Friday, January 18, 2008

Update to NYTimes Soldier Smear

An Iraqi girl watches a U.S. soldier on a patrol in Baghdad's Sadr City. U.S. troops have been patrolling the Shiite stronghold since March 4, 2007 under a deal that allows them to enter the area without resistance.
Adil al-Khazali, AP

This is an update to my earlier post. I thought it important enough to not only update it in that post, but bring it back to the attention of my readers.

Curt links to Confederate Yankee, who looked into the case studies of the 121 veterans, and finds that,
40 do not show direct ties between the stresses of deploying to combat zones and the homicides for which these veterans were charged, and of those, 14 were of highly dubious nature.
  • The appropriately named Travis D. Beer, an Army reservist deployed to Iraq, pleaded no contest to motor vehicle homicide, and had two prior arrests for driving under the influence. The Times does not note if those prior arrests occurred before he deployed to Iraq.
  • Jonathan Braham, a Marine veteran of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, shot a man whom he thought had sexually abused his stepson. According to the Times’ own reporting, he was adamant that his service in Iraq did not play a role in his decision to shoot the alleged abuser.
  • Brian Epting was sentenced to six years for vehicular homicide when he lost control of his car while drag racing in 2005 and killed Robert Duffy, a World War II veteran. Is the Times seriously implying that his deployment to Iraq in 2003 is to blame for a drag racing death?
  • Michael Gwinn Jr. has a history of domestic violence.
  • Robert G. Jackson was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, as was Johnny Williams Jr., which cannot readily be tied to military deployments. Likewise, James Pitts has psychiatric problems predating his deployment to Iraq.
  • Michael Antonio Jordan had a juvenile criminal record and was involved in gang activity.
  • Christian Mariano was acquitted for acting in self-defense, and yet the Times still included him on this list.
  • Jason R. Smith, a National Guard veteran and Atlanta narcotics officer, shot elderly Kathryn Johnston in an infamous no-knock raid, and is currently being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but his attorney cannot say what the proximate cause of his PTSD may have been.
  • Aaron Stanley’s sideline occupation as an alleged methamphetamine and marijuana dealer may have had more to do with his homicides than his deployment to Iraq. Vernon Walker killed two fellow soldiers while dealing drugs.
  • Larry Jaimall West was a member of the Crips street gang.
  • Jared Terrasas had a conviction for misdemeanor spousal abuse prior to his deployment to Iraq
  • Jessie L. Ullom had already been charged with abusing his infant son before he saw combat.

Veterans, especially wartime veterans, face significant stresses that should not be minimized and are only just being widely recognized, much less treated.

That understood, it is irresponsible of the New York Times to write an extensive post in effect indicting all veterans, while refusing to even attempt to provide context for their story, and while unfairly including every possible connection of veterans to homicides in such a cavalier manner — even those deaths that were justified, unrelated, unsupported, or had more proximate causes than being a war veteran.

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Blogger Donald Douglas said...

"That understood, it is irresponsible of the New York Times to write an extensive post in effect indicting all veterans..."

The military's an embattled institution in many ways. It's good to highlight the criminal deviations of veterans, and if they're related to service, treatment or intervention should be warranted.

But you nail it. The whole thing seems to deligitimize the role of our fighting forces, and by implication the administration. FDL, Kos, and all their hordes are eating this stuff up. All the more reason for the GOP to unify on a strong nominee quickly, and starting fighting for our values in the November campaign.

Friday, January 18, 2008 1:22:00 PM  
Blogger Tapline said...

Word, Excellent follow-up. Unfortunately, the damage is already done, once the article is run thats what is remembered. They might have a slight correction on page 6 that refutes what the article says, but its over. Sad by true....stay well....

Friday, January 18, 2008 8:37:00 PM  

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