Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Touching Nerves, Hearts and Painful Memories

Repost with edit from 2/27.

On Feb 25 Scott Swett’s article “Newly Discovered Army Reports Discredit ‘Winter Soldier’ Claims” on the discovery of the summary files of the Army CID Investigations of VVAW War Crimes Allegations from the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation was published at FrontPageMag.com. The same day the petition entitled “Appeal to the Senate Armed Service Committee” went up on the Net.

Many of the hundreds of signatories have made comments. Many of those show how truly appalled people are that the Senate allowed the 1971 Winter Soldier Testimony to be entered into the Congressional Record, with none of that testimony having been given under oath or accompanied by legally binding affidavits or depositions. When that is added to the Senate also giving VVAW’s John Kerry a televised and credible platform to smear the Vietnam veterans, without rebuttal or follow-up hearings or report on the veracity of the charges by the Senate, the emotions and righteous indignation run high.

That combination, with already available quotes by and statements about IVAW and its members allow for – something of an overview of what Winter Soldier Investigation 2008 will mean:

  • “Charges of atrocities must be taken seriously and investigated. False allegations are equally serious and must be prosecuted.” Lewis Waters, SASC Petition Signatory
  • "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars to be treated and appreciated by their nation." -- George Washington Michael Dennin, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “As both a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant and one who served during Tet-1968 I ask that you please do not allow our Brave Men & Women serving in Harms Way in Iraq and Afghanistan to go through what we Vietnam Vets went through in returning home.” Lawrence B. Hoffa, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “Not again, nope, not again!” Steve Nelson, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “Please don't make the same mistakes that were made in 1971.” Robert H Veno, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “DO NOT allow lies and innuendo to become part of history! Stop the smear of our good men and women in uniform by this maladjusted group of malcontents. They lied during Vietnam, and their offspring are attempting to do the same...NEVER AGAIN!” ROGER ERIC PETERSON, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: Douglas Craig claimed at WSI that members of his battalion had fired mortar rounds each night into a local dump, intentionally killing civilians who were scavenging for food. Craig told investigators he had no direct knowledge of these events and expressed misgivings about making allegations in Detroit he could not substantiate.

“Personally, I will be testifying to the illegal use of Afghan corpses for medical "practice," which I witnessed while serving as a medic in Afghanistan.”
Perry O’Brien, Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • “Any and all claims MUST be investigated and charges brought forth under UCMJ. This can not further erode the confidence the American public has, we must stand behind our brave men and women in the armed services.” Garth von Homan, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “It is especially important that, if claims of illegal acts are made against US military personnel, the claimant be subpoenaed for sworn testimony.” Dr. Marc Fries, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “Never again let our veterans feel their Country doesn't stand behind them. Thank you.” Gini Squire, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “We will NOT STAND for any repeat of what our veterans went through in Vietnam. NEVER AGAIN!” Robert Caissie, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I am a Viet Nam veteran. I served from 1965 to 1969. I ask that you do not let this happen again. These men and women serve a far greater need than to be labeled as those in 1971. It was crap then and it will be crap again today”. Jerry D. Christensen, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: Larry Craig claimed at WSI that he watched US soldiers murder a Vietnamese civilian and, on another occasion, desecrate Vietnamese graves. Craig admitted to investigators that the man who was killed could have been Vietcong, and that the soldier allegedly digging in a cemetery could have been looking for weapons caches.

"The policies that the military engages will create situations, create dynamics, create, ultimately, atrocity."
Matt Howard, Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • “As I vividly recall The Congress is charged with providing the Common Defense of this Republic. Do the Right Thing... for those that have served honorably in the Uniform Services of this Nation. Unsworn testimony in the Congressional Record by malcontents? God Save this Republic from them.” Maj. S. M. HARTNETT USMC, Ret, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “Take good care of those who take care of you. Use due diligence when proving/disproving stated claims. Remember, these people have a specific agenda which does NOT include defending the United States.” James B. Faux Jr. , SASC Petition Signatory
  • “So that lies will not go unchallenged, and unexposed THIS TIME.” William G. Smith, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “My younger son is a newly minted Marine presently stationed at Kaneohe Bay, awaiting deployment. I am proud of him, as I am of all the other men and women who have chosen to serve this country, risking their lives for our sake. I deplore the politicization of our engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, putting the lives of our military in unnecessary jeopardy for the sake of political posturing and gain. I sincerely hope that the Senate Armed Services Committee will assure that their sacrifices will not be blemished by those whose opposition to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is motivated by a desire to see the United States as inevitably wrong, and act from the desire to see us fail.” Rita F. Mattingly, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “This is right on track and we should have learned from past mistakes. Let us not forget Vietnam and what was said about those who served our nation at that time.” Stephen R. Dodimead, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: Donald Donner claimed at WSI that Army personnel had murdered a Vietnamese male, intentionally wounded a 14-year-old Vietnamese girl, indiscriminately slaughtered livestock and failed to bury enemy dead. Donner admitted to the CID that his stories were actually lies, rumors and accounts of accidental events.

"The killing of innocent civilians is policy…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."
Mike Blake, Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • “The honor of those who serve our country should not be allowed to be stained by these "sunshine patriots." Please do not allow another generation of soldiers to be found guilty in the court of public opinion without signed depositions and witness statements.” Ron Allen, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “As a Vietnam Era USMC Veteran, who also had a sister in the Corps and three brothers in the Army then, and lost a family member in Kuwait in March 5, 2004, I can not stress enough my support for this petition. Our "Troops," "Veterans," and Our "Nation" deserve accountability based on facts not innuendo or political expedience!” Brenda S. Ramos, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I am a 100% disabled Vietnam Veteran…the Winter soldier fiasco of 71 was fraudulent and backed by communist organizations who backed the VVAW...the IVAW now is taking directions from the VVAW...It would be a crime against our armed forces to allow several hundred men out of millions who served to tarnish their service to our country.” Gary Assell, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “As a retired 23 year special ops veteran, I demand that the US government not allow a repeat of the 1971 winter soldier fiasco of liars, anarchists and socialist politicians. We veterans and active duty military will be closely watching how our collective reputations are protected, or not, by you the government of the US.” Timothy L. Woods, USAF, MAJ, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I'm a proud Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom!” Paul Couturier, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: John Lytle claimed at WSI that his unit murdered civilians by destroying villages with artillery fire without making any effort to determine who was there. However, Lytle told the CID that the villages were actually fired on because it was suspected that Vietcong occupied them and incoming fire had been received from the area.

"...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… No, I didn’t personally witness any [atrocities], but I came to know about certain cases."
Harvey Tharp, Iraq Veterans Against the War, interviewed in the Yemen Times 2/25
  • “As a commissioned officer veteran of the Vietnam War, I ask that the honorable members of the US Senate take action to prevent lies similar to those told before you after the conflict in Vietnam from tarnishing the honor of our men and women involved in Iraq.” Gary J. Honold, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I am a VietNam Vet. I was offended with John Kerry and the likes of him back i n 1971 and am offended with the so-called Obama story on the lieutenant in Afghanistan. Give us date, times and names. Not usual barracks B.S. talk, but real facts and none of this political rhetoric and war stories without substance. Without facts of dates, times & names, its pure fiction. I didn't like being labeled a killer back then and I know our soldiers now don't either. If you make a public claim, then back it up under oath with a penalty of perjury if you don't. Let's keep the politics out of it and let our troops do their jobs.” Ishmel Taylor, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “It is about time the risks, the service of our military overseas is reviewed, evaluated and protected by honest criteria, instead of lies, innuendo and rhetoric that is intended solely for political purposes.” Tom Page, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I am a Korean War Ex-POW and a 2-tour veteran of the Vietnam War with the 101st Abn Div. My generation was disgraced by people of the same ilk as the IVAW. Do not let the IRAQ Veterans suffer the same fate as the Korean & Vietnam Veterans did.” Edwin C. Lundquist, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I am a Combat Vietnam Veteran 1965-1967 We do not need the same garbage to happen to the Gallant Men and Women that are now serving. See what happened to our Country before. It took 35 to 40 years to over come the crap. God Bless our Country and the Men and Women who are now serving.” Johnie Lee Qualls, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: Robert McConnachie claimed at WSI that Army troops in a convoy threw C-ration cans at Vietnamese children with such force as to kill one or two. He also said an artillery unit had intentionally shelled a hospital and killed civilians. McConnachie backtracked when questioned by military investigators, saying that no Vietnamese children were actually killed by troops throwing C-rations. He said he now believed that the alleged killing of civilians in a hospital by artillery fire was accidental.

“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.”
Dahr Jamail, independent reporter, writing in Aug 2005 about a conversation with Iraq Veterans Against the War members Abdul Henderson, Alex Ryabov, Camilo Mejia, Harvey Tharp, Michael Hoffman and Charlie Anderson. Details of the hours of atrocity stories were not provided.

Harvey Tharp, who this month admitted in the Yemen Times that he had never witnessed an atrocity in Iraq, told Dahr Jamail in 2005:

“Most of what we’re talking about is war crimes…war crimes because they are directed by our government for power projection.”
  • “I am a former member of the USAF who served honorably from 1973 to 1984. We must honor our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coasties. They stood up for us by serving voluntarily, Now we must honor them by standing up for them and doing what is right.” Charles F. Gait, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “Unless sworn testimony can be proven to be accurate, this testimony should not be included in the Congressional Record. When the Vietnam Veterans Against the War provided testimony and it was included in the Congressional Record, Congress dropped the ball and failed to investigate. When it was independently investigated, many of those who testified [were] proven to be liars. Don't let this happen to another generation.” Vickie Perkins, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I beg you... Do not let this go unchecked. Not again.” Dan Clifford, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: Ronald Palosaari claimed at WSI that Army troops killed two children and an old lady by throwing a grenade into a bunker next to a house. He also said he saw a Vietnamese soldier cut off the ear of a NVA soldier who had just been killed. Interviewed by Army investigators, Palosaari was unable to provide specific dates, locations or the names of any individuals involved in the alleged grenade incident. He admitted that he did not actually witness the mutilation of any enemy dead.

“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.”
Jen Hogg, Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • “The Armed Services Committee should be present for the entire proceeding and have access to those testifying. Any allegations against our troops, be it equipment shortages to any alleged atrocities should be aggressively challenged and thoroughly investigated. No one should be able to make any claims unless they are willing to back them up and cooperate with an investigation. I would prefer that they be sworn in before they testify and held liable for any false testimony.” Daniel Recine, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “If testimony regarding the use of steroids by Major League Baseball players rises to the level of requiring sworn testimony in order for the statements to be entered into the Congressional record, certainly claims of widespread atrocities, indiscriminate and unwarranted killing of civilians and destruction of property and infrastructure, torture of detainees, mutilation of corpses and the illegal use of Afghan bodies for medical "practice", rampant sexual misconduct, racism and drug/alcohol use by American soldiers and more should also require that such statements be attested to by sworn statement and legally authenticated affidavits.” Bruce, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “It is our duty as Americans to protect the honor of our troops from slander and defamation at home while they are serving us abroad.” Dan Maloney, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: Donald Pugsley claimed at WSI that a helicopter gunship strafed and killed water buffalo. He admitted to investigators that no water buffalo were actually fired upon.

Claims to have witnessed Americans "murdering thousands of Iraqis"during the invasion.
Charles Anderson, Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • “I am the sister of a Medal Of Honor soldier killed in Viet Nam and it breaks my heart to see once again our soldiers in Iraq vilified. They are America's best and they are giving their lives for us and the people of Iraq. Please do what is right.” Patricia (Gertsch) Leggate, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “No testimony should be taken without accountability and proof; and certainly not entered into the Congressional Record without that proof. I can't believe that was allowed to happen in 1971!!!” Richard Miller, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “Dearest Honorable members of the SASC, Right your wrong from the past. My father and uncles hung their heads at the admission of their service because of you. Right your wrong. Be proud of your veterans, not suspicious.” Thomas Chandler, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: Kenneth Ruth claimed at WSI to have witnessed the torture of Vietcong suspects, and told Life Magazine that he saw troops test fire weapons into a village, wounding 43 civilians. However, Ruth admitted to Army investigators that he had no personal knowledge of such an event. The CID found his torture claims unsubstantiated.

"During the initial invasion we killed women. We killed children. We senselessly killed farm animals. We were the United States Marine Corps...and we left a swath of death and destruction in our wake all the way to Baghdad..."
Matt Howard, Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • “I request that the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee not allow what happened to a previous generation of veterans be allowed to happen to another and even be aided, as it was then, by the United States Senate.” MSG ROGER H. COOPER USA(RET) , SASC Petition Signatory
  • “As a Vietnam War Army volunteer and partially disabled veteran, I have lived through this ugly lie for nearly four decades... almost my entire adult life. Don't let this travesty destroy the public perception of our honored military again. They have more than earned their honor with their blood, their sweat, and the tears of their loved ones.” Donald Castella, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I wholeheartedly agree with the proposal outlined in this petition and request appropriate action be taken by those in Congress. We don't need another group making false allegations and destroying the public's faith in our military.” Dave Nesbitt, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: George Smith claimed at WSI that members of his Special Forces unit had beaten enemy prisoners and placed them in small barbed-wire cages. Smith backtracked on these claims when interviewed by Army investigators, saying that the alleged acts were actually committed by South Vietnamese forces rather than American troops.

"We would declare zones 'weapons-free'...and shoot everything that moved...weapons-free means you can shoot anyone and that's exactly what we did...tanks went in and shot everything that moved: men, women, children, donkeys—it was a turkey shoot."
Matt Howard, Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • “Our military personnel deserve our support and respect for their selfless service, not unsubstantiated and inflammatory charges from sources of questionable veracity and suspect motives.” Stanley J. Dykstra, LTC, USAR (Ret) , SASC Petition Signatory
  • “As a Viet Nam veteran I have been besmirched by these self serving, lying slugs. As the father-in-law and grandfather of serving soldiers in theatre, I will not stand by and allow the same treatment of my progeny by traitors. If this so called \"investigation\" is not monitored by competent authority it is the same horse puckey perpetrated thirty-seven years ago, and will be legitimized by the same traitors in your august body today and their ilk.” Matthew J Worner , SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I am in full agreement with this petition, and trust that the honorable members of the committee well ensure that these accusations by the IVAW are fully investigated and dealt with appropriately.” Timothy S. Kindred, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “I am a combat veteran 1966-1969. Please do not allow the slanderous travesty that happened in 1971 to once again occur. Our Soldiers and Marines deserve better from their legislators.” Robert l Monahan, SASC Petition Signatory
1971 Winter Soldier CID Investigation files: David Stark claimed at WSI that hundreds of Vietnamese civilians were killed by indiscriminate bombing and strafing in the Saigon area during late 1968. He also claimed to have witnessed the maltreatment of prisoners. However, Stark told CID interviewers that he actually saw no bodies, was unable to identify the aircraft or military units involved in the attacks or the cleanup operation, and admitted that he had never witnessed maltreatment of prisoners, except for a single occasion when he said he saw a prisoner pushed and shoved by two South Vietnamese officers.

"I will be testifying to the abuse of detainees and having participated in the use of sleep deprivation and other inhumane treatment as well as the desecration of Iraqi bodies.”
Adam Kokesh, Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • “Because of the armed forces from years gone by, we are able to get out of our beds each morning, look out the window and breath in the air of freedom. This petition is long overdue and very much on target. God Bless those who put themselves in harms way and put a serious burden on those they love in order to do what they do.” Martha Gayle Brenizer , SASC Petition Signatory
  • “Thirty-seven years ago John Kerry was allowed to testify before congress with statements and assertions that were not only unproved but blatantly false about the conduct of Vietnam Veterans. I never raped, randomly shot civilians or killed babies as he testified and know no one that did. Kerry's testimony stained 2.6 million Vietnam Veterans for life and my request is simple do not accept unproven testimony from the Iraq Veterans Against The War. Donald L. Forkum, SASC Petition Signatory
  • “Past Commander American Legion Post 291 Newport Beach, California If we as a country order our troops into harms way, it seems to me we have an obligation to stand with them in matters of ethics and integrity among other things. Those who are willing to testify, should be allowed to do so under oath and for the record. The record should not include unverified information from those not sworn to tell the whole truth.” Paul Curtis, SASC Petition Signatory
"...the American G.I., they are taught from the day that they land in Kuwait and every moment that they move north into Iraq and every moment they’re in Iraq, they’re taught to dehumanize Iraqi people. This term “haji” is very prevalent...to the U.S. military, it’s a term of dehumanization, one that’s used so that the American G.I. can kill without question and who can follow an order to kill someone without question...”
Geoff Millar, Iraq Veterans Against the War

Desensitized American Airman Dehumanizing an Iraqi:

The story of Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt and the little Iraqi girl.

The Morally Superior and Self Righteous:

"I was able to see the full humanity of Iraqis in a way that we as Americans simply fail to recognize in foreigners generally..."
Harvey Tharp, Iraq Veterans Against the War


streetsweeper95B said...

Our young friend's nefarious blogging spot over @ chickenhawk-watch is out of commission....

Anonymous said...

You have tested it and writing form your personal experience or you find some information online?