Thursday, July 24, 2008

Formal IVAW Counseling

This isn't about my leadership. This is about a friend's leadership-and if he wants me to, I'll edit this to add his name.

My friend is a servicemember. He is also an IVAW member. This is legally well within his rights.

This counseling was given directly by Colonel Gary A. Reese, 67th Troop Command.

For further identification, in case there was any question, the one who felt it necessary to formally counsel my friend and fellow NCO personally about his IVAW participation.

I have reproduced his counseling here, with commentary.

Purpose of Counseling:
1. To summarize the results of an AR 15-6 investigation conducted to determine whether SGT [IVAW Member] violated Multi-National Force-Iraq Policy, DoD regulation, or the Iowa Code of Military Justice by participating in a presentation for Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and whether SGT [Member] violated DoD regulation by engaging in IVAW activities while in military status or on Iowa National Guard property.
2. To counsel and advise SGT [IVAW Member] on acceptable Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer Behavior.

I love how all of these investigations go contrary to every other investigtion held in the Army, and don't ever bother to actually talk to us, those who have been suspected of 'crimes'. I wonder if perhaps they're afraid to talk to us and hear in our own words why we are opposed to this war, and how we can still keep the faith while doing so? Also, since when do officers counsel NCOs on proper NCO behavior? This is wrong, wrong, wrong, from start to finish.

Key Points:

1. Summary of the 15-6 investigation:

a) SGT [IVAW Member] is an active member of the IVAW; his membership does not violate any statute, regulation, or directive; his participation to date does not violate any statute, regulation or directive.

Mighty nice of him to admit that. It must have been a bitter pill to swallow.

b) Without a doubt, SGT [IVAW] used what appears to be a picture of a detainee in an IVAW presentation. Taking pictures inside a detention facility is a violation of unit policy and directives. Their (yes, that's his spelling)
is no proof that SGT [IVAW] took the picture of the detainee used in the IVAW presentation. No determination has been made in regards to any statute SGT [IVAW] may have violated by using that detainee photo.

Wow. You know, it's good to know that after Winter Soldier, the Army is finally investigating-the people who brought the issues to its attention. To date, multiple IVAW members have been investigated (no charges) for their actions. To date, we are not aware of any soldiers who actually committed the crimes and problems who have been investigated. Good to know where the Army's priorities are.

c) SGT [IVAW Member] did make inferences of incompetence and accusingly focused the blame for the deaths of 2 detainees towards those in his wartime chain of command, at least twice in his presentation. Comments directed towards CPT Hegae (sp?) and SFC McArnor were not direct accusations of military law or Law of Land Warfare violations, but inferred both Soldiers were incompetent, out of touch, without compassion, and contributing to the deaths of the 2 detainees-these comments could result in civil action against SGT [IVAW]. Additionally, the comments SGT [IVAW] directed against an officer and senior NCO are very close to the threshhold of violating Chapter 29.88 of the Iowa Code of Military Justice: Insubordination towards warrant officer, NCO or PO "Treats with contempt or is disrespectful in language or deportment towards a warrant officer, non-commissioned officer, or petty officer while that officer is in the execution of his office shall be punished as a court-martial shall direct."

Inferences of incompetence, being out of touch, and without compassion. First of all, I'll note that he doesn't address the matter of whether the inferences were true. Secondly, being "out of touch and without compassion" is not, as far as I know, disrespectful. If my first sergeant is a hard son of a bitch and I say so, am I going to be up for disrespect? No, he'd probably laugh and revel in the title. And is the good sergeant supposed to just ignore incompetence he sees? I love all the "close" and "could" language. It's essentially: You haven't done anything wrong, but you almost could have! People could hold it against you! They're not, but they could!

d. SGT [IVAW] did not violate statute, regulation, or directive by engaging in IVAW activities while in a military status or on Iowa National Guard property.

Mighty generous of you.

2. Additional discussion:

a) It is a violation of set policy and directives to take pictures of detainees-violators will be prosecuted.

Good to know it's only against policy to take pictures. Not to abuse them-just the pictures are against policy.

b) SGT [IVAW] is placing himself at personal risk for civil actions from CPT Hogan and SFC McArter, I highly suggest that he refrain from the accusatory comments he continues to direct towards them. Future acts of insubordination will not be tolerated and will be punished by disciplinary action.

He's so kind, looking out for the good sergeant's welfare. Pure benevolence, I'm sure. Note that he doesn't say how or why implying these individuals are incomptetent, out of touch, and lacking in compassion is somehow insubordinate behavior. Well, [IVAW], you've been warned!

c) Active membership in IVAW is not an ethics violation, conducting IVAW business on duty is an ethics violation.

So remember, [IVAW], schedule all your interviews and panels after COB. Also, anyone else note that he hasn't put down on paper any counseling on Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer behavior?

Plan of Action:

1. SGT [IVAW] must refrain from insubordination, future acts of insubordination will result in disciplinary action.

He hasn't committed it yet. As the Colonel himself admitted.

2. SGT [IVAW] will need to consider the incompatibilities that exist between the Army and IVAW, to mitigate dilemmas, he may need to choose one over the other.

Nice try. I have every faith that he's considered, realized there aren't any, and is perfectly capable of maintaining a good, healthy balance.

3. SGT [IVAW] needs mentorship on Army Values and the role of the NCO- CSM Breitsprecker will provide this.

Actually, I don't think he does-but if he does need mentorship on Army Values, I'm happy to help my buddy out. To this end, I have rewritten my piece on Army Values. Perhaps I should send it to the colonel, to ease his mind. At least he does recognize that the role of an NCO is NCO business. Belatedly.

SGT [IVAW]'s response:

I disagree to the extent that truth is an absolute defense to any claims of slander and thus I do not feel I am at risk of losing a slander suit. Also, since all comments were made out of uniform and not in the presence of the individuals criticized it was not treating them with contempt or disrespectful language + thus was not insubordination.


Jen said...

I guess this is slander too? Got this from an IAVA report.

Certain Groups at Higher Risk:
Military studies suggest that troops who test positive for mental health problems are twice as likely to “engage in unethical behavior,” such as insulting or injuring non-combatants or destroying property unnecessarily. 29

29 “Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) IV Final Report,” November 17, 2006, p. 4: Captain Bill Nash, Marine Corps COSC Conference, “The Potential Role of Stress and Stress Injuries in Misconduct,” June 19, 2007.

JD said...


streetsweeper said...

Hey ya jen *hawg*, snark! Ruffles her hares....where ya been, baby?

Still preaching teh IVAW crap??? :O My gosh!

vkfletch said...

Nice rebuttal, Army Sgt.

Jen said...

Wow, thats orginal. No one has EVER mispronounced my name like that! How genius.

Besides working with IVAW I am putting more focus on women raped and/or killed in military service. There is a House Oversight hearing on 31JUL as well as Rep. Harman's new bill adressing lack of prosecution (8% versus a civilian 40%) and even lower conviction rates.

It's a radical idea to push that women are people, so its an uphill battle. I am sure you understand streetsweeper. We women like "hog" up the limited supply of justice there seems to be.

Anonymous said...

Streetsweeper, you and that "Claymore" lowlife are pieces of fucking garbage. If I ever catch either of you in the street I'll saw your fucking heads off with a bread knife.

streetsweeper said...

jen said:

".....I am putting more focus on women raped and/or killed in military service. There is a House Oversight hearing on 31JUL as well as Rep. Harman's new bill adressing lack of prosecution (8% versus a civilian 40%) and even lower conviction rates."

I'm for that as long as the facts & research are valid & not provided by an "independent study group" or funded by any other appropriately mis-maligned source.

"It's a radical idea to push that women are people, so its an uphill battle. I am sure you understand streetsweeper. We women like "hog" up the limited supply of justice there seems to be."

Nothing radical about it, jen. A well researched & accurately documented presentation will go much further than you might think.
It's also a subject that does ned appropiate attention...

streetsweeper said...


My apologies for my post getting out of hand on your blog. While I do consider you as being on the "other side"?

I do respect your position.

Jen said...


Research is taking place, however...

we need well documented reseach to affirm what women (and men) are saying is true about sexual assault?

See GAO report on the subject.

Jen said...

And to further the story...