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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

IVAW Member Compares Gathering of Eagles to a Common Housefly

I am not a member of the Gathering of Eagles but I do frequent their website and support their counter-protests. The GOE has been subjected to the same threats that I and many others have been subjected to. Despite the apology on the IVAW homepage for the actions/threats of 2 members, Jen Hogg posted an article today on the IVAW website comparing GOE to the common housefly and not worthy of debate. Here's a few snips with my response in red...

In the buildup to IVAW’s Winter Soldier there are many individuals and a few groups who are opposed to the hearings. Their voice is mostly silently broadcast on the internet through their blogs but one group has a different level of desire attempting to confront IVAW. That group is the Gathering of Eagles. Recently I saw them standing in the cold rain in order to protest an event with one IVAW speaker, so if nothing else they have dedication. Yet what does this mean to IVAW?

It means that for a change that claims of war crimes and atrocities are no longer accepted at face value. When claims are made, there are plenty of people to research and fact check the claims and the people making such claims. It means when someone says "Marines went on a rampage at Haditha", they will be called upon to substantiate their claim. Just ask Jason Washburn. Bloggers held him accountable for his statements and he promptly retracted them. If not for the "bloggers", the claims would still be on the IVAW member page.

Could they be the gadfly that Plato wrote of Socrates? Ever pestering in order to debate and incur change? If you have ever met GoE in person you know there is rarely a desire for healthy debate, and a lot of profanity and snatching of signs and photos. One active duty IVAW attempted to speak with them online and was swiftly deleted from their message board.

In light of the incidents with Jon DeWald and Evan Knappenberger, this is pure farce. Ever other word of the vulgar threats were a profanity. Photos of female bloggers were photoshopped with male genitalia. BTW the IVAW member who was banned from the GOE message board was none other than Knappenberger. And so what if he was banned from GOE message boards - it's their community and have the right to ban anyone without being held to public scrutiny.

A gadfly has a bite and buzzes around constantly. They serve purpose to the horse. The GoE have no bite. They have message boards and a new flag they designed. They are more of a fraternity than a gadfly. Their means of operation are following around IVAW and protesting by way of yelling and attempted intimidation...

Where does IVAW stand on disruption of soldier's funerals and telling the grieving parents their son died for a lie? How about getting in the face of police officers while screaming about blood for oil? Defacing the military uniform? Carrying the American Flag upside down? Joining up with the Marxists and Socialists to protest the war and demand freedom for Mumia? From what I've read and seen, GOE does a lot more than just "follow" IVAW around.

It’s one thing to form friendship with people who disagree with you in order to bridge gaps and find common points of agreement that can lead to some positive change. It’s another to be drawn into useless arguments that only drain energy. The GoE have shown a desire to only do the latter. Much like the common housefly they follow us around. If we take the time to swat at them we take time away from meaningful efforts to end the war.

You mean like disrupting military recruiters, encouraging soldiers to refuse and resist, providing aid and comfort to deserters? Those "meaningful" efforts are nothing more than a rehash of the Vietnam War protests instigated by the anti-war protesters from the Vietnam Era.

Most of GoE are not in the service now, and many of their members never served. Most are currently too old to serve. They are not popular among current service members. While some go around looking for photo ops with people they think are important they themselves are on the same side of things we are in regards to real enemies, the birds of prey who profit off this war...

And how many members of IVAW actually served on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan? How many are deserters? How about conscientious objectors? How popular is IVAW among active duty service members? The membership of IVAW is estimated at 800 - less than 1/20th of the total service members that have or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since IVAW asks for donations from those against the war, doesn't that mean that IVAW is profiting from the war? If there was no war, there would be no IVAW.

One thing that certainly has not changed is the will to oppose injustice and a desire for accountability, two things IVAW proudly stands up to fight for.

Let's see how accountable IVAW is AFTER the "testimony" at Winter Soldier II. Let's see how many of those "I was told" or "I heard" claims stand up to scrutiny. IVAW wants the freedom to speak out - GOE deserves the freedom to respond.

And while we're talking about accountability and responsibility, take a gander at Obiter Dictum's piece on Dahr Jamail, IVAW and Jesse MacBeth. It is a perfect example of the research and dedication of those seeking to prevent the slander against the troops.

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