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Gathering of Eagles By: Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, March 01, 2007

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Colonel Harry G. Riley, the recipient of the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and other awards and badges – including the Combat Infantry Badge, Parachute Badge, and Army Staff Badge.  He served over 34 years in the US Army. He was commissioned as a 2LT in 1966 and promoted to Colonel in 1989.  He served in command positions from Detachment through Battalion level and staff assignments from Brigade to Chief of Staff Army level. He served two tours in Viet Nam and did several tours in Germany.

Col. Riley is one of the organizers of the national counter-protest Gathering of Eagles, a veterans group of Americans who will gather in Washington, D.C. on March 17 at the Vietnam Memorial Wall to serve as a counter-demonstration to an anti-war rally there on that day. The Gathering of Eagles will act to block any anti-war protestors who try to desecrate, damage or dishonor the Memorial Wall.

The Gathering of Eagles calls out to all Americans to come help on March 17. Those interested should visit the website at www.gatheringofeagles.org and/or contact Col. Riley at hmriley@cox.net.


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FP: Colonel Harry G. Riley, welcome to Frontpage Interview. It is an honor to speak with you.


Riley: Good to be with you Jamie


FP: Can you tell us about the Gathering of Eagles?


Riley: Gathering of Eagles is a spontaneous action by Americans who take a different view than the anti-war/anti-America movement with regard to American direction.  After viewing the anti-war website, marchonpentagon.org, and the plans for a March 17, 2007 demonstration in Washington, D.C., I became disturbed upon noticing they planned to rally in the vicinity of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. 


As a Vietnam veteran, and suffering through fox-hole combat, and knowing what the anti-war movement did to America and to my morale of me and the morale other troops during the Vietnam era, the thought of elements of those same vile and vicious people attempting to resurrect their venom and use the Vietnam Memorial Wall as a proxy was intolerable. My view was it must be challenged, and in short it cannot happen. 


The current anti-war movement is no different than the Vietnam era group, in fact many current participants are the same people who were involved in the 60s and 70s. They lie, deceive, distort, damage, desecrate, spit on our military, curse, hurl insults, and dishonor not only historical sites but hallowed ground if given the opportunity.


Gathering of Eagles will consist of Americans of all persuasions and will be in Washington, D.C. on March 17 at the Vietnam Memorial Wall and other Memorials to protect our sacred ground and honor those lives that are represented there.  We support no violence, no confrontation, no dishonor and fully support the right of all Americans’ to freedom of speech, assembly, and the right to voice opposition to policy, etc, in accordance with legal standards.


We will not tolerate any desecration, damage or dishonor of any fashion to our hallowed Memorials. The desecration and damage to the United States Capitol in January 2007 is ample evidence of what the anti-war movement is capable of and willing to do. We have confidence in the Park Police protection of these Memorials but we are also going to make our own effort to protect them.


FP: What are your views on the impact of the anti-war/anti-America movement?


Riley: We have plenty of evidence of how the Vietnam era anti-war movement emboldened the North Vietnamese, and in effect gave them the encouragement to hold on even in the light of battlefield defeat. The anti-war movement and liberal media were the most important ally the Vietnamese enemy had and the same is happening with regard to the Islamic radical butchers. The Jihadi websites are bursting with encouragement from the anti-war movement and the support they receive from shrill speeches from members of the US Congress and the "bleed will lead" philosophy of the main stream media. The Islamic enemies’ policy, as it was with the North Vietnamese, is to hang on until the anti-war movement wear on the will of Americans, and we tuck our tails and run as we did in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, and probably Iraq. God help us if we don't win.


FP: What is your angle on how the Iraq war has been handled?


Riley:  The Iraq war was won quickly; the problem was a bumbling clean-up. The follow-on was handled poorly, politics as usual got in the way of practical decision making. In my opinion, the Bush Administration had poor advisors, made faulty assumptions, fell into the trap that wars can be won on the cheap, fooled around too long cutting tentacles off the octopus rather than hitting the brain, and worried too much about "world opinion". 


We should have been much tougher with Syria and Iran, maybe even bombing their military sites, industrial, nuclear sites. Instead we are viewed as weak, indecisive, and are paying the price in blood and lives.  American leaders have not learned the valuable lesson that war must be approached with decisive force, and the enemy, wherever he is, must be pursued, confronted and destroyed.  Anything short is a betrayal of the warriors sent into harm's way.


FP: Tell us the state of Administration and Congressional support of veterans and military retirees.


Riley: I worked with Col. Bud Day, MOH, POW, attorney who filed a lawsuit against the US Government for failure to provide the life-time medical care our government promised and was earned by our WWII/Korea era military retirees. The government made a contract that said in effect:  "you give us 20 or more years of military service and we will give you life-time medical care." It was a contract the government broke.


Col. Day fought all the way to the US Supreme court, won some, but eventually was rebuffed at the Supreme Court.  Politicians will heap glory, great orations of support particularly on July 4th, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and during election. Otherwise they generally forget everything about veterans, military retirees except the next election and their selfish personal agenda.  In fact, many of them don't give much attention to the fact that there is a war going on in Iraq, unless there is some political advantage to be realized. 


At present, the Department of Defense is trying to balance their budget shortfalls on the backs of military healthcare -- bureaucrats in the Pentagon are complaining about the costs of military retiree medical care. They give little thought to the costs of blood, lives, body parts, the widows that come from a sacrificial life as a military professional. Rather than ask Congress to increase the DOD budget, the bureaucrats choose to penalize military warriors and their families by increasing the cost of the retirees healthcare, those that have dedicated their life and given life in large numbers should have the highest priority. Our nation owes them no less.


FP: Your thoughts on the illegal immigration issue?


Riley: Illegal immigration should speak for itself -- it's illegal. If I violate the laws, I answer with some form of consequence -- not given free medical care, social security, and a ticket to citizenship.  America is without rudder. The dichotomy of giving illegal aliens free medical care while requiring our military veteran/retiree to pay even more for medical care is a travesty.  What is it about “illegal” that American leadership does not get?  To demonstrate right is wrong and wrong is right, we send border police to prison for taking action against an illegal alien.


God help us.


FP: So tell those readers who are interested in the Gathering of Eagles what they can do on March 17. Give some more information on the event itself and what interested people should know.


Riley: The Gathering of Eagles is a call for all Americans to be at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. on March 17 to honor and help ensure our Memorials are protected from radical elements in the anti-war movement. We are asking Americans of all persuasions to arrive no later than 10:00AM, preferably earlier and assemble as visitors at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. 


There is no demonstrating or rallying allowed at any of our Memorials so those of us there will be visitors, acting as backup in the event Park Police encounter any breakthroughs. We will stand five or six deep and block anyone from desecrating, damaging or dishonoring any hallowed ground. 


There is an element in the anti-war group that is vicious and destructive. We know the vandalism they caused to the US Capitol in January 2007.  Also, the desecration, vandalism and graffiti that damaged and marred a Medal of Honor Memorial last March in Indianapolis, Indiana


As I indicated earlier, we are non-confrontational and non-violent, but we will not allow our sacred Memorials that cry out with the blood of warriors, who sacrificed their lives for our nation’s freedom, to be desecrated. Enough is enough. We will not allow the warriors of today to be forgotten like our Vietnam Veterans were. W will "guard their back". 


Many details of Gathering of Eagles event are yet to be completed, so interested Americans may keep abreast by viewing our web site at www.gatheringofeagles.org  or contacting me a hmriley@cox.net and I'll be happy to add anyone to my email update list.


FP: Colonel Harry G. Riley, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. And thank you for the service you gave to this country. It was an honor to speak with you.


Riley: My pleasure Jamie. Thank you for your service. God bless our warriors, their families, and America.


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Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.

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