GI SPECIAL 2#B81
the Fallen 10.2.04, Washington D.C.
Veterans Against The War organizers Mike Hoffman and Rob Sarra
them out at
Military Families Now Oppose War
11 October 2004 By Peter Beinart, The
When Quinnipiac University polled
Pennsylvanians in mid-August about their views on Iraq, it found
that families that included someone on active military duty, in the
Reserves, or a veteran, were significantly less likely than other
voters to support the Iraq war. Overall,
they opposed it 54 to 41 percent.
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
here in the USA.
Send requests to address up top.
Car Bomb Wounds Two U.S. Soldiers
U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicles
arrive at the site of a roadside bomb attack in Mosul October 2,
2004. (Namir Noor-Eldeen/Reuters)
02 October 2004 By Zidan Khalaf,
Another car bomb
Saturday exploded near a U.S. convoy outside the northern city of
Mosul, wounding two American soldiers, the
occupation command claimed 100% control of Samarra, and that
resistance to the U.S. attack had stopped. A day later:]
October 4, 2004 Reuters
About 70 per cent of the city was under US-Iraqi control,
but operations were still going
on, said a spokesman for the US 1st Infantry Division.
IED Wounds Two
02 October 2004 By Zidan Khalaf,
U.S. forces also clashed
Saturday with Shiite Muslim insurgents in Baghdad's Sadr City,
police and witnesses said. Two
U.S. soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb hit their armored
personnel carrier, the military said.
“Yeah, we call
them cowards, but we don’t like to admit that they are a lot
smarter than we think,” said Sgt. Jose Flores, an M240B
machine-gunner with 2-8’s Cobra Company.
“They can’t fight
us one-on-one, so they have to think of ways to sucker-punch us,’”
he said. “And they are good at it.”
October 04, 2004 By Matthew Cox, Army
Times staff writer
— The dry heat inside a
Bradley fighting vehicle feels more like an oven than a troop
At 11:45 p.m. on Sept. 21, Sgt. Eric
Bourquin of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment listens
over a radio handset.
“Tanks are pulling out [to refuel]; we
are going to find a dismount stronghold,” the Austin, Texas, native
shouts to the others. There are sighs of relief.
But as adept as 1st Cav units here
have become at urban fighting, soldiers and leaders admit that enemy
forces, while small, continue to be very clever and highly resilient
“They are clever. They are the best
Maj. Bill Williams, executive officer
for 2-8….who is from Mortzon, Texas said “They have become very good
at adapting things to other things — they go the junkyard, and they
make a rocket launcher.”
While head-on insurgent attacks
continue to be ineffective, it appears to many soldiers that
insurgents are learning to avoid direct fights with U.S. forces
because they sustain too much damage.
“Yeah, we call them
cowards, but we don’t like to admit that they are a lot smarter than
we think,” said Sgt. Jose Flores, an M240B machine-gunner with 2-8’s
“They can’t fight
us one-on-one, so they have to think of ways to sucker-punch us,’”
he said. “And they are good at it.”
Survived Spring Explosion Killed By Sniper
Oct. 03, 2004 Associated Press, LOS
An Army sergeant
who was lucky to escape alive after his Humvee rolled over an
explosive device last spring saw his luck run out when he was struck
by a sniper's bullet in Balad, Iraq, last week.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Joselito O.
Villanueva was killed Monday during an ambush, U.S. military
The former Los Angeles resident had
narrowly avoided death during another ambush last spring when the
Humvee he was riding in ran over the explosive. The blast that
followed sent a piece of shrapnel the size of a half dollar through
"He's lucky it didn't kill him,"
recalled 1st Sgt. David L. Morgan.
Villanueva, who was single, was to be
buried in Southern California, where his parents, Edito and
Paklarita Villanueva, live.
The Bitter Face Of
City In A Pickup Truck
Sep 28 By Steve Fainaru, Washington
Post Staff Writer
BAGHDAD, Sept. 27 -- The convoy
stopped in a single-file line: a half-dozen U.S. armored military
vehicles and one gray Nissan pickup truck, all of them idling in a
dirt lot in the insurgent-controlled slum called Sadr City.
In the pickup were five members of the
Iraqi National Guard, resting up after patrolling with U.S. troops.
The men sipped water in the hot midday sun. They wore bulletproof
vests but no helmets as they sat in their unarmored truck.
Without warning, an
orange fireball engulfed the area, followed by a deafening explosion
and then gray smoke that blotted out the sun. When it cleared, the
Nissan and the Iraqis inside it were riddled with marble-size ball
bearings that had sprayed from a roadside bomb.
"They're dead! All of them are dead!"
shouted an American soldier who had rushed to the vehicle.
"Make sure!" shouted another. "See if
any of them are moving."
"They're done," said the first,
turning away. "They're all done."
Three Americans --
all gunners whose job requires them to stand partially exposed in
the rear hatches of the bulletproof Humvees -- sustained wounds,
though none that were life-threatening. Dozens of other U.S. troops
on the scene escaped unharmed, thanks largely to their vehicles'
witnessed by a Washington Post reporter riding in an armored Humvee
directly behind the Nissan
on Monday afternoon,
demonstrated the uneven
vulnerability of U.S. forces, who are equipped with the most
sophisticated weaponry and armor, and their Iraqi allies, who fight
the same battles using vastly inferior equipment.
Among the Iraqis,
there are frequent complaints that they don't have the tools for the
Asked if a Nissan
pickup afforded sufficient protection in Sadr City, where more than
100 roadside bombs exploded last month, Capt. Haider Yehya, the
commander of the Iraqi guardsmen, responded: "No. Those vehicles,
those are civilian vehicles. They're not right for the army."
The day began at around 11:30 a.m.,
when the 2nd platoon of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion of the 8th
Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, made its way up Baghdad's
Canal Road to patrol Sadr City,
which remains largely under the control of insurgents
loyal to Moqtada Sadr, the rebellious Shiite cleric.
In this tense environment, children
walked along streets, watching the patrol. Some waved at the
soldiers and smiled; when the convoy briefly stopped, they
surrounded the Iraqi guardsmen and talked with them.
Then, as the convoy drove away, the
mood changed. Some children threw rocks at the vehicles.
Around 2:45 p.m., the convoy made its
way back to a large vacant lot near the southern edge of Sadr City,
where it was joined by vehicles from other units patrolling the
area. Two M1-A2 Abrams tanks were pointed at the neighborhood.
Behind the Nissan, Sgt. Anthony
Stewart, 31, of Sumter, S.C., sat in his Humvee, watching the Iraqi
guardsmen. Two were sitting in the rear bed of the pickup; one was
swigging water spiked with rehydration powder that the U.S. soldiers
had given him. But he was spitting the water into the dirt.
"Look at those
guys, they don't know how to drink it," said Stewart. He said later
that he thought about getting out of the Humvee and walking over to
explain that they needed to swallow the powdered water for it to be
Before he could do
that, the air filled with an orange fireball that seemed to erupt
about 10 feet to the right of the Nissan.
The smoke from the explosion cleared
after about 30 seconds, revealing the carnage.
"We have ING wounded!" Stewart
shouted into the radio. "ING are down!"
The truck had offered no protection.
The man who had been swigging the water was slumped against the rear
of the cab, his eyes open, his body bloodied and motionless. The man
next to him also appeared to have been killed instantly; his body
lay against the left side of the truck, his right hand spread across
his lap. Blood and parts of his brain and skull trickled down the
left rear panel.
Inside the cab, two others were dead;
a man in the passenger seat had two ball bearings lodged in his
Khaleb, the driver, managed to open
his door and take a few steps toward the company medic, Spec. Justin
"Doc" Martin, who was riding in the Humvee in front of the Nissan.
But then Khaleb collapsed in the dirt and crawled until the medic
Martin cut off the man's bloodied
clothing and began to treat him for arterial bleeding.
shouted that the gunner in Martin's Humvee was also down. The man,
who was unconscious, had been blown back into the gunner's hatch.
"We got him woken
up," Martin said later. "He didn't know where he was. He didn't
know who I was."
Martin turned to another gunner who
had been two Humvees behind the Nissan. He cut away the man's shirt,
revealing his punctured right shoulder.
"My shoulder, Doc," he said. "I can't
feel my shoulder."
In the meantime, two American soldiers
got Khaleb onto a stretcher and placed him in a Humvee.
U.S. commanders quickly
began to clear the area, fearing another attack. The truck was
abandoned. The Humvees raced out of the southeast side of the lot,
a cloud of dust rising in their wake. The two that had led and
followed the Nissan headed back down Canal Road in the same order,
now minus the pickup.
Within a half mile of the lot, the
shrapnel-pierced right rear tire of the front vehicle began to
disintegrate. Black smoke and the smell of the burning tire trailed
behind it, filling the air. Outside Sadr City, in a more secure
area of Baghdad, the two vehicles pulled over to the side of the
road. An hour passed as the soldiers struggled to jack up the heavy
vehicle and replace the oversize tire.
The skin on the right side of both
vehicles was gouged with holes the size of marbles. The right rear
windows were also punctured, but shrapnel did not appear to have
penetrated either vehicle.
Pfc. Dion Butler, 20, was riding in a
rear passenger seat in the Humvee in front of the Nissan. He said
he had opened the door slightly before the blast to test it because
it had been sticking.
A piece of shrapnel appeared to have
entered through the slight opening. It narrowly missed the head of
Sgt. Jason Pries, 28, of Rochester, N.Y., who was seated in the
front passenger seat. The ball bearing hit the front window,
gouging the glass and spreading a web of cracks from the point of
"You almost got me killed, man," Pries
joked in relief when Butler said he had left the door open.
Sgt. Nick Varney, of Lancaster,
Calif., was driving the Humvee behind the Nissan.
He called Sadr City "an IED
planet," using the shorthand for the military term improvised
explosive device, and said an attack in the lot had been likely
because U.S. tanks frequently park there. "It was only a matter of
time before the Mahdi militia was going to try to stage an ambush,"
The vehicles made it back to Camp
Cuervo, a forward operating base about six miles southeast of Sadr
City, at 5:30 p.m.
"I've never needed a cigarette more in
my life," said one of the soldiers.
"I've never needed to drop acid more
in my life," said another.
Before the June 28
transfer of political authority to an interim Iraqi government, the
Iraqis accompanied the American soldiers on patrols, often taking
vacant seats in their Humvees. They now ride in their own vehicles
-- not just used pickups but civilian transport trucks and minivans
provided by the interim government's Defense Ministry. They use old
AK-47s and RPK light machine guns.
using those old World War II-style helmets," said Carter. "Truth be
told, they're better off without them, because they don't provide
the ballistic protection that our equipment provides."
As Carter spoke, Maj. Hugh McGloin,
his operations chief, walked into his office. Earlier in the day,
McGloin had been wounded by a separate roadside bomb. Shrapnel hit
him in the back of his helmeted head. As he bent over, he said, his
blast-resistant glasses fell off, then began to pool with blood.
McGloin's head was bandaged. Carter
handed him a cell phone to call his family, then examined the
injured soldier's helmet.
"That saved your life, bro," said
Wife Of Slain Iraq
Hostage Urges Bush To Bring Soldiers Home
September 27, 2004 Associated Press
The wife of a Marietta man who was
killed in Iraq by Islamic militants thanked the public for the
outpouring of sympathy shown to her family, while expressing anger
toward the Bush administration for its policies in the war on
"I really feel it's
time for America to start taking care of Americans, and for us to
stop being world peacemakers. We have a lot of issues that need to
be resolved here," she said on NBC's "Today" show Monday. "We need
to bring those people home and stay home."
Hensley appeared on the show before
traveling to Dover Air Force Base, Del., where she planned to claim
her husband's body Monday.
She said she initially was hesitant to
make the trip but realized that she needed to do it for her husband.
"I've been with this man for 23 years, and this is now not the time
for me to let somebody else take care of him. I'm going to go take
care of him."
Soldiers’ Dad His Constant Companion;
Then Army Moves
Him, Don’t Tell Family Where He Is
October 03, 2004 By Kayley Mendenhall
Chronicle Staff Writer
Just last week,
Lenny was moved to another hospital, but Len and Cat don't know
where. As of Friday, they had no way to get in touch with him and
were waiting on information from his mom.
"I know that he
should not be moved so much, but what can we do?" Cat said. "It
is military, you know."
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS -- Cat Watson
couldn't sleep. A sudden panic attack gripped her chest, waking her
with a start around midnight on Aug. 25.
"I walked and I cried, and I walked
and I cried," she said. "I thought, 'I don't know what's going on,
but I know something is going on.'"
Finally, in the early hours of the
morning, she settled on a couch in her brightly painted home
office. Her husband, Lenard Watson Sr. had gone to work at the
Mountain View Nursing Home, where he is a nurse, and Cat thought she
might get some rest.
Then the front door opened and her
"Len said, 'Lenny's been wounded,'"
she recalled. "I couldn't say anything. I didn't know what to say."
That moment more than a month ago sent
Len and Cat Watson on what Cat calls, "a wild ride."
Lenny was severely
injured in a fire fight between Iraqi militants and U.S. forces on
Aug. 25 in the city of Najaf. He was standing less than three feet
from a rocket-propelled grenade when it exploded, embedding shrapnel
in his legs and his head, destroying the left side of his jaw.
Corpsmen in the field immediately gave Lenny a
tracheotomy to help him breathe.
While his son was in Germany, Len was
able to talk to him. But because of the extensive damage to his
mouth, including burns over most of his tongue, Lenny couldn't talk
back. He would tap once on the phone for "yes," and twice for "no."
He wrote a note for the medical staff
to read to his dad. It said, "I'm fine. I'm looking forward to
seeing you." "That helped me," Len said. "We knew that no matter
what we saw, we have to be strong in the room."
Len took the U.S. Marine Corps up on
its offer to fly him to Bethesda.
As Len Sr. prepared to make the trip,
he started paying closer attention to the news from Iraq. CNN
reported that about 40 Marines had been injured in the Najaf attack.
"It never hit us
how many were getting hurt," Len said. "They tell you how many are
killed, but they don't tell you how many injured it took to get
that one death."
icasualties.org, a Web site compiling numbers from several
government sources, about 7,500 U.S. soldiers have been wounded in
Iraq so far.
From talking with
other parents of soldiers, Len said, he believes the number of
wounded is between 7,000 and 10,000, some minor and some severe.
When he arrived in Bethesda, Len saw
first hand the devastating extent of the soldiers' injuries -- bad
burns, missing limbs, eyes and noses.
Those soldiers are, Len said, some of
the bravest people he has ever met.
Lenny will be hospitalized for 12 to
15 months. He won't be able to eat solid food for at least a year,
and will undergo several surgeries to replace his shattered jaw with
prosthetic parts. He has a broken leg, a broken toe, shrapnel wounds
up and down his left side and a fractured skull.
For two weeks in Bethesda, Len nursed
his son teaching him to change his bandages and watching him walk
his first few agonizing steps.
Len recalled his fear the first time
Lenny grabbed a mirror to investigate his wounds, and then his pride
at how well his son handled the sight of his own battered body.
Dealing with war
injuries is as difficult, in many ways, for the parents as it is for
"You would look
down the hall and see these parents coming out and they would just
fall on the floor," Len said. "They didn't want to cry in front of
their loved ones."
Len worked to make
sure the doctors and celebrities who visited directed their
conversations at Lenny, who was fitted with an electronic device
allowing him to speak through his tracheotomy tube. His son, he
said, deserved the attention and deserved to know the plan for his
"It was an honor
being there to serve him," Len said.
After arriving in Bethesda, the U.S.
military had given Lenny an option: Stay in Maryland or move to
Balboa Park in San Diego, closer to his friends at Camp Pendleton
and his mom and grandparents in Visalia, Calif.
He chose California.
Once they began the journey, the
military plane stopped almost every two hours picking up more
wounded passengers along the way.
It took 48 hours
to make it from Bethesda to Sacramento, he said, and once there
mechanical problems delayed the last leg of the trip several
In all, it took
six days to complete what should have been a 13-hour trip. Lenny
was in a lot of pain and Len was thankful the Bethesda hospital
had given him three bags of medical supplies and food.
"The big issue with all the guys that
were hurt is the pain," Len said. "Morphine didn't help the pain in
his mouth, because all those nerve endings are exposed."
Just last week, Lenny was moved to
another hospital, but Len and Cat don't know where. As of Friday,
they had no way to get in touch with him and were waiting on
information from his mom.
"I know that he should not be moved so
much, but what can we do?" Cat said. "It is military, you know."
Friends, too, are working to help Len
and Cat with the financial burdens they've been dealt.
"We've been real close over the
years," said Laura Ellington, the Watsons' neighbor. "I spent
summers around that boy. It's a hard one to know what to do for
She set up a savings account for the
family at the Bank of the Rockies in White Sulphur Springs. The
money raised will help Len buy airplane tickets to fly back to
California after each of Lenny's surgeries.
"When he comes out of recovery, he'll
know somebody's there," Len said. "There
was a lot of them that didn't have anybody there. The ones with
family support do a little bit better."
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK
OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
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.
And join with Iraq War
vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home
Family Condemns Bush & War;
“It’s Just Wrong”
September 30, 2004 Bob von Sternberg
and Larry Oakes, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Relatives of a Minnesota Marine who
was killed in Iraq lashed out Wednesday against the war and the Bush
administration's conduct in waging it.
Across the street from the Lake Elmo
restaurant where Vice President Dick Cheney had finished speaking an
hour earlier, the grandmother of Levi Angell spoke of "my precious
grandson I lost to this useless, needless fix we're in."
Lila Angell said
the war "is crazy. It's just wrong."
do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans,
are especially welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
Wounded & Desperate
Iraq Vet Must Beg For Charity:
Government Wants To
Cut People Who Process Vets Disability Paper;
VA Asshole Says “I
Think We’re Doing OK Now.”
Oct. 03, 2004 By Josh White,
WASHINGTON - Thousands
of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with physical
injuries and mental health problems are encountering an overburdened
benefits system, and officials and veterans' groups worry that the
challenge could grow as the nation remains at war.
benefits and health care systems that provide services for about 5
million American veterans have been overloaded for decades, with a
current backlog of more than 300,000 claims.
And as of Aug. 1, nearly 150,000
National Guard and reservist veterans became eligible for health
care and benefits because they were mobilized to fight in Iraq and
That number is rising.
budget for 2005 calls for cutting the Department of Veterans
Affairs staff that handles benefits claims, and some veterans
report long waits for benefits and confusing claims decisions.
"I love the
military; that was my life. But I don't believe they're taking
care of me now," said Staff Sgt. Gene Westbrook, 35, of Lawton,
Paralyzed in a
mortar attack near Baghdad in April, he has received no disability
benefits because his paperwork is missing.
He is supporting his wife and three
children on his regular military pay of $2,800 a month as he awaits
a ruling on whether he will receive $6,500 a month from the VA for
Through the end of April, the most
recent accounting the VA could provide, a total of 166,334 veterans
of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan had separated from military
service, and 26,633 -- 16 percent -- had filed benefits claims with
the VA for service-connected disabilities.
two-thirds of those claims had been processed, leaving more than
9,750 recent veterans waiting. Officials expect
those numbers to increase as the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan
"I think we're
doing OK now, but I am worried," VA Secretary Anthony Principi said
in a recent interview. [He thinks “we’re”
doing OK? Fine, let this overpaid lying
political hack bureaucrat live on the $2800 a month the Sgt. gets
and see how “OK” he thinks that is. So he loses his fine housing
and his charge accounts and all the privileges people like him lap
up. Let him get a little reminder of what the Sgt. is going
through, up close and personal. How “OK” will that be?]
Westbrook was deployed to Iraq in
January as a drill sergeant, sent to train Iraqi army recruits.
While on duty April 28 south of Sadr
City in Baghdad, he was hit by a mortar shell, and the shrapnel
severed his spine.
He is now paralyzed from the chest
down, has limited movement in his right arm, and battles constant
His wife takes care of him full-time.
praises the way the Army has treated him since his injury,
including providing excellent medical care, he has struggled to
make it on his regular pay since he returned July 14.
to expedite the process, and they have not done that," he said,
adding that officers in his Army unit have been trying in vain to
been set up in his honor to help defray costs.
draining, because I don't know what to do and my family is asking
when we'll get the money," he said.
"It's the hardest part about this
Currently, the VA
takes about 160 days per claim, and 60,000 to 70,000 new claims come
in each month. [That’s + 5
months per claim.]
"The system is already strained, and
it's going to get strained even worse," said David Autry, a
spokesman for Disabled American Veterans.
"It's not a rosy
picture at all, and they can't possibly hope to say they're going to
provide timely benefits to the new folks if they can't provide
timely care to the people already in the system."
For veterans, the VA's system for
evaluating disability claims can be the most frustrating element.
Through the end of
August, the agency had about 330,000 cases waiting to get a
"rating," or a percentage figure approved by an
evaluation board that decides how much a disabled veteran will
receive monthly from the VA.
The ratings system uses a complex
guide to calculate, for example, how disabling it is to lose a foot
or to be blinded in one eye. Soldiers are rated from zero percent
to 100 percent disabled, and compensation varies from nothing to
thousands of dollars each month.
Board decisions can take months as
they weigh the severity of injuries and make sure they were suffered
while the veteran was in the service.
Appeals of such
decisions can take years, and board decisions can
Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., ranking
member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said the VA is
woefully underfunded and unprepared.
The current budget
for fiscal 2005, still pending in Congress even though the fiscal
year ended Thursday, calls for cutting more than 500 claims
"The VA is not ready for an influx of
new veterans from the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,"
Pentagon For Saying Reservists Shouldn’t Get Good Civilian Jobs
10.4.04 Army Times
Letters To The Editor
I found the Fast Track section of the
Aug. 30 issue a little disturbing.
The item titled
“Civil-military spat hits the heartland” was very alarming,
particularly the response that the police chief, William McCarthy,
received from defense officials saying if localities can’t handle
reservists called away from police and fire departments, reservists
shouldn’t hold those jobs in the first place.
It was less than comforting for a
guardsman called up for active duty.
The response made
it sound as if defense officials were essentially saying, don’t give
guardsmen certain positions if you can’t cover them if they are
sounds like discrimination based upon reserve or guard service. Is
that what the Defense Department is saying to employers?
It is hard enough
having to leave a job — or worse, your own business — and
families. But you then add to that the possibility that you may
not get a certain position if you are in the reserve or guard.
Is this what I am to expect as a
member of the reserve or guard if I am called to active duty?
1st Lt. Jason W. Cowin, USAF
Mahdi Army soldier stands near a
damaged mural of the late religious leader Mohammed Sadiq al Sadr,
father of radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada al Sadr, in the Baghdad
suburb of Al Sadr city, October 2, 2004. The mural was damaged in a
firefight between members of the Mehdi army militia and U.S. forces.
An Election “Paved
By Blood” And “Built On Skulls”
BAGHDAD, Oct 3 (AFP)
A grouping of
senior Iraqi Sunni Muslim clerics stepped up their criticism Sunday
of the deadly US-Iraqi offensive in Samarra and of US air strikes on
Fallujah calling them "massacres".
They warned that bloodshed could not
pave to democratic elections and threatened a possible call for
jihad, or holy war, if such a "terrorist" strategy was not reversed.
"My brothers, we are facing a new
massacre in Samarra," Sheikh Mohammed Bashar al-Faidi, spokesman for
the respected Committee of Muslim Scholars, told reporters at
Baghdad's Umm al-Qura mosque.
"It is the latest
in a series of many criminal ones perpetrated by the greatest
terrorist nation on the face of the earth: the United States," he
"Who is going to
respect elections paved by the blood of Iraqis and built on their
skulls?" asked the white-turbaned sheikh. "The government is solving
our problems the American way."
The Empire’s Worst
Nightmare Coming True:
Trained Occupation Cops Think Killing American Troops Good Idea
October 03, 2004 By Edward Wong, The
New York Times
A chief sergeant,
32, who declined to give his name made a distinction between
killing policemen and killing Americans. "I like the mujahedeen,"
he said, "because they fight the Americans."
Senior American commanders here all
say the outcome of this increasingly grim war — and the ability of
Americans to leave eventually — depends on standing up Iraqi
security forces that can take over many of the policing duties now
handled with questionable effectiveness by the 140,000 American
soldiers here. [So much for that
But these days, the Iraqi police spend
as much time protecting themselves as guarding the public. The
police are key targets in the insurgents' campaign to cripple the
interim Iraqi government, and hospital wards are filling with dazed
men lying in blood-drenched blue uniforms.
To listen to Iraq's new police
officers is to hear the voices of under-equipped and under-trained
men, often unnerved by the danger but determined to work. They hope
that if they can feed their families and calm their country, their
lives may get better.
They say they are committed to
building a new Iraq, but many are skeptical about the Americans who
insist they were sent here to do the same thing.
Some even say they
are willing to turn their guns on the soldiers. [Need a road map
and a flashlight to figure out what that means? Clue: For every one
willing to say it to an American New York Times reporter, there are
199 more who will do it.]
In the southern city of Basra, some
policemen have begun wearing black ski masks to hide their
identities, giving them more than a passing resemblance to the
shadowy jihadists they are supposed to be fighting.
But like Capt. Fouad Hadi, many police
officers and potential recruits say the violence does not shake
their resolve to serve. For
sure, it does not shake their need to bring home a paycheck. Iraq's
unemployment rate is 50 percent, and police officers earn a
relatively high average salary, equivalent to $228 a month. So the
number of people applying for jobs has not dropped, Col.
Adnan Abdul-Rahman, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said.
Ayad Hussein, 24, a recruit recovering
in Karama Hospital from shrapnel wounds suffered in a car bombing,
said he was not deterred. "There
are no other jobs, no opportunities offered," he said.
But some officers
complain that they have yet to see promised raises.
"They said there
would be a bonus last month for fighting the Mahdi Army," said
Sgt. Rafid Rashid, 34, referring to the Shiite militia that rose
in rebellion in August. "But we got nothing." [Now there’s a
brilliant way to hold their loyalty.]
Many officers also express frustration
that they are issued assault rifles and pistols, while insurgents
often have rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. Many also
complain of a shortage of good body armor.
The elaborate defenses surrounding
stationhouses are testaments to the hazards. At the headquarters of
the Organized Crime Unit in western Baghdad, where Hadi's men were
spooked by the parked car, a labyrinth of sand-filled barriers and
metal-spiked speed bumps lies between the parking lot and the front
door. Insurgents have attacked the building using mortars and cars
packed with explosives. Black funeral banners proclaiming the
martyrdom of comrades drape barriers.
The force has
39,000 trained officers, and the U.S. military hopes to have more
than 60,000 on hand for the elections, said Capt. Steven Alvarez, a
U.S. military spokesman.
recently cited Pentagon documents saying that only 8,169 have had
the full eight-week academy training.
Even if one takes the military's
numbers at face value, there is no way to measure the loyalty and
morale of the officers.
Earlier that morning, at dawn, a
half-dozen policemen were sitting around at a cafe in the same
neighborhood eating eggs and bread. They smoked and drank tea and
read in a newspaper of how three policemen had been killed by a
suicide car bomb in the capital the previous day.
A chief sergeant,
32, who declined to give his name made a distinction between killing
policemen and killing Americans.
he said, referring to Iraqi Islamist fighters, "are my brothers, but
when policemen are killed, it is not the mujahedeen; those people
are Wahhabis and terrorists like Zarqawi and Osama." Now he was
referring to the branch of fundamentalist Islam associated with
Saudi Arabia and followed by Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian.
"I like the
mujahedeen," he said, "because they fight the Americans."
[Definitely time to get the fuck out and come home now, alive.)
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Corporation Quits Iraq;
General Warning To
Lebanese Firms Issued
03 October 2004 Aljazeera
A Jordanian company
has ceased its operations in Iraq as a purported Iraqi group warns
the Lebanese Government to stop sending nationals to the war-torn
The Jordanian haulage firm said it
made the decision to pull out after abductors paraded an employee in
video footage aired on Arab television on Saturday.
"I am halting all
my business in Iraq to protect the lives of my staff," Starline
director general Muhammad Samah al-Ajluni said.
internet statement in the name of another group holding two Lebanese
contractors gave Beirut an ultimatum to disallow its nationals from
working for the US-led military in Iraq.
government cannot be unaware that its nationals - interpreters,
contractors and others - are oppressing, torturing and harming the
Iraqi people in general and the mujahidin in particular," said the
statement in name of the Islamic Army in Iraq.
"We demand that the Lebanese
government withdraw all nationals working for the occupier in Iraq
and warn them that they must bear the responsibility for the outcome
if they refuse."
Cutting Supplies From Turkey
(Los Angeles Times, September 30,
Growing violence has set back the
lucrative trade between Ankara and Baghdad as fewer drivers are
willing to make the risky run.
Armed escorts for the Turkish truck convoys have failed to stop
attacks, truckers say.
Clueless In Baghdad
"The sad thing is
that US combat intelligence in Iraq does not seem to know who the
insurgents are, where they are, how many they are, or what they plan
to do. This in spite of all the happy campaign talk about how well
things are going."
Retired Army Special Forces Col. W.
Patrick Lang, former Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle
East and a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
“Nobody Wins In A
22 Sep 04 by Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt.
Col. USAF (ret.), Military Week
An absence of
leadership qualities in our military leaders gives rise to terms
like "Seagull" Colonels and Generals, a species known to swoop in,
make a lot of noise, crap all over everything, and then fly away.
But our seagulls
had an advantage over Bush and Cheney. Regardless of the mistakes
made and not remedied, regardless of the illogic, stupidity and
sheer idiocy of our present unit's existence under a seagull
commander, at least we could be 100% sure they wouldn't be around
High level incompetence seems to be
the natural sea-state of our militarized foreign policy, launching
forth with the "proud" Guardsman George W. Bush at the helm and Dick
"Other Priorities" Cheney as navigator.
What about active duty soldiers and
Marines, who have recently seen both ugly ends of the Bush-Cheney
foreign policy baby?
On the truth about Iraq, Bush and
Cheney have told us it's going just fine, we are killing the
appointed number of "terrorists" and "evil doers." We are winning,
they say. From the key top officers, whether General Casey, General
Abizaid, General Meyers or any of the lesser flag officers on active
duty today, we hear only a ricochet of the President's fantasies, or
else deafening silence.
But from lower
ranking soldiers and marines, we hear plenty. One former marine
refers to Iraq as "Bush's Magical Middle Eastern Mystery Tour."
He explains why we will leave Iraq, eventually, with nothing.
It is one of the
rules that should have been learned early on by all leaders, even
mediocre ones. Apparently Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld missed the
lecture called "Nobody wins a shitstorm."
Stunning Success In
6,500 In City Of 500,000 Friendly To U.S.
September 28, 2004 By Alissa J. Rubin,
L.A. Times Staff Writer
"A lot of these
guys have read history," said [Col.] Durrant, recounting a recent
meeting with Ramadi tribal sheiks, educators and businessmen.
"They said to me the government in Baghdad is like the Vichy
government in France during World War II, and I got called a Nazi
several times." [Imagine that!)
government was set up by the German Nazi occupation forces and ran
a large area of France.
killing and kidnapping government officials, police and Iraqi
national guard members….notwithstanding the presence just outside
the city of thousands of U.S. Marines and Army soldiers who back the
The deputy governor
was kidnapped and killed, his body found this month. The president
of the regional university and the provincial directors of the
national sewage and communications ministries have also been
kidnapped, and 10 contractors working for the United States have
Then there are the
ominous posters that appeared on the walls of mosques a couple of
weeks ago. Directed at Iraqi police and national guardsmen, they
read, "Quit or we'll kill you."
Ramadi, the capital of Sunni
Muslim-dominated Al Anbar province, and Fallouja represent 70% of Al
Anbar's population, according to U.S. estimates.
The erosion of
order in Ramadi illustrates the success of the insurgents' methods
and the serious problems facing the interim government and its U.S.
Said Col. Jerry L. Durrant of the 1st
Marine Expeditionary Force, who oversees the coordination of the
U.S. military with Iraqi security forces,
in Baghdad is not recognized by anyone in Al Anbar."
Some victims have disappeared without
a word; others have been assassinated, their bodies left on the
roads. Still others have fled their jobs, afraid of suffering a
fate similar to that of their co-workers.
leaders of the Iraqi national guard do not want to meet him in
public or travel in military vehicles. Many no longer wear their
uniforms for fear of being identified with the interim
government's security forces.
The Marines, aware
of what is at stake, are trying to back up the local government.
But they are hamstrung, because taking too visible a role could
endanger the lives of Iraqi officials. Working
with the Army, Marines are also trying to undertake small
reconstruction projects they can complete quickly — an approach they
hope will make a difference in neighborhoods still open to the
The U.S. military's grip seems
tenuous, the insurgency is persistent, and it appears that the
troops face an uphill battle to maintain the bonds they have forged
with the community.
As a provincial capital with a
university, Ramadi has developed an insurgency of a much different
character than that of Fallouja, where there appear to be many more
Islamic extremists, including Wahhabis and Salafists. But Ramadi is
strongly influenced by the tribes, who seem to think they have
little to gain by working with the Marines.
"A lot of these
guys have read history," said Durrant, recounting a recent meeting
with Ramadi tribal sheiks, educators and businessmen. "They said
to me the government in Baghdad is like the Vichy government in
France during World War II, and I got called a Nazi several
government was set up by the German Nazi occupation forces and ran
a large area of France.
The attacks have
discouraged law enforcement efforts by the Iraqi police and national
guard, Marine intelligence officers say. "In many
cases, intimidation and pressure prompts a bias toward non-action.
Maybe you're just not there when
you hear something might happen in a place," said Lt.
Col. George Bristol, a senior intelligence officer for the 1st
officers, who were trimming the dried bushes outside the police
headquarters one day recently, said they were intimidated regularly
but were not allowed to talk to the media.
At the police station, which the U.S.
military supplied with 15 vehicles, the commander, who identified
himself only as Chief Saleh
complained that U.S. troops had detained some of his men when they
were assigned outside the Tamim neighborhood and had taken their
weapons. "If you hurt a man's dignity, that's very sensitive,"
In the small neighborhood known as
Tamim, or Five Kilo, on Ramadi's western edge, residents seem
pleased by U.S. efforts to refurbish schools, build a soccer field
and two clinics, expand the police station and restore a badly
But with an
estimated 6,500 people in the Tamim neighborhood — in a city of
about 400,000 — it is also a measure of how much effort may be
needed in every hamlet, every quarter of the Sunni Triangle….
October 1, 2004 By MICKEY Z.
"We're all gonna rock to the rules
that I make.
I wanna be elected."
--Alice Cooper, "Elected"
Last night was the opening of the
presidential debate season...or as it's known at Ralph Nader's
We got Coke vs.
Pepsi. McDonald's vs. Burger King. MasterCard vs. Visa. General
Electric vs. Westinghouse. Yale-educated millionaire war criminal
vs. Yale-educated millionaire war criminal.
The debate pitted an alleged liberal
(who supports the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, NAFTA, WTO, welfare
repeal, the war on drugs, appointing anti-abortion judges, etc.)
against an un-elected president who is somehow seeking re-election.
The next time
someone tells you America has a two-party system...I suggest you
demand a recount.
Media-hyped millionaires are sold to
the public like any other commodity. Ideologies are neatly packaged
and marketed with the same intensity and deception as a cell phone
…. if voting ever
looked like it might change anything, it might be made illegal...
Zach de la Rocha,
formerly of Rage Against the Machine, wrote: "The structure is set;
you'll never change it with a ballot pull." We
will change it when Americans embrace the subversive pleasure of
thinking for themselves and challenge that structure.
With the point of
no return fading in the rearview mirror (or at least obscured by
an SUV), the time is long overdue for all of us to recognize that
the primary difference between Republicans and Democrats is that
they tell different lies to get elected...
The Great Debate
“Bring the troops
home now? Kiss my
27, 2004. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
“Bring the troops
home now? Kiss my
September 27, 2004.
“Bring the troops
home now? Kiss my
from debate] 9.17.04 (Molly Riley/Reuters)
Partners In Crime:
Helps U.S. Empire Occupy Haiti:
Sending Armed Riot
(Washington Post, September 30, 2004,
Chinese riot police
wearing plastic helmets and Terminator-style body armor slashed the
air with batons and parried imaginary blows with plexiglass shields
as Beijing put a Haiti-bound contingent of specially trained
People's Armed Police on display. The
demonstration underlined what officials described as Beijing's
willingness to play an increasing role in U.N. peacekeeping
[!] operations around the
world after years of reluctance to get involved.
[So much for all that empty
horseshit about “socialist” China. If you’re interested in real
socialists, check out: www.isreview.org]
Send More Body Bags
02 October 2004 By Nicholas D.
Kristof, The New York Times
Kabul - My quest to help
President Bush find Osama bin Laden has taken me into Afghanistan,
where I've offended the locals by scrutinizing every unusually tall
woman in a burka. But so far, no sign of Osama.
What I do see, though, is an
Afghanistan that shows real promise in the north - but is falling
apart in the rural areas of the south.
The result is more
terrorism and narcotics, and more Americans coming home in body
Right after the
war, an American could travel virtually everywhere in Afghanistan.
These days, much of the south is a killing ground.
Before Mr. Bush claims again that
Afghanistan is a shining success, he should talk to Nyamatullah, a
33-year-old tribal leader from Zabul, one of the most dangerous
"At first, people were very hopeful,
and they thought America would help us," said Mr. Nyamatullah, who
initially was an enthusiastic supporter of the American invasion.
"The [new Afghan] government promised us new schools, district
offices, clinics, water pumps, but it has done nothing at all.
People are so disappointed.... At
least the Taliban would grade roads, build madrassas, while this
government has done nothing."
still hates the Taliban, but he added, "If the situation continues
and America does the same things, I definitely will pick up a gun
and fight the Americans."
official from Uruzgan put it bluntly: "The Taliban is much stronger
than before. The American and Afghan governments were saying that
things would get better, and they didn't. So people turned to the
Government Offices In Capital
(Dallas Morning News, September 30,
crept up to an Afghan government office in Kabul under the cover of
darkness and launched a gun battle that left four attackers and
three Afghan troops dead, police said.
Rockets Hit NATO
(USA Today, September 30, 2004, Pg.
Two rockets fired
by Islamic militants slammed into a NATO military camp in northern
Afghanistan, injuring four soldiers gearing up to protect the
country's landmark elections from threats by Islamic militants.
Vows Security For Afghan Vote
(New York Daily News, September 30,
U.S. forces in
Afghanistan pledged to bolster security in the volatile south and
southeast ahead of a landmark election.
[And they can't protect the capital or their own bases!.
Using GI Special
To: GI Special
Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004
Subject: Re: GI Special #2B80: Wounded
Get Pay Cut
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There's an ex-Navy guy who was
thinking of re-joining, but now I think he wont. Your work is
important. I am glad you got passed your [computer] crisis; if I
had money I would have sent you some.
Revolution Peace Love Light,
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