Skip to comments.Winter-Soldier Again: But maybe this time, the press will be less credulous
Posted on 03/31/2008 7:34:46 AM PDT by Interesting Times
An organization calling itself Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) convened a conference in Silver Spring, Maryland, entitled Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan — Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations, this month. Modeling itself on the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI), which provided the text for John Kerry’s infamous testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee later that year, the event claimed to “feature testimony from U.S. veterans who served in [the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan], giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.” But in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it was like déjà vu all over again.
Then . . .
Those who suffered through my many National Review Online and National Review pieces on John Kerry and alleged atrocities in Vietnam during the election year of 2004 — a series that began, by the way, in January, long before anyone had ever heard of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — will recall that the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) was organized by “the usual suspects” among antiwar celebrities, e.g. Jane Fonda, Dick Gregory, and Kennedy-assassination conspiracy theorist Mark Lane. During the course of the proceedings, individuals purporting to be Vietnam veterans recounted horrible stories of atrocities: using prisoners for target practice, throwing them out of helicopters, cutting off the ears of dead Viet Cong soldiers, burning villages, and gang-raping women as a matter of course.
My assessment of the WSI and Kerry’s use of it to advance his political career was, shall we say, negative. Based on my own research and that of others, I concluded that at least some of the WSI witnesses were imposters, and that many of those who were not imposters nonetheless recounted stories that they were in no position to observe. On the very useful Winter Soldier internet site, Scott Swett, co-author (with Tim Ziegler) of To Set the Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs, and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, offers additional evidence to discredit the 1971 WSI. He provides access to the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division’s (CID) investigations of the allegations made by WSI witnesses, which if true, would have qualified as crimes. CID opened criminal investigations into the claims of 43 WSI witnesses, which were eventually resolved as follows: “25 WSI participants refused to cooperate, 13 provided information but failed to support the allegations, and five could not be located. No criminal charges were filed as a result of any of the investigations.”
As I pointed out in several of my NRO pieces, the experience of the Naval Investigate Service (NIS, now Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS) examining the claims made by Marines at the Detroit event was identical. When NIS attempted to interview the witnesses, most refused to cooperate, even after assurances that they would not be questioned about atrocities they may have committed personally. Those that did cooperate never provided details of actual crimes to investigators. The NIS also discovered that some of the most grisly testimony was given by fake witnesses who had appropriated the names of real Vietnam veterans.
. . . And Now
Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan (WSI II) repeats the pattern of the 1971 WSI:
o vague charges, lacking specific details and the supporting evidence that real investigations require to ascertain the truth;The big difference between then and now is that in 1971, far too few members of the press or the public were predisposed to question the claims of the WSI witnesses. My Lai had recently burst upon the American public, contributing to the belief that atrocities were widespread in Vietnam. The WSI and Kerry’s testimony seemed to merely confirm what a cynical press and a war-weary public had been primed to believe.
o mischaracterizing as atrocities or war crimes events occuring during the conduct of combat operations that, while disturbing or tragic, are still legal and moral, e.g. the events in Hadithah two years ago — the fact is that not every bad thing that happens in war is an atrocity;
o descriptions of events that, if they did in fact occur, should have been reported up the chain of command, but were not; and
o “witnesses” of questionable veracity.
WSII flopperoo ping...
Thanks for the ping!
Thanks for the post.
For years I thought it took place in December of 1967, it wasn't a rumor, I was in the hospital with guys that were there, it wasn't until thirty years later that I read the after action report and I was corrected.
Bump to a big Flop! Good work!
I suspect that a lot of leftist reporters would go ahead and publish this propaganda as factual, if they were not aware that the patriotic blogosphere might as a result succeed in destroying their careers.
Dan Rather lost his job. Hillary clinton can no longer spread verifiable lies and order the evidence to be buried. Editors have been publicly embarrassed and are unlikely to want to repeat the experience.
Who wants to become famous for a juicy atrocity story, and then get shot down by hundreds of bloggers for failing to check the most elementary facts, or even for lying?
This was actually Winter Soldier 2.1 because the Vietnam Veterans Against the War already staged Winter Soldier 2 in Boston on Oct 7-8-9, 1971 in Faneuli Hall.
IVAW = VVAW Puppets
Credulity has nothing to do with it. All that matters is if it fits the Democrat press's agenda.
I was actually contacted by the “Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal” which was held at Ga.State University, in the 70s to testify. I told them I would be glad to testify about VC atrocities......they told me they weren’t interested in that. Don’t call us, we’ll call you etc.etc.
Hahahah slime. John Kerry still owes us. Jengis Khan my butt.
Now there is a little-known factoid.
Perhaps the leftists might have considered a few other permutations? Winter Soldier Returns. Son of Winter Soldier. Winter Soldier in Space. Winter Soldier Meets Billy the Kid. Winter Soldier Versus Mothra.
How about Harry Potter-type title? Winter Soldier and the Vanishing Atrocities.
A number of us went to considerable lengths to suggest precisely that, via the Reporter's Guide and other methods. The dearth of fawning WSII coverage by the old media (which the leftists have been whining about most energetically) may well have been the payoff.
There's also the desire not to be exposed and ridiculed as a lying shill.
CID opened criminal investigations into the claims of 43 WSI witnesses, which were eventually resolved as follows: 25 WSI participants refused to cooperate, 13 provided information but failed to support the allegations, and five could not be located. No criminal charges were filed as a result of any of the investigations"Well, you and Tim shined the light and lifted the veil but will the blind see?
Ya hav'ta believe in miracles
Thanks for pinging me to this stuff Scott.
This guy's on his game.
That is generally the case. Dr. Owens' January 2004 article on Kerry and the VVAW was a key reason I decided to start digging into the topic - an effort that resulted in WinterSoldier.com.
A fine suggestion, and one that I heartily endorse.
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