Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The fallen, the disputed

Kaye Gilbert: They say he was very calm and he told ths young man on the ground, "I will not leave you."

Jim Douglas: Which makes it even harder for his family to accept that Troy Gilbert's remains were left behind in Iraq.

That's from the video of the latest report by Jim Douglas (WFAA -- link is text and video) on the family of Major Troy Gilbert who died providing cover for US service members on the ground under attack. His plane crashed as he provided support and protection to those on the ground. Because a small amount of his tissue was found in his plane after it crashed, the military informed the family his body was not classified as missing and no more search efforts (or efforts with the Iraqi government) were required to recover his body -- his body was carried off by assailants who would use it a year later in a propaganda video. Gilbert's widow Ginger Gilbert Ravella told Brian New (KENS 5 -- link has text and video) earlier this month, "Someday my five kids are going to ask me, 'Did you do everything, did the government do everything to bring Daddy home?' I want to be able answer I did and they did absolutely everything."

She, Troy Gilbert's parents Ronnie and Kaye Gilbert and Troy's sister Rhonda Jimmerson are working on getting the government to change their classification. Jim Douglas (WFAA -- link is text and video) covered the story earlier this month as well.

They were smart to take the issue public because the Pentagon's fear of a public relations nightmare is the only thing that might make them change the classification. The family is due to meet with DoD Friday.

And hopefully everything will work out for the family. But the report is a little too 'tidy,' with a little too much feel good. Nothing has been accomplished in terms of changing the policy and, in DC, 'promises' are handed out about as easily as flag pins and they usually can't be cashed in. Hopefully, Friday sees the family being informed of a major change and the weeks that follow see that the words had actual meaning.

In other news, Huntington News reports that media personality Howard Fineman is insisting that he's never offered an opinion on the Iraq War and still won't. He's awfully lucky that the Air America Radio archives are no more. He offered many opinions on the Iraq War as Al Franken's regular guest. In fact, he and Franken had a heated argument at one point on air when Franken told him he wasn't being realistic. It's cute the way he pretends that he can't offer an opinion when that's all he's ever trafficked in. The name "Howard Fineman" doesn't conjure an explosive investigative report, just a bunch of gas baggery that Newsweek rightly saw had exceeded its shelf life. At some point, Huffington Post will draw the same conclusion.

Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. David Montgomery (Washington Post) reports that the events were in dispute among those present prior to the video's release and that this hasn't changed as a result of the release of the video. Ethan McCord was present at the time and has offered public statements on what happened. In addition, he provides his story in Incident in New Baghdad -- James Spione's film is nominated in the category of Documentary Short Subject in this year's Academy Awards (winners to be announced in Sunday's televised ceremony). Montgomery reports:

The prospect of an Oscar for “Incident in New Baghdad” — based on the video and featuring McCord’s take on events — has driven defenders of the 2-16’s honor to a furious activism of their own.
“We’re angry at McCord, because he’s making us out to be heartless killers,” says Bailey, who created a Facebook page for 2-16 vets to challenge McCord and the documentary. “He’s the only man who’s been given a microphone. His opinion of the war is the only one that’s been carried, and his opinion of his fellow solders is not one that people should take so much to heart."
McCord does not fault his comrades, although he says troops killed civilians “every day” in Iraq because of the way the war was fought, as dictated by politicians and superior officers.
“You can’t blame soldiers for being put in this situation,” McCord says. “Blaming soldiers is like slapping a child because his mother is ugly. This is what we’re trained to do.”

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan,, Chocolate City, The Diane Rehm Show -- updated last night and today:

Wally and Cedric thought they updated. They wrote it, there are problems with Blogger/Blogspot this morning (I'm having them as well and have had to redo both morning entries). If they're up by the snapshot, I'll note them then.

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