Tales of Winter Soldier II

The Iraq Veterans Against the War held their Winter Soldier II event this weekend at the National Labor College. The implied intent of this event was to give testimony to many claims of atrocity committed by the US military in Iraq. Not surprisingly, it fell far short of its intent. For lefties expecting proof of the dishonor and heinous behavior of the US military, surely Monday morning recaps will bring little more than disappointment and frustration. For those who feared the smearing of our military a la John Kerry and the original Winter Soldiers, solace can be found.

After four days of “testimony” and countless hours of public therapy sessions for these pathetic malcontents, WSII was light on everything except self-indulgent pontificating and nauseating self-loathing by the IVAW members. 

The folks at The Sniper have the most complete minute by minute coverage of the event and individual “testimonies” can be read in excruciatingly pathetic detail. For the privilege of live blogging the festivities, the Sniper bloggers were subjected to as many as 6 security guards at a time, received escorted trips to the bathroom and were threatened with ejection from the event for daring to cover it from the vantage point of full disclosure.

My conclusions after hearing and reading hours upon hours of the testimony? War is hell. Bad things happen. People get hurt. Sometimes innocents get caught in the fire. As to the specifics that IVAW members alleged, perhaps a few things were questionable and they should certainly be investigated. The rest of the antidotal stories confirmed nothing more except that in war, unfortunate things happen. This was a collection of war stories, not the exposure of war crimes.

Additional time was spent on the left’s obvious and expected platitudes…no blood for oil, Halliburton and Blackwater are evil capitalists, etc., nothing you wouldn’t expect to hear at a Code Pink den meeting.

Of the few things that shocked me? One IVAW spent 20 minutes discussing the mind numbing lead up to the stunning conclusion that he ALMOST killed an 80-year-old Iraqi woman. Another stunner came with the announcement that, hold on to your hats here, the US military uses bullets! I, for one, was shocked. All of this time I was under the impression that we were shooting bubblegum and rainbows.

Winter Soldiers II is an example of much ado about nothing. No wonder the mainstream press, for the most part, steered clear. Perhaps the preemptive work of groups like Gathering of Eagles, Move America Forward and Vets For Freedom, who made it clear to all involved that our men and women in uniform today would not have to wait a lifetime to have their reputations and honor protected from liars and charlatans, kept them from vomiting the bile that the VVAW felt so embolden to do in 1971. 

In the weeks leading up to WSII, two IVAW members, Jonathan DeWald, and Evan M. Knappenberger, were removed and suspended respectively from IVAW by IVAW leadership for their violent, sick and troublesome threats to the folks at The Sniper, Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter. We’ll see if this severing lasts beyond, say, next week once the bright lights of the spotlight dim. In 1971, John Kerry would have likely bought these two chaps a round at Ted Kennedy’s favorite bar rather than ask that they to shut it for a few days.

Scott Swett, webmaster at, has played a critical role in exposing the lies of the first Winter Soldiers Event. While his efforts have been vital to the restoration of the honorable and proud service of Vietnam Veterans, one cannot help but be frustrated that his work, along with others who have devoted countless hours, took decades to unravel; decades in which these fine men were saddled with an undeserved albatross of shame at the sliming hands of John Kerry and the IVAW.

In the days leading up to the current circus of reputation assassins, Swett commented, “Winter Soldier II is the sequel to a fraud. At the event, radicals told horror stories about Vietnam, but then stonewalled, hedged and backtracked when questioned by military investigators. The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division opened 48 cases to check out the VVAW’s allegations, but only one was ever substantiated. These people have been using rumors and lies to slander the US military for nearly 40 years. The vast majority of their allegations are meaningless.”

As a glimpse into the mindset of the average mainstream press flunky, a Washington Post reporter was concluding an interview with a member of Vets for Peace. He was offered an opportunity to go to the back of the room to meet with bloggers representing a different perspective of the event. His answer? He waved the offer off and declined without shame. Clearly he was there to report on an agenda.

Saturday night, a crowd gathered to the fanfare of  many honking horns and passerbys, to show their disgust for the IVAW  freakshow with the ritual burning of their union cards. 

The highlights of the weekend had little to do with anything planned by the IVAW. Friday night, more than 150 people stood outside the gates at Walter Reed Hospital to cheer the Friday night bus of returning wounded soldiers. The crowd spanned all ages and walks of life. There were Vietnam Veterans, mothers of soldiers, Gold Star wives and parents and civilians there for no greater purpose than saying thank you.

Down the street, five Code Pinkos stood sullenly as car after car ignored their existence and laid on the horn for the patriots down the block. Suffering from “not enough attention” syndrome, they called the area Police to report that they felt “threatened.” Such delicate natures. 

At 9:30, the bus pulled in to Walter Reed to the sounds of deafening cheering and applause and an enthusiastic, if not pitch perfect, rendition of God Bless America. The shock and wonder on those young faces was humbling. The bus stopped part way up the drive and a young soldier on crutches, missing half of his leg but none of his pride or enthusiasm, came to the crowd with his beautiful wife to thank them. He told them, “The guys on the bus asked me to come out and thank every one of you for being here. You mean so much to us. My friend wanted to come out but he is a triple-amputee and couldn’t easily get off the bus. When we pulled around the corner and saw all of you, it was the first time I have really seen him smile since he came back. Thank you.”

The stark differences of the pro-troops organizations and the anti-war crowd could not have been any more dramatic this weekend and the impact on our heroes could not be any more obvious.