It’s become a pattern. As regular as the sun rising in the East. As inevitable as gravity. You might wait patiently for some sign of maturity, but personal accountability and responsibility are foreign to them. So, you wait in vain, you attempt to get the story to resonate enough to mandate some action on their part, and you gnash your teeth when nothing happens.
The Rick Duncan/Strandlof affair is just the latest in a long line of irresponsible behavior on the parts of both IVAW and VoteVets. This post will analyze that history with regard to IVAW, and look at some of the latest from the Rick Duncan investigation from Sunday’s Denver Post. Excerpts from that story will appear in bold and italicized.
A tattoo of an angel illustrates his right leg. A devil decorates his left.
But a trail of deceit has stamped Richard Glen Strandlof with another indelible mark: fake military hero who misled veterans, politicians and voters. Many had bought into the story of Rick Duncan, the wounded soldier rallying opposition to the Iraq war and support for struggling vets.
I started following IVAW as soon as I heard the name, particularly since they were founded almost to the day when I deployed to Afghanistan. I had a few posts back at the Sniper about them, but my presence on this blog started because of my attendance at Winter Soldier, where I was invited by Army Sergeant. As a stipulation of my attendance, I was required to submit my DD214. I suspect I am the only one besides Jonn who has ever had to submit documentation to IVAW proving service/rank/duty station.
Some Language Warning After the Jump
It’s not even a little ironic that one of the original founders of IVAW, Jimmy Massey is an exposed liar. Massey’s stories were so gruesome and grotesque that they appalled anyone who read them.
Marines fired on and killed peaceful Iraqi protesters.
Americans shot a 4-year-old Iraqi girl in the head.
A tractor-trailer was filled with the bodies of civilian men, women and children killed by American artillery.
Thankfully members of his unit took offense to his lies:
Each of his claims is either demonstrably false or exaggerated – according to his fellow Marines, Massey’s own admissions, and the five journalists who were embedded with Massey’s unit, including a reporter and photographer from the Post-Dispatch and reporters from The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal.
And so, Jimmy attacked the paper, refused to provide the appropriate paperwork verifying these events, and eventually just fled to Venezuela.
And while the FBI is investigating possible fraud, no charges have been filed. Strandlof, 32, spared no detail in his alleged resume: Annapolis graduate. Marine captain. Survivor of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon. Wounded three-tour veteran of the Iraq war. An American hero who, in his next act, would stand up for his band of military brothers on whatever stage was set before him — from the Capitol steps in Denver to the campaign stump.
The “Phony Veteran” meme was forever linked to IVAW with Jesse MacBeth. I remember someone sending me the video at work and asking what I thought of it. It’s abundantly clear after 6 seconds he is lying. Hotair played a huge role in the outting, and Ms. Malkin did a great video on it. It was also how I first came in contact with Blackfive, as some jackass neanderthal looking guy named “Jimbo” carved him up.
I honestly to this day can’t believe that there was ever someone who served that could possibly have been taken in by this guy. Nothing against stutterers, but if I am under fire, the last dude I want shouting out distance and direction is a stuttering jackass who can’t even get his sleeves rolled correctly and has his beret going in the wrong direction.
Army Spec. Mark Wilkerson cut Strandlof a lot of slack for his supposed disabilities. He first heard him speak, eloquently but with a pronounced stutter, at a barbecue held by some people with Iraq Veterans Against the War….When Wilkerson invited Strandlof to join Iraq Veterans Against the War, he balked — possibly because he knew the group checks DD214 forms to authenticate service. He declined to join officially, saying he preferred to work with the group “under the radar” so he could maintain relationships with conservative elected officials.
I got in a heated fight with Selena yesterday about this. It’s not fair to her, she’s not in charge of IVAW, not a membership coordinator, or anything else. But she did require me to send my DD214, and she remains the only active IVAW member who seems to have any integrity whatsoever. Unfortunately for her, that also means she gets the bitter end of my diatribes. She maintains, inexplicably, that “Rick Duncan was not a member of IVAW.” More on that later, but I did note an interesting line in the IVAW wiki page which states that because of MacBeth, IVAW started checking DD214′s. And the footnote of this assertion leads to:
A copy of one of the following (feel free to black out personal info such as social security number) must accompany your membership form:
Military Photo identification
Unit Move Order indicating service dates and locations
Medal, award, or certificate of recognition
Paperwork from Veterans Administration
Mind you, all of these items have been faked repeatedly, and there hasn’t been a “Veterans Administration” since October 25, 1988 when Reagan granted it Cabinet Level status. If you had an organization aiding you in getting benefits, wouldn’t you want them to at least know the name of the Department of Veterans Affairs?
Prior to the Winter Soldier hearings we got a real good idea what the “Peace Activists” really meant by peace. The Wonder Twins of Evan Knappenberger and Jonathan DeWald decided to weigh in on what they would do to other veterans at WSI, and those counter-protesting.
Evan started it off by threatening to “Bomb Gathering of Smeagols” and fantasizing that:
I really really really hope that someday Malkin and her counterpart, Ann “Fucking” Coulter end up laying hog-tied with electrical wire in an Iraqi ditch.
Not to be outdone in the Crazyolympics, DeWald stated:
I don’t know what fucking idiot lobbied for these shithead right-wingers to be allowed at Winter Soldier but I fear for their safety on the campus. Me, I’m not doing shit to them. Not at Winter Soldier, anyway. But I’m far from being the only IVAW member who’s quick with his fists. Also: after putting up with weeks of crude, sexual insults from conservative bloggers “Thus Spake [Brokedick] Ortner”, the “[Not Actually but Wannabe] Sniper”, that fat fucking pig Jonn Lillyea and all those other cockroaches, I’ve decided I’m probably going to waste most of them on sight dry-hump them all if I see them in DC away from Winter Soldier. I’ll give them a clear, verbal ten-second exit opportunity to clear out of my fucking field of vision in some pub, restaurant or subway stop. If they don’t get the fuck out of my sight… oh, well. Sorry.
This is the same Evan Knappenberger who pled guilty to harassing his wife just a week ago, a wife who is also active in the peace movement. Apparently the misogyny displayed towards Malkin and Coulter wasn’t sufficient to amount to too much, since IVAW let Knappenberger right back into IVAW.
Evan Knappenberger, a local Iraq War veteran who did the Stop Loss Tower Guard vigil last summer and started the local Iraq Veterans Against the War chapter was suspended from the group, but reinstated after four days, for making threats online against pro-war activists two weeks ago.
Knappenberger, who initially suffered an indefinite suspension, told me on the phone this morning that he had received an apology from the IVAW board for what he called their “arbitrary decision” to suspend him in the heat of the moment.
You get that? They apologized to him. There was never a public statement from the group, only an apology from Army Sergeant.
And what of DeWald? Well, he decided to come after me, and when I didn’t react the way he wanted, he went after my Dad. Yup, started a website in my name, my actual name, talked about how I liked to molest small children, and made public statements about my Dad. I don’t care about me, but I love my Dad. He and I agree on nothing but the Sox and Patriots, and he would be an Anti-War guy if it wasn’t for respecting me. I made a Faustian pact, and took down my DeWald posts, and he took down mine. But, he didn’t hold to his end of the bargain, and kept showing up here until Jonn got his records through a FOIA and discovered that DeWald had self promoted himself.
In his defense, self-promoting is standard operating procedure in IVAW, and it starts at the top. How many times have we discussed “Sergeant Adam Kokesh”? Jonn found plenty of times where Adam used his rank of “Sergeant” despite having been reduced in rank for smuggling a weapon back into the country. I’ve noticed a lot of them do this, despite being busted and losing rank, they still use their old ranks, sometimes adding “former” to add a veneer of honesty.
What about Geoff Millard? After lying to my face at WSI about some release I had allegedly signed which I never had, and then threatening me with removal for pointing out the stories were full of crap, Jonn and I found out that ole Geoff here liked to wear a medal that Jonn and I earned, and yet he had not, namely the Combat Infantry Badge. Geoff just awarded it to himself. I mean, seriously, who needs records when you know you deserve it?
Next came “Afghan Veteran” Matthis Chiroux. Here’s the video of him refusing to honor his contract, brought to you by Michael Moore’s youtube page:
There’s nothing I can say about Matthis that we haven’t covered at length here. He’s lied to every person who ever cared about him. He stood next to his dad when he first announced he wouldn’t go, and for that support his Dad was thanked by being scapegoated at the sham hearing where Matthis claimed he was abused by his Dad. Girlfriends have been lied to and then found their savings accounts pillaged. Well meaning activists gave him money, only to (allegedly) have all that money spent on drug fueled parties. He praised himself for not being able to get it up with prostitutes, before then telling us how he scored with prostitutes later. He’s an assclown and a congenital liar. And he’s the raison d’etre of all their work. And he still apparently mistakenly believes that you, the American taxpayer, is going to pay for his college. Well, we won’t.
As an interesting aside, Matthis is flanked by Army Sergeant, Kelly Dougherty and Kris Goldsmith.
Kelly was deposed in favor of a guy who deserted from the Department of Transportation. As my good friend CJ said:
The new IVAW executive director is a “man” named Alex Bacon. Like all good IVAW members, Alex is an AWOL former Coast Guardsman. Heaven forbid they get anyone with honor to be at the helm of such a prestigious organization like IVAW. Alex is also the creator of a coffee house outside Fort Lewis that caters to other yellow-bellied ass clowns like Ehran Watada who can’t hack military service and don’t understand the meaning of military service.
When someone who’s never even showed up to Drill for National Guard or Reserve musters, let alone a single day on Active Duty, (Carl Webb, for example) is wearing a shirt that would lead most people who are able to read English to assume said person is an actual “Iraq Veteran” who is “Against the War” that they served in… That’s not only doing a disservice to the organization by presenting a face that isn’t true, but it’s also offensive to most people (I’m talking about the >1.3 million Veterans of OIF, not just IVAW members) who actually served in Iraq.
And then Army Sergeant. Despite the fact that she gamely tries to do her best, she got sacked from the Board of Directors. I would argue it is because of all of them, she’s the only one who at least puts forth an effort to act like an adult.
Luckily for us though, IVAW still has people like Carl Webb. He’s the Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist IVAW Member who advocated sabotage. Here he is on his IVAW website defending the insurgents:
I support unconditional military defense of Iraq and the right to fight for self-determination in the struggle against US imperialist domination, and believe the Iraqi people have the right to resist occupation by any means necessary.
The official records provided by the military to TAH do not indicate anything which Webb maintains. According to the official records from the National Personnel Records Center, Webb was never a deserter, never served after 9/11, isn’t eligible for membership in IVAW. Those records were proffered to the DoT deserter Exec Dir, who replied:
We do have proof of service on file for Carl including a copy of his DD Form 4/1 (Enlistment/Reenlistment Document) showing him enlisting in the Army National Guard in 2001 as well as mobilization orders from 2004.
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Mind you that the document he claims to have is one not within the membership criteria listed above. Go ahead, scroll back up and find “enlistment documents” in the list of acceptible paperwork. But, there you have it, we should just take his word for it because Alex told you to.
Robert Moran, whose The Street Church in Colorado Springs works with the poor and homeless, found an ally in Strandlof…”He definitely showed a real passion for people on the streets, veterans and nonveterans,” said Moran, who served 22 years in the Army. “We saw Rick as someone who had compassion. People would call him and ask about where and how to get help for mental issues, and he had the answers.”
For Moran, deciding on whether Strandlof was “good or bad in the end” depends on unanswered questions about funds he may have collected in the name of veterans.
“If he did do something illegal, it may be that it wasn’t intentional — it may be that he just isn’t healthy,” Moran said. “What do you do with a Rick Duncan? Do you pray for him and hope he gets some help? In the short time he spent advocating for the homeless, he did some good, but the jury is still out for the long term impact, right?”
And so it is with IVAW as well, as long as you speak the magic words, Bush Bad, Wars started by GOP President’s bad, Chickenhawks bad, you’ll be accepted into the flock with little to no question asked.
The formula is written in stone. At first, deny any questions asked of your advocates. Then attack those asking the questions, call them Chickenhawks, despite their extensive service records. When it is inescapably proven that you were wrong, change the dialogue. Rick Duncan was introduced at an IVAW function BY an employee of IVAW as the “mental health coordinator at Winter Soldier”, and when this all went down, IVAW flushed the Video. However, Rick Duncan, despite having an IVAW website, being the key attraction at various engagements, and a lengthy carreer identifying himself as an IVAW member is *NOT* one because IVAW says so. When this defense comes under attack, just dissipate like a fart in a wind tunnel and pretend it never happened.
It happened with Garrett Rappenhagen and Jeff Engleheart. They lied, IVAW didn’t give a shit. The official biographer/reporter for IVAW is the only man besides Michael Moore who still cites to the discredited Lancet report. And IVAW didn’t give a shit. Former Exec Dir Camilo Mejia can’t even keep his story straight between media interviews and his own book. And IVAW didn’t give a shit. Their predecessors in VVAW can’t keep their stories straight, and one of them is a cop killer? IVAW won’t give a shit. Make up a IVAW profile that implies you graduated West Point when you didn’t? IVAW doesn’t give a shit. Get fired from your job of delivering shit paper to detainees and yet (inexplicably) proclaim yourself the manager of Gitmo Detainee Movements as an E4? IVAW doesn’t care that no one buys that story. Claim you used a Mk19 to kill 2 women with groceries? Front of the line my friend, IVAW doesn’t give a shit that the story reeks. Use an official IVAW facebook page to publish a disgusting cartoon asking that voters “send mccain back to his cage at the hanoi hilton”? IVAW will flush it for you my friend, with no explanation, no need to worry about it, it never happened. Claim that Bush and his commanders ordered you NOT to provide humanitarian support to people in Syria? Even this inexplicably stupid story is no match for IVAW, they’ll just report it. Allegations of Depleted Uranium in munitions used in Iraq with no evidence? Not too crazy for IVAW, they already keep their own piss in bottles in the refrigerator. Claim that the Marines sent you out on “Death Missions”? Dude, you have all the makings of a IVAW Chapter President!
Do I even need to go on?
How many more of you are out there? Lying your asses off in the name of “Peace.” However many of you there are, rest assured that Alex et al will cover for you.
When the truth finally emerged, it happened quickly.
“That was the tipoff that said, ‘Hey, we need to start digging,’ ” Warvi said. “It just started to fall apart pretty quickly.”
Duncan’s facade began to collapse within hours.
And yet, the facade at IVAW never fell, it simple dematerialized and moved to a new phony veteran. We’ll be there to play wack-a-mole when whoever that is pokes his head up. We smelled the Rick Duncan a full month before anyone else, and I suspect we will be utilizing our olfactory sense again real soon. And it’s not just TAH. Blackfive will be there. Greyhawk will be there. CJ will be there. ROK Drop will be there. No matter how big or small the lies you tell, there’ll be an army of bloggers ready to disprove your bullshit. And, there are more of us who care about maintaining the sanctity of our honorable service than there is those of you trying to rob us of it.