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August 26, 2007

How A Biased Press Distorts History

Here's an interesting mental exercise. Get out a piece of paper and a pen. Now think of three words:

Decorated. War. Hero.

Write down - quickly - don't overthink this, the very first three names that come into your mind, regardless of your reaction to them. Whose names appeared on that little slip of paper?

John Kerry. -- Jack Murtha. -- Maybe (if you're from a military background) Jason Dunham.

Try this the next time you're with a group of people. I'd be willing to bet these names don't come up:

Bud Day -- Leo Thorseness -- Jeremiah Denton

I'd bet willing to bet that not only won't they appear on too many people's slips of paper, but that most Americans don't even know who these men are. They are invisible - though we ought to know them, somehow they never became associated with those words: decorated war hero. And that's a shame. I'm about to tell you why. But more importantly, I'm about to tell you how that happened. It ought to disturb you. What follows should disturb any thinking person.

Major George E. ("Bud") Day is America's most decorated living veteran. You owe it to yourself to read his bio. Look at his face. Memorize it: it is the face of a true American hero. The following excerpt is short, but it may serve to give you some idea of what kind of man Bud Day is:

Sometime between the twelfth and fifteenth day after his escape -- he had lost track of time -- Day heard helicopters and stumbled toward the sound. It was U.S. choppers evacuating a Marine unit, but they left just as he got to the landing zone. The next morning, still heading south, he ran into a North Vietnamese Army patrol. As he limped toward the jungle, he was shot in the leg and hand and captured soon afterward. He was taken back to the camp from which he had escaped and subjected to more torture.

A few days later he was moved to the "Hanoi Hilton." His untreated wounds were infected, and he was suffering from malnutrition and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. The fingers on both hands were curled into fists as a result of his torture; he regained some motion by peeling them back, flattening them against the wall of his cell, and leaning into them with his full weight.

For more than five years, Day resisted the North Vietnamese guards who tortured him. On one occasion in 1971, when guards burst in with rifles as some of the American prisoners gathered for a forbidden religious service, Major Day stood up, looked down the muzzles of the guns, and began to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner." The other men, including James Stockdale, the ranking U.S. officer in the prison, joined him.

And yet, you didn't think to write his name on that little piece of paper, did you?

There's a reason for that: Bud Day's name isn't a household word because his story was never flogged by the media the way John Kerry's four month-long tour in Vietnam (four months, mind you, of what was intended to be a twelve month tour of duty) has been relentlessly kept in the public eye. Then there is Leo Thorseness: Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Six Distinguished Flying Crosses, Ten Air Medals, Two Purple Hearts, over five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp. Characteristically, he doesn't have much to say about his own heroism. But then neither does the mainstream media:

Early in the morning a few days later --- when the guards were not alert --- he whispered loudly from the back of his cell. "Hey gang, look here." He proudly held up this tattered piece of cloth waving it as if in a breeze. If you used a lot of imagination, you could kind of tell it was supposed to be an American Flag. When he held up that grimy rag, we automatically saluted as our chests puffed out and more than a few eyes had tears.

About once a week the guards would strip our clothes, run us outside and go through our clothing. During one of these shakedowns they found Mike's flag. We all knew what would happen. That night they came for Mike...

It's a hell of a story. Somehow one suspects Colonel Thorseness has many such stories to tell, as does Admiral (and former Senator) Jeremiah Denton, a POW for nearly 8 years: a name one might expect (having been both a decorated war hero and a United States Senator) to be on the lips of every American. His story is inspiring:

During a 1966 televised interview, 10 months after his capture, millions of Americans watched as Denton, who had refused to give in to threats of torture, looked into the camera and said he would support whatever the position his government took. "I support it, and I will as long as I live," Denton had said. Denton's captors didn't take kindly to losing face. Denton would pay for his remarks with his blood. During the same interview, Denton blinked his eyes in Morse code and spelled out the word "torture." It was the first time U.S. intelligence was able to confirm suspicions that American POWs were being mistreated in Vietnam.

During his captivity, Denton stayed in prisons and prison camps nicknamed the "The Hanoi Hilton" and "The Zoo." The worst place Denton stayed was a prison named "Alcatraz." It was reserved for American captives who were considered rebels and instigators, dangerous because of their strong will and ability to influence others. In the eyes of the North Vietnamese, strong men like Denton needed to be broken.

When Denton recalls his trials in Vietnam, his eyes are often closed. For two and a half years, he spent 17 to 18 hours a day in irons. Alone, in a coffin-sized cell, he had to remain on a 47-inch-by-47-inch square during the day. It was just long enough to walk two paces. At night, he slept on a stone slab. "It wasn't the Hilton," Denton said. There were no windows. Just a 10-watt bulb, roaches and spiders the size of tarantulas. "Jesus was with me all the time," said Denton, who is a devout Catholic. His proudest moment was conquering his claustrophobia. Denton said during that time, he was in an "extremely intellectual and spiritual state." He said it is amazing what the mind can accomplish, if given the opportunity.

He once derived the formula for centrifugal force in his head, something he couldn’t do with pencil and paper at the U.S. Naval Academy. Although the other captives had designated Denton "president of the optimist club," there were times he prayed to die. He didn't want to -- couldn't -- endure another minute of despair. Once, when Denton refused to tell guards how the Americans communicated with each other, he was tortured for 10 days and nights. By the 10th night, he couldn't think anymore. He couldn’t pray anymore.

Denton surrendered. Not to the guards, but to God. "It was a total surrender," he said. "If there was anymore to do, you will do it," he told God. "That instant, I felt zero pain," he said. "I felt the greatest comfort and reassurance in life that I haven’t felt since."

Denton was also buoyed by the courage of his fellow prisoners:

...."I experienced what I couldn't imagine human nature was capable of," Denton said. "I witnessed what my comrades could rise to. Self-discipline, compassion, a realization there is a God."

You have had a brief introduction to these men: they represent the finest America is capable of producing. Proud men, men who served this nation with honor and dignity, men who gave everything for their country and never compromised their principles, even when faced with years of unrelenting torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Now let me tell you something else about them.

They are the men who tried to Swift Boat John Kerry.

That's right. They are those low-down, scurvy, unprincipled men who tried to slander one of America's greatest war heroes for partisan political gain. Hard to believe, from everything you've read in the media, isn't it? If you're interested in hearing what the mainstream media won't tell you, you might care to go here and listen to them talk about how John Kerry's Senate testimony affected them.

Or you could go here and see what a real war hero's record looks like.

Or even more importantly, you could ask yourself why the mainstream media didn't feel it was at all improper for a presidential candidate and 17 Democratic Senators to pressure a private firm to suppress a documentary critical of that candidate:

Plaintiffs entered into an arrangement with Sinclair
Broadcasting, through which Sinclair agreed to show the 42-minute
film in its entirety on all of Sinclair’s 62 television stations
nationwide, on October 22, 2004. Plaintiffs also made
arrangements to rent a movie theater in Abington, Pennsylvania,
for the showing of the film on October 29, 2004.
Senator Kerry’s supporters learned of these plans.
Umbrage was taken. The Democratic National Committee issued
press releases. A group of 17 Democratic senators made their
displeasure known to Sinclair Broadcasting. Sinclair thereupon
decided not to broadcast the entire film, but only about five
minutes of it; and the owner of the Abington movie theater
decided not to permit plaintiffs to show the film there.

Can you imagine the news stories, had such a documentary been made about the Bush AWOL story? What would the reaction have been, had the RNC and 17 Republican Senators tried to suppress the airing of such a documentary? How many Americans even know this happened? Not many.

How many Americans, for that matter, know that in the Vietnamese Communist War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City hangs a photo of John Forbes Kerry:

The photograph, displayed in a room dedicated to foreign activists who contributed to the Communist victory over America in the Vietnam War, shows Senator John Kerry being greeted by Comrade Do Muoi, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

How many Americans have read (much less thought about) the exact words spoken by John Kerry to the Senate in 1971:

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit, the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

How many have stopped to think that, as a commanding officer, if war crimes were being committed on a day to day basis with full knowledge of all levels of command, that made John Kerry not only a witness but a willing accomplice to such war crimes? That it was his duty to report them, and that he failed to do so? That he later told TV interviewers that he never personally saw any war crimes being committed in four months in Vietnam?

How many Americans have read the words of the highest ranking Soviet bloc defector to the United States on the subject of Kerry's testimony?

Kerry also ought to be asked who, exactly, told him any such thing, and what it was, exactly, that they said they did in Vietnam. Statutes of limitation now protect these individuals from prosecution for any such admissions. Or did Senator Kerry merely hear allegations of that sort as hearsay bandied about by members of antiwar groups (much of which has since been discredited)? To me, this assertion sounds exactly like the disinformation line that the Soviets were sowing worldwide throughout the Vietnam era. KGB priority number one at that time was to damage American power, judgment, and credibility. One of its favorite tools was the fabrication of such evidence as photographs and "news reports" about invented American war atrocities. These tales were purveyed in KGB-operated magazines that would then flack them to reputable news organizations. Often enough, they would be picked up. News organizations are notoriously sloppy about verifying their sources. All in all, it was amazingly easy for Soviet-bloc spy organizations to fake many such reports and spread them around the free world.

As a spy chief and a general in the former Soviet satellite of Romania, I produced the very same vitriol Kerry repeated to the U.S. Congress almost word for word and planted it in leftist movements throughout Europe. KGB chairman Yuri Andropov managed our anti-Vietnam War operation. He often bragged about having damaged the U.S. foreign-policy consensus, poisoned domestic debate in the U.S., and built a credibility gap between America and European public opinion through our disinformation operations. Vietnam was, he once told me, "our most significant success."

Lt. General Pacepa elaborates on the KGB's strategy of disinformation and demoralization over the last few decades:

Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels. This same strategy is at work today, but it is regarded as bad manners to point out the Soviet parallels. For communists, only the leader counted, no matter the country, friend or foe. At home, they deified their own ruler--as to a certain extent still holds true in Russia. Abroad, they asserted that a fish starts smelling from the head, and they did everything in their power to make the head of the Free World stink.

The communist effort to generate hatred for the American president began soon after President Truman set up NATO and propelled the three Western occupation forces to unite their zones to form a new West German nation. We were tasked to take advantage of the reawakened patriotic feelings stirring in the European countries that had been subjugated by the Nazis, in order to shift their hatred for Hitler over into hatred for Truman--the leader of the new "occupation power." Western Europe was still grateful to the U.S. for having restored its freedom, but it had strong leftist movements that we secretly financed. They were like putty in our hands.

The European leftists, like any totalitarians, needed a tangible enemy, and we gave them one. In no time they began beating their drums decrying President Truman as the "butcher of Hiroshima." We went on to spend many years and many billions of dollars disparaging subsequent presidents: Eisenhower as a war-mongering "shark" run by the military-industrial complex, Johnson as a mafia boss who had bumped off his predecessor, Nixon as a petty tyrant, Ford as a dimwitted football player and Jimmy Carter as a bumbling peanut farmer. In 1978, when I left Romania for good, the bloc intelligence community had already collected 700 million signatures on a "Yankees-Go-Home" petition, at the same time launching the slogan "Europe for the Europeans."

During the Vietnam War we spread vitriolic stories around the world, pretending that America's presidents sent Genghis Khan-style barbarian soldiers to Vietnam who raped at random, taped electrical wires to human genitals, cut off limbs, blew up bodies and razed entire villages. Those weren't facts. They were our tales, but some seven million Americans ended up being convinced their own president, not communism, was the enemy. As Yuri Andropov, who conceived this dezinformatsiya war against the U.S., used to tell me, people are more willing to believe smut than holiness.

The final goal of our anti-American offensive was to discourage the U.S. from protecting the world against communist terrorism and expansion. Sadly, we succeeded. After U.S. forces precipitously pulled out of Vietnam, the victorious communists massacred some two million people in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Another million tried to escape, but many died in the attempt. This tragedy also created a credibility gap between America and the rest of the world, damaged the cohesion of American foreign policy, and poisoned domestic debate in the U.S.

Can anyone deny that this view of history is the accepted narrative today? Does it bother anyone in the least that the accepted narrative "just happens" to match that provided by our greatest enemy during the Cold War? Interestingly enough, after embracing the view that the war in Iraq was just another Vietnam in the making, the antiwar Left is now suddenly repudiating that comparison. Why?

...there's the rub. The Iraq=Vietnam comparison was useful when the discussion was focused on the evils of war, or how we got there. But suddenly it's not so useful when the discussion turns to how to end a war, or what happens to the people who are left to face the consequences of our withdrawal, because there history speaks loud and clear.

Genocide. Unless of course, you're John Kerry, who claimed in 1972 that if we withdrew from Vietnam there would be no bloodbath and is still lying about the slaughter that occurred there today.

But he's not the only one lying. He has the willing help of the New York Times, which can't get the history of Vietnam right, but hastens to assure us that "everything turned out all right in the end":

Vietnam today is a unified and stable nation whose Communist government poses little threat to its neighbors and is developing healthy ties with the United States. Mr. Bush visited Vietnam last November; a return visit to the White House this summer by Nguyen Minh Triet was the first visit by a Vietnamese head of state since the war.

Where have we heard that rhetoric before? The Times (and Andrew Bacevich) may care to read up a bit on Vietnam and its history of human rights abuses:


Vietnam: Respect Rights to Free Expression, Assembly Allow Farmers to Peacefully Protest The police suppression of a peaceful protest in Ho Chi Minh City on July 18, 2007 is a vivid demonstration of Vietnam’s continuing intolerance for government critics and the limits it imposes on free expression and assembly, Human Rights Watch said today.

Vietnam: End Attacks on Year-Old Democracy Movement
Government Still Imprisons Writers, Religious Leaders, Rights Lawyers
On the eve of Bloc 8406’s first anniversary, members of the group, which calls for greater political freedom in Vietnam, still face harassment and abuse, including imprisonment, Human Rights Watch said today.
April 6, 2007 Press Release

Vietnam: Crackdown on Dissent in Wake of WTO and APEC
The Vietnamese government, emboldened by international recognition after joining the World Trade Organization and hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, is flouting its international commitments on human rights by launching one of the worst crackdowns on peaceful dissidents in 20 years, Human Rights Watch said today.
March 9, 2007 Press Release

Vietnam: Montagnards Face Religious, Political Persecution
Returnees from Cambodia Detained and Beaten
Vietnamese authorities have detained, interrogated, and even tortured Montagnard refugees and asylum seekers who have returned to Vietnam from U.N. High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) camps in Cambodia, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government is violating an agreement with UNHCR, which is supposed to monitor returning refugees and ensure they are safe.
June 14, 2006 Press Release

Think you know history because you read the newspapers?

Think again.

Remember the furor over ABC's docudrama The Path to 9/11 and Bill Clinton's angry outburst over what he claimed was an inaccurate portrayal of his attempts to bring bin Laden to justice? At the time, the media were almost unilaterally on the side of Clinton, Berger, and the Democratic Congressmen who pressured ABC to censor the docudrama.

Except that Newsweek's Michael Isikoff now confirms what many conservatives were saying at the time - Clinton was lying. From Isikoff's article:

Clinton appeared to have been referring to a December 1999 Memorandum of Notification (MON) he signed that authorized the CIA to use lethal force to capture, not kill, bin Laden. But the inspector general’s report made it clear that the agency never viewed the order as a license to “kill” bin Laden—one reason it never mounted more effective operations against him. “The restrictions in the authorities given the CIA with respect to bin Laden, while arguably, although ambiguously, relaxed for a period of time in late 1998 and early 1999, limited the range of permissible operations,” the report stated. (Scheuer agreed with the inspector general’s findings on this issue, but said if anything the report was overly diplomatic. “There was never any ambiguity,” he said. “None of those authorities ever allowed us to kill anyone. At least that’s what the CIA lawyers told us.” A spokesman for the former president had no immediate comment.)

But this is no surprise to anyone who did the research at the time. The primary documents weren't terribly ambiguous:

The words of Michael Scheuer, former head of the bin Laden unit, are damning. In regard to Richard Clark's credibility:

Another spectacular untruth is on page 52: "Later in the 1990s, CIA... [failed] to put U.S. operatives into the country [Afghanistan] to kill bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership, relying on Afghans instead." Mr. Clarke, of course, was at the center of Mr. Clinton's advisers, who resolutely refused to order the CIA to kill bin Laden. In spring 1998, I briefed Mr. Clarke and senior CIA, Department of Defense and FBI officers on a plan to kidnap bin Laden. Mr. Clarke's reaction was that "it was just a thinly disguised attempt to assassinate bin Laden." I replied that if he wanted bin Laden dead, we could do the job quickly. Mr. Clarke's response was that the president did not want bin Laden assassinated, and that we had no authority to do so.

Mr. Clarke's book is also a crucial complement to the September 11 panel's failure to condemn Mr. Clinton's failure to capture or kill bin Laden on any of the eight to 10 chances afforded by CIA reporting. Mr. Clarke never mentions that President Bush had no chances to kill bin Laden before September 11 and leaves readers with the false impression that he, Mr. Clinton and Mr. Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, did their best to end the bin Laden threat. That trio, in my view, abetted al Qaeda, and if the September 11 families were smart they would focus on the dereliction of Dick, Bill and Sandy and not the antics of convicted September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

But that's not the "accepted version" of history. And odds are, it never will be, because it will never make the front pages of any newspaper you ever read.

Must not fit the narrative.

The media are fond of telling us that the press get to write the rough first draft of history. The problem is that we make political decisions - vote, even - based on that rough, first draft, and in several major cases they are getting it wrong; arguably intentionally so.

Another thing the media and the antiwar left are fond of telling us is that dissent is the highest form of patriotism, and that we ought to question authority. They are quite fond of these two maxims; that is until someone tries to dissent from the prevailing view of history (as in the Path to 9/11) or the authority being questioned is their own. Then, suddenly, suppressing dissent seems to be fine with them and the wrong questions have no place in our national discourse.

As informed Americans, perhaps we should be asking ourselves why we don't know the names of our most decorated war heroes?

Perhaps we should ask ourselves why we are told it is wrong to censor or attempt suppress political speech, but on several occasions Democratic Senators have done just that and the media have remained strangely silent?

And perhaps we should ask ourselves why a truly free and unbiased press doesn't show more curiosity about scandals on the "wrong" side of the political bed? If there is nothing to these stories, surely no harm can come from asking the questions.

But the questions are not being asked while they still matter. It is only after the campaign is over that some journalists come forward and speak the truth they could easily have told us about long ago.

Posted by Cassandra at August 26, 2007 11:13 AM

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And when, later, people try to correct the historical record, you get the Times (UK) calling it "revisionist history", the implication being that the revisions are falsifying the record...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 26, 2007 01:54 PM

Why do you think they hate bloggers so much?

Nothing is to be allowed to challenge the narrative. Incroyable. Even if we document (and link to sources for) everything we say and they "document" their stories with slews of anonymous sources we're never allowed to see and summaries of classified documents we're not supposed to BE seeing anyway and which we can't access either to check up on them.

Posted by: One More Dance To Kill The Pain... at August 26, 2007 02:28 PM

Perhaps we should ask ourselves why we are told it is wrong to censor or attempt suppress political speech, but on several occasions Democratic Senators have done just that and the media have remained strangely silent?

Rather, we should ask the media that question, loudly and continuously.

Better not hold our collective breath waiting for an honest answer, though...

Posted by: BillT at August 26, 2007 02:29 PM

...over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia...

Most of whom were not only *not* veterans, let alone highly decorated, they were identity thieves, such as the VVAW's co-founder, Al Hubbard. And Kerry knew it at the time he made that statement.

Posted by: BillT at August 26, 2007 02:39 PM

Trust me :P

You don't even want to get me *started* on Winter Soldier... heh.

Posted by: One More Dance To Kill The Pain... at August 26, 2007 02:48 PM

And odds are, it never will be, because it will never make the front pages of any newspaper you ever read.

it is cause they also kill off or censor anyone that might say anything different. Dead men tell no tales, Cass, whether true or not. This applies to our side as well as theirs.

The media are fond of telling us that the press get to write the rough first draft of history. The problem is that we make political decisions - vote, even - based on that rough, first draft, and in several major cases they are getting it wrong; arguably intentionally so.

That's not actually what they do you know, though it is similar. They make copies of the original first draft and call it the first rough draft, because they assassinated the original author and destroyed the originals from which the copies were made.

As informed Americans, perhaps we should be asking ourselves why we don't know the names of our most decorated war heroes?

It is in the interests of the victorious tyrants to never allow the defeated to learn of how well they had fought against such tyrants. For it might give people ideas, Cassandra. A success seen in the past, might be recreated in the present. And they will never allow that for Iraqis or Afghans.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves why we are told it is wrong to censor or attempt suppress political speech, but on several occasions Democratic Senators have done just that and the media have remained strangely silent?

Nobody said the Left had not studied 1984, Cass ;) They are quite good at it, if only because they learned at the feet of their Soviet masters.

But the questions are not being asked while they still matter. It is only after the campaign is over that some journalists come forward and speak the truth they could easily have told us about long ago.

They are weak and easily intimidated. Whether we use them, the Islamic Jihad uses them, Soviets use them, or Democrats use them, they are still simply tools, Cass. You cannot really expect them to make independent decisions or to grow a spine or some such.

Rather, we should ask the media that question, loudly and continuously.

The media doesn't care Bill. I think it would be more productive to ask the advertisers that about the media that they advertise in.

In fact, disinformation campaigns should be targeted against the Mass Sewer Mind while propaganda campaigns designed to produce guilt and conscientious actions be targeted against advertisers. The MSM doesn't have any guilt or sense of responsibility that could be fired by you asking them whatever. They just don't care, and if they ever did care, they would just stomp on you by running some character assassination pieces. The media, like with all occupations and inflexible organizations, are vulnerable at the logistics. The tail end. Place where the armor is weakest.

And Kerry knew it at the time he made that statement.
Posted by: BillT at August 26, 2007 02:39 PM

The reason why I support the death penalty and see war as an effective solution to nagging problems in the human condition, is because death is final. So long as someone is alive, they have hope. Just as so long as Kerry is alive, he perpetuates and sustains the lie and the illusion he crafted on the bodies of others.

The flip side is also interesting. Because death is final, you must becareful who must die, for if you kill a person that you might need in the future, you just created a martyr. An icon that will recruit more against you, when you might have strenghtened your position by creating an ally rather than killing an enemy.

The weakness of the left is that their attack plans are incomplete. The Soviet Union is no longer there to be ready to come in to slaughter those that have been weakened by the Left, and the Left were never designed as the revolutionary wing that will come to power once the US had been weakened sufficiently. This is why the Left was never allowed to cache weapons, and it is why they were programmed to avoid collecting and caching weapons. By keeping the weapons training limited to the actors, rich folks, and others, it made the list shorter for the execution squads.

Nothing is to be allowed to challenge the narrative.

So in a sense, the tactics that the Left are using are incomplete. As we see in Iraq, you need a lot more than just active sowing of dissension and distrust to bring a nation down. A lot more. Things like weapons and bombs and the knowledge and will to use them. The Left were stripped of such, since it would be embarassing to the Soviets to have shed sweat fighting their own tools. Although some organizations, perhaps Black Panthers, are trying to fill the void produced by Leftist conditioning against arms.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 26, 2007 02:54 PM

By keeping the weapons training limited to the actors, rich folks, and others, it made the list shorter for the execution squads.

i'm refering to their body guards, if there is any confusion. The political control of such peeps as Kennedy, Reid, Murtha, and the US President would be enough to nullify the US's military. A few secrets passed here, like with the A/H bombs, a few sabotages and lies, and you got an ineffective military to defend America. At least that was the Soviet's plan, in a way. To bury the US with time and patience and preparation. Looks like plans don't survive contact with the enemy after all.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 26, 2007 02:57 PM

egardless of your reaction to them. Whose names appeared on that little slip of paper?

Shughart. Mangled spelling. Special Forces (master? first?) sergeant that died saving a warrant officer in Mogadishu. Only knew that because of Black Hawk Down. There were others, such as the commanders of the torpedo destroyers in Leyte Gulf, but my grasp of their names is not as strong as the overall event in question.

Washington and Andrew Jackson if I go far enough in the past, is what I think up next.

And that's a shame. I'm about to tell you why.

It is a dishonor to the memories of those that have died and those still living, as well as unjust. But that is what happens when evil wins. One reason why people shouldn't let evil win. There has been a marked decrease in the amount of military history taught in public schools. Combined with anti-boy prejudices and what not, and you end up with an interesting result.

Btw, Cass. Here is the list of video interview segments from another Soviet defector that worked under Andropov. Yuri Bezmenov.


Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 26, 2007 03:15 PM

Davids Mediencritik has the goods on some other revisionism over Vietnam

This is why I often say that the office of the Presidency is charged with the necessary Constitutional powers to defend against foreign propaganda or domestic propaganda that is harmful to the American people.

All it takes is for the President to raise an issue and "talk" and it is enough to provide a crack for others to widen. It doesn't even require the use of the heavy assets such as pardons, Executive Orders, National Guard, Marines, or even appearing in a speech to the American people on prime time.

It's not easy, but it is still pretty simple the way I see it.

When the President speaks, the world listens. So it would be a good idea to weave some actual counter-propaganda operations out of it. It doesn't require active synchronicity, but it does require an actual sense of what the important topics are.

The relationship between the small grunts fighting Leftist crack and the President is sort of like the Iraqi people being occupied by Al Qaeda and the American military with the power to kick AQ out. Both sides need each other, to create a real defense.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 26, 2007 03:29 PM

Ymar -- SFC (Sergeant First Class) Randall D. Shughart.

Thank you for remembering...

Posted by: BillT at August 26, 2007 04:14 PM

LT Michael P. Murphy
PO/2 Danny P. Dietz
PO/2 Matthew G. Axelson
Operation RedWing - HOOYAH.

Posted by: Annlee at August 26, 2007 04:43 PM

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 26, 2007 08:13 PM

Write down - quickly - don't overthink this, the very first three names that come into your mind, regardless of your reaction to them.

Such interesting implications in the answer to that little question...

I do not and never have thought of John Effing Kerry or the Murtha Of All Traitors as "war heroes," regardless of their war records. Me being an amateur WW2 historian, the first half-dozen names that came to mind were all WW2 veterans: Audie Murphy, Dick O'Kane, Tommy McGuire, Butch O'Hare, Robert Johnson, Jack Lummus. And a jumble of "the guy who" for whom I'd have to go look up names -- the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, or the fighter pilot who gave warning of a major air raid, shot down six Japanese planes, then crashed while trying to land his wrecked P-38.

But Kerry and Murtha, war heroes? Never in my book.

Posted by: wolfwalker at August 27, 2007 06:34 AM

I'm glad to hear that.

I rewrote the first part of that post in a hurry after it got lost for some reason when I hit "Post" and it didn't get reproduced exactly as I wrote it the first time (I didn't have time to put the same amount of thought into it, unfortunately).

Originally I had intended to say 'Vietnam war hero", but I wasn't sure anyone would be able to name three heroes from that war. We didn't seem to like to think of anyone in Vietnam as being a hero. So I changed it, and I think it lost something. But also, the opening was really not so much aimed at this audience as it was at most people, and I still don't think most people could name three war heroes if they tried (just as the average American can't name the four justices on the Supreme Court and that's a heck of a lot more recent).

The point was more to hit on the popular association. But I am glad so many people do know about other heroes.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2007 07:04 AM

I will say that if you say "Jack Murtha" I do think of him as a war veteran. He did see combat and fight well. As much as I hate his current politics, I can't take that fact away from him. But he's not a war hero to me; he's not anyone I would care to imitate. Kerry, on the other hand ... say that name and I think "politician," nothing to do with combat or military service at all.

I also want to add that while thinking about the answer to your question, Cass, some part of me wondered "why decorated war hero?" Oh, I know why -- you were setting up the compare-and-contrast between Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans. But still, with as much reading as I've done, I often find it hard to distinguish between decorated and undecorated veterans ... and as often as not, I have to conclude that the only real difference is that the decorated ones happened to get official notice. The men who held the line at Bloody Ridge and Bastogne; who lived and died aboard the tin cans at Leyte Gulf; who waited it out while Japanese destroyers pounded their submarine with depth charges; who jammed themselves into B-17 and B-24 belly turrets, or rode the backseats in dive-bombers and torpedo-bombers -- a thousand nameless ones for every named and decorated one, but every man of them is a hero as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: wolfwalker at August 27, 2007 07:37 AM

I agree with Wolfwalker, the first names that came to my mind were Audie Murphy and Pappy Boyington .... then MH, who will always be one of my heros.
Names such as Kerry, Murtha? Yeah, they were "there", but they are nothing more than dirt on the floor of hallowed halls.

Posted by: Sly2017 at August 27, 2007 11:26 AM

We didn't seem to like to think of anyone in Vietnam as being a hero.

'S okay -- we don't think of ourselves as being heroes, either.

Flying combat assaults into hot LZs, assaulting fortified positions with no body armor, clearing tunnel complexes armed with a flashlight and a forty-five, pulling single-ship medevacs in places we officially didn't exist, trolling for SAMs on Thud Ridge so the strike package could get through, interdicting waterborne invaders using armed canoes --

We figured it was just another day at the office...

Posted by: BillT at August 27, 2007 11:45 AM

Real heros often are very humble. As compared to say the ones that puff up their chest and holler out "Reporting for Duty*&!"

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 27, 2007 11:51 AM

Real heros often are very humble.

I got my humility shot off in Vietnam...

Posted by: BillT at August 27, 2007 01:26 PM

I know Bud and Dorie Day. After he was released and put back together, he was assigned to the 550 Tac Tng Sq at Luke. It was a big deal and the squadron commander wanted to make sure he had the best instructor available, our RAF exchange officer, Squadron Leader "Black" Robertson. It would be an understatement to call Black Type A; he knew everything about the F4 and demanded absolute perfection.

Col Day had flown the F100 in Vietnam but it had been 6 years since he had flown anything. Black briefed the mission and Bud got his first ever F4 sortie. As one would expect, Bud was rusty - not unsafe. Robertson wrote everything down on his line up card.

At debrief, Black began rattling off Col Day's mistakes. Bud listened for a few minutes, then he interrupted.

"Black," he said, "did you see the sunrise this morning?"

"Yes sir, I did," relaunching his catalog of errors. Bud again stopped him.

"Squadron Leader Robertson," he said, "Wasn't it beautiful?"

"Yes sir, It was." Black tore up his line up card. Great guys, both.

Posted by: arch at August 27, 2007 03:00 PM

What a great story. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2007 03:16 PM

Name 3 decorated war heroes. I'll name just one: my father JEL. He was a world war II combat medic who received the Bronze Star for carrying a wound man on his back thru a minefield to the aid station.

Posted by: Terentia at August 28, 2007 06:29 PM

I think I like yours best of all.

Dads should be heroes. I know my Dad always was in my eyes.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 28, 2007 06:42 PM

Posted by: Roachman at August 30, 2007 12:38 AM

Sorry. Looks like my neophyte html efforts have the links a tad wonky. Feel free to fix them Cassandra.

BTW, I found my way here via lex and Powerline.


Posted by: Roachman at August 30, 2007 12:43 AM

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