GI SPECIAL 2#B93
They Stopped An Imperial War
Orders In Iraq
Miss. soldier calls
home, cites safety concerns
[This is the most
important news story of the war, so far. Here is the weak link in
the chain of Empire. T]
October 15, 2004 By Jeremy Hudson
A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with
troops from Jackson and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is
under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel, the
troops' relatives said Thursday.
The soldiers refused an order on
Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq — north of Baghdad — because their
vehicles were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe, said
Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O. McCook.
Sgt. McCook, a deputy at the Hinds
County Detention Center, and the 16 other members of the 343rd
Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C., were read their rights
and moved from the military barracks into tents, Patricia McCook
said her husband told her during a panicked phone call about 5 a.m.
The platoon could be charged with the
willful disobeying of orders, punishable by dishonorable discharge,
forfeiture of pay and up to five years confinement, said military
law expert Mark Stevens, an associate professor of justice studies
at Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C.
No military officials were able to
confirm or deny the detainment of the platoon Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson said he
plans to submit a congressional inquiry today on behalf of the
Mississippi soldiers to launch an investigation into whether they
are being treated improperly.
"I would not want any member of the
military to be put in a dangerous situation ill-equipped," said
Thompson, who was contacted by families. "I have had similar
complaints from military families about vehicles that weren't
armor-plated, or bullet-proof vests that are outdated. It concerns
me because we made over $150 billion in funds available to equip our
forces in Iraq.
"President Bush takes the position
that the troops are well-armed, but if this situation is true, it
calls into question how honest he has been with the country,"
The 343rd is a supply unit whose
general mission is to deliver fuel and water. The unit includes
three women and 14 men and those with ranking up to sergeant first
"I got a call from an officer in
another unit early (Thursday) morning who told me that my husband
and his platoon had been arrested on a bogus charge because they
refused to go on a suicide mission," said Jackie Butler of Jackson,
wife of Sgt. Michael Butler, a 24-year reservist. "When my husband
refuses to follow an order, it has to be something major."
The platoon being held has troops from
Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi and South Carolina,
said Teresa Hill of Dothan, Ala., whose daughter Amber McClenny is
among those being detained.
McClenny, 21, pleaded for help in a
message left on her mother's answering machine early Thursday
"They are holding us against our
will," McClenny said. "We are now prisoners."
McClenny told her mother her unit
tried to deliver fuel to another base in Iraq Wednesday, but was
sent back because the fuel had been contaminated with water. The
platoon returned to its base, where it was told to take the fuel to
another base, McClenny told her mother.
The platoon is normally escorted by
armed Humvees and helicopters, but did not have that support
Wednesday, McClenny told her mother.
The convoy trucks the platoon was
driving had experienced problems in the past and were not being
properly maintained, Hill said her daughter told her.
The situation mirrors other tales of
troops being sent on missions without proper equipment.
Aviation regiments have complained of
being forced to fly dangerous missions over Iraq with outdated
night-vision goggles and old missile-avoidance systems. Stories of
troops' families purchasing body armor because the military didn't
provide them with adequate equipment have been included in recent
Patricia McCook said her husband, a
staff sergeant, understands well the severity of disobeying orders.
But he did not feel comfortable taking his soldiers on another trip.
"He told me that three of the vehicles
they were to use were deadlines ... not safe to go in a hotbed like
that," Patricia McCook said.
Hill said the trucks her daughter's
unit was driving could not top 40 mph.
"They knew there was a 99 percent
chance they were going to get ambushed or fired at," Hill said her
daughter told her. "They would have had no way to fight back."
Kathy Harris of Vicksburg is the
mother of Aaron Gordon, 20, who is among those being detained. Her
primary concern is that she has been told the soldiers have not been
provided access to a judge advocate general.
Stevens said if the soldiers are being
confined, law requires them to have a hearing before a magistrate
within seven days.
Harris said conditions for the platoon
have been difficult of late. Her son e-mailed her earlier this week
to ask what the penalty would be if he became physical with a
commanding officer, she said.
But Nadine Stratford of Rock Hill,
S.C., said her godson Colin Durham, 20, has been happy with his time
in Iraq. She has not heard from him since the platoon was detained.
"When I talked to him about a month
ago, he was fine," Stratford said. "He said it was like being at
David Honish, Veterans For Peace
THIS IS THE
BEGINNING OF THE END. WASN'T IT ABOUT 1969 WHEN WHOLE PLATOONS OR
LARGER UNITS STARTED REFUSING STUPID SUICIDAL ORDERS IN VIET NAM?
IF THE LEADERS FAIL TO LEAD, THEN THEY WILL HAVE TO FOLLOW THE
In Your Dreams,
"The specter of
Vietnam has been buried forever in the desert sands of the Arabian
peninsula." George Bush, The First, Gulf War,
"Combat Refusals" In Vietnam
From: Military Law Task Force Website:
The question of crimes such as
"fragging", "combat refusals", desertion and AWOL within the Vietnam
conflict is one which brings emotions to the fore. Many veterans
deny that "fragging" or "combat refusals" occurred, whilst others
feel desertion and AWOL was merely a means of resisting what was
felt to be an unjust and illegal conflict.
One partial reason for such sharp
differences in the perceptions of veterans: support for the war back
home, and the perceived prospects for victory, declined sharply
during the seven years of heavy American involvement in Vietnam.
Indeed, military leaders themselves
recognized a crisis among Vietnam soldiers in the war's last years.
In an article called
"The Collapse of the Armed Forces" published in the Armed Forces
Journal in June, 1971, Colonel Robert Heinl declared that the army
in Vietnam was "dispirited where not near mutinous.”
Where soldiers refused to obey orders this became known as a "combat
refusal". In a report for Pacifica Radio, journalist Richard Boyle
went to the base to interview a dozen "grunts" from the First
Cavalry Division. The GI's had been ordered on a nighttime combat
mission the previous night. Six of the men had refused to go and
several others had objected to the order. This is also referred to
in "NAM - The Story of the
Vietnam War (Issue 8)" where a photograph can also be
found and captioned "These battle-weary troops from the 1st Air Cav
had just staged a "combat refusal" at the PACE firebase.
"They'll have to court-martial the
whole company," one soldier told Boyle. "I say right away they can
start typing up my court-martial."
The GI's told Boyle they objected not
only to what they saw as a suicidal mission but to the war effort
itself. Their commanding officer wouldn't let them wear t-shirts
with peace symbols, they complained. "He calls us hypocrites if we
wear a peace sign," one GI said. "[As if] we wanted to come over
here and fight. Like we can't believe in peace, man, because we're
carrying [an M-16] out there." Rough figures for "combat refusals"
are indicated in column b. below.
Another soldier piped in: "I always
did believe in protecting my own country, if it came down to that.
But I'm over here fighting a war for a cause that means nothing to
me." Historians say so-called "combat refusals" became increasingly
common in Vietnam after 1969. Soldiers also expressed their
opposition to the war in underground newspapers and coffee-house rap
sessions. Some wore black armbands in the field. Some went further.
When one American killed another American, usually a superior
officer or an NCO, the term
"fragging" came into use. Although the term simply meant that a
fragmentation grenade was used in the murder, it later became an all
encompassing term for such an action. It is known that "fraggings"
did occur during Vietnam, but the precise number is uncertain.
"During the years of 1969 down to
1973, we have the rise of fragging - that is, shooting or
hand-grenading your NCO or your officer who orders you out into the
field," says historian
Terry Anderson of Texas A & M University. "The US Army itself
does not know exactly how many...officers were murdered. But they
know at least 600 were murdered, and then they have another 1400
that died mysteriously. Consequently by early 1970, the army [was]
at war not with the enemy but with itself." Rough figures for
"fraggings" are indicated in column a. below.
Absence Without Leave (AWOL). Figures for the
Vietnam Conflict are also not known but figures for all US forces
throughout the world are known. They are indicated in columns c. and
d. below. The original source for these figures is
figures for US Forces
138.5 per 1000
per 1000 (marijuana)
0.068 per 1000 (opium)
11058 drug cases
(1146 hard drugs)
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Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra
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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.
Two More Florida
October 15, 2004 AP
Fla. -- A Marine officer who volunteered to replace a
fellow lieutenant who was killed in Iraq and a corporal who joined
the Marines because he wanted to follow his fathers into a law
enforcement career were both killed in Iraq, officials said.
Second Lt. Paul M. Felsberg, 27, of
West Palm Beach, died Wednesday from injuries received from enemy
action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, according to officials at Camp
Pendleton. His family was told he died on the way to the hospital.
Cpl. Ian T. Zook, 24, of Port St.
Lucie, was killed Tuesday in Al Anbar Province, the Department of
He was completing school when he
answered a call for volunteers to replace a lieutenant killed in
"I told him he was
crazy," his mother, Arlene Felsberg, told The Palm Beach Post. "He
said, 'This is what I signed up to do, this is what I trained to do,
and that's what I do."'
He arrived Sept. 2
in Iraq, which he described in an e-mail as "kind of like the wild
west." Meanwhile, his mother feared he would be killed, or he would
"Now," she sobbed,
"I'd take him in as many pieces as I could have had him."
A straight A-student, Ian Zook was
valedictorian at Faith Baptist School in Fort Pierce in 1999. He
performed mission work during high school and attended a year of
Bible college while deciding his future.
The family received
a photo of him just last week, standing beside a dusty Humvee in
Soldier Dies Of Wounds
October 15, 2004 U.S. Department of
Defense News Release No. 1029-04
Spc. Ronald W.
Baker, 34, of Cabot, Ark., died October 13th in Landstuhl, Germany,
of injuries sustained on October 7th in Taji, Iraq, when a
vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol
vehicle. Baker was assigned to the 39th
Support Battalion, Arkansas National Guard, Lonoke, Ark.
Slain Marine Is
County's First Casualty
Oct. 15, 2004 By CLARISSA ALJENTERA
Herald Staff Writer
Nineteen-year-old Victor A. Gonzalez
usually called his family at 1 a.m. to tell them he loved them. But
it was a knock on the door, not a ringing phone, that roused the
Pajaro family Thursday morning.
Marines at the home of Sergio and
Amalia Gonzalez told them their son was dead.
"He used to call us at 1 a.m. from
Iraq to say that he loved us," said his sister Edenia, 15.
"He was scared of
never coming back," Edenia said.
Family members were
surprised with Gonzalez's decision to join the Marines and never
gave his parents a clear answer about his choice.
described Victor, the oldest of four siblings, as the tough guy in
He worked with the police for three
years and was highly regarded, Watsonville Police Capt. Eddie
Gonzalez was back
in the area in September and spent almost every day at the station.
desperately wanted to be a police officer after spending endless
hours riding around with police officers and just hanging out with
officers in his down time.
Marine Killed After Only A Few Weeks In Iraq
10.15.04 RACINE (AP) --
Laura Watson will never forget the day Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel
It was March 9 --
the same day he was called up for active duty that would eventually
take him to Iraq, where he died this week.
"He proposed to me
at eight o'clock in the morning, and at eight at night, 12 hours
later, he got the call.
"I was bawling my eyes. I didn't want
him to go," his fiancee said Thursday.
"He was like, 'I've been training for
three years. This is the time people need me to help."'
Wyatt, 22, a rifleman from Racine, was
killed Tuesday in the Babil province southwest of Baghdad.
Family members described Daniel as
quiet but venturesome, and a lover of music, reading history and
sports. His mother died when he was a boy, and the family later
moved from Prospect Heights, Ill., to the Racine area in 1992,
Demands Rumsfeld Help Supply Base
October 15, 2004)
A member of the Senate Armed Services
Committee is pressing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for more
troops to protect the largest U.S. supply base in Iraq—dubbed
"Mortaritaville" because of the frequency of mortar and rocket
attacks—after the base
commander's requests for more troops were rejected. The
senator, Patty Murray, is a Democrat who represents Washington
state, the home of the Army National Guard unit serving at the
WELCOME TO THE
GREEN ZONE CAFE
Remains of the Green Zone Cafe, Oct.
15, 2004. (AP Photo/John Moore)
Hospital Flooded With Green Zone Explosion Victims
October 15, 2004 By Edward Harris,
BAGHDAD, Iraq —
Little remains of the once-popular
Green Zone Cafe except overturned tables, body parts, shattered
glass and shreds of plastic sheeting — reminders of Thursday’s
deadly attacks inside Baghdad’s most heavily secured area.
“When you’re in a
fixed site like this (Green Zone), they’re going to get you. You
can’t run away,” said an Army sergeant surveying the site who
requested anonymity. “We don’t know how long it took them to build
(the bomb) or how. Maybe there are more. “
Much of the explosion’s blast was
directed downward, he said, pointing to a three by three foot wide
hole created by the blast. The cafe’s plastic walls probably kept
the casualty toll down, he said. “If this had been a stone
structure, probably no one would have lived,” he said.
Flies swarmed on the grisly remains,
including a piece of what appeared to be a human skull, still lying
at the cafe.
At the Ibn Sina hospital inside the
Green Zone, American officials said three victims had been
transferred to another medical facility in Iraq, but that five
remained in intensive care.
One of the
patients, identified as an American civilian contractor, could be
seen in the intensive care unit after brain surgery to repair
injuries from the explosion. The exact number of wounded in the
blast still in the hospital wasn’t immediately available.
Medical staff were treating victims
for broken limbs, burns, shrapnel wounds and other wounds.
“We filled up this
whole damn place. We had wounded in the hallways,”
said Lt. Col. Greg Kidwell, of the Army’s 31st Combat Support
Hospital, and chief nurse of the emergency room.
“There were lots of body parts; they
found pieces on the roofs nearby,” said the 49-year old from
Recovering in one room was Michael
Fitzpatrick, a British civilian contractor, who had his back and
head riddled with small shrapnel wounds, burns on his legs and
arms. “I was sitting in the Green Zone Cafe, having a coffee. Then
there was this incredible explosion and I was somersaulting in the
air,” said the 32-year old from Leyland, England.
“I thought I was dead. But I got up
and I was on fire, but I put out the flames. Next to me there was a
woman on fire. I told her that Jesus loved her and help was on the
way. When some soldiers came in with a blanket for her, I got up and
walked to the hospital.”
NEW WEAPON DEPLOYED
Soldier, Salah Ad Din
October 14, 2004 4:24 PM
just a quick bit of info:
if you dig thru the news about some
army engineers who were killed in baghdad today by a roadside bomb,
you may (or may not, i doubt if this will actually go public) find
that the new roadside bomb the insurgency is using is no fucking
its actually something us combat units
have been dreading since we got here. luckily for us, the iraqis
never figured it out until now.
the new roadside bomb is what we call
a "shape charge". the technique is actually nothing new at all. its
been used all throughout modern warfare and is strikingly similar to
all it is really is a metal tube,
approximately 6-8 inches in diameter. this tube is packed with a
mortar round (same thing rebel forces have been using this whole
time), packed with any random jagged objects that would serve as
shrapnel, and the most key ingredient part is
[deleted by GI Special].
when this thing fires, the tube
actually [deleted by GI
Special]. this, plus the initial explosion and
shrapnel, acts sort of like a shotgun round using .00 shot as the
[deleted by GI Special]
is very fucking powerful.
it will penetrate our toughest
up-armor truck, including the turret of our stout armored tanks. it
goes thru the armor like a hot knife thru butter. today, from what
we were told, those soldiers in baghdad who died were hit with this
shape charge. the driver and front passenger were mangled and
killed immediately. the gunner died later as a result from wounds.
this shit is serious. all the iraqi
has to do is place the charge firmly in the ground, hide it just as
well as he has been doing, and aim it in the direction that would do
the most damage. if nothing we have will stop a shape charge, then
i would have to guess that there will be many more deaths in
roadside bombs in the not so distant future.
i dont know if the technicals for this
bomb should go public. if the wrong sources read it, it could
actually mean more casualties.
[which is why deleted by GI Special. The resistance obviously
already knows, since they’re turning them out, but we wouldn’t want
our very own homegrown neo-Nazi militia assholes trying it out.]
hey, the way i see it, if it raises
awareness of the ingenuity of the resistance in iraq, print it. im
all for it. and its no secret, and these new roadside killers will
certainly be used much more frequently as they see how effective
they really are.
looks like we're fucked.
Soldier Asks “How
Many Of Us Have Gotta Die Before We Get To Go Home?"
October 15, 2004 Borzou Daragahi,
Chronicle Foreign Service, San Francisco Chronicle
In Baquba, a
hotbed of insurgency, a soldier with the Army's 4th Infantry
Division who wished to remain anonymous, says, "The only question
for us is how many of us have gotta die before we get to go home."
Fifteen years ago, Iraqi exile Kanan
Makiya published "The Republic of Fear," a terrifying, surreal
account of a country where President Saddam Hussein's security
apparatus wrought havoc on the lives and psyches of ordinary
Iraqis. Today, the country feels almost as surreal and terrifying,
with a new kind of fear -- that the violence, the hatred, the chaos
of "liberated" Iraq keeps edging closer to one's own life, family
and closest friends.
Car bombs and mortar fire shake the
day and night. A trip to the supermarket becomes a life-threatening
exercise when a gunfight erupts outside.
An Iraqi teenager wearing an AC
Milan hat glares at an American in a guard post. The burly soldier,
carrying an M-16, stares back, stone-faced.
Shop owners who used to welcome
foreign reporters with tea now politely but firmly order them out.
"I'm sorry, it's not you," one shop owner explains. "I'm just scared
someone will target my store because they see foreigners here. "
At a stall in the
Bab al Sharji "thieves market" -- a sprawling bazaar in the old
section of Baghdad now filled with pickpockets, car thieves and
prostitutes -- 13-year-old Allawi Ali Haydar does a brisk business
selling videos of insurgents fighting U.S. forces and Iraqi national
guards. Bloody scenes flickering on a monitor show the Mahdi Army
militia of firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr firing on U.S. soldiers
A little way down
the pockmarked Sadr City road, past a blue and-white Mercedes bus
riddled with bullet holes, a smiling Mahdi Army fighter is giving
orders. He has an infectious laugh and flashes perfect teeth, giving
his name as Ali "Abu Hossein." At 24, he leads a group of pumped-up
followers -- some as young as 12 -- for a night of what passes for
fun in Sadr City: resetting remote control bombs that failed to
detonate during the previous night's battles with U.S. soldiers.
A group of Iraqi
police stands 20 feet away. "The police are with us," says Ali. "Or
they are afraid," says one of his followers.
country, graffiti-covered walls read "Iraq will be America's
graveyard," "Long live the holy warriors," "The occupier will
leave, by God," and "Traitors and spies beware."
Paranoia infects every move, even
among hardened foreign correspondents - - fear of being followed or
of being sold out for a few hundred dinars to kidnappers, or that
the next car bomb could have one's own name on it.
"We have to keep
moving," a journalist's Iraqi translator says, abruptly ending an
interview. "We'll be safer if we keep moving. Let's get out of
The dwindling cadre
of U.S. officials in Baghdad continues to express
unbridled optimism for the future of Iraq and America's aims.
But Thursday's bomb attacks in the
Green Zone proved even that fortress, home to U.S. and Iraqi
officials, is no longer safe.
"I like the Iraqi
people," says Pfc. Isaac Staley, 30, of Springfield, Ore., standing
guard at a joint U.S. Army-Iraqi police checkpoint in central
Baghdad. "But there's so much separating them from us, from our
Western civilization, that it's hard to get past. There's
prejudice. ... There's prejudice on our side, and there's prejudice
on their side."
The Iraqi police radio crackles out an
all-points bulletin. "A guy with
a beard named Mohammad," says the dispatcher. "If you see him,
detain him." A Black Hawk helicopter roars overhead. Then
Many soldiers suspect the people who
smile at them during the day are the ones firing rocket-propelled
grenades at them by night. "Don't trust anyone, not even the
10-year-old kid on the street," says U.S. Army Capt. Jeff Mersiowsky
In Baquba, a hotbed
of insurgency, a soldier with the Army's 4th Infantry Division who
wished to remain anonymous, says, "The only question for us is how
many of us have gotta die before we get to go home."
For droves of young Iraqis who have
grown weary of the fear and paranoia, passport offices have become
popular destinations. Ahmad Ibrahim, 21, worked as a translator for
the U.S. Army, an $800-a-month job as dangerous as any in Iraq.
Iraqis on the street told him he was a traitor. Three of his
friends who were translators have been killed. He found one of his
friends, Mohammad, who had been abducted -- lying close to the
river, a bullet in his head.
Still, he stayed
on. But when a battalion commander handed him a pistol during a
violent confrontation with insurgents and advised "Watch your back,"
Ibrahim knew it was time to go.
"I didn't sign up for this. I just
wanted to be an interpreter," he says after he was granted a visa.
"I want to leave, but it's still my country. I feel so bad about it.
Everything is starting to get worse and worse."
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK
OUT THE NEW 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
BRING THEM ALL HOME
Humvee vehicle burns following attack
in Mosul, October 13 (Namir Noor-Eldeen: Reuters)
“Never Leave A
“Always Shit On A
Oct. 14, 2004 By BRIAN ROSS, DAVID
SCOTT and MADDY SAUER, ABC News
"Where are the
politicians? Where are the generals?" he asked. "Where are the
people that are supposed to take care of me?"
Many of the
severely wounded soldiers returning from Iraq face the prospect of
poverty and what they describe as official indifference and
"Guys I've met,
talking to people, they'd be better off financially for their
families if they had died as opposed to coming back maimed,"
said Staff Sgt. Ryan Kelly, who served as a civil affairs specialist
for the Army while in Iraq.
On July 14, 2003, the Abilene, Texas,
native had been on his way to a meeting about rebuilding schools in
Iraq when his unarmored Humvee was blown up. A piece of shrapnel
the size of a TV remote took his right leg off, below the knee,
almost completely, Kelly said
Kelly attests to receiving excellent
medical care at Ward 57, the amputee section of Walter Reed, but
said he quickly realized that the military had no real plan for the
injured soldiers. Many had to borrow money or depend on charities
just to have relatives visit at Walter Reed, Kelly said.
"It's not what I
expected to see when I got here," he said. "These guys having to,
you know, basically panhandle for money to afford things."
Perhaps as a sign
of the grim outlook facing many of these wounded soldiers, Staff
Sgt. Peter Damon, a National Guardsman from Brockton, Mass., said he
is grateful for being a double amputee.
"Well, in a way, I'm kind of lucky
losing both arms because I've been told I'll probably get 100
percent disability," he said.
Damon, a mechanic and electrician,
lost both arms in an explosion as he was repairing a helicopter in
Iraq. He initially woke up in the hospital worried and anxious to
learn that both forms of livelihood were taken away from him.
"Now what am I doing to do?" Damon
said, faced with the prospect of supporting his wife Jennifer and
two children. "I can't do either, none of those, with no hands."
fails to provide a lump sum payment for such catastrophic
injuries. And Damon still has not heard from the military what
they plan to give in terms of monthly disability payments.
The last time Damon
asked about the payments, he was told by the military that his
paperwork had been lost.
"And then when I
went to go back to inquire about it again, just to ask a question, I
just wanted to see if they had found my paperwork, I was told I had
to make an appointment and to come back five days later," he said.
said the shock of her husband returning with no arms has been
replaced by the fear of destitution, as well as a frustration over
her husband's final discharge. Like his disability benefits,
Peter's release is being held up by the lost paperwork and
unanswered phone calls.
"It's hard to
understand," she said. "I mean, I need him more than they need
him right now. It's been a long time. You've had him for a long
time. I want him back."
Staff Sgt. Larry Gill, a National
Guardsman from Semmes, Ala., wonders whether his 20 dutiful years of
military service have been adequately rewarded.
Last October, Gill injured his left
leg when on patrol during a protest outside a mosque in Baghdad. A
protester threw a hand grenade which left Gill, a former policeman,
with leg intact, though useless. He received a Purple Heart from
the military, but no program, plan, or proposal of how to make a
living in civilian life.
"It's not fair, and I'm not
complaining," Gill said. "I'm not whining about it. You know, I
just, I just don't think people really understand what we're being
Gill expects he
will have to sell his home, the dream house he and his wife Leah
designed and built, where they raised their children.
"I've never questioned my orders," he
said. "I've slept with rats and stood in the rain and wondered why I
was standing in the rain, and, you know, for my children to have to
do without based on a lack of income from me, it's frustrating."
His wife Leah Gill agreed. "I just
don't feel we should have to uproot because of an injury that he
received while he was serving the country," she said. "It shouldn't
come down to that."
Gill and the others
in Ward 57 have had their pictures taken frequently with visiting
"Where are the
politicians? Where are the generals?" he asked. "Where are the
people that are supposed to take care of me?"
do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans,
are especially welcome. Send to email@example.com.
Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
'91 Gulf War Veterans, Latest Study Finds
(New York Times,
October 15, 2004, Pg. 1)
A federal panel of medical experts
studying illnesses among veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf was has
broken with several earlier studies and concluded that many suffer
from neurological damage caused by exposure to toxic chemicals,
rejecting past findings that the ailments resulted mostly from
wartime stress. Story at:
Has No Idea Why The Fuck They Were Sent To War
(New York Times,
October 15, 2004)
An Army sergeant
paralyzed from injuries suffered from a roadside bomb in Iraq says
"We were over there, all these young guys, doing our jobs, but we
really didn't know why we were there," he says. "I ask myself,
'What was our purpose?' And to this day I still can't figure out
our purpose for being there."
Handled By Iraq Commanding Officers:
Paperwork Gone AWOL
15 October 2004 By Larry Margasak The
Washington - U.S. and
Iraqi officials doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in oil
proceeds and other moneys for Iraqi projects earlier this year, but
there was little effort to monitor or justify the expenditures,
according to an audit released Thursday.
Files that could
explain many of the payments are missing or nonexistent,
and contracting rules were ignored, according to auditors working
for an agency created by the United Nations.
a program to allow U.S. military commanders to pay for small
auditors questioned 128
projects totaling $31.6 million. They could find no evidence of
bidding for the projects or, alternatively, explanations of why
they were awarded without competition.
Ex-Agawam Man Dies
"We're All Very Mad
At The Government."
October 15, 2004 The Republican
AGAWAM - City native
Jeremy Regnier, 22, was killed Wednesday when his armored vehicle
drove over an improvised bomb during a patrol in Iraq.
"We still can't believe it," his aunt,
Sherry Velozo of Agawam, said yesterday. "We're all still trying to
wake up, and hope it's a nightmare. We know it isn't, but it's just
a very hard thing. He was such a young person."
"He was fun-loving kid," Kip Regnier
said. "He was great."
Family members said Regnier hoped to
make a good life for himself in the Army. He dropped out of
Littleton High School after the 11th grade, but earned an
equivalency diploma while working manufacturing jobs.
"He wanted to better himself," another
aunt, Judy Ash, told the Caledonian-Record.
Velozo said Kevin didn't encourage his
son to re-enlist.
"Right now he's blaming himself,"
"We're all very mad
at the government," Velozo added. "We just don't think they should
have been over there."
Stop The Loss Of
10/14/2004 Orange County Register
Editorial Board , Orange County Register (California)
Two members of the
California National Guard have filed a suit contending that the
military's controversial "stop-loss" program, which forces those
whose enlistment is about to run out to stay in the military, is
illegal when applied to National Guard soldiers.
About 40,000 National Guard members are now deployed in Iraq.
identified only as a member of the 2668th Transportation Company and
"married and the father of two young children," is about to become
one of them. His unit left last Wednesday for
training at Ft. Lewis in Washington state. It is expected to depart
for Iraq in seven weeks or so.
Both "John Doe" and another National
Guard member who filed suit in August are in the National Guard "Try
One" program reserved for military veterans. The
program allows veterans to bypass basic training while enjoying
military education and family medical benefits for a one-year trial
period. Before their one year was up, however, they were called
under stop-loss orders for an 18-month tour that includes deployment
Attorneys for the soldiers say that
the 9/11 commission's report that found no "collaborative
operational relationship" between Iraq and al-Qaida means deployment
to Iraq is not covered by an executive order written in response to
They argue additionally that the
executive order doesn't cover "nation-building," and that
in the absence of a declaration of
war by Congress, an involuntary call is a violation of the National
Guard enlistment contract.
Joshua Sondheimer, the San Francisco
attorney who is handling these cases, told us he expects the federal
District Court in Sacramento to hear the request for a preliminary
injunction within five weeks.
He points to a
law that says National Guard members can't be kept in federal
service beyond their period of enlistment.
Although it would be foolish to
predict how a court will rule, this case suggests that the policy
may be not only objectionable but illegal.
We are especially pleased that the case raises the issue that the
U.S. Constitution gives Congress - not the president acting
unilaterally - the power to declare war. That check on executive
power has been ignored for too long.
If "John Doe" wins
this case, it will probably open the legal floodgates for other
soldiers to challenge stop-loss orders.
That would be healthy. It is important
for a country that claims to be fighting in part for the rule of law
to do so in ways that uphold rather than undermine the rule of law.
Military Base Theaters, 9/11 DVD Is A Hit With Ranks Anyhow
10/11/2004 Nancy Montgomery , Stars
makes the government look bad, they don’t want us to see.” “It
almost made me want to throw my ID away,”
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan —
The highest-grossing documentary in
movie history, winner at the Cannes Film Festival, hailed in Boston
but banned in Kuwait, “Fahrenheit 9/11” never made it to Yokosuka
Naval Base theaters — or to any movie theater located on a military
But the DVD version
of Michael Moore’s cinematic indictment of the current
commander-in-chief and his administration came in the doors at the
base video store this week — and went right out again.
Employees of the store, operated by
Softland Video, said all 22 copies it received Tuesday were checked
out that day, and when they came back, they went out again. The
movie was available for home viewing last week at most overseas
Francis Anglada, a retired petty
officer first class who now works for Morale, Welfare and
Recreation, got the last one in stock on Thursday around 11:30 a.m.
He’d been waiting a long time to
see it, and said it was a “scandal” that it never showed in base
“If you look at all
the evidence,” Anglada said, “there’s no reason they couldn’t have
gotten it in time.”
In June, when the movie came out in
theaters, AAFES, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, said it
was pursuing prints, and that it eschewed politics when choosing
movies, basing decisions only on profits and popularity.
But a spokesman for the Fellowship
Adventure Group, formed to distribute Moore’s film in conjunction
with Lions Gate Films and IFC Films, said it told AAFES in mid-July
that prints of “Fahrenheit 9/11” would be available, and that “from
that point on, they were unresponsive.”
A Department of Defense civilian in
Naples who corresponded via e-mail in June with a decision-maker at
the Navy Motion Picture Service in Tennessee had no better luck.
When the civilian asked if the movie would play at overseas bases,
the NMPS official said no decision had been made. “Why
do you have such an interest in this movie?” the NMPS official
asked, according to an e-mail. The civilian agreed to
share his correspondence with Stars and Stripes but asked that his
name not be used.
“I think it’s
reprehensible they’d practice this kind of censorship,” the DOD
Last month, the
official again told the civilian no decision had been made, adding,
“There’s not a great deal of ‘wanna see’ on the part of our
customers — actually
you seem to be the most interested
party. Our survey of the field is informal — asking
ships, base theater managers and CO’s if they have had requests,”
the official’s e-mail said.
his copy on Thursday, said that view didn’t seem grounded in
reality, based on the huge success of the movie in the United
on the base reflects the population you have stateside,” he said.
Some overseas military members did see
“Fahrenheit 9/11” on the big screen, however. It played in Japan.
“It almost made me
want to throw my ID away,” said one petty officer
third class who saw the movie while he was home on leave in Florida.
“It shows how Bush
reacted (when he was told about the 9/11 attacks). He just keeps
reading. It shows how he tries to cut the veterans’ benefits. It
shows they don’t care about us.”
The sailor’s words, spoken in the
Yokosuka video store, got the attention of Petty Officer 2nd Class
Mark Dutton. Dutton had just said he didn’t know much about the
movie and that he’d rather see “Van Helsing” or “Troy,” also new
releases. But after hearing his fellow sailor’s recommendation,
Dutton changed his mind.
“I want to see it
now. In fact, I might buy it,” Dutton said. “Anything that makes
the government look bad, they don’t want us to see.”
In Case You Missed
It The First Time:
The Comrades Kerry Abandoned
The Real Story of Vietnam Veterans
Against the War
By JOE ALLEN
Notes From A Lost War:
Searches For Resistance Finds Nobody Home In Rebel Towns
October 16, 2004 By James Glanz, The
New York Times
happened, and they knew we were coming," said Staff Sergeant Norm
Witka of the 1st Brigade, 23rd Infantry Regiment.
Nobody tends the stalls at the main
market under the big painted signs. Nothing moves on the streets.
No one answers when U.S. soldiers pound on the flimsy metal gates of
No objections are raised when the
soldiers peer into kitchen pantries or, their heads cocked with
suspicion, pull the dust cover off a television set that is being
stored in the corner of a living room.
Out of the hundreds
of homes here and in a neighboring town, Mulla Fayyad, most were
empty when the soldiers descended at dusk and began an overnight
search, house by house, for insurgents and their weaponry. Families
were at home in only a small number of houses, perhaps a few dozen.
It is not as though
no one lives here. Fresh onions and tomatoes sat on a counter, some
of them cut up and ready to eat. Children's sandals lay where they
were kicked off on a porch or at the bottom of a stairway. Small
Iraqi banknotes tumbled to the floor when a cupboard was pulled
But nobody was
home. While terrorism suspects and militia fighters have
routinely slipped away from their pursuers ever since last year's
invasion, the sudden emptying of whole towns before unannounced
raids appears to be a new phenomenon.
happened, and they knew we were coming," said Staff Sergeant Norm
Witka of the 1st Brigade, 23rd Infantry Regiment,
whose unit was one of those that poured into the towns and searched
nearly every room of every house.
The mystery of the
disappearing populace has repeated itself during sweeps by soldiers
and marines in northern Babil Province, a patch of
land about 50 kilometers, or 30 miles, south of Baghdad. It is an
area that is not only hostile to the allied occupation but thought
to contain important supply lines for insurgents elsewhere in the
The 24th Marine
Expeditionary Unit, which is leading the operation in Babil, has
indicated that weapons caches and people suspected of being
insurgents have been rounded up. But most of the finds have been
modest, as illustrated by the haul in Yusufiya and Mulla Fayyad:
three AK-47s, a 9-millimeter pistol and some flak jackets.
In one house, said Captain Rob
Robinson, who described the finds, soldiers discovered paramilitary
literature and some photos of one of the residents with Saddam
Hussein. "It didn't look threatening, but it generally seemed out
of place," Robinson said of the stash.
Theories about why
the people are fleeing are varied, and little is known of where they
go, or for how long. Robinson said he believed
insurgents hoped that Americans would attack the town and then be
ridiculed by the residents. But there was no attack - only the
When asked where all the people had
gone, one of the few residents shrugged and made a sweeping gesture
toward the countryside. "Felah," he said, using the word for
In the moonless darkness, the towns
were defined by the sounds that ricocheted through the warm night
air: the barking of dogs, the hollow "thunk" of soldiers kicking in
doors, shotgun blasts to rip away padlocks, broken glass falling
onto a concrete floor.
The soldiers were generally as
respectful as possible to the people who remained, and there
appeared to be no unnecessary damage inside the houses
after the searches.
But as the night wore on and nothing
of value turned up, some of the young Americans in uniform seemed to
grow bored. They fired several times at one lock but failed to open
it. A few moments later, a soldier stepped forward, made a
tremendous swing with a crowbar and fell on his behind. The group
roared with laughter.
One soldier said,
"This isn't even a mission anymore," saying he and
his colleagues were "just doing whatever we want."
As the soldiers
tromped down the street, a lone Iraqi boy leaned out of the shadows
in one doorway and silently took it all in. On this street, at
least one resident had remained.
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Arrests Chief Iraqi Negotiator,
More Terror Bombing
Tell Occupation Go Shit In Your Hat
10.15.04 By Terry Friel, BAGHDAD
(Reuters) & By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer & By Fares
Dulaimi, Middle East Online & By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI, Associated
forces arrested Falluja's chief negotiator on Friday as
he left a mosque after Friday prayers in a village about 10 miles
south of Fallujah after air
strikes on the rebel-held city.
Falluja police, who
do not answer to the U.S.-backed interim government, said U.S.
marines detained Sunni Muslim cleric Khaled al-Jumaili, the city's
police chief and two other police officers while they were moving
their families to a nearby resort town for safety from American air
Fierce air strikes hit Falluja after
the blasts as U.S. and Iraqi forces intensified pressure on
suspected Zarqawi targets in and around the bastion of Sunni
insurgency west of Baghdad.
A hospital doctor, Thamim al-Nuaimi,
said five civilians had been killed and 11 wounded in the overnight
U.S. officials, however,
indicated the bombing was not a prelude to a major offensive into
Fallujah that officials have said they might launch sometime this
fall. In Washington, a senior military official, speaking about
operational matters only on the condition of anonymity, said the
strikes were against specific targets, similar to airstrikes that
have gone on for months against suspected militant hideouts.
multi-national forces have taken up vehicle checkpoints around the
city of Fallujah with the purpose of channeling anti-Iraqi forces
through these main points of passage, identifying
and detaining them," spokesman Lieutenant Lyle Gilbert said.
The military said the Falluja raids at
2.38 a.m. (2338 GMT Thursday) hit "command and control sites" used
by senior Zarqawi leaders to store weapons and plan attacks, adding
that air strikes since Thursday had destroyed many other Zarqawi
have scoffed at such statements in the past, saying they have no
knowledge of Zarqawi or his group and accusing the Americans of
bombing civilian homes.
In a statement
read at sermons in mosques in Baghdad and elsewhere, Fallujah's
clerics called for civil disobedience across Iraq if the Americans
try to overrun the insurgent bastion. And if that doesn't halt an
offensive, the clerics said they would proclaim a jihad, or holy
war, against multinational forces "as well as those collaborating
insisted al-Zarqawi was not in the city as U.S. and Iraqi commanders
claim, saying his presence "is a lie just like the weapons of mass
become the pretext for flattening civilians houses and killing
innocent civilians," the statement said.
``In case the
interim government and occupation troops make no response following
the civil disobedience campaign, Muslim scholars and representatives
of all Islamic and national groups will declare jihad all over Iraq
and declare a mobilization against the occupation troops as well as
those collaborating with them,'' the statement said.
Abu Abdullah said
he's a phys ed student who became an insurgent after the U.S.-led
invasion. ``When the Americans first came to Fallujah, we were
hoping our lives would improve,'' he said. ``But after they raided
mosques and homes, how do you expect us to open our arms to them?''
Hameed Jassim, a 42-year-old
businessman, said: ``We feel pain when any Iraqi citizen is hurt.
Ours is a direct resistance with the enemy.''
Ahmed al-Issawi, 26, said local and
foreign fighters are battling for the same cause against Americans
in vastly superior numbers.
``Only God saved Fallujah and God will
keep protecting Fallujah from infidels and people like Allawi,''
``When 13 members
of a family are killed in one U.S. attack, who is the terrorist
here? Isn't that terrorism?''
Elsewhere, several mortar rounds
believed fired from Syria exploded Friday near the border town of
Husaybah, said Marine Lt. Col. Chris Woodbridge. There were no
casualties. Marines say mortar attacks from Syrian territory have
increased in recent weeks though it's unclear who is launching them.
Occupation Cops Hit;
October 15, 2004 By Tini Tran, The
Associated Press & AFP
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A car
loaded with 300 pounds of explosives blew up today near a police
station in southwest Baghdad.
One Iraqi civilian
was killed and 15 people wounded, mostly policemen.
“One person was brought here dead and 15 injured, 10 of whom were
policemen,” said Mazen Jappar, a doctor at Baghdad’s Yarmuk
Interior ministry spokesman Adnane
Abdelrahmane said a suicide bomber carried out the attack in the
southern Baghdad suburb of Dura at about 9:45 am (0645 GMT).
“A man behind the
wheel of a car drove up to a police patrol and blew himself up,” one
police officer told AFP.
Witnesses said many
of the victims appeared to be in a life-threatening condition,
and efforts to reach Iraqi officials and hospitals for an update
failed because switchboards were shut down for Ramadan festivities.
Television News footage showed two destroyed police SUVs, a crater
caused by the explosion, and a charred engine believed to be that of
the exploded car.
Two More Schofield
Barracks Soldiers Killed
October 15, 2004 Gregg Kakesako,
Two more Schofield
Barracks soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, raising the death
toll for Hawaii-based troops in that country to six.
The Pentagon said today that Spc. Kyle
Ka Eo Fernandez, 26, of Waipahu and Staff Sgt. Brian S. Hobbs, 31,
of Mesa, Ariz., were killed yesterday in Miam Do, Afghanistan.
The two members of
the 25th Division’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry, were victims of a
homemade bomb that exploded while they were on foot patrol.
Fernandez’s wife live in Wahiawa. He
enlisted in the Army in March 2001 and was assigned to Charlie
Company, 2nd Battalion of the 25th Division in August.
Hobbs was a member of
Headquarters & Headquarters Company. He came to Hawaii in September
1994 and joined the 25th Division in October 2001.
There will be a private prayer service
for both soldiers at Schofield on Tuesday.
To date, 21 soldiers and one civilian
with Hawaii ties have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since U.S.
forces invaded Iraq in March 2003. Of the 15 deaths in Iraq, 13
were due to hostile action.
Seven of those
killed in Iraq were from the 25th Infantry Division.
IED Wounds U.S.
October 15, 2004 Associated Press
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan —
A remote-controlled mine detonated under an American military
vehicle on patrol in southern Afghanistan, injuring one soldier, an
Afghan official said Friday.
The mine blast happened Thursday
afternoon in the Kishi area of the province’s Charcheno district.
American and Afghan forces have stepped up patrols in the area.
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