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"!

16 comments:

Thus Spake Ortner said...

Good post Denis. Like the DUPES format.

Denis Keohane said...

Thanks, ortner. Pass it on.

Robin said...

I look forward to using DUPES frequently. Great job Dennis!

Oskar said...

So do you think war crimes haven't occurred? You can't be that naive as to believe that can you? And we all know that what happens in a unit is supposed to stay in a unit... remember My Lai? That almost didn't see the light of day and how many My Lai's happened that weren't investigated because someone didn't sign an affidavit, a deposition or a report to superiors, and thereby go on any kind of binding legal record about those crimes? I think you should support IVAW and not tear them down. Help them rather than act as an obstacle to the truth. Just because it ain't in writing doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Talon said...

You're full of lame excuses, Oskar. The reasons for following the proper procedures involved with the investigation and adjudication of cases concerning alleged war crimes should be plain to anyone. Not only are these procedures established to ensure that the guilty are punished for their misconduct, but also to protect the innocent against false accustations.

Why should I support IVAW? Co-founder Jimmy Massey has already been exposed making false accusations of war crimes against his unit in Iraq. We've also seen IVAW members such as Jesse MacBeth make similar accusations while misrepresenting their service records. Then there's the "sterling" records of IVAW's Chair Camilo Mejia who was court-martialed for desertion, and Board Member Adam Koresh who was busted for smuggling firearms and dissrespecting/cursing a superior officer. Last, but certainly not least, IVAW falsely presents itself as an OIF veterans group when service in Iraq is not even a requirement of membership. The real question, Oskar, is why would anyone, including yourself, support such an organization?? Because you have the same personal, political and ideological axes to grind?

If IVAW's rank and file wants to level allegations of "systematic brutality" at their fellow servicemen and women, then I expect them to step forward and present their testimony under oath in a court of law, not in an auditorium at some insignificant labor college in suburban Maryland.

John said...

Denis,
I'm a member of VVAW who doesn't know oskar, though he clearly knows Vietnam history. What's your response?

talon said...

(pardon the typos)

talon said...

While you're at it, Denis, tell us about the history of "Christmas in Cambodia"...

Anonymous said...

I think a little background music would be nice for this encounter.

Here's an old VVAW favorite that will probably get oskar and john all misty-eyed over the good ol' days...

Joe Bangert, VVAW & Kerry Campaign Member

Oskar said...

Well you know... one big problem with this nation is its hypocrisy. We have the right to disagree, that's for sure. We even have the right to be angry, but most people like Talon who disagree with people like me just want to cut my head off and s$%& down my neck. Perhaps that is the American way, but it doesn't represent the ideals of a democratic republic. However, I digress...

As was stated/implied, the real question is "do you think war crimes have been committed by US troops that have gone un-reported via official channels?" Now, if you think that the men and women who are in the Middle East at this time are all as right as rain, then you are either blinded by nationalism, patriotism, militarsim or (and this is scary) blinded by all 3 isms at once. We already know there have been court-martials though not one soldier who has committed an abuse that, under various conventions the US is an adherent to would be considered crimes of war/against humanity, has been sent to the Hague for international justice. So, we know about a few cases that the media caught wind of... what if they hadn't? Would we know about Abu Gharib right now if the media hadn't caught on to the abuse there?

I mean think about it, we all know that rape happens in the military and that many guys get away with it. If that can happen to people IN the US military imagine the victims who are not in the US military. How easy is it for a commander to look the other way, or for a servic member to not report something no one is probably going to care about anyway? How many unsubstantiated cases are false and how many are true? Can you say with absolute certainty that because it wasn't reported in the field that it didn't happen.

Look at it this way, if your daughter was raped, but for some reason they couldn't find forensic evidence to prove it, does that mean that she wasn't raped? I really hope that isn't the prevailing logic as it is flawed.

So, if it can be said with absolute certainty that there are no possibilities for abuse/war crimes on any given day, month, year of the Iraq war then I think the onus is on the person saying that to prove why that isn't possible. My uncle was a Marine who loved being a Marine and saw combat in Vietnam. He loved everything about being a Marine till the day he died, but he also told me horror stories of his platoon shooting up villages (he was a radio tech so he said he never actively participated) and killing women and children. He was sorry about those experiences, but he never said a word via official channels. Now, he got an honorable discharge... his unit was not drawn up on charges and no one but our family members who heard his stories (and maybe his platoon mates who shared the stories with their families) ever knew. Hmmmm... well, you can call my uncle a liar, you can call him what you want, but he was there and saw what he saw. He never reported it... doesn't mean it didn't happen. Perhaps it just means that is harder to prove that it did, or that he knew reporting such a thing (assuming he even thought about it) would not bode well for him.

So the question stands... can you really believe that the only cases we should study are the ones that have offical reports tagged to them?

And, why do I support IVAW? Because they ask the questions that we all should be asking but too many of us are blinded by nationalism, patriotism, and militarism. Some of them once were the same way... till they saw what they saw and did what they did. These are the more courageous, if you ask me, of our men and women in uniform. There are countless cowards willing to look the other way and wear the flag that supposedly represents truth, justice and democracy. Those who come out and tell it like it is are often villified. I am no Christian (or anything else) but I do recall a story about Jesus being hailed as he entered Jerusalem and then slaughtered shortly after. He spoke truth and for some reason the people couldn't handle it. My guess is that there are a lot of folk who villify vets that speak out who would have crucified the guy they now call their savior. But, that seems to be the american way so maybe we should just accept that a lot of people waving the flag just don't know they are facists.

talon said...

Puhleeze, oskar - just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean that they want to cut off your head and sh*t down your neck. Playing the victim card doesn't exactly represent the ideals of a democratic republic, either, now does it?

As far as allegations of war crimes are concerned, it is no one's responsibility to disprove your negative - our courts do not deal in logical fallacies - the burden of proof is on the accuser, not the accused. It is their responsibility to present the facts to the relevant authorities and testify under penalty of perjury. This isn't about being blinded by nationalism, patriotism or militarism, it's about DUE PROCESS. It's about being considered innocent until proven guilty.

My uncle also fought in Vietnam, and his unit didn't run around razing villages and murdering civilian non-combatants. Why should they be subjected to charges of "systematic brutality" on account of allegations of misconduct in your uncle's unit? Worse yet, why should I dishonor them and their service based on unsubstantiated or false allegations of war crimes, particularly when they come from individuals and groups whose honesty and credibilty have been proven untrustworthy?

Let's stop comparing IVAW to Christ and quit calling the people defending the honor of our troops fascists. That's a Stalinist's game that we don't play, oskar.

Denis Keohane said...

Hi Oskar and John,

Oskar wrote:

“So do you think war crimes haven't occurred? You can't be that naive as to believe that can you?”

Oskar, I really have to ask: where on earth did you get any idea that I don’t think crimes have occurred? Certainly not from anything I’ve written here! Matter of fact, go to this AT article linked to at this site and I discuss that very subject in the context of the original VVAW WSI:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/10/investigate_the_winter_soldier.html

“And we all know that what happens in a unit is supposed to stay in a unit... remember My Lai?”

Of course I remember My Lai, Oskar, and to some extent I will agree that in all kinds of organizations there can and will be a tendency to cover-up when the really bad happens. Yet about My Lai, a few points:

Yes, there was a combination of attempted cover-up and ‘foot dragging’ on follow-up. Yet, there was also WO Hugh Thompson, who had his gun crew turn their weapons on American soldiers to protect the civilians and stop the slaughter. Thompson reported the massacre up through the chain of command and right to a full bird within two days of the event. Ridenhour wasn’t directly involved, but when he learned of it, and pursued first hand accounts, he detailed it all in a signed letter to thirty members of Congress and the Dept. Of Defense. Lt. Gen Peers, the IO, and Col. William Eckhardt, the prosecutor, in the investigation and trial most certainly did not drag their feet. In short, cover-up did not and could not succeed because other soldiers did their duty. That leads to your next statement:

“That almost didn't see the light of day and how many My Lai's happened that weren't investigated because someone didn't sign an affidavit, a deposition or a report to superiors, and thereby go on any kind of binding legal record about those crimes?”

Assuming for the sake of argument only that more such incidents may have happened, you make my point, both to the VVAW WSI and the upcoming IVAW one. If people will not do the right thing, and stand by the claims formally, giving necessary details, even in writing, investigations are impeded at the least, if not completely impossible. That, Oskar and John, was a problem with the VVAW WSI. Supposed WSI testifiers were uncooperative with military investigators seeking to investigate charged crimes! IVAW is signaling that they plan to do the same, for an altogether unrighteous reason: they have concluded already who is guilty, before the investigation! Contrary to your claim about Abu Ghraib and the media, the military criminal investigation was underway for months before the photos went public and media outlets claimed to have ‘broken’ the story! On Jan 13, 2004 Army Spc. Joseph Darby, an MP at Abu Ghraib, left a disc with the photos of the abuse on the bed of a military investigator. That abuse was done by members of his own unit. The formal military investigation began the very next day, and was considered at the time a ‘big deal’ by Gen. Abizaid! Matter of fact, by late January the military had launched two investigations, independent of each other, as a double-check. The press ‘broke’ the story in April, three months later! What does that do to your claim of “Would we know about Abu Gharib right now if the media hadn't caught on to the abuse there?”

Oddly enough, while media outlets claimed they broke the story in April, the CENTCOM website posted that the investigation was underway at their website in January! Here is a timeline:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-05-09-timeline-abuse_x.htm

In other words, people in uniform did the right thing. Spc. Darby turned over material that furthered an investigation. VVAW didn’t at WSI.

Also about My Lai, and why it is always brought up in these conversations! It did not take the original WSI to let America know about My Lai! We already knew the horror of that. Yet VVAW and now IVAW try to imply that things like or very much like My Lai are routine, regular, ‘informal policy’ and endorsed! That is the crux of the issue. That is the crap VVAW got away with, and what IVAW hopes to also get away with.

In war, just like in the absence of wars, terrible crimes happen in any large population. As such, showing that crimes were committed, even truly horrid crimes, does not make the leap to ‘routine’, ‘policy’, ‘the norm’ or ‘everyday occurrences’. That was what VVAW never established with any proof, but claimed! That is what IVAW are planning to do.

There were atrocities other than My Lai committed in Vietnam by American troops. One veteran who testified as WSI was former Army medic Jamie Henry. Point was, though, that the military had already investigated and filed charges against the perpetrators before WSI!

“I think you should support IVAW and not tear them down. Help them rather than act as an obstacle to the truth. Just because it ain't in writing doesn't mean it didn't happen.”

Pardon me, Oskar, but exaqctly how is insisting that they provide support for their charges an obstacle to the truth?????? And by the way, according to IVAW’s own website, they will have written and signed statements about such, transcribed, before WSI. Why don’t you tell us all the legal and moral reasons for withholding information about crimes?????

“So, if it can be said with absolute certainty that there are no possibilities for abuse/war crimes on any given day, month, year of the Iraq war then I think the onus is on the person saying that to prove why that isn't possible.”

Except no one says that, Oskar! It’s called a straw man argument! You are arguing against what no one claims! And when you speak of onus, isn’t the onus on the person charging that a crime has been committed to provide the proof, or do you believe the accused bears that burden?

Oskar, when the Haditha story went public and John Murtha and others piled on those Marines with charges of ‘cold blooded murder’ and ‘revenge rampage’ and ‘execution style killings’, folks at IVAW jumped right on board! They did not grant to those Marines the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. In short, they did not allow that those Marines could defend themselves. As it stands now, SSgt Wuterich is facing serious charges, but any idea of cold blooded execution style revenge killings and the like have been shown to have been irresponsible nonsense! Would it be your position that the ‘onus’ was on the Marines to show that no such crimes have been committed at all – or they were rightly considered guilty??????

Burden of proof is on the accuser, not the accused, and as talon said:

“If IVAW's rank and file wants to level allegations of "systematic brutality" at their fellow servicemen and women, then I expect them to step forward and present their testimony under oath in a court of law, not in an auditorium at some insignificant labor college in suburban Maryland.”

Well said, talon.

Army Sergeant said...

I have to point out that while I'm flattered by the comparison to Jesus, it's really not necessary. No, I mean, really. REALLY.

Also, because Hugh Thompson is one of my heroes, I'm forced to point out, Denis, that he was not honored for his actions until many, many years after the event. Not that it's relevant, I just want to point out life was not sunshine and roses for our brave and valiant chopper hero.

Also, no one at IVAW is claiming things like My Lai have even happened in this war, much less are regular. My Lai was a godawful thing that should never, ever, happen again.

I am also going to make a macro, I swear, for "I do not think that means what you think it means." No one is going to be having signed statements. There will be a consent form to being recorded, which will be signed. This is because it's illegal to record people without their permission. The recording will then be taken of a pre-testimony interview. That may or may not be transcribed. I don't know, I can't speak to it, nor have any idea who will be doing it. But either way, I don't think that adds up to a signed transcript.

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