Fool Me Once ...

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Members of the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) are claiming that their unit commanders encouraged them to commit war crimes, and that these decisions are coming from the top down. They are having an event in March, and calling it "Winter Soldier."

This may remind you of 1971, when members of the VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) claimed that their unit commanders encouraged them to commit war crimes, and that these decisions were coming from the top down. They had an event called Winter Soldier, in which they presented these claims.

The problem is, the Winter Soldier event in 1971 contained many half-truths and even downright lies. That's not to say everything was a lie, of course; indeed, we know some of it was true. But you couldn't know from listening which was which, and without evidence, none of it could be trusted. We have many examples of incorrect and unverifiable claims, as well as claims that soldiers were pressured into saying they saw things they didn't see.

And the events themselves are only part of the story. VVAW, as IVAW is doing now, tried to create a larger narrative for which absolutely no evidence existed. For example, you may recall John Kerry saying the atrocities were "not isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis," and that they were committed "with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." No evidence exists to support either claim. Nor is there evidence to support his claim that black soldiers died more than whites.

My point is, of course, not that IVAW members are lying. My point is that nothing they say is to be trusted without verifiable facts. This is, of course, no different from anyone else. We should always demand proof. But when the honor of the other vets is at stake, we should be even more cautious than usual.

It's very simple. If the IVAW, or anyone else, complains about atrocities, ask for evidence. If they provide none, or if what they provide is weak and insufficient for belief, then ignore their complaints.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on January 22, 2008 2:36 PM.

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