Firestorm: Veterans Livid Over Brian Williams’ Lies

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Veterans in all branches of the military who have sacrificed to keep America safe are livid at NBC News anchor Brian Williams, who was forced to admit this week that he had, for 12 years, lied about taking fire in a helicopter over Iraq. Below, responses from career veterans who condemn his use of a false story to elevate his resume for more than a decade:

From a Viet Nam assault helicopter pilot and distinguished Navy Captain:

“He got one thing right; he’s no war correspondent.”

From an highly respected combat Marine Officer and intellectual thinker who was on the ground during the war:

“Brian Williams is a man of little integrity. His eventual apology – “I would not have chosen to make this mistake” – is a complete evasion of responsibility. He did choose to make that mistake. And by “mistake” he means a “deliberate lie.” If he respected his position he would resign. But he won’t. Instead he will continue to march in the ranks of like-minded elites who lie and falsify without compunction, and when caught believe a non-contrite apology is sufficient to make amends. It’s not.”

From a respected career Naval Aviator with 26 years of service:

“This is another NBC story line where the focus is never about the Veteran, their focus always seems to be about how the Veteran’s sacrifice affected the reporter. It is another, ‘what difference does it make’ that our facts were wrong again. Brian William’s attempt to respond to the critics, who were asking only the truth be told, was another condescending, well, it was over 12 years ago and sometimes the facts get in the way that we saw the story.”

From an Air Force law enforcement officer with 10 years of anti criminal and anti terrorism experience:

“Obviously there are different sets of rules for different people. What I find most interesting is his latest “Honesty Advert Campaign” coupled with his most recent retelling of the story in graphic detail. I do give him credit though, he has an excellent PR/Crisis team… get out in front of this early, apologize and move on.”

From a retired 3-star general:

“No quote…just the usual dribble…

“Move along.nothing to notice here.just another liberal lying, er, exaggerating, er, making an honest mistake that he now admits after getting called out about it, so since he admitted it, it now never happened, right?  Sigh.

“Like Hillary a few years ago?…  Even the Washington Post gave her 4 Pinoochios.”

[Note: the incident this comment refers to was Hillary Clinton’s fabricated story of taking sniper fire when visiting Bosnia in 1996.  “4 Pinocchios” is the Washington Post fact-checker’s rating for a completely incredible claim.  Let us be sporting and throw NBC News a link to their report on the story, which mentions that Clinton was called out as a liar by… the 2008 Obama campaign.]

From a retired Naval Officer, a response offering some support for Williams:

“Yes, Mr. Williams committed an error by not getting his facts correct and repeating the error. As a purported newsman, that’s wrong. I would caution however that the source for this story – Brietbart – is not a completely unbiased news bureau. They tend to lean right, and very right…  There is usually more to a story than a single source reports.

“In Mr. Williams’ defense, if there is to be one, the totality his body of work throughout his career indicates strong support for the military and its servicemen.  Is one ‘oh shit’ worthy of excoriating him? I think not.  Certainly, point out the error.  But to lambast him I would recommend against.  I saw Mr. Williams ‘correction’ and ‘apology’ last night on the air.  He did fess up, albeit weakly, so that ought to count for something.”

[Note: this comment is specifically in response to John Nolte’s post, which includes both video evidence of Williams repeating the false story, and copious links to outside sources, including the interview with Stars and Stripes in which Williams finally recanted it.]

[Added 2/6/15] From a medically retired Navy SEAL:

The fabrication of wartime or military experience for self promotion and self aggrandizement is despicable. Williams should fade away in shame.


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