Those who are regular readers here know that I have been following the events surrounding the death of Private Danny Chen pretty attentively. I grew suspect of the accusations of racial abuse as soon as they were tossed around by Chen’s family, and the New York Organization of Chinese Americans (NY-OCA) who seem to be acting on their behalf. You see, having spent my basic training at Ft. Benning, the exact same place Chen did, and in a combat zone as an infantryman (just like Chen), I have more of an inside perspective on both the Army, and the Infantry. Veterans like myself know better than to take these embellished tales of racial hardship at face value because experience tells us otherwise. The military is by far the most diverse environment I was ever a part of. In basic training at Ft. Benning, GA (the same place Chen went to boot) this could not be more apparent. So when I hear ridiculous claims of racism and harassment being thrown around by civilians with no experience in the military, let alone in the infantry, my bullshit meter shoots sky high. In the infantry, the overall strength of the fighting force is only as strong as the bond between men. If the unit cohension breaks down for any reason, then the entire group is combat ineffective. As the old saying goes, you’re only as strong as the weakest link. The goal is to constantly strengthen the weak link, not destroy it.
I have been spending a lot of time digging for information to look past the media’s racism narrative. Slowly I have been putting together little bits and pieces of information in order to find out what actually happened. In other words, I have been doing the job the media should be doing, but has been too lazy to get off their ass and actually do themselves. Because hey, what media outlet doesn’t enjoy a selectively edited racism story based on half-truths and hearsay, right? So what if the narrative destroys a few lives and reputations. The truth doesnt always generate ad dollars or sold newspapers.
Well, I am interested in the truth. The world deserves to know what actually happened without a false veil of racism being hung over the proceedings. The world needs to know the truth not just for the accused, but for Private Danny Chen as well. I am not out to get Chen, or to slander his memory, or to simply nitpick details in order to create a shadow of doubt for the accused. I have no dog in this fight. I know no one in this scenario. I did not know Chen, his unit, or anyone else involved. And aside from the fact we all served in the military, I have no association to anyone. My only goal here is to present the truth of the matter as the facts present.
While I still have more digging and organizing and sifting to do, at this point in time I can say that the race narrative being pushed by the media, Chen’s parents, and the NY-OCA, is without merit. Chen did not receive unwanted attention because of the color of his skin, or the way he spoke. He received unwanted attention because he was unable to complete even the most simple tasks required of a Soldier, let alone an Infantry Soldier in a highly volatile combat zone. To paint a picture of a unit gone racist, attacking one of their own, is not only highly inaccurate, by outright dishonest. While the media may be comfortable going along with this narrative, despite evidence that says otherwise (if they bothered to spend the time and look), I am not. For the sake of everyone involved, the truth needs to be heard. Because frankly, the world has yet to hear it.