Sunday, January 13, 2008

New York Times Casts Aspersions On The Troops

January 13, 2008

Echoing the 1971 sentiments of Democrat anti-war Senator and failed 2004 presidential candidate, John Kerry, the New York Times is now running their own “War Veterans are monsters” series, surely to raise public fears of our Heroes.

In the now infamous ”Testimony” Kerry gave before the Fulbright Commission back in 1971, we were told of returning Viet Nam Veterans,

“The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence… men who have returned With a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal…”
as well as,
“…there will be some recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America…..”

Now, under the title, “War Torn,” the New York Times, long known for its opposition to the current war, explains the series as, “A series of articles and multimedia about veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have committed killings, or been charged with them, after coming home.”

Part one, titled Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles informs us “121 Veterans are linked to killings since their return.” The Times article also tells us,
“these are stories of local crimes, gut-wrenching postscripts to the war for the military men, their victims and their communities. Taken together, they paint the patchwork picture of a quiet phenomenon, tracing a cross-country trail of death and heartbreak.”

The authors of the article inform us,
“To compile and analyze its list, The Times conducted a search of local news reports, examined police, court and military records and interviewed the defendants, their lawyers and families, the victims’ families and military and law enforcement officials,”
meaning they actively sought out only reports of Veterans involved in crimes.

Mirroring the claims made in 1971 by Kerry, the article speaks of one Veteran who
“spent the majority of 2003 to 2005 in Iraq solving very dangerous problems by using violence and the threat of violence as his main tools. He was congratulated and given awards for these actions. This builds in a person the propensity to deal with life’s problems through violence and the threat of violence.”

They go on to say,
“veterans are more likely to have committed violent crimes than non-veterans,” adding, “In the mid-1980s … veterans made up a fifth of the nation’s inmate population.”
In a speech given at the Washington, DC Hilton Hotel on July 5th, 1986, General William C. Westmoreland stated “only 1/2 of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.”

In that particular claim, there is no distinction made of what Veterans were allegedly jailed for nor if they were actual Combat Veterans, not even if they had served outside the U.S. during peacetime or war or had obtained less than Honorable Discharges or not.

Chapter 10 of the book, “Stolen valor,” by B.G. Burkett, chronicles several claiming either Veteran or Combat Veteran status and seeking forgiveness of their crime by claiming PTSD. Requests made by Burkett under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed several either had not served in the Military at all, or did not endure the Combat maladies claimed.

Analyzing the claims of the 121 claimed crimes, Media Lies, doing some quick calculations, comes up with,
“From the October 1, 2001 start of the Afghanistan war, that's about 26,000 troops/month. To date (Jan 2008) that would give about 1.99 million. That means that the NY Times 121 murders represent about a 7.08/100,000 rate.”
Allowing for an even larger rate and rounding up, they said,
“…let's call the rate 10/100,000, about 40% higher than the calculated one.”

Comparing that to U.S. National Crime rates, they state,
“We see that the US offender rate for homicide in the 18 - 24 year old range is 26.5/100,000. For 25 - 34, it's 13.5/100,000.”
Interpreted that means that homicides are more than twice as likely to be committed by non-Veterans of that young age than by returning Veterans, the article is raising concern over.

Attempting to mask their slur against our Troops as caring for them, the article quotes a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, Brockton D. Hunter,
“To deny the frequent connection between combat trauma [PTSD] and subsequent criminal behavior is to deny one of the direct societal costs of war and to discard another generation of troubled heroes.”

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), once known as “Shell Shock,” is real for some of our returning Heroes, as it always has been in past wars. Yet, in August of 2006, it was the same New York Times than ran an article debunking the high incidence of PTSD related to Viet Nam Veterans.

Surely the rate of PTSD today can’t be higher than for the returning Viet Nam Veteran, who also faced not only an elusive enemy, but also faced the despising and anger of a nation opposed not only the war, but the Troops themselves?

While we do need to reach out and help those few returning Veterans who need it, publishing articles focusing only on a narrow group as Veterans, while ignoring far greater incidences of heinous crimes is a grave disservice, not only to our returning Troops but to society as a whole.

So too would be the diversion of much needed funds, benefits and treatments to phonies and liars seeking easy money instead of to these few that are really in need of it.

In an email response to Reuters concerning this issue, Paul Boyce, spokesman for the U.S. Army said,
“Army statistics show little or no increases in positive drug use, driving under the influence crimes or domestic abuse in the past years among the more than 300,000 soldiers who have deployed in this war."
He continued with,
“the statistics appear to be based on a basic review of American newspaper crime stories from 2004 to 2006, rather than statistics provided by the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense, or even any interviews with military medical or judicial professionals,"
ending with,
“Such methodology would make it nearly impossible for reporters to determine the extent of highly personal mental-health assistance provided to individual members of the Armed Forces."

One need not think too long and hard to imagine the indignation and outrage editors of the New York Times would be publishing had a more conservative media source commissioned and published such a study in regards to similar statistics related to crimes of illegal immigrants, Black or Hispanic Gang or Drug related crimes.


UPDATE 1: The UK Telegraph has picked up this story and tied it to the recent killing of 20-year old pregnant Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child, Murder is latest killing by US war vets. Reminiscent of the "Trained Killers Released Upon Society" cries we heard three decades ago.

UPDATE 2: Others within the media community are seeing the New York Times Article efforts to disparage the Troops, SMEARING SOLDIERS, the New York Post and from the Wall Street Journal, The 'Wacko Vet Myth'


Shannon Evans said...

You bring up some excellent points. I always find it interesting that there are never any stories that are centered on Vietnam War Veterans and what they have done to improve American Society over the last 40 years.
It is also interesting how one can twist statistics to one's advantage for the sake of a story.
When are the syndications going to pick up the local stories where veterans and their families rise up and act as examples and role models?
Unfortunately, in American culture today we are more concerned with whether a troubled starlet has on proper underclothing then we are that she is self-distructing in front of very public eyes.
I am afraid we are becoming a culture of voyeurs who wallow in the depraved behaviors of the few rather than celebrating and uplifting our culture with examples of what is right and to be applauded.

LewWaters said...

How right you are, Shannon. Demonizing of Veterans started back in the 1960's as a way to draw down support for The war. Today, with the Surge showing such signs of success, they must repeat it to force it to a defeat.

Viet Nam Veterans, Iraqi/Afghani Veterans will have their numbers commit crimes, as all other wars have. Yet, the crime rate for those in the inner cities is usually much higher, but somehow they escape srutiny.

We are no different than any other citizen. Most of us returned to civilian life and quietly raised families, worked, divorced, remarried, much like everyone else. Even at the dedication of "the Wall," the media focused on the few wearing 'boonie hats' or partial jungle fatigues, instead of the vast majority wearing suits and ties.

You might find this 2003 article from VFW Magazine of interest, A ‘long way home’ for the truth about Vietnam veterans.

Rightwingwacko said...

On last night’s O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly challenged John Edwards’ claim that 200,000 veterans “will go to sleep under bridges and on grates” because they are homeless. O’Reilly said, “They may be out there, but there’s not many of them out there. Okay? … If you know where’s a veteran, sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it.” The Washington Post checked into Edwards’ claim and reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs does indeed report that about 195,000 veterans are “homeless on any given night.”

UPDATE: The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have launched a petition to tell Bill he was wrong:

Dear Bill O’Reilly,

Thank you for bringing the plight of homeless veterans to the attention of the American public. But apparently you don't know that almost 200,000 veterans sleep on our nation’s streets every night.

With a new generation of veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of them already joining the ranks of homeless vets, this is a situation that requires urgent attention. It should be unacceptable to the American public that our brave men and women in uniform who defend our country abroad are not given the support and care they deserve. IAVA will be working hard in 2008 to help fight homelessness among veterans.

The next time you raise this important issue, I hope it’s to set the record straight. Help us help our veterans.

Thank you,

LewWaters said...

Lest you forgot, Wacko, I am a Veteran!

That being said, Edwards crying there will be 200,000 tonight and the VA saying there will be about 195,000 "on any given night" are a tad bit different. Play on words, so to speak and, if you actually went to the VA, you'd see that is an estimate because no one keeps accurate records.

Do they break it down as to which one 'choose' to be homeless? Have they verified each and every one really is a Veteran and not just claiming it with forged documents?

Have you forgotten Dignity Village?

You like to point fingers at others, but what do you do? How do you honor a Veteran? By calling them a baby killer or shying away because trash like the New York Times claims we are killers waiting to kill?

I have 37 years of this shit coming from bleeding heart liberals like you who make a show of caring but would rather spit on us than anything else. The only time you give a crap about us is if you can manipulate and point fingers at others trying to make yourself seem better. You aren't.

You want to do something to halp us? Demand Illegal Immigrants be denied public assistance and that money be spent on Veterans instead. Demand congressional pork barrel spending cease and use that money for Veterans. Defund the NEA and PBS and divert that money to the Veterans.

When do you all demand all these little pet liberal money pits stop and that money spent on Veterans?

Hypocrits, the lot of you.

Rightwingwacko said...

Cut the crap. Don’t attempt to use me as a strawman in your tortured logic. You don’t know me. You don’t know my history or my involvement with the military. So I am a bleeding heart liberal, huh? Just because I disagree with Bill O’Reilly.

You are too quick to defend O’Reilly, Fox News and this administration when it comes to the treatment of veterans. Six years of a Republican Congress and a Republican Administration produced what for the veterans? Their lack of concern for the soldier on and off the battlefield is writ large.

Who is spitting on you? You did not hesitate to spit on John Kerrey or Max Cleland or any other veteran who disagrees with your agenda. And I sincerely believe you will not hesitate to participate in the swiftboating of John McCain.

You were part of a defeat in Vietnam. The reality is that the American culture is merciless when it comes to losers, whether it be in the military, business, or sports.

What did I do? Well, I sent a letter to Bill O’Reilly? Did you?

LewWaters said...

Stuff it in your ear, or anywhere else it fits, wacko. I've challenged you before on 214's and you slink away. So, put up or shut up.

You are completely wrong. I do not defend O'Reilly, I probably dislike him more than you do. I defend my brothers and sisters and the left's new attempt at labeling all of them as "murderers" and such, as they did to us back during Viet Nam.

Kerry is a phony that used you all for his own personal gain. No one lied about Kerry. If they had, all he ever needed do was open his complete unaltered Military record to the public, as you lefties demanded Bush do and which he did.

If, as you say, "the American public is merciless with losers," then you anti-war cretin leftists should be the ones being denigrated. I still await your listing of any major battle lost in Viet Nam by American Forces. It was you morons that lost it back here by listening to the likes of Kerry and Fonda spew their communist’s crap.

Big brave man, you sent a letter to O'Reilly. What have you ever done for Veterans?

Rightwingwacko said...

Congrats on another in a long line of embarrassingly error strewn partisan cheerleading posts. You don't seem to tire of babbling along to your party's tired old propaganda. Good for you. Like my dog Fritz your loyal if not terribly bright.

LewWaters said...

Yadda, yadda, yadda, do you ever do anything but bloviate?

If yopu were truly concerned about vetearns you would be outraged along with the rest of us that the New York Slimes slandered Veterans again by trying to label all murderes and deranged victims.

Your own words and conduct exposes you.