Well, it’s happened again and I find myself in the middle of a controversy that I seemed to have started but didn’t mean too... well, not completely. I did send out the original question, but I thought the tone of my missive was reasoned and restrained but some of the responses have been, shall we say, overheated.
Here’s the deal. We have learned that the name of Project Mogul was not the big secret we were lead to believe. It was known to project members as evidenced by the Air Force when they reprinted the notes from Dr. Albert Crary’s diary that mentioned Mogul more than once.
Brad Sparks has a copy of a letter that he got from Charles Moore in which Moore is introduced to Dr. James A. van Allen as one of the engineers for Mogul. Moore, however, said that he hadn’t even known the name until Robert Todd told him it was Mogul in 1992.
In the course of all this, I asked a couple of people if Jesse Marcel, Sr. didn’t deserve the same courtesy they were extending to Moore. Marcel had said some things that didn’t agree with the record and he was immediately labeled a liar of the first order. Moore said some things that didn’t agree with the record and it was just that he didn’t remember, or if he had heard the name, it didn’t penetrate into his stream of consciousness. He wasn’t a liar, just forgetful.
I had thought that I had made it clear that I didn’t believe Moore to be lying. I thought he had forgotten the name until reminded by Todd. If I was on the other side of the fence, or rather Moore was, I would have smeared him as a liar and the proof was in the documentation. In UFO research there is no room for mistakes. Everything is a lie or a fraud, a slander, or some other crime.
Anyway, I didn’t really think Moore lied about this, though I do believe his memory is colored by the reception he and his fellow "college boys" received when they traveled to Roswell to solicit the help of the Army. Payback is a bitch.
I also suggested that Todd had received the entirety of Marcel’s service record illegally because there were things in it, sure as his evaluations that aren’t part of the public record, and are should not be released under FOIA. I pointed out that the Privacy Act trumped FOIA.
And I had suggested that Karl Pflock had interpreted the transcript of the Bob Pratt with Jesse Marcel interview one way, but that it could be interpreted in others. The changing of a comma in one sentence, for example, changed the meaning.
There were those who thought it unfair that I attack two people who were dead and one who was critically ill and couldn’t respond. I believed that their writings were still open to interpretation and was still fair game. I expect to be attacked long after I’m gone, though I do plan to live forever or die in the attempt... but I digress.
So, Todd was a vile man who respected no one who didn’t agree with him and wasn’t above writing nasty letters to let those people know what he thought of them. He believed that he was right on every point and everyone else was wrong. When he died, I posted a note to this blog acknowledging his good work and ignoring his lack of personality and his other many flaws. I make no apology for suggesting these things now and anyone who has been at the far end of a Todd attack knows what I mean.
I will point out that Americans often have a bad reputation in the rest of the world. I believe that we should be respectful in our communications with those in other countries. I thought we all should act as good will ambassadors, and if we disagreed, we could word our responses in a diplomatic fashion.
Not so Todd. He was an arrogant man who hammered at everyone who disagreed with him no matter what their location. His was not the image we should embrace when communicating with our colleagues in foreign nations.
One of his letters was so nasty that I sent an apology to the man, letting him know that not all Americans were that vulgar. Some of us could act civilized.
Todd deserves no respect, and if I offended anyone by saying the above, sorry, but it is the truth and you know it. It shouldn’t matter that he held up your end of the debate. You should recognize him for what he was.
Karl, on the other hand, was a colleague and when he died, I was asked to provide an obituary for him. We had also worked on a couple of projects together, including a suggestion that Barney Barnett hadn’t been a part of the Roswell events and his description of seeing the crashed saucer had more to do with Aztec than it did with Roswell. The only tie we could find was that of Fleck Danley, Barnett’s boss who wasn’t sure when Barnett had told him about the crash. A diary kept by Barnett’s wife seemed to eliminate July 1947 as the proper time frame.
Karl and I disagreed on a number of things, but I believed him to be intellectually honest about most, something I can’t say about Todd. Karl and I had planned another project together, but his illness prevented it.
I don’t think I said anything particularly negative about Karl, other than suggesting that his interpretation of the Pratt interview with Marcel wasn’t black and white, but shades of gray, which is the point about the comma makes.
For those who are interested, here is what I mean. Karl interpreted various unclear parts, and once again, I have pointed this out to others. Marcel was talking about having been shot down and that he bailed out. Pratt asked, "Everyone survive," and Marcel said, "All but one crashed into a mountain," which suggests that only he and one other survived. However, if I insert a comma, Marcel said, "All, but one crashed into a mountain," which could mean all survived but one who crashed into a mountain.
Here’s where we are. I believe that Charles Moore was playing a little "catch up" with the Army by suggesting that they couldn’t tell the difference between a balloon and an alien spacecraft. His thinking was colored by his treatment back in 1947. But I don’t think he was lying about anything and the discrepancies between what he said in the 1990s and the records of the 1940s say more about the human memory than it does about Moore’s truthfulness.
Todd, on the other hand, wasn’t above name calling and distortion and I can think of no reason to defend him now. His record speaks for itself and it isn’t a good one. He clearly didn’t understand interpersonal relationships and if he did, he simply didn’t care.
Karl, I count as a friend and if we disagreed on some points UFOlogical, we agreed on many more. He made mistakes in his Roswell book and I see no reason not to say that just because he’s no longer with us. We all make mistakes, we all believe people we shouldn’t and we all have our opinions colored by our own beliefs. (Yes, one of those Karl believed was the witness he named reluctant who was Walt Whitmore, Jr. who radically altered his story over time.)
So, I don’t really understand the venom directed at me about this. I don’t understand why it is necessary to resort to personal attacks rather than just state the facts. If I don’t believe in your pet case it is because, to me, the evidence isn’t as persuasive as it is to you. Doesn’t make me right or you wrong, it just means that on this point we disagree.
I have been on the receiving end of many of these attacks recently. I ignore most simply because they are borne of ignorance and mean little in the grand scheme of things. But sometimes I simply do not understand them, especially when I believe I have been fair in my assessments.
Anyway, this will suggest another side to the debate and maybe suggest that we can elevate our discourse to a civilized level. If not, well, I won’t be very surprised.