Wednesday, June 21, 2006

RE: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve

----- Original Message -----

From: Don
To: 'Dean Lawrence R. Velvel'
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 4:45 PM
Subject: RE: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve

Okay response, Lawrence.

They should have never sent a Reserve officer to do an Active Duty Officer's job. But, then again... King is a lawyer....


Don


Dean Lawrence R. Velvel [mailto:velvel@mslaw.edu]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 2:59 PM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Subject: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve


June 19, 2006


Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com


Dear Colleagues:

Appended below is a most interesting email from Captain Byron King, USNR, and a response to his comments.


From: Byron King, Pittsburgh, PA (Practicing Attorney & Captain, US Navy Reserve)
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel, Massachusetts School of Law

No, we have never met. But I read your post on LewRockwell.com, lifted from your blog comments.

By way of professional courtesy, as one attorney to another, I beg to point out a few things based upon what I know from first hand knowledge or from other very reliable sources.

US Army Major General Caldwell, whom you disparaged, is nobody's "yes man." He is an official US Army spokesman, whose job is to speak to the media. He is also a trained Army Ranger (it is, in its own way, as hard a job to be a Ranger as it is to accomplish most of the supremely difficult things in life, IMHO), with a long list of direct action experience under his belt. He is fully aware of the vagaries of "first reports" from combat front lines.

Caldwell's current job involves sifting through whatever comes in, and attempting to present an accurate summary of events to the media, particularly to the "Green Zone" warriors who seldom, if ever, venture outside their gated community. Apropos your comments, there was initial confusion about "the little girl" (whomever she is, and we do not know if she is al-Zarqawi's daughter) who was killed in the bombing of al-Zarqawi's safe-house. Different reports from different people, transmitted from the front lines at about the same time, referred to her as a "female," "woman," "young woman," and "child of indeterminate age." Hence the differing initial reports, which were not "lies" as you so boldly mischaracterized them. Another way of stating it is that the world's news madia can have its news "fast" or it can have it "completely accurate," but not both. Remember that the next time you pick up a newspaper.

The last time I saw General Caldwell, he was riding the Metro in Washington DC---in uniform, with his name tag visible. I asked him why a Major General in his position would be riding the Metro, and he replied that "it is one more way to see what is going on in the world." He also noted to me that "four star generals ought to spend less time in their staff cars, and more time riding the Metro." So you might consider giving the man a break, or at least not call him a "liar" when he is doing his job.

al-Zarqawi's safe house was constructed out of reinforced concrete and steel I-Beams. (Is your house built that way?) Some of the walls were 10 inches thick of poured concrete. This was no tumbledown shack by the railroad track; no little "farm house" in the middle of a date palm orchard. It was no easy "takedown" for any combat team, let alone the relatively small group of special forces that fingered Zarqawi to the specific location at a specific time. "Surround and wait" was not an option under the circumstances. In addition, the occupants must have had some realization that they were found out, because somebody on the inside started shooting at the US forces on the outside. Hence they called for ordnance support, and the "operational fires" commander sent the F-16s overhead.

The F-16s were on a detached air support mission, with no anticipation by the pilots that they were going to be called to bomb al-Zarqawi's house. (One F-16 was in the midst of aerial refueling and had to break off from the airborne tanker to fly to the target area.) Of the two 500-pound bombs dropped in the engagement, the first was laser-designated and the second was GPS-guided. They were both fused to explode after penetrating into the house, as opposed to detonating on first contact with an outside, concrete wall. That al-Zarqawi's body was intact, and that he was alive for some time post-bombing, indicates that he had taken shelter in the basement part of the structure which is where he was found by the Iraqi officers who first entered the place. So the field evidence is that al-Zarqawi apparently knew that something was coming at him (he probably heard the jet noise, which is loud as hell), and took cover. It was not as if al-Zarqawi shielded the little girl with his body, in one last act of supreme and altruistic heroism.

Among other things, you wrote:
"One last point inherent in killing the little girl who may or may not have been Zarqawi’s daughter. It is about the question of courage. I suppose one has to expect that a country whose moral reasoning is as screwed up as ours would get the question of courage all wrong too."

I disagree. al-Zarqawi's stock in trade was the indiscriminate bomb, attacking market places, squares, mosques, etc. His end came at the hands of pilots who could, and did, deliberately and accurately place target-appropriate weapons within a few feet of the aim point. As for "screwed up" moral reasoning, believe it or not, many of the people within the US military who were instrumental in developing "precision" weapons over the past 30 years or so were devoutly religious (the late Admiral Arthur Cebrowski comes to mind.) There was a school of thought along the lines of Catholic "Just War" theory inherent in the focus of the respective weapons programs. That is, if war will be waged by the politicians, then it should be conducted in such a manner that will minimize the death and suffering of the innocent. The result was that US conventional weapons are of such accuracy as to make it possible for the policy-makers to pull back from Cold War doctrines involving use of nuclear weapons in war fighting. (another discussion entirely...)

al-Zarqawi chose to lead the self-styled romantic life of a combatant leader, using brutal methods of terrorism to fight an asymmetric war against the U.S. and its coalition allies. In the course of his abbreviated life, al-Zarqawi created for himself a war zone in whatever land he dwelt (Jordan, Afghanistan and eventually Iraq). He was dogmatic, a true believer, a fanatic, a “world-improver” who desired to remake the planet in his own image. al-Zarqawi was, in so many respects, emblematic of Hannah Arendt's depiction of the “banality of evil.”

Whoever was there in the ill-fated house, it was al-Zarqawi who killed them. He knew that he was the subject of a comprehensive manhunt, with a $25 million bounty on his head. He knew that his pursuers were competent, and that any moment could be his last. Yet al-Zarqawi chose to make a call on a certain locale, in the company of others including the women and/or child. When surrounded, someone in al-Zarqawi’s entourage chose to fire on his pursuers in true Bonnie & Clyde fashion, rather than to surrender. al-Zarqawi headed for the basement. And then the bombs fell.

Thus to the very end, al-Zarqawi was a killer. Others died? If so, it was the culmination of a chain of events set in motion entirely by the late and unlamented al Qaeda leader. The death of any innocent is a sad thing, but it was al-Zarqawi’s doing. I am reminded of the words of Herman Melville who wrote the tale of Captain Ahab and his ship the Pequod, which “like Satan, would not sink to Hell till she had dragged a living part of Heaven along with her.”


Dear Captain King:

Thank you for your very fine e-mail. I appreciate it. There are points of great interest in it, including points I agree with. I do have a few responses, however,

1. Given your admitted reliance on “very reliable sources,” I presume some
of the information in your letters -- information that is not yet publicly known insofar as I am aware (please correct me if I am mistaken about this) -- was obtained from high Pentagon sources. Why? Did you obtain it to respond to my posting? Were you “officially commissioned” to respond to it, so to speak, or asked to respond to it? This all would be hard to believe, for I do not attribute to myself any such importance. (I was not even able to make Nixon’s enemies list as far as I know.) But why did you feel it necessary to respond, and to include information not publicly known (insofar as I am aware): information such as I-beam reinforcements, walls ten inches thick, where Zarqawi is thought to have been in the house when the bombs struck, the fact that he was not sheltering another person with his body, the implication that others might not have been in the basement since they were dead when we took the house (or the rubble), and the fact that Zarqawi was not one of those who fired the shots. You or your “very reliable sources” are not merely speculating about some or all of these things, or releasing additional incomplete information, in order to avoid or put down some type of feared criticism of what we did, are you?

2. For all the fine, even noble traits you find in General Caldwell, a finding I
would never quarrel with, the fact is that, even though you say “He is fully aware of the vagaries of ‘first reports’ from combat front lines,” he was reported in the media to have at first flatly denied that a young girl was killed. If the media report was wrong, he, you or the military should say so. If the media report was not wrong, then he flatly denied something he may not have had information about. If he did this, there is a word for such a denial; but I need not repeat the word. Of course, maybe he had been assured by others that there had been no little girl there, so that he simply passed on erroneous information that he had been given and in good faith believed. If that is the case, you, he and/or the military should say so. What is not permissible, and deserves the word I shall not use, is to have flatly denied something that proved true, and to have done so without any subsequent reasonable explanation for the failure of truth.

To say that the news media “can have its news ‘fast’ or it can have it ‘completely accurate’” is wholly beside the point here, and is indeed, an attempt at deflection. The military should not be putting out false statements. If a military spokesman does not know or must refuse to state the facts (as with regard to the location of the persons in the car that drove away), he should say so. What is impermissible, and deeply contrary to the military’s own strictures on honesty of officers, is to tell untruths. It is, of course, extremely sad, and deeply disheartening, that ever since Viet Nam people are prone to disbelieve the military and the government because of the astounding countertradition of untruths that has been built up in opposition to the officer corp’s prior longstanding tradition of truth.

3. It is, I think, perhaps somewhat generous to say merely that it is illogical,
and a mere attempt at deflection, to argue that a pilot killing people without serious risk to himself, or a weapons control officer on the ground hundreds or thousands of miles away doing the same, is showing courage because the target was an indiscriminate murderer. The question of courage has nothing to do with whether the target is a Zarqawi or a baby. It has to do, rather, with whether the person firing the weapon is himself or herself at serious risk. I’m confident you must in reality know this.

4. One shakes one’s head at the concept of the devoutly religious developing
the kinds of massively destructive weapons we have today. Not to mention that those who believe in the concept of “just war” might be shaking their heads in wonderment at the point you make, since many of them, I gather, feel that this is not a just war. Not to mention that tens of thousands -- could it conceivably be 100,000 or more, as some say? -- have been killed by our weapons. So much for the humaneness of precision weapons.

5. I’m sorry, Captain, but the fact is that we killed the little girl. Zarqawi’s
presence is the reason we killed her, but we, not he, killed her. It is rhetorical sleight of hand, it is a lawyer’s trick (and also a rhetorical trick of right wingers who have written me) to say that he killed her. One could say that he was responsible by his presence for the fact that we killed her, one could also reasonably say, as many have, that it was immoral for him to have put a little girl in danger, but the fact remains that it was we who killed her. I say this even though I am fully aware, as said a few times in my blog, that I would almost surely have made the same decision to bomb the house had it been me on the scene making the decision. And I would have done it to safeguard the Americans on the scene from possible death or wounds. But I am at least cognizant of the truth of who killed the girl and have the honesty to concede it, unlike some of the right wing nuts who have written me crudely ignorant, savage emails cheering on all our destructive efforts and more or less hoping that we kill as many Muslims as possible.

By the way, don’t you think it entirely possible that the insurgents in Iraq are considering how to get back at us by killing Iraqi officials, American officers, and such like. And don’t you think that American intelligence and Iraqi intelligence know this and perhaps have warned those who are potential targets? -- who probably strongly suspect it anyway? If these things are true, and if one or more of the possible targets are killed by insurgent bombs, and if women or children or fellow officials or fellow officers are with them and are also killed in the blast, are you going to say it is the target(s) who killed these other people rather than the insurgents? Are you going to say it was the Iraqi officials or the American officers who killed them? I seriously doubt that you or any other American will say that. Yet that, of course, is exactly what you are saying about Zarqawi. The unhappy fact, which is rebounding against us worldwide, is that we apply wholly different standards of logic depending on whether someone is on our side or the other side. And then we wonder why others consider us vast hypocrites and hate our guts.*


Myfiles/Blogspot/blogltr.EmailcorrespondenceCaptainKing


----- Original Message -----

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
To: KMS
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: Killing Zarqawi's Daughter

June 21, 2006

Dear Mr. Sanders:

I greatly appreciate your email, even if I might take issue with it. Mendel Rivers, a Congressman from South Carolina was head of the House Armed Services Committee, or one of its subcommittees, in the 1950s and '60s. Mendel Davis succeeded him in Congress. Feel free to correct me if I am mistaken on this.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence Velvel


----- Original Message -----

From: KMS
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 4:30 PM
Subject: Re: Killing Zarqawi's Daughter

Dean Velvel,

I have read personal letters from the time when older members of my family were hung in the trees to get other members to disclose the locations of buried valuables by Sherman's men as he went through my state. Some died anyway after the Yankees got what they wanted. Their homes were destroyed while they watched in the dead of winter. I also know that homes, businesses, and churches were burned to the ground where there was no resistance after they were looted by the Yankee solders. There is plenty of evidence to support both claims. Livestock was slaughtered, wells poisoned, farm implements burned, foodstuffs stolen, etc. by Sherman's men. There was no resistance by the civilian population. War was waged upon them as Sherman went through. Civilians were rounded up and killed when Yankee soldiers were killed in the field. Mosby was too successful in Virginia for the Yankee's taste so they killed civilians when Confederate soldiers could not be found. Yes sir, it happened regardless of the omissions in the history books. Also, more Confederates were killed at Elmira-NY, Pt. Lookout-MD, and at a camp near Chicago each than at Andersonville-GA. J. Davis tried to exchange the prisoners in Andersonville before so many died and Grant and Lincoln said they were better off keeping their Confederate prisoners so they would not see them again in the field. Later, Davis even offered to send the Andersonville prisoners home with no strings attached if Lincoln would arrange to transport. He would not since the prisoners needed troops to guard them and took provisions to feed them. Both were scarce in the South by then.

Lee restrained his men. They foraged as they traveled in both South and North and paid for what they took albeit mostly in Confederate money. Civilian properties were respected to a much higher degree as well as women, children, the sick, and the elderly. The men were off fighting since more than 80% of them eventually served in some capacity. This compares to approximately 1/3 of the male population in the American Revolution. I agree the South has been the most "militaristic", patriotic, brave, courageous, or whatever the appropriate term(s) would be. We served in greater numbers on a percentage basis during the Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican, War Between the States, Spanish American, WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Honor and duty means a lot here even if it is misguided at times.

Waging war on civilians was taken to new heights by the North. It is unpleasant for Northerners to admit since they have convinced themselves they have the moral high ground on the war due to the freeing of the slaves which is all Northerners think the war was about. Lincoln never went to war to free the slaves. In his first inaugural address he said there would be no war so long as the taxes were collected. The North went to war to "preserve the union," keep the long term taxes flowing, and to squash the defenders of federalism who would have been economic/political competitors. How would you enforce high tariffs for New England's benefit if the Mississippi allowed the midwest to ignore them?

I notice you did not say anything about the reinterpretation of the Constitution after the North won. Federalism, as defined by the Founding Fathers, died with the war. We are nowhere near what they envisioned as far as limited government and low tax burdens. We should have more in common with the European Union today than simply being one welded together nation. More than 40% of the US economy is taxed or controlled by government at all levels. The Boston Tea Party was over a 3% sales tax on tea. Think about it and how far we have come. We have 700+ military bases in 135+ countries worldwide because our Constitution means virtually nothing anymore. I mean we have not even declared war since WWII and yet we have sent our soldiers home in bags by the thousands with countless more maimed for life.

Concentrating power into fewer hands was the end result of the war. We have a consolidated government with unchecked power. I believe the world would have been better off with America shining the light of limited government that was forever decentralized. We were meant to be a constitutional republic and not a democracy which is mobocracy. If the Constitution had been obeyed, there would have been no secession and no war.

Please give additional info on "the two Mendels, Rivers and Davis". I would like to better understand your thoughts here and be able to research your conclusions further.

Thank you. I did enjoy your column and look forward to more.

Respectfully,

Mark Sanders



----- Original Message -----

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
To: KMS
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 1:11 PM
Subject: Re: Killing Zarqawi's Daughter

June 19, 2006

Dear Mr. Sanders:

Thank you for the email. I am afraid, however, that I largely disagree with you because Sherman and Sheridan, while practicing the “hard hand of war,” did not kill civilians. Killing civilians wholesale was an “innovation” of the 1930s and 1940s, presaged by the Germans’ march through Belgium in 1914. The false view that the North is responsible for this is a long held Southern reactionary view propounded by what since the early 1830s has been far and away the most militaristic portion of the country, with the State of South Carolina being in the forefront of such thinking, viz. the two Mendels, Rivers and Davis.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence R. Velvel



----- Original Message -----


From: KMS
To: Velvel@MSLaw.edu
Sent: Friday, June 16, 2006 3:10 PM
Subject: Killing Zarqawi's Daughter

Dean Velvel,

Thanks for making people think. The killing of civilians and wholesale war on civilians was adopted as a means to an end during Lincoln's war against Southern Independence. Lee ordered his troops to respect the civilian populace. It was Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley and Sherman's march to the sea that epitomized the type of warfare of which you write. Southerners for the most part observed the laws of civilized warfare. The North won, so their ideals won as well for us. The Constitution means nothing anymore because of it. We have collateral damage in its place following an undeclared war of course as in Korea and Vietnam and now Iraq.

Mark Sanders
South Carolina



----- Original Message -----

From: Freeberg, Richard
To: velvel@mslaw.edu
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2006 2:31 PM
Subject: RE: The Real Reason We Invaded Iraq.

Dear Dean Velvel -

I always enjoy reading your comments, probably because they resonant with my own! Keep up the good work.

Regarding the Iraq situation I agree more or less with your analysis as far as it goes. However I've come to believe that these 'tidal events' in human society and history are rarely determined by one or two factors, or personalities, but rather are multi-dimensional and have a complex mixture of determinants. Of course this makes for poor newspaper or talking-head copy where one wants to have a clear cut one or two factor deterministic model. But then the relationship of media to reality is tangential at best, eh?

I think it was Representative Barney Frank (?) who explained the situation with the acronym OIL for O) Oil, I) Israel and L) Location as the explanation for our Iraq adventure. I would also add Greed and Saudi Royal Family, but that I guess might be part of the O and L. One of B. Laden's primary demands and justifications for the 911 attack was to rid the central Holy Land (Islam = Saudi Arabia) of the foreign troops (i.e. American) who were defiling it by their presence.

For the SD Royal family, the problem was they needed the US troops to stay in power, or think they do. So the happy solution was to invade Iraq, loot the Oil, be rid of that trouble maker Saddam, placate the Islamic fundamentalist in SD, put the US troops 'over there' but still in support, not to mention that the defense contractor and industries (Carlyle Group anyone?) would make billions in profits + value added! When 911 happened pappy Bush was sitting in a conference room with other Carlyle Group 'principals', one of whom was a Bin Laden family member, either a brother or cousin of Osama.

Under the sands of Iraq is reported to be 1/3 of ALL the known oil reserves in the world! And this is the GOOD stuff, high quality and easy to extract. Put in a puppet government, get a bunch of sweetheart deals for all the major oil companies, and bring it on!

Judicial Watch reports that in those secret energy policy meetings that Dugout Dick Cheney went all the way to the Supreme Court to prevent the public from knowing about, they had maps of all the Iraqi Oil fields out on the table for discussion. This was within weeks of the 2000 election. Of course they had no idea that something like 9/11 would come along and give them a perfect excuse.

Oh by the way, I've heard that convicted felon Ken Lay was also in those meetings...

This is not to deny the validity of your psychological portrait of Herr Bush and his motivations. I'm sure Prince Bandar and Dugout Dick Cheney were fully aware of that angle and had no problem leading our mentally challenged, Oedipally obsessed, president select astray.

Another factor is the desperate need for the Military Industrial Complex to create a new war hysteria to justify themselves and their obscene profits, post Cold War. The invention of the war on "terror" is brilliant, since it's a war that by definition can never be won, and our actions to combat 'terror' (using terror ourselves) paradoxically will just create more of terrorists. Me thinks Iraq is a terrorist breeder reactor of sorts.

Undoubtedly there are other factors at work but I'm starting to run out of steam.

One last thought, perhaps what is really going on here is that America has become a vassal state of the Saudi Royal Family, and the Bush family are their resident quislings? Or maybe I'm just getting old and paranoid?

Regards,

Richard Freeberg


-----Original Message-----

From: velvel@mslaw.edu [mailto:velvel@mslaw.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2006 8:24 AM
Subject: Re: The Real Reason We Invaded Iraq.

June 20, 2006

Re: The Real Reason We Invaded Iraq.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com

Dear Colleagues:

Three points that have become widely accepted lead ineluctably to, and suggest the only possible answer or answers to, a fourth one. The fourth one is why, really, did we invade Iraq? What are the real reason or reasons for the invasion?

It has now become widely accepted that, as terrible as 9/11 was, and as big a threat as the then Afghanistan-based Al Qaeda may at that time have presented, George W. Bush did not fully commit American forces to Afghanistan, did not go all out there. Rather, he mainly, not exclusively but mainly, fought that war by use of warlord proxies whom we could in one way or another persuade to do our fighting for us. This is thought by highly knowledgeable persons to have resulted in momentous missed opportunities, like our failure to catch bin Laden when we otherwise could have done so. What is more, Bush did not go all out in Afghanistan in order to write finis to terrorists even though he kept saying that his mission in history was to protect America from terrorists.

The first now-widely-accepted point, then, is that Bush did not fully commit in Afghanistan. And, it should be said, there are those who think the reason for this, or at least a major reason, was that Bush wanted to save the availability of the vast bulk of American forces for a forthcoming war he hoped to fight in Iraq.

The second now-widely-accepted idea is that the reasons given by this administration for a war in Iraq were baloney -- there were no WMDs, Iraqis did not welcome us with rose petals so that the war would be merely a quick walkover, the rest of the Middle East did not fall down on its knees and embrace democracy where there was tyranny, Saddam Hussein was not connected to the terrorists of 9/11.

The third now-widely-accepted idea is that, although there were people warning Bush and company that their announced reasons for going to war in Iraq were hogwash, the administration didn’t want to hear it. It ignored and twisted the intelligence, created and adopted new, phony intelligence that suited its own purposes, and punished those like Shinseki and Lindsay who told disagreeable truths.

Now, one asks oneself: Why would Bush, who announced himself God’s appointed savior of America through destruction of terrorism, nonetheless fail to do anything like the maximum in Afghanistan to catch and destroy terrorists, and then make up stuff, and ignore extensive contrary evidence and intelligence, in order to send about 150,000 men and women to Iraq, which was not connected with terrorism. Why would he and his administration act in this way?

Well, in view of what is now widely accepted, the answer to this question seems pretty simple. It is an answer that has been mentioned in earlier years (as in connection with Paul O’Neill’s book), but that, after some mention, tends to be forgotten. It is that Bush hated and wanted to get rid of Saddam. Saddam, after all, had escaped the clutches of Bush’s father -- whose decision to stop on the road to Baghdad may not look so hot, historically. Then Saddam had tried to kill his father. By taking over Iraq and throwing out and bringing to trial Saddam, Bush would overcome his father’s failure (and surpass his father) and would avenge the attempts on his father’s life. That seems to me the obvious basic reason why Bush did not commit full bore to Afghanistan despite his supposed mission of doing away with terrorists, and instead left the army free to fight in Iraq, made up phony reasons for fighting in Iraq, ignored contrary evidence and, via his henchmen, made up his own phony pseudo-intelligence. Why else but from a deep seated psychological need for revenge against Saddam would even the unintelligent Bush act as stupidly as he did?

Naturally, of course, Bush’s real reason, his underlying reason, could not be put forward to the American people as the reason for going to war (although Bush did slip once and say with regard to Saddam that you have to remember that this is the guy who tried to kill his father).

There very well may be a second underlying reason why Bush got us into the disaster in Iraq. He is an oil man after all, and Iraq sits on top of a mountain of oil that the U.S. could use very well, thank you. This reason is another one that has been mentioned previously but then tends to be passed over in the media, yet it meshes simply and beautifully with the fundamental psychological reason discussed above. For it means that Bush could surpass and avenge his father and better our own oil position. One can see, incidentally, that this combination would make Bush a hero, and plainly anyone who does and says the thing he has done and said (e.g., “Bring it on,” that he answers to a higher father, that God is directing him to do it, etc.) does have a hero complex or messianic complex of some sort. (In truth, unless he has some sort of hero complex or its equivalent, where does a former drunk and serial failure in business come off thinking he should be President?)

These matters are relevant, of course, to the question of what is to be done now, to the question of should we withdraw from Iraq. This question has been addressed here many times before, so one shall not reiterate what has been said previously. Suffice it to add now that the almost ineluctable conclusion that we (wholly unjustifiably) got into the disastrous Iraq war - - in which many tens of thousands have been killed - - in order to salve George Bush’s personal psychological needs makes it all the more right to get out of that war as fast as we can, as fast as blazes. Otherwise we shall continue killing people to soothe George Bush’s psyche.*

Myfiles/Blogspot/Blogltr.RealReasonIvadeIraq


----- Original Message -----

From: Thomas Wilkinson
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 4:57 PM
Subject: Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve

Dear Dean Velvel:

After Mr Cockburn's recent comments on "blogging", which have in fact confirmed a feeling I have had about a lot of this "white noise", I do wonder what these folks are doing or thinking when they write (your point well taken). Every once in a while I fire a comment off at some suspicious or specious argument in CP and get locked into an enormously silly debate with people who seem to be "hitmen" for the Right.

I do think that a lot of these "answers" are part of the monitoring of the "netwaves" by the Fouchés of today. No one else takes so much time for sophistry.

Your arguments were pleasantly cogent. May we both be pleased not to have to defend the US occupation within operational modus-- obviating your option to destroy the alleged bunker.
But to give you a bit of "bunker" anecdote-- between us: when I first moved to this town some 25 years ago the US consulate was in a noble neighbourhood with normal security conditions-- like any other imperial consulate. Now it is located directly next to the central rail station. The whole area is filled with vile security barriers and the taxis are no longer placed conveniently for the rail passengers. This is to "protect" a consulate that does not even need to be located at such a vulnerable traffic junction. Is the US not endangering all the rail traffic through Dusseldorf by this choice of location?

The US government also tried to pressure the Berlin government to divert all the traffic in the city centre so that it could build its embassy on the old pre-war site. As far as I know this has been resisted-- primarily because Berlin has no money for such an extravagance and the US never pays for such things.

In short, although I do not really want a full citation on your site, it may be a further support for your argument (not that the Right cares) to say that throughout the world the US puts innocent people in harm's way and accepts no responsibility for this. Were the myopic JAG officer who wrote you to take that into account-- maybe even reading a bit of British colonial history-- he could under conditions of sobriety or Stockholm syndrome imagine a proper revulsion at hostage taking-- the basic principle guiding the American way of waging war.

Kindly,

tpw


Am 19.06.2006 um 20:59 schrieb

Dean Lawrence R. Velvel:

June 19, 2006

Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com

Dear Colleagues:

Appended below is a most interesting email from Captain Byron King, USNR, and a response to his comments.

From: Byron King, Pittsburgh, PA (Practicing Attorney & Captain, US Navy Reserve)
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel, Massachusetts School of Law

No, we have never met. But I read your post on LewRockwell.com, lifted from your blog comments.

By way of professional courtesy, as one attorney to another, I beg to point out a few things based upon what I know from first hand knowledge or from other very reliable sources.

US Army Major General Caldwell, whom you disparaged, is nobody's "yes man." He is an official US Army spokesman, whose job is to speak to the media. He is also a trained Army Ranger (it is, in its own way, as hard a job to be a Ranger as it is to accomplish most of the supremely difficult things in life, IMHO), with a long list of direct action experience under his belt. He is fully aware of the vagaries of "first reports" from combat front lines.

Caldwell's current job involves sifting through whatever comes in, and attempting to present an accurate summary of events to the media, particularly to the "Green Zone" warriors who seldom, if ever, venture outside their gated community. Apropos your comments, there was initial confusion about "the little girl" (whomever she is, and we do not know if she is al-Zarqawi's daughter) who was killed in the bombing of al-Zarqawi's safe-house. Different reports from different people, transmitted from the front lines at about the same time, referred to her as a "female," "woman," "young woman," and "child of indeterminate age." Hence the differing initial reports, which were not "lies" as you so boldly mischaracterized them.

Another way of stating it is that the world's news madia can have its news "fast" or it can have it "completely accurate," but not both. Remember that the next time you pick up a newspaper.

The last time I saw General Caldwell, he was riding the Metro in Washington DC---in uniform, with his name tag visible. I asked him why a Major General in his position would be riding the Metro, and he replied that "it is one more way to see what is going on in the world." He also noted to me that "four star generals ought to spend less time in their staff cars, and more time riding the Metro." So you might consider giving the man a break, or at least not call him a "liar" when he is doing his job.

al-Zarqawi's safe house was constructed out of reinforced concrete and steel I-Beams. (Is your house built that way?) Some of the walls were 10 inches thick of poured concrete. This was no tumbledown shack by the railroad track; no little "farm house" in the middle of a date palm orchard. It was no easy "takedown" for any combat team, let alone the relatively small group of special forces that fingered Zarqawi to the specific location at a specific time. "Surround and wait" was not an option under the circumstances. In addition, the occupants must have had some realization that they were found out, because somebody on the inside started shooting at the US forces on the outside. Hence they called for ordnance support, and the "operational fires" commander sent the F-16s overhead.

The F-16s were on a detached air support mission, with no anticipation by the pilots that they were going to be called to bomb al-Zarqawi's house. (One F-16 was in the midst of aerial refueling and had to break off from the airborne tanker to fly to the target area.) Of the two 500-pound bombs dropped in the engagement, the first was laser-designated and the second was GPS-guided. They were both fused to explode after penetrating into the house, as opposed to detonating on first contact with an outside, concrete wall. That al-Zarqawi's body was intact, and that he was alive for some time post-bombing, indicates that he had taken shelter in the basement part of the structure which is where he was found by the Iraqi officers who first entered the place. So the field evidence is that al-Zarqawi apparently knew that something was coming at him (he probably heard the jet noise, which is loud as hell), and took cover. It was not as if al-Zarqawi shielded the little girl with his body, in one last act of supreme and altruistic heroism.

Among other things, you wrote:"One last point inherent in killing the little girl who may or may not have been Zarqawi’s daughter. It is about the question of courage. I suppose one has to expect that a country whose moral reasoning is as screwed up as ours would get the question of courage all wrong too."

I disagree. al-Zarqawi's stock in trade was the indiscriminate bomb, attacking market places, squares, mosques, etc. His end came at the hands of pilots who could, and did, deliberately and accurately place target-appropriate weapons within a few feet of the aim point.

As for "screwed up" moral reasoning, believe it or not, many of the people within the US military who were instrumental in developing "precision" weapons over the past 30 years or so were devoutly religious (the late Admiral Arthur Cebrowski comes to mind.) There was a school of thought along the lines of Catholic "Just War" theory inherent in the focus of the respective weapons programs. That is, if war will be waged by the politicians, then it should be conducted in such a manner that will minimize the death and suffering of the innocent. The result was that US conventional weapons are of such accuracy as to make it possible for the policy-makers to pull back from Cold War doctrines involving use of nuclear weapons in war fighting. (another discussion entirely...)

al-Zarqawi chose to lead the self-styled romantic life of a combatant leader, using brutal methods of terrorism to fight an asymmetric war against the U.S. and its coalition allies. In the course of his abbreviated life, al-Zarqawi created for himself a war zone in whatever land he dwelt (Jordan, Afghanistan and eventually Iraq). He was dogmatic, a true believer, a fanatic, a “world-improver” who desired to remake the planet in his own image. al-Zarqawi was, in so many respects, emblematic of Hannah Arendt's depiction of the “banality of evil.”

Whoever was there in the ill-fated house, it was al-Zarqawi who killed them. He knew that he was the subject of a comprehensive manhunt, with a $25 million bounty on his head. He knew that his pursuers were competent, and that any moment could be his last. Yet al-Zarqawi chose to make a call on a certain locale, in the company of others including the women and/or child. When surrounded, someone in al-Zarqawi’s entourage chose to fire on his pursuers in true Bonnie & Clyde fashion, rather than to surrender. al-Zarqawi headed for the basement. And then the bombs fell.

Thus to the very end, al-Zarqawi was a killer. Others died? If so, it was the culmination of a chain of events set in motion entirely by the late and unlamented al Qaeda leader. The death of any innocent is a sad thing, but it was al-Zarqawi’s doing. I am reminded of the words of Herman Melville who wrote the tale of Captain Ahab and his ship the Pequod, which “like Satan, would not sink to Hell till she had dragged a living part of Heaven along with her.”

Dear Captain King:

Thank you for your very fine e-mail. I appreciate it. There are points of great interest in it, including points I agree with. I do have a few responses, however,

1. Given your admitted reliance on “very reliable sources,” I presume some
of the information in your letters -- information that is not yet publicly known insofar as I am aware (please correct me if I am mistaken about this) -- was obtained from high Pentagon sources. Why? Did you obtain it to respond to my posting? Were you “officially commissioned” to respond to it, so to speak, or asked to respond to it? This all would be hard to believe, for I do not attribute to myself any such importance. (I was not even able to make Nixon’s enemies list as far as I know.) But whydid you feel it necessary to respond, and to include information not publicly known (insofar as I am aware): information such as I-beam reinforcements, walls ten inches thick, where Zarqawi is thought to have been in the house when the bombs struck, the fact that he was not sheltering another person with his body, the implication that others might not have been in the basement since they were dead when we took the house (or the rubble), and the fact that Zarqawi was not one of those who fired the shots. You or your “very reliable sources” are not merely speculating about some or all of these things, or releasing additional incomplete information, in order to avoid or put down some type of feared criticism of what we did, are you?

2. For all the fine, even noble traits you find in General Caldwell, a finding I
would never quarrel with, the fact is that, even though you say “He is fully aware of the vagaries of ‘first reports’ from combat front lines,” he was reported in the media to have at first flatly denied that a young girl was killed. If the media report was wrong, he, you or the military should say so. If the media report was not wrong, then he flatly denied something he may not have had information about. If he did this, there is a word for such a denial; but I need not repeat the word. Of course, maybe he had been assured by others that there had been no little girl there, so that he simply passed on erroneous information that he had been given and in good faith believed. If that is the case, you, he and/or the military should say so. What is not permissible, and deserves the word I shall not use, is to have flatly denied something that proved true, and to have done so without any subsequent reasonable explanation for the failure of truth.

To say that the news media “can have its news ‘fast’ or it can have it ‘completely accurate’” is wholly beside the point here, and is indeed, an attempt at deflection. The military should not be putting out false statements. If a military spokesman does not know or must refuse to state the facts (as with regard to the location of the persons in the car that drove away), he should say so. What is impermissible, and deeply contrary to the military’s own strictures on honesty of officers, is to tell untruths. It is, of course, extremely sad, and deeply disheartening, that ever since Viet Nam people are prone to disbelieve the military and the government because of the astounding countertradition of untruths that has been built up in opposition to the officer corp’s prior longstanding tradition of truth.

3. It is, I think, perhaps somewhat generous to say merely that it is illogical,
and a mere attempt at deflection, to argue that a pilot killing people without serious risk to himself, or a weapons control officer on the ground hundreds or thousands of miles away doing the same, is showing courage because the target was an indiscriminate murderer. The question of courage has nothing to do with whether the target is a Zarqawi or a baby. It has to do, rather, with whether the person firing the weapon is himself or herself at serious risk. I’m confident you must in reality know this.

4. One shakes one’s head at the concept of the devoutly religious developing
the kinds of massively destructive weapons we have today. Not to mention that those who believe in the concept of “just war” might be shaking their heads in wonderment at the point you make, since many of them, I gather, feel that this is not a just war. Not to mention that tens of thousands -- could it conceivably be 100,000 or more, as some say? -- have been killed by our weapons. So much for the humaneness of precision weapons.

5. I’m sorry, Captain, but the fact is that we killed the little girl. Zarqawi’s
presence is the reason we killed her, but we, not he, killed her. It is rhetorical sleight of hand, it is a lawyer’s trick (and also a rhetorical trick of right wingers who have written me) to say that he killed her. One could say that he was responsible by hispresence for the fact that we killed her, one could also reasonably say, as many have, that it was immoral for him to have put a little girl in danger, but the fact remains that it was we who killed her. I say this even though I am fully aware, as said a few times in my blog, that I would almost surely have made the same decision to bomb the house had it been me on the scene making the decision. And I would have done it to safeguard the Americans on the scene from possible death or wounds. But I am at least cognizant of the truth of who killed the girl and have the honesty to concede it, unlike some of the right wing nuts who have written me crudely ignorant, savage emails cheering on all our destructive efforts and more or less hoping that we kill as many Muslims as possible.

By the way, don’t you think it entirely possible that the insurgents in Iraq are considering how to get back at us by killing Iraqi officials, American officers, and such like. And don’t you think that American intelligence and Iraqi intelligence know this and perhaps have warned those who are potential targets? -- who probably strongly suspect it anyway? If these things are true, and if one or more of the possible targets are killed by insurgent bombs, and if women or children or fellow officials or fellow officers are with them and are also killed in the blast, are you going to say it is the target(s) who killed these other people rather than the insurgents? Are you going to say it was the Iraqi officials or the American officers who killed them? I seriously doubt that you or any other American will say that. Yet that, of course, is exactly what you are saying about Zarqawi. The unhappy fact, which is rebounding against us worldwide, is that we apply wholly different standards of logic depending on whether someone is on our side or the other side. And then we wonder why others consider us vast hypocrites and hate our guts.*

Myfiles/Blogspot/blogltr.EmailcorrespondenceCaptainKing

Mit freundlichen Grüßen/ Cordialement/ Cordiali saluti/ Yours sincerely

PW


----- Original Message -----

From: steve
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 5:12 PM
Subject: Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve

Larry,

It's really quite like a Monty Python sketch.
We dropped bombs on those people and killed them.
No we didn't.
Of course we did, it was our planes that dropped those bombs.
It was that guy in the house that did it.
What?
Yes, he dropped the bombs.
How did he do that?
By being "in" the house.
You haven't explained how he dropped the bombs.
Yes I have.
What about our planes?'
What about them?
Our planes dropped the bombs.
No they didn't. He called the bombs down upon himself.
What?

ad nauseum

Steve

Lawrence R. Velvel" wrote:


June 19, 2006


Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com


Dear Colleagues:

Appended below is a most interesting email from Captain Byron King, USNR, and a response to his comments.


From: Byron King, Pittsburgh, PA (Practicing Attorney & Captain, US Navy Reserve)

To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel, Massachusetts School of Law

No, we have never met. But I read your post on LewRockwell.com, lifted from your blog comments.

By way of professional courtesy, as one attorney to another, I beg to point out a few things based upon what I know from first hand knowledge or from other very reliable sources.

US Army Major General Caldwell, whom you disparaged, is nobody's "yes man." He is an official US Army spokesman, whose job is to speak to the media. He is also a trained Army Ranger (it is, in its own way, as hard a job to be a Ranger as it is to accomplish most of the supremely difficult things in life, IMHO), with a long list of direct action experience under his belt. He is fully aware of the vagaries of "first reports" from combat front lines.

Caldwell's current job involves sifting through whatever comes in, and attempting to present an accurate summary of events to the media, particularly to the "Green Zone" warriors who seldom, if ever, venture outside their gated community. Apropos your comments, there was initial confusion about "the little girl" (whomever she is, and we do not know if she is al-Zarqawi's daughter) who was killed in the bombing of al-Zarqawi's safe-house. Different reports from different people, transmitted from the front lines at about the same time, referred to her as a "female," "woman," "young woman," and "child of indeterminate age." Hence the differing initial reports, which were not "lies" as you so boldly mischaracterized them.

Another way of stating it is that the world's news madia can have its news "fast" or it can have it "completely accurate," but not both. Remember that the next time you pick up a newspaper.

The last time I saw General Caldwell, he was riding the Metro in Washington DC---in uniform, with his name tag visible. I asked him why a Major General in his position would be riding the Metro, and he replied that "it is one more way to see what is going on in the world." He also noted to me that "four star generals ought to spend less time in their staff cars, and more time riding the Metro." So you might consider giving the man a break, or at least not call him a "liar" when he is doing his job.

al-Zarqawi's safe house was constructed out of reinforced concrete and steel I-Beams. (Is your house built that way?) Some of the walls were 10 inches thick of poured concrete. This was no tumbledown shack by the railroad track; no little "farm house" in the middle of a date palm orchard. It was no easy "takedown" for any combat team, let alone the relatively small group of special forces that fingered Zarqawi to the specific location at a specific time. "Surround and wait" was not an option under the circumstances. In addition, the occupants must have had some realization that they were found out, because somebody on the inside started shooting at the US forces on the outside. Hence they called for ordnance support, and the "operational fires" commander sent the F-16s overhead.

The F-16s were on a detached air support mission, with no anticipation by the pilots that they were going to be called to bomb al-Zarqawi's house. (One F-16 was in the midst of aerial refueling and had to break off from the airborne tanker to fly to the target area.) Of the two 500-pound bombs dropped in the engagement, the first was laser-designated and the second was GPS-guided. They were both fused to explode after penetrating into the house, as opposed to detonating on first contact with an outside, concrete wall. That al-Zarqawi's body was intact, and that he was alive for some time post-bombing, indicates that he had taken shelter in the basement part of the structure which is where he was found by the Iraqi officers who first entered the place. So the field evidence is that al-Zarqawi apparently knew that something was coming at him (he probably heard the jet noise, which is loud as hell), and took cover. It was not as if al-Zarqawi shielded the little girl with his body, in one last act of supreme and altruistic heroism.

Among other things, you wrote:"One last point inherent in killing the little girl who may or may not have been Zarqawi’s daughter. It is about the question of courage. I suppose one has to expect that a country whose moral reasoning is as screwed up as ours would get the question of courage all wrong too."

I disagree. al-Zarqawi's stock in trade was the indiscriminate bomb, attacking market places, squares, mosques, etc. His end came at the hands of pilots who could, and did, deliberately and accurately place target-appropriate weapons within a few feet of the aim point.

As for "screwed up" moral reasoning, believe it or not, many of the people within the US military who were instrumental in developing "precision" weapons over the past 30 years or so were devoutly religious (the late Admiral Arthur Cebrowski comes to mind.) There was a school of thought along the lines of Catholic "Just War" theory inherent in the focus of the respective weapons programs. That is, if war will be waged by the politicians, then it should be conducted in such a manner that will minimize the death and suffering of the innocent. The result was that US conventional weapons are of such accuracy as to make it possible for the policy-makers to pull back from Cold War doctrines involving use of nuclear weapons in war fighting. (another discussion entirely...)

al-Zarqawi chose to lead the self-styled romantic life of a combatant leader, using brutal methods of terrorism to fight an asymmetric war against the U.S. and its coalition allies. In the course of his abbreviated life, al-Zarqawi created for himself a war zone in whatever land he dwelt (Jordan, Afghanistan and eventually Iraq). He was dogmatic, a true believer, a fanatic, a “world-improver” who desired to remake the planet in his own image. al-Zarqawi was, in so many respects, emblematic of Hannah Arendt's depiction of the “banality of evil.”

Whoever was there in the ill-fated house, it was al-Zarqawi who killed them. He knew that he was the subject of a comprehensive manhunt, with a $25 million bounty on his head. He knew that his pursuers were competent, and that any moment could be his last. Yet al-Zarqawi chose to make a call on a certain locale, in the company of others including the women and/or child. When surrounded, someone in al-Zarqawi’s entourage chose to fire on his pursuers in true Bonnie & Clyde fashion, rather than to surrender. al-Zarqawi headed for the basement. And then the bombs fell.

Thus to the very end, al-Zarqawi was a killer. Others died? If so, it was the culmination of a chain of events set in motion entirely by the late and unlamented al Qaeda leader. The death of any innocent is a sad thing, but it was al-Zarqawi’s doing. I am reminded of the words of Herman Melville who wrote the tale of Captain Ahab and his ship the Pequod, which “like Satan, would not sink to Hell till she had dragged a living part of Heaven along with her.”


Dear Captain King:

Thank you for your very fine e-mail. I appreciate it. There are points of great interest in it, including points I agree with. I do have a few responses, however,

1. Given your admitted reliance on “very reliable sources,” I presume some
of the information in your letters -- information that is not yet publicly known insofar as I am aware (please correct me if I am mistaken about this) -- was obtained from high Pentagon sources. Why? Did you obtain it to respond to my posting? Were you “officially commissioned” to respond to it, so to speak, or asked to respond to it? This all would be hard to believe, for I do not attribute to myself any such importance. (I was not even able to make Nixon’s enemies list as far as I know.) But why did you feel it necessary to respond, and to include information not publicly known (insofar as I am aware): information such as I-beam reinforcements, walls ten inches thick, where Zarqawi is thought to have been in the house when the bombs struck, the fact that he was not sheltering another person with his body, the implication that others might not have been in the basement since they were dead when we took the house (or the rubble), and the fact that Zarqawi was not one of those who fired the shots. You or your “very reliable sources” are not merely speculating about some or all of these things, or releasing additional incomplete information, in order to avoid or put down some type of feared criticism of what we did, are you?

2. For all the fine, even noble traits you find in General Caldwell, a finding I
would never quarrel with, the fact is that, even though you say “He is fully aware of the vagaries of ‘first reports’ from combat front lines,” he was reported in the media to have at first flatly denied that a young girl was killed. If the media report was wrong, he, you or the military should say so. If the media report was not wrong, then he flatly denied something he may not have had information about. If he did this, there is a word for such a denial; but I need not repeat the word. Of course, maybe he had been assured by others that there had been no little girl there, so that he simply passed on erroneous information that he had been given and in good faith believed. If that is the case, you, he and/or the military should say so. What is not permissible, and deserves the word I shall not use, is to have flatly denied something that proved true, and to have done so without any subsequent reasonable explanation for the failure of truth.

To say that the news media “can have its news ‘fast’ or it can have it ‘completely accurate’” is wholly beside the point here, and is indeed, an attempt at deflection. The military should not be putting out false statements. If a military spokesman does not know or must refuse to state the facts (as with regard to the location of the persons in the car that drove away), he should say so. What is impermissible, and deeply contrary to the military’s own strictures on honesty of officers, is to tell untruths. It is, of course, extremely sad, and deeply disheartening, that ever since Viet Nam people are prone to disbelieve the military and the government because of the astounding countertradition of untruths that has been built up in opposition to the officer corp’s prior longstanding tradition of truth.

3. It is, I think, perhaps somewhat generous to say merely that it is illogical,
and a mere attempt at deflection, to argue that a pilot killing people without serious risk to himself, or a weapons control officer on the ground hundreds or thousands of miles away doing the same, is showing courage because the target was an indiscriminate murderer. The question of courage has nothing to do with whether the target is a Zarqawi or a baby. It has to do, rather, with whether the person firing the weapon is himself or herself at serious risk. I’m confident you must in reality know this.

4. One shakes one’s head at the concept of the devoutly religious developing
the kinds of massively destructive weapons we have today. Not to mention that those who believe in the concept of “just war” might be shaking their heads in wonderment at the point you make, since many of them, I gather, feel that this is not a just war. Not to mention that tens of thousands -- could it conceivably be 100,000 or more, as some say? -- have been killed by our weapons. So much for the humaneness of precision weapons.

5. I’m sorry, Captain, but the fact is that we killed the little girl. Zarqawi’s
presence is the reason we killed her, but we, not he, killed her. It is rhetorical sleight of hand, it is a lawyer’s trick (and also a rhetorical trick of right wingers who have written me) to say that he killed her. One could say that he was responsible by his presence for the fact that we killed her, one could also reasonably say, as many have, that it was immoral for him to have put a little girl in danger, but the fact remains that it was we who killed her. I say this even though I am fully aware, as said a few times in my blog, that I would almost surely have made the same decision to bomb the house had it been me on the scene making the decision. And I would have done it to safeguard the Americans on the scene from possible death or wounds. But I am at least cognizant of the truth of who killed the girl and have the honesty to concede it, unlike some of the right wing nuts who have written me crudely ignorant, savage emails cheering on all our destructive efforts and more or less hoping that we kill as many Muslims as possible.

By the way, don’t you think it entirely possible that the insurgents in Iraq are considering how to get back at us by killing Iraqi officials, American officers, and such like. And don’t you think that American intelligence and Iraqi intelligence know this and perhaps have warned those who are potential targets? -- who probably strongly suspect it anyway? If these things are true, and if one or more of the possible targets are killed by insurgent bombs, and if women or children or fellow officials or fellow officers are with them and are also killed in the blast, are you going to say it is the target(s) who killed these other people rather than the insurgents? Are you going to say it was the Iraqi officials or the American officers who killed them? I seriously doubt that you or any other American will say that. Yet that, of course, is exactly what you are saying about Zarqawi. The unhappy fact, which is rebounding against us worldwide, is that we apply wholly different standards of logic depending on whether someone is on our side or the other side. And then we wonder why others consider us vast hypocrites and hate our guts.*


Myfiles/Blogspot/blogltr.EmailcorrespondenceCaptainKing



----- Original Message -----

From:
To: "Dean Lawrence R. Velvel"
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 4:42 PM
Subject: Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve.


> Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve.
>
> Dear Dean Lawrence R. Velvel:
>
> An American bomber killed one little girl. Here we have one example of thousands and thousands of children killed in war. When we decide to go to war we decide to kill children. Name the exception to this statement.
>
> Argue how many angels are on the head of a pin, but do not go to war. Argue economics, but do not go to war. Argue about your gods, but do not go to war. Talk and talk until you can change your own heart and mind when understanding your enemy, but do not go to war. Talk and talk until your enemy can change his heart and mind when understanding you, but do not go to war.
>
> Talk about the courage it takes to face your enemies to seek peace. Seek the courageous enemy that will face you to seek peace.
>
> Creation takes nine months, much pain and courage. Destruction takes an eye blink.
>
> Gentlemen, we do need to stop the killing now.
>
>
> Cordially,
>
> L. Bruens




----- Original Message -----

From: Armande
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 3:42 PM
Subject: Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve

Amazing, and thank you for responding to Captain Byron King. Also, I would like to add, when we kill someone, we get very happy and excited, but if the '"enemies" kill some of us (Americans) and are happy and excited, we DO NOT like it??

Thanks again.

Armande


----- Original Message -----

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 12:59 PM
Subject: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve



June 19, 2006


Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com


Dear Colleagues:

Appended below is a most interesting email from Captain Byron King, USNR, and a response to his comments.

From: Byron King, Pittsburgh, PA (Practicing Attorney & Captain, US Navy Reserve)
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel, Massachusetts School of Law

No, we have never met. But I read your post on LewRockwell.com, lifted from your blog comments.

By way of professional courtesy, as one attorney to another, I beg to point out a few things based upon what I know from first hand knowledge or from other very reliable sources.

US Army Major General Caldwell, whom you disparaged, is nobody's "yes man." He is an official US Army spokesman, whose job is to speak to the media. He is also a trained Army Ranger (it is, in its own way, as hard a job to be a Ranger as it is to accomplish most of the supremely difficult things in life, IMHO), with a long list of direct action experience under his belt. He is fully aware of the vagaries of "first reports" from combat front lines.

Caldwell's current job involves sifting through whatever comes in, and attempting to present an accurate summary of events to the media, particularly to the "Green Zone" warriors who seldom, if ever, venture outside their gated community. Apropos your comments, there was initial confusion about "the little girl" (whomever she is, and we do not know if she is al-Zarqawi's daughter) who was killed in the bombing of al-Zarqawi's safe-house. Different reports from different people, transmitted from the front lines at about the same time, referred to her as a "female," "woman," "young woman," and "child of indeterminate age." Hence the differing initial reports, which were not "lies" as you so boldly mischaracterized them.

Another way of stating it is that the world's news madia can have its news "fast" or it can have it "completely accurate," but not both. Remember that the next time you pick up a newspaper.

The last time I saw General Caldwell, he was riding the Metro in Washington DC---in uniform, with his name tag visible. I asked him why a Major General in his position would be riding the Metro, and he replied that "it is one more way to see what is going on in the world." He also noted to me that "four star generals ought to spend less time in their staff cars, and more time riding the Metro." So you might consider giving the man a break, or at least not call him a "liar" when he is doing his job.

al-Zarqawi's safe house was constructed out of reinforced concrete and steel I-Beams. (Is your house built that way?) Some of the walls were 10 inches thick of poured concrete. This was no tumbledown shack by the railroad track; no little "farm house" in the middle of a date palm orchard. It was no easy "takedown" for any combat team, let alone the relatively small group of special forces that fingered Zarqawi to the specific location at a specific time. "Surround and wait" was not an option under the circumstances. In addition, the occupants must have had some realization that they were found out, because somebody on the inside started shooting at the US forces on the outside. Hence they called for ordnance support, and the "operational fires" commander sent the F-16s overhead.

The F-16s were on a detached air support mission, with no anticipation by the pilots that they were going to be called to bomb al-Zarqawi's house. (One F-16 was in the midst of aerial refueling and had to break off from the airborne tanker to fly to the target area.) Of the two 500-pound bombs dropped in the engagement, the first was laser-designated and the second was GPS-guided. They were both fused to explode after penetrating into the house, as opposed to detonating on first contact with an outside, concrete wall. That al-Zarqawi's body was intact, and that he was alive for some time post-bombing, indicates that he had taken shelter in the basement part of the structure which is where he was found by the Iraqi officers who first entered the place. So the field evidence is that al-Zarqawi apparently knew that something was coming at him (he probably heard the jet noise, which is loud as hell), and took cover. It was not as if al-Zarqawi shielded the little girl with his body, in one last act of supreme and altruistic heroism.

Among other things, you wrote:

"One last point inherent in killing the little girl who may or may not have been Zarqawi’s daughter. It is about the question of courage. I suppose one has to expect that a country whose moral reasoning is as screwed up as ours would get the question of courage all wrong too."

I disagree. al-Zarqawi's stock in trade was the indiscriminate bomb, attacking market places, squares, mosques, etc. His end came at the hands of pilots who could, and did, deliberately and accurately place target-appropriate weapons within a few feet of the aim point.

As for "screwed up" moral reasoning, believe it or not, many of the people within the US military who were instrumental in developing "precision" weapons over the past 30 years or so were devoutly religious (the late Admiral Arthur Cebrowski comes to mind.) There was a school of thought along the lines of Catholic "Just War" theory inherent in the focus of the respective weapons programs. That is, if war will be waged by the politicians, then it should be conducted in such a manner that will minimize the death and suffering of the innocent. The result was that US conventional weapons are of such accuracy as to make it possible for the policy-makers to pull back from Cold War doctrines involving use of nuclear weapons in war fighting. (another discussion entirely...)

al-Zarqawi chose to lead the self-styled romantic life of a combatant leader, using brutal methods of terrorism to fight an asymmetric war against the U.S. and its coalition allies. In the course of his abbreviated life, al-Zarqawi created for himself a war zone in whatever land he dwelt (Jordan, Afghanistan and eventually Iraq). He was dogmatic, a true believer, a fanatic, a “world-improver” who desired to remake the planet in his own image. al-Zarqawi was, in so many respects, emblematic of Hannah Arendt's depiction of the “banality of evil.”

Whoever was there in the ill-fated house, it was al-Zarqawi who killed them. He knew that he was the subject of a comprehensive manhunt, with a $25 million bounty on his head. He knew that his pursuers were competent, and that any moment could be his last. Yet al-Zarqawi chose to make a call on a certain locale, in the company of others including the women and/or child. When surrounded, someone in al-Zarqawi’s entourage chose to fire on his pursuers in true Bonnie & Clyde fashion, rather than to surrender. al-Zarqawi headed for the basement. And then the bombs fell.

Thus to the very end, al-Zarqawi was a killer. Others died? If so, it was the culmination of a chain of events set in motion entirely by the late and unlamented al Qaeda leader. The death of any innocent is a sad thing, but it was al-Zarqawi’s doing. I am reminded of the words of Herman Melville who wrote the tale of Captain Ahab and his ship the Pequod, which “like Satan, would not sink to Hell till she had dragged a living part of Heaven along with her.”


Dear Captain King:

Thank you for your very fine e-mail. I appreciate it. There are points of great interest in it, including points I agree with. I do have a few responses, however,

1. Given your admitted reliance on “very reliable sources,” I presume some
of the information in your letters -- information that is not yet publicly known insofar as I am aware (please correct me if I am mistaken about this) -- was obtained from high Pentagon sources. Why? Did you obtain it to respond to my posting? Were you “officially commissioned” to respond to it, so to speak, or asked to respond to it? This all would be hard to believe, for I do not attribute to myself any such importance. (I was not even able to make Nixon’s enemies list as far as I know.) But why did you feel it necessary to respond, and to include information not publicly known (insofar as I am aware): information such as I-beam reinforcements, walls ten inches thick, where Zarqawi is thought to have been in the house when the bombs struck, the fact that he was not sheltering another person with his body, the implication that others might not have been in the basement since they were dead when we took the house (or the rubble), and the fact that Zarqawi was not one of those who fired the shots. You or your “very reliable sources” are not merely speculating about some or all of these things, or releasing additional incomplete information, in order to avoid or put down some type of feared criticism of what we did, are you?

2. For all the fine, even noble traits you find in General Caldwell, a finding I
would never quarrel with, the fact is that, even though you say “He is fully aware of the vagaries of ‘first reports’ from combat front lines,” he was reported in the media to have at first flatly denied that a young girl was killed. If the media report was wrong, he, you or the military should say so. If the media report was not wrong, then he flatly denied something he may not have had information about. If he did this, there is a word for such a denial; but I need not repeat the word. Of course, maybe he had been assured by others that there had been no little girl there, so that he simply passed on erroneous information that he had been given and in good faith believed. If that is the case, you, he and/or the military should say so. What is not permissible, and deserves the word I shall not use, is to have flatly denied something that proved true, and to have done so without any subsequent reasonable explanation for the failure of truth.

To say that the news media “can have its news ‘fast’ or it can have it ‘completely accurate’” is wholly beside the point here, and is indeed, an attempt at deflection. The military should not be putting out false statements. If a military spokesman does not know or must refuse to state the facts (as with regard to the location of the persons in the car that drove away), he should say so. What is impermissible, and deeply contrary to the military’s own strictures on honesty of officers, is to tell untruths. It is, of course, extremely sad, and deeply disheartening, that ever since Viet Nam people are prone to disbelieve the military and the government because of the astounding countertradition of untruths that has been built up in opposition to the officer corp’s prior longstanding tradition of truth.

3. It is, I think, perhaps somewhat generous to say merely that it is illogical,
and a mere attempt at deflection, to argue that a pilot killing people without serious risk to himself, or a weapons control officer on the ground hundreds or thousands of miles away doing the same, is showing courage because the target was an indiscriminate murderer. The question of courage has nothing to do with whether the target is a Zarqawi or a baby. It has to do, rather, with whether the person firing the weapon is himself or herself at serious risk. I’m confident you must in reality know this.

4. One shakes one’s head at the concept of the devoutly religious developing
the kinds of massively destructive weapons we have today. Not to mention that those who believe in the concept of “just war” might be shaking their heads in wonderment at the point you make, since many of them, I gather, feel that this is not a just war. Not to mention that tens of thousands -- could it conceivably be 100,000 or more, as some say? -- have been killed by our weapons. So much for the humaneness of precision weapons.

5. I’m sorry, Captain, but the fact is that we killed the little girl. Zarqawi’s
presence is the reason we killed her, but we, not he, killed her. It is rhetorical sleight of hand, it is a lawyer’s trick (and also a rhetorical trick of right wingers who have written me) to say that he killed her. One could say that he was responsible by his presence for the fact that we killed her, one could also reasonably say, as many have, that it was immoral for him to have put a little girl in danger, but the fact remains that it was we who killed her. I say this even though I am fully aware, as said a few times in my blog, that I would almost surely have made the same decision to bomb the house had it been me on the scene making the decision. And I would have done it to safeguard the Americans on the scene from possible death or wounds. But I am at least cognizant of the truth of who killed the girl and have the honesty to concede it, unlike some of the right wing nuts who have written me crudely ignorant, savage emails cheering on all our destructive efforts and more or less hoping that we kill as many Muslims as possible.

By the way, don’t you think it entirely possible that the insurgents in Iraq are considering how to get back at us by killing Iraqi officials, American officers, and such like. And don’t you think that American intelligence and Iraqi intelligence know this and perhaps have warned those who are potential targets? -- who probably strongly suspect it anyway? If these things are true, and if one or more of the possible targets are killed by insurgent bombs, and if women or children or fellow officials or fellow officers are with them and are also killed in the blast, are you going to say it is the target(s) who killed these other people rather than the insurgents? Are you going to say it was the Iraqi officials or the American officers who killed them? I seriously doubt that you or any other American will say that. Yet that, of course, is exactly what you are saying about Zarqawi. The unhappy fact, which is rebounding against us worldwide, is that we apply wholly different standards of logic depending on whether someone is on our side or the other side. And then we wonder why others consider us vast hypocrites and hate our guts.*


Myfiles/Blogspot/blogltr.EmailcorrespondenceCaptainKing



----- Original Message -----

From: Cumps2@aol.com
To: velvel@mslaw.edu
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2006 11:54 AM
Subject: Re: The Real Reason We Invaded Iraq.

Larry,

Isn't a good born-again Christian not supposed to hate? That's another thought. After reading Kevin Phillip's I think it might have more to do with oil along with hatred for Saddam, belief in "End Tmes," and just plain politics. Phillip's says that Iraq has vast oil reserves not yet found, let alone tapped. Very little of Iraq has been explored. Also, Iraq has not pumped much out of its own oil fields...I think he said some like only 13%. I was one who did not believe that oil was the reason for going into Iraq. Now I am not certain.

Don


----- Original Message -----

From: "Marion McCoskey"
To:
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 1:59 AM
Subject: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King of the United States Navy Reserve


> << > I would almost surely have made the same decision to bomb the house had
> it been me on the scene making the decision.
> >>
>
> In that case there is very little difference between you and the people
> you are arguing with. Shame on you all.
>
> Marion McCoskey
> http://www.mcky.net
>

*If you wish to respond to this email/blog, please email your response to me at velvel@mslaw.edu. Your response may be posted on the blog if you have no objection; please tell me if you do object.

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