Thursday, March 27, 2008

The source speaks

Going back to Monday night, the cancellation of the Heroes Tour event at FLHS was prompted by a post on Democratic Underground.
I followed Jeff Davis' post at True North and emailed Mr Bremer.

He responded, claiming his innocence in the whole affair. Judge for yourself.

I emailed this to Mr Bremer-

Mr Bremer-I was one of the local vets set to speak at Forest Lake HS on Tuesday. I'm saddened by the fact that you have never met me yet you assumed thatyou know what I would have said. Our hope was to tell the kids about ourexperiences in Iraq, and being kids that usually means they want to knowstuff like what MRE's taste like and how hot it is. I see at the end ofyour post you wondered about the possibility of anti-war vets talking aswell. That would have been fine with me, as long as they could have leftthe politics out as well. But what happened instead is that you madeassumptions without knowing for sure, and the kids at Forest Lake were thelosers. I am the state co-captain for Vets for Freedom, so in the futureif you have concerns over something we are doing, please contact me and wemaybe we can avoid similar problems.
Dave Thul

I hoped for a reply, but I figured he must be getting swamped with emails and would delete mine without reading it. But to his credit, he wrote back-


Unfortunately, you got your facts from Jason Lewis. Let me tell you the real story.

I NEVER advocated cancelling this event. I contacted Vets for Peace via e-mail and urged them to contact the school and try to get on a two-sided forum with you guys, with NO politicians involved, so the kids could get a balanced view from both pro-war and anti-war vets. With the involvement of MIchele Bachmann, this had all the appearances of being a very one-sided presentation--and it also turned it into a partisan political event. It's no secret that Bachmann is a strong supporter of the war and is running for re-election. And, whether or not you contend your organization is nonpartisan, your website suggests otherwise. So there were concerns. That's what I told a school board member in a single phone call too. That was it. One e-mail, one phone call--both suggesting an open, balanced forum with both vets' groups represented. I did nothing else with this. Many claim I posted something on another website urging action on this but that is a lie. Someone I don't even know, or know who, posted my PRIVATE e-mail to Vets for Peace on a website, without my knowledge or permission.

But the facts never matter to these people. I have been smeared repeatedly on the radio by Jason Lewis this week, who said I was a "ringleader" in all this and urged listeners to come to my home in Stillwater and give what's been a "long time coming" to me. I have had my home phone and address and work phone number posted on a right-wing blog, urging readers to contact me because I was the "protest organizer." The same blog has a letter-generator on it to automatically send me letters. It features a stolen picture of me. And the second letter I got from this website today was a death threat. In fact, it's probably the same website where you sent this letter from.

All this for simply trying to get a good, balanced presentation for these kids. Not organizing a protest. Not trying to get anything cancelled. I never had anything to do with any kind of threatened protest, press conference, nothing. I have no idea who did. Period. And I challenge Jason Lewis or anyone else to provide proof of it.

I'm not even a member of Vets for Peace. But I am a veteran (US Army Military Police, 1972-74), and it's pretty disgusting how I'VE been treated in all this. Do I give up my rights as a veteran simply because I don't agree with the war and the politicians behind it? Now, I have a Washington County Sheriff investigation underway with regard to the death threat. And there may be further action taken against individuals involved in this smear job and harassment. My wife is terrified. I now have to look into a security system for our home.

So you see, things aren't always what they seem. I hope you can relate the true story to your comrades. I'm sorry the event got cancelled too. I wish they would have had a joint forum too. That's all I ever wished for.

Karl Bremer

I found fault with several of his statements, and responded with this-

Mr Bremer-first let me thank you for your service to your country. Were it not for vets like you I wouldn't have the freedoms I do.
But second, I have to question your motives here. You've said that the post on Democratic Underground was not yours, just a cut and paste of your email. From reading the post, that seems quite plausible. The post has a clear break in format around what I presume was your email. But here are the words then that are yours that make me question your innocence in all this.

"As a veteran, I'm outraged that a right-wing group like Vets for Freedom, along with Rep. Michele Bachmann, can hold a closed-door meeting with high school students to indoctrinate them on the joys of war"

Indoctorinate them on the joys of war? That is a clear insult to me and the other vets that were to speak that day. You owe me and them an apology for assuming, without knowing any of us, what we had planned to talk about. Unlike when you served, today's military is an all volunteer force. And many of us, myself included, volunteered to go to Iraq because we believe in the mission. Yet you insult us all by insinuating we are killers who enjoy our work and want to twist the minds of those kids. That, sir, is insulting to me and every man and women who volunteers to wear the uniform that you once did.

And I find it hard to believe that you tried to contact Vets for Peace with no idea that you were creating a firestorm among the anti war community. You clearly accuse Vets For Freedom of being a right wing group, but claim innocence that contacting a left wing group would cause a reaction.But worst of all, you made no attempt to contact Vets For Freedom to ask us what we had planned. If you had, you would have learned that the executive director, Pete Hegseth, had contacted the principle at Forest Lake because he was an alumni of the school, and that both had agreed to keep all politics out of the conversation. There's not really much about our message that is political in the first place, unless you think that actually winning the war is a partisan message. In point of fact, one of the national Vets is an active duty Marine, and I work full time for the National Guard, so both of us are legally prohibited from engaging in partisan politics. All of this information was at your fingertips with one phone call to Vets for Freedom.

If you are disgusted with the way that you have been treated, then you need to blame the source. If you didn't post your email, then someone at Vets for Freedom did. And if you had reached out to Vets for Freedom, we could have talked like grown adults and reached some sort of compromise to allay your fears. Lay the blame where it belongs.

I agree with you on one point. It is shameful that your home phone and address are being given out, and that you are now living in fear, just as it is shameful that military recruiters are harrassed and their offices vandalized. I hope you will share your experiences with others on the left so that people on both sides of the issue will know that there are boundaries that cannot be crossed.

Dave Thul

I would like to emphasize my last point in the letter. If you want to send this man an email with rational thoughts, that's fine. But harrassing him at home or at work is the tactics of the very anti war types that we are trying to push back against.


lloydletta said...

Thoughtful correspondance. It's worth pointing out that it's over the top in my view to try to generate mail with an automailer to a private citizen - which is what Karl Bremer is. Also that particular action alert included a photo of Karl and mentioned he lives in Stillwater. In my view that was intended to intimidate Karl not to have meaningful dialog. I hope Vets for Freedom publicly disavows Minnesota Majority's thuggish tactics.

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