The Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) video has been circulating on the Net for over a week, and can be seen at IVAW's Army Sergeant's site, Active Duty Patriot. A friend of mine received an e-mail from a former combat medic in Vietnam, John "Doc" Boyle. "Doc" served as Company Medic in D Co.,19th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Army), Quang Ngai Province, RVN, 1967-68. The friend suggested that Mr. Boyle forward the e-mail and accompanying pictures to me, which he did, with permission to use the material.
I gave some thought to how to present Mr. Boyle's material, and then simply decided that "as written" is the only method that will do it justice. Mr. Boyle writes with strong emotion, and the photos go a long way in showing why that is the case. Yet he does so without detriment to the intellectual soundness of the points he makes. So also, and something the relative youngsters of IVAW don't seem to be able to or want to grasp, his ire is directed at the legacy the first WSI bequeathed, unfairly, to 2.9 million Vietnam Veterans for what has been the majority of their lives, and that the same may happen to another generation.
What the former combat medic says about medical triage in combat as opposed to how it was presented in the IVAW video is extremely telling.
As such, without editing other than the bolding, which is mine:
"IVAW's new preview video of their 'winter soldier' tribunal is just awful. If this is the best they can do, they will never withstand critical inspection. Talk about propaganda! I now *get* that this is timed as an effort to make the war an issue in the election campaign; or, more exactly, to delegitimize any candidate who supports a now 'unfortunately' (to them) successful war.
The event plans look like an exact duplicate of WSI - 1971, including journalists and 'professionals.' Obviously the IVAW's mentors are folks we have run into before. The video is all mournful music and long sections of ominous but generic Iraq war zone videos and graphic photos with zero context: no captions and no voice over, no set-up comments and no after-word comments. The 'witness' talk has no connection to anything depicted in the videos and still photos. None.
One gruesome image is a body with a blown up head, obviously a sniper head shot - but we are not supposed to notice the guy has a suicide bomb vest on. Another body is burnt to a crisp - but we are not supposed to remember that it is a photo from Fallujah of a Blackwater contractor's desecrated body prior to the infamous bridge hanging by insurgents. The 'implication' is that these are all results of 'awfu' American military actions - 'atrocities' (but that word is unspoken - let pictures say the thousand lying words they dare not speak). Going for the emotional gut shot, not rationality or even honesty - or, just like B. Obama - not even any content beyond emotional appeal (or, in this case, emotional aversion).
The three 'witnesses' in the video have not one concrete or specific detail to tell among them. It is all the generalized whining of group therapeutic narcissism, common in the 25 Army WSI witnesses from 1971 whom the CID investigators declined to be bothered with. No dates, no place names, no unit designations, no personnel names. Nada. Pitifully forced angst. And hokum.
Reality check: One 'witness' tells of an American soldier seriously injured in a vehicle roll-over. He claims the soldier was given zero medical help (zero!) because the medics invoked triage protocol and said he was going to die anyway.'Oh, the inhumanity!' we are incited to think.
The 'witness' totally misrepresents what 'triage' means. Triage is only invoked in mass casualty situations where the available medical resources might be overwhelmed by the number of casualties - time wasted on those badly hurt but who cannot be saved, taken away from those less seriously hurt who could have been saved if resources had been properly rationed. Yet this "witness" does not refer to any other casualty in this incident but one. There is no such thing as triage of one casualty. The casualty did die, reports this witness, hours later 'enroute to the clinic.' BUT, if they did 'triage' him out, how did he wind up on his way to a hospital for treatment? The internal inconsistencies are embarrassingly obvious to anyone who knows anything about such situations.
There is not a medic in the Army or Marines (Navy Corpsmen) I ever heard of who would not risk his own life to save another soldier, let alone prefer to not *inconvenience* himself over a dying guy. It's what we were trained for; it's what gives meaning to our even being there. I've personally given CPR to the already dead! In the attached photos (ED: scroll down), I am under that rolled bulldozer with the casualty, and you can see one of our boot soles in the shadows at the center of one of the photos. He did die (three days later in the hospital - the 20 year old on the stretcher - I've blurred his features here deliberately). He stopped breathing while I was under that dozer with him, while between us was a hot engine over the middle of his body and concertina barbed wire wrapped all around. I could not quite reach him - an arms length separated us.
The frustration was agonizing and my own predicament did not even occur to me until later. We literally moved heaven and earth to save him. While the engineers dug out with shovels around the sides, and they searched for wire cutters and flak jackets as heat shields for me to use, a crane was brought up and actually lifted the damn dozer off of us. The heroes of MedEvac did mid-air CPR and got him to a hospital alive.
THIS is why we Nam Vets are so pissed at these goddam liars ever since 1971, and now - unbelievably - again.
Tell them: we know what you are! We are watching you! We will not be silent this time!
Never, never again!
John Boyle Company Medic D Co.,19th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Army) Quang Ngai Province, RVN, 1967-68"
Photos: A Very Bad Day, from John "Doc" Boyle
(Click on Photos to Enlarge)