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Son of Winter Soldier

Posted by Richard on July 20, 2007

In a Detroit hotel early in 1971, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, led by Al Hubbard and John Effin' Kerry, staged the three-day "Winter Soldier investigation." Over a hundred Vietnam vets testified that they and their fellow soldiers committed and/or witnessed a horrendous list of atrocities and barbarous acts. Later that year, John Effin' Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and repeated many of those claims. Those stories of massive war crimes played an important role in turning much of the American public — myself included — decisively against the war and against the military.

There was just one problem. Much, if not all, of the Winter Soldier testimony was bogus. Some of the "witnesses" weren't who they claimed to be. Others lied about having served in Vietnam or even in the military. At least one later filed a sworn affidavit alleging that John Effin' Kerry had pressured him into testifying falsely about American atrocities.

McQ at QandO, himself a Vietnam vet, wrote an excellent summary of The Fraud of the Winter Soldier back during the 2004 election campaign. There's a wealth of information and links at Why should you brush up on this bit of history? Because it's about to repeat itself. 

With a few egregious exceptions, the anti-war mantra has long been, "we support the troops, we just don't support the mission." But the anti-war left is growing increasingly frustrated. As I noted recently, opposition to the war is only about an inch deep. Many Americans are mildly displeased about the Iraq situation, but remarkably few are strongly opposed or really angry. Look at the lack of participation in the increasingly irrelevant anti-war demonstrations.

Opponents of the war must be looking for some way to rekindle the anti-war fervor of the 70s, some way to anger and sicken and disgust mainstream Americans and turn them decisively against the war. 

Well, how about repeating the John Effin' Kerry gambit? How about once again portraying American soldiers as barbaric monsters who've been dehumanized by war and by their evil superiors up the chain of command?

In any group of 160,000, there are inevitably a few nasty people who do bad things. And this enemy doesn't hesitate to fraudulently accuse our soldiers of doing bad things. But with the Haditha case falling apart, I don't doubt that some on the left are ready to rev it up a notch, and the first salvo may have been fired. A New Republic article, "Shock Troops," purported to be by an anonymous soldier in Baghdad, is that salvo.

The article is subscription-only, but Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard has extensive quotes and commentary. Be sure to check out the responses from members of the military. Also, McQ at QandO does a fine job of dissecting this garbage, and he adds some useful ruminations about the military equivalent of urban legends.

I'm no expert on military mess halls, children's skulls, or Bradley Fighting Vehicles, but the stories told by "Scott Thomas" in the New Republic article strike me as not even remotely credible. This is pure BS, and it doesn't pass the smell test. I'm astonished that the editors at the New Republic didn't toss this nonsense in the circular file. I suppose it shows just how willing to believe the worst of our soldiers they are — or how willing to do anything to undermine the war effort.

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One Response to “Son of Winter Soldier”

  1. Hathor said

    The fraud could also be the cover up of events that no one wants to know or they wanted to say. Surely there are quite a few families living with veterans that were severely impacted by the things done, seen and heard during Viet Nam. I sensed a quilt in conversation sometime with VietNam vets, during and shortly after the war. I think this war was not fought as the soldier expected. More often than not, there was silence, even when you asked. This was quite different than the Korean War veterans, They couldn’t tell you enough war stories and really boosted military life. This is only my perspective. I don’t get the point of rehashing “the Winter Soldiers.”

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