GI SPECIAL 2#B89
Troops Combat Tours “Capped” At 2 Years:
(Double Max Vietnam
10.10.04 Jim DeBrosse and Mehul
Srivastava, Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
As the war in Iraq has dragged on,
what began as six months of active duty for most soldiers, including
their pre- and post-deployment time, soon became six months in
combat, then a full year and, most recently,
up to 18 months at a time.
Total service in
Iraq has been capped [!] at 24
[In Vietnam, everybody knew that one
year was it, and then you would never, ever spend one more day in
combat. The fools who decided on 24 months in Iraq are begging for
a massive rebellion.]
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.
Stryker Blown Up In
Mosul, One Dead, Nine Wounded
Oct. 11, 2004 By Matthew Cox, Air
Force Times staff writer
MOSUL, Iraq —
Insurgents steered a bomb-packed pick-up truck toward a Stryker
combat vehicle and set off the deadly cargo, killing one soldier and
wounding nine others in the southwestern part of the city.
The attack came this morning as a unit with the 3rd Brigade of
the 2nd Infantry Division was returning from a combat mission to
clear a section of the Al Amel neighborhood of people who have been
using the area to mount attacks on coalition forces along main roads
About a battalion’s worth of Stryker
vehicles from Task Force Olympia, along with about 250 Iraqi
National Guard soldiers, began the hunt for insurgents just before 8
a.m. near the intersection of two main roads here just west of the
Stryker elements shut down traffic
heading into two main traffic circles and surrounded the area as
soldiers dismounted from Stryker infantry carriers and cleared
housing areas overlooking the main roads that insurgents have used
to trigger vehicle-carried improvised explosive devices.
During the planning
phase of this operation, unit leaders stressed the likelihood of a
possible attack as units returned to their nearby base.
They were right.
Just before 11
a.m., units began leaving the area in alternate routes but the small
truck maneuvered into the path of a Stryker column and detonated.
The blast left a five-foot crater in
Some units involved
in the operation had already returned to base when they heard about
the enemy contact. Leaders and staff inside one tactical operations
center stood in silence as they listened to scraps of information
come in over the radio.
Five of the soldiers were evacuated
from the scene to a nearby military hospital; four others returned
to duty. [Memo to Donald R.:
Want to win in Iraq? Donate the Strykers to the resistance. That
will set them back bigtime.]
N.C. Guardsman Dies
Oct 11, 2004 By MANDY LOCKE, Staff
Writer, The News & Observer Publishing Company
Michael S. Voss was
one semester shy of an associate's degree at Sandhills Community
College in Pinehurst. But school had been on hold since the N.C.
National Guard's 30th Heavy Separate Brigade was called to duty in
Voss, 35, a staff sergeant from
Carthage in Moore County, died outside Tikrit, Iraq, on Friday. A
roadside bomb struck his convoy, according to a military news
Voss, a squad leader and motor
transport operator for Wilmington's 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry
Regiment, rode in the convoy's lead vehicle, said Guard spokesman
Maj. Robert Carver.
Voss was the fifth
National Guardsman from the 30th Heavy Separate Brigade to be killed
during the war in Iraq; the death marks the third for the 120th
Infantry Regiment since it was deployed to Iraq at the end of
Voss joined the Army after high school
and served for nearly a decade. He earned a Purple Heart in 1989
after being wounded during combat in Panama, Carver said. Voss
served in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Desert Storm. During his
career, he earned three commendation medals and a combat infantryman
Voss volunteered for the N.C. National
Guard in 1997, shortly after leaving active duty with the Army. "He
was clearly a very devoted soldier," Carver said.
Voss worked for Caterpillar Co. in
Sanford, according to Powell Funeral Home in Southern Pines. An
avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed fishing and hunting.
Voss is survived by his wife, Emily
Voss, and two children. His family declined to be interviewed
Sunday. The unit is stationed northeast of Baghdad in Diyala
Province, a Vermont-sized swath of Iraq that abuts the Iranian
Mosque On Fire
After U.S. Air Strikes In Hit
Oct 11, 2004 BAGHDAD (Reuters)
marines engaged in heavy clashes with scores of insurgents near a
mosque in western Iraq on Monday, leading to U.S. air strikes which
damaged the shrine and left it ablaze, the U.S. military said.
A U.S. military spokesman said marines
came under fire from around 100 insurgents near the town of Hit,
about 107 miles west of Baghdad, and engaged in an hour-long
"Air strikes were
called in on the mosque position. The mosque is partially damaged
and is currently on fire," he said.
Hit is on the main road that follows
the Euphrates river toward Syria.
Command Launches Daring Night Air Attack On Restaurant
FALLUJAH, Iraq -
A U.S. warplane early Tuesday
destroyed a popular restaurant which the U.S. command said was a
meeting place for members of Iraq's most feared terrorist
The 12:01 a.m. blast demolished the
Haj Hussein restaurant as well as nearby shops, residents said.
There was no report of casualties and the restaurant was closed at
the time, but two night guards were missing, residents said.
Ambulances and fire trucks rushed to
The U.S. military
command in Baghdad made no mention of the restaurant
but said the target was "a center" for the Tawhid and Jihad terror
network, led by Jordanian-born extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Catching The Wind
03 October 2004 By Michael Ware,
however, can be the most confounding thing the insurgents do.
scenario is where we have an enemy who is not coming out to
fight," says Pangelinan.
There were a lot of nasty places to be
in Samarra last week after U.S. and Iraqi forces began their assault
early Friday morning, but one of the nastiest was with the platoon
led by Lieutenant Ryan Purdy.
Sweating it out in streets full of
smoke and the odor of cordite, Purdy and his troops found cover in
firing positions littered with flesh from insurgents blown apart by
U.S. cannon fire from an armored vehicle.
Pinned down by snipers, the men were
trapped alongside the corpses, battling a stench that grew stronger
as the morning wore on and the temperature climbed. When at last the
platoon could move, it could do so only under the cover of
chattering guns and multicolored smoke grenades.
By then, the
rebels that the platoon was fighting had simply melted away. "This
enemy wants to erode our forces while preserving his own," a
frustrated Purdy said. [Very good, Lt. That seems to be a rather
universal objective in war. So far, they’re ahead. ]
"I'm nervous," confided one member of
the 1/14, a 19-year-old infantryman with a wife and baby at home.
The scene in Samarra was similar to
those anywhere in Iraq in which soldiers have had to shoot into
cities. In one intersection, the body of a rebel lay in pieces,
torn apart by 25-mm cannon fire, while a mother hurried by holding
her toddler by the hand. The child stared at the remains.
At one point, a group of Purdy's men
tumbled into an Iraqi house seeking safety and found themselves
facing a woman with her arms around five children. Figuring that
the soldiers would not harm her family, she offered the Americans
water. Elsewhere, heads kept popping out from front gates as
quizzical residents - perhaps numbed after so many months of
conflict - looked out at the commotion. "Get inside! Get inside!,"
soldiers screamed desperately.
Children endlessly scampered across
streets, forcing the troops to shoot above their heads. One old man
carrying a mop sauntered between the lines. "These people are
crazy," said a sergeant.
"By about [2:00
p.m.] they realized what they were up against and withdrew,"
says Captain Jim Pangelinan, who led his Alpha Company of the 1/14
into the western edge of the city.
however, can be the most confounding thing the insurgents do.
scenario is where we have an enemy who is not coming out to fight,"
In a measure of
the looking-glass standards that have come to be applied in this
increasingly makeshift war, Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib
told a press conference on Saturday that the battle for Samarra
had been a "very clean" operation.
That may be, but
if so, American planners won't want to see messy.
Mahdi Army Weapons
Hand-Over Off To Very Slow Start
October 12, 2004 Australian
Broadcasting Corporation & AFP By Sinan Salaheddin Associated Press
A Shiite militia disarmament plan that
could end weeks of fighting in Baghdad got off to a slow start on
At Habibiya police
station, the biggest of three designated collection points in Sadr
City, cameramen were allowed to film only one batch of arms police
said had been brought earlier in a civilian vehicle.
The weaponry included RPGs, rusty mortars and artillery shells,
anti-tank landmines and assault rifles.
"One man brought a Sam-7 anti-aircraft
missile," National Guard Captain Duraid Fadel told Reuters.
One Mehdi Army fighter, Kamel Hussein
delivered a big stash of RPGs and mortars.
But those three
handovers were the only ones to take place at Habibiya in the
space of three hours.
Fighters are supposed to be
compensated for the weapons they turn in,
but Salman said those responsible
for the payments hadn’t turned up yet.
So, receipts were issued instead.
[Fucking brilliant. What a pack of chiselers.]
The rates ranged from $5 for a hand
grenade to $1,000 for a heavy-caliber machine gun, police said.
Iraqi National Guards, their faces
masked to avoid identification, were deployed at the arms collection
"If necessary we will extend the
five-day period," a senior security official, Abdul-Karim al-Saffar,
supporters told AFP they thought the militiamen did not trust the
Iraqi government or the US military and feared the other side might
take advantage of the truce to crush their movement.
"If this whole
ceasefire falls through, we will be ready to rearm the Mehdi Army,"
said Hussein Hashim, a courier for a weapons dealer.
Oct. 11, 2004 BY PHILLIP O'CONNOR, St.
"This is an armed
camp," Upton said. "We take fire and we return fire. If you
don't they keep shooting at you. They hit soft spots. We try to
be a hard spot."
- (KRT) - When U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers Col. Kurt Ubbelohde wanted to check the
progress of reconstruction around Kirkuk last week, plans for the
two-hour road trip began days in advance.
His staff reviewed security reports
about the route, arranged convoy vehicles that included armored SUVs
and notified a heavily armed eight-member private security team they
would be needed as escorts.
Six months ago,
the trip might have been considered routine. But the growing
insurgency and deteriorating security situation is making even the
simplest steps treacherous - and efforts to rebuild Iraq more and
building materials to a site now undergo more stringent inspection.
That may entail dumping the load outside the gate to check for bombs
and then having to reload it for the move inside.
Other trucks carrying tar, water or other products are now X-rayed.
Bomb-sniffing dogs also are used.
Projects with a
large number of workers that require a large security force can
require the construction of expensive, fortified camps that workers
often refer to as "Fort Apaches."
Before they are
allowed on job sites, Iraqi workers undergo extensive searches that
can delay the start of the workday by hours.
Once on site, the workers must be
escorted by soldiers or U.S. government employees. A shortage of
such escorts limits the number of workers allowed inside the gates,
further delaying projects. And every day that work is
delayed, the costs go up. The overhead for the reconstruction
bureaucracy alone runs $6 million a day.
Ubbelohde said. "It's challenging for
the U.S. or the coalition to get to some of these rural areas and be
able to operate in an environment that they consider safe."
[Where might that ‘safe”
Last month was
typical of the problems the American rebuilding effort is facing.
Iraqi workers, attacks on trucks and the death of a driver along
supply routes prompted other drivers to refuse to deliver materials
halting construction on several projects,
according to Maj. Paul Dansereau, who is responsible for operations
and security in the Corps' north district.
Shots fired at
Iraqi workers hired to help sandbag a Corps base camp delayed work
for several days.
Thieves also stole four electrical
generators bound for a major military base, causing further strain
on the country's already taxed electrical grid.
transfer of sovereignty on June 28, the number of attacks
affecting reconstruction projects increased by 5 percent to a
weekly average of 21 incidents.
bombings, kidnappings and rocket and mortar attacks also make it
difficult for the Corps to recruit its own civilian employees
necessary to complete the mission. About 300 Corps employees are
currently in Iraq.
"We need a lot more people," Snyder
said. "It's a struggle to get them over here."
For those who do come, the conditions
are Spartan. Most of the workers
live in fortified military compounds protected by heavily armed
soldiers. They work and live behind 15-foot-high concrete barricade
walls, concertina wire and sandbags. They sleep and
relax in trailers that offer living space smaller than most college
Many regularly work
12 to 14 hours a day or more. And even the
civilians are required to follow the Army's General Order Number
One, which among other things prohibits the consumption of alcohol.
Still, some manage to sneak a beer every now and then.
Despite the chance for some civilian
Corps employees to earn double or more than their stateside salary
because of overtime and danger pay,
some believe the perceived risks far outweigh any financial gain.
Although no Corps soldier or civilian
employee has been killed in Iraq, there have been plenty of close
On the afternoon of Sept. 16, Major
Erik Stor traveled north out of Baghdad to inspect damage caused by
an insurgent attack on an oil pipeline. On the return trip, a
bullet smashed at head level into the reinforced windshield of the
SUV in which he was riding. The bullet's impact caused a spiderweb
of cracks in the glass, but Stor was unharmed.
Less than two weeks later, Stor, who
helps oversee the reconstruction of Iraq' electricity grid, again
rode to visit a power plant north of Baghdad when a roadside bomb
exploded. The blast split the windshield, blew out both front tires
and shredded much of the vehicle's front end. A 12-inch,
three-pound hunk of shrapnel landed near Stor's left foot.
Other than a slight concussion, Stor
again was uninjured.
Early Wednesday morning, Col.
Ubbelohde and three others huddled with a private security team who
briefed them about their trip to Kirkuk. Dansereau shared
information with the group about a car-bomb attack against a
military convoy the previous night in Mosul. The explosion
overturned a large armored vehicle, injured six American soldiers
and rattled the windows of the Corps' offices about a mile away.
The security team leader told the
passengers in a thick Scottish accent about the route they would be
following, recent incidents along the road and what to do if the
convoy was attacked. He told them they were required to wear body
armor, Kevlar helmets and eye protection.
Once on the move, the three vehicles
wove through choking traffic at high speed, honking horns and
blinking headlights to clear the road ahead. When forced to stop at
an intersection, a bodyguard jumped out and warily eyed other nearby
vehicles. When a car began to move up alongside Ubbelohde's SUV,
the guard menacingly pointed his AK-47 at the young driver who
After dropping off
their passengers in Kirkuk, the security team headed back toward
Mosul. In an area known as "ambush alley," they were attacked by
small arms fire. Several bullets struck two of the vehicles and
flattened a tire on each.
The guards returned a hail of fire and
wounded and possibly killed one attacker. They didn't stop to find
In Kirkuk, Ubbelohde visited a
2,300-acre base being built to house and train 3,000 soldiers for
the new Iraqi army.
A similar project
in the United States might require one or two security guards to man
the main gate "so a truck didn't get stolen," said Bill Upton, an
American who is managing the $64 million project. Here, he employs
140 guards. He estimated that security and related equipment on
some projects could represent 20 percent of costs.
"This is an armed
camp," Upton said. "We take fire and we return fire. If you
don't they keep shooting at you. They hit soft spots. We try to
be a hard spot."
September 9, 2004 Matthew B. Stannard,
San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
As the U.S. war in
Iraq passed a grim milestone this week,1,000 American soldiers
killed in action, The Chronicle brought together family members from
Northern California whose loved ones are among the dead.
"He was killed 100 days ago today,"
said Karen Meredith, Lt. Ballard's mother. "You just miss their
voice. You miss every single day. And it isn't 100 days ago, it's
one day 100 times over. ... When's it going to stop hurting? And
when do you stop missing them?"
"It's harder every day," said Nadia
McCaffrey, whose son, Sgt. Patrick Ryan McCaffrey of Tracy, was
killed three months ago. "It's one day at a time, and frankly I
don't think this is going to end until I die."
"Right after the
twin towers fell ... I think I've never felt such camaraderie with
Americans my whole 47 years of life," said John Layfield, whose son,
Lance Cpl. Travis Layfield of Fremont, was killed in April.
"I think (Bush)
used that to go into Iraq, where nothing was found. ... Yes, Hussein
was a butcher to his people, and something needed to be done about
him. He used weapons of mass destruction. Where are they? Show
me. Why did my son have to -- why did our sons have to die?"
Cindy Sheehan held
up a threadbare doll. "This is his teddy bear. He ate all the fuzz
off of it while he was a baby, but he wouldn't go to bed without
it. He would cry, 'Bear, bear, mama, bear.' He was my oldest," she
said. "I know how worried their moms are ... I know the mom of the
1,000th soldier was praying all day, 'Please don't let it be my
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
1133rd Soldiers Get
Ready To Leave For Middle East
October 11, 2004 Adam Sodersten, MASON
CITY, Iowa (KIMT)
It’s just about go time for some area
National Guard soldiers. In just a few days 24 soldiers from the
Mason City based 1133rd Iowa National Guard
Transportation Company will be heading overseas.
This weekend Joyce and David
Andersen, of Swaledale, went to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to say goodbye
to their son Johnathon, who is one of those soldiers.
"They seem good...they seem really
good," says Joyce.
The unit will leave Fort Sill on
Wednesday, but after that, there's only speculation.
"I don't really think that they know
exactly...he just kinda well rumor have it possibly to Germany and
then Kuwait," comments Joyce.
Once they get to
the Middle East, David knows the battle will be completely different
than it was the last time the 1133rd was in Iraq.
"Ya don't know who
your enemy is because they're gonna sneak up on ya. They're not
gonna come face to face with ya," comments David.
Being a military
man himself, David offered his son the only advice he could.
"Just be careful
and stay safe," states David.
Be safe...and a
request to come back to North Iowa.
"I just grabbed him
very tightly and everything and then I told him to come
home...that's basically all that I can do," comments Joyce.
Doubling U.S. Troops In Colombia To 800
(New York Times,
October 11, 2004) & Associated Press
The number of American military
personnel in Colombia will double, to 800, in the coming months,
based on a weekend vote in Congress. The 2005 United States Defense
Department authorization act also permits the Bush administration to
increase the number of American citizens working for private
contractors in Colombia to 600 from 400.
Some lawmakers have
said they are worried that piece-by-piece increases in assistance
there could draw the United States into a quagmire like Vietnam.
The bill restates the standing
restriction against Americans engaging in combat operations in
Colombia except when acting in self defense or attempting rescue
operations. [Exactly the same as
the first U.S. military “advisors” in Vietnam. What a coincidence.]
Rumsfeld The Union
October 11, 2004, Pg. B2
The American Federation of Government
Employees launches "DoD Action Week" today to protest Pentagon plans
that will revamp the collective bargaining rules at the Defense
Department. Pentagon officials are about to start writing
regulations for a National Security Personnel System that will be
published in the Federal Register in December.
The new system would change how
Defense civilians are hired, paid and disciplined.
To Be Re-Occupied!
“We Will Not
October 11, 2004 Dexter Filkins, NY
In the areas
recently freed from insurgents, like Samarra and Babil Province,
the attitude seems to be not one of gratitude, or even
ambivalence, but of anger and resignation. [Imagine that. Silly
Iraqis aren’t grateful for being handed over to the Bush
Leaders of Iraq's crucial Sunni Arab
minority say they have failed to generate any enthusiasm for
nationwide elections scheduled for January, and are so fearful of
insurgent violence and threats that they can meet only in private to
talk about how - or even whether - to take part.
are you talking about said Raad Rahim Ahmed, 50, a resident of
Samarra who said U.S. soldiers had killed his wife and two
children when they cleared the city of insurgents last week.
"I've lost my
entire family," he said. "Why should I trust this government? Why
should I vote at all?"
"What we think is that people ought to
vote," said Dhari al-Samarrai, a senior leader of the Islamic Party,
a largely Sunni group. "But
people are telling us, we won't take part in the elections. What is
the use, with all these bombings? The big tribes, Dulaimi and
Jabouri, all of them are telling us this."
Already, one of the largest
independent Sunni groups, the Association of Muslim Scholars, has
announced that it will not take part in the elections. The group
claims to represent 3,000 Sunni mosques around the country.
"A lot of people
want democracy here, but they are just not comfortable with
elections under American supervision," Wamid Omar Nadhmi said.
"If they don't meet our
conditions, we will call for a boycott. Otherwise, we would be
accused of being puppets of America." Nadhmi, like many
other Sunnis here, is afraid to campaign or hold public gatherings,
for fear that he will become the target of insurgents.
Although several Sunni-based political
parties have taken root here, their leaders say their attempts to
rally constituents are failing to resonate in the face of cynicism
and violence. Many of those who
want to take part in the elections say they can do so only in
secret, lest they risk assassination by Sunni insurgents.
In the areas
recently freed from insurgents, like Samarra and Babil Province,
the attitude seems to be not one of gratitude, or even
ambivalence, but of anger and resignation. [Imagine that. Silly
Iraqis aren’t grateful for being handed over to the Bush
Such bitterness seems widespread in
the Sunni Triangle. At a recent meeting in Baghdad, a tribal leader
from Falluja, a town still under insurgent control, gave a grim
assessment of the coming elections.
"You will not have one office to run
the elections in Falluja," said Ismail Abdid Fayad, a tribal leader
taking part in peace negotiations with the government.
"People will not
vote. We will not participate in the elections. We will not
support imperialism." "All the revolutions in Iraq have been made
by the Sunnis," he declared. "We will make a revolution again."
October 03, 2004 Girl Blog from Iraq
The last few days have been tense and
stressful. Watching the military attacks on Samarra and hearing the
stories from displaced families or people from around the area is
like reliving the frustration and anger of the war. It's like a
nightmare within a nightmare, seeing the corpses pile up and
watching people drag their loved ones from under the bricks and
steel of what was once a home.
To top it off, we
have to watch American military spokespersons and our new Iraqi
politicians justify the attacks and talk about 'insurgents' and
'terrorists' like they actually believe what they are saying... like
hundreds of civilians aren't being massacred on a daily basis by the
worlds most advanced military technology.
As if Allawi's
gloating and Bush's inane debates aren't enough, we have to listen
to people like Powell and Rumsfeld talk about "precision attacks".
What exactly are
precision attacks?! How can you be precise in a city like Samarra
or in the slums of Sadir City on the outskirts of Baghdad? Many of
the areas under attack are small, heavily populated, with shabby
homes several decades old. In Sadir City, many of the houses are
close together and the streets are narrow. Just how precise can you
be with missiles and tanks? We got a first-hand
view of America's "smart weapons". They were smart enough to kill
over 10,000 Iraqis in the first few months of the occupation.
The explosions in Baghdad aren't any
better. A few days ago, some 40 children were blown to pieces while
they were gathering candy from American soldiers at the opening of a
sewage treatment plant. (Side note: That's how bad things have
gotten- we have to celebrate the reconstruction of our sewage
treatment plants). I don't know who to be more angry with- the
idiots and PR people who thought it would be a good idea to have
children running around during a celebration involving troops or the
parents for letting their children attend. I hope the people who
arranged the explosions burn within the far-reaches of hell.
One wonders who is behind the
explosions and the car bombs. Bin Laden? Zarqawi? Possibly... but
it's just too easy. It's too perfect. Bin Laden hit the WTC and
Afghanistan was attacked. Iraq was occupied.
At first, any
explosion or attack on troops was quickly blamed on "loyalists" and
"Baathists" and EVERYTHING was being coordinated by Saddam. As soon
as he was caught, it became the work of "Islamic extremists" and
Al-Qaida and Zarqawi suddenly made his debut. One wonders who it
will be after it is discovered that Zarqawi has been dead for
several months or that he never even existed. Whoever it is, you can
bet his name will three syllables or less because that is Bush's
A week ago, four men were caught by
Iraqi security in the area of A'adhamiya in Baghdad. No one covered
this on television or on the internet, as far as I know- we heard it
from a friend involved in the whole thing. The four men were caught
trying to set up some explosives in a residential area by some of
the residents themselves. One of the four men got away, one of them
was killed on the spot and two were detained and interrogated. They
turned out to be a part of Badir's Brigade (Faylaq Badir), the
militia belonging to the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution
in Iraq . Should the culprits never have been caught, and should the
explosives have gone off, would Zarqawi have been blamed? Of
I'm very relieved the Italian hostages
have been set free... and I hope the other innocent people are also
freed. Thousands of Iraqis are being abducted and some are killed,
while others are returned... but it is distressing to see so many
foreigners being abducted. It's like having a guest attacked in
your own home by the neighbor's pit bull- you feel a sense of
responsibility even though you know there was no way you could have
I wasn't very
sympathetic though, when that Islamic group came down from London
to negotiate releasing Kenneth Bigley. I do hope he is returned
alive, but where are all these Islamic groups while Falluja,
Samarra, Sadir City and other places are being bombed? Why are
they so concerned with a single British citizen when hundreds of
Iraqis are dying by the month? Why is it 'terrorism' when
foreigners set off bombs in London or Washington or New York and
it's a 'liberation' or 'operation' when foreigners bomb whole
cities in Iraq? Are we that much less important?
Mahdi Army “A
04 October 2004 By Edward Wong, The
New York Times
English decorated some walls: "Vietnam Street - We'll make your
graves in this place."
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 3 -
On the groom's last night as a single man, a bachelor party on his
front lawn kicked off with song and dance.
"We love you to death, Moktada," a
pair of singers crooned in praise of Moktada al-Sadr, the fiery
anti-American cleric who, though absent, overshadowed the groom.
"We love you as much as there are leaves on a tree."
Out came one of the groom's best
friends, waving his arms like a carnival barker. "Those who follow
the Americans are dogs," he yelled. "We swear by Moktada that we
won't let our machine guns stop!"
Loyalty to the
Shiite cleric burns fierce here in northeastern Baghdad, and
especially in Sadr City, a vast slum of 2.2 million people, despite
frequent American raids and almost nightly airstrikes.
The American military has stepped up its campaign to rout
the Mahdi Army, Mr. Sadr's militia, on its home turf here, to drive
him to the bargaining table. But
it is often impossible to distinguish between civilians and
A reporter, photographer and
interpreter with The New York Times recently spent nearly 24 hours
being guided through the battleground streets - and even to a
guerrilla bachelor party - by one of Mr. Sadr's midlevel aides.
apparent that the Mahdi Army here is less a discrete military
organization than a populist movement that includes everyone from
doctors to policemen to tribal sheiks, and whose ranks swell with
impoverished men willing to die.
The day began with a drive to the home
of the Sadr aide, a slim, balding 35-year-old man who gave his name
simply as Muhammad. Donkey carts plied the dusty streets, mounds of
trash lined wide avenues and posters of chubby, black-turbaned Mr.
Sadr were plastered across every block.
Graffiti in English decorated some
walls: "Vietnam Street - We'll make your graves in this place."
Muhammad's home was tucked into a
narrow alley in the Chewadar neighborhood. A reeking channel of
open sewage ran along the street. A boy dashed around with a toy
rifle propped on his shoulder like a rocket-propelled grenade
launcher. Nearby, other children played soccer in dirt lots, and
women in black robes peeked out from their doorways.
The home was typical of many in Sadr
City: a two-story ocher building, with an extended family of 35
squeezed into 1,500 square feet. Muhammad's family moved here in
1962 from Amara, a southern city, before his birth. He is the
second-oldest of six brothers, many of whom are members of the Mahdi
"If the Americans
didn't try entering Sadr City with their tanks, I can guarantee
you not a single bullet would be fired," Muhammad said over a
lunch of lamb kebab, a framed portrait of Mr. Sadr on the wall
behind him. "Everyone here is part of the resistance."
Muhammad and several of his brothers
ate lunch sitting on rugs in the bare concrete living room. Later,
one of the brothers, Kassim, a Mahdi commander, picked up an AK-47
and disassembled and assembled it in a couple of minutes. "Mahdi
Army basics," he said.
"I fought against
the Americans twice in Najaf," he said proudly. "The battle in
August was very bloody. There were two armies - one had much better
technology, and there was no comparison. But we managed to stay for
"We're willing to
fight, and we won't let the Americans enter this city," he said,
staring down the barrel of his rifle. That sentiment is widespread
in Sadr City, where American patrols routinely encounter ambushes
and roadside bombs.
In the afternoon, Muhammad drove his
black sedan to a street that he said had been the target of an
American airstrike three days earlier. Dozens of men from the
neighborhood walked to one house and pointed out small indentations
in flagstones in the outer courtyard. They said the craters had
been made by shrapnel.
Looking in the
house, Muhammad pointed to a pool of blood in a corner of the living
room and to a family portrait on the wall. The parents and their
three children were killed in the strike, he said.
asleep after midnight," a neighbor, Ahmed Faisal, 32, said. "The
electricity went off, then the plane came after 1 a.m. It was very
Mr. Faisal emulated the sound of the
plane firing, a jackhammer noise made by the cannons of an AC-130
gunship, which the Americans often deploy over Sadr City.
A senior military official said the
strikes were not aimed at civilians, but there was no guarantee that
civilian casualties could be avoided.
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Pipeline Hit Again,
Not Reported At Time
Iraqi oil exports were halted from its
southern terminal for a day last
week because of insurgent attacks and the fires they
Failure Is Not An
It Is A Certainty
September 26, 2004 William Pfaff,
the numbers. Compare the ratio of troops (coalition plus Iraqi:
fewer than 200,000) engaged today in an Iraq of 29 million people,
with the total 500,000 American and 450,000 Vietnamese troops that
were unable to pacify a Vietnam of 19.6 million people.
If John Kerry wins
the U.S. presidency in November, he will find himself in the same
plight as Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon when they took office.
Each inherited another man's war. Each prosecuted that war — Johnson
reluctantly, Nixon because he thought he could do better. Both
failed and were destroyed by the war.
This does not have to happen to Kerry.
There is an alternative. However, it is an alternative that he
seems determined to exclude.
Johnson anticipated and dreaded his
failure. He told his press secretary, Bill Moyers, "I feel like a
hitchhiker caught in a hailstorm on a Texas highway. I can't run. I
can't hide. And I can't make it stop." The murdered Kennedy's
foreign-policy advisers told him that if he didn't press on with the
war, "Asian Communism" would conquer one non-Western state after
another — dominos tumbling. So did practically everyone else in the
Washington policy community. It was one of those things "everybody
no such doubts. He apparently accepts what "everyone knows" in
Washington today: that "failure in Iraq is not an option."
This is true, but
not in the way they think. Failure is no longer an option; it is a
The questions that remain are
failure's timing, and the gravity of its consequences.
According to the
available polls, 98 percent of the Iraqis want the Americans to
Simply consider the
numbers. Compare the ratio of troops (coalition plus Iraqi: fewer
than 200,000) engaged today in an Iraq of 29 million people, with
the total 500,000 American and 450,000 Vietnamese troops that were
unable to pacify a Vietnam of 19.6 million people.
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.
That’s One Way Of
Looking At It:
The Defeat of Our Government Aug.
The war cannot but call forth among
the masses the most stormy feelings which destroy the usual
sluggishness of mass psychology. Without adjustment to these new
stormy feelings, revolutionary tactics are impossible.
What are the main currents of these
1. Horror and despair. Hence growth
of religious feelings. Once more the churches are full, the
reactionaries rejoice. ‘Wherever there are sufferings, there is
religion,’ says the arch-reactionary, Barres. He is right, too.
2. Hatred for the ‘enemy,’ a feeling
carefully fanned by the bourgeoisie (more than by the priests) and
of economic and political value only to the bourgeoisie.
3. Hatred for one’s own government and
one’s bourgeoisie—a feeling of all class-conscious workers who
understand, on the one hand, that war is a ‘continuation of
politics’ on the part of imperialism, which they meet by
‘continuing’ their hatred for their class enemy, on the other hand,
that ‘war against war’ is a silly phrase if it does not mean
revolution against their own government.
It is impossible to arouse hatred
against one’s own government and one’s bourgeoisie without wishing
their defeat, and it is impossible to be a non-hypocritical opponent
of ‘civil’ (class) ‘peace’ without arousing hatred towards one’s own
government and bourgeoisie!!!”
Bush Regime Faking “Good News” About Iraqi “Security” Forces
(New York Times, October 11, 2004)
The author of "3,000 Degrees: The True
Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It" writes that
Iraqi security forces are in such dreary shape for the same reason
the rest of the country is a spiraling disaster: the Bush
administration ignored the advice of its own people and tried to do
the job on the cheap. To claim
that 125,000 Iraqis will be "fully trained" by year's end is to
redefine the term so far downward as to be meaningless. Thousands
of police recruits are simply handed a badge and blue shirt on their
So Mercenary Company Sent Him And 14 Year Old Son Into Falluja
October 9, 2004 T. Christian Miller,
L.A. Times Staff Writer
One of the
highest-profile security companies in Iraq has been suspended from
doing business with the U.S. government after being accused of
overbilling millions of dollars through a series of sham companies.
Custer Battles, a security firm based
in Virginia, sent fake bills to the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional
Authority that had run Iraq during the U.S. occupation, according to
an Air Force memo obtained by The Times.
The company, which
provided all security at the Baghdad airport, is also the target of
a lawsuit unsealed Friday that accuses employees of systematically
bilking U.S. taxpayers and threatening one worker and his
14-year-old son at gunpoint.
The firm, which has
a former Republican candidate for Congress as one of its principals,
is the latest in a string of companies linked to Republicans that
have been accused of wrongdoing in Iraq.
The company is also under
investigation by the FBI and the Pentagon inspector general's
Defense Criminal Investigative Services, the memo said.
Mike Battles, one of the company's
owners, unsuccessfully ran for the House as a Republican from Rhode
Island in 2002. He has also
contributed to Republican causes and had received campaign
contributions from the nation's top GOP officials.
Battles case "is corruption at its worst," said Alan Grayson, a
lawyer for the men who filed the lawsuit unsealed Friday, which is
separate from the suspension action. "It's perpetrated by Bush
cronies, and it's protected by the Bush administration."
Custer Battles was a fledgling firm
with no experience in the security industry when it landed a
$16-million contract in the spring of 2003 to secure the Baghdad
airport after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
The company hired Nepalese Gurkhas to
fill out its limited staff and quickly expanded its presence. It
won a contract in August 2003 to provide logistical support for a
massive currency exchange in which Iraqis turned in trillions of old
dinars for the nation's new currency.
That contract committed the Coalition
Provisional Authority to paying for all the company's costs for
setting up centers where the exchanges would take place, plus a 25%
markup for overhead and profit, according to the Air Force memo
signed by Deputy General Counsel Steven A. Shaw.
Custer Battles then
purchased trucks, equipment and housing units to carry out the
contract. It created a series of "sham companies" registered in the
Cayman Islands and Lebanon, the memo said.
The companies were
then used to create false invoices making it appear as though they
were leasing the trucks and other equipment to Custer Battles. The
scheme inflated the 25% markup allowed under the contract, the memo
In October 2003,
company representatives accidentally left a spreadsheet in a
meeting and it was later discovered by CPA employees. The
spreadsheet showed that the currency exchange operation had cost
the company $3,738,592, but the CPA was billed $9,801,550 — a
markup of 162%. [Crooked and stupid.]
The false claims
complaint said that after Isakson complained about Custer Battles
practices, he and his 14-year-old son were held at gunpoint by
company employees. The employees then kicked Isakson and his son
off the airport base, leaving him to take a taxi through war-torn
Fallouja to return to Jordan.
The Worse Iraq
Gets, The More We Must Be Winning
Sept. 28, 2004 By William Saletan, MSN
When violence there
was subsiding, he said it proved he was on the right track. Now
violence is increasing, and Bush says this, too, proves he's on the
On July 23, 2003, three months into
the occupation, Bush scoffed that Iraqi insurgents were confined to
"a few areas of the country. And wherever they operate, they are
being hunted, and they will be defeated.... " A week later, he
assured reporters, "Conditions in most of Iraq are growing more
A year later, the
insurgents are not defeated, conditions are not more peaceful, the
blanket of fear is spreading, cooperation is fraying, and attacks on
U.S. personnel are growing bolder. Does this prove Bush is
failing? No. It proves he's succeeding.
When the violence
increased this spring, Bush, Vice President Cheney, and White House
Press Secretary Scott McClellan said insurgents were growing
"desperate" in their efforts to "derail the transition"—the handover
of sovereignty scheduled for June 30. The violence proved Bush was
on the right track, and the handover would soon be complete,
demoralizing the enemy. The insurgents would be
Three months after
the handover, the attacks continue to escalate. Is this failure?
No, it's success. Things are getting even worse because we're doing
Now it's the
January 2005 Iraqi elections, not the June 2004 handover, that's
supposedly inspiring the enemy's desperation. If we stay the course
till January, we'll turn that corner we thought we'd turned in June.
"Yes, it's getting worse, and the
reason it's getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the
election," Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted Sunday on
This Week. "And because
it's getting worse, we will have to increase our efforts to defeat
it." Bush understands that the
resistance is evidence that history is on our side. As he explained
Tuesday, the violence is growing "because people are trying to stop
the march of freedom."
If the situation in
Iraq improves in the coming weeks, Bush will take credit. If it
deteriorates, he'll take credit for that, too.
"Terrorist violence may well escalate
as the January elections draw near," he warned Thursday. "The
terrorists know that events in Iraq are reaching a decisive moment.
If elections go forward, democracy in Iraq will put down permanent
roots, and terrorists will suffer a dramatic defeat."
So take heart.
We've got 'em right where we want 'em.
NOT A SATIRE
October 10, 2004 The Korea Herald
The intelligence alert on possible
kidnap attempts against Koreans came amidst increased security in
Seoul and South Korea in general.
As part of security measures, the
government is also planning to distribute publicly a booklet titled
"How to Detect Terrorist Suspects" at major public gatherings and
places. It advised the public to
watch out for anyone who leaves a bag in a public area, carries
large amounts of cash, or wears thick, layered clothing in warm
Got That Right
11 October 2004 By Justin Huggler, The
A little way down the street from the
carpenter's shop, Gholam Rabbani said: "There were a lot of
violations. In Wardak, one person voted 100 times.”
"If they declare
Karzai is the winner, it will be a puppet government. It will be
the puppet of Isaf [the international force in Kabul] and behind
them the Americans."
CLASS WAR NEWS
Kicking Ass In
“To Hell With The
2 October By Andy Clark, Radio
Netherlands, in Amsterdam
Museum Square, in
the heart of Amsterdam, is as large as several football fields.
But it was not big
enough to hold the largest demonstration in The Netherlands for more
than two decades.
The streets of the
Dutch capital were jammed as more than 200,000 protesters turned up
to vent their anger over the biggest cutbacks in public spending the
country has ever seen.
As the numbers grew throughout the day
the police had to ask people to stop making their way to the square.
Several streets ground to a complete
The protesters came from across the
Their numbers were
bolstered by a deal struck between the unions and the national rail
company to give free tickets to the capital for anyone taking part.
The demonstration's official slogan
was the functional, if a little un-exciting, "Nederland Verdient
Beter" - "The Netherlands Deserves Better".
But the home-made banners and slogans
were far more colourful.
The country's Prime Minister, Jan
Peter Balkenende was one of the chief targets.
The Dutch leader has been sidelined
from duties for several weeks because of a nasty foot infection -
not a very macho injury for a politician who, at the best of times,
struggles with his image.
"To hell with the
government," read one banner nailed beneath a plastic foot.
Another protester had made a puppet of
Mr Balkenende, complete with bandaged foot.
Elsewhere, his head
was transposed onto a statue of Saddam Hussein, a message on the
plinth saying "Overthrow Balkenende".
Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm was also
in the firing line: "Throw Zalm
in the Rhine," read one banner, another targeted them
both under the title "Dumb and Dumber".
Chief among the
protesters' concerns are government plans to scrap financial
benefits making early retirement possible.
Plans to extend the
working week to 40 hours, from the current 36, and proposals for
cuts in sickness benefits are also a focus of anger.
Special early retirement rules for
police and firemen are under threat and large numbers of emergency
services workers took part. Currently, these workers can retire at
55, but there are plans for this to change.
"Can you imagine a
65-year-old fire-fighter carrying someone down a ladder? I can't.
It's not possible, people can't work this long," said 50-year-old
protester John van den Heuvel.
"Earlier we could
retire at 55, but now we will have to work for an extra 10 years,"
said flight attendant Gert Jan de Vries from Amsterdam. "It's
dangerous, we are there primarily for flight safety reasons but will
someone of 65 really be able to do the job properly."
Sylvia Hendriks, 22, from Heemskirk is
also angry about plans to cut back early retirement.
"My father was going to stop work in 2
years, when he was 60, but now it looks like he will have to go on
until he is 65 and that is wrong," she said.
Pensioner Gre van der Valk, 65, made
her way to Museum Square to make a similar point: "I know how good
it is to retire early and that's why I'm here to protest.
It's sad that Mr. Balkenende is
sick, but other than that he's a worthless prime minister."
The cutbacks being
proposed by the government are the biggest in Dutch history.
was organised by a broad coalition of Dutch trades unions - the FNV,
CNV and MHP - representing workers from low, middle and even higher
The unions say
the cutbacks are being made at the expense of ordinary working
people and those receiving benefits whilst people earning top
incomes are left alone.
LOOKING FOR DOC.
LEVY AND DONALD DUNCAN
From: "Joe Allen"
To: GI Special
Sent: Monday, October 11, 2004 9:45 PM
I was wondering if you knew how to get
in touch with Dr. Howard Levy and Donald Duncan. I was hoping to
interview them for the International Socialist Review. Let me know
if you have any leads on them.
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