GI Special:



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“The worst part of this thing is you don’t really know who the bad guys are.  And some days I don’t think we’re the good guys.”  U.S. Soldier, Iraq, reported on CNN 10.2.04 10:47 AM



Badly Wounded Get Instant Pay Cut:

With The “Thanks” Of An Ingrateful Imperial Government


October 2, 2004 By Jules Crittenden Boston Herald


When Marine Lance Cpl. James Crosby left Iraq, he was unconscious, strapped to a gurney, his legs paralyzed and his guts lacerated by shrapnel.  That's when the military cut his pay in half.


``Before you leave the combat zone, they swipe your ID card through a computer, and you go back to your base pay,'' said Crosby, who is now undergoing rehabilitation at the West Roxbury Veterans Administration.


Crosby's pay had been cut from $2,500 a month to $1,200.


``You need that pay more than ever, to move your life around,'' said Crosby, whose wife had to move from California to Massachusetts.


Badly wounded men may be out of combat, but Crosby, in a wheelchair and on a colostomy bag, said, ``I still have to fight the consequences of what happened.  I struggle every day.''



Telling the truth - about the occupation, the cuts to veterans’ benefits, or the dangers of depleted uranium - is the first reason Traveling Soldier is necessary.  But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance - whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces.  Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers.  http://www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)








October 2, 2004 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND Release Number: 04-10-02C


BAGHDAD, Iraq -- One Task Force Baghdad Soldier was killed Oct. 1 by small arms fire around 11 p.m.  No other casualties occurred in the incident.



U.S. Marine Wounded In Attack On Military Convoy Near Fallujah


2 October 2004 Focus 1 News & AP: Fallujah


A U.S. marine has been wounded at the attack with a car bomb of the military convoy near Fallujah, AFP reported.


The attack took place south of the town of Karama, some nine miles east of Fallujah, where a resistance fighter set into motion a self-made exploding device in a car that was on the convoy’s way.



Local Marine Injured In Iraq


October 2, 2004 By BRANDON FORMBY, The Dallas Morning News


When she heard her son's voice on the phone, Debby Schick of Flower Mound thought his nine-day mission in Iraq had ended early.


But Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob Schick, 22, wasn't bearing good news.


"He said, 'Mom, listen to me. I'm in the hospital in Baghdad,' " Ms. Schick said.


While driving in Iraq last month, a bomb exploded beneath Cpl. Schick's vehicle. His right foot had to be amputated.  His left arm and left leg received several compound fractures. He lost a finger.


Cpl. Schick, a 2001 Coppell High graduate who played football for the Coppell Cowboys, now is in the intensive care unit in a Maryland hospital.  He faces several surgeries to repair his left appendages.


"When I'm with him by myself, I look at this athlete, I look at this stump, and I look at the months of arduous rehab," Ms. Schick said through tears. "I'm so mad, but he wanted to do it.  I asked God to bring him home safely. I forgot to ask with all of his legs and feet and everything working."


"It makes me angry to see how hurt these kids are," she said. "But at the same time, they'd all go back in a heartbeat. It's just mystifying."


Cpl. Schick's family members have created a Web site to spread the word on his progress at www. jacobschick.org. They've also set up a fund to raise money for him.


Ms. Schick described her son as a "full-blown Marine at heart" and a ladies' man whom the other Marines called Schickalicious. She sees hard times ahead but is thankful he survived.


"I'll take him anyway I can get him," she said.  "He's alive, and that's all that matters."



U.S. Battles Resistance in Samarra;

Command Issues Most Idiotic Statement Of Year So Far


10/2/2004 By ZIDAN KHALAF Associated Press Writer & Reuters


"Troops proceeded through the city routinely being engaged in military skirmishes by rocket-propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices and both direct and indirect fire."  [Find the idiot who wrote this, the idiot who approved it, place them under arrest and armed guard, and bring them into the streets of Samarra, and we’ll see how “routine” they think it is to have people sparing no effort to kill you with a wide array of weaponry.  What a brainless piece of shit, and how perfectly representative of the empty suits in command.]


Sporadic gunfire echoed through this Sunni Muslim stronghold Saturday as U.S. and Iraqi forces battled pockets of resistance a day after the start of what appeared to be the first major push to regain control of a string of cities before elections in January.


The city appeared mostly calm Saturday except for in the center, where American snipers on rooftops fired at anybody appearing in the streets below.  Many bodies were strewn in the street but could not be collected for fear of the snipers, residents said.


"They are buried in the gardens of their homes," said Ali Abdul-Latif, a 19-year-old high school student.  Saturday was the first official school day after a nationwide holiday, but Abdul-Latif and other students in Samarra stayed home.


A 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew was in effect, and water and electricity services were severed.


In a statement released late Friday, the U.S. military said "Troops proceeded through the city routinely being engaged in military skirmishes by rocket-propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices and both direct and indirect fire."




U.S. Army soldiers in Samarra, Oct. 2, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)




Samarra Update: Fierce Resistance To U.S. Attack Continues:

Occupation Imposes Collective Punishment On Civilians


October 2 By Samir Hadad (IslamOnline.net)


On the ground, the Iraqi government and the US occupation forces claimed Saturday control over most areas in Samarra except for some pockets of resistance.


However, witnesses told IOL that the eastern parts of the city saw intermittent fighting between the American forces and the residents.


One resident, Qahtan Al-Douri, spoke of "fierce resistance" inside the city.


Other sources told IOL that the American forces cordoned off the city from the four corners, while warplanes and artillery continued to bombard residential areas.


Hundreds of Iraqi families, mostly women and children, lined up at the main entrances of Samarra, 125 kilometers north of Baghdad, in a desperate attempt to escape.


"The US forces are still barring families from leaving Samarra without giving any justification," Oday Al-Samrraei told IslamOnline.net.


Samrraei, who managed to flee the city two days earlier, dismissed the American measure a "collective punishment", accusing the occupation forces of "humiliating Iraqi families."


"The occupation forces are even preventing the families from burying their dead or evacuating wounded people scattered across the city streets, " Samrraei lamented.


Many bodies were strewn in the streets but could not be collected for fear of the American snipers, residents said.


"Dead bodies and injured people are everywhere in the city and when we tried to evacuate them, the Americans fired at us," one ambulance driver told AP Television News.


"Later on they told us than we can evacuate only injured women and children and we are not allowed to pick up injured men."


Meanwhile, the Iraqi Red Crescent has set up more than twenty tents on the outskirts of the city to help the wounded, barred by the US from leaving.


Iraqi medical sources accused the American forces of denying ambulances access into the city.


The Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), Iraq’s top Sunni religious authority, heaped blame on the interim government for the bloodshed in Samarra.


"We blame the government for the injustices and aggressions suffered by the inhabitants of Samarra," the AMS said in a statement.


"The vicious campaign carried out by the occupying forces, and regrettably blessed by the interim government, is the last in a series of aggressions against the city under the pretext of rebuilding security."


The AMS also stressed that "resorting to iron and fire" to set the scene of the general elections remains a "flawed method."



Iraqis Condemn Prime Minister After Falluja Air Raid:

Occupation Command Slaughters More Civilians, Kids


“Is this a terrorist?” (Reuters)


October 2, 2004 Reuters/abs-cbnNEWS.com


FALLUJA, Iraq - After the latest U.S. air strike on Falluja, enraged residents clasped wounded children and challenged Iraq's prime minister to visit the town to see how bombs were hitting civilians, not "terrorists."


"Is this a terrorist? Is this a terrorist? Iyad Allawi come and show us the terrorists," screamed a man as he fixed a bandage on the head of a small boy in his arms.


A U.S. warplane struck Falluja late Friday night, the latest in a weeks-long campaign of bombardments


Since the handover of power to an Iraqi government in June, U.S. forces are supposed to get a green light from the Iraqi government before conducting any air strikes. But many Iraqis believe Washington often acts of its own accord.


After Friday's attack, hospital officials said at least seven civilians were killed and 13 wounded.  Reuters television pictures showed Iraqis digging through mounds of rubble and twisted metal hoping to find survivors.


At one point, a child no older than 10 was pulled alive from under a pile of bricks and dust.


U.S. military officials have suggested that insurgents have pressured doctors into exaggerating casualty tolls and have cast doubt on television footage, indicating that scenes after air strikes may have been staged.  [U.S. military officials lie.  U.S. military officials have to.  Otherwise, they’re subject to the death penalty for retaliation against civilians in time of war.]


Reuters television footage of the destruction after Friday night's strike showed panicked men using their bare hands to dig out bodies.  One man lay face down, covered by a heavy slab of cement over his waist and legs.


Such scenes are familiar to the people of Falluja, who say they have seen no evidence backing U.S. assertions that insurgents and foreign fighters were operating from houses that are flattened by U.S. warplanes.


Amid the screams and groans of children having their wounds stitched at a Falluja hospital Saturday, a young girl pulled dead from the rubble lay on thin mat on the floor.


In a report Wednesday, the Reuters news agency offered a different explanation for this hostility to the “civilized world,” saying that “heavy-handed military tactics have fueled hatred of American troops and boosted the ranks of insurgents.”


It quoted a resident of Fallujah, Abu Ghnem Awuud, whose wife and five children were slaughtered in one of the daily US air strikes against the city.


Offered monetary compensation for the killing of his entire family, he told a US officer: “Is this the logic of your civilization?  How can money compensate me for the loss of my family?  I await compensation from God to kill all of you in Iraq.”






Iraqis Blame U.S. For Massacre Of Baghdad Children


Oct 2 By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer


BAGHDAD, Iraq - Families of the 35 children who died in a string of bombings in Baghdad blamed American troops for the tragedy.  In the carnage, several explosions ripped into a crowd gathered to celebrate the inauguration of a new, much needed sewage plant.


Residents said that before the start of the celebration, U.S. soldiers called upon the children through loudspeakers to join the crowd, promising them sweets. There were an unusually large number around because the long school holidays were nearing an end.


"I blame the Americans for this tragedy. They wanted to make human shields out of our children. They should have kept the children away from danger," said Abdel-Hadi al-Badri, a cleric a the al-Mubashroun al-Ashra mosque, breaking down in tears during Friday prayers.


Al-Badri's son lost his right leg in the explosion after he ignored his father's warnings to stay away from the U.S. troops.


Al-Badri's is a common lament here.  Confronted by daily bombings, kidnappings, deadly crossfires and soaring violent crime, many Iraqis blame most of their ills on the Americans.  Many say that they and their children would not be dying today had the U.S. not invaded their country 17 months ago.  [Or had gotten the fuck out and gone home.]


About 100 yards from the site of two of the three explosions, a large red and yellow tent was filled with mourners for two sisters, Raghad Dharar, 12, and Meisoun Dharar,10, who were killed as they returned from a nearby market.


"The day before yesterday, I bought them new school dresses and I was planning to buy them shoes.  I did not know that they were not going ever to attend again," the father said.


Dharar Ahmed, a policeman, said that there was no reason to stage a large celebration for a small sewage plant that was already partially operating.


"The Americans were attracting the children by offering sweets. They should not have done this," he said amid the sounds of wailing women.







Soldier's Dad:

Bush Blunder Cost Son His Life


September 29, 2004 Rob Zaleski, The Capital Times


Sixteen months have passed since Kirk Straseskie of Beaver Dam, a 23-year-old U.S. Marine infantry sergeant, became the first Wisconsin fatality in the Iraq war.  "I don't think Bush has a clue what he's doing over there," John Straseskie, the father of Kirk Straseskie , a 52-year-old retired Beaver Dam resident, said in a phone interview this week.


And Straseskie suspects things will just continue to deteriorate because, he maintains, the president and his advisers can't seem to comprehend one simple fact.


"Anytime you have guerrilla-type warfare going on, you kill a lot of innocent people - and that just feeds the guerillas," he says. "And there's gonna come a time when we're running with our tails tucked between our legs just to get out of there."


Though he originally supported the idea - like the vast majority of Americans, he says, "I believed this stuff about weapons of mass destruction and all the other horse bleep"


He's angry, Straseskie says, "because more and more innocent soldiers are dying in a war that we had no business starting in the first place."


Yes, the initial shock of Kirk's death has worn off, Straseskie says.  "But you never really get over it. Especially at holidays and birthdays. You look around and realize your son's not there.


"It's like an open sore."


The likelihood that his son - and 1,052 other Americans - gave his life in a war that in the long run "probably isn't going to solve a thing;" that's been the toughest thing to accept over the last 16 months, Straseskie says.





Photos and captions following from the I-R-A-Q  ( I  Remember  Another  Quagmire ) portfolio of Mike Hastie, U.S. Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71  (Pease contact at: (hastiemike@earthlink.net) for more examples of his outstanding work.  T)



M-60 Machine gun “The Pig”


When it comes to war, business has no conscience.




U.S. military deaths have reached the 1,000 mark.  Secretary Rumsfeld said the death toll illustrates that the U.S. is aggressively engaging terrorists around the world, and in the overall scheme of the Iraq war, the losses are “relatively small.”


L.A. Times Sept. 8, 2004 Page 1




Oct. 2, 2004 in Washington.  The look tells it all.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


"Bush Lied, My Son Died"


30 September 2004 By Michelle Goldberg, Salon.com


In excruciating new TV ads, family members of soldiers killed in Iraq speak out about the horrible waste of their loved ones' lives.


In a TV commercial released Wednesday, Cindy Sheehan, a 47-year-old woman from Vacaville, Calif., whose 24-year-old son was killed in Sadr City in April, speaks directly to George W. Bush.


Shot in black-and-white, her soft voice cracking, she says, "I imagined it would hurt if one of my kids was killed, but I never thought it would hurt this bad, especially someone so honest and brave as Casey, my son.  When you haven't been honest with us, when you and your advisors rushed us into this war.  How do you think we felt when we heard the Senate report that said there was no link between Iraq and 9/11?"


This is one of four new ads featuring relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq, produced by a new political action committee called RealVoices.org.  At a time when soldiers' parents have been arrested at Bush rallies and thrown out of the Republican National Convention for trying to make themselves heard, Real Voices was formed to broadcast the excruciating messages of those who feel that their loved ones' lives were wasted in Iraq.


Real Voices is spending $200,000 on its initial ad buy while trying to raise more money.


Each one of the spots is bitter and searing.


In one, Raphael Zappala, whose 30-year-old brother was killed in Baghdad while searching a warehouse for weapons of mass destruction, says, "My brother died trying to make an honest man out of George W. Bush, needlessly.  He was betrayed by the lies of his commander in chief.  And the troops still in Iraq are being betrayed."


Another features a California mother named Jane Bright, who remains livid about Bush's rash "Bring 'em on!" challenge.  "Mr. Bush," she says, "I have no way of knowing whether the insurgent who killed my son ever heard your foolish taunt.  But thanks to you, Mr. President, I have the rest of my life to wonder about it."


Sheehan tells Salon that she has never been politically active before.  But speaking out against Bush is a way to assuage a tiny bit of the futility she feels about her son's death. "I need to speak out for what I think is right, and I have this chance right now because people want to listen to me," she says.  "If I didn't do that, I wouldn't be able to get up in the morning or face a new day, because every day for me is like a new April 4, when my son was killed."


Since her son died, Sheehan has tormented herself for not doing more to fight Bush four years ago.  "My biggest regret in my entire life is that when Bush was selected as president by the Supreme Court that I didn't go out and say, 'No, this is B.S., we can't stop this election until we count every single vote.'  I just regret it so much. I don't know if I did something more maybe my son would still be alive."


One might think that Sheehan's sacrifice would protect her from assaults by the right-wing patriotism police, but one would be wrong.  Since she started speaking out, she's been attacked as a political opportunist and accused of treason.


"I have had people tell me that what I'm doing is supporting terrorists and that my son would be ashamed of me," she says. "I was on a radio call-in show on Sunday morning, and I had a lot of people call me a traitor."


Still, she plans to continue speaking out, joining a growing list of people channeling their grief into activism.


There's Lila Lipscomb, the bereft mother from "Fahrenheit 9/11."  There's Fernando Suarez del Solar, who crashed the Republican National Convention with a poster bearing a picture of his son, a Marine named Jesus, and the words, "Bush lied, my son died."  There's Sue Sapir Niederer, who wore a T-shirt saying "President Bush You Killed My Son" to a campaign rally featuring Laura Bush, and ended up being arrested and charged with "defiant trespassing," even though she had a ticket for the event. And there are more like them coming forth every day.


Speaking about those who want her to shut up, Sheehan says, "I think those people are traitors, because my son and millions of brave Americans before him have died for my right to speak out against the government."


What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Send to contact@militaryproject.org.  Name, I.D., withheld on request.  Replies confidential.



Iraq Vets Spark Anti-War Rally


10.1.04 Forwarded from VVAW National Staffperson Hannah Frisch to VVAWINC & VVAWNET


On September 19 Chicago VVAW supported a remarkable anti-war rally in the heart of wealthy Republican territory in the Chicago suburbs.


Rob Sarra, a founding member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and a close supporter of VVAW gave a moving speech opposing the war.  He was followed by two member of military families.  Then the flag on the coffin was folded while a poem was read by Pat Vogel, and, in the tradition of presenting the flag to the relatives of the deceased, organizer Paul Vogel told the crowd that "You are the brothers and sisters of the soldiers who have died in Iraq, so I am presenting the flag to all of you."  People then lined up to place the lilies on the coffin.


The march and rally had its origin in a display of flags representing soldiers who have died that Paul Vogel placed in the front yard of his temporary staffing business.  As local people walked by and stopped in to tell Vogel that they agreed with opposing the war but honoring the soldiers, the Vogel family got the idea for a larger event.


Paul's son Aaron has just returned from Iraq after serving there with his Army Reserve unit, the 652nd Engineering Company from Ellsworth, Wisconsin.  The unit was assigned not to engineering but to MP duty.


Four of Aaron's comrades were killed in Iraq.  Aaron worked on the web site for the event, and his mother and grandmother helped with publicity.  Aaron was shown in a Chicago Tribune photo sitting in the yard in front of his father's business surrounded by the flags representing the soldiers.


At the event, he joined Iraq Veterans Against The War.  [Check it out at: (www.ivaw.net) ]


In addition to VVAW, Iraq Veterans Against the War, American Friends Service Committee and Military Families Speak Out co-sponsored the march and public radio stations, in addition to stories in the Tribune and in local suburban papers.


Do you have a friend or relative in the service?  Forward this E-MAIL 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, at home and in Iraq, and information about other social protest movements here in the USA.  Send requests to address up top.



Update On The Lampin Case


I am not going to give up Tony, because you deserve better after now serving 13 years in the Army which owe you it's gratitude for the service you have already given to them.


From: Brandie Lampin, (USMC ret’d) BLampin4036@aol.com

To: GI Special

Sent: Friday, October 01, 2004

Subject: Hey something new I just received in the mail: permission to post updates OK.


Oct. 01,2004


Today I just received in the mail two letters.  One from my husband, and one from the commander of the Hospital at Fort Polk.


In Tony's letter, he sent me a document that was from a physical therapist.  It goes over what was said on his medical profile, and that he agrees with what was written on the medical profile, and that is MEDICAL BOARD.  It also says that my husband has been given compressive wraps and ice packs.


I couldn't read it all, but I will ask this.  Why is he going through physical therapy, and why has he been given ice packs, and compressive wraps?  Again, it is obvious that my husband's knee is not getting better, and that being over there is causing more damage.


In the letter from Fort Polk's Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, the commander wrote me in response to the letter that I sent to the President.  One of the passages reads this:


In reviewing the documents attached to your correspondence, I found your husband was issued a medical profile and recommended for a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB).  In accordance with Army Regulation 40-501, Standard of Medical Fitness, a Soldier's commander can question or challenge the diagnosis of the doctor for clarity of the profile; however, a unit commander CANNOT override a medical profile.  The medical officer designee is the only individual authorized to overturn a medical profile, but it is the responsibility of the unit commander to determine what duties or tasks a Soldier will perform based on the limitations of that profile.  After consideration of your husband's medical condition and consultation with Sgt. Lampin's attending medical physician, the unit commander decided to add your husband to his unit's deployable roster.


The decision whether Sgt. Lampin should be deployed is the unit's decision and not a medical decision.  Based on consultation with Sgt. Lampin's physician, it was determined that he could be deployed with his current medical condition and not suffer any further deterioration in his medical condition than what he has currently experienced.


First, if a commander cannot override a medical profile, then why is he over there when he is overriding it everyday.


No lifting or carrying of 30lbs, no climbing, no squatting, and no bending at the knees which is some of the new things that was written on a medical profile.


I know that the second part of what was written says the commander can determine if a soldier is deployable or not, but NON-DEPLOYABLE is written on his profile.


If that can be override, then why was it written on his permanent 3 medical profile?


I will also ask this again.  " If a Soldier's commander has the right to decide if a Soldier can be deployed despite medical advise that says different, then why does a Soldier bother going for medical attention at all?  Why does the military even have doctors, if commanders have the final say?


This needs to be changed.


Medical advice should be the final say in a Soldier's medical condition.  Not spit on and then risk their lives by sending them to war where no place is safe no matter where they are.


Second, I would like to know which physician they are talking about.


I know it can't be his orthopedic surgeon here, because he told me in person, and I have it on recording that he did not advise Tony to be deployed.


Also if he is going to sick call 2 - 3 times a week ever since he got there because of pain and swelling, and if he is going to physical therapy, wouldn't that mean that he is suffering do to further deterioration?


Third, I would just like to say this that I should have said when I first started.


Tony's name was not on the roster until after he got his P3 profile on June 9, 2004.  Before that date, his name was not on the list to go because the command knew that his doctor was going to recommend a medical board out of service.


If they knew it then, and was going to accept it then, then why can't they accept it now and redeploy him so that he can receive his medical board?  And I don't want to hear "because we need him," because if you need him so badly, then why are you not letting him do his job that you say you badly need him for.


After receiving this medical document from my husband, I immediately went to the Rep. of Senator Jim McCrery's office in town.


I told the case worker there what was going on with my husband, about what all I have done involving letters to the White House, other Senators, and Congressmen, and about what has been posted on the internet.


I showed her the document that Tony sent me and she couldn't understand why Tony was there, and why he is on physical therapy, and that she will most certainly look into the case.  She told me that she would contact me if she needed anything else.


I told her about the document that Tony had to sign that was some kind of release form, and she said that is good, that that, will help.  I played the recording of his doctor here at Fort Polk saying that he advised that Tony should not be deployed, and she found it interesting.


I told the case worker before I left the office that I would like to prove to Colonel Short that he is not GOD, and that I was not going to stop fighting for my husband's rights as a Soldier.


Now that I have this document, I made copies of it to mail out to the contacts that I have mailed to in the past, like the President, Vice President etc. I will send it out along with this update.


I am not going to give up Tony, because you deserve better after now serving 13 years in the Army which owe you it's gratitude for the service you have already given to them.



[Dear Brandie,


[Thanks for your update, will run in next GI Special.  Respect to you and very best wishes to your husband.


[Sooner or later somebody will realize that after all you have done to publicize the situation, it would be best to send him home alive now, rather than maimed or dead later, because if that happens there will be a gigantic shitstorm and heads will roll for sure.


[Given that personal career survival comes first for 99.9% of officers, all it takes is a tiny scrap of intelligence to see the big trap door just waiting to open.  Solidarity, T.]



U.S. Army To Call Up 5,000 More Ex-Soldiers In 2005


(Thanks to Lou Plummer, Vets For Peace & BTHN, and for his comments.)


By Will Dunham REUTERS


3:51 p.m. October 1, 2004


WASHINGTON The U.S. Army, now mobilizing 5,600 former soldiers from a rarely used personnel pool to go to Iraq and Afghanistan, plans to summon a similar number next year for duty in those war zones, a senior official said Friday.


The Army also said it plans to step up recruitment efforts to try to meet goals to sign up 80,000 new soldiers for the regular Army and 22,000 for the Army Reserve in the fiscal year that began Friday. The Army recruiting command's chief acknowledged the wars were deterring some potential recruits. [You reckon?]


To plug shortfalls in certain skills in units being deployed, the Army has tapped the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), made up of 111,000 people who have completed voluntary military commitments and have returned to civilian life but remain eligible to be mobilized in a national emergency.


The Army said about 3,900 of the 5,600 IRR soldiers scheduled to be summoned to active duty already have received orders to report.  The mobilization, which began in July, is intended to yield about 4,400 soldiers for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming weeks and months after the Army provides service exemptions for medical problems and other hardships.


Critics have cited the Army's reliance on the IRR as evidence that it has too few soldiers to sustain force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan.


"We're a nation at war.  And we need these people to come on active duty," [No, you are an Army at war. The nation is at peace] said Brig. Gen. Sean Byrne, the Army's director of personnel policy.


Of the IRR members whose date to report for duty has already arrived, roughly one-third have not shown up on time, with most of those requesting service exemptions or a delay in reporting, Byrne said.


Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman at the Pentagon, said the Army has identified six IRR members who have not reported by the date ordered, and have not requested an exemption from service or a delay in reporting.


These six people potentially could face future criminal charges if deemed absent without leave, or AWOL, although Hart said charges were unlikely and noted that commanders have a great deal of discretion in how to handle these cases.


A spokeswoman for the Army Human Resources Command had said Tuesday that eight IRR members had been listed as AWOL.  Byrne said the Human Resources Command was mistaken, adding, "No one is considered in an AWOL status right now."


Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, head of the Army Recruiting Command, said the Army is adding 1,000 recruiters and $12 million in advertising money to boost efforts to sign up fresh soldiers. [What they aren't saying is that the new recruiters are civilians.  They are sending the active duty recruiters back to line units because they need the manpower] In the fiscal year that ended Thursday, the regular Army and Army Reserve met recruiting goals, while the Army National Guard fell short.


"Obviously there's a war going on.  No one would deny that. And for some people, for some of our prospects for our target age, young men and women, that is in fact a drawback.  And it will deter some of them," [only the smart ones and the really poor ones] Rochelle told reporters.


"Many of them, once presented with the facts, can be convinced otherwise." [right after they finish drinking their snake oil, you slimy bastard]







Common Sense In A Vast Sea Of Bullshit


[Yeah, it’s long, but clear as a bell, and one that badly needs ringing, as most of the left collapses into electoral idiocy and turns its back on what can stop this war.  Gurewitz knows what can, and says so below.]


By Don Gurewitz, UFPJ Discussion List, 10.1.04


(Dear friends,


Given the importance of the debate going on about the presidential election, I thought you might be interested in the email below that I sent to some close friends who had forwarded to me a recent national open letter from Michael Moore.


As you know, Moore is a main force behind the "anybody but Bush", "vote for Kerry" campaign being waged by numerous antiwar and other activists. If you're so inclined, feel free to forward this to anyone else you think might be interested.


Don G.)


Dear X


I’m sure this is not what you expected when you forwarded me the piece by Michael Moore, but I just finished watching the presidential "debate", and I am so outraged that I feel I really need to respond to Moore’s position.


I certainly understand Moore’s hatred for Bush and his criminal gang, and wanting to see them thrown out on their ear.  They should be thrown out: in fact, they should be put before an international war crimes tribunal.


As Kerry clearly demonstrated tonight, though, throwing the Bush gang out by putting Kerry in will not fundamentally change the U.S.'s increasingly aggressive and war-like foreign policy, not in Iraq or any where else in the world.   nor will it fundamentally change any of the u.s. government's reactionary policies: not the attacks on democratic rights here in the u.s.; not the attacks on social welfare policies in the u.s.; not the attacks on the rights and living standards of working people here and abroad.


How could any one against this war, and against imperialism in general, possibly vote for someone who said, as Kerry did tonight:  "I will double the special forces...I will strengthen the military...I won't rule out preemptive military strikes against other nations...Bush has bogged us down in Iraq when we should be confronting Iran and north Korea...I am not talking about leaving Iraq, I am talking about winning in Iraq."  (my paraphrase, my emphasis).


One doesn't just vote against Bush and his policies; at the same time one votes for someone else and their policies.  It is just sophistry to say "I’m voting for Kerry but not his policies."  If Kerry wins (with the help of Moore and other antiwar activists) he will implement the policies he has so vigorously espoused and defended in tonight's debate—and Moore, and every other antiwar activist, will have put him there to do it with absolute foreknowledge.


I have heard some say, "Kerry is just saying things like that because he has to win."  In one sense I think this is dangerously naive and self-delusional: Kerry voted for the war; at every juncture Kerry has spoken in favor of the war (as Bush accurately quoted over and over again tonight); Kerry still says today that the war must be won.  What basis is there to believe that he doesn't mean what he consistently says?  Do his "only saying what he has to" apologists have some inside dope that no one else knows about?


In another sense, I think it is correct to say, "Kerry is just saying what he has to": the war in Iraq--and Bush's policies in general--are not simply the policies of some extreme right wing cabal. they are not just George Bush trying to avenge or outdo his daddy.  They are not just "cowboy politics".  They are the policies of a class, and they are broadly agreed on by both major parties.


The war in Iraq is a product of the intensified competition between the major imperial powers.  The U.S. is seeking to strengthen its control of the international economy, and the strategic resources to protect that control, at the expense of its imperial competitors. The British and French and German governments know this: that is why the Germans and French "opposed" the war (to resist u.s. efforts to deepen its control of the world economy at their expense), and that is why Tony Blair supported the war (to throw in his lot with the expected "winner" to get some crumbs from the hoped-for booty).


As Bush accurately pointed out tonight: Kerry (and all the other democrats and republicans) saw exactly the same intelligence reports that Bush saw.  You and I , and millions of others, without the benefit of those reports, knew that the whole rationale for war in Iraq was a lie.  Kerry (and the other politicians) did too.  They were not fooled  by Bush: they knew exactly what they were doing.


There is a reason why Kerry--and virtually every other democrat and republican--voted for this war (as the democrats and republicans have for every one of u.s. imperialism's wars): finding a substitute client state in the middle east has been a goal of every u.s. administration, democrat and republican alike, since the overthrow of the Shah in the 1979 Iranian revolution robbed u.s. imperialism of one of its 2 major pillars in that region (the other being Israel).


The goal of overthrowing the Hussein regime in Iraq was set as official u.s. policy by the Clinton administration, long before Sept. 11, because the u.s. ruling class perceived then that the weakening of the Iraqi regime as a result of the first gulf war and its aftermath, combined with Hussein’s brutality toward his own people, made Iraq "ripe for the picking".  The murderous economic sanctions against Iraq, the establishment of so-called "no fly zones", and the constant military assaults on Iraq aimed at degrading its defenses, were as much as the Clinton administration deemed they could get away with at the time. Then came Sept. 11.


There is absolutely no basis for assuming that things in the u.s. would look much different now if a democrat--Clinton, Gore, or Kerry--had been in office when Sept 11 happened.  Sept 11 provided the rulers of this country an opportunity to greatly step up all of the policies they had been pursuing through both democratic and republican administrations for years: more aggressive foreign policy; more aggressive use of u.s. military might; attacks on social programs and democratic rights; attacks on the rights and living standards of working people.


How can one possibly ignore that every major policy of the Bush administration from war to tax credits for the rich to attacks on women's rights, to the patriot act, etc, etc has been accomplished with significant support from the democrats?


In fact, much of the "Bush agenda" was "begun" under Clinton.


It was the Clinton administration that set up the first military command for North America in u.s. history, long before Sept. 11.  It was the Clinton administration that launched the first military assault on Afghanistan.  It was the Clinton administration that set the goal of overthrowing Hussein.  It was the Clinton administration that "abolished welfare as we know it", throwing millions into a social crisis which continues to unfold today, and setting the stage for the increasing attacks on other social welfare programs that are now in the works.


The "drift to the right" in u.s. policy is a bipartisan shift, consistent now for at least a couple decades, that is the result of the deepening competition between the major imperial powers caused by profound economic factors  Clinton went as far as he could given the conditions at the time.  As George Bush has said, "Sept 11 changed everything".  Sept 11 opened a huge space for the ruling class in this country to take big steps forward on every front in their attack on working people here and around the globe, and to greatly step up their efforts to strengthen their position vis a vis their imperial rivals.


Of course, there are constant differences between the parties, candidates, factions, etc. in the democratic and republican parties, just as their are in all large groups trying to decide how best to pursue and protect their interests.


There were and are debates about how best to establish a stable client regime in the mideast, how to overthrow the Cuban revolution, how to protect u.s. investments in Latin America, how to cut back on social benefits, how to whittle away at social security, etc. but these are debates about "how far can we go...can we get away with going this far...is this the best way to implement these policies?" 


These debates take place in democratic and republican party circles with fundamental agreement on the basic objectives: promote, pursue, and protect the interests of the Enrons, General Motors, General Electrics, Texacos, Citibanks, Wall Street, etc.   John Kerry stands on exactly the same principles in these discussions as does George Bush and every other democratic and republican party politician.


I am sometimes asked, "do you want to be responsible for Bush's election by not voting for Kerry?" of course I do not want to be responsible for Bush's reelection: that is why I will not vote for him and will instead vote for a socialist candidate for president.


For those who claim to be fighting so hard for democratic rights that they're even considering voting for someone they don't like (Kerry), it seems to me to be a shocking betrayal of the most elementary of democratic principles to hold someone responsible for electing a candidate that they voted against.


It seems to me that a much fairer question is: "do the Michael Moore's want to be responsible for ousting Bush by putting Kerry in?  Will they take responsibility for Kerry’s policies because they actually voted for him?"  What will they tell the Iraqi people--"you have to understand, Kerry’s war against you is much better than Bush's"?


Those who do not vote for Bush are not responsible for his policies if he is elected.  Those who vote for  Kerry are responsible for his if he wins.


I also don't agree with the "logic":  "well, even if Kerry doesn't end the war, at least his policies at home will be better."


I think it is an illusion to believe that the war of aggression in Iraq (and those that will come whether a democrat or a republican is in the white house) can be fought while things are "at least not so bad" here at home.


This war (these wars) have to be paid for: paid for in lives and blood, paid for in treasure, paid for in suppression of rights of those who will inevitably protest, paid for in "increased sacrifice" for the war effort.  It has always been thus, and thus it will always be.  Whatever line Kerry is mouthing to try and garner votes from a disgruntled electorate, he will be as compelled to "tighten up" at home in the face of his wars exactly as every other war president has been.


And even if it were true that "Kerry might not end the war, but some things will be better in the u.s.", what would those who vote for Kerry tell the Iraqis:  "You have to understand, I gave Kerry my vote even though I knew he would continue the war against you because I was hoping that at least the air I breathe in the u.s. would be a little less polluted?"


We've been down this road before.


I, and those in my age range, were urged to go "part of the way with LBJ" to stop the right-wing "Goldwater cabal" that supposedly would go to war in Vietnam and threaten to use nuclear weapons.  Remember that? 


And what did we get when the "fascist, warmonger Goldwater" was beaten and Johnson won?  The Vietnam war!  And remember when we had to "stop Nixon" and then "dump Nixon" to stop the war in Vietnam and the right wing assaults on our liberties?


And what did we get when Nixon won?  He stopped the war.


Certainly not because he wanted to, but because he was forced to--by the Vietnamese people and their echo in the antiwar movement in the U.S. and the U.S. military and around the world.  


That has been, and remains, the only way a U.S. (or any other) imperial war will end short of imperialism's victory: if the resistance in the occupied country, and a mass international anti-war movement, become so strong, and, consequently, the morale of imperialism's troops becomes so low, that it becomes the lesser of two evils for imperialism to withdraw.  [Morale was very high, against the war that is.]


That is how the U.S. war in Vietnam ended.  That is how the French war in Vietnam ended.  That is how the French occupation of Algeria ended. That is how the war in Iraq--and the war in Afghanistan--and all the other colonial wars to come--will end: not by the act of any u.s. president, be it Kerry or Bush, but only by the resistance of the occupied and those who mobilize in solidarity with them in the U.S. and around the world.  [And in the armed forces.  That stopped Vietnam.]


And that is the tragedy, in my opinion, of the "anybody but Bush" (i.e. "vote Kerry") campaign being waged by many opponents of the war in Iraq and many veterans of the 60's. the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the patently aggressive and rapacious and predatory nature of u.s. foreign economic and political policy; the looting of the economy by giant corporations; the destruction of medical plans and pensions for millions of working people; the declining living standards of millions of working people in the u.s.; the deepening attacks on labor unions and workers in general; the rapidly expanding assaults on civil liberties; the increased police violence--all these things are having a huge impact on millions of people, particularly millions of young people.


Look at the antiwar demonstrations, look at the labor battles, look at the labor solidarity efforts by students.


Millions of young people are waking up to the shocking reality, the horrifying truth, about the "American way".  These young people are our hope for the future.  They are the ones who can transform the lessons they are learning today into a movement to fight for a better future, a future fit for humankind.


But at the moment that they have begun to see the inhuman reality of American capitalism, and have demonstrated their desire to take action against it, so-called "antiwar leaders" and many with the authority of the "60s generation" are telling them: "anybody but Bush.  Vote for Kerry.  Don't pay attention to what Kerry says, just throw everything you've got into this desperate attempt to beat Bush in the so-called swing states.  We'll be better off if we just get rid of Bush".


This is urging them to renew their faith in the very system they are just learning to despise.  It is a terrible disservice to them--to us--and to the future of our children and the entire human race.


I can not vote for one imperialist politician to oust another.  Eugene V. Debs once said, "It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it."


Even more today, when millions of young people are looking for something to believe in, I couldn't agree more.










Bush’s “Free Election” Comes To Afghanistan:

Vote For Karzai Or I’ll Burn Your House Down


10/01/04 By Chris Floyd, "Moscow Times"


Here's a direct quote from the campaign trail: "Vote for the president -- or we'll burn your house down!"


Ah yes, democracy in action, Bush-style -- ya gotta love it!


As it happens, this particular manifestation of the Bushist Party's peculiar notion of free elections comes not from the White House -- whose court-appointed denizens have thus far confined themselves to mild, civilized declarations that anybody who opposes them is a godless, baby-killing traitor in league with Satanic terrorists.  Instead it's the Big Oil bagman whom the Bushists have installed as ruler of their stepchild colony in Afghanistan.


Installee Hamid Karzai, facing election on Oct. 9 (in those isolated portions of the country not controlled by the "defeated" Taliban, that is), has hit upon a novel campaign strategy, the BBC reports: arson.


Tribal chiefs touting their fellow Pashtun for prez have broadcast explicit warnings to their people: Anybody who doesn't vote for Karzai will have their house burned down and their family cut off from all communal activities, such as weddings and funerals.  Karzai, the polished sophisticate whose urbane manner and dynamite threads have put a glamorous face (Ben Kingsley's face, actually) on the Bush Regime's atrocious botching of the Afghan adventure, urbanely refused to condemn this barbarity on his behalf.


And why should he?  Barbarity is all the rage in Bushist Afghanistan, where large numbers of women are now burning themselves alive to escape continuing repression at the hands of fundamentalist warlords in the pay of the Pentagon, the Guardian reports.


And while three years of pounding sand has failed to turn up Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush's hugger-mugger "Special Forces" crews -- operating without supervision or accountability -- have done a crackerjack job torturing and killing civilians, the Los Angeles Times reports.


The paper detailed the delightful antics of a Special Forces squad -- led by a berserker known only as "Crazy Mike" -- who subjected captives to near-drowning and electric shocks, ripped out their toenails, and beat them so savagely that some were left crippled while others joined Bush's favorite philosopher way up in the sky.


Crazy Mike also threatened to kill any local official who interfered with his good clean fun.  Army investigators, prodded into action by the Times story, say they have no idea who was actually in command of Mike's secret unit -- nor could they say how many other pocket gulags were squirreled away across the Bushist satrapy.



Fool Bush Boasts Of Election Fraud


10.1.04 Paul Krugman, NY Times


These days, Mr. Bush and other administration officials often talk about the 10.5 million Afghans who have registered to vote in this month's election, citing the figure as proof that democracy is making strides after all.


They count on the public not to know, and on reporters not to mention, that the number of people registered considerably exceeds all estimates of the eligible population.  What they call evidence of democracy on the march is actually evidence of large-scale electoral fraud.







Horrible Situations Everywhere You Go


From: "Mohammed Al Moghayer" mohamed7777@hotmail.com

To: GI Special

Sent: Saturday, October 02, 2004 2:52 PM

From North of Gaza:


Quickly because there is no time, as Apaches are shelling everywhere here in Gaza.. the situations are getting worst..


Shreds of human flesh.. these fingers of human beings that I have seen today spread in the streets of Jabalya Camp, in the north of Gaza.  These fingers used to work and to write.. the situations are getting worst now..


Horrible situations everywhere you go..


I'm reporting from the North of Gaza Strip, Jabalya Camp, where hundreds of people were injured and many tens were killed.  The operation is going to be continues for so longer time, as the families have no water and food in the area.


One of the families appeals to every human in the world to stop what is going on here..


I'm reporting from the North of Gaza now, and exactly from Kamal Adwan hospital..


must leave nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Shelllllllllling




(To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation by a foreign power, go to: www.rafahtoday.org.  The foreign army is Israeli; the occupied nation is Palestine.)


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