Friday, August 29, 2008

Operation First Casualty

Alright. It's been three days since I last posted, which normally wouldn't be that big a deal, but I regret it now, because so much has happened in those three days that I'm going to have to separate the posts.

I'll start with Operation First Casualty. As most readers of this blog know, as someone on active duty, I try to steer clear of using the uniform in IVAW events unless I think the line is really fuzzy, such as training or such. I'm told that street theatre actually is permissable, and that there is a Supreme Court case about it, but I haven't seen it yet, and so I was not one of the squad members. However, I have to say that as police liason and announcer, I did equally as much, if not more, running around, with the amount of police on the streets of Denver. I will also note that there is no rule or reg against doing that, any more, as my friend Sholom says, than there is a reg against standing around while on leave in civilian clothes shouting "That is my buddy Joe! He is drinking coffee right now!"

As a guide for others wishing to do similar actions, I will note that we coordinated with the police in advance and took actions to minimize disruptions to the streets, cooperating when they made requests of us. I'd like to thank Lieutenant Vince Porter of the Denver PD at this time, who was their liason with Iraq Veterans Against the War for Wednesday. Hopefully none of you will be jerks about it, but the good lieutenant was amazing. A Marine veteran, he had respect for our service and professionalism, and helped us negotiate with other police when possible. It was utterly necessary, as there were so many individual squads of police officers that without his previous communication, would probably have been quite concerned. At the end of the day, we shook hands with each group happy, and some police even pulled out their personal cameras to take pictures with the vets. I also felt honored by their trust-I know that had they felt we were "violent protesters" they would not have allowed us to get as physically close as many of them did, and several of the officers were laughing and joking with us along the route. Apparently the Denver Police Department is highly veteran-friendly and there are many veterans, especially Iraq veterans in their ranks.

As police liason, I was far enough ahead of the OFC squads that I was able to get a very good visual of the events, and I wish I had taken my camera. I'm disappointed to announce that just like every other IVAW event to date, I've been so busy that I haven't been able to take pictures. But the visuals were stunning, as you can see by the videos others took.

Rather than just engaging with the pre-identified supporters/civilians, they also kept situational awareness of potential high-risk environment (multi-story parking garage, open windows high up, etc). Realism was also kept in regards to internal dialogue. Having multiple squads also allowed them to cover each side of a street-a street, I must say, that they never stepped into except to cross. The only disruption to traffic were the occasional police cars who parked by us. In high-traffic areas, a few officers also even helped us out by directing traffic to stop so that our people could cross safely. They also helped us clear out a section in front of the convention center so that we wouldn't disrupt the vendors and could still have a good space to handle the civilian crowd. We got a fairly good response from passer-by as well.
, including, among others, Kucinich.

It ended well in front of the veterans' memorial, where we held a press conference and then proceeded to fall out onto the grass for chow. Once again, logistics were excellent, and the food was delicious. Also, water was always plentiful and in good resupply-we had no fallouts, despite the hot sun. The only injury, in fact, was me-I had dressed professionally in order to deal with the police, and had underestimated the amount of running I would need to be doing. I was duly (and justly) mocked by my fellow vets for the choice of high heels when the extent of my blistering became known. However, one of our medics (by former military profession and volunteering with the aid bag for the day) soon set me right.


Mud Puppy said...

As a new blogger, and an activated National Guard Military Police soldier, I was just wondering where I would go as a resource so I know what I can and cannot say specifically. I know all the standard opsec rules but don't want to deal with any inadvertent opsec violations. Thanks, and I read your blog as much as you post keep up the good work.

matteo said...

I understand the purpose of the march in Denver was to negotiate with the Democratic party, but I am unclear on exactly what you were trying negotiate. Some reports state you wished to have a letter delivered to Obama (more of a request than a negotiation). Were you simply trying to indirectly communicate your positions to the Democratic candidate, or was the letter part of an attempt to achieve something substantive?

Did you manage to get a spot on stage during Obama’s acceptance speech?

Did you get the Obama camp to endorse your positions (i.e. an immediate and total withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and reparations for the Iraqi people )?

Did you get the Democrats to promise a future Obama administration would issue full pardons to all military personnel facing charges, or already convicted, for their refusal to deploy to Iraq?

Did Obama promise to declare the war against Iraq illegal, instruct his attorney general to pursue possible criminal charges as a result, and not include any politician who supported the war in his administration…and definitely not as his Vice President?

Anonymous said...

It looks like all members of the street theater group are wearing Army uniforms. Was this done for uniformity, or was there a reason that the marines couldn't participate?

Marie said...

There are so many sad things about your videos, your romper room playtime in Denver and the weak statements that the IVAW members espouse. It's unfortunate that men and women who made the choice to wear the uniforms of the various US Military branches find it necessary to participate in such disgusting, silly and trite displays. Winter Soldier II was a total bust yet you continue to attempt to capture your 15 minutes of fame.

Please tell Maggie she's in a HUGE dream world if she really thinks people were afraid because of your demonstration. Well, maybe some were afraid - afraid to think members of our military could act so stupidly with air weapons and screaming and such.

I'm PROUD of our military - well, not all of you. Certainly as an American you have your right to freedom of speech. Morally I don't know how you can sleep at night while continuing to attempt to deminish what the uniforms you wear stand for.

Continue to live in your fantasy world. Americans who support our military know that you all are just a bunch of clowns who, hopefully, will all be out of the military soon.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Marie.

What a bunch of whining pathetic losers.
You are a disgrace to our country and the uniform. You are nothing more than a piece of shit.

JD said...

Semper Fi and Peace...

ArmyVet said...

Actually people are sometimes scared.

"At first I was scared," said Maria Rave, a restaurant owner from Maine who saw the platoon reenact visions of a sniper attack, near the Smithsonian Castle.

Once again, someone talks out of thier ass in an attempt to insult troops just because they disagree with them.

I don't know you you sleep at night with your head so far up your ass. Isn't that uncomfortable?

Marie said...

No Armyvet, I'm not talking out of my ass in an attempt to insult troops. Those like you, on the other hand, continue to diminish the lives and sacrifices of the majority who have served and serve with honor.

Just above the comment YOU chose to copy and paste was this one:

"I don't know what they're doing, but they're in everybody's way," said Janet Ruck, a career counselor in Washington. Upon hearing an explanation, she said, "So they were intentionally getting in people's way. I don't think that people have lost touch or forgotten [about the war]. I don't think this is the way to get people to connect."

So typical of people like you who want to tell one version and not the whole story. OR to embellish the truth about actual stories. Most of the stories from Iraq and Afghanistan don't need embellishment - many are horrible enough. So, perhaps if you worked more with the truth than with fantasy your words and stories would carry more weight.

I wouldn't be dumb enough to deny that there are people on both sides of the fence over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But let me ask you - just where DID you get with your Winter Soldier II and with your supposed delivery of "demands" to Obama and McCain? I haven't heard either of them mention ANY of you. What a shock!

And just for the record how many people do you know who spend over 20 hours a week VOLUNTEERING with Wounded Warriors - both physically and emotionally wounded; who has raised tens of thousands of dollars for both Wounded Warriors and to support deployed personnel? I daresay when it comes to the war in Afghanistan I could run circles around you about where our beloved troops are, what they are enduring and how it is affecting many of them - those who BELIEVE in what they are doing.

So you can continue to use your profanity, play your silly street games and deny what you swore to do when you FREELY made the choice to join the military. You're words will not hurt my feelings. I've got bigger and more important fish to fry supporting men and women who want to heal and return to defending our nation - many who will never be able to do that but fight EVERY day in an attempt to heal enough to do so.

I'm going to bed now. Your comment made me extremely sleepy.

Army Sergeant said...

Mud Puppy: Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. You can read the OPSEC regulation, but general rules are:

1) Include the disclaimer (it's at the top of my blog)
2) Don't say or post anything that could get troops hurt.

Matteo: The purpose was to open the dialogue. We did not expect that Obama would immediately endorse our points of unity or all our desires. However, they were in fact forced to acknowledge us and to begin talks. Sometimes it does start just that small, even though it may feel disappointing.

Anonymous: Several marines did in fact participate. In fact, the two IVAW members who were allowed to enter the Pepsi Center and talk to the Obama campaign were marines, Liam Madden, and Jeff Key

Army Sergeant said...


You are very wrong if you think IVAW members don't spend good portions of their time caring for vets. Many of this fine community have opened hearts, homes, wallets, and more to succour their fellow veterans-yes, well over 20 hours a week. 20 hours a week is less than 3 hours a day. Many of us give well more than that.

However, I question your choice of words. Do you only support those who want to heal and return to the fight? Would you refuse to help those who needed to heal but wished never to return?

Marie said...

Army Sergeant ~ It is understandable how my choice of words could have been taken as only supporting those who wish to heal and return to their duties. But, no, that is not the case. Many of the men and women that I interact with on a regular basis will either not be able to return or have made the decision not to re-enlist even if they will be medically able to do so.

Every American, whether they make the choice to join the military or not, certainly has the right to make the decisions they feel are best/right for them. And IVAW members certainly have the right under our Constitution to speak out as you do. All I'm trying to say is that there's a MUCH higher road many of the IVAW members could, and in my opinion should, take in order for people to take them seriously.