About two months ago, I wrote this:
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 [not the actual name].
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. [snip]
There are no words to express my disappointment and rage at what I fear is to come...
What could the "vile plans" have been that provoked such a response in me? Well, if you click that "these" link in that quote today, this is what you'll find:
The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan - and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.
Cool! Except for the "GI resistance movement" part, it sounds a lot like a Milblogger Conference.
Except that's not what it said on January 19, 2008 when I first wrote about Winter Soldier II (thank God for their fellow travelers who faithfully reproduced their original words):
This spring, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is revealing the reality of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. In what will be history's largest gathering of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors, eyewitnesses will share their experiences in a public investigation called Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan.
Winter Soldiers, according to founding father Thomas Paine, are those who stand up for the soul of their country, even in its darkest hours. With this spirit in mind, IVAW members are standing up to make their experiences available to all who are concerned about the direction of our country.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time America has needed its Winter Soldiers. In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into an increasingly bloody occupation. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
From March 13-16, 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because ours is a story that every American needs to hear.
And just two days ago, you still would've found references to the original Winter Soldier event at the same link (I've got a screen capture just in case). But today... Nothing to see here, folks. Just some veterans getting together to share their stories. And maybe that's exactly what they've now decided to make it.
So why am I bothering to write about this again? For the opportunity to make a statement:
We're watching you and we are not stupid, nor have we forgotten who you are. Wolves in sheepdog clothing are still wolves.
Update: AD P, don't even bother.
[Huge tip o' the hat to Dennis Keohane for catching IVAW's revision of WS]