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 moved....you 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.