Thursday, January 17, 2008

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.


Army Sergeant said...

You shouldn't assume that there is wholehearted welcoming of the NYT piece on behalf of the IVAW. There are quite a lot of members of IVAW who are less than thrilled with the direction of the article-particularly in the cases of former servicemembers who defended themselves with deadly force. I personally feel that in the case of the gentleman who returned gang fire, he was entirely in the right.

That opinion of course, in no way takes away from the prevalence of untreated PTSD in our nation's military and veterans. The NYT likely had good intentions, but some of us do disagree on the execution.

Denis Keohane said...

Good, Sarge

If there are “quite a lot of members of IVAW” who are unhappy with the article, I expect we’ll be hearing from them – shortly! What do you think of a man killing another in a drag race being linked by the Times to his veteran status? Or the veteran who killed a man he believed molested his child? Are you okay with the Times seeking to link all these things to their service? I am really interested in what you think were the Times’ “good intentions” in this!!!???? What do you and IVAW think of how the article didn’t even attempt context, and intentionally leaves the impression that the Iraq and Afghanistan vets are dangerous and out of control when the opposite is true?

Sarge, sorry, but this does fit the theme that the left and the IVAW present. You do it yourself. What figures do you have on those 121 veterans or active duty soldiers and how many suffer from PTSD, and if you don’t have such information, why the leap to PTSD? You want to make the link, Sarge! So does the Times. So does IVAW.

Try the Huffington Post, where the leap is to PTSD even though the figures, 121 such crimes out of an overwhelmingly male population of well over a million is a lower rate of such crime than in the general population that has not been to war!!!! Frankly, by the numbers, if a great many returning Iraq and Afghan vets are suffering PTSD, those figures show that the result of that is less violent crime, not more, since they would have a far higher incidence of PTSD than that general population!

Sarge, folks seek to make this crap fit what they’ve already determined it has to mean!

Read Makubin T. Owens, Vietnam combat veteran. This has happened before:

“The Vietnam analogy has now begun to encompass the soldiers fighting the war. "A Flood Of Troubled Soldiers Is In The Offing, Experts Predict" blared the front page of The New York Times of Dec. 16. "An Army study shows that about one in six soldiers in Iraq report symptoms of major depression, serious anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, a proportion that some experts believe could eventually climb to one in three, the rate ultimately found in Vietnam veterans," the Times reported. "Because about one million American troops have served so far in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Pentagon figures, some experts predict that the number eventually requiring mental health treatment could exceed 100,000."

War is a terrible business. Even those who do not suffer physical wounds can be traumatized by the experience. Of course, some handle the stress of combat better than others, but even the strongest can reach a breaking point.

This has been true of soldiers throughout history. Unfortunately, critics of the Vietnam War managed to portray those who fought that war as uniquely damaged by their combat experience. Now falsehoods about the Vietnam veteran are being used to discredit the current generation of soldiers.

Consider the claim in the Times article that one out of every three Vietnam veterans suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a real phenomenon, but it was not nearly as widespread among Vietnam veterans as the press has portrayed it.

The one-in-three figure for Vietnam veterans, derived from the flawed National Vietnam Veteran Readjustment Study, is implausibly high, especially given that fewer than 15 percent of those who served in Vietnam were assigned to combat units. A much better designed study by the Centers for Disease Control reported that 15 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced some symptoms of combat-related PTSD at some time during or after military service, but that only 2.2 percent exhibited symptoms at the time of the study.

In fact, the Times article reflects the same dynamics that were at work 30 years ago. First, anti-war psychiatrists such as Robert Jay Lifton, who was instrumental in the development of the popular understanding of PTSD, claimed that since Vietnam was worse than earlier wars, returning soldiers would suffer severe psychological effects specific to the war. At the same time, the Veterans Administration was forced to justify its budget just as the World War II veteran population declined. Ideology and the self-interest of bureaucrats constitute a powerful combination.”

Sarge, that was why millions of Vietnam Vets were distrusted by their fellow citizens! The propaganda from the left and the VVAW made their fellow citizens believe they committed gross atrocities wholesale and were psychologically damaged goods! IVAW and their allies are now doing the same to this generation!

I’ve said to you before: you can oppose the war and not believe it is justified or the right course of action and should be ended WITHOUT smearing your nation or our soldoers and Marines!

Sarge, after WWII, American soldiers occupied Germany and Japaqn, our enemies. Those nations are among the most free and prosperous in the world. At the end of that war, we were the only nation on the planet with nuclear weapons and the only industrialized nation that did not have its industries bombed to smithereens! Our troops were well armed and deployed from Britan and France to Greece! What did we do?

The Marshall Plan, where we rebuilt the nations of enemies and allies alike!

Three years after we withdrew our combat forces from Vietnam, South Vietnam fell, and the flood of Boat People began, over a million, and the Cambodian Killing Fields, and the Re-education Camps! After we left, and the VVAW and the left said nothing about that horror! When one peace activist, Joan Baez, spoke up to criticize the slaughter and brutality, the left told her to shut the hell up!

From Owens:

“Finally, a comprehensive 1980 survey commissioned by Veterans’ Administration (VA) reported that 91 percent of those who had seen combat in Vietnam were "glad they had served their country"; 80 percent disagreed with the statement that "the U.S. took advantage of me"; and nearly two out of three would go to Vietnam again, even knowing how the war would end.”

I’ll be looking for statements about that NY Times articles from IVAW members, no matter what they have to say.

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate the link to Col. North's op-ed, here's a better one that will avoid having to set foot in

Perhaps you're unaware Denis, but has gone over to the darkside (most likely a reflection of the ideology of the website owners who supported Kerry BTW) and most traditional pro-military avoid the place like the plague.

Here's a better link...

Human Events

Denis Keohane said...

Thanks, anonymous, for the heads-up. I wasn't as concerned with the site as long as it was what North wrote, but your point is well taken. News I can use. And yeah, Human Events is a trusted favorite.