Thursday, January 17, 2008

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.


Army Sergeant said...


This is what is known, I believe, as 'nickel-and-diming' things, I have to say. Obviously, it will not be the biggest gathering of active duty Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The biggest gathering of active duty Iraq and Afghanistan veterans would probably be in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or yes, large-scale unit formations.

People are expected to use a little thought with this sort of thing. It's billed as an event where Iraq and Afghanistan veterans share their experiences. It may, in fact, wind up being the largest gathering of that. I don't know. No one can tell these things. It's a prediction. DC could be swallowed in fire tomorrow. Winter Soldier could not come off. The people who wrote that webpage believe it will be the largest political gathering of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. I believe it will be the largest gathering of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans talking about their experiences to media. Either way, if it fails to materialize that way, it won't be a 'bogus claim', it will be a 'failed prediction'.

Denis Keohane said...

"Obviously, it will not be the biggest gathering of active duty Iraq and Afghanistan veterans...People are expected to use a little thought with this sort of thing..."

Well, if it obvious that it won't be, why does IVAW say it will be????

"...if it fails to materialize that way, it won't be a 'bogus claim', it will be a 'failed prediction'."

I missed the words "we predict..."!

It's not a prediction, Sarge. It's called "hype". Media "hype"! That is often and generally understood as something unlike truth!

The reason it is hype is because IVAW, with several hundred members, is constantly inflating how many soldier supposedly are on their side, but can never produce them! So they just say "Many, many, lots and lots..." and that grand uprising of the troops will happen any minute - just like it didn't nearly forty years ago when VVAW made the same claim!

Hype, Sarge, media hype!

Army Sergeant said...

Probably because in the same sentence, it talks about said veterans speaking out, and assumes that individuals can link two parts of a sentence together.

Why don't you pick on every time the President uses the words 'will' instead of 'we predict it will'? Again, no one can know the future in advance, because circumstances can always alter. There are many things which could take place.

I know you won't trust me on this, but I see the troops on an everyday basis a lot more than you do, being, well, a troop. And I'm telling you that the sentiments of IVAW are often mimicked by active duty troops-it's simply that they're not very vocal about it. It will take a lot to break through that culture of 'suck it up'. It doesn't mean that people don't agree, simply because they're not all rushing out in droves to join IVAW at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Army Sergeant -

I'm not sure where beyond the Orwellian portal you are communicating from, but back here on terra firma, words mean things.

Of course, this is hardly the first fraudulent claim that IVAW or one of its members has made - in fact, it is but another in a long pattern of lies, distortions and misrepresentations that we have come to expect from Jimmy Massey & Company (BTW, my personal favorite is IVAW's Chomsky-esque replacement of the term "Deserter" with "War Resister").

As George Orwell stated, "if thought corrupts language, then language can also corrupt thought". Obviously, IVAW, has learned this lesson well, and is putting it into to practice.

Noam Chomsky would be proud.