"The most dramatic testimony out of the IVAW's Winter Soldier II hearings is that American troops are using bullets in Iraq!" Col. Harry Riley, US Army, Retired, at Eagles Muster, Washington, D.C., May 15, 2008.
There is a saying that sunlight is the strongest disinfectant. That was certainly the case this past weekend in the Washington, D.C., area when American veterans and troop supporters gathered to counter the Iraq Veterans Against the War's ill-conceived Winter Soldier II "hearings" at the National Labor College in Silver Springs, Maryland.
The original Winter Soldier "investigation" was a farce put together by John Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War in 1971 during which American troops who served in Vietnam were maligned and labeled murderers and baby killers by Kerry and his pro-communist cohorts.
The word behind the scenes this past weekend was that the IVAW was being coached by left-over relics from the VVAW's days of disgrace, and hoped through the use of innuendo, slander and outright lies, to have the same impact on this generation of warriors. This, by the way, is part of the communist playbook and game plan for its long-term goal of destroying democracy from within. It isn't working.
The big difference between now and the 70s is that Americans from all walks of life are well aware of Kerry's traitorous activities then, how they impacted America and caused the Southeast Asia holocaust during which millions of our allies were slaughtered by the communists after America left the region.
Many of these Americans joined forces in Silver Springs on Friday, March 14, 2008, to expose and oppose what had been planned. In that we were eminently successful.
Pro-troop demonstrators gathered at the entrance to the National Labor College's George Meaney campus to greet the IVAW as its minuscule membership arrived to "testify" inside a campus building to participating in, or being accessories to, war crimes and atrocities.
Inside, independent bloggers dutifully took down every word from every "witness." For months prior to this staged event, I have been writing that if there is to be a true investigation of these claims, and witnesses testifying, then they should adhere to the same rules that apply in our courts.
I said in this column and it has been repeated far and wide, that there should be verifiable names, addresses, military service details, and specifics on what was alleged, when and where it allegedly occurred, who was there, the military units involved, other individuals on the scene, by name and rank, times and dates.
This is not unfair, nor does it put an undue burden on those who planned to testify. It merely applies the same rules of law that exist in every court in our country. The IVAW is charging President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney with instigating war crimes, and as such, they have the right to confront their accusers.
When all was said and done, the IVAW produced nothing but rehashed left-wing talking points, and a limited forum for malcontents, a couple of whom were really over the edge. In the days leading up to the IVAW's event, some of its members had openly threatened physical harm and bombings to anyone who opposed them, specifically Michelle Malkin and other bloggers, which forced the IVAW to disavow them.
In addition, the sunlight focused on Winter Soldier II and the very reasonable demands that those involve identify themselves, verify their claims, and repeat them to the appropriate military and federal law enforcement officials, put that group on the spot to either put up or shut up. In the end, the IVAW shut up.
Oh, they rummaged around in ancient history, raising issues ranging from the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968 to the Abu Gharib prisoner incident from several years ago in Iraq. But when all was said and done, there was no flood of left-wing reporters calling the rewrite desk to deliver a breaking scoop on American atrocities. All in all it amounted to a very poorly staged farce.
There were a couple of low points, the most astounding of which occurred when a Vietnam veteran entered the IVAW forum unopposed and unchallenged, walked to the front of the room and denounced the proceedings. I was told the gentleman was tackled from behind by at least two IVAW goons, and thrown to the floor.
He was then physically ejected from the auditorium and taken into custody briefly by county police. He was ultimately released, and then promptly filed assault charges against the IVAW. I don't know him personally, but from the looks of him, I'd say he could also file charges for assault on a person over 60 years of age.
Let's hear it for free speech and the IVAW's version of the Hitler Youth. What's next, book burning and gas chambers?
I also had to laugh at the IVAW's use of "reporters" I have dubbed the Lenin News Network, who under the guise of conducting interviews, repeatedly tried to debate the pro-troop forces at the college entrance. Using terminology straight from the left wing of the Democratic Party's approved talking points, the Lenin "truth squads" were repeatedly stymied when pro-troop forces were strong in their points, leading to numerous aborted interviews.
The fact was, we went to Silver Springs simply to enforce the concept that anyone who testified that they witnessed or participated in war crimes should identify themselves and provide verifiable evidence of their identities and their claims. That is not a violation of free speech. Tackling an aging veteran and physically throwing him to the floor is a violation of free speech.
As usual the leftists in America make outrageous claims against the rest of us, but do far worse themselves. Typical hypocrites.
The other really, really interesting facet of the IVAW Winter Soldier theater was the presence of black limousines with heavily tinted windows, bringing unidentified passengers to the labor college. This went on all day long, and rumors abounded about the passengers - John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich - among others.
I never found out myself, although one of my friends from Eagles Up said he saw an unhappy looking Kucinich. Possibly some of the others were just shuttles bringing IVAW participants to the event. The only "official" IVAW vehicle was a panel van with a sign painted on the side. But the black limos with the tinted windows caused untold commentary about who was backing the IVAW and how much money was behind Winter Soldier II.
At one point during an interview with the Lenin News Network, I was asked if the turnout was disappointing, since we didn't have thousands of pro-troop forces in attendance. I made the point that our presence wasn't about numbers, it was about symbolism - we were standing up for the current generation of warriors and the generation that was screwed by Kerry and his group.
It was obvious that the organizers of IVAW's Winter Soldier don't know much about small unit tactics. We do.
We had a class group at Silver Springs, including bloggers ranging from Concrete Bob the DC Protest Warrior, to Viper Ash, and many in between. We had veterans from all generations and organizations, supporters from across the country including the ladies from A Soldiers Wish List, and Missouri Moms for the Military, plus the Eagles Up organizers, members of Gathering of Eagles, Rolling Thunder, and Move America Forward. We had characters, and our characters have character. Together we were successful.
I was asked to speak Saturday at a rally at the base of the Washington Monument and there I noted that by shining sunlight on the IVAW proceedings in Maryland, we required the IVAW to adhere to the truth.
I spoke on the one-year anniversary of the original Gathering of Eagles when tens of thousands of American troop supporters descended on DC to shut down Code Pink, the ANSWER coalition, and other anti-American, pro-communist and pro-terrorist organizations. In the year since we have raised America's awareness of the intent of these organizations, have stood up to them in dozens of places across the country, and made the point strongly that America's streets belong to us all, not just the malcontents.
Code Pinkos were in DC this weekend too, interrupting a news conference where Move America Forward unveiled research showing that more than 100 military recruiting stations have been attacked across the US by the anti-Iraq and Afghanistan War forces. Once again, a splinter group that whines perpetually about its "rights" attempted to stifle free speech, once again unsuccessfully.
But the far left is getting more desperate, as our forces win battle after battle, and political milestones are met too. Shouting has been replaced by physical assaults and bombings, and I fear we are only seeing the beginnings of new and more lethal tactics.
The left is following the same playbook it followed in the 60s and 70s, in which it ultimately resorted to bombing corporations and college campuses, wrongly believing that wanton murder would cause the US to collapse.
They follow this game plan not because they are stupid, but because they believe it will work. Communists and collaborators like John Kerry and jimmy carter nearly proved these anarchists correct a generation ago. "Nearly" is the key word.
It didn't work that time, and it won't work this time, and all they will gain is the undying enmity of the American populace.
Yet, as I noted during my speech at the Washington Monument, two groups of Americans with totally different viewpoints met within two hundred yards of each other last week. We both had our say, without confrontation, and without bloodshed.
The county emergency response team was on site, but no tanks and troops. In the end both sides had their say, and neither was stifled. Which means that the American system works when it is given a chance.
And I will leave you with my conclusion from Saturday, when I made this same point. There are many people who use the American system to attempt to tear down the American system. These individuals would not be able to exist, nor to spread their viewpoint, in many other societies in the world. But they can do it here, repugnant though their messages may be at times.
Hence my conclusion America is NOT the PROBLEM, America IS the SOLUTION.
Monday, March 17, 2008