May 15, 2008
Summer Soldiers by Any Other Name: Act IIBy Kyle-Anne Shiver
American patriots should have known better, I suppose, than to think that the Winter Soldiers would have enough pride not to show their faces in public again after their March tomfoolery in Silver Spring, MD.
The American public is not being fooled, in my opinion.
But the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), aka Winter Soldiers, have now found a willing audience in Congress, that is sure to fawn over them with all the theatrics of a Soviet-style show trial.
The Progressive Congressional Caucus (PCC; now there's a hoot) is laying out the red carpet, the one we taxpayers provide by the sweat of our brows, so that they can hear "testimony" by a tiny group of veterans, who are apparently unhappy about the fact that the American people decided we needed to fight a war while they were in uniform.
Cloaking one's own cowardice in scurrilous accusations against others seems brazen beyond belief, in my view, but the show will go on and everyone will play their parts to as much media attention as can be bought.
What is the Progressive Congressional Caucus, you may wonder
Succinctly, this is the group of congressional representatives and one senator, who are responsible for "progressing" the Marxist cause in America. They probably don't call themselves, "The Socialists," for the same reason the "Winter Soldiers," don't call themselves "Socialist Summer Soldiers." These more genuine monikers would be seen as un-American. Thus the switcheroo.
One of the best examples of PCC lunacy was Californian Pete Stark's statement last year (in the SCHIP debates) about our soldiers in Iraq "getting their heads blown off for the president's amusement." Stark is a proud PCC member, as are Henry Waxman, Maxine Waters, Barney Frank, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Charles Rangel and Dennis Kucinich. And could this far, far, far, far left caucus possibly be complete without Keith Ellison, the only Muslim member, and Bernie Sanders, the only openly avowed Socialist member? No, of course not.
At the moment, the PCC's most pressing cause is to engineer America's withdrawal and defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan. And they are following their forebears' successful game plan from the Vietnam era, right down to naming the anti-war groups the same, and parading dissident vets in the halls of our congress.
The Progressive Congressional Caucus states that their overall cause is to fulfill The Progressive Promise of fairness to all. Right now, though, they're kind of stuck in the world as God made it, and must spend their lives and our money hearing the grievances of unsatisfied consumers.
Enter the IVAW, stage left.
The scene, the actors and the story line
Act I of this beyond amusing little production began in Silver Spring, MD in March. Ticket sales, unfortunately, were not open to the public; it was a private performance at this point.
In fact, it was so private, that according to a naval officer, who was there (outside):
I couldn't agree more. Making scurrilous accusations against others in secret is not only cowardly, it's downright un-American. But perhaps Silver Spring was merely a rehearsal for Act II, a chance to hone stories and act more convincingly for a broader audience, the PCC folks in D.C., whose hearing today is purported to be open, although requests from the Gathering of Eagles to speak have not been answered as of this writing.
Perhaps only those reading from the same script will be allowed as this show-and-tell performance.
There will be crashers in the audience, though. Both Gathering of Eagles and Eagles Up promise to have honorable vets in attendance. Thank the Constitution for that.
The single purpose of the troop-support groups in attending is to ensure that statements are made under oath with verifiable corroboration, in accordance with the United States Constitutional guarantees to due process and the right to face one's accuser.
The charges that the IVAW are making are serious, and when they make them in a public forum, they must be scrutinized in the same fashion as any other charges of wrongdoing. War crimes are not something we, as Americans, take lightly.
As Lt. Col. (ret) Steve Russell, reminds us:
All under the rule of law
Whatever these IVAW and PCC people may think of themselves, however they choose to play this out, they, too, are citizens who must live under the rule of law. We Americans were bamboozled by the first Winter Soldiers of 1971, who turned out to be mostly phonies and pawns of our communist enemies. We were fooled then; we didn't have the internet.
As citizens, we have the right to examine serious allegations according to the rule of law. And we have the duty to ensure that accusations against our own military in a time of war, are fully investigated and corroborated before they are taken seriously.
That is why Gathering of Eagles is sponsoring a petition to Congress that supports and requires accountability for those who participate in the Winter Soldier project. As an American citizen, my belief in equality under the rule of law has compelled me to sign on to this effort, letting those who put on show trials know that this is not the USSR. We don't like it when people put political agendas ahead of our own safety by undermining our war efforts.
Lt. Col. (ret) Steve Russell says it best:
Indeed, it is shameful. And we must, as citizens, do all we can to make certain that every legal standard is followed to the letter.
And if and when the accusations of the Winter Soldiers are adjudged to be unfounded, then we should amplify our disdain for their unconscionable actions.
Then, perhaps, it will be time for Americans to once again employ Patton-style shaming and shunning.
In the meantime, it might be wise to remember this old Patton dictum, when weighing the "testimony" of the Winter Soldiers in Congress today: