Ten Days Later, the Park Service Tells Us: Vietnam Memorial Damage Was Deliberate

This follows up on this weekend's posts about damage done to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog).

The latest comes from the Washington Post (HT Michelle Malkin, who has video):

Monday, September 17, 2007; 2:32 PM

The unidentified substance that was found splashed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial earlier this month was the result of vandalism, the U.S. Park Police said today.

Sgt. Robert Lachance, a spokesman for the Park Police, said the investigation into the incident is continuing, but the detective on the case had ruled it an act of vandalism. Lachance said he could provide no more details because the probe is still underway.

..... The oily substance was first reported to police the evening of Sept. 7, National Park Service officials have said. Dark blotches were found along a stone curb at the base of the memorial for most of its length, and at least two of the wall's panels appeared to have had something splashed on them.

Park Service officials said they did not know what the substance was, and at first said it was unclear if it was the result of vandalism or some kind of accident.

(Park Service spokesman Bill) Line said it could take another week or more to clean, but officials remain confident they can remove all the stains.

The last sentence of the excerpt makes it very reasonable to believe that whoever did the deed was intent on causing permanent harm, and could have been successful at doing just that.

It's also not unreasonable to question why the Park Service avoided revealing that the damage was deliberate until after this weekend's die-in by International ANSWER protesters and the Gathering of Eagles (GOE) counter-protest. The delay in reporting what several eyewitnesses and commentators knew to be obvious served at least three ignoble purposes:

  • It eliminated public speculation as to whether whoever did it was trying to get the damage done before GOE members guarding the walls during the ANSWER protests showed up.
  • It avoided any speculation as to a possible link with last week's testimony by General Petraeus (the Park Service discovered the damage on September 7).
  • It allowed dissemblers, two of whom I have read but will not link (if you must, go to this Google Blog Search link and look for "vietnam memorial vandalism story debunked") to start propagating the lie that vandalism was not involved.

The story deserved wider, and more prompt, Old Media coverage than the pittance it received.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.