www.albasrah.net
 

 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

10.28.04

Print it out (color best).  Pass it on.

 

GI SPECIAL 2#C6

 

Sgt. Lampin Is Coming Home

 

OUR MOTHER WON A BATTLE THAT OTHERS SAID SHE COULD NOT WIN

SHE PROVED THEM WRONG.

 

OUR DADA, SGT. TONY LAMPIN, A MEDICALLY UNFIT SOLDIER FORCED INTO IRAQ, IS COMING HOME

 

 

From: Brandie Lampin, (USMC ret’d)

To: GI Special

Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:55 PM

Subject: Sgt. Lampin is Coming Home

 

As of Oct. 19th

 

Tony called me to inform me that the command of the 115th Field Hospital has come to the decision to send my husband, Sgt. Tony Lampin, home.

 

When he told me this, I broke down in tears of joy and got on my knees to thank God for his gift.  I asked Tony if the reason for him to be sent home was because of what I have been doing and he said some of it, but some of it was because of the doctors making a written, and verbal statement that since there is nothing else they can do for him, that he should be sent home.

 

My reply to that is this: In my heart, a great deal of it was because of my long fight for his return, but the command, and the U.S. Army will not admit to that, so I will more than happy to take 50% of the reason.

 

I would just like to say thank you to the Senators and Congressmen/women who I have contacted and looked into my husbands’ case, to the supporters who called, emailed, and snail mailed me giving me their full support.

 

Thank you to the Soldiers who posted their comments about my husband.

 

To GI Special, thank you so much for posting my letters.  You are part of the reason why Tony is being sent home.

 

MOST OF ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO THANK GOD FOR HIS WONDERFUL GIFT TO MY CHILDREN AND I.  WE ARE IN GREAT DEBT TO YOU LORD!

 

Today, Oct. 27th Tony called me from Germany letting me know that he will be home soon but did not know exactly when.

 

To the readers of GI Special, be looking for another post by me with pictures of our reunion.  It was a long battle, and like I said before; "Though the Command will never admit to it, I won the battle and it just proves that it can be done."

 

Now that my mission to bring my husband home was accomplished, I would like to say that I am not going to stop in the aid to bring others like my husband home.  I will continue helping with advise, writing letters, and making phones calls.  If anyone should need my help, please email me or snail mail me.  I will be more than happy to help in any way that I can.

 

God Bless America,

God Bless you all.

 

Brandie Lampin,

165 Eubanks Rd.

Leesville, La. 71446

BLampin4036@aol.com

 

FOR MORE ABOUT SGT. LAMPIN 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.  http://www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS:

 

 

Sindiayah Motorcycle Bomber Kills U.S. Soldier

 

October 27, 2004 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND Release Number: 04-10-24C

 

LSA ANACONDA, BALAD, Iraq – A 13th Corps Support Command soldier is dead and one is injured as the result of a suspected motorcycle bomb attack on their convoy near Sindiayah around 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 27.  The injured soldier was taken to the Air Force Theater Hospital here.

 

 

BAD DUTY:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW

A US soldier carries a rocket he removed from close to the wreckage of a car bomb along a road north of the city of Baquba. (AFP/Ali Yussef)

 

 

Bradley Knocked Out On Airport Road

 

2004-10-27 Middle East Online

 

An armoured US vehicle was hit by a bomb along the highway to Baghdad's international airport, a military spokeswoman said.

 

"The Bradley fighting vehicle lost one of its tracks but it was recovered," said the spokeswoman, adding that there had been no US casualties in the blast.

 

 

Local Marine Killed In Anbar

 

October 27, 2004 TheBostonChannel

 

Cpl. Brian Oliveira, 22, of Raynham, Mass., died Oct. 25 from injuries received in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. 

 

Oliveira was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

 

 

INTO THE VALLEY OF DEATH RODE THE 800

 

(AlJazeera)

 

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Nearly 800 British forces began leaving their bases in southern Iraq on Wednesday, heading north toward Baghdad.  [As the camel falls to its knees, more knives are drawn.] (Army Times Daily News Roundup 10.27.04)

 

Comment by David Staub, Vets For Peace: 10.27.04: Guerrillas have proved historically smarter than mechanized forces that would put them down.  They can feint and move more quickly. They can leave Fallujah and attack from outside.  It is unlikely that this heavy attack will defeat the resistance so much as spread it and increase it more.

 

 

U.S. Civilian Casualties Skyrocket:

170 Killed And 700-800 Wounded

 

10.26.04 MARY ANN FERGUS , Houston Chronicle

 

At least 170 contract workers -- 52 of them from Halliburton -- have died since U.S. troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, according to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a Web site that tracks coalition deaths.  The Pentagon doesn't track the number of civilians working in Iraq or their injuries.

 

Houston is home to Halliburton, KBR and, therefore, the civilian war labor business. Each week, the company sends 350 to 400 workers to Iraq.

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

Bush Regime Traitors Pass Death Sentence On U.S. POWs In Iraq

 

October 25, 2004 Sam Hamod, Today’s Alternative News

 

Today, America made another disastrous mistake that is going to put American troops in mortal danger every time they are captured.  It wasn’t enough that the American troops, who were the “foreign invaders” in Afghanistan, were seen by our government as the legitimate troops of Afghanistan, while Afghans and other Muslims who fought the Americans were said to be “terrorists” and not allowed legal rights of the Geneva Convention.

 

Now, as of today, October 25, 2004, America has once against twisted history by saying that our illegal invasion troops are the legitimate troops in Iraq and that all Iraqis who resist or those Arabs or Muslims who come to fight against our illegal occupation do not have the protection of the Geneva Conventions!  What madness is this.

 

This means, that whatever the Ashcroft/Bush/Rumsfeld cabal says takes the place of international law.  But, this also means that if our soldiers are captured, then the people who capture them in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else in the Muslim world, will be seen as “foreign combatants” and not given Geneva Conventions either.  It will become an eye for an eye situation, with rancor, hatred and more warfare that may become endless.  

 

[In the U.S. Civil War, the Union leadership never contemplated anything this idiotic against the Confederates, whom they considered guilty of treason.  It takes the scum running this government to put captured U.S. troops in a position where their summary execution is justified by refusing the other side the rights of warriors.  The enemy is not the Iraqis.  As if any further proof were needed, the enemy is the corporate class that has seized the U.S. government for their own wealth, power and privilege, and use the armed forces to profit themselves and advance their Imperial dreams.  The guns are pointing in the wrong direction.  Enough.  Payback is overdue.  T]

 

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

 

 

Soldiers Fight Command And Win:

Army Forbidden To Use Anthrax Vaccine On Any Soldier Anywhere Who Refuses To Take It:

Mandatory Program Is Unlawful, Judge Rules

 

October 27, 2004 By Deborah Funk, Army Times staff writer

 

A federal judge has again halted the Pentagon’s mandatory anthrax vaccination program, declaring it illegal without the informed consent of service members or a presidential waiver of informed consent.

 

The ruling, handed down Wednesday by Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, says the Food and Drug Administration failed to follow its own procedures in approving the vaccine as protection against anthrax used as a biological weapon.

 

As things stands now, he said, the vaccine is not properly approved for that specific purpose and as such is an investigational new drug.

 

“Unless and until” FDA properly classifies the vaccine as safe and effective for use against inhalation anthrax, Sullivan said, “the involuntary anthrax vaccination program, as applied to all persons, is rendered illegal absent informed consent or a presidential waiver.”

 

Sullivan said that in the years since 1985, the FDA failed to provide a “meaningful opportunity” for public comment on its proposed rule regarding the vaccine, as required by its own regulations, Sullivan said.

 

“This failure … violates the Administrative Procedures Act,” and thus renders the vaccine’s use against inhalation anthrax illegal, Sullivan said.

 

“It’s been a long fight … it’s not over yet, but right now we feel vindicated,” said attorney John J. “Lou” Michels Jr., one of the attorneys representing six anonymous service members and civilians subject to the military’s mandatory vaccination policy who sued the government.

 

Although the lawsuit focused on only six people, Sullivan said his injunction applies to everyone subject to the mandatory anthrax vaccination program.

 

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.  Send requests to address up top.

 

 

Troops Fucked Again:

Army Won't Shorten Combat Tours

 

October 27, 2004 Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON - The Army will not shorten combat tours in Iraq next year from 12 months to six or nine months, as some had hoped, because that would undermine the war effort, the Army's top general said Tuesday.

 

Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told a group of reporters that he would prefer shorter combat tours in Iraq but believes that cannot happen as long as the U.S. military is required to maintain roughly the 135,000 troops there now to fight the insurgency.

 

The Army and Marine Corps are preparing to maintain that level at least through the end of next year.

 

The 12-month rule was adopted for both active-duty and reserve units, and a few units have been ordered to stay even longer.

 

 

1st Cav Double Fucked:

Brass Hinting Not Going Home In January After All

 

Oct 26 Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY

 

Concerned that they won't get enough new troops from allies to help provide security for Iraqi elections in January, Pentagon (news - web sites) officials are considering increasing the current U.S. force by delaying the departures of some U.S. troops now in Iraq and accelerating the deployment of others scheduled to go there next year.

 

The easiest option, the Defense officials said, is to delay the departure from Iraq of the 1st Cavalry Division, which is set to begin leaving in January.

 

 

More Off To The Empires’ Slaughterhouse:

National Guard And Reserve Mobilized For War Up 2,332

 

October 27, 2004 U.S. Department of Defense News Release No. 1073-04

 

This week, the Army and Air Force announced an increase in the number of reservists on active duty in support of the partial mobilization, while the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard had a decrease. The net collective result is 2,332 more reservists mobilized than last week.

 

A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel, who are currently mobilized can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2004/d20041027ngr.pdf.

 

 

Enraged Soldier’s Mom Condemns The War

 

10.21.04 By Teri Willis Allison, Tomdispatch.com.  Teri Wills Allison, a massage therapist and a member of Military Families Speak Out, lives near Austin, Texas with her husband.  She is the mother of two grown children, the oldest of whom is a soldier deployed to Iraq.

 

"My son is involved in a deadly situation that should never have been."

 

I am not a pacifist.  I am a mother.  By nature, the two are incompatible, for even a cottontail rabbit will fight to protect her young.  Violent action may well be necessary in defense of one's family or home (and that definition of home can easily be extended to community and beyond); but violence, no matter how warranted, always takes a heavy toll.

 

And violence taken to the extreme – war – exacts the most extreme costs.  A just war there may be, but there is no such thing as a good war.  And the burdens of an unjust war are insufferable.

 

I know something about the costs of an unjust war, for my son, Nick – an infantryman in the U.S. Army – is fighting one in Iraq.  I don't speak for my son. I couldn't even if I wanted to, for all I hear through the Mom Filter is: "I'm fine, Mom, don't worry, I'm fine, everything is fine, fine, fine, we're fine, just fine." But I can tell you what some of the costs are as I live and breathe them.

 

First, the minor stuff: my constant feelings of dread and despair; the sweeping rage that alternates with petrifying fear; the torrents of tears that accompany a maddening sense of helplessness and vulnerability.

 

My son is involved in a deadly situation that should never have been.  I feel like a mother lion in a cage, my grown cub in danger, and all I can do is throw myself furiously against the bars ... impotent to protect him.  My tolerance for bullshit is zero, and I've snapped off more heads in the last several months than in all my 48 years combined.

 

For the first time in my life, and with great amazement and sorrow, I feel what can only be described as hatred.  It took me a long time to admit it, but there it is.  I loathe the hubris, the callousness, and the lies of those in the Bush administration who led us into this war.  Truth be told, I even loathe the fallible and very human purveyors of those lies.  I feel no satisfaction in this admission, only sadness and recognition. And hope that – given time – I can do better. I never wanted to hate anyone.

 

Xanax helps a bit.  At least it holds the debilitating panic attacks somewhat at bay, so I can fake it through one more day.  A friend in the same situation relies on a six-pack of beer every night; another has drifted into a la-la land of denial. Nice.

 

Then there is the wedge that's been driven between part of my extended family and me. They don't see this war as one based on lies.  They've become evangelical believers in a false faith, swallowing Bush's fear mongering, his chicken-hawk posturing and strutting, and cheering his "bring 'em on" attitude as a sign of strength and resoluteness. Perhaps life is just easier that way.

 

These are the same people who have known my son since he was a baby, who have held him and loved him and played with him, who have bought him birthday presents and taken him fishing.  I don't know them anymore.

 

But enough of my whining.  My son is alive and in one piece, unlike the 1,102 dead and 7,782 severely wounded American soldiers; which equals 8,884 blood soaked uniforms, and doesn't even count the estimated 20,000 troops – not publicly reported by the Department of Defense – medevaced out of Iraq for "non-combat related injuries."

 

Every death, every injury burns like a knife in my gut, for these are all America's sons and daughters.  And I know I'm not immune to that knock on my door either.

 

And what of the Iraqi people?  How many casualties have they suffered?  How many tens of thousands dead and wounded?  How many Iraqi mothers have wept, weep now, for their lost children?  I fear we will never know, for though the Pentagon has begun – almost gleefully – counting Iraqi insurgent deaths, there is little chance of getting an accurate verification of civilian casualties.  You know, "collateral damage."

 

Yes, my son is alive and, as far as I know, well.  I wish I could say the same for some of his friends.

 

One young man who was involved in heavy fighting during the invasion is now so debilitated by post-traumatic stress disorder that he routinely has flashbacks in which he smells burning flesh; he can't close his eyes without seeing people's heads squashed like frogs in the middle of the road, or dead and dying women and children, burned, bleeding and dismembered.

 

Sometimes he hears the sounds of battle raging around him, and he has been hospitalized twice for suicidal tendencies.  When he was home on leave, this 27-year-old man would crawl into his mother's room at night and sob in her lap for hours.  Instead of getting treatment for PTSD, he has just received a "less than honorable" discharge from the Army. The rest of his unit redeploys to Iraq in February.

 

Another friend of Nick's was horrifically wounded when his Humvee stopped on an IED. He didn't even have time to instinctively raise his arm and protect his face. Shrapnel ripped through his right eye, obliterating it to gooey shreds, and penetrated his brain.  He has been in a coma since March. His mother spends every day with him in the hospital; his wife is devastated, and their 1-year-old daughter doesn't know her daddy.

 

But my son's friend is a fighter and so is making steady, incremental progress toward consciousness.  He has a long hard struggle ahead of him, one that he need never have faced – and his family has had to fight every step of the way to get him the treatment he needs.  So much for supporting the troops.

 

I go visit him every week and it breaks my heart to see the burned faces, the missing limbs, the limps, the vacant stares one encounters in an acute-care military hospital. In front of the hospital there is a cannon, and every afternoon they blast that sucker off. You should see all the poor guys hit the pavement.  Though many requests have been made to discontinue the practice for the sake of the returning wounded, the general in charge refuses.  Boom.

 

Then there is Nick's 24-year-old Kurdish friend, the college-educated son of teachers, multilingual and highly intelligent.  He works as a translator for the U.S. Army for $600 a month and lives on base, where he is relatively safe. (Translators for private contractors, also living on base, make $7200 a month).

 

He wants to travel to the States to continue his education, but no visas are now being issued from Iraq.  Once the army is through with him, will they just send him back into the streets, a virtual dead man for having worked with the Americans?  My son places a high premium on loyalty to family and friends, and he has been raised to walk his talk. This must be a harsh and embittering lesson on just how unprincipled the rest of the world can be.  My heart aches for his Iraqi friend as well as for him.

 

A year ago in January, when Nick left for Iraq, I granted myself permission to be stark raving mad for the length of his deployment.  By god, I've done a good job of it, without apology or excuse.  And I dare say there are at least 139,999 other moms who have done the same – though taking troop rotations into consideration to maintain that magical number of 140,000 in the sand could put the number of crazed military moms as high as 300,000, maybe more.  Right now, you might want to be careful about cutting in line in front of a middle-aged woman.

 

I know there are military moms who view the war in Iraq through different ideological lenses than mine.  Sometimes I envy them.  God, how much easier it must be to believe one's son or daughter is fighting for a just and noble cause!  But no matter how hard I scrutinize the invasion and occupation of Iraq, all I see are lies, corruption, and greed fueled by a powerful addiction to oil.  Real soldiers get blown to tatters in their "Hummers," so that well-heeled American suburbanites can play in theirs.

 

For my family and me, the costs of this war are real and not abstract.  By day, I fight my demons of dreaded possibility, beat them back into the shadows, into the dark recesses of my mind.  Every night, they hiss and whisper a vile prognosis of gloom and desolation.  I order the voices into silence, but too often they laugh at and mock my commands.

 

I wonder if George Bush ever hears these voices.

 

And I wonder, too ... just how much are we willing to pay for a gallon of gas?

 

 

“Jeeze, What Are We Doing?”

The Return Of The Thousand Yard Stare

(Vietnam Vets Know It Well)

 

October 26, 2004 By Rick Jervis, Chicago Tribune staff reporter

 

After the Marines were stabilized or sent to the morgue, the talk among the staff wasn't about the injuries but of the Marines' glazed expressions.

 

"They all had the same look in their eyes: this far-off stare," Worth said. "I'd never seen it before."

 

"I chuckle when I hear on the news that it's going to get worse: How much worse can it get?" he said.  "It's frustrating to see guys come in, day in, day out, with those injuries.  You ask, `Jeez, what are we doing?'"

 

BAGHDAD -- The injured never stop coming, and their wounds tell the story of the war.

 

A surge in head injuries attests to an increase in roadside bombs, which spray shrapnel under the lips of Kevlar helmets.  Severe burns reveal insurgents are frosting homemade bombs with jellied gasoline.  An Army helicopter filled with wounded Marines is a sign that car bombs, which pack a bigger explosive punch, are rising.

 

The staff of the Army's 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad watches the war through its streams of patients.  Its three intensive care units and 70 beds often overflow. The luckier soldiers suffer dime-sized shrapnel wounds.  Many have lost limbs or eyes. Others need skulls reconstructed, their brains so bruised they don't recognize their spouses.

 

"It's been non-stop," said Maj. Patrick McAndrew, evening nurse supervisor. "The things I've seen here I've never seen before. . . . It's more lethal now than it's ever been."

 

Since the war started in March 2003, more than 8,000 U.S. troops have been wounded--roughly seven for every death.  And about half of the wounds have occurred in the last six months.

 

The 31st Combat Support Hospital is in the former Ibn Sina Hospital, a private hospital built by Saddam Hussein for the exclusive use of his family and closest friends.  It's located inside the heavily fortified Green Zone and admits about 10 patients a day, though that number changes according to insurgent activity, officials said.

 

Many of the staff of 200 have worked at military hospitals in the United States, treating car wreck victims or heart attack patients, and are making their combat debut.  Besides adjusting to the harsher wounds caused by rocket-propelled grenades and land mines, staffers have to live and work through the steady stream of mortars and rockets lobbed at them in the Green Zone.

 

"It's tough," said Maj. Patricia Born, a clinical staff nurse.  "When people go to the hospital and they're at the end of their lives and they're dying, that's one thing.  But seeing all these young people dying is a lot different."

 

The No. 1 cause of injuries to U.S. troops in Iraq are roadside bombs.

 

The roadside bombs shred and shatter the arms and legs of troops, said Capt. Maxwell Hernandez, a critical care nurse at the hospital.  The upward projectiles also fire chunks of shrapnel under Kevlar helmets, causing head wounds, he said.

 

The force of the bombs also cause unusual blunt trauma, he said.  Two weeks ago, the shock wave from an IED caused a lung concussion in a soldier, making the lungs bleed and preventing oxygen from properly entering the bloodstream, Hernandez said.  The soldier died a week later.

 

"First time I've ever seen that," said Hernandez, who works as a nurse at the Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas.

 

On a recent afternoon, Kevin Worth, a critical-care nurse in one of the ICUs, enjoyed the quiet of a near-empty ward, following a frantic 80-hour week, he said.

 

On one of those days, a Black Hawk helicopter deposited eight wounded Marines whose Baghdad checkpoint had been hit by a car bomb, he said.  One was dead on arrival, two others died in the emergency room, and one walked in with brain matter leaking from his left eye, he said.

 

"It was like a scene out of a horror movie," Worth said. "They just kept coming out of the back of the helicopter. . . . Stuff like that really sticks with you."

 

After the Marines were stabilized or sent to the morgue, the talk among the staff wasn't about the injuries but of the Marines' glazed expressions.

 

"They all had the same look in their eyes: this far-off stare," Worth said. "I'd never seen it before."

 

One of the few people occupying an ICU bed in Worth's ward that recent quiet afternoon was Cpl. Donny Daughenbaugh, a 23-year-old Marine with Echo Company of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines based in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad.  Daughenbaugh was on a night foot patrol through Mahmoudiya on Oct. 12 with his platoon when a car sped past, screeched to a stop and opened fire with an AK-47, he said.

 

A bullet hit him in the face.

 

"I felt my face get hot," Daughenbaugh said through clenched teeth, his jaw wired shut. "There was so much blood.  I knew I was shot.  I'm trying to radio in, tell them I'm hit.  But I can't hear myself.  It doesn't sound like me at all.  So I just raised my hand."

 

The bullet had barreled in through his left cheekbone and lodged between his skull base and his top vertebra, fracturing the jawbone and missing vital nerves and the brain by millimeters, hospital officials said.  A metal plate repaired his jaw, but the bullet was left in place, too close to the brain stem to move.  He will recover, officials said.

 

As the U.S. military tries to outpace the enemy, insurgents also are quickly adapting to U.S. initiatives and altering their modes of attacks, hospital officials said.

 

In March and April, when battles flared in insurgent hotbeds such as Najaf, most of the wounds were from gunfire, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, officials said.  But as rebels learned that U.S. body armor and helmets protected soldiers from those attacks, they stepped up IED attacks, they said.  When the military added more armor to their Humvees, insurgents used more car bombs, officials said.

 

Lately, hospital officials have noticed a sharp increase in attacks on lower extremities and head wounds, indicating more roadside bombs.  There also has been an increase in severely burned victims, pointing to roadside bombs laced with jellied gasoline, said Col. Jack Chiles, chief of physicians.

 

"They're getting very good," Chiles said. "It's like a virus. They're very sneaky, very clever."

 

The 31st hospital is the area's only center that has a neurological team able to take CT scans and perform head surgeries on the premises. The team of eight--two neurosurgeons, two neurologists, two scrub technicians, a circulating nurse and anesthesiologist--is headed by Lt. Col. Jeff Poffenbarger, a former Green Beret and chief of neurosurgery at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Ft. Sam Houston.

 

The team performs about one emergency craniotomy a day, though they once performed six in 24 hours, Poffenbarger said.  The procedure peels back the scalp and exposes the brain to stem the bleeding and bring down the swelling.  The skull, sometimes shattered, is reconstructed, often using Titanium plates and screws, he said.

 

Unlike in the U.S., where the survival rate from emergency craniotomies is about 5 percent, Poffenbarger's team is saving about 33 percent of its patients, though all of them incur some form of brain damage, including slurred speech and blindness, he said.

 

Though encouraged by his team's survival rate, Poffenbarger said the extent of the injuries he deals with daily affects him.  Sometimes he has to pull baseball-sized shrapnel from the eye sockets of soldiers, he said, or reconstruct a skull that has been shattered like an eggshell.

 

"This is raw, dirty, gut-checking business," said Poffenbarger after a recent shift, his brown Army boots streaked with blood.  "These are 19- and 20-year-old Americans.  And they're really badly injured.  It's something that really stays with you."

 

McAndrew, the evening nurse supervisor, said he also gets rattled by the injuries he sees coming through the trauma center.  To combat the stress, he tries to work out each day at the hospital gym and stays away from violent movies, preferring Chris Farley comedies.

 

"I chuckle when I hear on the news that it's going to get worse: How much worse can it get?" he said. "It's frustrating to see guys come in, day in, day out, with those injuries. You ask, `Jeez, what are we doing?'"

 

 

British Troops Pay Is Double What U.S. Troops Get

 

24 October 2004 By Ian Williams, In These Times

 

The U.S. Army pay scale is about half that of the British, which is why there is a major crisis in military recruitment.

 

 

Legal Pukes In Action:

Shut Down Site Asking Donations to Buy Soldiers Beer

 

October 18, 2004 By Vince Crawley, Army Times staff writer

 

Whatever you do, don’t buy them a beer.

 

In a brouhaha over brew, military authorities have told a band of beer buddies in Iraq that their Web site, www.beerforsoldiers.com, violated federal regulations that prohibit service members from soliciting donations.

 

So before being shut down in the first week in October, the site soberly touted itself as “The Web site where you cannot buy us a beer.”

 

The site’s former operator, Staff Sgt. Dale Rogers of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, had said he was receiving a few hundred dollars per month and used the money to buy a few rounds — of the nonkinetic kind — for unit members taking leave from the combat zone.

 

But before being closed, the site itself did address his run-in with military authorities that resulted in a last call for cyber suds.  Though clearly miffed, he stopped short of escalating the situation into a barroom brawl.

 

“No, you cannot buy us a beer!  Don’t buy us beer!  The legal folks said you can’t,” Rogers wrote in one of the last incarnations of the Web site, posted the first weekend of October. Through late September, the site had developed something of a cult following with its tongue-in-cheek request for patriotic beer money.

 

Army Sgt. 1st Class Brian Sutton, a spokesman for the 2nd Brigade, said Rogers was asked to shut down the site “because it was not in keeping with the standards under which our soldiers are required to operate.”

 

“When the command learned about this Web site last month, [it] asked him to shut it down,” said the statement from Sutton.  “I’m sure Sgt. Rogers was using the money as he said he was on his Web site.  His ethics are not in question here.  He has served honorably and faithfully in the Army.  The command is simply interested in seeing that this site is run legally, and as of now it is not a legal site.”

 

Sutton noted that “Sgt. Rogers has been incredibly cooperative on this issue because he understands what we are trying to achieve.  He has voluntarily decided to shut down the site completely.”

 

Before closing the site, Rogers said his effort was a way to boost morale for troops in combat, who can’t drink alcohol while in Iraq.

 

At first, he tried complying with the order by transferring Web-site ownership to his nonmilitary brother.  In a Sept. 28 note, Rogers said the move was “due to legal pukes who say a soldier cannot solicit beer donations to increase the morale of his fellow soldiers.  What a crock!  But I am a soldier and I have to comply.  I have ceased and desisted.”

 

A few days later, the site ruefully announced it was no longer accepting donations.  Still, site visitors are invited to a post-tour beer bash at Fort Carson, Colo., where the unit is due to rotate next year after the troops finish their Iraq stint.

 

The site’s growing public attention had caused the beer-deprived troops to tone down some of their content.  A recent viewing showed there were still several photographs of buxom young women in barrooms back home, interspersed with plenty of snaps of soldiers drinking while off duty.  But gone was the image of a grunt licking his assault rifle, replaced by a more politically correct snapshot of Rogers posing with a young Iraqi boy.

 

And the site’s guest book had dozens of entries from people around the world offering a few words of encouragement and not a few snide remarks about military lawyers.

 

This prompted one military lawyer to add his own thoughts on the subject of chilled beer.

 

“Rules is [sic] rules, and they don’t allow solicitation, period,” wrote the site visitor, who described himself as an Army captain and a military lawyer based in Germany.  “If you want to blame anyone, don’t blame the lawyers, blame the congressmen that wrote the law.  Our job is to tell you what the law says, even if we personally disagree with the law.”

 

The tap may have run dry, but Rogers and company say they still get a big morale boost when they hear from folks back home.

 

“Now, about the only thing you can do is write us a letter or send us a care package — but, hey, that’s a lot!” Rogers writes. “We are soldiers currently serving in Iraq. So ‘mail call’ is a highly motivating part of the day — almost as motivating as drinking a beer.”

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

Fewer Resistance Attacks In September Are Hugely More Effective Than August

 

October 27, 2004 Associated Press

 

Iraqi officials said in August there were a record 645 attacks against "public or state institutions," that killed 147 and wounded 385.

 

In September, the number of attacks dropped to 120, but the number of casualties remained high: 193 dead and 385 injured.

 

(For more see the article “Iraq’s opposition to occupation: ‘All our people are resisting’ by Eric Ruder at http://www.socialistworker.org/2004-2/518/518_12_Iraq.shtml .)

 

 

U.S. Munitions Going To Arm Resistance:

Shells Point To Police In Guardsmen Slayings

 

[Washington Times, October 27, 2004, Pg. 13]

The U.S. military has been spray-painting shell casings of ammunition given to various Iraqi security units. The reason--to help identify who might be responsible for the series of fatal attacks against newly trained Iraqi guardsmen and police.  Spent shells found at a site where 17 national guardsmen were executed were painted red, identifying them as ammo earmarked for the Iraqi police force.

 

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

It's Nationalism Stupid

U.S. Officials, Iraqis Reject Silly Bush "Terrorism" Bullshit

 

[San Francisco Chronicle, October 27, 2004, Pg. 9]

Interviews with U.S. officials and Iraqis in Baghdad say the insurgency is part of a growing, intensely nationalistic resistance determined to remove U.S. forces and their Iraqi allies.

 

 

 

OCCUPATION REPORT

 

 

U.S. Forces Refuse Demands To Get Out Of Cities During Iraq Elections

 

[London Financial Times, October 27, 2004]

U.S. forces will probably be "out of immediate sight" in several parts of Iraq during parliamentary elections scheduled for January.  American commanders refuse to comply with a demand by opposition groups that they withdraw from some towns during the vote.

 

 

MERCENARIES HELP RECRUIT MORE RESISTANCE FIGHTERS TO KILL U.S. TROOPS

, Mercenaries, working as translators, question Iraqis insurgents lying handcuffed on the floor, as soldiers with the 2-17 Field Artillery Regiment Alpha Company raid their home in Ramadi, 100 kms west of Baghdad.(AFP/Patrick Baz)

 

 

CIA Secretly Removes Prisoners From Iraq

 

Oct 24, 2004 ABC News

 

WASHINGTON Oct 24, 2004 —The CIA has secretly moved as many as a dozen unidentified prisoners out of Iraq in the last six months, a possible violation of international treaties, The Washington Post reported.

 

The detainees were removed without notification to the International Red Cross, congressional oversight committees, the Defense Department or CIA investigators, the newspaper said in Sunday editions, citing unidentified government officials.

 

Iraqis can be taken out of the country for a "brief but not indefinite period," and that "illegal aliens" can be removed permanently under "local immigration law," the Post quoted the memo as saying.

 

The transfers could violate the Geneva Conventions, which do not allow "individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory."

 

 

More Stupid Lies About Falluja

 

27 -10-2004 SyriaTimes ‏

 

The U.S. military said it carried out a "precision strike" at 3 a.m. (0000 Gmt) on a Zarqawi safe in Falluja, killing one of his aides.  It did not name the man or state his nationality.

 

Residents said one house was destroyed and three damaged in the strike.

 

It was the second time in a few days the military claimed it had eliminated a Zarqawi associate without identifying him.  On Saturday it alleged it captured a "senior leader" of the group in a raid in southern Falluja. ‏

 

 

Bush? Kerry? “U.S. Troops Will Pay The Price”

 

Oct 19 By Michael Georgy

 

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - "Bush should just retire.  He has given me nothing but headaches.  He removed Saddam and gave us many other big problems.  America needs a new leader," said Abbas Muhammad.

 

"Now Iraq  has huge problems.  I like Kerry but I really don't think much will change here even if Iraqis could vote in America."

 

Said Hamid Majeed, 40, a factory manager in Baghdad, "They just want to control Iraq and keep it unstable because that will be an excuse to stay here."

 

Abdullah al-Abaichee, 15, a student in rebel-held Falluja: “If Bush wins it will be the biggest brutal aggression in Iraq.  The reaction from the resistance will be fierce.  It will be an arena of conflict and Iraqis and US troops will pay the price."

 

 

“Cats And Dogs” Serving In Occupation Police Force

 

2004-10-27 By Deborah Haynes, Middle East Online

 

Iraq's police force is haunted by "ghosts" who receive money but never come to work and slackers who make an appearance but are hopeless or corrupt, officials have said.

 

"We think that there are more personnel on the payroll than are actually on the ground. When the chief of police says he has 200 men but only really has 150 personnel he receives extra money," Dutch Colonel Cees de Jong said in a recent interview.

 

Payrolls across the country are padded out with names of dead personnel, retirees, "brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cats and dogs" inserted by serving policemen who pocket the extra cash, said a second police training source.

 

"There has been a disjoint since the war.  Many of the provinces have had a degree of independence and that link between the interior ministry and the province has been severed," one police training source said.

 

 

 

OCCUPATION HAITI

 

Haitian police force two women to lie on the sidewalk as they question them about whether they know any who support former President Jean- Bertrand Aristide in the pro-Aristide slum of Bel-Air in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct.24, 2004.  It was part of 'Operation Clean Sweep.' (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

 

Haitian Collaborators Follow The Iraq Fashion, Hide Their Faces

Haitian police near poster of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Bel-Air in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct.24, 2004. It was part of 'Operation Clean Sweep' when scores of occupation troops and Haitian police moved into the Bel Air neighborhood that is a stronghold of militant Aristide loyalists. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

 

 

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

 

 

“You Want The Truth?  You Can’t Handle The Truth.”

 

“We have our little differences, but on one thing we agree 100%.  If Americans have to die in Iraq to keep the Empire going, tough shit.  We got so many unemployed back here they’ll never be missed.  And since somebody has to die for corporate profits and Empire, it sure won’t be our kids.  They have other priorities.  College.  Parties.  Getting ready to manage the family fortunes when then get a bit older.

 

“That’s what being an American leader means.

 

“Let’s face it, some people are just more important than others, and without a rich, privileged, elite ruling class telling them what to do, how could the common scum survive?  It’s just a division of labor: some die for the Empire, and our class has to take on the terrible responsibility for managing it.  That’s us.  That’s what we do.  And remember, which ever one of us wins, we win either way.

 

“But then, you already know that, don’t you?  And you’ll take it and like it, won’t you?  You chumps just keep on playing our game every four years, don’t you?

 

“What are you going to do, rebel?  What a silly idea!”

 

The first presidential debate.  JIM BOURG/REUTERS

 

 

Iran Endorses Bush For President

 

October 19, 2004 TEHRAN, Iran (AP)

 

The head of Iran's security council said Tuesday the re-election of President George W. Bush would be in Tehran's best interests, despite the administration's axis of evil label, accusations Iran harbours al-Qaida terrorists and threats of sanctions over the country's nuclear ambitions.

 

Historically, Democrats have harmed Iran more than Republicans, said Hasan Rowhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council, Iran's top security decision-making body.

 

"We haven't seen anything good from Democrats," Rowhani told state-run television in remarks that, for the first time in recent decades, saw Iran openly supporting one U.S. presidential candidate over another.

 

Though Iran generally does not publicly wade into U.S. presidential politics, it has a history of preferring Republicans over Democrats, who tend to press human rights issues.

 

"We do not desire to see Democrats take over," Rowhani said when asked if Iran is supporting Democratic Senator John Kerry against Bush.

 

The Bush campaign said "No thanks."  “It's not an endorsement we'll be accepting anytime soon," Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

 

 

The Bankrupt Empire:

Current Account Deficit Woes

 

October 27, 2004 By Mike Swanson

 

Just a few days ago the US Treasury reported that the net capital inflows from the rest of the world into the United States fell for the 6th month in a row.  Private from abroad fell to $34.7 billion in August and from $72.9 billion in July. Asian central banks made up for the shortfall.  If they hadn’t, the current account deficit would have exploded.

 

The NY Times quoted Ashraf Laidi, a currency analyst at MG Financial Group as saying, "foreign central banks saved the dollar from disaster. The stability of the bond market is at the mercy of Asian purchases of US Treasuries."

 

The current account deficit has grown so large the foreign investment coming into the United States is no longer creating economic growth.  Although the United States is taking in 80% of the world’s surplus savings it is all being used to finance the deficits.

 

According to Stephen Roach, the head economist of Morgan Stanley, the deficits are growing so large that by the end of the year America’s indebtedness to other countries will reach 28% of GDP.

 

That would bring the US indebtedness to a level of 300% of exports. Argentina and Brazil were at 400% right before they collapsed in the 1990’s.

 

During August, foreign investors were net sellers of US equities.  It was the intervention by foreign central banks that prevented a run on the dollar.  We may be starting to see the first signs of a brewing crisis.   If the current trend continues then the US financial markets will eventually come under intense pressure, the dollar will continue to drop, and investors from all over the world will flock into gold.

 

 

 

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

 

 

Bomb Wounds Three Soldiers

 

October 27, 2004 Associated Press

 

KABUL, Afghanistan — A bomb hit a U.S. military convoy in southeastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, injuring three American troops and an Afghan soldier, the military said.

 

The bomb exploded near the injured soldiers’ Humvee near Qalat, the capital of Zabul province, a U.S. military statement said.

 

Two of the soldiers were evacuated to Kandahar Air Base for treatment.  One had shrapnel injuries and one had a possible concussion.  Both were in stable condition, the statement said.

 

The third American and a soldier from the Afghan National Army were treated at the scene for cuts.

 

 

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