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In the arena
Posted By Geoff Metcalf On 07/06/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
CNN and Time have retracted their whole cloth “Tailwind” fiction.
They have hung their corporate heads and shuffled their feet, and
retracted the bastard child of their collective hubris … kinda,
sorta. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Now let’s move on. …
WHOA! AT EASE! WAIT! This fight is not yet over.
Theodore Roosevelt reportedly said. “It is not the critic who counts,
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the
doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who
is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and
blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again;
who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself
in a worthy cause; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails
while daring greatly.”
As I write this, CNN has just used spokesmen from two Special Forces
veteran organizations to CNN’s best advantage.
I just hung up the phone from speaking with Tom Marzullo, the Studies
and Observation Group veteran who first responded to the propaganda
pusillanimous with which Peter Arnett polluted the airwaves. I will
share with you portions of a recent Marzullo e-mail and interrupt
briefly with my observations.
THIS is one of the key reasons that I don’t join clubs and
organizations. Please note once again, two recurring themes. The first
phrase (which some will find appropriate) belongs to Colonel David
Hackworth, and refers to “Perfumed Princes” who are titular leaders who
posture, pose, and routinely demonstrate greater concern for their own
appearance and perceived “Image” than the troops they are supposed to
lead: “Leaders are responsible for the welfare, discipline and tactical
deployment of their men.” The second phrase is the Metcalf bromide: “It
is not WHO is right or wrong, but WHAT is right or wrong. …”
CNN has exploited mouthpieces for two veteran organizations: Special
Operations Association (SOA) President Clyde Sincere; and Special Forces
Association (SFA) designated spokesman Rudi Gresham.
Says Marzullo: “In October 1997, Clyde Sincere is the person that
was provided the intelligence forecast that CNN’s April Oliver (recently
fired) was in the process of producing a program that would accuse the
U.S. and Special Forces soldiers of using nerve gas during 1970
Sincere had advance warning and did nothing. He either forgot, or
ignored the axiom “lead, follow or get the hell out of the way.”
“After the CNN/Time story broke on June 7, Sincere again refused
to take any action or make any statements to the press and instructed
every member of the SOA not to speak to the press, and that if they
chose to, that they could not represent themselves in any way as
speaking for SOA,” Marzullo continues. “Declaring that he had
no policy on the Tailwind story, he aligned the SOA to Rudi Gresham
of the SFA. Only after it was clear that the story had been debunked
by people whom he did not support or assist in any manner, did he
come forward to speak about his views on the story and after the
retraction to make demands to settle the case. On July 3, he issued an
internal statement in which he refused to allow the participation of the
SOA in any legal action as he feels it is futile to fight CNN.”
(Two-hundred and twenty-two years ago this guy would have been a Tory
for fear of joining the 4 percent-7 percent of the colonists who DID
fight for Liberty and Freedom).
“The morning of July 4th, he went on the air to be interviewed on
CNN and make demands (as if this “Perfumed Prince” had anything to
do with victory).
“Within a couple days of the CNN/Time Tailwind story first SFA
president, Jake Jacobson, appointed Rudi Gresham (a former aide to
General Yarborough) to be the organization’s spokesman,” Marzullo
points out. ” Jacobson issued instructions identical to Clyde
Sincere. Gresham orders the immediate cease of any actions in the press
by all SFA members against the CNN charges, stating that anything said
by anybody will have to be approved by HIM.”
I don’t know Gresham but I get the feeling he is the kind of myopic
chairborne dweeb who would bring a swagger stick to a gun fight.
“Gresham refused to speak to any other veterans fighting the
CNN/Time story, but demanded that all information uncovered be turned
over to him and not released to the press, stating clearly that HE is in
charge,” says Marzullo. “Jacobson and Sincere back Gresham’s
position in phone calls and then in written statements. Gresham orders
no SFA/SOA support be given to the June 23d debate/news conference at
the National Press Club in Washington DC that directly led to the
CNN/Time “retraction” nine days later. Sponsorship of the panel was
through the support and generosity of Bob Brown, publisher of Soldier of
Fortune magazine. Gresham has now made statements describing the SFA/SOA
victory over CNN and making appearances on CNN to voice his demands.
“During his time as a press aide in the Reagan White House, Gresham
established a professional and personal relationship with Tom Johnson,
now CEO OF CNN/Time. ”
Beware the perfumed princes. It is NOT the critic who counts … it
is those IN the arena. You have not heard the last of this story.
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