One Veteran's Voice

04 January 2006

Just another ignorant asshole

Check out the comments on my last post, if you haven't already.

Skeptik said...

Hey,

Just a question on your "rack" in your blogger profile...

I notice you don't have your PLDC ribbon or your good conduct medal. This could mean a few things: either you are a two-year enlistee, or you are a shit-bird, or you are a liar. Which one is it? Unless you did some pretty spectacular shit, a junior enlisted person (that is what you have to be since you didn't go to a leadership development school) doesn't get a bronze star. And how can stop-loss be a bitch if you are only a two-year enlistee? I think you're probably full of shit. How 'bout it?

And he goes on and on.

Here's a new link to a scanned jpg of my bronze star certificate. I have the orders as well, Skeptic, if you'd care to see them.

Skeptic:
I don't care what your political affiliation is. I just can't stand liars who claim to be war heros just to seem credible to their audience. Trust me, I will crush you.

To the readers out there: you must understand that pretending to have a Bronze Star brings discredit on all those who legitimately earned it. This guy is full of shit. I know combat arms NCOs and Officers who had their BSMs w/ V denied...and those dudes kicked some serious ass. Fobbits like this turd burglar don't get awarded BSMs...that is just the way the Army is.

Yeah, I have a feeling that if I were touting Iraqi democracy as the next best thing since sliced bread, Skeptic would have been thanking me for my service and bravery instead of calling me a fraud without any proof.

I propose that Skeptic does indeed care what my political affiliation is, in fact, that's all he really cares about. For the record, I don't even have any official political affiliation; I'm not a member of any party.
Skeptic: Might be a good idea to take that shit down now...and did you register your blog?

Don't think we can track you? Did you make any entries from a government network lately? Take it down...now.

From my cold dead hands, Skeptic. Sadly, a lot of milblogs from active duty guys have been taken down when they start telling the truth about what is going on over in Iraq. People like you are the reason. Unfortunately, you have no such power over me. From my cold dead hands, Skeptic. Bring it on.

tags
Swiftboating

29 Other Voices:

Sara said...

*snort* the tag is "Swiftboating." Nice.

1/04/2006 05:16:31 PM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

right you are, fixed the tag. I wonder if Skeptic is going to offer up an apology. He really hurt my feelings. And he scared me for a second, I almost thought about taking down my blog.

What's more likely is that he'll claim that I fabricated a bronze star certificate complete with 3D gold seals, scanned it into my computer, and posted it on the internet, all in a few hours. All this is terribly amusing to me.

1/04/2006 05:26:21 PM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

One more thing, and then I'm done responding to Skeptic.

I've tried to be totally transparent in this blog-- shit, you have links to all my pictures from Iraq (still in the process of uploading a few more to flickr), you have my name (Brian Patrick Van Reet), you have my unit, documents related to my service, but I have nothing from you. Who are you? Are you in the military? I want to know these things. I have been transparent, why can't you?

1/04/2006 05:44:03 PM  
NetAgra said...

I wonder if skeptic is a paid troll or if he just goes off on his own.

1/04/2006 07:35:00 PM  
badgervan said...

You will never get the asshole's name and address. A coward is a coward. Keep up the good work, and let me know if you need "backup".
God, these slimeballs like "Skeptic" make me sick.
Sincerely, Navy Vet

1/04/2006 11:47:09 PM  
Lurch said...

Nics, Brian. You have a lot more patience than I do. I'd nhave invited the maggot to come view my citation in perso.

1/05/2006 12:15:50 AM  
Farnsworth said...

Ignore the fucker. I had a couple of guys who swore they'd hunt me down and kill me last year before the election.
They're all hot air and a bunch of cowards.
Keep up the good work. I nominated your blog for a couple of Bloggies (http://2006.bloggies.com/).

1/05/2006 12:18:37 AM  
Oxford said...

Brian, I can only say that this guy isn't just a political adversary, but a total wacko. I'm a Democrat and I would never dream of being that insulting to a vet, regardless of their political affiliation. I might state my disagreement on the issues, but sick insults and threats are completely out of line.
You just keep writing and being honest, if people can't disagree with you in a way that respects you as a person and a vet, thats their problem not yours. "skeptic" is a pseudo-patriot, they seem to think they're the first and last word in what it means to love your country, that's just hubris with a chip on its shoulder, tow their ideological line or else. America is a pretty great country, but people like skep are not and will never be what makes it a great country.

1/05/2006 01:30:14 AM  
skeptik said...

Sarge,

I sincerely apologize for doubting your claim of being awarded the BSM. I have seen too many dipshit fobbits posing as war heroes that it makes me sick. I thought you were one of them, but I was wrong.

I was "living the legend" in the Cav (1/7) once upon a time, and at that time it was unheard of for them to give out the BSM to lower enlisted guys...i guess they thought accolades only go to senior enlisted and officers. That was another basis for my lack of faith.

No amount of apology will make me not look like an idiot for making accusations about your bravery and your service, but I will offer it again - I'm truly sorry for giving you shit.

1/05/2006 01:34:21 AM  
skeptik said...

P.S. I don't have issue with your writing. I only had issue with the assumption that you were claiming to have awards you didn't deserve. So Oxford, you can kiss my ass.

1/05/2006 01:38:09 AM  
Fixer said...

1/7 Cav. Did some time with them near the DMZ while at Osan (AF). Long distinguished history in that unit. Glad to see skeptik finally lived up to their honorable reputation. Good buncha troops for army weenies. ;)

1/05/2006 04:48:53 AM  
Barndog said...

Sarge -

Blow it off. I understand the shitty way these assholes needle you with the personal attacks. It's their modus operandi. They have nothing, so they resort to what they wish they were.

Next up, is a improper 'kerning' claim on your certificate. All the while fondling a roll of Purple Heart band-aids, while mastrubating at the thought of possibly pissing you off.

Ain't worth your time, Bro.

Semper Fidelis

1/05/2006 05:50:20 AM  
One Salient Oversight said...

I read your citation Brian. I am lost for words. I would never have the guts to do what you did.

1/05/2006 07:51:10 AM  
The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

We don't need to badger the guy, he apologized. That takes brass ones, to admit you were wrong. Respect that level of honor and integrity... we all get hot-headed and make mistakes.

In the end we need to remember that we are all brothers and sisters in this together... even (especially?) when we don't agree with one another.

I'm with Salient, dude. Hooooly shit! If you ever feel up to it, I'd like to hear your account of "that day," here on the blog. If you don't feel up to that, just know that you have my thanks and respect, and I know we'd all give you another award if it were possible for us to do so.

Thanks, OV.

1/05/2006 08:56:54 AM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

I will certainly accept Skeptik's apology if he, as per my earlier request, mans up and posts his name. Otherwise, how am I to know that this Skeptik is even the same Skeptik who commented before? Seriously-- the dude didn't use a blogger profile, and the internet is full of wackos. So if he apologizes to me as a human being to another human being, and not as a pseudonym, consider it accepted.

I agree with atheist, people do tend to get too hot-headed, and I understand that. I can also forgive.

However, it is simply unacceptable to make threats such as "I will crush you" to me. I take such threats seriously. Note to any who wish to crush me-- I am heavily armed, and extremely jumpy. Crush at your own risk.

The most troubling thing to me about Skeptik's response to my views was not really the personal libel, shit, this little mini-swiftboating incident has brought more readers to this blog than anything else I've posted. Skeptik, I thank you. Many more people have read my words than would have had you never blundered so clumsily into my online life. So, inadvertantly, you have done the exact opposite of what you intended, which was this little Orwellian gem--
"Don't think we can track you? Did you make any entries from a government network lately? Take it down...now."

That's when I realized how serious this guy was, and the fact that he was probably current or former military, and probably pretty high up the chain (I'm guessing a retired LTC, am I right Skep?) when he started referring to a mysterious "we", calling my freakin old unit, talking about government networks. This kind of brutal censorship is happening, especially to active duty bloggers. Just check out Rapparee Inn on my blogroll. He's an active duty blogger putting up with all kinds of shit from the censors. OPSEC must be maintained, of course, but some of the stuff I've read about them censoring is stuff the insurgents could learn from completely unclassified field manuals and other online, non-milbloggy sources. The censorship is also left up to individual commanders, so if you get a "Skeptik" in charge of you, you can better believe you better not even insinuate that everything is not peachy keen in Iraq. I'm for honest debate, and not name-calling. I'm also still waiting for my first death threat, Farnsworth. Guess I have to stick the needle in a little deeper next time, poke the nerve that's really sore...
OVV
aka
Sarge
aka
Brian VR

what is your name, Skeptik?

1/05/2006 09:23:10 AM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

BTW if any sympathetic reader wishes to give me an award, you can click on the dollar on the left side of my page and help me pay the tuition that the GI bill doesn't cover. Take care of a vet. Support the troops. Money's the only award that really matters in America, anyway, right?

All sarcasm aside, a very sincere thanks to all of you, who I've never even met, for sticking up for me; I don't forget loyalty, and I'm genuinely touched by the support.

1/05/2006 09:34:59 AM  
no longer a skeptik said...

I said I was sorry. I fucked up. I said what I said in a moment of anger and frustration when I assumed your award was fraudulent. My "threats" were aimed at making you right an incorrectly perceived wrong. I have seen enough awards to know that yours is genuine. Perhaps I should have just asked you to explain it to me initially, but I assumed I would get the same junior enlisted angst I hear from other disgruntled kids. I was wrong and I felt bad about it...really bad...when I saw the citation.

I think your writing is decent. I support some of your sentiment as well. I know the Army has rules that are unfair on a personal level to soldiers (i.e. blog restrictions) but from a macro perspective, rules must be established to enforce OPSEC. TTPs are constantly evolving and our enemies (all of them, not just the terrorists) are eager to understand them. They collect information like puzzle pieces and try to put it together. For example, you wouldn't want the enemy to know the effects of their IEDs on your weapons system, right? And I am sure you received a classified brief discussing threats on your weapon system...you remember? Non-tanker bloggers might talk about that, not knowing that when Tank Commander Van R. goes on patrol the next time, the information that the blogger put on the net is going to aid Ahmed's TTP. Your blog is fine. Your opinion is not what I was concerned about.

As for the personal apology, I won't do that in a public forum. Perhaps if you met me, you would think differently of me; but I'm sure that won't happen because we are worlds apart (physically). I would like to say, for what it's worth, that I am proud of your honor and your courage under fire. I did not mean to demean you. I hope my efforts do increase your traffic.

Once again, please forgive me for my threat and my assault on your integrity and your honor. I am truly sorry.

1/05/2006 10:08:46 AM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

OK Fuck it, I forgive you Skeptik. I realize you probably can't post your name because of your rank, position in government, whatever. It's cool. I think you are being genuine, but I also think that hiding behind a pseudonym is cowardly. When I concieved the idea for this blog, I thought about doing it anonymously. But I decided against it. Why? Because it's ultimately cowardly. I would be writing what I really thought, but it could and would be dismissed as some kind of left wing, anti-war fabrication. In short, exactly what you accused it of being. But the truth is that I would rather have you debating with me anonymously here than not at all, so I will continue to address you as if you have not offended my honor.

A few points about censorship-

Obviously any blog that gives away exact convoy routes, exact times, detailed battle plans, ect. needs to be censored. I am aware that to maintain discipline, an army must have rules that are more stringent than those for civilians. The thing is, the blogs that are getting shut down are not getting shut down for the reasons you are suggesting.
(from http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-e4572547jan02,0,909586.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-headlines)

"Among security breaches in postings on soldiers' Web sites, the Army pointed to photos of an Abrams tank pierced by a rocket-propelled grenade, which could show Iraqi insurgents where to aim.

In Hartley's case, the Army said he should not have described his unit's flight route into Iraq because that could help the enemy shoot down U.S. aircraft. And, the Army said, Hartley should not have disclosed that the last three bullets he loaded into his weapon's magazine were always tracers, because that could tip an enemy to time an attack just as an American soldier is reloading."

These were pretty much the best reasons given by whichever army spokesman was asked to comment on why soldier's blogs are being shut down. And here's why they're bullshit.

Ok, I have some pictures of my tank (and others) pierced by RPGS and destroyed by IEDs posted here and on flickr. These were shot up in 2004, in Sadr City. Are you telling me that the insurgents then didn't know where to aim? Come on, most of them were in the Iraqi military. They don't need an American soldier's milblog to school them on how to shoot a fucking RPG at a fucking tank. Nearly all of the people involved at a tactical level in the insurgency don't even speak good english, let alone read it, let alone get on the internet and read blogs. And I know that the insurgents didn't need a picture to realize that when they buried a freakin bomb in the asphalt in Sadr City that it would blow the track, comp arms, #1 skirt, and road wheels off my tank. Come on. The stuff about flight plans is BS-- no grunt like Jason Hartley knows his exact "flight plan". He probably wrote that they flew into Iraq from Kuwait on a C130. I would bet money that's about all he wrote about a flight plan. You really think the insurgents didn't know about Kuwait? You really think that the Soviet army didn't know the little trick about putting the last three bullets in as tracers (something that you can find in any good unclassified, infantry field manual), and didn't teach it to the Iraqi army whom they trained? You really think the insurgents don't do this too? Come on.

Give me some real reasons why these blogs are being shut down, or I will keep calling it what it is, blatant censorship of any soldier who does not agree with his commander in chief's politics.

Your turn, skeptik

1/05/2006 10:51:54 AM  
Elmo said...

Thank God! I'm ashamed to admit it, but skeptic put doubt in my head. Reading your bronze star certificate was very cool and brought a sigh of relief I haven't felt since...well...last night when Vince Young ran in the winning touchdown with 26 seconds left. Anyway, please forgive me for ever doubting you. Hell, I'm a grunt, I never paid much attention to how, when or why awards were handed out. I can barley remember the acronyms for the one's I got, AAM...ARCOM...ARTICLE 15.

Anyway, I hereby apologies for all the bad things I've ever said about tankers. Especially the time I encircled an M1 we were tracking with it's own concertina wire and wrote "wake up DAT your dead" in pink chalk all over the tank.

1/05/2006 10:58:55 AM  
Anonymous said...

Brian

I think you're being a bit paranoid about the blogs being taken down. I attribute it to overzealous op-sec types. I've read too many milblogs that are critical of policy and politics to believe that some are being taken down for political reasons.

1/05/2006 12:55:29 PM  
The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

Elmo - that's the point, it's why the tactic of swiftboating works. If you're not willing to fully expose yourself (and few are!) then they just have to slide some slurs at you and all your accomplishments account for nothing. Fortunately, OV proved his bravery yet again. I wouldn't have posted any of the info up here for others to dig into, but some people have more intestinal fortitude than us comfy professional civillians.

1/05/2006 01:59:48 PM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

To anonymous, who still doesn't believe me, let me quote pretty heavily from "My War" for you. If this is not "shutting down" a blog for political reasons, what is? I am not even suggesting that the army is rooting out all the liberal bloggers or whatever, but I do believe that they are currently trying to prevent the rise of a future "My War" in which the author is just as good a writer and reporter, but not so apologetic towards the mission. "My War" is not exa Once a blog attains a certain critical mass, it is almost impossible to stop without seeming like big brother, but it is easy to squash em while they're small. Let me make another distinction between milblogs and milblogs of soldiers in Iraq. The latter are being censored. The former (myself included) are not being censored, but as you saw with skeptik, who may or may not be one of these "monitors" albeit an overzealous one (who can be sure), the reaction can be extreme.

Furthermore, do you really believe that this site would be up right now if it was entitled, "One Soldier's Voice", I was doing the posting from Iraq, and writing basically the same things? If you do believe this, I would say that you don't know too much about how the army can work against you, if it wants to. Anyway, I'll let Mr. Buzzell speak--

"I started getting deja vu as soon as the sergeant major started talking to me, because everything that he was now saying was an exact carbon copy of what my battalion commander, Lt. Col. Buck James, had told me a couple weeks before when I got called into see him.

They both told me that as a soldier, I still had the right to freedom of speech, and then he went on to say that as far as he could tell from reviewing the website himself, he didn't see any violations whatsoever in operational security in any of my writings or on the website, the only thing that he could maybe see as bad was that if somebody was to read the entire site they could maybe see a pattern of how we do our missions, and then he said that this was not his decision, but that this had come down from way (his emphasis) higher: that I was not being punished, that I still had my freedom of speech and that I could still write, BUT I was to be confined to the FOB, and that I was not allowed to go on any missions outside of the FOB until further notice."

Buzzell then goes on to relate how he emailed a reporter at the WSJ who had previously interviewed him, and after that reporter contacted his CO and a few other WAY higher people wearing stars, the restrictions on Buzzell were immediately lifted. In this case, the blog had reached a critical mass before the army was able to muzzle it. They are more blog aware now, believe me. In the end "My War" never became an anti-war blog, because Buzzell largely chose to leave the moral questions unanswered, or guessed at. The army was still real uncomfortable with his gritty, ultra-realistic take on life in Iraq. And they tried to censor him. It's not paranoia if they're really watching you.

1/05/2006 02:28:50 PM  
dannyinwisconsin said...

Fuck it Skep, and Brian.
This shit's done.
Everyone is happy for the increase in traffic. And what does that say?

Says you're moving on, Brian, and says you're going easy now, Skep.

Skep, keep it up. Blog-writing-dude, keep up the writing, and I'll keep reading.
I'll pop a little dough towards your tuition - or at least a pizza. As a token of sincerity. I remember how that was.
D.

1/05/2006 03:41:21 PM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

Many thanks to you Danny. I'm not even pissed anymore, other than my normal jaded level of all around pissed-offness. I feel like every voiced opinion is worthy of a counter-argument, even if it is hastily thrown together and full of run on jumbled sentences. That's about all it deserves, I suppose. I'm out for the night, later.

1/05/2006 06:12:34 PM  
phinky said...

Why don't you use Haloscan for your comments? You can view IP addresses and ban abusive and threatening commenters. Pair that up with a good site counter and you can report trolls to their ISP.

1/05/2006 07:06:37 PM  
One Salient Oversight said...

Brian/OV - I think your reaction to skeptic is actually quite reasonable and human. To have someone question your Bronze Star and say it was false would certainly have been very, very hurtful.

But I'm also impressed that Skeptic wrote back and apologised. That's a brave thing to do, especially when his initial comments were so very wrong.

And I'm also impressed that you have decided to go no further with this and have publically forgiven the guy. That is also a very brave and honourable thing to do.

If ever you decide to visit Australia, there'll be a room for you to stay in and Hunter Valley Red Wine to enjoy (my wife prefers whites).

1/05/2006 07:23:39 PM  
Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for awhile. As a civilian, I appreciate reading your perspective and your service. It's unfortunate idiots like "Skeptic" can stomp all over peoples feelings. Be proud of your rack and pay him no mind. He's ignorant and not worth the attention. Please keep blogging, I read you everyday.

1/05/2006 08:40:10 PM  
withinreason said...

Wow one veteran's voice I must have got in on the end of this one,at any rate you better keep on blogging,you just can not pay attention to everyone
people that act like this are below you,they get upset because you tell the truth and everyone should no you would not fake this stuff,just do not pay them any attention and they maybe will go away. He will probably go to my site and start cussing at me next?
Keep on blogging,I just finally got some of my blogroll set up and clicked on your site,good job,keep it real,and always tell the truth like you have been.

1/06/2006 12:32:53 AM  
Anonymous said...

a man who knows to fight back with those fuckers is for me,reallyyy hott.

1/07/2006 10:38:51 AM  

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