of what they claim.

Of course, the media can play their own DUPES

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Attention Milbloggers!

Pass this word along! IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) has invited milbloggers, with preference given to those on active duty or who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, to attend and blog from their upcoming Winter Soldier Investigation (March 13-15, Washington).

Army Sergeant of IVAW and I have been discussing this after I made inquiries (also see the comments) about it to IVAW, and he offered to follow up and did so. He has my sincere appreciation for that!

From Army Sgt's statement:

"We welcome bloggers, regardless of political affiliation or stance on the war...

Preference will be given first to active duty military bloggers. Active duty military bloggers, regardless of their stance on the war, will have a seat. Active duty military bloggers unable to afford the financial burden of transportation to DC but still wishing to attend, please contact me at . It will next be given to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and following that, all other veterans. This is an event by military and former military, and we want to help as many of you get there as possible.

There will, of course, be some criteria and ground rules. If you are active duty, some are waiverable."

Please read those ground rules and criteria. Some are open to a totally subjective interpretation, but do not appear to close the door to at least contact, request and negotiation.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dahr Jamail's Other Sources - It's Not Just IVAW

Just yesterday in Dahr Jamail's Sources, Here and There I asked what we could expect of Dahr Jamail’s sources in the Middle East given his blatant collusion with IVAW here in America to get "The Story" as it must be.

At Chickenhawk Express the blood is boiling regarding Jamail’s latest for Inter Press Service:

Dahr Jamail
IRAQ: Killer of U.S. Soldiers Becomes a Hero
By Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail*

BAGHDAD, Jan 7 (IPS) - The recent killing of two U.S. soldiers by their Iraqi colleague has raised disturbing questions about U.S. military relations with the Iraqis they work with.

On Dec. 26, an Iraqi soldier opened fire on U.S. soldiers accompanying him during a joint military patrol in the northern Iraqi city Mosul. He killed the U.S. captain and another sergeant, and wounded three others, including an Iraqi interpreter.

Conflicting versions of the killing have arisen. Col. Hazim al-Juboory, uncle of the attacker Kaissar Saady al-Juboory, told IPS that his nephew at first watched the U.S. soldiers beat up an Iraqi woman. When he asked them to stop, they refused, so he opened fire.”

STOP: Who is this Col. Hazim al-Juboory, besides being the shooter’s uncle, and what is he a Colonel of? What we get from Jamail and al-Fadhily is this:

“Col. Juboory said Kaissar who had at first accepted collaboration with the U.S. forces ‘found the truth too bitter to put up with.’ The colonel said: ‘I worked with the Americans because being an army officer is my job and also because I was convinced they would help Iraqis. But 11 months was enough for me to realise that starving to death is more honourable than serving the occupiers. They were mean in every way’”

Eleven months? A Colonel? He’s a Saddam Hussein era Colonel. He’s not a Colonel is the post democracy Iraqi military. They kinda left that out.

Jamail and and al-Fadhily then cite and quote anonymous sources and witnesses aplenty. Then the Dynamic Duo get to:

“The Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni organisation, issued a statement saying the Iraqi soldier had shot the U.S. soldiers after he saw them beat up a pregnant woman.

‘His blood rose and he asked the occupying soldiers to stop beating the woman,’ they said in the statement. ‘Their answer through the translator was: 'We will do what we want. So he opened fire on them."


“The Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni organisation...”

Think timing. Dahr Jamail is all about timing. That's why he promoted the Jesse MacBeth video right after Murtha dropped the "in cold blood" bomb on the Haditha Marines. Here's a bit of a walk down memory lane with Dahr and Ali, say, September of 2006:

“U.S. Losing Control Fast
By Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
Inter Press Service
09/05/06 "IPS" -- -- RAMADI, The U.S. military has lost control over the volatile al-Anbar province, Iraqi police and residents say.”

For a sample from that article so as to get the feel of the thing:

"Al-Anbar borders Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, and the resistance there will never stop as long as there are American soldiers on the ground."

“Salman said the U.S. military is working against itself. ‘Their actions ruin their goal because they use these huge, violent military operations which kill so many civilians, and make it impossible to calm down the people of al-Anbar.’"

“The resistance seems in control of the province now.”

“Long stretches of the 550km Baghdad-Amman highway which crosses al-Anbar are now controlled by resistance groups.”

"If we import any supplies for the U.S. Army or Iraqi government, the fighters will take it from us and sell it in the local market,"

“Eyewitnesses in Ramadi..say that the U.S. military recently asked citizens in al-Anbar to stop targeting them, and promised to withdraw to their bases in Haditha and Habaniyah (near Fallujah) soon...”

"But now the Americans are making us all angry because they are destroying our city."

"Hundreds of local policemen have quit the force after seeing that they are considered a legitimate target by fighters.."

“The U.S. forces seem to have no clear policy in the face of the sustained resistance.”

"The U.S. Army seems so confused in handling the security situation in Anbar"

Wow! That’s pretty darned dire!

Now for a slightly different perspective of that time period from Bill Roggio of the LongWarJournal, and remember that Dahr and Ali were writing in September of 2006:

Anbar Rising
By Bill RoggioMay 11, 2007 2:38 PM
An overview of Anbar province from II MEF.
A status update on the province
The formation of the Sahawah Al Anbar, or Anbar Awakening, the grouping of Anbari tribes and former insurgents opposed to al Qaeda's Taliban like rule, traces back to last year, when al Qaeda in Iraq conducted its campaign of murder and intimidation throughout Anbar province. Sheik Abdul Sattar Al-Rishawi and his allies among the tribes and anti al Qaeda insurgent groups began forming alliances in the spring and summer of 2006. In September, the groups established the Jazeera Council in Ramadi, and began working more closely with Coalition forces to begin securing neighborhoods in Ramadi.”

Dahr and Ali wrote what they did, all that gloom and doom and hopelessness for "our side", including the Iraqis who were and became our allies, months after the Anbar Awakening had begun and was kicking into high gear! In the fall of 2006, the situation in al-Anbar was indeed bleak, but changing rapidly. Dahr and Ali, our intrepid and credible journalists somehow managed to not come across anyone who might have indicated to them that al-Anbar was about to erupt. That Anbar Awakening was a foreshadowing of an historical turning point in the war. The seething and beleaguered Iraqis, brutalized by AQI, were throwing in their lot with the persistent Americans who had not abandoned them or the province. Now, in January of 2008 we have Dahr and Ali quoting the Association of Muslim Scholars pushing a storyline that seeks to portray the killing of two American soldiers (Capt. Rowdy J. Inman and Sgt. Benjamin B. Portell) as the heroic and noble Iraqi defending women! Keep in mind perhaps that a bound Ken Bigley was beheaded by "noble" folks demanding the release of Muslim women held in detention. So what happened in Iraq a few weeks before this latest story by Dahr and Ali that involved the Association of Muslim Scholars:

“Sunni clerics turn on Association of Muslim Scholars
By Bill RoggioNovember 17, 2007 10:07 AM

Wednesday's closure of the headquarters of the Association of Muslim Scholars at the Umm al Quraa mosque marks a dramatic shift in the Sunni religious establishment. Prominent Sunni clerics, who once supported, justified, or remained silent about al Qaeda's terror tactics, have now turned on the leading Sunni religious establishment that supports al Qaeda in Iraq.

And so we get a story that paints Americans as abusers of Iraqi women, and those Iraqis who are working with the Americans and coalition forces as traitors to their own, and the Association of Muslim Scholars simply got Dahr and Ali to get out their version for the sake of their own image rehabilitation with the Iraqi Sunnis.

Maybe some of those folks in IVAW just might ask themselves why it is that Dahr Jamail is so attentive to them! Couldn’t be that he thinks they are useful idiots, could it?

Winter Soldier 2008: The Rift Has Arrived

On December 26th I posted “Winter Soldier 2008: A Brawl in Left Field”, about a possible rift in the anti-war left’s acceptance of IVAW’s call for others to stand down during WSI.

It’s happpened. Go to the 2nd post down by Harvey Thorstad:

“It saddens me to see this rift between IVAW and many other peace groups.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

WSI 2008: Media DUPES!

DUPES or D.U.P.E.S. It's an acronym for "Date, Unit, People, Event and Signature".

Members of the media, I implore you: when the IVAW holds its Winter Soldier Investigation media event next March, think "DUPES"!

Let it guide you! When there is "testimony" about atrocities, serious crimes, remember that you are journalists or at least posing as same, and ask for:

D - Date(s)
- when did this happen?

U - Unit(s) - what military unit was involved?

P - People
- who were the individuals involved?

E - Event(s)
- what exactly occurred?

S - Signature(s)
- did the "witness" sign an affidavit, a deposition or a report to superiors, and thereby go on any kind of binding legal record about this?

If you hear about gross war crimes and atrocities at WSI 2008, and report that, gosh, you heard about gross war crimes and atrocities at WSI 2008, and you don't ask about such things, well, there might be a word for what that would make you, and it is not "journalists"!

Dahr Jamail's Sources, Here and There

In writing about the attitudes and experiences of American soldiers in Iraq, Dahr Jamail routinely gets his material from members of a group, IVAW, that claims seven hundred or so members, and it is not a membership requirment that those served in either Iraq or Afghanistan. 1.6 millions Americans have already served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many tens of thousands of American soldiers and Marines have reenlisted knowing full well that would mean a return to those places. Dahr Jamail has to be very, very selective about his sources among the U.S. military and veterans.

So, what would we then expect of his sources in the Middle East? Maybe those who would cheer Americans being killed, while he would continue to eat without skipping a beat?

WSI 2008: Defining Atrocity Down

As early as August 2005 Dahr Jamail was writing what he was getting from IVAW members. I've pointed out that BLACKFIVE and Chickenhawk Express took apart a Jamail story from last October in which all four of his sources at a military base with thousands of troops were IVAW, two of them no longer on active duty. Here's another: the month before the MacBeth video went viral, Jamail posted this dispatch where again his sources are IVAW, notably Jody Casey and Michael Blake. Here Jamail gives a clear view of his standard for what constitutes a war crime.

Jamail quotes Marine Captain James Kimber from 2004 speaking to the Marines killing an insurgent who had been planting an IED, to the effect:

"The current policy in Iraq is to SHOOT ON SIGHT ANYBODY emplacing IEDs...."

Jamil interprets that, without any cause to do so, as follows:

"What is remarkable is that Kimber's blanket statement suggests that all Iraqis killed during the occupation, including those at Haditha, are killed because they are found 'emplacing' IEDs."

That is a leap that Evel Knievel would have balked at! This site links to a video that shows Marines wounding an insurgent planting an IED. Then the Marines finish him off, and break out cheering. Jamail writes:

"As for what happens if at some point Kimber is brought to trial for his crimes, Marjorie Cohn, a professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, has this to say, 'Self-defense is a defense to a homicide prosecution only if the shooter had an honest and reasonable belief that he had to defend himself or others from imminent death or great bodily injury. The question is how imminent the danger would be from a planted IED.'"

Self defence as a criminal defence? It's a war! If during WWII, American soldiers spotted German or Japanese soldiers moving artillery or mortars into position to attack Americans, were they required to wait until those devices were set to fire and the danger was 'imminent' before engaging and killing the enemy? What nonsense is this?

Jamail's dispatch tries to make the point that since the IED planter was wounded during the first episode of firing, the Marines were required to take him prisoner and not to kill him. Here's the thing:

Wounded men, even badly wounded men, can pull a trigger or depress a device that sets of an IED as Marines approach to take him in custody. For those on the left who cannot fathom this principle, I refer them to John Kerry, winner of the Silver Star in Vietnam. In the Boston Globe reporters' (Michael Kranish, Brian Mulrooney and Nina Easton) biography "John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography By The Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best", in which the Vietnam War elements were largely taken from Kerry's own notes written at the time, the story is recounted about Kerry jumping off his Swift Boat to pursue a fleeing Viet Cong already wounded by machine gun fire. Kerry chased the man behind a "hooth", and killed him. That happened in the action that got Kerry his Silver Star. None of the Swift Vets charged that Kerry's killing of a wounded man was a war crime. To a man, they all agreed that even a badly wounded man who was carrying a grenade launcher was still a threat. During one of his Senatorial runs in the nineties, a reporter accused Kerry of a war crime for that, and men who later started the Swift Vets came to Kerry's aid. They did not endorse him for the Senate, as years later they balked at Kerry becoming Commander-in-Chief, but they also would not let a fellow Vietnam Vet be accused, falsely, of a war crime for killing a wounded man who could still pose a danger.

Simply, if those Marines who dispatched a wounded insurgent rather than walk up to a wounded man who may have been holding a detonator for an IED with which to kill those Marines approaching to take him prisoner committed a war crime, then so did John Kerry.

The other thing that got Jamail's dander up, and that of others, is that when the insurgent was killed, the Marines cheered. As Captain Kimber pointed out, by that time 200 of their fellow Marines and soldiers had been killed by such IEDs.

War and combat are emotional. During our Civil War, on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, twelve to fifteen thousand Confederate troops charged across an open field toward an entrenched Federal Army in what has become known as the failed Pickett's Charge. As the Federals lined up behind a stone wall mowed the Confederates down in droves, they were shouting and cheering "Fredericksburg! Give them Fredericksburg!" Half a year before, at Marye's Heights in Fredericksburg, it was the Confederates who were firing from behind the stone wall, mowing down the Federals. That cheering was understandable, not a war crime. The next day, July 4th, 1863, the Federals marched through Gettysburg with cheering and celebrating the bloody victory with fife and drums playing.

The next year, after the horrific Battle of the Wilderness, when Federal Commander Grant pointed the Army of the Potomac "left", meaning that rather than return for rest and resupply as was usual after a great battle, the Army was pursuing Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and proceeding into greater carnage so as to finally end the thing, the soldiers cheered.

When the sailors on the U.S.S. Hornet were told that those large bombers on the carrier were headed for Tokyo in what became known as Doolittle's Raid, they cheered the coming bombing of the enemy.

During the Battle of Britain, when pilots among those whom Churchill called "so few" landed after downing five German bombers, their ground crews cheered.

The Washington Post has this on their website, after Al-Zarqawi was killed. The first is a question posted after viewing a video of a press briefing in Baghdad, followed by an answer from reporter Craig Whitlock:

"Washington, D.C.: While watching the press briefing, I was very much taken aback by the fact that the press openly cheered and applauded when al-Zarqawi's death was announced. Isn't it the press's job to report the news, not celebrate it?

Craig Whitlock: my understanding is that many of the people at the press briefing were Iraqi journalists."

I think Whitlock could have properly ended that reply with "were Iraqi" and left it at that.

To Dahr Jamail and his kind, U.S. Marines cheering the killing of an enemy who could have killed them or their brothers in arms was a horrid thing. Jamail does not always seem to see it that way, though. From a Dahr Jamail dispatch from June 2004:

"Over in Adhamiya we were dining on tasty kebabs on a sidewalk roughly 200 meters from the Adhamiya Palace, which is the US encampment in the heavily pro-resistance area of Baghdad. At 2pm three huge explosions sounded from inside the US base. Mortars, promptly followed by a huge black billowing plume of smoke from the target.

Everyone in the cafĂ© was watching the smoke and spontaneous celebrations erupted as men clapped, cheered and yelled. “Here they go! The Americans have been killed!”

We continued eating, not missing a beat in our conversation. Abu Talat and I have grown very accustomed to the explosions that rock Baghdad on a regular basis these days. He looked at me and said: “You know, Dahr, I used to read about how the Lebanese got used to the bombs in Beirut. I never thought that could happen to me, yet here I am.”

“I know, and now me too,” I said, and we laughed together at the insanity of what has become our everyday life while working in occupied Baghdad."

NOTE: for an interview of Captain Kimber at BLACKFIVE.

WSI 2008: It's In The Details

The IVAW media folks must be getting swamped. I sent them an e-mail over a week ago (12/27) asking a few questions, and they haven’t had time to get back to me. Here is the text:


I would hope that you can take the time to answer a few questions re: your WSI next March:

Will there be accomodations and permission by pre-arrangement for live-blogging the event?

Understanding that IVAW will not disclose names (other than those testifying, I presume) of people below the ranks of O3 and E8, will those providing testimony give locations for the events testified to (whether in Iraq or Afghanistan), dates and military units involved?

Will there be a full compilation of all the testimony, not just excerpts, made available? On the Net, perhaps?

Will IVAW attempt to have this WSI testimony entered into the Congressional Record, as was done by Senator Hatfield for the initial WSI in 1971? If so, would Senator Kerry be the likely choice to have this done?

If crimes are attested to, will those testifying sign legal depositions or affidavits and otherwise cooperate with criminal investigations? I know that is probably a sticking point, but you also must know the question is coming. If not, how do you indend to handle that?

Thanks in advance for any assistance..."

It is that last question that I would most like to hear from them about. The 1971 WSI was a travesty for many reasons, and that was a primary one: the testifiers would not enter into any legally binding depositions or affidavits regarding their charges. That impedes investigations, protects them from charges of perjury if they are telling falsehoods and is morally and legally indefensible.

I came upon this about the obligations of soldiers whe dealing in situations where atrocities or war crimes may have happened:

"The U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) states clearly that the observance of this Code is fully and equally binding upon U.S. personnel, in whatever capacity they may be serving, whether capturing troops, custodial personnel, or any other. The UCMJ applies equally to all detained or interned personnel, whether their status is that of prisoner of war, civilian internee, or any other.

It may be added here that it applies regardless of whether they are known to have, or are suspected of having, committed serious offenses that could be characterized as war crimes. The administration of inhumane treatment, even if committed under stress of combat and with deep provocation, is a serious and punishable violation under national law, international law, and the UCMJ.

Soldiers who murder Iraqis are not the only ones violating the UCMJ. All those who are witness to the atrocities but fail to report them to concerned authorities are to be held equally guilty of violation.

The UCMJ clearly states that violations of this Code may result in an individual being prosecuted as a war criminal, and that anyone observing a violation of law, or suspecting one has happened, has a positive legal obligation to report it to appropriate authorities. Failure to do so is a violation in itself."

What is striking about that is that the writer was - Dahr Jamail!

Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette correctly made this observation a while back:

"The IVAW boys and their fellow travelers will get some airtime on this, and tell some more stories about unnamed units and unnamed "superiors" - the answer to which is simply to demand names and specific details. If they have real information on crimes of this nature it's criminal for them to participate in a cover-up."

Jamail wrote of an interview with IVAW members in August 2005, about which he wrote:

"I type furiously for three hours, trying to keep up with the stories each of the men shared….about the atrocities of what they saw, and committed, while in Iraq."

Jamail managed to write that dispatch without revealing a single detail of any such atrocity. Did he inquire of those IVAW members if they had reported these, and advised them of the UCMJ requirements and potential legal penalties if they had not done so?

I also had asked IVAW if a full transcript of all the charges will be made public. On IVAW's site they say this:

"IVAW will also arrange to make available copies of the Winter Soldier transcript highlights to support the various efforts of the antiwar movement."

That is pretty brazen stuff! "Highlights" to support the antiwar movement, but what about details, not just highlights, so that justice may be done, and crimes investigated and transgressors punished? Ivaw also states:

"To the extent possible, IVAW will attempt to corroborate veterans’ testimony, and there will be some video and photographic evidence at the event..."

Extent possibe? What does that mean? Run it by experts like Dahr Jamail, who was in Iraq, and knows all these people, and who wrote about Jesse MacBeth's claims that "I have never seen this level of honesty from a US soldier who directly participated in the slaughtering of Iraqis"? Some video and photographic evidence? Videos and photographs have never, ever been put under oath. They are not subject to legal penalty for lying.

Greyhawk is right! The biggest weakness they will have is being pressed on the pesky details. IVAW members do not have a very good record of having their stories hold up when that is done.


Addressing a few comments/questions from the GOE Forum. I’m doing so here merely because the linking is easier and there’ll be a lot of links.

Guest #1 (assuming there are two Guests) wrote:

“A question: why is it automatically assumed that this is a new vet ’smear’? No one has even testified yet. Why would it be so hard to wait and see what people have to say before attacking them? The people testifying will be soldiers and veterans-why are they automatically evil to you just because they happen to be against the war?”

Hi Guest,

It is not “assumed” that this is a new Vet smear. You know the term “telegraph” as it is used in boxing? The phrase “he telegraphed that blow” means the boxer gave his opponent plenty of forewarning of what he was going to do. IVAW and their supporters have been precisely “telegraphing” that this is intended to smear the troops. From IVAW’s own site:

“This spring, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is revealing the reality of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan…Unfortunately, this is not the first time America has needed its Winter Soldiers, in 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently…Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into an increasingly bloody occupation. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming ‘a few bad apples’…”

IVAW is stating that they are intending to repeat the1971 WSI, which was a smear. When they seek to rule out any idea of “a few bad apples”, what they mean to establish is that it is commonplace and routine that American military personnel are and have been committing war crimes and atrocities on a regular basis! Here’s another:

“Iraq War Veterans to Launch "Winter Soldier" Investigation
Posted on: November 19, 2007 - 2:28pm by Aaron Glantz
Iraq Veterans Against the War is launching a "Winter Soldier" investigation into atrocities in Iraq modeled on a similar effort by Vietnam vets 36 years ago. In March 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital "to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars." The gathering will feature first-hand stories of atrocities committed by soldiers in Iraq, with the idea of bringing the truth of war to the surface."

And from the radical left wing site Revolution:

Winter Soldier is patterned after a similar event called together by Vietnam Veterans Against the War in Detroit in 1971. At this event, soldiers delivered powerful testimony about war crimes they had seen and carried out against the Vietnamese people, exposing the nature of that war from the inside as a completely unjust war of aggression."

And from IndyMedia:

Support Winter Soldier: IVAW
marco [for IVAW people] , Nov 13, 2007 @ 22:14 GMT
Please Support Iraq Veterans Against the War and their Public Investigation of the atrocities occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan…
Support Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation

They saw it for themselves, now --with your support-- they'll tell it for themselves…

This investigation will help end the war because it will:

1. Embolden GI resistance by making the truth of their experiences an acceptable part of the national dialogue. Further, the DVD created at this conference will be a powerful educational tool on the history of GI movements and will encourage independent thought and collective action.

2. Mobilize the anti-war movement by demonstrating the power of organized opposition and providing the facts needed to confront the myths propagated by the administration, congress and the media. IVAW will also present its strategy of organizing GIs to encourage the anti-war movement as a whole to support GI resistance.

3. Build solidarity between the common peoples of the US, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The people who suffer the most from this occupation will be given a voice and a view into our struggle to end the unlawful occupation of their countries. Through this event, IVAW hopes to build lasting ties with the common people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

4. Shape the way this history is told to future generations. Without a concerted effort to dispel the myths and sugar coated images of the U.S. occupations, future generations will never know the realities of war."

That’s last, number 4, says it all, Guest! Nothing about investigating the charges so as to take appropriate legal action against folks who may have committed genuine atrocities and war crimes! Just as their forebears in VVAW didn’t do so. They impeded any attempted investigations. The point was to establish the smear as part of history. And more:

"Hi, My name is Liam Madden, I serve on the Board of Directors of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Today I'm writing to share some exciting and important news about IVAW's new public investigation into the atrocities committed and witnessed by us, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan."

If someone is telling you what they are going to do, and explicitly pointing to a previous example as what they are going to do, it is not a leap to conclude – that that is exactly what they are going to do!

Now to Guest #2:

“Without saying anything either way on VVAW-clearly you guys have some strong opinions there-I think it’s entirely different cats, with entirely different spots. VVAW is, to my knowledge, not even involved with the planning of this new March event. Simply having the same name and admiring the last one doesn’t really ‘the same thing’ make, in my eyes.

That “to my knowledge” is an admission that you haven’t looked into it, Guest.

Here is the VVAW site giving out info on IVAW’s upcoming WSI, calling it of relevance to VVAW members. Some more VVAW and IVAW cooperation. More of the same. A paper written jointly by VVAW and IVAW.

From the VVAW site last month:

“There is a meeting next week of VVAW that will be both a memorial to Dave and allow VVAW to make a commitment to support IVAW Dec 2007”

That is Dave Cline, who was the leader of VVAW for years and passed away last September. Cline was also a member of Veterans for Peace (VFP), under which IVAW recieves its 501(c)3 status (tax exempt charity).

Of a joint VVAW & IVAW march in New Orleans, this was written:

“During the planning of the march David [Cline] stated the this was for IVAW members to lead and find their public voices.
VVAW and VFP were there for support and transportation not the limelight...

One of IVAW's founders, Mike Hoffman, pays a moving tribute to Dave's role as midwife to the IVAW at the organization's website.”

More on the VVAW assistance in creating IVAW, from the IVAW.

And some of the trifecta of VVAW, IVAW and Veterans for Peace here, here and here.

It’s not just similar sounding names, Guest!