Friday, June 30, 2006

New Accusations against U.S. Servicemen: Can We trust the AP?

Ryan Lenz of the Associated Press reports that five U.S. Army soldiers from the 502nd Infantry Regiment are charged with the rape of a young Iraqi female and the murders of the female and three members of her family. Lenz quotes military spokesman Maj. Todd Breasseale as saying simply, "We're not releasing any specifics of an ongoing investigation."

Then Lenz cites "a U.S. official close to the investigation" as saying that one of the soldiers admitted to the crime.

Let's think critically about this report, first looking at the contrast between the named spokesman (Maj. Breasseale) and the unnamed source (the "U.S. official close to the investigation").

Problem 1: The official spokesman said that the Army was keeping mum on the details. But the unnamed source made a statement specific to the case. Why would this unnamed source, who was close to the case, go in a direction contrary to the official Army plan? Army CID personnel know better than to spout off about the details of a highly sensitive case, and if a person close to the case did go against orders to give Lenz the inside scoop, he or she will be in a lot of trouble.

I want to know who Lenz's unnamed source source is, and if Lenz was unwilling to divulge his source, why I should believe him.

We have already seen the Haditha story start to unravel from the moment that critically-thinking individuals began to look into the details of the case. We saw the same style of reporting: U.S. officials close to the case divulging details when standard procedure is to be quiet until the investigation is closed. I have a very difficult time believing the veracity of Lenz's story, precisely because he cites an unverifiable source. Furthermore, Lenz cites two more officials who made statements about the case on condition of anonymity.

On the other hand, Lenz is imbedded with an Army unit. That lmight lend some credibility to his story; then again, so was Geraldo Rivera- and he got booted out of Iraq for revealing tactically-sensitive information (his host unit's physical location) on live television during the invasion.

So Lenz's imbedded status really does not mean that he is a trustworthy reporter, only that he is a reporter.

Based on these findings, here is my view on this incident:

First, the investigation is ongoing. Let's see how things play out at the end of the day. If the soldiers are indeed guilty, line 'em up and squeeze 'em off in an execution held in front of the Iraqi people. The Army needs to send the message that soldiers who do these things will die, and the Army needs to do it in a very clear way to the Iraqis.

However, if the story is just another trumped-up fabrication like the Haditha massacre is turning out to be, then rip Lenz's credentials from his hands, send him stateside on his own dime, and lock him up in the stockade to await trial for providing aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war through false information aimed at demoralizing our troops.

Second, the Army needs to find these three unnamed sources and smoke them. Give them an Article 15 (nonjudicial punishment) at least, or bump them down to E-1 private and ship them to Adak where they won't be a hazard to anyone except the puffins. Cowards like these who willfully and arbitrarily act contrary to standing orders (and not revealing information related to a case is a standing order in a murder case) do as much damage to our troops' credibility and morale as any false story would. Spineless dogs like Lenz's unnamed sources need to man up. If they don't have the guts to give their names, they should shut up and follow their standing orders for the case.

On that note, reporters who cite unnamed sources should not be trusted. In the scientific world, in order for something to be proven, all the data has to be traceable and repeatable. Of course, journalism is not a science. It's a liberal art (which alone speaks volumes about its social vcalue). Lenz is not being a good reporter; he's being lazy. How do we know that Lenz has not made this up? Why should we trust Lenz if he won't provide credible proof for his information?

(Journalists are generally very sloppy with facts and sources if they can get away with it, and have even made stories up a' la Dan Rather if it suited their purposes. They need to be held accountable for their laziness. Okay- I'm off the soapbox.)

What is the bottom line with regard to these allegations? Simply that we must keep our minds open and wait for more information from verifiable sources, of whom Lenz appears incapable of providing. We also need to wait until the Army concludes its investigation before drawing our own conclusions. That may not be what Lenz and the AP want us to do, but it is the fair, responsible and necessary thing to do. I say "necessary" because the lives of five soldiers hang in the balance. Justice needs to be served here, and it can only be served by letting the whole truth, whatever it may be, come out as the investigation proceeds.

So keep your powder dry and your torches and pitchforks in the barn until we know for certain against whom our outrage should be directed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

At What Point Will This Administration Prosecute Traitors?

Bill Keller, the operative responsible for the New York Times' most recent outrage has been added to the growing list of traitors in this country who have gotten away with their crimes. By exposing a successful U.S. Government program that tracked down terrorists through their finances, Keller singlehandedly delivered a crippling blow to our national security in time of war, and in so doing handed the enemy yet another safe haven.

It is clear that Keller chose his own desire for prestige and notoriety over the safety of the American people. He knew that he would damage America's ability to wage war against the terrorists if he published the story. He did it anyway. Because he did, and because of the damage he did to our security in time of war, he should be arrested and tried for treason. Pinch Sulzberger, who runs the New York Times, is also implicated, and thus should be held accountable for his newspaper's crimes against the American people.

At what point will the Bush administration stop avoiding the issue and start nailing traitors for their crimes? The First Amendment does not protect newspapers- or anyone else for that matter- from prosecution when their statements or publications provide the enemy with information that enhances their ability to wage war against us or hamstrings America's ability to protect ourselves from our enemies.

Just as they demonstrated their sheer arrogant disconnection with the will of the American people on the issues of border security, pork spending, immunity of sitting congressmen from prosecution for felonies, and shutting down illegal immigration, our elected representatives continue to bury their heads in the sand and protect the elites when they commit outright treason.

But this is an election year, and come November, the American people will remember the elites on both sides of the aisle who betrayed us, and we will be thinning out the dead wood in Washington. Buckle up, because this is shaping up to become a very interesting ride.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Earning my wings.

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I am officially a proud member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists.

Kerry: "America Demands a Pullout- Hey, Where's Everybody Going?"

John Kerry should have gotten the picture the last time he tried to grab the spotlight. In his most recent escapade, Kerry-the-Mediocre did not take into account that his personal bid to stake out a political platform for 2008 would force the Democrats to make a very public and politically-suicidal stand on a definitive pullout of our military from Iraq. That is the last thing the Democrats want to do during a critical election cycle. But Kerry, never one to know when to quit while he still had friends, went ahead with his public political seppuku. And of course Kerry, invertebrate that he is, did it with his usual, craven, cowardly, sneaky old John Kerry flair- by slipping a rider on an existing defense bill. But a Republican senator caught Kerry's game and called the Boston String Bean's bluff by bringing Kerry's subversive rider into the open, nearly verbatim, and calling for a debate. The result was a smackdown that would have made Hulk Hogan squeal like a schoolgirl, with only six Democrat senators siding with Hanoi John.

"The Republicans aren't playing fair!" Harry Reid whined. "They shouldn't have openly challenged us to a toe-to-toe fight when they know that we can't win this debate! They should have let us be more sneaky about weakening our nation in time of war!"

Meanwhile, the Boston Wailer learned his lesson, he said. He was being too easy on the Republicans, he said. The pullout date was too far out, he said. "I'll make it sooner and we'll show the Republicans how America really feels about this war," vowed Laos Lurch.

Well, Kerry-the-spineless learned how America feels about the war, and he learned how few friends he has left. Only a few more of his fellow Democrats sided with him in the second rout in as many weeks. But Kerry's move to regain the spotlight hit the ground with about as much style as a garbage bag full of spaghetti dropped from the fifth floor.

I applaud the Democrats who saw Kerry's attempt to wreck the progress of this war for his own personal gain for exactly that. I hold no illusions the all Democrats see it that way. Some just did not want to be caught out as cowards in an election year. Many limp-wristed RINOs voted from the same motives. (We know who they are, and we'll deal with them soon enough.)

Nothing speaks of Kerry's total irrelevance like nearly his entire party abandoning him to his destiny- a nobody who wasted his life trying to become somebody at the expense of everybody. Well, Hanoi John is still who he always was- an opportunistic, spineless, conniving, cowardly little traitor. Only now he is damaged goods for a party that is desperate to regain power.