Thanks to the Mudville Gazette once again, for this interesting article brought to you by your tax dollars.
NPR, National Public Radio, which is partially funded by Mr and Mrs Uncle Sam, has a ridiculously one sided and biased article on the appeal for redress. And then there are the factual errors...
Here's the link, and I encourage you to read the whole article.
Truth is thrown out in the first line-Members of the U.S. armed forces are prohibited from speaking out against the war in Iraq. This is ridiculous. Military order and discipline set limits on what can be said, for and against the war, but not specifically either way. Only a few paragraphs later the article introduces the appeal for redress, which features-wait for it-members of the US armed forces speaking out against the war.
Next we have an anonymous Army intelligence officer, telling his own version of the John Kerry testimony before Congress about Vietnam. He said he has opposed the war since he shot a civilian during his first deployment. His convoy hit a roadside bomb and in the ensuing chaos, he opened fire on a passing vehicle. The ROE here in Iraq is very straight forward. If they are shooting at you, you can shoot at them. If they are getting ready to shoot at you, you can shoot at them. If you reasonably feel you are in mortal danger, you can shoot. The scenario he talks about is not uncommon. In a firefight, it is difficult to tell who is attacking you and who isn't.
But his next quote makes it clear that the ROE (rules of engagement) was followed-" a vehicle came up behind us fast and we thought it was a secondary attack so I fired into the vehicle and I hit somebody. " I have spent over a year on the Iraqi roads now, and I can say one thing without hesitation. When a IED goes off, 99 percent of Iraqi citizens will head the other direction. They see danger ahead and do what most anyone would do, they get to someplace safer. So if this scenario is accurate, then every soldier I know would have been highly suspicious of a civilian vehicle moving at a high rate of speed towards an US military Humvee just hit by an IED. And as for that last part 'I fired into the vehicle and hit somebody. I didn't mean to' , this is pure Pollyanna from someone who should know better. You never put the selector switch on semi unless you are ready to pull the trigger, and you never pull the trigger unless you are prepared to kill. Plain and simple. I suspect what this man is really expressing is guilt, that he feels responsible for an innocent's death. What he should remember is that he was under attack from terrorists who choose to use innocent Iraqis as human shields. Place the blame where it belongs.
Now comes the appeal for redress. This is where it gets really good.
Nearly 2,000 troops have signed the petition, most of them veterans of the Iraq war. There are about 1.4 million active- duty personnel in the U.S. military. As of Sunday, 2300 Iraqi local time, the appeal for redress has 1903 signatures. Not quite 2000, but it's close and I'm sure they'll get there in a few days, right? Not likely. Despite access to funding from several anti war organizations, the anti war appeal has gotten less than a hundred signatures in the past month. Despite keeping it's signatures confidential, so there is no way to verify whether or not they are genuine, and despite caravans of their supporters handing out leaflets at major military bases in the US, their numbers are moving up at the speed of molasses in the wintertime.
Next factual error-The petition drive, which began in October, is led by Jonathan Hutto. The 29-year-old Navy petty officer found a loophole in the Uniform Code of Military Justice called the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. It lets any member of the military legally petition his or her member of Congress for any reason without fear of punishment. A loophole? Was this written with a straight face? The regulations concerning appeal for redress are decades old, and the fundamental principle can be found as early as 1863 in the Articles of War, the predecessor of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice. This is not a loophole nor was it found by anyone. You can't find what already exists in plain sight. The only thing that has changed in recent years is that the Military Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 streamlined the process for making a complaint, and established a toll free hotline for servicemembers to contact the Inspector General's office directly.
And here is the best line of all, the worst of the whole bad article-The campaign is not without critics, including military bloggers and members of Congress, including Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI). The Pentagon does not publicly comment on the Appeal for Redress. This single paragraph, two sentences in all, constitute NPR's dedication to getting the whole story. No word on what causes Sen Reed to be a critic of the appeal. And certainly no mention of the Appeal For Courage, which supports the mission in Iraq, and has in half the time gathered over 700 more signatures. Now I'm not asking for equal time here, and obviously I'm biased because I'm a part of the Appeal For Courage. But to present a story on a controversial issue without presenting any opposing arguments is nonsense. To give the impression that a growing number of soldiers are opposing the war when in fact a far larger number support it is very nearly fraudulent. And to do all of this while being subsidized by my tax dollars is insulting.