I read today your retraction and apology for the infamous
I found it very interesting. You stated that this was one of the saddest and
troubling days of your life and that you wished you could remove your shirt
and whip yourself. While making that simple statement, it did not escape me
and I thought, why could he just finish the sentence and say “I am sorry for
this hideous lie, I realize that I have done a grievous wrong to every veteran
living and dead who was honor to have served this great country in its many
wars”. Instead, you go on to say that CNN could not prove this story beyond a
reasonable doubt. I would submit to you sir, that this was hardly an apology.
Rather, it was nothing more than an effort to quiet the waters and appease or
mollify your many critics. As I communicate with Veterans across this great
land, I can report to you that your apology is not acceptable. We feel it is
self serving and further perpetuates the lie foisted upon the American public.
Further, it damages the credibility of this great nation, its foreign policy
and shows the American soldier to be nothing less than wanton war criminals.
Mr. Turner, I do not know if you or members of your
family have ever
served. I do not know if you can feel the pride that we have in our service,
our honor and this country. It is clear to me that you take great pride in
your many successes, most especially the concept, development, birth and the
successes of CNN over the last 18 years. I know you must feel the pain, so
wrongfully inflicted on every member of the CNN family by this fanciful lie.
Can you even begin to feel the hurt, one that has gone to our very soul, that
this story has inflicted on all those who gallantly served this great nation.
Do you wonder why we are so upset?
Sir, this is not a story. It is an indictment,
a blatant lie, one which
you have elected to leave hanging in the air like a rotting carcass. The rot
and stench of this lie raises the bitter taste of bile in the throat of all
just men who live by and demand the truth. Sir, this lie has branded all
members of Special Forces as wanton murderers. This story publicly stated to
the world that members of Special Forces, the most elite unit that this
country has ever fielded , knowingly and willfully set out as their mission,
to locate and kill other American servicemen. It goes on to state that these
forces used lethal war gas, a weapon which is illegal under the terms of the
Geneva Convention, in an effort to kill these Americans and innocent women and
children. Do you realize that this hideous piece puts us in the same box as
the Nazi War Criminals who where tried at Nurinburg for these same crimes?
Can you begin to comprehend the damage you have done to our honor? The effect
it has had on so many parents of missing service members who have now been
told that its own armed forces attempted to hunt down and kill their loved
ones. Do you even begin to comprehend the advantage you have given to our
many potential enemies who can now use story to their advantage? These
fallacious charges that we, as Iraq, used lethal war gas to kill its own
citizens, while a lie, gives aid and comfort to our many adversaries and will
surely come back to haunt us in the future.
It challenges the imagination as to how this story
ever saw the light of
day. What was the motive for its development? What really is the hidden
agenda? Who in management was so inept not to see the many lies and pitfalls
contained in this piece. When you are alone in the silence of your own
thoughts, here are some hard facts you may want to consider.
-All have forgotten or just never learned by their lack of military
that all forces committed to combat are governed very strictly by:
--The Geneva Convention
--The Rules of Land Warfare
--The Rules of Engagement as promulgated by the President, the Joint Chiefs
of Staff through the National Command Center and the Theater Commander.
- A rank amateur on the internet can obtain in a matter of minutes
pertinent information on every type of known War Gas, by nation, their
effects, means of dispersal, persistence and protection necessary for
survival. The accusation that GB (Sarin) was used on unprotected soldiers and
civilians cries out as being blatantly untrue. We all know that GB is a
highly toxic nerve agent. Does it not seem strange to you that all US and
Indigenous members survived after inhalation of this deadly substance. Only
minor exposure kills in a matter of minutes. Why are they not dead? I think
the question answers itself, it could not have been Sarin.
-The concept that because this was a “Black Operation” documents
information were not available is laughable. Most documents have long since
been declassified and were available for review in Albuquerque in June. In
fact your camera crews photographed many of them during the very excellent
brief by Maj (Ret) Plaster. I am sure you have a copy of this briefing. This
operation was black only to the extent that it was a cross border operation
when we were telling the world that we were not operating in Laos. In fact it
was nothing more than a Reconnaissance by Fire to draw NVA forces away from
other friendly units.
-Reconnaissance Teams were not on the ground prior to insertion of
McCarleys’ force as stated in the report. No one was on the ground with the
mission to locate or observe this or any other “village”. In fact, as
friendly forces were moving toward their extraction point, they observed two
dogs and followed them to a NVA way station manned by logistic personnel, one
which contained large quantities of munitions. This force and the munitions
were destroyed, a large quantity of documents were recovered and our forces
proceeded under heavy pressure to their pickup point. This so called village
was nothing more than a target of opportunity.
-Withdrawing friendly forces, all wounded, low on ammunition and
increasing NVA pressure, were pinned down. They called for close air support
and US A1Es fighters responded. A variety of weapons were used to hold the
enemy advance in check. They then dropped CN, Tear Gas, on the advancing force
to create a diversion which gave our forces the opportunity to move through
this gas to the rescue helicopters. All ground personnel and helicopter crews
were exposed to this gas, all survived.
-Adm Moorer was highlighted throughout this program. AS CJCS,
he would have
been deeply involved in any decision along with other advisors and policy
makers in the deliberations to develop the Presidential Finding. This finding
is mandatory for the release of Nuclear or Chemical weapons. Throughout this
piece, Adm Moored denied any such authorization and in fact, it was clear,
that what little that he did say, was taken out of context. Throughout, his
denials came through loud and clear.
-The Armed Forces maintains extensive records on personnel. Most
Personal records and the Morning Report. With these reports, it has been
proven that several people did not participate in this operation as reported.
Jay Graves was in Vietnam, and records show that the member of the Air Force
was never connected to Special Operations, a part of any known reconnaissance
team and was in fact, on that date, in Vietnam.
-Mr. Arnett was told by LTC (ret) Bishop, a pilot of one of the attack
fighters that he never carried GB. He again in an article only yesterday,
stated unequivocally, that the bombs he carried that day were CN.
-MGEN Smith, CNNs Military Advisor in his investigation before the
this story, reported to management that this story was untrue. His
investigation proved that Lethal War Gas was not stored or available at NKP,
Thailand. His conversations with the crews of the attack aircraft confirmed
that CN, Tear Gas was carried and dropped. To stress the truth in this matter,
he resigned his position with CNN in protest.
-In this article, it was alleged that the US military used lethal
at least 20 times. It is noteworthy that no proof, no time, date or location
was given. No other evidence was presented to substantiate such horrendous
allegations. Again, the allegations were left as a festering sore for all to
observe and contemplate. During this very critical period in our history,
highlighted by public unrest, activism, demonstrations, etc, is it even
conceivable that such weapons could have been used without public knowledge
and world condemnation?
With the above, I don’t mean to insult your intelligence.
My intent was
only to lay out the complete and unvarnished truth for your consideration. It
is simply not true that the validity of the story could not be determined
beyond a reasonable doubt. I submit to you sir, that any unbiased investigator
would immediately see this story for what it was, a complete fabrication made
from whole cloth. We believe this fabrication is a result of Mr. Arnetts long
held belief, as substantiated by his past writings, that lethal gases were
used on the suffering people of Indochina. While Mr. Arnetts anti-military,
anti-US bias is well known, we cannot understand his possible motivation to
perpetuate this lie, one that he first surfaced in the 1960s. We must honestly
ask, why does he again attempt to resurrect this myth after so many years. Is
it perhaps, as many suspect, that his primary aim is to give cover to his
friends in Baghdad for their criminal use of these weapons against their own
citizens. What better cover than to put the United States in bed with this
international criminal? That is a question you may want to ponder as you
determine CNNs future path.
As I stated by letter to the management of Time
Warner and CNN in the
persons of Messieurs Johnson, Levin and Parsons, the damage has been done but
the effects can yet be mitigated. For our part, we want this stain removed
from our honor. We do not expect you to flog yourself, only to take those
hard first steps necessary to regain the good name of CNN. To be again, in the
eyes of the public, trusted journalists that can relied upon to tell the
unblemished truth. To accomplish this, we demand the following:
- Insure that all guilty parties who had a hand in the production
of this lie
be discharged immediately. This includes Mr. Arnett and possibly Mr. Kaplin.
- Host a totally neutral airing of a new program that tells
the whole story
as it existed. It should be under the expert hand of an independent arbiter,
perhaps MGEN Smith whose honesty is known to the Special Forces Community. The
single criteria of this production is that the truth must be told by all
interested parties and let the chips fall where they may. The Special Forces
and Special Operations Associations can provide any number of formerly
classified documents, the crews of the fighters, helicopters and those
personnel who participated on the ground. Any and all expert witnesses can be
aired who have competent knowledge of chemical warfare, weapons, tactics and
use. Most importantly, expert witnesses should be called to detail the highest
priority that was given to the recovery of all US and Allied personnel
regardless of category. It would be especially useful to hear the testimony
of the confidential witnesses that Ms Oliver so lavishly uses to justify her
- That a complete copy of all transcripts, out takes, and all other
information held by CNN and Time be provided to the Special Forces and Special
Operations Associations for inspection.
- That a public, on air apology be made to this nation, its citizens
many veterans who have fought and died in its defense. It must on its face
identify this story as a lie if we are to right this grievous wrong.
I realize that the above is difficult and I am sure that your
counsel against it. I can assure you that all that is necessary is for you
reach out your hand in friendship.
Sir, I can assure you that I have no hidden agenda. If I may challenge
Arnetts assertions made just today that it is the Right Wing Media that is
attempting to damage his reputation, I can assure him that nothing could be
further from the truth. I am but a private citizen who with many friends,
like to refer to ourselves as the cyber voice of Special Forces. Immediately
on viewing this flight into fantasy, en masse, we began to voice our
collective voice of indignation to this blatant lie, this insult to our honor
to every media outlet in the nation. Had we not raised the cry of alarm, it is
doubtful that the media would have noticed the passing of this story. We are
simply a group of proud, retired soldiers. Many disabled, many not as spry as
30 years ago, but old soldiers who know the truth, an insult, a lie and how to
use the internet. Soldiers who are prepared for this one last battle.
Soldiers who have nothing better to do than to continually flood this vast
body called the internet, the media, your advertisers, stockholders, the
congress, the senate and our many friends with the truth. Our message is
simple our demand are non-negotiable. It is simply that the truth be told and
our good name returned to us.
Mr. Turner, we have time, 24 hours a day. We have the determination
power of right on our side. You can believe that for my part, if our demands
are not honored, than you can be assured that several time during the waking
day, that this letter and others like it will be spammed onto the internet. It
will be sent to every address on my database which now numbers 827 . You must
also know that my messages and those of my friends will be multiplied by the
hundreds and thousands as they are picked up and forwarded to thousands of
addressees around the world. Our potential readership far eclipses the total
viewers of the US media, both TV and print combined. It may take months or
years, time is immaterial. I know that at some point, the pressure will
become great enough that even CNN as big as it is, will cry enough.
Sir, My day is complete when I have done my small part
to carry this fight
to fruition, time is free. Is it really worth your time, effort, and company
treasure to protect the lie and the liars? If you wish to come to know us and
our hospitality, please have your secretary go to the internet and type
http://www.sflistteamhouse.com. I am sure you will be proud of our efforts. Both
our honors are on the line. Mr. Turner, just do the right thing and get this
abomination, this thing called Tailwind, behind us.
Richard E. (Jim) Laritz
LTC (Ret) US Army Special Forces
CF: Mr Gerald M. Levin Chairman/CEO
Mr Richard E. Parsons, President