Thursday, January 17, 2008

IVAW Bus, Possible Arson

Initially, I wasn't going to post about this, given the fact that it's been posted all over the place and seemed to be an accepted fact, but since TSO decided to be a bit of a jackass, I will in fact take it on. Briefly, because I'm still feeling like hell.

Also, while checking this out, I found yet again, traces of the mysterious ArmySGT commenting on this. ArmySGT, please identify yourself to me! I know I'm far from the only active sergeant in IVAW, but I'd like to know who else is out there.

Anyway, to the point of the post, starting with things which are hard facts and personal observances. You're smart people, I bet you can figure out which is which.

Jim Goodnow has been running the Yellow Rose, also known as the IVAW bus, for a few years now. As someone else pointed out in another forum, it is his baby, it is his home. It wasn't simply a bus-it had multiple fold-out beds and could easily house twenty five on a moment's notice. Jim is a good man, who has put his resources at IVAW's hand several times, often on a moment's notice. He's a conscientious man, well aware of minutae about laws about his bus, and also the proper care of items on his bus. He's never let anyone else be careless in it, and I severely doubt he would ever be so himself.

Jim states that he pulled over at a rest stop to take a nap, and awoke to find that he was inside a bus on fire, about twenty minutes after her parked it, at around 9:30 pm, Friday night, 1/11/08.

Now, TSO, and the Vets For Freedom writer who submitted this to Portland indymedia with precisely the same language (which may be a key to the fact that the two are the same, or may simply mean that one of them was lazy) believe this was criminal stupidity.

I, obviously, disagree, for a lot of reasons. Yes, indeed. Let us use Occam's Razor. Is the simplest explanation the one wherein a cold engine bearing no previous signs of trouble magically turns fiery? Or is the simplest explanation that other agents may in fact have been at work?

I have no trouble believing that someone gave Jim's bus trouble precisely because of what it was. Do I think it was part of a planned, organized, effort? I don't know, and to be honest, I doubt it. I rather suspect this took place as a result of a couple people of violent political persuasions, who happened to see the target, said "That Ain't Right" and decided to do something about it. Spontaneity explains why the fire was able to be put out, and why Jim was able to escape. I don't think there was a deliberate attempt to murder Jim, but I suspect that the culprits, if in fact my theory is correct, likely didn't give a thought to his presence either way.

As someone who's done a lot of long driving, I have to say, I'd have fallen asleep a lot less at rest stops if I had known there was a reasonable and fair chance my engine might magically catch fire and trap me in a flaming heap. In fact, if the theory of 'natural failure' were the case, I should perhaps be lucky. I've been taking my life into my hands all too long! Here I thought that cooling the engine off would make it less likely to catch fire. How little did I in fact know.

As is usually the case, I strongly suspect that the answer lies in between the two competing and highly polarized schools of thought. No, Jim is not a careless and 'criminally stupid' owner/operator simply because he happens to have long hair and support IVAW. No, he probably wasn't followed down the highway by a ninja squad of right-wing Blackwater operatives, hell-bent on his murder. Again, it was most likely a cruel and violent act, perpetrated on the spur of the moment by ignorant people. I think if people looked at it from the other side, they might see that. If it had been a bus decked out with pro-war regalia, and had magically burst into flames, I have no doubt some of the more right-wing blogs would be shouting about those damn property-destroying radicals.

And you know what? I suspect that once again, it's going to be the polarizing people making a huge deal out of things that is going to spoil the investigation. On both sides.

Can you all please kindly stop now? Whether these people had devious and dastardly plans or not, they still deserve to be found and charged.

Edited to add: Apparently, I am crazy. I saw 'Veterans for Peace' and read 'Veterans for Freedom'. That's a very weird story up at indymedia, but TSO seems to have accidentally mimicked the odd story rather than having written them both. Quotes next time! They're your friend!


Thus Spake Ortner said...

Jackass? I am so hurt.

My point is this, using "firebombed" is in and of itself a bit much, not so?

How about we wait for some forensics before engaging in such hyperbole?

Jeesh, and I was just starting to like you.

No idea who the VFF guy is that you are referencing though, wasn't me.

Thus Spake Ortner said...

Also incidently, I don't challenge this Jim guy on either his dedication or anything else. And any firebombing is ridiculous and if someone did, they should be strung up by their testicles. My point was that points of view seem to loom large in this. I'm sure Jim THINKS it was a firebombing, but I would need more than just Jim's point of view on this one.

I still have no idea what the VFF reference is though. I went to the Indymedia thing and it was veterans for peace that put the story in there, and no one commented that linked to VFF as far as I can tell.


Army Sergeant said...

I point out that 'jackass' tends in my world to be reserved for people I usually like who do occasional crazy things.

Apparently, going back to the original link, that may apply to me. I'm not sure why I saw 'Veterans for Peace' and apparently read 'Veterans for Freedom', especially since it mimicked the exact language of your post. This may be why I shouldn't post when violently ill, not that that's any excuse. I'll put an apology up.

Firebombed is definitely much. It's one reason why I thought you were being a huge jerk: to put up a story using firebombed and then calling it criminal stupidity. I'm still mystified as to who actually put that story up-it's like it's written from half of each world. The criminal stupidity line appears only in the indymedia, from what I can see, as does the 'firebombed' tag. Weird.

I agree with you that points of view seem to loom large on this. My point of view tends to be more that stuff doesn't usually happen out of nowhere, and even if it were just some random guy's car or bus that caught fire while turned off at a rest stop, I'd be hugely suspicious.

Thus Spake Ortner said...

1) that is rather ironic, I also use jackass that way. (Truly)
2) On my blog, indented things are directly quotes from the article. I may start doing it in Italics from now on.
3) I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of veterans For Peace.
4) I'm assuming you don't really mean to accuse me of straw-manning an article.
5) It's indymedia. I honestly searched a lot and couldn't come up with another source. I even searched Philly and NJ newspapers, if just for an update.
6) When in doubt from now on on something I/We post, drop a line to our email box, I get them sent to me, and while I won't directly answer, I will get someone to.

Army Sergeant said...

I'm tempted to declare it's a military thing, since that's mostly where I hear it.

As for the media source..yeah, I don't think it's hit papers, primarily given the fact that no one has hit them about it. Most of the publicity on this one seems to be generated by a few individuals, mainly not the ones actually involved.

I'll keep the email thing in mind, though, massively amused as I am at the notion of you having email minions. I think that's the modern day equivalent of 'my people will call your people'.

Thus Spake Ortner said...

Nah, its Sniper that does it all. I have like 7 email systems, and can only be mental about 1, so I never check the others and eventually people learn.

just curious said...

you have been to iraq, right?

Army Sergeant said...

No idea who you are, Just Curious. If you're surfing in here, I'm against giving biographical data, so I'll just say that at some point between 2003 and 2006, I assisted with building the wonderful, shining, kumbaya-singing world that is Iraq. If you listen to the people in charge, there was singlehanded triumph over evil, Great Good Was Done, and angels came to sing praise.
If you listen to me, you can excerpt from the beginning of the wonderful to the end of the singing and insert some choice expletives instead.

I'll be getting another free Uncle-Sam supported luxury vacation to the sandbox at some point in the semi-near future. To again preserve anonymity, I probably won't tell you guys (if you're a regular) until I've been over for some time. This won't be a lie, because I'm telling you in advance that's what I'm going to do.

Also, I have not been anywhere near Afghanistan. I consider this a damn shame, because as far as I can tell, it's the only place where anything seems to be working, and also the only place ignored by the mainstream, while Iraq, the worse war, gets all the money and attention. Such is our way, I guess.

just curious said...

When you were over there, what exactly did you see/do that made you so against the war? was it something the soldiers did or something the iraqis did or just a sense that it won't work?

Army Sergeant said...

It's not a specific thing that I saw that made me so against the Iraq War. It's primarily what I saw it do to my Army, and the sense that I don't feel it was necessary or justified. Two-front wars are tough-and I feel should be engaged in only in a last-resort sort of scene. WWII was one of those-we had no choice but to engage on two fronts. Iraq was something we had a lot of choices on. We really needed to finish Afghanistan first before even thinking of getting involved in another war, even for good causes. We didn't.

I feel like we got involved in Iraq on entirely arbitrary reasons. It wasn't about the WMD-if we were going after every dictator who had WMDs and tortured his own people, we'd be over in North Korea, and wouldn't that be a bloodbath. It wasn't about 9/11, which is how it was sold to a lot of people. And when we went into Iraq, we went into a war we weren't prepared to fight.

Rumsfeld said that you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want or wish you could have. That's only true when you're attacked. When you're the one attacking, you can choose the timing well enough that you can go to war with the Army you want-or at least closer to it.

We needed more quality soldiers. A slow build back up to wartime strength, and the facilities to handle those soldiers. Not a lowering of standards and pushing recruiters so hard that many would rather have Iraq duty than try recruiting for another while. Not offering young kids huge signup bonuses before you even find out if they have value to the Army. Not going to war with defective and damaged equipment, not enough translators, not enough cultural training, not enough medical personnel, not enough VA money to handle the wounded coming back, not enough mental health care available for all the PTSD..

And that's not even touching the fact that we're trying a military solution to what is essentially a political problem. The problem in Iraq isn't that the soldiers don't do their jobs. The problem in Iraq is that our government sold us the idea that the Iraqis will cheerfully and happily all come over to Western-style democracy and living in a few years, and we can all go home. That's just not true.

But man, I'm rambling. That wasn't my intention. Maybe I'll put up a post on this when I get some time.

Allen said...

Interesting blog you have. I'm not sure I agree with you, but I am listening.

I suppose a bit of disclosure might be in order. I am a veteran, and I currently work for the DoD doing R&D.

Army Sergeant said...

Well, glad you're enjoying it, Allen!

Though the disclosure wasn't necessary, it's certainly interesting as well to hear from the DoD civilian side of the house. :)

Allen said...

The disclosure was so you might understand my point of view in the future.

I have to run, and I'll be reading your future posts.


JD said...

The Marines have your back, Dude. (Or at least this one does. Some of my shipmates have been brainwashed by current administration rhetoric [lies].) Semper Fidelis (no longer from Iraq)

Army Sergeant said...

Appreciate it, JD! Got lots of brotherhood for my marine buddies. Going to be swinging by Winter Soldier this March, by the way?

JD said...

You bet. I am planning to be there. I didn't go to Iraq twice for nothing.

Anonymous said...

It's NOT arson. I suspect the biodiesel leaked and has a lower flash point.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, swing by Winter Soldier and join a kangaroo court that doesn't take testimony under oath and has no cross examination.

Yeah, there's a whole lot of due process when the troops figthing today don't get to face their accusers who want to call them baby killers just like IVAW's mentors called their own generation baby killers.

Army Sergeant said...

Any active duty who wants to come by and see what's being said is more than welcome to.

Clifton Hicks said...

It's not a court at all jackass (and I'm not using that in a "warm fuzzy" way) no one is on trial, especially not the 'troops'. And secondly, we ARE the troops, so if we want to call ourselves 'baby killers', which we won't and aren't, we have every right to do so.

The Sniper said...

Did you read the latest reports on the whole "bus goes 'WHOOMP' thing"? Investigation completed: faulty wiring. It almost seems like I said something similar (or exactly the same thing) on my blog.

And yeah, I think "jackass" is universally military. By the way, Hi Clifton!

Army Sergeant said...

Is there anything independent? I saw something up at Denis Keohane's blog, but it seemed to hinge on calls he himself had made, and I just haven't had the time to track up/confirm.