The Cockburn concern

Last month our reader Sharon J. was contacted by the notoriously leftist CBS/60 Minutes producer Leslie Cockburn with respect to the segment that aired tonight. Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters previewed the message that Sharon received in his post “Sixty Minutes trolling for left-wing political groups.” Here is the email message that Sharon received from Cockburn:

As per our conversation, I am producing a 60 Minutes piece (with Kroft) which addresses the following:
In light of our recently passed 416 billion dollar defense appropriations bill, I am disturbed to hear stories of lack of the most basic supplies among the troops in Iraq.
These include out of date weapons, lack of radios, inadequate water supplies, problems with vests, humvees, troops forced to purchase their own equipment etc. I would like to hear from any family who knows of such problems. I am particularly interested in shortages within the last few months.
I am also interested in maintenance problems…backlogs of repairs on vehicles and helicopters that may put troops in danger.
In looking at the stories from the field, I am trying to determine whether the Guard is experiencing more difficulties than other forces and also whether these problems continue regardless of promises to fix them.
If any of the families have documentary evidence of problems, photos from the field , home videos and letters etc, I am of course interested.

My email is [email address and phone number omitted]; I am based in Washington DC.
Many thanks,
Leslie

Sharon responded to Cockburn’s email on September 14. Today she comments:

If you’re wondering about the timing of the 60 Minutes story on troop equipment, here is an email I sent to Leslie Cockburn…on September 14. That would be approximately one and a half months ago. You would have thought that with such big news as under-equipped troops, they would have rushed the story to the air. Surely, the sooner the public would know about it, the better.

Here is Sharon’s September 14 message to Cockburn:

I read with interest your solicitation to Guard families to offer instances of under-equipping our family members serving in the Guard overseas.
Well, I will say, yes, there have been problems in the field for my son. One of the things that stood out for me is that I had to send him sheets for his bed.
However, what concerns me is the attempt by CBS to somehow make victims out of these (in your minds) hapless Guardsmen who somehow just ended up in a war into which President Bush sent them.
There are difficulties for the troops, certainly. And yet, they overcome them.
My son was trained in personnel records management in the Minnesota and New Hampshire National Guard. In December 2003, he received notification of his activation. In January 2004, he left for training in New Jersey. His unit received military police training. However, because of his computer skills, his training focused on administrative tasks. In February 2004 he was sent to Iraq. When he arrived in Iraq, he was at first assigned office duties. Then he was moved to more common military police duties including convoy security and guarding the prisoners at Camp Bucca.
About three weeks ago he was involved in a prisoner transfer between Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca. You may recall that Abu Ghraib is still a dangerous place and was attacked by a car bomb this weekend. Two weeks ago, he was on patrol, and received permission to enter a home in Southern Iraq. Here is what he found in the home:
[Photo of captured weapons removed at Sharon's request.]
It’s quite clear to me that they were not intending to play patty-cake with these [weapons].
Last week, my son was hit in the face with shrapnel from a grenade. He went to Kuwait to have it taken out and returned to work the next day.
The Guard members who are serving in Iraq are not victims of a bumbling President and military commanders. The Guard members are serving proudly and bravely, despite the complete lack of effort on CBS’s part to support the troops. Making victims of the brave men and women is not supporting them. Your efforts disgust me and I am delighted to watch the demise of CBS in this scandal of the forged documents. You reap what you sow.

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