GI Special:



Print it out: color best.  Pass it on.







This Information Could Save Your Sanity, Or Your Life:

If Somebody Tries To Drug You Or A Buddy Or Family Member, The Fact The Information Below Appeared In Army Times Can Be A Powerful Weapon Of Self-Defense


Comment: T


Because of the extreme importance of this information to every members of the armed forces, for or against the war, it is being reprinted again from a previous GI Special


This news report below makes clear that there is now new evidence based research about what works and what doesn’t work for troops experiencing PTSD. 


The credibility and importance of this research -- initiated by the Department of Veterans Affairs – is underlined by publication of the findings in Army Times, rather than appearing on some obscure web site or other as somebody or other’s opinion.


The V.A. has long practiced drugging troops with all kinds of very dangerous pills as a “treatment” for PTSD.  As this article documents, that’s useless.  And dangerous: overdoses can kill.  Benzodiazepines [Valium & Librium are well known examples] are viscously addictive and potentially deadly drugs handed out to troops like bags of popcorn. 


As the article below reports, the only effective treatment for PTSD so far is “exposure therapy; reliving a traumatic experience by writing or talking about it.”


A lot of quacks, including at V.A. facities as well as privately, are hustling other bullshit phony treatments, ranging from moving your eyeballs around to eating herbs and weeds. 


Excuse a personal note, but I’ve been working professionally with traumatic stress survivors for over 30 years, both military and civilian, both at VA and private facilities, and can testify that the research finding reported in this article is 100% right: the only effective treatment for PTSD so far is “reliving a traumatic experience by writing or talking about it.”


But you don’t have to believe that. 


Here’s the report, from Army Times. 


Assuming you give a shit about whether troops live or die, send it around, word for word, and be sure to mention it comes from Army Times in case some idiot thinks you sucked it out of your thumb. 


Most important, if somebody in command or at the V.A. tries to drug you or a buddy or family member, the fact this information appeared in Army Times can be a powerful weapon of self-defense:


“Research Has Not Shown Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors, Such As Prozac, Zoloft Or Celexa, To Be Effective In Treating PTSD”

“Exposure Therapy -- Reliving A Traumatic Experience By Writing Or Talking About It -- Is The Only Therapy Proved Effective By Independent Research”


April 14, 2008 By Kelly Kennedy, Army Times [Excerpts]


“Problems related to getting troops adequate mental health treatment cannot be resolved unless two issues — stigma and access — are addressed,” Todd Bowers, director of government affairs for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told the House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee on health on April 1.


Almost 59,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Army post-deployment health assessments have found that 20 percent of active-duty and 40 percent of reserve-component troops had symptoms of PTSD, and some experts say the real numbers could be much higher.


But because PTSD hasn’t been addressed until fairly recently — the first scientific paper about the disorder in veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War didn’t come out until five years after that war ended — VA and Pentagon officials say much needs to be done to determine good screening techniques and therapies.


“This is the first war where DoD and VA recognized the psychological impact going in,” said Army Col. Charles Hoge, chief of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Walter Reed Institute of Research.


Combat vets are not sleeping, experience startle reactions and are hyper-alert.


“All of these things that we label as symptoms are things they need in combat,” Hoge said. “No sooner are they transitioned back home than they’re right back in rotation.”


At the House hearing, Hoge said an Army assessment last summer showed that the numbers of soldiers with PTSD is going up with each deployment.


“There’s a direct connection between mental health and multiple deployments,” he said, adding that troops also need more time between deployments.


David Matcher, of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, said a recent study found that research has not shown serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, such as Prozac, Zoloft or Celexa, to be effective in treating PTSD.


Exposure therapy — reliving a traumatic experience by writing or talking about it — is the only therapy proved effective by independent research, he said.


Other treatments exist, but they have been tested mainly by the same people who developed them.


That’s an important point because the Defense Department and VA use several such methods, including group and drug therapy, to treat combat veterans.






Drugging At Drum;

Malpracticing Army Quacks Dishing Out Worthless, Useless Pills


5.5.08 By Claudia Parsons, (Reuters) [Excerpts]


Fort Drum, a bleak U.S. Army base in upstate New York, is a test case for how the military is handling a looming mental health crisis.


The military and its critics agree on one thing -- there are not enough therapists to treat all the soldiers who return from Iraq and Afghanistan traumatized by the experience.


The 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2BCT) is the most-deployed brigade in the U.S. army since 2001. It served two tours in Afghanistan, totalling 11 months, and was sent to Iraq twice for tours of 12 and 15 months.


Christopher Smith, 23, a tank mechanic who served in Ramadi, returned from Iraq in January 2006 and left the army. In the following six months, he grew increasingly withdrawn and isolated and was unable to hold down a job.


Despite what his wife Cara says were clear signs of PTSD, he managed to re-enlist in December 2006 without the recruiter noticing a problem. Sent to Fort Drum, he was diagnosed with PTSD and judged undeployable. He has been on a string of different medications, none of which he says have worked.


“It’s so frustrating,” Cara Smith said, describing the base as unfriendly and depressing.


“The doctors up there, they say ‘Come to group therapy, we’ll help you.’ But because of his duty and his orders and stuff he has to do, he missed two group therapy sessions and got kicked out of group therapy,” she said.


Now, she said, he has a 30-minute individual therapy session around every six weeks.  “It’s not really therapy, it’s more of a medication appointment,” she said.




Soldier Killed By PTSD Drugs The Pentagon Now Knows Are Useless


[Thanks to Ward Reilly, Veterans For Peace, who sent this in.]


May 1, 2008 by Joseph Shapiro, NPR [Excerpts]


The last time Susan Nichols brought her husband home from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, she knew something was very wrong.


He couldn’t even play with their 6-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. Instead, he just watched them play basketball with the neighborhood kids.


“He was constantly dizzy, or he just couldn’t handle being out because of the pain, or the medication just knocked him out completely and he couldn’t even walk,” Nichols recalled while sitting on the patio at her home in San Antonio.


“And the last day that we all saw him, he could barely stand up straight without leaning against a wall to prop him up.”


Two days later, on Jan. 22, Sgt. Robert Nichols was found dead in his room at Brooke Army Medical Center.


The autopsy report said he died of an accidental drug intoxication from the pills he had been prescribed by his Army doctors. Some of them, mixed together, made a deadly combination.


Since June, there has been a rash of overdoses at Army hospitals, including some, like Nichols’, that have resulted in deaths.


Eleven medications were found in Nichols’ body, including painkillers to treat his physical wounds from an explosion in Iraq and drugs to ease the nightmares, insomnia and memory loss caused by his post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.


Susan Nichols said that several times before he died, Robert Nichols asked his doctors to reduce the medications “because he felt like he was a zombie and he could only function for a small portion of the day.”


Robert Nichols’ widow said multiple doctors gave her husband multiple prescriptions.




Walter Reed Practicing Medical Fraud On Iraq & Afghan War Vets


[Remember what you just read?  “Exposure therapy — reliving a traumatic experience by writing or talking about it — is the only therapy proved effective by independent research, he said.” 


[Now check out what the incompetent fools at Walter Reed are malpracticing: useless worthless bullshit dreamed up by some idiot, and approved by even bigger idiots.  T]


May 6, 2008 Washington Post


Some 20 percent of approximately 1.6 million U.S. military personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. 


Yoga instructors at Walter Reed are trying to train them how to relieve their stress by using guided meditation.







U.S. Soldier Killed By IED Southwest Of Baghdad


May 23, 2008 Multi National Corps Iraq Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory RELEASE No. 20080523-12


CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – A Multi-National Division – Center Soldier was killed in an improvised explosive device attack 12 miles southwest of Baghdad, May 22.



IED Wounds Six Marines In Falluja


May 23 (Reuters)


Six U.S. marines were wounded and their Arabic-speaking interpreter was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.



Terrorists In Action:

U.S. Command Orders Mass Arrests Of Civilians In Sadr City;

Mosques Violated, “Old Men And Even Children” Taken Prisoner


[Thousands more moved to hate the occupation and join the armed resistance.  They are right to do so.  Payback is coming, and it will be bloody.  U.S. troops will pay the price for the U.S. command’s terrorism as long as one U.S. soldier remains in Iraq.  T]


5.24.08 (AFP)


Iraqi police and US troops detained 400 people during search operations in two Shiite neighbourhoods of southwest Baghdad over the weekend and also seized weapons, the US military said on Saturday.


A spokesman for the Shiite radical movement of anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr put the number of people held at more than 400.


The search operations lasted from 11 am to 2:30 pm (0800 to 1130 GMT) in the neighbouring districts of Al-Amal and Al-Bayaa, a stronghold of Sadr’s movement, the witnesses said.


"The Iraqi and US forces raided a mosque in Al-Amal as well as a neighbouring market and rounded up dozens of people, some of them elderly men or teenagers," Al-Amal resident Hazem Mohammed, 27, told AFP.


"My three brothers, one of whom’s only 12, were picked up and so was my cousin," Mohammed said, adding that he had only narrowly escaped detention by the Iraqi troops himself.


Several other witnesses interviewed by AFP confirmed the scale of the round-up, carried out as the streets were busy with weekend shoppers.


A Sadr movement spokesman in Al-Amal, Hamadallah al-Rikabi, said: "Iraqi and US soldiers picked up more than 400 people... including old men and even children."


He said the troops had no arrest warrants and he accused the soldiers of humiliating the detainees.


Sadrist lawmaker Hassan al-Rubaie said Iraqi forces also raided a mosque in the Baghdad district of Amil before prayers on Friday and arrested more than 350 worshippers.


"We see that there is a big nationwide conspiracy against Friday prayers. They (the government) fear it, because the Friday prayers will stand against the plots of our enemies," al-Rubaie told a press conference, referring to the anti-U.S. rhetoric common in prayer sermons run by al-Sadr loyalists.


Fellow Sadrist lawmaker Aqeel Abdul-Hussein said Friday prayers also were prevented at Sadrist mosques in Baghdad’s Shiite district of Shaab and the southern city of Nasiriyah.


The government is "moving forward in its project to liquidate all the national figures in a more savage way than the previous (Saddam Hussein) regime," Abdul-Hussein told the press conference.



Terrorists In Action:

Collaborators Order Iraqi Soldiers To Open Fire On People Attending Religious Service In Basra


May 23, 2008 Reuters


BASRA, Iraq:  Iraqi government soldiers opened fire to disperse supporters of nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who were gathering for prayers in Basra on Friday, jeopardizing a fragile peace in the southern city.


Police said Iraqi troops fired in the air to disperse hundreds of worshippers, whom they said had no right to gather in a square in northern Basra, wounding six.


But Sadr supporters accused the Iraqi armed forces of attacking the worshippers and of indiscriminately opening fire on them.


They said one person was killed and five wounded.


The police said the worshippers had no right to meet in the square, but Sadr supporters said the mosques in the area were too small and they had held prayers in the same square for the last two Fridays without incident.


"Practicing our religious rituals is something granted by the constitution. Banning Sadrists from Friday prayer is a serious breach (that) we will not tolerate," a Sadrist member of parliament, Ahmad al-Masoudi, told Reuters.


Troops Invited:

What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Write to Box 126 , 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or send email contact@militaryproject.org:  Name, I.D., withheld unless you request publication.  Replies confidential.   Same address to unsubscribe.  Phone: 917.677.8057







Residents react as a  U.S. Army  soldier from the 3rd Special ...

A U.S. Army soldier from the 4th Infantry Division runs past their house during a patrol in the Sadr City, Baghdad May 12, 2008.  (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)







Resistance Action


May 22, 2008 The Associated Press & May 23 (AFP)


In the southern city of Kandahar, a remote control bomb on a bicycle exploded as an Afghan army convoy was passing on Thursday, killing one soldier and wounding another, said police officer Wali Mohammad.


In western Nimroz province, a roadside bomb hit a road construction company Thursday morning, wounding an Indian engineer, said Nimroz Gov. Ghulam Dastagir Azad.


A bomber blew himself up among Afghan soldiers in eastern Afghanistan on Friday in the eastern province of Khost.  The bomber was on foot near a military vehicle on a main road about 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the border with Pakistan, they said.  Four soldiers were killed and four wounded, defence ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi told AFP.  Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told media that his group was responsible for the attack. He also said four soldiers were killed.






No Charges To Be Brought Against Marine Officers In Massacre Of 19 Afghan Civilians:

Marine General Says Mass Murder Is “In Accordance With The Rules Of Engagement And Tactics”




KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan officials are expressing outrage at the decision by the U.S. military not to charge two Marines involved in a shooting spree that left 19 Afghan civilians dead in 2007.


U.S. military officials announced Friday that no criminal charges will be brought against the officers in a unit accused of firing indiscriminately at vehicles and civilians.


It came after their convoy was hit by a bomber March 4, 2007 in eastern Nangarhar province.


Witnesses and Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission concluded that Marine special operations troops opened fire along a 16 kilometre stretch of road, killing up to 19 civilians and wounding 50 other people.


Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland, the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command, decided not to bring charges against Maj. Fred C. Galvin, commander of the 120-person special operations company, and Capt. Vincent J. Noble, a platoon leader, the Marines said.


Helland determined the Marines in the convoy "acted appropriately and in accordance with the rules of engagement and tactics, techniques and procedures in place at the time in response to a complex attack," the Marines said.


"I am very angry," said Kubra Aman, a senator from Nangarhar. "This is too much. They are killing people.  First, they say it is a mistake, and after that they let them go without charges."


Marine spokesman Lt. Col. Sean Gibson said Friday that the finding of the Court of Inquiry - some 12,000 pages - will not be released to the public.







Army Times Reports Crippling Defects In Current GI Bill Provisions:

SSG Says “The GI Bill Was Obviously Created By Someone Who Never Paid For College, Because No College That I Know Takes Tuition On A Month-By-Month Basis”

“I Can Promise You Every Veteran That Has Ever Used The GI Bill Has Had A Moment Where They Just Didn’t Have The Money Because They Didn’t Get Paid When They Needed It”


May 26, 2008 By Rick Maze, Army Times [Excerpts]


Service members and veterans have high hopes for GI Bill improvements as Congress and the Bush administration work to overhaul the program for the first time in more than two decades.  [The Senate passed an improved benefits bill this week.  The House has not yet done so.  T]


More than 70 percent who buy into the GI Bill use at least some of the benefit, said Keith Wilson, VA’s education service director. But only 6 percent exhaust all their benefits, Wilson said, and the average GI Bill user claims only 17 of the 36 months of benefits.


No one knows why the rate isn’t higher, but lawmakers and troops indicate that the method and size of GI Bill payments may be the biggest factor:


Most vets can’t afford to go to school on the GI Bill without either living at home or working full or part time.


In interviews and correspondence with more than 100 past and present service members, troops and veterans called for:


1. Increase Payments


Former Marine Cpl. Brian Horner, who left the Corps in 2007 and is using the GI Bill to attend New Jersey Institute of Technology, said the money isn’t enough.


“The money I’m paid per semester covers my books, parking pass and tuition-related fees,” he said, but he still pays $1,500 to $3,000 a semester in other costs.  And he doesn’t always have the money because getting the payments isn’t simple.


“A veteran should not have to take out student loans and be forced to work a part-time job” to use the GI Bill to attend college, added former Army Staff Sgt. Rodney McGuire, a student at the University of Louisville.



2. Make Payments Upfront


“The GI Bill was obviously created by someone who never paid for college, because no college that I know takes tuition on a month-by-month basis,” said former Army Staff Sgt. Luke Stalcup, who attends Columbia University on the GI Bill.


Monthly benefits leave veterans “in a chronic crisis,” he said.


“The slow trickle of money means individuals have to work out some way to get the cash up front, then either pay it back as you get it, or work to pay it off and live off the GI Bill,” he said.


“I can promise you every veteran that has ever used the GI Bill has had a moment where they just didn’t have the money because they didn’t get paid when they needed it,” he said. “This is a design flaw.”


Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Johnnie McGovern, who used the GI Bill to complete a master’s degree, had to pay for classes before getting any money.


“I had the money in savings to start schooling prior to receiving payments, but as a full-time student, my school was over $2,000 for the first term, excluding books.


“If I did not have the money in savings, I would have had to apply for a loan because I did not receive any benefits from my GI Bill until after I started attending school.”


Retired Air Force Tech. Sgt. Gerald McIntosh, who lives in Louisville, Ky., said that after paying to enroll in the GI Bill, he shouldn’t have to pay a college and then wait for reimbursement from VA, when VA could verify his enrollment and reimburse the college directly.



3. Pay Living Expenses


Navy Ensign Nathan Deunk, assistant public works officer at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, used GI Bill benefits in 2002 to attend a community college in Oklahoma City, where the cost of living was low and his monthly rent was $300.


“It was extremely tough to afford school with two children, which is how many service members find themselves after five to six years in the service,” he said.


Deunk suggests single GI Bill users should be provided a free dorm room, and married people, or those with children, should be eligible for an on-campus apartment with a rent credit equal to the cost of a dorm room.



4. Cover Book Costs


The GI Bill does not cover textbooks, a sore point for many.


Navy Senior Chief Quartermaster (SW) Amy Coppedge, based at the Virginia Capes Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, said she used the GI Bill while on active duty because she maxed out her tuition assistance benefits getting a bachelor’s degree in sociology.


But for her master’s degree, she found herself paying about $300 out of pocket for each class, a total of $2,376 for eight courses — plus about $1,500 for books.



5. Allow Transfer Of Benefits


Army 1st Sgt. Billy Martin, a 10th Mountain Division member in Iraq on his fourth deployment, said he wished he could use his GI Bill benefits to pay for college for his wife, Jessi, who attends Ball State University as an ecology major.


Martin said he first learned in 2007 about an Army pilot program that allowed GI Bill benefits to be transferred to family members, which could have meant his “financial problems with my wife attending college would finally come to an end.”


Combined with the tax-free combat pay he draws while deployed, the GI Bill would have covered the costs.


“I have served over 20 years, and it seems as if every benefit that is thrown out there, I’m just too late to enjoy,” Martin said.


Air Force Reserve Tech. Sgt. Brian Starr, a career adviser at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, said he supports allowing anyone who has served 10 or more years to share GI Bill benefits with family members.


“My children could use my GI Bill to help offset these college loans,” he said. “If the military wants to send a strong message that they care about our families, then please allow us to pass the GI Bill to our children.”



6. Repay Student Loans


Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Roberts, assigned to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, wants to use his GI Bill benefits to pay more than $10,000 in student loans he accumulated before enlisting.


He has used tuition assistance to pay for three associate degrees and a bachelor’s degree but is still struggling with the loans.


“If I had the choice, I would pay off my absurdly high-interest rate college loans with the supposedly nearly $40,000 I have in the GI Bill,” he said.



7. Allow Late Enrollments


With a few exceptions, active-duty service members have a one-time opportunity to enroll in the GI Bill program: during basic training.


Army Reserve Master Sgt. Anthony DiFondi, on full-time active duty with the Army Human Resources Command, said he thinks that’s a mistake. At a minimum, he’d like a second enrollment opportunity after re-enlistment.


“I have 20 years in service, and feel I have earned another chance at this program,” DiFondi said. “I would be happy to pay for that option now that I can afford it.”


Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Ben Wilkes, an operations superintendent at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., said he made a “poor decision” 23 years ago in not signing up for the GI Bill.


“I was newly married and could not afford the $100 a month,” he said. “Today’s new enlistees are paid well and can more easily afford the monthly payment.”



8. Provide More Admin Support


Former Army Capt. Christopher Franco, who left the Army for medical reasons after two tours in Iraq, intended to use the GI Bill for college but kept getting mixed messages about whether he was eligible because he was an ROTC student before he was commissioned.


ROTC students with four-year scholarships do not have benefits, but those with two-year scholarships, such as Franco, do.


“We need to make sure people are being properly briefed,” he said. “Several other officers that I know ... wound up being eligible for the GI Bill after they were told, ‘No, you are not.’”


Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Arnold said dealing with VA tries his patience. “VA is a difficult bureaucratic nut to crack,” he said.


“VA is not ... customer-oriented. If VA were a civilian business, they would have gone under years ago.”


Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mark Anderson-Henrichon, stationed at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., also said he has had problems getting information about using GI Bill benefits on active duty. His base education office, VA and the college he has been attending, American Military University, “give me different responses on how to claim the funds.”


“I’m a family man, and if I can’t get my Montgomery GI Bill to reimburse me for paying out of pocket, I might not reach my goal of graduating in 2009,” he said.



9. Cover VEAP-Era Members


A large group of career service members have no GI Bill benefits because they entered the military during the decade between the end of the Vietnam-era GI Bill in 1976 and the launch of the Montgomery GI Bill in 1986.


The only benefit offered to them was the Veterans Educational Assistance Program, which paid a modest $2 government match for each $1 contributed by the member, with a $2,700 cap on the member’s contribution.


Many people never signed up for VEAP, and some who did withdrew their money, sometimes on the advice of education or financial counselors, in the mistaken belief that they could always contribute again later.


Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Michael Jenks, assigned to Langley Air Force Base, Va., said he was told by a career adviser not to sign up for VEAP because the Montgomery GI Bill “was coming down the line and it was going to be better.”


“I decided to wait,” Jenks said.


VEAP enrollment closed, and participants were given an opportunity to transfer into the new GI Bill program — but those who had not signed up for VEAP, such as Jenks, were left out.


Jenks, who said he’s “very close” to a bachelor’s degree through tuition assistance, said he’d like to see GI Bill enrollment provided in combination with re-enlistment.




Marine SSG Using Active Duty Tuition Reports An “Inordinately High Number Of People In The Chain Of Command Who Believed That Enlisted Marines Should Not Go To College On Active Duty”


May 26, 2008 By Rick Maze, Army Times [Excerpts]


Service members who sign up for GI Bill benefits often find they don’t need them because, with some persistence and help from their commands, they can get a college degree using tuition assistance, which covers 100 percent of tuition and fees.


If they can use it, that is.


Army Sgt. 1st Class John Drummond, deployed to Iraq, has found that fitting college courses into a military career can be difficult.


Marine Staff Sgt. Chris Hearn, who, in 14 years of service, has used a combination of tuition assistance and GI Bill benefits to complete a bachelor of science degree and is now working on a master’s degree, said the only problem he encountered was “the inordinately high number of people in the chain of command who believed that enlisted Marines should not go to college on active duty.”


“There was and still is a prejudice against school because when your tuition assistance document is signed, they believe that their flexibility with your time is lost as they cannot make you go to a meeting that was just dreamed up because you have got to go to school,” said Hearn, assigned to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.


Other service members say that if you max out your tuition assistance in a given year, trying to use your GI Bill benefits while still in uniform can pose problems.


Army 2nd Lt. Darin Breunig, assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash., was in that situation. He said using the GI Bill on active duty resulted in reduced benefits because it paid for just one course for four months, providing about $600 in benefits.


He said he would be paid more than $4,000 for four months of benefits if he waited until he separated and became a full-time college student.


“It was my choice to use the benefit that way, but it doesn’t seem right,” he said.




“If They Suffer The Horrors Of PTSD Nightmares And Flashbacks, Let’s Dump Them On The Streets With The Least Amount Of Help And Benefits Possible, As Cheaply As Possible”

“God Help Us If They All Get College Degrees And Figure Out What We’ve Done To Them”



May 22, 2008 By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY, McClatchy Newspapers [Excerpts]


On Capitol Hill, our lawmakers debate the pros and cons of a new GI Bill that would provide our latest combat veterans with education benefits at least equal to those that their grandfathers received when they came home from winning World War II.


Our president has threatened to veto that bill if Congress passes it. The Republican candidate to succeed him, Sen. John McCain, a veteran and former prisoner of war himself, refuses to support that GI Bill and offers a watered down, cheaper substitute.


The Pentagon and the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, a former university president, oppose better educational benefits for veterans, for fear that offering them might entice more young troops to leave the service for the campus.


This is odd, coming as it does from a president who talks a lot about supporting our troops, from a senator who draws a 100 percent military disability pension and from a former college president who surely knows the value of higher education.


But if they come home wounded, their brains rattled by the huge IED’s of the new way of war, and if they suffer the horrors of PTSD nightmares and flashbacks, let’s dump them on the streets with the least amount of help and benefits possible, as cheaply as possible.


For sure we don’t want to improve their chances, better their future prospects, by offering them the same college benefits we gave their grandfathers six decades ago.


God help us if they all get college degrees and figure out what we’ve done to them.



Infected Beef Sold To Troops At Military Bases


May 26, 2008 Army Times


Beef sold at some military bases around the country may have been contaminated with E. coli.


The Defense Department has issued a voluntary recall on all 85 percent of lean ground beef sold at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.; Carlisle Barracks, Pa.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Fort McCoy, Wis.; Fort Monmouth, N.J.; Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, N.J.; Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill.; Naval Submarine Base New London, Conn.; and Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pa.


In a statement issued May 15, the military suggested that anyone who bought the meat this month should throw it away or return it for a full refund.


E. coli can cause potentially deadly diarrhea and dehydration.


The elderly and the young are particularly prone to the foodborne disease.



Forward GI Special along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.  Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, inside the armed services and at home.  Send email requests to address up top or write to: The Military Project, Box 126 , 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657.  Phone: 917.677.8057






When The Intellect Can No Longer Censor The Soul—

The Truth Is Born


From: Mike Hastie

To: GI Special

Sent: May 19, 2008

Subject: Winter Soldier II Investigation


Winter Soldier II Investigation

Silver Spring, Maryland

March 13-16, 2008


When the intellect can no longer censor the soul--the truth is born.

Mike Hastie

U.S. Army Medic

Vietnam 1970-71


Photo and caption from the I-R-A-Q (I  Remember  Another  Quagmire) portfolio of Mike Hastie, US Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71.  (For more of his outstanding work, contact at: (hastiemike@earthlink.net)  T)




Vietnam:  They Stopped An Imperial War:

Honor And Respect To Them All


[Thanks to Mark Shapiro, who sent this in.]


Excerpts from an article by Col. Robert D. Heinl, Jr., North American Newspaper Alliance, Armed Forces Journal, 7 June, 1971


THE MORALE, DISCIPLINE and battleworthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are, with a few salient exceptions, lower and worse than at anytime in this century and possibly in the history of the United States.


By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and non commissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near mutinous.


Elsewhere than Vietnam , the situation is nearly as serious.


To understand the military consequences of what is happening to the U.S. Armed Forces, Vietnam is a good place to start. 


It is in Vietnam that the rearguard of a 500,000 man army, in its day and in the observation of the writer the best army the United States ever put into the field, is numbly extricating itself from a nightmare war the Armed Forces feel they had foisted on them by bright civilians who are now back on campus writing books about the folly of it all.


"They have set up separate companies," writes an American soldier from Cu Chi, quoted in the New York Times, "for men who refuse to go into the field.  Is no big thing to refuse to go.  If a man is ordered to go to such and such a place he no longer goes through the hassle of refusing; he just packs his shirt and goes to visit some buddies at another base camp. 


Operations have become incredibly ragtag.  Many guys don’t even put on their uniforms any more... The American garrison on the larger bases are virtually disarmed.  The lifers have taken our weapons from us and put them under lock and key...There have also been quite a few frag incidents in the battalion."


"Frag incidents" or just "fragging" is current soldier slang in Vietnam for the murder or attempted murder of strict, unpopular, or just aggressive officers and NCOs.  With extreme reluctance (after a young West Pointer from Senator Mike Mansfield’s Montana was fragged in his sleep) the Pentagon has now disclosed that fraggings in 1970(109) have more than doubled those of the previous year (96).


Word of the deaths of officers will bring cheers at troop movies or in bivouacs of certain units.


In one such division -- the morale plagued Americal -- fraggings during 1971 have been authoritatively estimated to be running about one a week.


Yet fraggings, though hard to document, form part of the ugly lore of every war. The first such verified incident known to have taken place occurred 190 years ago when Pennsylvania soldiers in the Continental Army killed one of their captains during the night of 1 January 1781.


Bounties, raised by common subscription in amounts running anywhere from $50 to $1,000, have been widely reported put on the heads of leaders whom the privates and Sp4s want to rub out.


Shortly after the costly assault on Hamburger Hill in mid-1969, the GI underground newspaper in Vietnam, "G.I. Says", publicly offered a $10,000 bounty on Lt. Col. Weldon Honeycutt, the officer who ordered (and led) the attack. Despite several attempts, however, Honeycutt managed to live out his tour and return Stateside.


"Another Hamburger Hill," (i.e., toughly contested assault), conceded a veteran major, is definitely out."


The issue of "combat refusal", and official euphemism for disobedience of orders to fight -- the soldier’s gravest crime – has only recently been again precipitated on the frontier of Laos by Troop B, 1st Cavalry’s mass refusal to recapture their captain’s command vehicle containing communication gear, codes and other secret operation orders.


As early as mid-1969, however, an entire company of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade publicly sat down on the battlefield.  Later that year, another rifle company, from the famed 1st Air Cavalry Division, flatly refused -- on CBS-TV -- to advance down a dangerous trail.


While denying further unit refusals the Air Cav has admitted some 35 individual refusals in 1970 alone.  By comparison, only two years earlier in 1968, the entire number of officially recorded refusals for our whole army in Vietnam -- from over seven divisions - was 68.


"Search and evade" (meaning tacit avoidance of combat by units in the field) is now virtually a principle of war, vividly expressed by the GI phrase, "CYA (cover your ass) and get home!"


That "search-and-evade" has not gone unnoticed by the enemy is underscored by the Viet Cong delegation’s recent statement at the Paris Peace Talks that communist units in Indochina have been ordered not to engage American units which do not molest them.  The same statement boasted - not without foundation in fact - that American defectors are in the VC ranks.


Symbolic anti-war fasts (such as the one at Pleiku where an entire medical unit, led by its officers, refused Thanksgiving turkey), peace symbols, "V"-signs not for victory but for peace, booing and cursing of officers and even of hapless entertainers such as Bob Hope, are unhappily commonplace.


Only last year an Air Force major and command pilot for Ambassador Bunker was apprehended at Ton Son Nhut air base outside Saigon with $8 million worth of heroin in his aircraft. 


The major is now in Leavenworth.


Early this year, and Air force regular colonel was court-martialed and cashiered for leading his squadron in pot parties, while, at Cam Ranh Air Force Base, 43 members of the base security police squadron were recently swept up in dragnet narcotics raids.


All the foregoing facts – and mean more dire indicators of the worse kind of military trouble – point to widespread conditions among American forces in Vietnam that have only been exceeded in this century by the French Army’s Nivelle mutinies of 1917 and the collapse of the Tsarist armies in 1916 and 1917.


Sedition – coupled with disaffection within the ranks, and externally fomented with an audacity and intensity previously inconceivable – infests the Armed Services:


At best count, there appear to be some 144 underground newspapers published on or aimed at U.S. military bases in this country and overseas.  Since 1970 the number of such sheets has increased 40% (up from 103 last fall).  These journals are not mere gripe-sheets that poke soldier fun in the "Beetle Bailey" tradition, at the brass and the sergeants.


"In Vietnam," writes the Ft Lewis-McChord Free Press, "the Lifers, the Brass, are the true Enemy, not the enemy."  Another West Coast sheet advises readers: "Don’t desert.  Go to Vietnam and kill your commanding officer."


At least 14 GI dissent organizations (including two made up exclusively of officers) now operate more or less openly.  Ancillary to these are at least six antiwar veterans’ groups which strive to influence GIs.


Three well-established lawyer groups specialize in support of GI dissent. Two (GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee and new York Draft and Military Law Panel) operate in the open.  A third is a semi-underground network of lawyers who can only be contacted through the GI Alliance, a Washington , D.C. , group which tries to coordinate seditious antimilitary activities throughout the country.


One antimilitary legal effort operates right in the theater of war. A three-man law office, backed by the Lawyers’ Military Defense Committee, of Cambridge, Mass., was set up last fall in Saigon to provide free civilian legal services for dissident soldiers being court-martialed in Vietnam.


Besides these lawyers’ fronts, the Pacific Counseling Service (an umbrella organization with Unitarian backing for a prolifery of antimilitary activities) provides legal help and incitement to dissident GIs through not one but seven branches ( Tacoma , Oakland , Los Angeles , San Diego , Monterey , Tokyo , and Okinawa ).


Another of Pacific Counseling’s activities is to air-drop planeloads of sedition literature into Oakland’s sprawling Army Base, our major West Coast staging point for Vietnam


On the religious front, a community of turbulent priests and clergymen, some unfrocked, calls itself the Order of Maximilian. 


Maximilian is a saint said to have been martyred by the Romans for refusing military service as un-Christian. Maximilian’s present-day followers visit military posts, infiltrate brigs and stockades in the guise of spiritual counseling, work to recruit military chaplains, and hold services of "consecrations" of post chapels in the name of their saintly draft-dodger.


By present count at least 11 (some go as high as 26) off-base antiwar "coffee houses" ply GIs with rock music, lukewarm coffee, antiwar literature, how-to-do-it tips on desertion, and similar disruptive counsels.  Among the best-known coffee houses are: The Shelter Half (Ft Lewis , Wash. ); The Home Front (Ft Carson, Colo.); and The Oleo Strut (Ft Hood, Tex. ).


Virtually all the coffee houses are or have been supported by the U.S. Serviceman’s Fund, whose offices are in new York City’s Bronx .


While refusing to divulge names, IRS sources say that the serviceman’s Fund has been largely bankrolled by well-to-do liberals. 


One example of this kind of liberal support for sedition which did surface identifiably last year was the $8,500 nut channeled from the Philip Stern Family Foundation to underwrite Seaman Roger Priest’s underground paper OM, which, among other writings, ran do-it-yourself advice for desertion to Canada and advocated assassination of President Nixon.


"Entertainment Industry for Peace and Justice," the antiwar show-biz front organized by Jane Fonda, Dick Gregory, and Dalton Trumbo, now claims over 800 film, TV, and music names.  This organization is backing Miss Fonda’s antimilitary road-show that opened outside the gates of Ft. Bragg, N.C., in mid-March.


Describing her performances (scripted by Jules Pfeiffer) as the soldiers’ alternative to Bob Hope, Miss Fonda says her case will repeat the Ft Bragg show at or outside 19 more major bases.


Freshman Representative Ronald V. Dellums (D-Calif.) runs a somewhat different kind of antimilitary production. 


As a Congressman, Dellums cannot be barred from military posts and has been taking full advantage of the fact. At Ft Meade, Md., last month, Dellums led a soldier audience as they booed and cursed their commanding officer who was present on-stage in the post theater which the Army had to make available.





[Part 2]

“Unpunished Sedition, And Recalcitrant Antimilitary Malevolence”

Elected Enlisted Men’s Councils “Made Up Of Privates And Sp 4s (NCOs Aren’t Allowed) Which Sits At The Elbow Of Every Unit Commander Down To The Companies”


[Thanks to Mark Shapiro, who sent this in.]


By Col. Robert D. Heinl, Jr., Armed Forces Journal, 7 June, 1971 [Excerpts]


The Action Groups


Not unsurprisingly, the end-product of the atmosphere of incitement of unpunished sedition, and of recalcitrant antimilitary malevolence which pervades the world of the draftee (and to an extent the low-ranking men in "volunteer" services, too) is overt action.


  During 1970, large armory thefts were successfully perpetrated against Oakland Army Base, Vets Cronkhite and Ord, and even the marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton, where a team wearing Marine uniforms got away with nine M-16 rifles and an M-79 grenade launcher.


Operating in the middle West, three soldiers from Ft Carson, Colo., home of the Army’s permissive experimental unite, the 4th Mechanized Division, were recently indicted by a federal grand jury for dynamiting the telephone exchange, power plant and water works of another Army installation, Camp McCoy, Wis., on 26 July 1970.


The Navy, particularly on the West Coast, has also experienced disturbing cases of sabotage in the past two years, mainly directed at ships’ engineering and electrical machinery.


It will be surprising, according to informed officers, if further such tangible evidence of disaffection within the ranks does not continue to come to light. Their view is that the situation could become considerably worse before it gets better.


Part of the defense establishment’s problem with the judiciary is the now widely pursued practice of taking commanding officers into civil courts by dissident soldiers either to harass or annul normal discipline or administrative procedures or the services.


Only a short time ago, for example, a dissident group of active-duty officers, members of the concerned Officers’ Movement (COM), filed a sweeping lawsuit against Defense Secretary Laird himself, a well as all three service secretaries, demanding official recognition of their "right" to oppose the Vietnam war, accusing the secretaries of "harassing" them, and calling for court injunction to ban disciplinary "retaliation" against COM members.


Such nuisance suits from the inside (usually, like the Laird suit, on constitutional grounds) by people still in uniform, let alone by officers, were unheard-of until two or three years ago.


Now, according to one Army general, the practice has become so command that, in his words, "I can’t even give a /34/ directive without getting permission from my staff judge advocate."


Other reports tell of jail-delivery attacks on Army stockades and military police to release black prisoners, and of officers being struck in public by black soldiers.  Augsburg, Krailsheim, and Hohenfels are said to be rife with racial trouble.



Desertions And Disasters


With conditions what they are in the Armed Forces, and with intense efforts on the part of elements in our society to disrupt discipline and destroy morale the consequences can be clearly measured in two ultimate indicators: man-power retention (reenlistments and their antithesis, desertions); and the state of discipline.


In both respects the picture is anything but encouraging.


Desertion, to be sure, has often been a serious problem in the past.  In 1826, for example, desertions exceeded 50% of the total enlistments in the Army.  During the Civil War, in 1864, Jefferson Davis reported to the Confederate Congress: "Two thirds of our men are absent, most absent without leave."


Desertion rates are going straight up in Army, Marines, and Air Force.  Curiously, however, during the period since 1968 when desertion has nearly doubled for all three other services, the Navy’s rate has risen by less than 20 percent.


In 1970, the Army had 65,643 deserters, or roughly the equivalent of four infantry divisions.


This desertion rate (52.3 soldiers per thousand) is well over twice the peak rate for Korea (22.5 per thousand).


If desertions continue to rise (as they are still doing this year), they will attain or surpass the WWII peak of 63 per thousand, which, incidentally, occurred in the same year (1945) when more soldiers were actually being discharged from the Army for psychoneurosis than were drafted.


The marines in 1970 had the highest desertion index in the modern history of the Corps and, for that year at least, slightly higher than the Army’s.  Meanwhile, grimly remarked one officer, "let the bastards go.  We’re all the better without them."


But letting the bastards go doesn’t work at all for the Army and the Navy, who do need a lot of recruits and whose reenlistment problems are dire.


Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., chief of naval Operations, minces no words. "We have a personnel crisis," he recently said, "that borders on disaster."


The Navy’s crisis, as Zumwalt accurately describes it, is that of a highly technical, material oriented service that finds itself unable to retain the expensively-trained technicians needed to operate warships, which are the largest, most complex items of machinery that man makes and uses.




"Discipline," George Washington once remarked, "is the soul of an army."


Washington should know. 


In January 1781, all the Pennsylvania and New Jersey troops in the Continental Army mutinied.  Washington only quelled the outbreaks by disarming the Jersey mutineers and having their leaders shot in hollow square – by a firing squad made up of fellow mutineers.


(The navy’s only mutiny, aboard USS Somers in 1842, was quelled when the captain hanged the mutineers from the yardarm while still at sea.)


If Washington was correct (and almost any professional soldier, whether officer or NCO, will agree), then the Armed Forces today are in deep trouble.


What enhances this trouble, by exponential dimensions, is the kind of manpower with which the Armed Forces now have to work.


As early as three years ago, U.S. News and World Report reported that the services were already plagued with "… a new breed of man, who thinks he is his own Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Attorney General.  He considers himself superior to any officer alive.  And he is smart enough to go by the book.  He walks a tightrope between the regulations and sedition."


Yet the problem is not just one of trouble-makers and how to cope with them.


The trouble of the services – produced by and also in turn producing the dismaying conditions described in this article – is above all a crisis of soul and backbone.


It entails – the word is not too strong – something very near a collapse of the command authority and leadership George Washington saw as the soul of military forces.  This collapse results, at least in part, from a concurrent collapse of public confidence in the military establishment.



Elected Enlisted Men’s Councils


General Matthew B. Ridgway, one of the Army’s finest leaders in this century (who revitalized the shaken Eighth Army in Korea after its headlong rout by the Chinese in 1950) recently said, "Not before in my lifetime … has the Army’s public image fallen to such low esteem …"


But the fall in public esteem of all three major services – not just the Army – is exceeded by the fall or at least the enfeeblement of the hierarchic and disciplinary system by which they exist and, when ordered to do so, fight and sometimes die.


Take the case of the noncommissioned and petty officers.


In Rudyard Kipling’s lines, "the backbone o’ the Army is the noncommissioned man!"


In the 4th Mechanized Division at Ft. Carson, Sp 4 David Gyongyos, on his second year in the Army, enjoys an office across the hall from the division commander, a full-time secretary, and staff car and driver also assigned full time.  He has the home phone numbers of the general and chief of staff and doesn’t hesitate to use them out of working hours when he feels like it.


Gyongyos (with a bachelor’s degree in theology and two years’ law school) is chairman of the division’s Enlisted Men’s Councils, a system of elected [councils]  made up of privates and Sp 4s (NCOs aren’t allowed) which sits at the elbow of every unit commander down to the companies.


"I represent, electively, " Gyongyos expansively told this reporter, "the 17,000 men on this post."


The division sergeant major, with a quarter-century in the Army, who is supposed to be the division’s first soldiers and – non-electively – father and ombudsman of every soldier, has an office with is on even on the same floor with the general (or Sp 4 Gyongyos either). He gets his transportation, as needed, from the motor pool.


The very most that Gyongyos will concede to the sergeant major, the first sergeants, the platoon sergeants – the historic enlisted leadership of armies – is that they are "combat technicians."  They are not, he coldly adds, "highly skilled in the social sciences."


The soldiers’ [councils] of the 4th Division represent an experiment in what the Army calls "better communications".


Conditions throughout the rest of the Army do not quite duplicate those at Carson, but the same spirit is abroad. And experienced NCOs everywhere feel threatened or at least puzzled.


Most major units of the Army, Navy, and Air force have some form of enlisted men’s councils, as well as junior officer councils.


Even the trainee companies at Ft. Ord, Calif. have councils, made up of recruits, who take questions and complaints past their DIs to company commanders and hold weekly meetings and post minutes on bulletin-boards.


General Pershing, who once said, "All a soldier needs to know is how to shoot and salute", would be surprised.


As for the officers, said a four-star admiral, "We have lost our voice."




The foregoing may be true as far as admirals are concerned, but hasn’t hampered short-term junior officers (including several West Pointers) from banding together into highly vocal antiwar and antimilitary organizations, such as the Concerned Officers’ Movement (COM). 


At Norfolk, the local COM chapter has a peace billboard outside gate 2, Norfolk Naval Station, where every sailor can profit by the example of his officers.







Good News For The Iraqi Resistance!!

U.S. Occupation Commands’ Stupid Terror Tactics Recruit Even More Fighters To Kill U.S. Troops

An Iraqi child looks on as US soldiers of 4th Infantry Division, ...

Iraqi citizens huddle together as foreign occupation troops from the  US soldiers search their house during home invasion in the Sheik Marouf neighborhood, Karkh district , Baghdad, May 23, 2008.  (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)


Iraqi citizens have no right to resist home invasions by occupation soldiers from the USA.  If they do, they may be arrested, wounded, or killed.


[There’s nothing quite like invading somebody else’s country and busting into their houses by force to arouse an intense desire to kill you in the patriotic, self-respecting civilians who live there.


[But your commanders know that, don’t they?  Don’t they?]


The women and children were moved into a room, where they huddled together in silence.  The men had been forced down onto their knees wherever they were apprehended, their hands secured behind their backs with plastic handcuffs and their eyes covered by makeshift blindfolds.  YOCHI J. DREAZEN, Wall St. Journal, 3.12.07


“In the States, if police burst into your house, kicking down doors and swearing at you, you would call your lawyer and file a lawsuit,” said Wood, 42, from Iowa, who did not accompany Halladay’s Charlie Company, from his battalion, on Thursday’s raid.  “Here, there are no lawyers.  Their resources are limited, so they plant IEDs (improvised explosive devices) instead.”





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