January 18, 2008

One Rag To Smear Them All

Ralph Peters of the NY Post has dropped his second editor bomb on the New York Times for their smear of American veterans in a column titled "The New 'Lepers.'"

A taste:

The purpose of Sunday's instantly notorious feature "alerting" the American people that our Iraq and Afghanistan vets are all potential murderers when they move in next door was to mark those defenders of freedom as "unclean" - as the new lepers who can't be trusted amid uninfected Americans.

In the more than six years since 9/11, the Times has never run a feature story half as long on any of the hundreds of heroes who've served our country - those who've won medals of honor, distinguished service crosses, Navy crosses, silver stars or bronze stars with a V device (for valor).

But the Times put a major investigative effort into the "sensational" story that 121 returning vets had committed capital offenses (of course, 20 percent of the cases cited involved manslaughter charges stemming from drunken driving, not first- or second-degree murder . . . ).

Well, a quick statistics check let the air out of the Times' bid to make us dread the veteran down the block - who the Times implies has a machine gun under his bathrobe when he steps out front to fetch the morning paper. In fact, the capital-crimes rate ballyhooed by the Gray Lady demonstrates that our returning troops are far less likely to commit such an offense.

His previous editorial on the subject generated a huge response as well.


The Times article—the first in a series of vet-bashing articles that the Times has prepped to smear our soldiers—is fundamentally dishonest.

Out of all veterans that have been to Iraq and Afghanistan—estimates are that there are 1.5 million them, with roughly half still serving and half (749,932) discharged—the Times was able to compile just 121 deaths.

Read the Times article, and you are treated to five vignettes culled from those 121. The first four encompassing the majority of the article, telling the stories of Matthew Sepi, Archie O'Neil, Stephen Sherwood, and Seth Strasburg, are all about men who "snapped" and shot people to death.

What the Times did not print were those stories that didn't fit their template, and indeed, perhaps should not have been included in their count of 121 at all.

As I noted in my Pajamas Media article published yesterday:

Of those 121 summaries, 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.

The only criteria the Times seems to have followed was to list all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who have killed someone upon returning to the United States, and they included those with mental illnesses that could not be attributed to military service (schizophrenia), vehicular homicides involving alcohol or drugs (manslaughter, not murder), cases where the veterans have not even had trials, and even one case where a soldier was tried and acquitted on the grounds of self defense.

Obviously, the would have preferred that this veteran, Christian Mariano, had not gone to picked up a female friend that had been beaten up by her boyfriend. They would have preferred that when he was attacked by a group, that he had not defended himself with his pocketknife. The would have rather that Khyle Dittrich had succeeded in strangling Mariano.

Then he would have been a veteran that they could support in death, the only kind of veteran the Times seems to like, other than those that join their favorite discount customer, MoveOn.Org, and similar groups.

Bu the New York Times has no interest in telling the true tale of a veteran who only wanted to help a battered woman.

Better to make him part of a dishonest statistic.

They have no interest in telling the story of the 1.5 million veterans of this nation's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who lead productive lives, and save lives, and contribute to our communities, and freedom. Instead, they highlight four atypical veterans out of 1.5 million to smear the all.

Once again, the New York Times engages in the vilest kind of yellow journalism.

Walter Duranty would be proud.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 18, 2008 10:11 AM

If this story about us murderous vets is true, how come the NYT building still stands? Wouldn't we have blown it up by now?
I am a little behind on my murdering, it will be thirty-eight since my discharge and I haven't killed anyone yet.

Posted by: Peter at January 18, 2008 12:01 PM

I wouldn't line a parrot cage with that rag. If anyone still wonders why print media is taking such a steep nosedive in circulation, they ought to go have a look at this.

That is, if they can keep their lunch down while doing so.

Posted by: Conservative CBU at January 18, 2008 02:01 PM


Does anyone remember Carl "Dead-eye" Rowan?

Seems like journalists need to be better screened and kept away from weapons...

Posted by: Hyman Roth at January 19, 2008 09:13 AM