Monday, January 7, 2008

Done with Gathering of Eagles. Buddy, you owe me a beer.[Edited]

Some of you with a little more experience than me in this arena may be shaking your head just about now that I wouldn't have known this, but I'm not ashamed to man up and admit it: even despite the actions Gathering of Eagles members have taken, I still thought there was a potential the entire organization was not full of crazy.

My first introduction to Gathering of Eagles was on September 15th, when one of them decided to rip a picture of Carlos Arredondo's dead Marine son off of Carlos Arredondo's coffin and run away with it. Carlos went to retrieve it, and about five GoE members jumped on him. One is unrepentant, the others claim that they didn't know what was going on and hugged him afterwards. I'm highly doubtful, but that's just because I saw Carlos' injuries.

Yet even then, I was still open to the possibility that it was just a few 'bad apples'. After all, in theory, it was an organization that was created for the purpose of defending war memorials. That's not a bad idea-I support defending war memorials myself. A buddy of mine tried to talk me into giving them another chance. They were about more than I thought they were. They respected all servicemembers and their families.

That, at least, was the working theory when I signed up to discuss in the GoE forums, to find out what it was about. I was astounded by the sheer level of venom leveled at anyone who happens to be against the war publicly. The general attitude seemed to be "It's okay to b*tch to yourself and your buddies, but don't you dare say it out loud where others can actually know how you feel." And that was the rational ones. Buddy, you are so, so wrong, and only beer can make this up.

I was told that I was a 'traitor', and a 'moonbat', whatever the hell that is. Also a commie. There was no way I could be in the Army, and if I was, I wasn't 'real' Army. Some told me they wished I would desert, others tried to get me to quit. So much for patriotism. And I was trying to keep the discourse civil. They, of course, insisted that they would cheerfully piss in my beer. I kid you not! I wish I had screenshots. That, and them threatening Adam Kokesh. I don't know what Kokesh did to piss in their cheerios, but it must have been something awful, because they sure seem to have a hardon for saying some really foul things about him.

The funniest part to this is after two days, they deleted my account, and all previous posts. Apparently, the so-called champions of democracy aren't able to live up to the challenge of free speech. They haven't yet learned that the best way to defeat your opponent is not to stifle his ideas from getting out, but simply to have better ideas. Not to accuse people of lying whenever they disagree with you, but simply to disagree civilly. It's really not hard. For example, despite Thus Spake Ortner over at The Sniper's slowness to publish retractions and his love of nitpicking, I respect the man. I wouldn't think he'd lie. I just think he has an opinion which is different than mine.

Is this really such a radical concept?

Edited to add: I don't feel like going through 32 pages of enlistment documents and using spraypaint in Paint. If I'm an NCO, I had to be in the Army at the time, obviously, so you get my promotion orders.
Edit 2.0 :madtom of thisfuckingwar points out that MS spraypaint can be taken off by software. I'll be returning the pic once I foolproof it.


Anonymous said...

Rebuttal form GOE Admin:
This gentleman here, who claims to have been unfairly treated upon joinng the GOE Forum failed to mention that: He demonstrated every indication of being a typical Troll poster, of which we have had plenty of experience with . 1st day registrant, 1st time poster , he immediately jumped into over 10 threads , and started several himself . NO respectful normal joiner does this . ALL Trolls do this , it's a common pattern. While he did not use foul or abusive language , he most definately did
introduce many lines of comments which he could obviouslty see were aggitating the GOE active membership that were present at that time in the Forum and on those threads . He further ,skillfully added to those remarks in a baiting way ,to try and draw out even more unrest in the posters assembled. This is typical troll behavior, we have seen and dealth with it a hundred times . However the biggest issue that got him kicked and banned from the site was that he alleges to be active duty U.S. military , and an NCO at that, yet when politely and repeatedly asked by the site Moderator to somehow establish his bonafieds , so somehow PROVE that he was in fact active duty US military . He was asked to ID his unit and his MOS . He refused to do either . Rather he obfusticated and dodged and tried to say we were asking for his name to be given in the open . Never once was that the case. We have thousands of people registered on our site . The great majority of them in registering DO give their actual real name and e-mail address and so forth . As a matter of courtesy on the Forum itself , everyone quickly finds themselves on a first name basis with their fellow Eagles . But not this guy .
He did not give any name in registering , dodged and evaded every direct question in the real time exchanges . And now skulks off to whine about it all here ....
It seems to be the general consensus , judging by his behaviors and comments that this person IS NOT an active duty U.S. military soldier , probably not even a Vet . Just another agent provacatuer with a weak and seditious hidden agenda to purvey .
Yes we claim the right to Moderate our site ! Thousnads of such web forums do and many far more vigorously than we. He has his own little blog here , he is free to say whatever he wants HERE . But not on our site .
-end rebuttal-

Army Sergeant said...

Actually, sir, I started only one thread, and that at the request of a GoE member, bama, who stated in one of the threads that the GoE did a lot of things to support active duty military, and I should start a thread about a subject that interested me, and see how quickly the GoE would leap into it. He was, shall we say, quite mistaken.

The 'many lines of comments' that were agititating the GoE membership was simply the fact that I am an IVAW member and an active duty military member-essentially, the fact of myself is what was irritating the GoE membership. That, and the fact that I love the Army and refuse to get out.

I was politely asked by the site moderator for my bonafides at approximately 2AM in the morning. I responded (though the comment of course has now been deleted, along with all my others) that while I wouldn't provide my name, MOS, and unit, I would happily provide enlistment/reenlistment documents or other documents with the private details blacked out, or essentially, anything that maintains online, since I don't have a scanner up and running. I asked if something like that would be desired. I received no response to that. After being informed that posting so many times was bothering members by 15ms, I ceased prolific posting, resolving to wait until 15ms told me whether or not he wanted that documentation.

The next day, I had work. After work and a surprise UA, I returned immediately home, and within at least an hour of returning home, checked the forum, only to find that I had been banned and erased, with no response from 15ms. However, several people did post posts from this blog that I never tried to hide-after all, I included the website as my 'homepage'.

Later today, I will do up those documents, but I have to get moving in 10 to make formation on time.

Anonymous said...

Active duty or not, veteran or not, IVAW member or not, you pledge allegiance to an organization dedicated to subverting and impeding the success of THIS NATION'S current military commitment...and you encourage and support that end by promoting activity DESIGNED to spread dissension and unrest among our active duty military personnel.

There's a word for that's called sedition. In a less than upside-down world, getting tossed from an online forum would be the least of your concerns.

Army Sergeant said...

GOE admin:

I have edited my post to have a copy of my promotion orders, with the help of my OMPF and some MS Paint spraypaint. I really don't feel like going through the full 32 pages of my initial enlistment document, though I may well pull up my last reenlistment document proving I still have time left on my current contract later. However, it's still 7 pages, and 1 page definitely beats out 7.

Also, Anonymous:

People keep throwing 'sedition' around like it was some abstract concept. Unfortunately for you, it's defined.

(a) "Any person subject to this chapter who--

(1) with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuse, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny;

(2) with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of lawful civil authority, creates, in concert with any other person, revolt, violence, or other disturbance against that authority is guilty of sedition;

None of that addresses what I do or have done. I will not take illegal action to unlawfully overthrow civil authority. I will use legal civil means, I will not create disturbance or violence, and I will not disobey lawful orders.

You lose, sir. Thanks for playing.

Jonn Lilyea said...

See, here's your problem, Sergeant; most of the members of the Gathering of Eagles are Vietnam Era veterans and their experiences when they came home are not the same experiences that returning troops get today. They were labeled "baby killers", "rapists", "murderers", etc. - by their own countrymen.

I'm not a GOE member, but I've been to every GOE event in DC since last March and I've interviewed hundreds of members. Their behavior reflects their experiences when they returned from Viet Nam and they are determined that today's warriors will not be called names and spat upon like they were. They do not tolerate deviation from that goal.

Just like you figure you have a right to speak your mind, they have the same right. And they can set rules to exclude anyone and their opinions that they want. Including you.

If I came on your blog and derided you and your beliefs, you'd probably get sick of it and ban me (Lord knows I've been banned from enough forums - at the Democratic Underground, I was banned after my first 5-word post). That's the beauty of having your own blog - you don't have to be tolerant.

There's no good reason for you to go to the GOE forum except to agitate. You're not going to change any minds - they're adamant about their beliefs. Just like you are. I'm no fan of Adam Kokesh, either, but I don't go to his blog and agitate.

My experience with GOE has been just the opposite of yours; I saw one GOE member tear a sign out of the hands of a protester on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Three other GOE members took the sign from him and handed it back to the protester.

I've never met a better group of guys and gals in my life than the folks I've met at the GOE events. maybe you just have the wrong attitude.

Army Sergeant said...

Fair enough, Jonn, as to the Vietnam experiences of GoE informing their views. Most of the Vietnam veterans I've met have been through the VFW, and they are downright eager to meet veterans of these wars, no matter what their politics-so I didn't really expect to see what it turned out that I saw.

I had heard very little about Gathering of Eagles before coming in-I had heard they had defended monuments, but also heard that they had attacked protestors. A little bit of good, a little bit of bad-so I figured that there was room for somewhere in the middle. I had good conversations with one or two, and said, hey, I'll give them a chance.

Maybe I do suffer from a little bit too much idealism, in some ways. I suffer from the delusion that people really aren't as far apart as they currently believe, and that if they just sat down and talked with the other sides involved, they'd be a lot less polarized. I don't think we need to be so polarized. We're all citizens, and it'd be nice to see us treating disagreement with respect.

Me, I wouldn't ban you if you were respectful, even if you did disagree with me. But then, I'm used to taking criticism and a lot harsher-it comes with the job and the territory.

I don't know that I have the wrong attitude in dealing with them, though-I was extremely polite, used my sirs and ma'ams, and tried to get at the meat of the arguments. The problem is that what I am seems to be offensive simply by being what I am. The ones on the forums simply can't seem to understand why anyone who takes pride in their service might be against this war, so really, nothing I could say was right. Now I know, and I won't try to approach them again, or ask them to sit and talk over beers or suchlike. They are well within their rights to ban me-but I still think it's a bit of a shame.

Jonn Lilyea said...

GOE wasn't formed until after January 2007 - so it was unlikely that you heard about them. There are no documented cases of GOE members attacking protesters. Like I said, I've attended all of the events here in DC. Of course, to thin skinned protesters it doesn't take much for them to scream they've been attacked. Cindy Sheehan couldn't bring herself to get out her limo in Virginia with police protection to face people who disagree with her.

GOE moderator/admin said...

Mr. Lilyea

We would be most honroed if you
WOULD join us at the Gathering of Eagles . It would be a great honor to count you amoung our numbers .
Think on it sir .

Jonn Lilyea said...


Oh, I'm with you guys, ideologically and physically - I've just got issues with "joining". My own demons, you understand I'm sure.

If you go to my blog, I have a whole GOE category and lots of pictures of your members. I donate every time there's an event. And I'll be there whenever you need me.

Army Sergeant said...

It would make sense why I hadn't heard of them previously then, or enough to be able to realize what the organization was all about.

The case I was referring to was Carlos Arredondo, a Gold Star Father, whose Marine son was KIA. He said that his son's photo was ripped away from him by a GoE member, who then retreated with it, and that when he went to retrieve it, he was jumped by multiple GoE members. There are conflicting reports regarding this incident, but all (even GoE that I've talked to) seem to agree that the guy was a jerk to take the photo and shouldn't have done it. Accounts differ on how Carlos received the violence, though evidence of it (complete with blood) was present when I saw the man later.

I will also note that though anonymous GoE have apparently been visiting my website (and leaving fairly pointless negative commentary, with one exception), the fellows who were so insistent I reveal my identity refuse to reveal theirs. Or to acknowledge that they may have been wrong, and I may in fact be both a soldier and an NCO.

madtom said...

What else can I say but thanks

Thus Spake Ortner said...

"For example, despite Thus Spake Ortner over at The Sniper's slowness to publish retractions and his love of nitpicking, I respect the man. I wouldn't think he'd lie. I just think he has an opinion which is different than mine."

Damn, lots of manlove! :)

Thanks, honestly that does mean a lot to me. When I am wrong, trust me, I will leap on the sword. After the first 17k times I got good at it.

Army Sergeant said...

I hear you on that, man. I've had my foot in my mouth more times than I care to admit.

Anonymous said...

I totally feel you Sarg. I know some of those GoE folks can be real assinine fools. I tried once, very hard to level with them and find common ground, but it's near impossible to create dialogue with degenerate rednecks. I bet they attacked Carlos for other reasons than his son. There are alotta skinheads, neo-Nazis, and former Klan members among their ranks; and despite all that, there are few that have actually served, they play the patriot card just like this president; despite being a draft-dodgin', chicken hawk. I hope you keep your guard up with those folks, since honestly, I wouldn't trust 'em with my back turned. They have less to worry about now with the House Resolution to protect Memorials, they've just got tons of time on their hands to harass protestors and peace activists, since they don't really like to show their support for the troops by volunteering to help them with benefits counseling, treatment at the VA, among a list of possibilities. they aren't part of the solution, just aggravating the problems.

DanNY said...

Nothing like some nice interactive dialogue with an asshat who thinks you're a degenerate redneck!

I'd like you to prove your BS charges that:

"There are alotta skinheads, neo-Nazis, and former Klan members among their ranks"

When someone has to resort to name calling it is usually because they have lost the argument.

Sorry Mr. Anonymous, you are just another pathetic loser.

Dan Maloney
NY State Coordinator
Gathering of Eagles

Army Sergeant said...

Mr. Maloney:

I appreciate you identifying yourself, definitely. However, I wonder that you have no rebuttal to the piece itself, and can only find something to refute in the anonymous comments of another observer.

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