Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: General — Rick Moran @ 1:25 pm

My interview with Sergeant David Aguina, the young man who walked into the lion’s den at YearlyKos and pulled John Soltz’s tail by arguing that the surge is working, is up at Pajamas Media. There is also an audio file with much more from the earnest kid who is surprisingly soft spoken and who brought his mother along for support.

Sergeant Aguina is not a bombthrower or rabble rouser. Some on the left have called him crazy or unbalanced for using the forum to argue for the surge and I am not sure that it was the best place to make that argument. But it is delicious irony that he used the same tactics the left uses to make a point he wanted to make in a hostile setting - “speaking truth to power” so to speak.

He impressed me as a sincere, well mannered, well brought up “kid” (he’s 25 years old). His passion boiled just beneath the surface of that quiet exterior. Believe me, when he started to talk about how those Iraqis shared their lunch with him the day he was pulling guard duty and couldn’t get his own command to send him some food, he got very emotional. His hands trembled slightly when holding the candy wrapper from that day and I got the impression that he would give the Iraqis the shirt off his back if they asked.

Overall, he was very believable. I must point out that while I was able to discover he was in the army (and is currently in the reserves) I have been unable to confirm as yet whether or not he was in Iraq. I have no reason to doubt it except that as we all know, there are many fabulists out there on the right and left and I would not be the first person taken in by one if this nice, sincere young guy turns out to be something less than truthful. (See Update III below where Aguina has confirmed his service in Iraq.)

The reaction among the netroots - outside of the loutish behavior by John Soltz - was interesting. He says they listened politely to him, argued respectfully, and they all ended up agreeing to disagree. Evidently there were a couple of people who dismissed him out of hand but they were the exception.

My own personal experience can confirm the Sergeant’s impressions. Even when people found out who I was, we found common ground talking about writing or blogging. And when we talked about politics, we took turns making our points and tried not to flame the other. It made me wish for just a little more civility and understanding in the blogosphere. My uneven performance in that regard notwithstanding, perhaps my experience at YearlyKos will temper some of the more outrageous insults I toss without thinking at the left.

David Aguina will probably continue his mission to bring his views on the success of the surge to the attention of as many people as possible regardless of their political affiliation or ideological inclinations. We can admire him for that.

Is he right? Time, as it always does, will tell us.


This isn’t the first time Sergeant Aguina has stood up for what he believes at a gathering of anti-war activists:

David Aguina, a soldier who has completed a tour of duty in Iraq, appeared at Chandler Park in military dress to support the war, and politely told anyone who would listen of the four peace activists captured in Iraq in November 2005.

His mother Iris Hernandez told me that David made a presentation for one of his classes on the situation in Iraq that had many of the students in tears and the professor praising him for his organized, impassioned plea.

Just as I admire lefty activists who are passionate about their cause while respecting the views of others, so too I admire Sergeant Aguina. I don’t agree with him on much of anything. But you can’t help but hold someone like him in high regard.

HT: Hesiod


Also courtesy of my friend Hesiod, the theory that Michelle Malkin sicced Sergeant Aguina on the netroots:

I was just informed that the guy in uniform this morning…..the one who posed a question to the panel about Progressives and the Military….. was a plant from the Right Wing….one Michelle Malkin to be specific, who has a blog called hot airbags or something self-referential like that.

More on this later. If this is true, it represents the most egregious, ugly, shameful and anti-American tactic I’ve ever witnessed in my own experience of studying and trying to improve US civil-military relations.
I’m not going to link to her blog, which I just checked out…and indeed, she’s accusing the conference of stifling dissent. QED Malkin, you are an idiot.

Before someone puts two and two together and comes up with something different than 4, here’s full disclosure:

1. It is true, I work for Michelle Malkin moderating comments and performing other duties.

2. It is true I wrote the piece on PJ Media about my interview with Sergeant Aguina.

3. It is not true that Sergeant Aguina has anything to do with me, Michelle Malkin, or anyone else I am aware of. If I knew of a connection with the army, with any conservative or military group, I would have reported it. In fact, when I saw the woman who was walking around with him, I was sure she was some media handler from a conservative group or perhaps a veterans organization.

It was his mother. And she was there armed with one of those dictation tape recorders taping every word that Andrew, I, and her son was saying - obviously concerned that her son would be misquoted.

PJ Media videographer Andrew Marcus and I were in the giant Foyer where hundreds of other YearlyKos attendees were milling about when Andrew saw Aguina walking toward the fountain. Andrew knew who he was because he had briefly interviewed him the day before right after his tete a tete with Soltz.

And that’s the story. No conspiracy. No plot to disrupt YearlyKos (Why would we want to do that? We want to be invited back!) No black helicpoters circling McCormick Center.

Aren’t you disappointed?


I just got off the phone with David Aguina. He is sending PJ Media his overseas deployment record and reservists contract. So much for the qualifiers about him being in Iraq.


  1. Does the law mean anything to you people anymore? Is the defense of failed policies that you backed mean everything? What’s the tipping point? Would you defend this guy walking into YearlyKos with an automatic weapon and taking Wesley Clark out? How deep does your bending of the law go? The law is the law. There’s no bending it to suit your political agenda.

    Thank you Bill Clinton for your visit. Sure nice to hear from you. Say Hi to Hillary for me.

    Comment by Guy — 8/5/2007 @ 3:30 pm

  2. We’ve had hysterical commenters here but never one quite so…loony.

    Thanks for the laugh, Guy.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 8/5/2007 @ 4:31 pm

  3. Love the graphic of the guy with hands and mouth covered by repressive hands accompanying the PJ media ’speaking truth to power’ piece
    on the Sgt’s removal from the forum.

    Hilariously projective. But then, it works
    so well.

    Comment by Semanticleo — 8/5/2007 @ 6:40 pm

  4. I linked over here from Daily Kos expecting to find the usual partisan rant (don’t worry - we love’em too), and was surprised to find a factual and reasoned analysis of the situation. Well, with the exception of Guy’s comment equating political speech in uniform to blasting a retired general with an automatic weapon. That’s just… bizzare!

    As a former Republican for 29 years, I am currently a man without a party. In my attempt to find a way in my political wilderness, I generally find the discussion a dKos stimulating, and appreciate the passion, integrity, and eloquence of most of the posters. While some on the right want to make it out to be a hate site, I have never seen an on-line community with such reverence for the Constitution and a sincere desire to “improve” the country and our political systems.

    Anyway, I digress. Thank you for your thoughtful analysis of an interesting situation. Perhaps if we all work with the same set of “facts” and keep a cool head, there is an opportunity for progress in solving the problems that plague our republic.

    Comment by Red no more — 8/5/2007 @ 8:11 pm

  5. As I reported to PJ Media, Jonn Soltz’ picture in uniform has been removed from votevet.org.

    Comment by Juan — 8/5/2007 @ 8:56 pm

  6. Sorry, his picture is still there. My error.

    Comment by Juan — 8/5/2007 @ 9:15 pm

  7. “This Is Part Of The Battlefield”…

    Sergeant David D. Aguina returned to the YearlyKos gathering on Saturday, a day after he had been unceremoniously thrown out of a panel on the military and progressives. This time he may have been out of uniform, but he told……

    Trackback by Pajamas Media — 8/6/2007 @ 12:25 am

  8. Guy, what SGT Aguina did was wrong, and against regulations, but it was not “against the law”. As an example, if I, as a soldier, grow hair that touches my hair or do not shave, I am in violation of AR 670-1. I am not violating any laws.

    I disagree with what SGT Aguina did, but it was not “against the law” and it should be handled by his chain of command as they see fit, not by Mr. Soltz, who lost his right to be referred to as an officer when he resigned his commission.

    Comment by da kine — 8/6/2007 @ 12:53 am

  9. That should say “hair that touched my ears”.

    Comment by da kine — 8/6/2007 @ 12:56 am

  10. As far as I can tell, the issue is clearly that the guy was attending a political meeting, and making a political argument, while wearing the uniform of the United States military.

    How can anyone defend that? It crosses a very bright line, one that is absolutely essential to the health of our democracy.

    I think Stoltz’s reaction was wholly appropriate.

    Why did the guy insist on wearing his uniform when he knew it was wrong? Why didnt he just go in civilian clothes and ask his question or make his point?

    Comment by Tano — 8/6/2007 @ 1:25 am

  11. …visions…CBS…memo forgery…facts…

    The young man (possibly) violated the UCMJ, this is up to his “chain of command”. They will decide to prosecute or not, but those same regulations hold that he has the freedom to express his views. I’ve seen the tape which shows that he was clearly respecful, and not a “wingnut” ranting and raving.

    I doubt anything will come from this except that once again, the left has shown that the don’t really “support the troops”. And further have no desire beyond winning political points…

    Comment by Rich V — 8/6/2007 @ 6:07 am

  12. While all those on the left are yapping about how Sgt. Aguina violated the UCMJ none of you want to talk about the guts and fortitude that it took for ONE man to walk into a hostile situation. And if you think the Kossacks are not hostile to the military, perhaps you should read Whitney Brown’s latest rant.
    What this young veteran did was display extreme dedication to a people he was assigned to defend, both here and in Iraq. And that, not one of you leftist trolls can take away from him.

    This young man not only walked the walk, he talks the talk and if his bravery is any indication of the rest of our military, we are a fortunate nation indeed.

    Soltz has had no problem pushing his agenda showing his picture while uniformed on the VoteVets.org web site. Nor did he have a problem shutting down a dissenting voice. Typical of the left; if you don’t like the message, shoot the messanger.

    If Soltz is still IRR, as it has been reported, he also is guilty of violation of the UCMJ (as far as I can find out) by intimidating a subordinate while that subordinate was quoting military regs. So it is my hope that Soltz presses this issue and brings charges against Sgt. Aguila. Soltz will be required to testifiy at hearing and will be required to admit that the panel WAS political in nature and that will be a violation of VoteVets 501(c)4 requirements. But Soltz will not bring charges, as a superior officer, against this Sgt. because he knows (Soltz, that is) that he would have to admit to things he does not want to do nor does he want the feds taking a closer look at his group who is partly funded by George Soros and has close connections with MoveOn.org. And the American people would be outraged that Soltz showed such disrespect to a subordinate that had been to Iraq and felt he had the right to “his” free speech.

    It is said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. VoteVets will chose to remain in the shawdows.

    Comment by retire05 — 8/6/2007 @ 8:11 am

  13. It’s hilarious watching the moonbats scream how we should ignore whatever he has to say because he wore his uniform to a political event and arguably (it’s a weak argument) engaged in political activism there…

    First of all, any military members anywhere saying that the surge is working should not be accused of political activism, they should be lauded for their good morale and belief in the mission. The surge is only a political question because the moonbats have made it one. It’s a classic “I win-you lose” set-up. They make the surge a political issue and complain when soldiers defend it because it’s “political activism.” The surge is an ongoing military operation and soldiers should be able to speak out about it as long as they don’t violate operational security or reveal classified information when they’re in uniform, out of uniform, in the shower, at the diner, getting their mail, doing whatever anywhere, anytime.

    This while three years ago the same small cast of veterans and soldiers were showing up at anti-war rallies in uniform all the time and any time anyone objected to it the moonbats went apeshit about those evil neocons trying to keep honorable American soldiers from speaking their minds about the Chimpler’s imperial fantasy.

    I don’t understand why anyone would bother even reading their arguments anymore if you don’t already agree. It’s all the same puerile bullshit over and over again, the blatant double standards and hilarious leaps of logic and impassioned wailing.

    Comment by Chaos — 8/6/2007 @ 8:27 am

  14. Sounds like this guy likes to show up at rallies and political events in his dress greens. Even the friendly counsel of a retired general couldn’t set him straight. He could have said everything he wanted wearing civvies. There’s one of these loons in every unit who just can’t follow regs.

    Comment by T — 8/6/2007 @ 9:05 am

  15. Sounds to me like he tried to say exactly what our generals are saying every day - are they, too, those misanthropes you find in every unit who just can’t follow regs? - and this Soltz violated regulations by blowing up on him because he politically disagreed with what the sergeant was saying.

    I didn’t know that expressing your professional military opinion on an ongoing operation that your comrades are fighting in was unconscionable political activism. I’m pretty sure blowing your top at an NCO because he said something you didn’t like politically is.

    Comment by Chaos — 8/6/2007 @ 10:04 am

  16. T, if Sgt. Aguila had shown up in civies, you would would have been one of the first people to demand he ‘PROVE’ his military service. Isn’t that what you do? You demand that any soldier who speaks against the far left ‘prove’ who they are will the left takes the word of those like Jesse McBeth? Once again, you are trying to shoot the messanger instead of arguing his message.

    You say “rallies and political events”. Are you admitting that the Kos Konvention is nothing more than an arm of the Democrat Party even though it was billed as a “blogger” convention? If that is the case, the Soltz and his VoteVets group needs to be looked at since they claim 501c4 status. And don’t think it can’t happen. The Crawford Peace House, with Mother Moonbat on the board of directors, touted 501 status. Ooops, seems they never received, or even applied for, 501 status and according to Texas state law, now the directors are on the hook for all the back taxes they owe. Even wonder why Mother Moonbat made such a quick exit from the ditch?
    Now since you seem to have more information than I have been able to gleen from the internet about Sgt. Aguila, I am sure you won’t mind providing us with the “other” rallies and political events he has attended.
    Or are you like the rest of the leftist world, just throw something out there and see if it sticks?

    Comment by retire05 — 8/6/2007 @ 10:09 am

  17. Why is the KOS convention a political event?

    Comment by davod — 8/6/2007 @ 11:16 am

  18. davod Said:
    11:16 am

    Why is the KOS convention a political event?

    Perhaps because Democratic candidates, pols and wonks were there in abundance, and the topic was, uhhh, politics?

    Just asking …

    Comment by Gang of One — 8/6/2007 @ 1:07 pm

  19. What the good sergeant did was not against any law and was probably not against regulations, despite what many of you may think: He was not at the event as a speaker. He was not on the agenda, not on stage, nor did he purport to represent the military in any official capacity. He has a right to ask questions or discuss politics in any clothing he wishes.
    I find it typical of the Left that they want to supress the votes/words of those who serve in the military (unlessthose votes or words support the Left’s contentions), yet claim to ’support’ the troops. Liberalism = fascism in modern American politics.

    Comment by livermoron — 8/6/2007 @ 1:29 pm

  20. By contrast, Jon Soltz wears a military uniform on votevets and their supposed nonpartisan mission is to get veterans ‘critical of the war’ into Congress.

    Isn’t that the democrats’ position? “Critical of the war”? Isn’t Soltz staking out a political position by acting as a moderator at the KOS convention?

    Comment by Cao — 8/7/2007 @ 6:02 am

  21. [...] Rick Moran at Right Wing Nut House and Pajamas Media has an interview with young man now known to be Sergeant David Aguina, age 25, US Army Reserves. [...]

    Pingback by This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here » Beauchamps recants fables/Kos defends Solz — 8/7/2007 @ 9:56 am

  22. [...] More on: Video of panel’s reaction to Sergeant Aguina here. Video of Sergeant Aguina’s comments and subsequent interview here. Daily Kos full account of what happened here. Interview with Sargeant Aguina the next day here and author commentary here. [...]

    Pingback by The Audiophiles » Blog Archive » Censoring opinion or upholding the law? — 8/7/2007 @ 3:59 pm

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