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Saturday, May 26, 2012
Shamed, Civil Beat Revises 'Fact' Check Questioning Djou's Afghanistan Combat Record
By Andrew Walden @ 9:03 AM :: 3211 Views :: Energy, Environment
 

by Andrew Walden May 26, 2012

Even after “updating” a May 17 ‘Fact’ Check which this writer characterized as "taking three sentences from an hour-long May 1 Rick Hamada interview with Afghanistan combat veteran Rep. Charles Djou, twisting Djou's words into a pretzel and fact-checking statements Djou did not make", Civil Beat is still lying about Charles Djou’s Afghanistan combat record and his votes in Congress relating to that war.  (See article below.)

Shamed into retracting their “false” rating, Civil Beat on Friday shifted to a “half-true”.  In spite of the shift, the “half-true” rating remains a lie which hangs on a single sentence of willful ignorance. 

Here is their statement:  

This Fact Check has been updated and the grade changed for clarity and fairness. The facts remain the same and we've double-checked former Congressman Djou's voting record, which is added in here. But we decided to change the grade to reflect the context of the entire interview and his effort to go back and clarify his earlier statements….

After the story was published his campaign staff directed us to a conservative blogger's post criticizing our Fact Check. 

CB didn’t identify the ‘blogger’ nor did they provide a link so here it is:  Fact Check: Civil Beat lies about Djou's Afghanistan Combat Record. 

And here is the willfully ignorant excuse Civil Beat gives for applying a ‘half-true’ label to Djou’s war record:

Whether Djou is the only person to vote himself into war is unclear since he hasn't told us what specifically he voted on …. 

In the interview with Rick Hamada, which we ‘bloggers’ helpfully transcribed for our readers,  Djou made it very clear what he was talking about:

It was a unique experience for me to have voted in favor of Operation Enduring Freedom, as a U.S. Congressman, and then deploy, based on my vote, as a soldier into combat.”

Unlike the computer-illiterates at Civil Beat, we at Hawai`i Free Press were able to find Djou’s 2010 vote for funding of Operation Enduring Freedom in about 10 seconds using something called “Google”.  Maybe somebody should tell Omidyar about this.  Click here to see the complete roll call including Djou’s name among  308 ‘yea’ votes for $37B in funding to pay for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and a WaPo article explaining what was in the Bill.

Civil Beat makes a further lie of omission by failing to note that Djou was a member of the House Armed Services Committee while in Congress which meant he was required to vote on matters pertaining to the War on Terror at nearly every committee meeting. 

Those omissions are even more glaring since in its “update” Civil Beat states:

“…we've double-checked former Congressman Djou's voting record, which is added in here….”

If they did check Djou’s record, it doesn’t show up in the ‘Fact’ Check.  Thus their claim to have done so underlines the willful nature of their latest lie.  It is difficult to libel a public figure, but Civil Beat has managed to do so twice.  They should be sued.

---30---

Fact Check: Civil Beat lies about Djou's Afghanistan Combat Record

by Andrew Walden, May 18, 2012

Civil Beat’s latest “Fact Check” debacle May 17 involves taking three sentences from an hour-long May 1 Rick Hamada interview with Afghanistan combat veteran Rep. Charles Djou, twisting Djou's words into a pretzel and fact-checking statements Djou did not make.

This shouldn't be very surprising. Civil Beat this Wednesday openly planned 'election strategy' with the Progressive Democrats of Hawaii. They even posted a video of their discussions on line.

Congressman Djou deployed with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Infantry Division in 2011 and early 2012.

Here’s the actual text from a May 1 Rick Hamada Show interview with Djou speaking on his cell phone:

CD: In terms of Afghanistan itself, I was deployed to Forward Base Pasab basically the middle of nowhere in Kandahar Province right in the heart of opium country. And while I was there it was pretty intense. Something that I don’t think is shared often enough with the public, is the nature of the fight over there. One of the things that did surprise me quite a bit is that I went over there thinking I was going to be fighting a bunch of Islamic extremists who were hell-bent on establishing Sharia Law and fighting for the memory of Osama bin-Laden. The reality though is the overwhelming majority of Taliban insurgents that I came across and fought with were not there for radical Islam. They were there for drugs. In a lot of ways, the Taliban insurgency is an organized crime racket. And for them it’s the opium trade, the heroin trade that really drives their insurgency. Eighty percent of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan and that heroin is what finances the insurgency and why they fight so intensely.

RH: Your perspective and experience is so important to us because we’re treated to media accounts, the occasional first person, but Charles, we’ve known you for so long and your dedication to duty is so profound and that’s what we appreciate....

CD: Thank you Rick. If I could also just real quickly add, I have a bit of a unique perspective and that is I am the first and only former Member of Congress to have forward deployed into combat, to do a tour of duty. There were a few members of Congress who voted in favor of World War II and then deployed into combat in WWII, but as I understand things, I’m the first one to do that since the Second World War.

It was a unique experience for me to have voted in favor of Operation Enduring Freedom, as a U.S. Congressman, and then deploy, based on my vote, as a soldier into combat. I guess I can say I am the only person to have ever voted myself into war. But I think from my perspective as a member of the Armed Services Committee, having seen what our nation was trying to do from the very highest levels—as a Congressman. And then seeing on the ground with my boots on the ground in Afghanistan has given me a very unique perspective on this war, on this fight on what we’re doing over there.

Instead of presenting theses words as they stand--which clearly shows that Djou was speaking about Afghanistan specifically-- Civil Beat’s Nathan Eagle twists Djou’s quote:

"I'm the only person to have ever voted myself into war," Djou said.

Earlier in the interview, he put it this way: "I am the first and only former member of Congress to have forward-deployed into combat and to do a tour of duty."

It's a pretty precise claim, given the number of congressional representatives who have served in the military….

Eagle then discusses the war record of several US Congressmen in WW2 and the Civil War and adds this....

To be fair, Djou briefly backtracked at one point in his interview with Hamada. He acknowledged that there were a few members of Congress who voted to go to WWII and then deployed.

Eagle lies by omitting the fact that 'at one point' was Djou's very next sentence, which makes it clear Djou was referring to the war in Afghanistan. He also lies by omitting additional context which shows clearly that Djou was talking about Afghanistan. Eagle then continues:

Paul McHale Jr., a former member of the House from Pennsylvania (1993-1999), was deployed to Afghanistan just a few years ago, according to the House Office of the Historian.

But even in the context of Djou's more narrow claim of being the first one since WWII, his statement is undercut by McHale's service in Afghanistan.

BOTTOM LINE: No matter how you slice it, the facts don't support Djou's claim that he is the only person to have ever voted himself into war. We give this a rating of False.

McHale served in Congress 1993 to 1999 so he did not cast a vote on the Afghan war.  

Eagle had to disassemble Djou's paragraph, salami-slice it and then lay out the salami for the ignorant in order to make it appear that Djou had said other than what he did. Moreover, since the interview was conducted over a cell phone, it is reasonable to ask whether key words were dropped from the transmission. But Civil Beat never reached Djou to ask about this and clarify his meaning.

The 'Bottom Line' is Djou is the only Congressman to have ever voted himself into this war or any war since WW2 and that is clearly what Djou was talking about.

What did Rep McHale learn about the media from his Afghan tour of duty? The Philadelphia Inquirer December 11, 2007 reports:

McHale is wary of the news media after receiving some painful criticism terming him a political opportunist, when he left the Pennsylvania Legislature to fight in the Gulf War. When he returned to active duty in 2006 he turned away all requests for interviews.

Some things never change.

While American soldiers and Marines put their lives on the line in combat with 8th century throwbacks in a flea-infested dustbowl, Civil Beat's paranoiac owner Pierre Omidyar "protects" himself against “pandemic” in Hawaii by stocking canned food in storage lockers around Oahu. And Nathan Eagle? The Troy Ohio Daily News May 27, 2011 explains:

Eagle had never heard of the small island of Kauai in the Pacific Ocean. He could not even remember having applied for a job in Hawaii when the phone rang in May 2007.
At the time, Eagle had been on a solo sojourn around the country and parts of Canada. He had … been living out of his truck for months.
At least, until the money ran out, which brought him back to Oxford, Ohio.
He was serving and bartending… and living rent-free with a childhood friend, when Harju contacted him.

Civil Beat's smear of Charles Djou’s Afghanistan combat service fails miserably. Maybe their boss needs to see a shrink and stop hiring bums.

---30---

Audio: Djou interview with Hamada

Paranoid: Ebay's Omidyar: Obama-backing Hamas-talking billionaire in Hawaii, expecting disaster

And while we’re at it, what has Colleen Hanabusa been doing while our men and women serve overseas?

Here is the transcript of the key parts of Djou's interview with Hamada:

CD: In terms of Afghanistan itself, I was deployed to Forward Base Pasab basically the middle of nowhere in Kandahar Province. Right in the heart of opium country. And while I was there it was pretty intense. Something that I don’t think is shared often enough, I think with the public, is the nature of the fight over there. One of the things that did surprise me quite a bit is that I went over there thinking I was going to be fighting a bunch of Islamic extremists who were hell-bent on establishing Sharia Law and fighting for the memory of Osama bin-Laden. The reality though is the overwhelming majority of Taliban insurgents that I came across and fought with were not there for radical Islam. They were there for drugs. In a lot of ways, the Taliban insurgency is an organized crime racket. And for them it’s the opium trade, the heroin trade that really drives their insurgency. Eighty percent of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan and that heroin is what finances the insurgency and why they fight so intensely.

RH: Your perspective and experience is so important to us because we’re treated to media accounts, the occasional first person, but Charles, we’ve known you for so long and your dedication to duty is so profound and that’s what we appreciate.

CD: Thank you Rick. If I could also just real quickly add, I have a bit of a unique perspective and that is I am the first and only former Member of Congress to have forward deployed into combat, to do a tour of duty. There were a few members of congress who voted in favor of World War II and then deployed into combat in WWII, but as I understand things, I’m the first one to do that since the Second World War.

It was a unique experience for me to have voted in favor of Operation Enduring Freedom, as a U.S. Congressman, and then deploy, based on my vote, as a soldier into combat. I guess I can say I am the only person to have ever voted myself into war. But I think from my perspective as a member of the Armed Services Committee, having seen what our nation was trying to do from the very highest levels—as a Congressman. And then seeing on the ground with my boots on the ground in Afghanistan has given me a very unique perspective on this war, on this fight on what we’re doing over there.

RH: …What are we still doing there and why?

CD: When I voted in favor of Operation Enduring Freedom at the time, we had not yet captured or killed Osama bin Laden and a lot of the al-Qaeda leadership was still around and I believe that it was important that until we crush al Qaeda and its international terrorist reach it was important for us to be there. Now that we have killed Osama bin Laden and really have put al Qaeda on its heels, its not that I think we should immediately withdraw, but I think the pressing need to be in Afghanistan isn’t as great. I think it is important for our nation to stabilize Afghanistan. I believe we are headed in that direction. I believe the strategy that our nation has right now—and the commitment you see from the American service members in Afghanistan are putting us in that right direction. But at the same time I don’t believe we should have an unlimited commitment in Afghanistan. I think the time has now come for us to examine a withdrawal. I think we have a good withdrawal strategy from Afghanistan. What I’m a little nervous about is that I consistently hear members of Congress today—including several in our current delegation—who just say, ‘withdrawal now’, do a hasty withdrawal, pull everybody out before we really truly stabilize the country. And I think that’s just a recipe for disaster. It will be an open invitation for the Taliban to come back in with their narco-terroristic mentality and extremist Islam and descend the country into civil war and not just destabilize Afghanistan but in all likelihood probably destabilize Pakistan which now today is of course nuclear armed…. that would be harmful of course to the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan but I think to the United States and the American people.

RH: When you talk about stabilization, what does that really mean?

CD: We have to get the country in a position where the Taliban don’t come back. And their brand of radical Islam—fed by the drug trade—does not return. Now I acknowledge, Hamid Karzai is the problem. He is a warlord amongst many warlords. He just happens to be the biggest warlord in Afghanistan. But what gives me hope Rick is what’s not reported and what people don’t see.

I think the American people see from the mainstream media all the bad things US military does in Afghanistan. But very rarely sees the good things. And I’ll give you some examples. One of the things that gave me a good sense of hope was the opening of a school right around my brigade’s area of operation. And we opened over three dozen schools in our district.

And seeing that—willing to carry a rifle to protect their children, sons and daughters, to go to school and learn. And it was heartwarming for me to see these peasants who are illiterate, who can’t read, who can’t write, but understand that their children need a better future than what they have had. And going to school to learn to read and to write is the future for them. And that they are committed to going down that path and not down the path that the Taliban wants which is basically to keep the population illiterate and ignorant so they’re easier to manipulate. I see that happening all across the country. I see that happening in Afghanistan. And that doesn’t mean its easy that doesn’t mean everything is going perfect. But you see it from the average Afghan that they understand that the direction they need to have their country go in. But what’s dangerous for the country is if we do an overly hasty withdrawal, we just abandon the country. Its going to descend into chaos.

While I was there, Rick, I was one of the last part of the so-called mini-surge that the President had advocated and I, incidentally, supported as a Congressman. And the theory behind this mini-surge that the administration put through was that we were going to surge in American forces, tamp down the rise of Taliban violence and then, once the violence goes down, gradually and progressively turn over more duties to the Afghan army.

I was located at a forward operating base with 4,000 soldiers. My forward operating base with those 4,000 soldiers had 1,500 Americans and 2,500 Afghans and I lived and worked and served side-by-side with those Afghan soldiers. Every quarter that’s slipping by we are gradually pulling more and more Americans out of my forward operating base and the objective is that eventually, within a year, my forward operating base all 4,000 troops there will be Afghan and no Americans. And I think that’s the right way to do it....

 

Comments
comment By Hawaii Free Press @ Friday, May 18, 2012 1:28 PM
Comments from the following blog entry: May 18, 2012 News Read, located at: http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesDailyNews/tabid/65/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/6776/May-18-2012-News-Read.aspx

comment By Hawaii Free Press @ Saturday, May 26, 2012 5:34 PM
Comments from the following blog entry: May 26, 2012 News Read, located at: http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesDailyNews/tabid/65/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/6847/May-26-2012-News-Read.aspx

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