I first came across the term Winter Soldier on the way back from Iraq. I was reading Unfit For Command, the book that detailed the allegations of the Swift Boat Vets against John Kerry.
When I got home, I did some research on the topic to make sure the book wasn't exaggerating what had happened.
A group of anti war former soldiers made wild accusations of war crimes that they also claimed were US military policy in Vietnam. Most of the accusations could not be verified, and in fact some of those making claims could not even prove that they had been in Vietnam (the original phony soldiers).
The issue of the Winter Soldier conference and the fraudulent testimony of John Kerry before Congress was one of the decisive factors in his defeat in 2004 while running for president. In case you forgot, here is his sworn testimony to Congress-
They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
We call this investigation the Winter Soldier Investigation.
So you can imagine my surprise to learn that a group of Iraq War vets are bringing back the Winter Soldier conference.
According to their website, in March of 2008 they will convene to tell all of America the 'truth' of Iraq. I wonder if Scott Thomas Beauchamp is invited? Or Jessie MacBeth? Maybe conservatives should show up enmasse to protest and shut down the conference, as has been threatened for the Republican Convention next year.
Instead, we should organize bloggers and Iraq vets together to be ready to counter the accusations in real time. The more they attack the honor of our military, the more we should calmly demonstrate where and how they are lying. The more they scream for our retreat, the more we should patiently point to the dramatic turnaround in the last 2 years. The more they scream and cry and act like well, liberals, the more we should be steady, patient, and conservative.