Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rurik's 2nd (and sadly final!) Winter Soldier AAR... up at Veteran American Voices:

What I Saw at the Circus - Part 2 - Carnival of the Moonbats.

Rurik also believes he may have identified this WSI's prreminent John Kerry wannabe in Captain Luis Montalvan. I still believe Geoff Millard thinks he's got a shot, though.

Meanwhile Robin at Chickenhawk Express says she was late (but not nearly as late as I am!) with the very gratifying news that LCpl. Stephen Tatum has had all charges against him in the Haditha incident dismissed. Robin has been tracking the story of the Haditha Marines for a long time, and along with Dave Allender's Defend Our Marines offers one of the best repository's of Haditha related fact vs fantasy.

Bruce Kesler of Democracy Project also weighs in with Only Haditha Massacre by Media and Murtha.

In No one is more professional than they are! NO ONE! Thus Spake Ortner at The Sniper provides a follow-up to the soldiers recovering from wounds at Walter Reed who took and completed the BNCOC training course and the graduation ceremony held last Friday:
It was quite clear that these weren’t wounded soldiers in this course, but warriors, who just also happened to have been wounded. One soldier had to be rushed to the Emergency Room twice during training because of heart problems. Another tore out stitches during the training. And yet they carried on, there is no quit in these people. “Cut and Run” is not only a mantra to Congress, it’s these soldiers mantra too, but in the sense that even if they are cut, bleeding or wounded in any manner, they’ll still be running to the front. Warriors, every one of them.

The Members of the Graduating Class:
SSG Billy Brashears, Commandant’s List
SSG Renee Deville
SSG Warren Finch
SSG Dorthea Hooper
SSG Shad Lorenz
SSG Eric Sundell

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dahr Jamail: Credibility Deficit Disorder

Dahr Jamail is struggling to get back on track after his pet IVAW's Winter Soldier Investigation failed to produce the longed for evidence of "the Stygian depths of depravity and evil that US service personnel have sunk…" that Jamail's fans have been longing for since he touted Jesse MacBeth as the real deal.

Jamail has another co-authored piece (with Ali al-Fadhily) at IPS entitled IRAQ: Fever Named After Blackwater.

With his usual standard of fact checking demonstrated so aptly with his MacBeth promotion (see Jesse MacBeth to Winter Soldier: Exposing Dahr Jamail), Jamail and his partner write of a form of malaria:

" What Iraqis now call Blackwater fever is really a well-known medical condition, and while it has nothing to do with Blackwater Worldwide, Iraqis in al-Anbar province have decided to make the connection between the disease and the lethal U.S.-based company which has been responsible for the death of countless Iraqis. "
Jules Crittenden calls Jamail on it, pointing out that
falciparum malaria has been called Blackwater Fever since the 19th century! Crittenden also points out that a ten second Google search by the intrepid independent reporter would have shown the term being used as such in 1991.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit picks up the story as does Bruce Kesler of Democracy Project.

Hat tips to Bruce & Dan.


If you need to get the bad taste out after that, though, read Robin Boyd's The Heart of a Marine.

And remember, if you can possibly make it, there is the BNCOC graduation ceremony at Walter Reed tomorrow morning. These wounded soldiers who undertook that training while recovering from their injuries are an inspiration, and deserve to be honored.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Repost: Wounded Soldiers Complete BNCOC!!!

Thus Spake Ortner has two important posts up at The Sniper on a remarkable and inspiring subject:
Walter Reed Army Medical Center has for the first time offered the Army's Basic Non-Commission Officers Course (BNCOC) to wounded troops at the facility. In order for a Sergeant E5 to be promoted to Staff Sergeant E6, the courses must be attended and passed. TSO says of these:
Any of you who have been to PLDC, BNCOC, ANCOC or Sergeant Majors Academy no doubt remember these courses. They're not exactly R&R. Now imagine doing it as a wounded troop.
TSO and others are trying to get as many people as they can to be at Walter Reed for the graduation ceremony this Friday (March 28) at 8:00 a.m. to honor those first wounded troops to have gone through the course. See the above photo.

Check in at The Sniper for details and to contact for arrangements.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

More IVAW Cover Up and Clean Up

Members of the IVAW seem to be on a cover-up/clean-up tear. Earlier this month they very belatedly doctored their founder's page when the question of Jimmy Massey, IVAW co-founder and established fraud came up.

I have been working on a page (Missing Testifiers and Testimonies) with copious links detailing earlier statements by IVAW members for which the claimants or the claims went MIA at Winter Soldier. I was going to add a link to a post about a statement by IVAW's Jen Hogg, even though that would be a bit out of the normal. Sgt. Hogg was not an OEF or OIF veteran, and as such would not have been likely to testify at WSI, and most especially not at those panels that touched on such as war crimes and atrocities.

However, last January Stan Goff posted an article at The Huffington Post entitled Winter Soldier. In the comments to that, a person signed as jrockbg claimed to have been a Marine who served in Ramadi, and he took exception to the widespread atrocity claim, saying "I never once saw an 'atrocity' or criminal act of any kind".

The IVAW's Jen Hogg replied to him, with among other things this:
When my unit came home (I was not sent with them because mechanics were deployed as infantry, and as a female I was barred) one of the older guys told me a story. He said they would arrest Iraqi's in night raids and turn them in only to be later asked to go get them again after they were released, as they were now wanted. He told me (E-6, in his 40's, pro-war) that they would just shoot the guys when that happened. He said this as if it were normal and ok.
I addressed that in the post Enough Already With "I Was Told...", "I Didn't Actually See..."!

That led to another post Discussion With Jen Hogg, IVAW, involving Jen Hogg and containing a reply I had received via e-mail from the PAO (Public Affairs Officer) of the 42nd ID, LTC. Goldenberg.

I was going to add that to the list of MIA material for the simple reason that Jen Hogg's allusion to the execution of detainees as a "normal" practice and reaction to a kind of "catch and release" frustration was not supported by any of the actual WSI testifiers!

As I started to do so, I went back to the Huffington Post page, and found that Jen Hogg's comments were now gone! The page actually shows that there were five replies in comments, but only two are available any longer. Jen Hogg's "as if were normal and ok" comment is gone, as is a rely to that from jrockbg and one from a condescending and faux morally superior something called timm0 who presents a reasonable argument for abolishing police departments or something.

However, the Google Cache is on the job, and had all the comments, and is now screen capped and archived.

So back to the Missing Testifiers and Testimonies page, and now you'll know why Jen Hogg was added. I think it is important to remember that Sgt. Hogg posted that comment as a reply to a person claiming to be a Marine veteran of Iraq who was saying he had not seen any war crimes or atrocities, and Sgt. Hogg apparently believed hers was a proper reply to that.

What Went Missing at Winter Soldier?

What went missing was both testifiers and testimonies that one would reasonably have expected to be there.

The question is why.

Last February I posted The Perry O'Brien WSI e-mail here. That e-mail appeared at IVAW's Adam Kokesh's blog on December 4, 2007. It read as follows:
Dear Friends,
As you may or may not know, Iraq Veterans Against the War is currently organizing an exciting campaign called Winter Soldier: Iraq andAfghanistan. This March, over one hundred members of IVAW will gather in Washington DC to testify to the war crimes that they observed or participated in while deployed overseas. The goal of this testimony is to condemn military policies and challenge the liberation narrative being fed to the American public...please forward this e-mail on to others.

Best, - Perry Perry O'Brien Testimonial Team Leader Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan" Posted by Adam Kokesh at 2:33 AM
O'Brien ran the WSI testifier and testimony verification process. In that post I pointed out that by February this was being reported:
"Return of the Winter Soldier: Iraq Vets Prepare Atrocity Testimony
By Erin Thompson
From the February 4, 2008 issue

...more than 45 current and former soldiers plan to describe the indiscriminate killing and injuring of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of chemical weapons, the torture and killing of detainees, rape — within the military itself and against Iraqi civilians — the denial of medical care to the injured and the mutilation of the dead, and other war crimes.”
I also pointed out at that time that there was evidence that IVAW was backing down from the lurid atrocity claims, and it now seems that was so because they just weren't getting the material or those to deliver it. That number forty-five is very close to the actual number of IVAW veterans that testified at Winter Soldier, but nothing even close to all or even most of them testified to those kinds of events! In December the IVAW had seemingly high confidence of having over one hundred testifiers who had witnessed or participated in war crimes but by mid-March that number had dwindled to a relative handful!

What happened?

IVAW was vetting their members and their testimonies. The very reasonable assumption is that in doing so, a whole lot of the claims about themselves and charges their members were bantering about among friendly and accepting company didn't hold up. Such tales that would bring a certain group status and approval and little if any doubt or skepticism (as with Jesse MacBeth) didn't pass muster when being verified with an eye towards the scrutiny WSI would certainly get and was already getting in the blogosphere.

Winter Soldier did not deliver the atrocity-fest advertised and hoped for, yet that is in spite of many members of IVAW and their colluding allies railing on and on about witnessing and participating in war crimes and atrocities for years!

As such, on the upper left of this page I have posted a Winter Soldier section, under which one can find WSI Testifiers and Testimonies as well as WSI Missing Testifiers and Testimonies. The various testimonies are being verified, as all expect. Yet IVAW members like Adam Kokesh and Geoff Millard play the "Don't throw me in the briar patch" game of hoping that the veteran status of their testifiers is challenged, and that is likely a ruse meant to hide where they know they have a damaging problem. There is an IVAW credibility story, a potentially huge one, in the number of IVAW members and the tales they have told that did not make it to Winter Soldier.

I've listed some of the no-show members as well as stories that were not told or were told at WSI with details missing or changed. I will add to that list, and as always ask for input from any on those I'm missing. Some of IVAW's most lurid atrocity chargers are on that list.

We can't expect the IVAW to admit publicly that they may have found fraudulent claims about themselves or events being made by their members, sometimes for years. When the MacBeth imbroglio hit, IVAW only sought to seriously verify his veteran status after he was effectively challenged by others and merely distanced itself from MacBeth after he was outed. There was no admission to or aplogy for having given MacBeth the platform ypon which to make those false charges.

So researchers, diggers and fact finders, there is a lot to be uncovered about what went missing. I have no doubt that IVAW verifed the DD214s for example of everyone who testified. I also don't doubt that they sought to check the DD214s of those - who didn't testify. And their claims to have participated ot witnessed things. That's a story worth developing.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Important: Wounded Troops Complete NCO Training

Thus Spake Ortner has two important posts up at The Sniper on a remarkable and inspiring subject:
Walter Reed Army Medical Center has for the first time offered the Army's Basic Non-Commission Officers Course (BNCOC) to wounded troops at the facility. In order for a Sergeant E5 to be promoted to Staff Sergeant E6, the courses must be attended and passed. TSO says of these:
Any of you who have been to PLDC, BNCOC, ANCOC or Sergeant Majors Academy no doubt remember these courses. They're not exactly R&R. Now imagine doing it as a wounded troop.
TSO and others are trying to get as many people as they can to be at Walter Reed for the graduation ceremony next Friday (March 28) at 8:00 a.m. to honor those first wounded troops to have gone through the course. See the above photo.

Check in at The Sniper for details.

Another Winter Soldier MIA: Mike Blake

(Correction: when this post initially went up I mistakenly confused Matt Howard with Mike Blake as both were quoted in the same article. Howard did testify at Winter Soldier)

Few members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War have been as outspoken about claims of US atrocities than Mike Blake. He too apparently did not testify at Winter Soldier. The list of those who may well have been vetted out by IVAW itself grows. Perry O'Brien's testimony didn't make the cut, as neither did the hours of atrocity stories told by Abdul Henderson, Alex Ryabov, Camilo Mejia, Harvey Tharp, Michael Hoffman and Charlie Anderson to Dahr Jamail.

The Guardian reported (March 2006):
[Michael Blake] claims that US soldiers such as him were told little about Iraq, Iraqis or Islam before serving there; other than a book of Arabic phrases, "the message was always: 'Islam is evil' and 'They hate us.' Most of the guys I was with believed it." Blake says that the turning point for him came one day when his unit spent eight hours guarding a group of Iraqi women and children whose men were being questioned. He recalls: "The men were taken away and the women were screaming and crying, and I just remember thinking: this was exactly what Saddam used to do - and now we're doing it."
...He tells us that he witnessed civilian Iraqis being killed indiscriminately..."When IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] would go off by the side of the road, the instructions were - or the practice was - to basically shoot up the landscape, anything that moved. And that kind of thing would happen a lot." So innocent people were killed? "It happened, yes." (He says he did not carry out any such killings himself.)
...Blake, an activist with IVAW for the past 12 months, is angry that American people seem so untouched by the war, by the grim abuses committed by American soldiers. "The American media doesn't cover it and they don't care. The American people aren't seeing the real war - what's really happening there."
...Just outside New Orleans, the sudden appearance of a reporter from al-Jazeera's Washington office electrifies the former soldiers. It is a chance for the vets to turn confessional and the reporter is deluged with young former soldiers keen to be interviewed. "We want the Iraqi people to know that we stand with them," says Blake, "and that we're sorry, so sorry. That's why it was so important for us to appear on al-Jazeera."...Blake turns reflective. "I met an Iraqi at one of the public meetings I was talking at recently. He came up to me and told me he was originally from the town where I had been stationed. And I just went up to this complete stranger and hugged him and I said, 'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.' And you know what? He told me it was OK. And it was beautiful ..." He starts to cry. "That was redemption".
At a fundraiser for Winter Soldier last January Blake had this to say:
“The killing of innocent civilians is policy”, Iraq war veteran Mike Blake told a public meeting held on January 19 at the Different Drummer Cafe in Watertown, New York State, near the Canadian border.

“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.”
Yet Mike Blake didn't at testify at Winter Soldier! He was apparently just saying those things about killing civilians as policy to raise money for IVAW and WSI! The question about him and others is - why not, after all those claims and charges against your country and fellow troops - what happened?

If IVAW vetted these people out, they owe the public to whom they have been claiming to tell the truth - the truth. When IVAW member Jesse MacBeth was outed as a fraud when he was passing lurid fabricated atrocity stories, IVAW distanced themselves from him and denied any responsibilty. There was no honor in making the separation after he was exposed. There was only CYA.

Long after IVAW co-founder Jimmy Massey was exposed as having lied about atrocities, IVAW kept the statement that Jimmy Massey had been telling people the truth up at their site for years! They only removed it days (Mar 4) after I challenged IVAW (Mar 2) on whether Massey would show at Winter Soldier.

If there were reasons why these members and their stories did not stand up to IVAW scrutiny for Winter Soldier, after all the months and years that they have been a part of charging our country and our forces with crimes and atrocities, IVAW has to come clean on that.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Winter Soldier: The Cast of Characters

This is being posted as a service for those researching and as a solicitation to anyone to offer corrections in the comments which I will use to update the post. It is an attempt, based on the audios and transcripts posted at War Comes Home, to determine which IVAW members "testified" at Winter Soldier and by extension, which had not.
  • Clicking on the persons name takes you to the WSI audio.
  • A single asterisk (*) means that person's name has already appeared and is a duplicate.
  • Two asterisks (**) denotes non IVAW members
  • Three asterisks (***) denotes an IVAW member or other veteran for which there is no confirmation found (yet) of service in either OIF or OEF.
  • "Profile" is a link to the person's IVAW Member profile.
  • "Blog" indicates the person's own blog.
  • "Post" indicates a post that discussed this member.
  • "Blog Title", e.g., Chickenhawk Express, indicates a post at that blog on the subject.

Rules of Engagement Panel 1:
Rules of Engagement Panel 2:

Veteran Healthcare Crisis Panel:

Corporate Pillaging Panel:

Gender & Sexuality Panel:

Racism and War Panel 1:

Racism and War Panel 2:

Military Breakdown Panel:

GI Resistance Panel:

By my count, there may have been a total of forty-four veterans (max) of OIF and/or OEF who testified.

Another Winter Soldier War Crime No-Show: Perry O'Brien

In early March I posted Finally Some Detail from Perry O'Brien, IVAW. O'Brien had claimed in an e-mail posted at Adam Kokesh's site that:
“I will be testifying to the illegal use of Afghan corpses for medical "practice," which I witnessed while serving as a medic in Afghanistan.”
Well, that did not come to pass. Read the post, and especially the comments that follow which include a reply from O'Brien himself, and the responces he received and in particular that from Namedic (John "Doc" Boyle), a combat medic in Vietnam - and you will see why in all likelihood he did not testify.

At one point, O'Brien said:
If you admitted a family member to a hospital, and that relative sadly passed on, how would you feel if you discovered that the body had been used as a teaching tool? Without consent? Can anyone on this site honestly tell me they wouldn't be outraged if it became known that we were using the corpses of American soldiers this way?
It is absolutely routine for surgeries to be used as training, which is why doctors in training will assist the more experienced surgeons, to precisely get training not otherwise available. And in cases where a patient dies on the table, of course there is likely to be attempt to both be sure of why that happened and instruct those present who may well need that information later to save lives, even if that means touching the deceased, which is exactly what has O'Brien riled up.

The crime he was going to testify to was military surgeons letting medics touch the heart muscle of a deceased patient. For combat medics to recognize that muscle by touch can be a future life saver, and was not disrespectful to the corpse.

As John "Doc" Boyle asked:
For starters, so what if a doctor in an OR or surgery asked staff to examine post mortem remains for purposes of an otherwise unavailable – and extremely valuable - training experience?
Scratch another IVAW claim of American crimes and atrocities which can be chalked up to American military medical staff taking the opportunity to instruct others in a way that may someday save the life of one of our troops, an Afghan civilian, adult or child, or maybe even a wounded enemy!

Then too, it might also have been Namedic's final comment and challenge to O'Brien:
From Perry O’Brien’s entry in “Member Profiles” on the IVAW website:
“I felt like a terrorist myself for being complicit in the illegal detainment, torture, and murder of thousands of innocent civilians.”
Say W H A T??

And you can back this up, right?

What are IVAW and Dahr Jamail Hiding?

On March 12, the day before the Iraq Veterans Against the War launched their Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) I posted IVAW: Time To Put Up – Or Retract.

At this point, they have not put up! I have just gone through the entire listing of Winter Soldier testifiers and that list is very notable for who is not there!

The people of this country and also those abroad, owing to the far reaching efforts of Jesse MacBeth's former de facto publicity agent, Dahr Jamail, are owed an explanation by both the IVAW and Jamail.

Speaking with a half dozen IVAW members identified by name in one of his dispatches ("What Have We done?") in August 2005, Dahr Jamail wrote:
"I type furiously for three hours, trying to keep up with the stories each of the men shared….about the atrocities of what they saw, and committed, while in Iraq."
According to Jamail his site, on which he posts his dispatches, was receiving over one million hits a day well before August 2005. The IVAW members present for those hours of atrocity "testimony" were Abdul Henderson, Alex Ryabov, Camilo Mejia, Harvey Tharp, Michael Hoffman and Charlie Anderson.

Now, with the Winter Soldier testimony having been given - what happened to those atrocity stories???

In that interview Jamail quoted Mejia as saying:
"I tortured guys...and I’m ashamed of that."
Yet Mejia has said otherwise at other times, and didn't make that claim even when it was in his interest to do so. See the previous post on Camilo Mejia.

Jamail quoted Harvey Tharp as saying:
“Most of what we’re talking about is war crimes…war crimes because they are directed by our government for power projection.”
But just last month Tharp was quoted in the Yemen Times as saying he had never personally witnessed any American atrocities in Iraq, but he had come to “know about certain cases”. He also stated he would not be testifying at WSI.

The other four, Abdul Henderson, Alex Ryabov, Michael Hoffman (IVAW co-founder) and Charlie Anderson, as far as I can find, also did not testify! The audios and transcripts have been going up since March 14, a week ago. None of those show up. If they did testify, I will correct that when I read or hear that testimony.

In any event, what happened to the three hours of atrocity stories Dahr Jamail claims to have been told by IVAW members who committed or witnessed them, and that he told the world about? Was someone lying? There was no three hours of first hand accounts of atrocity stories in all of Winter Soldier! For two and a half years the IVAW and Dahr Jamail have led people to believe, without correction, that those six veterans alone could tell hours of American atrocities that they had first hand knowledge of!

The public is owed an explanation. If the answer is that these IVAW members did not testify at WSI about these atrocities they committed or witnessed for fear of getting themselves or others in legal jeopardy, the question then is: why did you then tell them to a supposed journalist, without anonymity?

Smell test grade well below passing.

And of course, as IVAW has been broadcasting its extensive vetting of their members and their stories in preparation for WSI, did the claims by those members maybe not pass that vetting? If so, shouldn't that be made just as public as the claims that these men had enough first hand knowledge of atrocities to keep a journalist typing furiously for hours?

Perhaps Jamail will release, in the interest of full disclosure and journalistic ethics, those things he typed furiously for those three hours.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Winter Soldier: Camilo Mejia Version 3.0

The Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) should announce with regret a glitch in that chair Camilo Mejia's testimony at Winter Soldier is not backward compatible with earlier versions of the same story.

In the audio of that testimony at the recently convened and misnamed Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI), Mejia testified about what he and his squad did while guarding detainees in Iraq. He has told this story many times, and the story has changed in ways that are mutually exclusive. In short, some of it has to be lies.

At WSI Mejia told of sleep deprivation methods he and his squad were ordered to use to "soften up" detainees for interrogation. These included shouting, banging sledge hammers on walls to similate explosions and cocking a pistol next to the detainee's ear. This was described by Mejia in a May 2005 interview:

They were hooded prisoners. Yell at them, tell them to get up and get down. Let them sleep for five seconds, so they will get up disoriented. Bang a sledgehammer on a wall to make it sound like an explosion, scare them. And if all of that fails then, you know, cock a .9 millimeter gun next to their ear, so as to make them believe that they're going to be executed.

Mejia's telling at Winter Soldier was more lurid. He described objecting to yelling at the detainees in a language they couldn't understand, and was supposedly told that they would come to understand just as dogs would, since they were animals. He also called the cocking of a pistol next to a dozing off or sleeping detainee a "mock execution".

Yelling, slamming a hammer on a wall or cocking a pistol are all sensory (aural) means to startle a sleeping or dozing person awake. If such a person is startled by the cocking of a pistol at his ear and finds that pistol pointed at him in a threatening way, it may well be a mock execution. If it is only the sound of the cocking pistol that is startling, and the detainee is not being threatened by that firearm, it is no more a mock execution than a sledge hammer simulating a bomb going off is a mock execution. John Conroy, author of Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People and critic of American policy was quoted in the National Catholic Reporter in May 2004 about Mejia's claims:

Conroy said “the revolver business” is also torture if it simulates a mock execution, which he described as one of the “worst forms of torture” because of its long-lasting psychological effects.

Conroy, who believes that sleep deprivation itself is torture, correctly noted about the use of the pistol that it is only tortures "if it simulates an execution", meaning, its use as described many times previously by Mejia did not clearly indicate such.

For a comparison to what are definitely mock executions there are examples provided in the materials submitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the attorneys of Americans taken captive in Iraq and Kuwait by Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein at the time of the Gulf War:

Nichol goes on to describe the mock execution of himself and Larry Slade, as the Iraqis pulled their gun and pointed at Slade saying "you are dead" and "you are now going to die," moving closer to Larry until he could see down the barrel of the gun, and then pulling the trigger, "click."...he indicated how the Iraqi "sneered at the expression on our faces [after the mock execution], and walked away laughing."


Several times over the first few days of his captivity, Acree’s captors held mock executions in an attempt to extract information from him. During one of his early interrogations, he was asked for strategic information, and when he did not supply it, a guard put a pistol to his head.

Four times during his captivity, [Chief Warrant Officer Guy Hunter's] captors held mock executions wherein they pushed his head to the side with a gun, paused for about ten seconds, and pulled the trigger.

[Lt. Lawrence Slade's] captors then told him to prepare to die, pushed a pistol against his head, and pulled the trigger

In comparison to those, there is one glaring and consistent details that appears in all of Mejia's currently released versions of the story that argues against the charge of mock execution: the detainees presumed to be enemy combatants were wearing sandbag hoods! They could not see the pistol, the person who was holding it, or whether it was pointed at them or not. The point of a mock execution is to make the person believe he is about to be killed. A person being startled by the sound of a pistol being cocked may be afraid and speculate that this may happen, to the point of confusion, but he is not being made to believe he is being executed.

In his WSI testimony Mejia said:
"...our job was to keep prisoners who had been detained as enemy combatants sleep deprived for up to seventy-two hours."
In addition to that "our job", in his testimony Mejia used the word "we" repeatedly, as in "the next thing we did" as a lead-up to use of the sledge hammer and pistol and then saying:
"We were performing mock executions."
That certainly gives Mejia's tale a first person and experienced quality. However, in a March 2005 interview with Amy Goodman, Mejia was asked if had ever engaged in the actions described by him at the time (yelling, sledge hammers and cocking pistols) and which did not include the claim of "mock executions", Mejia replied:

"Not really, because we weren't there very long. We only were there for six hours with these enemy combatants and it was during the daytime. Some of the guys in my squad did yell at them on my orders. They used the sledgehammer. I don't think they used the gun. But then we were relieved and then they were taken away. It was enough to see who was going."

How were Mejia and his quad keeping what he called enemy combatants sleep deprived for seventy-two hours if they were only there for six? How can he claim "we performed mock executions" if neither he nor any member of his squad used a pistol?

In an August 2005 Dahr Jamail article entitled "What Have We Done", "dispatched" over the world wide web through Jamail's propaganda operation, Jamail quoted Mejia as saying:

"I tortured guys...and I’m ashamed of that."
All of Mejia's versions of what he has told cannot be true. He cannot keep someone sleep deprived for seventy two hours if he is only there for six. If he claims to have tortured guys why did he deny doing such things only months before? During his court martial hearing for desertion, Mejia made no claim to have engaged in torture or mock executions when such could have helped his defence for desertion. Rather, Mejia's defense was based on his "expectation" that if he returned to Iraq he would be ordered to do things that violated law and his conscience.
Citizen Soldier's cooperating attorney, Louis Font, of Brookline, MA is preparing to appeal Camilo's conviction on two different legal grounds. First, the appeal argues that the court martial judge erred when he refused to allow defense lawyers to offer evidence of international law violations which Mejia had a legal duty to refuse. During Camilo's five months of combat in Iraq, he personally observed such violations on a regular basis. Therefore, his expectation of illegal orders was based on his actual experience--not on speculation.
Maybe the next version, Mejia 4.0, will get rid of the bugs. Don't count on it, however.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WSI Milbloggers: Nice to be Noticed - Maybe?

If you were wise or fortunate enough to have started your day with Rurik's Send in the Clones at Veteran American Voices (and if you weren't go there now!), it is time to kick back and enjoy Jonn Lilyea's DC Moonbat Convergence at This Ain't Hell and TSO at The Sniper in a series of posts that can cause damage to your keyboard if you read while drinking a liquid. Luckily I had a spare....until the wife notices hers is missing.

And in the "getting under their skin" department, apparently our intrepid Winter Soldier milbloggers are now recognizable in public settings by the street demonstration set! Jonn, TSO, Rurik, you can buy anti-Bac in a spray can, and carry it with you.

And if your ribs can handle any more, drop by Robin at Chickenhawk Express and read DC Suffers Through Another Moonbat Tsunami in which THE question is asked:
What exactly does Medea flashing her goodies in a bed on the streets of DC mean? Is she protesting Eliot Spitzer?

Rurik's Winter Soldier AAR.... up at Veteran American Voices - Send in the Clones, and he will be on blogtalk radio with Cao and Concrete Bob on Saturday evening, 7:00 PM Central Time.

Read Rurik with your coffee and start your day right.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Winter Soldier: A Theatrical Review

The Iraq Veterans Against the War’s (IVAW) much touted Winter Soldier Investigation – Iraq and Afghanistan (March 13-16) has concluded not with a bang but with a whimper.

Both Jonn Lilyea of This Ain’t Hell and TSO (Thus Spake Ortner) of The Sniper who live-blogged the event delivered AARs (After Action Reports). I'm going to address it more in the form of a review, what one writes for, well, theatre.

Details of individual and panel performances are to come, but for now, like many reviews, I'm going to focus substantially on audience reaction.

The show flopped!

The theatrical as opposed to investigative endeavor has to have been a huge disappointment to many who had high hopes for and a lot riding on the show. WSI simply failed to deliver.

No one can be more disappointed than Dahr Jamail, the “unembedded reporter” and “independent journalist” who at one time played the role of de facto press agent for Jesse Macbeth, the atrocity charge spewing IVAW fraud outed in 2006. Jamail has published an article on WSI for IPS. While Jamail quotes five WSI testifiers about actions and events in Iraq, some of which if true come up to the level of crimes, the amazing thing is that this article is an incredible climb-down for Jamail! His atrocity charge laden pieces have been flowing for years with far more lurid and damning claims than anything he has taken from WSI! Culling the most atrocious from the testimony in the statements by Vincent Emmanuel, Garret Reppenhagen, Jason Wayne Lemue, John Michael Turner and Jason Washburn, Jamail did not come anywhere close to what he has trumpeted in the past, for example, in May 2006 Jamail wrote "Countless My Lais in Iraq", claiming:
"The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on U.S. Marines slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the ‘scandal’ of Abu Ghraib during April and May 2004…countless atrocities continue daily...Torture did not stop simply because the media finally cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians by U.S. forces and U.S.-backed Iraqi ‘security’ forces had not stopped either."
There has been a longing on the anti-war left, a deep yearning, for that story or series of stories that would nail the American military and its killbot minions as evil incarnate. We saw signs of that with the fraudulent MacBeth video, as with this from the producer, Randy Rowland who wrote in an e-mail:
"After all, the news these days is about a Marine squad who are accused of exactly this same behavior [at Haditha]. Jesse's story would clearly show the Marine story to be common policy, rather than a squad of loose cannons..."
Or the Dissident Voice on the same subject, spitting spittle and crying for Lord MacBeth to rescue us all from Bushitler:
"If the [MacBeth] video gets widespread exposure, it is unfathomable that support for a US troop presence in Iraq could be sustained...It is a video that should number the days of the Bush administration...we hear the shaken ex-army ranger and Iraq war veteran Jessie MacBeth admit to the Stygian depths of depravity and evil that US service personnel have sunk…"
Say what you will about WSI 2008, it didn't reach those longed for Stygian depths of depravity by our troops!

Indication was given over a month ago that the Knights of the IVAW would not deliver the atrocity Holy Grail the left desired. The old hands at Vietnam Veterans Against the War must also be disappointed, after having broadcast:
This spring, the largest gathering of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan will share their experiences in a public investigation called Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. Providing testimonies to war crimes the United States perpetuates with the ongoing wars and occupations...
Oddly enough, the IVAW backed off that "largest gathering of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan…” when challenged on it months ago. The claimed number of "testifiers" also went from over one hundred to under fifty. Less than half of those could be considered to have testified to anything like atrocities.

Readers of the Yemen Times had to be disappointed, as IVAW's Harvey Tharp sang the siren song only last month, even if the later abridged version:
"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."
And of course, the most internationally well known and published [possibly former] IVAW member and co-founder, Jimmy Massey was a no show! Massey fans in Malaysia, Venezuela, France and Cuba must be wondering what happened!

It is at least possible (okay, highly probable) that the vetting process IVAW said they were going through dwindled their earlier presumed numbers. DemocracyNow! also didn't get what they hoped for:
Winter Soldier: Hundreds of Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Gather to Testify in Echo of 1971 Vietnam Hearings

Hundreds of veterans and active-duty soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are gathering today for the Winter Soldier hearings. The soldiers plan to give eyewitness accounts of the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Channeling Mel Gibson's William Wallace from Braveheart, "It was more like fifty!".

Bruce Kesler at the Democracy Project reports in Elmer Gantry Needed At Winter Soldier II (Even Feminist Supporters PO'd) this "ouch!" quote from a feminist site:

Saturday's hearings opened with the Divide To Conquer: Gender and Sexuality in the Military. From the title of the panel, we were looking forward to this panel….

The panel was an embarrassment….

A panel at Winter Soldiers promises testimony. Testimony is based on what you saw. A witness in a court of a law attempting to 'testify' to what they themselves didn't witness would be reduced to rubble under cross examination. For this panel, such requirements were largely tossed out….
Other fans are besides themselves that their stars didn't draw the crowds, or the right crowds! From OpEd News:
What is the Difference Between the Mainstream Media and Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda?

In America, Truth gets slaughtered daily in the mainstream media, just like it was in Nazi Germany. The American media has always taken great umbrage in condemning the perfidy of the German people who supported the deadly war policies of Hitler, yet they whistle past the graveyard while ignoring another holocaust going on in Iraq, not to mention Afghanistan. Nowhere is this more evident than in their blackout of WINTER SOLDIER.
Also at OpEd News:
WINTER SOLDIER BLACKOUT CONTINUES: Look in the Mirror America!!!!!

By Kevin Stoda, Kuwait
As there are reports across the globe of a USA-wide blackout of major media news from the WINTER SOLDIERS presentations or soldiers’ testimonies on the Iraq and Afghanistan War at the Labor College outside of Washington D.C. this week...
Only the independent media, like REAL NEWS doing its job.
Otherwise, only the Huffington News seems to have noticed this gaping absence, despite complaints appearing all over the web, like on YAHOO discussion lists.
Even the BBC’s coverage has not been as good as one would expect from a respected international news network.
Even the light comedyIVAW tried didn't make a splash, like Camilo Mejia going from his squad guarding detainees for six hours to him running a POW camp, or Geoff Millard's clicking the mouse to advance Power Point slides evolving into him giving a briefing to generals and colonels! There were more than a few testifiers who spoke of bad actions like taking pot shots at cars and carrying shovels around to plant evidence of IED emplacement near the bodies of those killed and insisted these things were commonplace, the usual. Well, commonplace and usual for exactly whom? Squad, platoon, company, battalion, regiment, division, what? Because if these things were true and that common and usual, how come all the testifiers didn't testify to the same common and usual things? In professinal theatre and movies they have a person assigned to the task of assuring continuity, such as the same buttons on the shirt buttoned and unbuttoned scene to scene and shot to shot. WSI missed that.

And milbloggers TSO and Jonn Lilyea didn't help the image situation of 'we care for the troops' when they reported that when the panel began on veteran care, the mass of the audience scattered to other parts!

Possibly the biggest indication of how badly the show flopped? Only moments ago, a Google search for "Winter Soldier" brought up this:

Yup, the number one return on Google for "Winter Soldier" is Scott Swett's site, the one that has all that debunking information about the Kerryfest of 1971!

As Thus Spake Ortner might cry, "Oh the huge manitees!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

IVAW on "Best Behavior"

Dahr Jamail, one time de facto publicity agent for the IVAW's former member Jesse MacBeth, had this in an IPS article:
[John Michael] Turner explained one reason why establishment media reporting about the occupation in the U.S. has been largely sanitised. "Anytime we had embedded reporters, our actions changed drastically," he explained. "We did everything by the books, and were very low key."
Now that is Turner singing Jamail's tune! Only an unembedded reporter who sits on an activist organization's advisory board and colludes with that organization to get the story the way they want it to be can be credible!

However, there is no doubt some truth in that most people will be on something like better if not best behavior when they believe they are being observed.

Kind of like IVAW sidelining a couple of members for habitually threatening people when they became aware that folks were beginning to notice and taking notes.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Geoff Millard Story at WSI

During the panel on Racism, IVAW member Geoff Millard repeated a story he has been telling for some time, but with a difference. Millard finally named names of two of the officers involved. More on that later. Last July the story was reported at Common Dreams as:
During the summer of 2005, Sergeant Millard, who served as an assistant to a general in Tikrit, attended a briefing on a checkpoint shooting, at which his role was to flip PowerPoint slides.

“This unit sets up this traffic control point, and this 18-year-old kid is on top of an armored Humvee with a .50-caliber machine gun,” he said. “This car speeds at him pretty quick and he makes a split-second decision that that’s a suicide bomber, and he presses the butterfly trigger and puts 200 rounds in less than a minute into this vehicle. It killed the mother, a father and two kids. The boy was aged 4 and the daughter was aged 3. And they briefed this to the general. And they briefed it gruesome. I mean, they had pictures. They briefed it to him. And this colonel turns around to this full division staff and says, ‘If these fucking hajis learned to drive, this shit wouldn’t happen.’”
The audio from WSI repeats the story, although it omits the 18 year age and adds the names of the general and colonel. Eight seconds of Millard's testimony in which he quoted the colonel about "hajis" has also been erased from the War Comes Home audio. However, Veterans for Peace reported it as others heard it on the live broadcast and recorded it.

Last July, SFC Jeff Nuding, who is proprietor of Dadmanly milblog, wrote a deconstruction of Millard's story based upon it being written in The Nation, that is more than worth the read:

I can’t dismiss the anti-war voices in The Nation piece, but I can quickly surmise that many of the soldiers interviewed are anti-war careerists, who have attached themselves to groups like Code Pink or Iraqi Veterans Against the War (IVAW). I can also state with absolute conviction that among those who make the most damning assertions about US military conduct have no first hand basis for their assertions.

Sergeant Geoffrey Millard is one such soldier who makes claims beyond his experience in The Nation piece. Millard was assigned to the Rear Operations Center (ROC), 42nd Infantry Division at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Speicher in Tikrit. I also served with the 42nd, I am familiar with the ROC at Speicher, and know two officers who served in the ROC during the same period as Millard, one of whom I would say I have a casual acquaintance (and great respect). I served as his First Sergeant for a brief period when he was the HHC Commander.

After redeployment, I had a chance to get reacquainted with spent some time explaining to me what his section did, how they interacted with the Division HQ and the other 42nd ID Commands. Among other duties, the ROC tracked the convoys that exited and/or entered the FOB. Their mission included the tracking of IEDs and VBIEDs in the Area of Operations, supervising the proper submission and quality control of convoy paperwork – there’s always paperwork for everything -- and keeping command and staff informed of recent trends, updated threat assessments, and so forth. SGT Millard served as a staff NCO in an administrative section in the rear – what combat soldiers would correctly (if harshly) ridicule as a “Fobbit.” (I was a Fobbit too, though I complete about a dozen convoys off the FOB.)

In The Nation piece, Millard even reinforces the obvious distance from which he offers criticism of our military, as the “clicker” for a Command Powerpoint presentation on an unfortunate checkpoint shooting of a family. His beef in that instance? That a Colonel, briefing staff officers and commanders at what sounds to be like a weekly Commander’s brief, made the comment that “If these fucking hajis learned to drive, this shit wouldn’t happen.”

If that passes for scandal to anti-war types, we’ve come quite a ways from My Li.

Based on what I know of the 42nd in Tikrit and our Command structure, the Colonel Millard uses as example for US military callousness is likely a Brigade Commander, most probably from Artillery or one of the Infantry Brigades. These were some no sh**, can the nicety type commanders. But discipline is discipline, they knew the public relations and “hearts and minds” importance of their missions, and took extraordinary effort to prevent the kinds of unfortunately incident briefed in Millard’s powerpoint slides. The fact itself that they briefed the incident in detail speaks volumes about how important the command viewed these setbacks, as setbacks, to be avoided however possible.

What Millard didn’t add to this little anecdote was what happened next, based on this incident and others like it in theater: revised Rules of Engagement, follow-up training and briefings by Commanders and NCOs, and changes in procedures for Convoy drivers, truck commanders (TCs), and gunners. I know, because our guys bitched like hell every time some incident or another caused yet another command directive: Wave them off (or for a while, throw small stones at windshields), point the barrel of the M2 at them, and lastly, fire a warning shot on the pavement in front of the vehicle.

Sometimes that meant the round glanced back into the engine block, disabling the vehicle entirely – not good, now you have a broken down vehicle in your way – or even into the vehicle and causing injuries to driver or passengers.

Iraqi drivers obey a coda of traffic laws known only unto themselves, if at all, in peacetime. Adding the stresses and threats of insurgents, VBIEDS, US and Coalition Military, Iraqi Army, and Iraqi Police into the mix, they only get worse. So yes, for local commanders, if the locals would exercise a little more care and prudence, Commanders at all levels wouldn’t have any such incidents for which soldier correction would be required.

Just as at our FOB (Danger) down the road about 20 kilometers, FOB Speicher received its share of mortar and rocket attacks, the overwhelming majority of which were completely ineffective without causing any injuries. Yet SGT Millard, endearing himself to his anti-war audiences, makes it out like some Vietnam redux, only worse, with “pops of machine gun fire and the bangs of mortar rounds exploding all hours of the day and night.”

Our FOB was tiny in comparison to the square mileage of Speicher, so the net effect of any rounds impacting this great big patch of desert with great amounts of open space had to be even less intimidating.

Look, we had soldiers who were spooked by what little we experienced at Danger. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting poor Millard can’t be suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) -- if not from close physical contact with Cindy Sheehan, then from whatever he witnessed at Speicher (or was told about, or heard about in FOB gossip). But I would bet a month’s wages that, pressed top back up his claims, Millard like most of the other voices The Nation selected, they “heard about this kind of sh** from lots of guys.” (Especially after making themselves celebrities in the anti-war industry.)

Read it all.

For an interesting on-line discussion between Sgt Geoff Millard and a SFC Holmes who served with him, go here and scroll down.

Winter Soldier Update

Read Jonn Lilyea's round-up at This Ain't Hell: Winter Soldier; my impressions, an AAR (After Action Report). Jonn was live-blogging WSI.

Read Bruce Kesler’s take and comparison to WSI 1971: Elmer Gantry Need at Winter Soldier II. Bruce was the founder of the Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace in 1971, the anti-Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

What I would call Boyle's Razor has been vindicated:
The Winter Soldier stories will follow a familiar pattern. Wartime events that are often both legal and moral, but that may have disturbing or tragic consequences out of the realm of normal civilian experience are deliberately mischaracterized by IVAW activists to put them in the worst possible light.

IVAW's Walter Mittys

Just as Camilo Mejia’s six hours in Iraq during which his squad was ordered to guard detainees evolved at Winter Soldier in a self aggrandizing manner to:
"My first mission in Iraq was to run a prisoner of war camp...” too now Geoff Millard’s story changes in the same self-magnifying way.

Years ago, in speaking of the killing of a family of Iraqis at a checkpoint and how he heard the matter discussed in a staff briefing, Millard’s story was reported as:
During the summer of 2005, Sergeant Millard, who served as an assistant to a general in Tikrit, attended a briefing on a checkpoint shooting, at which his role was to flip PowerPoint slides.
Now from his WSI Millard testimony Millard can be heard on audio saying:
"...a briefing that I gave..."
Note: audio file saved for posterity.

Mejia running a camp, Millard briefing generals and colonels...and did I mention a certain name in the previous post?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

IVAW's Geoff Millard - Uber Narcissist!

Geoff Millard has struck me as one of the Iraq Veterans Against the War's most oddly fascinating members. It was hard to break away from observing the ever escalating bizarre antics of now former IVAW member Jonathan DeWald because of the morbid fascination of watching what you just knew had to be a train wreck in progress. Millard is also curiously fascinating to watch as something like an IVAW version of Walter Mitty living in his own world of self-aggrandizing delusions.

Only yesterday at the IVAW's Winter Soldier Investigation Geoff Millard confronted live-milblogger TSO while apparently channeling Laurenti Beria, as reported by Robin at Chickenhawk Express:
And if that wasn't enough, big bad Geoff Millard confronted TSO about making "unauthorized contact" with the WaPo reporter...
TSO (Thus Spake Ortner of The Sniper) liveblogged this after having tried (and failed) to engage the WaPo's Steve Vogel in conversation:
Maybe being thrown out, wait one. (Geoff Millard let me know they are monitoring Sniper, and apparently I violated a rule by talking to the Post guy. Which is odd since I had his people with me and was told it was okay. Whatever, they said I could stay. Whupee! Honestly didn't know.)
Geoff Millard is, of course, all about openess and freedom of speech and a free press and citizen access to the media and all of that, since he is a reporter for the leftist! He only tries to silence what is, I guess, objectively bad!

In July 2006 Robin at Chickenhawk Express reported about Millard's High School knee injury and a re-injury while stationed in Vermont that led to his being on "profile" for most of his time in theatre. That can explain why he was on a general's staff, doing things like preparing and flipping PowerPoint presentations in Iraq. A year ago, Robin detailed Millard's migrating injuries and disabilities that went from knee to depleted uranium exposure to spinal!

Robin linked to the Lonestaricon site which had this about Millard:
[Millard] worked as an assistant to a general he declined to name because he still has a year left on his contract. Because of his physical disabilities, Millard said he is hoping for a medical discharge from the National Guard.
That page is gone, but you've got to love the Wayback Machine! When the try at a medical discharge didn't work, Millard declared himself a conscientious objector. And of course, there is no reason now, one would think, why Millard can't identify the general he worked for.

Robin also reported Millard's fawning admiration of Hugo Chavez:
"Chavez made references to Noam Chomsky [in his WSF address]. I found a politican who can read! Unlike our president - I wonder if he is a functional illiterate. The man almost died eating a pretzel."
On Chavez - "this is a man who is starting to look out for the interests of his people, who's telling the corporate interests a big'no'. He's saying that my job is for the people first and foremost."
"As long as the US is a military superpower, the world is going in the wrong direction. But the hope of Venezuela is that the people from the grassroots level can oppose all that. If they can do it here, then we can do it in the USA."
Millard was reported to have made the following claim, sans those troubling details as we've come to expect with such, like date, unit, persons, event details and signed statement (D.U.P.E.S.) at CommonDreams:
During the summer of 2005, Sergeant Millard, who served as an assistant to a general in Tikrit, attended a briefing on a checkpoint shooting, at which his role was to flip PowerPoint slides.

“This unit sets up this traffic control point, and this 18-year-old kid is on top of an armored Humvee with a .50-caliber machine gun,” he said. “This car speeds at him pretty quick and he makes a split-second decision that that’s a suicide bomber, and he presses the butterfly trigger and puts 200 rounds in less than a minute into this vehicle. It killed the mother, a father and two kids. The boy was aged 4 and the daughter was aged 3. And they briefed this to the general. And they briefed it gruesome. I mean, they had pictures. They briefed it to him. And this colonel turns around to this full division staff and says, ‘If these fucking hajis learned to drive, this shit wouldn’t happen.’”
Whether or not commanding officers shared this attitude, interviewees said, troops were rarely held accountable for shooting civilians at checkpoints. Eight veterans described the prevailing attitude among them as “Better to be tried by twelve men than carried by six.” Since the number of troops tried for killing civilians is so scant, interviewees said, they would risk court-martial over the possibility of injury or death.
That depiction of the attitude of American troops at checkpoints where civilians were killed is reminiscent of the claims made by IVAW co-founder Jimmy Massey. Massey had falsely claimed that his Marine unit had killed thirty civilians at a checkpoint in two days until embedded reporter Ron Harris of the St.Louis Dispatch outed him as a liar. That forced a few papers and the AP that had published Massey claims to issue retractions. In a debate between Massey and Harris, Massey not only retracted the thirty killed civilians claim but admitted that the attitude of the Marines in a unit that had unintentionally killed civilians was that they were angry at themselves for the mistake, as opposed to Geoff Millard's "cavalier" attitude. Massey's incredulous history has forced IVAW to do some backtracking on their co-founder, but Millard repeats the same kind of story.

While Millard's detailess story cannot be checked with what he has revealed, such as the name of the general holding that briefing and the colonel Millard claims made that statement, it is at the least questionable. While it is possible for a soldier to have finished basic training and whatever MOS training that follows to be deployed to Iraq at eighteen, it is fairly improbable. I also had some question about how a .50 cal machine gun (likely the M2) mounted on an armored Humvee would be fired, because that 200 round claim sounded a bit off. I just spoke to a Special Forces weapons sergeant (18B) who concurs that the claim does not sound right. A .50 cal would be fired in short bursts of several rounds each, and it would only take a few rounds to stop a car and a few bursts to all but destroy it. To fire off 200 rounds, the gunner would have to be something like wildly panicked and holding or pulling the trigger for a lot more than required, machine-gun-firing-wise. Maybe if he "testifies" at WSI, Millard will give the details to allow the story to be checked. And maybe I'll win the lottery. Hey, it could happen!

The thing that has most fascinated me, though, about Millard, is his delusional self-promotion. In that, I would vote him the IVAW member most likely to try to follow in the footsteps of John Forbes Kerry. When IVAW takes the next step after WSI ends, and tries according to the script to have the "testimony" entered into the Congressional Record (as per 1971), I expect the go-to man in Congress may be Dennis Kucinich, already possibly sighted at WSI. And yes, that is Geoff Millard and Dennis Kucinich photographed together.

Millard seems unable to resist getting himself photographed in two ways that appear decidely posed.
One way is as the compassionate Millard.

The other is odd for the clerk to a general. I have not seen photos of a military personage with this much seemingly heroic panache since Douglas MacArthur faded away!

Here is a bit of contrast: if you knew nothing about them, which of the two men shown in the following photos would you think had served in Iraq as a clerk to a general, and which is a nominee for the Congressional Medal of Honor?

The first and third were, of course, Millard. The second and fourth were of SSgt. David Bellavia, TSO's good buddy and that was his LUIAV (light urban infantry assault vehicle) that David was riding in pic #2.

You can read the narritive nominating SSgt. David Bellavia for the Congressional Medal of Honor here.

Forget which one looks like you might think a "hero" looks like. Which one looks like a genuine human being, and someone who is not full of himself or takes himself too seriously, and whom you would like, trust and maybe even want to have your back?

It ain't, for me, Walter Mitty.