12.08.2004

saluting telephone poles


Salon reports that "A veteran [intelligence] sergeant who told his commanding officers that he witnessed his colleagues torturing Iraqi detainees was strapped to a gurney and flown out of Iraq -- even though there was nothing wrong with him."

You read on to find that his CO called him delusional and ordered him to have a psychiatric examination. When the psychiatrist found him to be "completely normal" the CO told him it was an intelligence matter and that he had to call him nuts so he'd get shipped out of Iraq.

This story is interesting because that's precisely what intelligence types do to get people out of theater. I've read of dozens of such instances during the Vietnam war, from special forces and intel. Though it's an old trick to get rid of whistleblowers, it's often done for the benefit of the person getting the shaft as well, though they may not see it that way.

One particular story that comes to mind is that of Sergeant Major Franklin D Miller. Miller spent a total of six years fighting in Vietnam and was awarded the Medal of Honor in June 1971. But in November 1971 he was sent for a physical and kept overnight so they could give him an EKG the next day. The next morning he woke up strapped to a gurney being loaded into an airplane for the states. He was told that members of his A-team had said he was walking around saluting telephone poles but the real reason is that since he was a CMoH winner, it would be embarrassing to let him get killed in Vietnam and it was decided that it was time for him to go home.



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