Tuesday, February 26, 2008

IVAW: At What Point Aiding & Abetting?

It is one of those days when yet another member of the Iraq Veterans Against the Word blithely goes about the business of defaming our country and possibly getting some of our troops killed!

Before I take on IVAW member Harvey Tharp, something in a similar vein but more entertaining. No one I know can make me laugh as much while he eviscerates someone as Thus Spake Ortner (TSO), who does so here and here at The Sniper to the well deserving Matt Howard of IVAW.

An interview with Harvey Tharp was published yesterday in the Yemen Times. For any Democrats or geographically challenged out there, Yemen sits along the southern Saudi Arabian border. It can reasonably be described as a Middle Eastern Arab Moslem country.

Here is the lede:

"An ex-American Navy Lieutenant: “It is just a matter of time before the American people get sick of this war and force a pull out.” - Yemen Times"

Tharpe is a military lawyer, and the military financed his education. He was also somewhat proficient in Arabic, and as such was deployed to Kirkuk from October 2003 to March 2004. He was assigned to a diplomatic team handling reconstruction.

Tharp tells the interviewer:

"In April 2004...it...became clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction and that this hadn’t been an honest mistake, it had all been lies."

Tharp is saying this in Yemen. The intelligence service and leaders of Yemen were among those many in the world, some even beyond the reach of Karl Rove's mind control ray, who also believed Saddam Hussein had WMDs before the 2003 invasion! Such easy to find facts of course wouldn't trouble someone as intelligent as Harvey Tharp, who has memorized the entire Code Pink Manual with forward by Michael Moore! The President of Yemen from before the 2003 invasion and continuing today is Ali Abdullah Selah.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

"When the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had close ties with Hussein, told Vice President Cheney that Hussein did not want war but would use chemical weapons if attacked, Mr. Cheney did not blink. The Americans, said Cheney, would deal with them."

As an aside, the President of Yemen was not the only person stating such a warning. Well before he became the first crooner of the Bush-lied chorus, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, husband of super-duper-top-secret-master-spy Valerie Plame, wrote an Op-Ed for the LA Times on the eve (Feb 6, 2003) of the invasion of Iraq. Entitled A "Big Cat" with Nothing to Lose, Wilson warned that:

"There is now no incentive for Hussein to comply with the inspectors or to refrain from using weapons of mass destruction to defend himself if the United States comes after him.
And he will use them; we should be under no illusion about that."

Tharp goes on to tell the interviewer of his time in Iraq:

"...although I had to display considerable physical courage to drive around the city in a conspicuous vehicle with no radio in a very dangerous situation, I wasn’t a combatant."

This is not the first time I have come across Tharp still seeming very upset that he was driving around Kirkuk in such unguarded fashion as well as commending his own bravery. I do not doubt for a moment that there was risk involved in that, but Kirkuk was in the heavily Kurdish north, crawling at the time with our allied Kurdish Peshmerga. It was not one of Iraq's hotspots. Tharp has never written that I have seen that he ever came under any kind of fire. When asked why he came to live for a time in Yemen, Tharp replied:

"Due to my time in Iraq, I developed post-traumatic stress disorder, so I’m unable to work and I have some spare time."

Alright! Yes, I know PTSD is real. Yes, I know that one does not have to be involved in combat to be exposed to conditions that can cause PTSD. As Mackubin T. Owens wrote of the 1988 Center for Disease Control study of PTSD and Vietnam veterans that found that:

"...15 % of Vietnam veterans experienced some symptoms of combat-related PTSD at some time during or after military service, but that only 2.2 % exhibited symptoms at the time of the study."

And as CBS reported on another study in 2007 by Columbia University:

"Whatever the actual numbers, the researchers said it is clear that the more combat exposure for a veteran, the greater the likelihood of the disorder."

It is four years since Tharp completed his six month tour in Iraq, and he cannot hold a job! My sympathy juices are simply not flowing. There is a man who works at my aerospace company. Other than the occasional "Hi" or "How ya doin'?, we've never talked. We work in different buildings with mostly different people. He is, I would guess, about fifty. Two years ago, when he and his Reserve unit returned from a tour in Iraq, the company held a small ceremony welcoming him back. He was a senior NCO in an engineering unit, maintaining vehicles, and he spoke a bit. His unit had taken frequent rocket and mortar fire, but never engaged in combat. He described what they did as very up-tempo. They tried to keep vehicles in good order and turn around the ones that were damaged, because they knew the lives of the "youngsters" in the fight depended upon them. Sometimes the vehicles came in with damage and sometimes with lots of blood they'd have to clean out. He said that was hard. He thanked everyone for their thoughts, prayers and packages, and then thanked God for granting his prayer that he brought back all of his crew.

He came back from Iraq, spent ten days with his family, and was back at work! The military did not, as they did for Harvey Tharp, put him through law school.

Harvey Tharp was asked what he was going to do when he returned to the U.S. He repiled:

"I’m a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. As the only officer who has joined, I’m the highest ranked...I’m going to Washington, D.C. for the winter soldier hearings from March 13-16. Fifty members from the Iraq Veterans Against the War will testify to war crimes they witnessed or even participated in and I’ll be there in support."

Either Harvey Tharp did not get the memo that that is not what Winter Soldier is supposed to be all about (but interestingly he has the more recent "fifty" number, and not the old "over one hundred!), or it's just okay to talk like that to a paper in the Arab Moslem Middle East!

Harvey was asked if he had witnessed any of these war crimes, and gave the standard IVAW reply:

"No, I didn’t personally witness any, but I came to know about certain cases."

Harvey put some moral equivalence perspective into things when he was asked if there were any Yemeni foreign fighters in Iraq:

"I didn’t have any experience of that, but I know Yemenis were among the foreign fighters, although most were Saudis. They were really so-called foreign fighters, but as Americans, so were we!"

Asked if the U.S. has lost the war:

"As far as the U.S. government’s aim to control oil in the Middle East more, it’s been a failure. Once the U.S. military leaves Iraq, the Iraqi government will collapse because it has no legitimacy – and that’s why we’ve lost the war."

Millions of Iraqis risked Al Qaeda "takfirist" reprisal to vote for their government, and Harvey Tharp of IVAW declares the fruits of their risks illegitimate!

Yemen has an Al Qaeda problem. Maybe Harvey Tharp was just trying to help with recruiting. Or just maybe it's the self-obcessed hubris of the morally superior:

"I was able to see the full humanity of Iraqis in a way that we as Americans simply fail to recognize in foreigners generally..."

If Harvey Tharp testifies or takes questions, asking a former Navy JAG about the UCMJ crime reporting requirements could be enlightening.

15 comments:

Thus Spake Ortner said...

Thanks for the plug. I feel bad I haven't seen this guy before, another shake and bake wunderkind.

Denis Keohane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin said...

Denis - check your email - just sent you some goodies...

Denis Keohane said...

If you read his stuff, including his SitReps to civilians, it is frightening that he could both become an officer and make it through law school!

OTOH, that is the highest military ranking member of IVAW.

It's less a plug than sharing the entertainment. You're funny. Like Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas" funny.

Heh! I can't edit but I can delete typos!

Denis Keohane said...

Robin,

Not here yet!

Denis Keohane said...

Normally goodies this time of night is a cinnamon bun. Not likely, eh?

Limitations of e-mail!

streetsweeper95B said...

Excellent find, Denis. Mr. Tharpe had to have really ticked a superior officer off to be let go after six months in theatre.

So, he finishes law school, gets the degree he always wanted with the help of Uncle Sam & reneges(?) on his contract when he decides it wasn't what he signed on for.

Maybe Tharpe spent a little too much time sitting in front of the TV, watching the show "Jag"; thinking it might be fun to fly an F-14D "Tomcat" around the world, solving crimes, fearlessly defending sailors & Marines & all in one hour of starting work on the case.

Just my take on him.

Thus Spake Ortner said...

FOr the record, the Army never paid for my law school, I paid on my own dime.

Not that anyone cares, just want to throw that out there.

Army Sergeant said...

As I told...I believe Robin? But I could be wrong...Harvey Tharp is not the highest ranked member of IVAW. If he believed he was, he was mistaken. We have at least one currently serving officer member, whom I met, who is ranked higher than Harvey Tharp, and we also have some veteran officers.

Also, while I understand you're probably just digging for more attacks here, there are some fine, fine people who suffer heavily from PTSD, and cannot hold a job even many years later. That's why the VA assigns disability ratings for it.

I am pleased that the gentleman you worked with was fine-don't get me wrong, I really, truly am! I wish to God that everyone could come back fine. You may have no idea how much I wish that.

But it's not always the case.

There are a lot of things to pick at. That, to me, doesn't seem like a fair one, and you're also smearing a lot of others, many of them not IVAW members, when you use that brush.

Also, the Iraqi government will always be illegitimate, so long as we retain the right to blithely ignore their decrees. What about when the Iraqi government banned Blackwater? How did that go? The government is illegitimate not because of the voting process, but because we do not allow it any teeth.

I will post on some of your other posts and responses later-they are long and deep, and deserve a long and insightful response, which I don't have in me right now.

talon said...

"Blithely ignore"?
Puhleeze.

I doubt there is anything that will convince IVAW of the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, since it doesn't fit in with their "imperialism" narrative.

Things aren't as simple or black and white as you portray them, Sarge, and, no, the Blackwater situation doesn't deligitimize the government that the Iraqi people voted into office.

streetsweeper95B said...

This is a two parter when you decide your able to cope with answering the questions AS.

#1

"There are a lot of things to pick at. That, to me, doesn't seem like a fair one, and you're also smearing a lot of others, many of them not IVAW members, when you use that brush."

Ok...You & your org are backed by the org's of the VVAW, VFP(?)& numerous leftist/anti-America crews mainly labor groups & the Communist Party USA.

I notice in many instances, when the firefight gets hotter than heck...you cry foul & nothings fair. Now you allude to innocent people being painted with the same brush applied to IVAW.

What do you believe it was the VVAW your mentors did with their official "unrecorded statements" & brush? Paint a back alley fence?

#2:

"Also, the Iraqi government will always be illegitimate, so long as we retain the right to blithely ignore their decrees. What about when the Iraqi government banned Blackwater? How did that go? The government is illegitimate not because of the voting process, but because we do not allow it any teeth."

It's a given anarchist, socialist, communist, marxist & Islam/Muslim jihadist or not groups are the ones pushing an unrecognized Iraq Government agenda.

The Communists have had an agenda that goes back to the 30's to subvert our US Government. Now, you as an NCO in the US Army like any other active duty service personell signed an oath the protect our Constituion & way of life.

#3

My line of thinking is this; You came to the USA via the immigration method, strolled your tail in the open doors of a US Army recruiter & signed on the dotted line. Doing so, you knew the likely hood of having your background subject to a thorough check & thereby representing yourself as wanting to become a "born again good citizen" of the World, would help you could become a legal citizen of this country.

Addressing your by your military honoriffic, Sergeant. Explain all of those without boliviating. Remember too, if anyones using a brush to paint everyyone else as you expounded upon, it is you & your IVAW pals are the ones holding the brush......

That is that. Plain & simple, cut & dried.

Army Sergeant said...

#1: I don't believe they single-handedly defeated America, as some of your side seems to, that's for sure!

#2: The Communists breathe air, too. Should I stop? A broken clock is right twice a day. That doesn't mean when it is, the time is somehow different because the clock's broken.

#3-I am a born citizen of the US, and the only trip outside it I took pre-military was a week-long family vacation to Canada. Sorry to disappoint you.

streetsweeper95B said...

Hey hey....Sergeant is back! *salute*

"#1: I don't believe they single-handedly defeated America, as some of your side seems to, that's for sure!"

You would be about correct. The North Vietnamese, Soviet Union (frmr) & anti-war following members of the then US Congress helped things along right nicely.

"#2: The Communists breathe air, too. Should I stop? A broken clock is right twice a day. That doesn't mean when it is, the time is somehow different because the clock's broken."

No Sergeant, I wouldn't care to watch you stop breathing. I'd be obligated at the least to call 911 for you.

What? Hehehe......Ok, Sergeant. At which two periods in your theoretical day, is the broken watch correct?

"#3-I am a born citizen of the US, and the only trip outside it I took pre-military was a week-long family vacation to Canada. Sorry to disappoint you."

By no means am I disappointed Sergeant.

Army Sergeant said...

Again, sorry about being slow to answer this stuff: I'm really, really busy. The following is, by the way, my own personal opinion, and not IVAW policy.

On which two periods in the day are the communists correct? If communists say the war in Iraq needs to be over, then they are correct. I don't know what the other time of day that is correct is, because I don't really know what modern day communists do anymore. Except for the two cows thing I'm particularly fond of "You have two pigs. The government launches a campaign to convince you to donate them "voluntarily" to provide meat for workers in the city. The government then declares that people don't need pigs to make pork. Quoting the correct phrases from your little red book, you and your neighbors try to create pork from sheer willpower. Your local party leader reports that you have exceeded all expectations. Your neighbors starve."

But then again. I repeat the thing I've said a bunch of times. Communism is a nice idea in THEORY. When you see it in practice, you realize it will never, ever work unless people all magically become noble and perfect individuals who work tirelessly for no reward or inspiration interchangeably, and in that case, they won't need government at all.

streetsweeper95B said...

Hey Sergeant.........you missed the boat, baby! RE: "On which two periods in the day are the communists correct?". My question was in which two periods is your broken clock correct!

Come on, Sergeant....don't feed me a line. Busy my ass. Lets see if we can somehow cathargically dis-spell your henious shit.