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.
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