19 January, 2008

Winter Soldier II

I've read passing references to these vile plans for awhile, and like some half-remembered bad dream I've tried to ignore them, maybe hoping IVAW wasn't really planning what headlines implied. But today John linked them and I finally read their website. Until that point, I'd thought "Winter Soldier" was merely critics' characterization of the plans.

I suppose there's consolation to be found in this: 1) They don't seem to realize they will destroy any goodwill non-IVAW-member veterans might have had for the organization and its members, and 2) They're making their intentions and ideological allegiances crystal clear to the rest of us.

That NYT article was the first in a weekly series of six, if I recall... A little math, and that takes us up to about 10 days before the IVAW event. Obviously not intentionally coordinated, but it works out well for them, doesn't it?

I was born as Vietnam wound down, and was too young to even recognize the aftermath as it played out in my earliest years of childhood innocence. However, when I got older, I devoured books about American history, and particularly the military's role in it. I discovered battlefield and homefront Vietnam with a mixture of surprise, horror, and sadness. But coming-of-age in the sunny patriotism of the Reagan era, I never thought I'd see the likes of it with my own eyes... at least not until I saw the way things were headed a couple years ago. I just wish I and so many others had been wrong.

Whenever the topic of smearing/abusing Vietnam veterans comes up, I think of two people: My father who served in the hospital in Da Nang before I was born (and was a civilian within weeks of my birth), and a successful and very sane mentor-friend who made a career of the military and still copes with the powerful mental and physical effects of his front-line Vietnam service on a daily basis. They are/were two of the kindest, strongest, most protective, honorable and decent people I've had the privilege of having in my life. I think of the effects anti-war protestors, journalists, jelly-spined/self-aggrandizing politicians and fraudulent soldiers had on them, and now I consider what is lining up again for the people in my life who are fighting today's wars...

There are no words to express my disappointment and rage at what I fear is to come... I have never so intensely desired the "history repeats itself" cliche to be wrong. We in the blogosphere have fought this kind of thing from the very beginning, but we are not able to break through the mainstream media at will. The MSM still shapes the story, and they still write the enduring narrative. Facts, reality, true compassion, and factually-informed analysis are still usually cast aside if they so choose. With their full support, Winter Soldier II will become exactly what the first one was for our parents--the enduring narrative of our generation's war.

As John says,

So, anybody here planning to be the next John Kerry? Or, if being John Kerry isn't your cup of tea, would you like to be present when the next John Kerry "makes his bones" as an anti-war veteran to jump-start a political career? So you can record it for posterity?

I don't know what form the counter action will take, but we're better-organized this time, better-connected, better able to mobilize. And the VN veterans they did it to the first time are now in positions of political, social and economic power (as are the civilians who in horror watched it develop). We will take them on.

We must. The only question is how...

Support the troops? Far more than just a bumper sticker.

UPDATE [link (finally!) added]: If you doubt IVAW's intentions, a conversation between blogger Keohane and a representative (see comments at the link) clarifies things nicely. It includes extensive quotes from WSI forms. Note that the commenter starts out speaking only as a member, but at some point in the conversation has accepted an official role in WSI and is helping coordinate/recruit bloggers.