GI SPECIAL 3A36:
THIS IS HOW
BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME.
ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE.
US Army soldiers hold the
coffin of Jesus Fonseca as villagers look on Feb. 1 2005, in
Degollado, northwest of Mexico City. Jesus Fonseca, 19, of
Marietta, Ga., died in a car bombing in Iraq along with two
other soldiers. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
Most Deadly Phrases For Any War: "Died In Vain" And "Died
February 4, 2005 by Dr. Teresa
Whitehurst, New York Times
a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war."
~ Donald Rumsfeld
In times of
war, particularly when that war is starting to look
meaningless and futile, its promoters must keep one highly
influential group under control: the families and friends of
fallen soldiers. Whether by enemy or
friendly fire, on the battlefield or off, military deaths
send shockwaves through families and friends, shockwaves
that can lead to changes of heart about the war.
of people affected by just one soldier's death is enormous.
Even those with small nuclear families have larger extended
family networks. Added to this group are the soldier's
childhood pals, as well as a multitude of friends and
acquaintances from military and civilian life.
News of one "anonymous"
soldier's death rapidly ripples out to scores of Americans
who interact daily with members of that large
family/friend/acquaintance network. For all of us, "six
degrees of separation" from deceased soldiers is an
men and women in uniform die, mainstream (i.e.,
administration-pleasing) newspaper writers and television
anchors are obliged to refer to those deaths as "noble,"
"heroic," and "necessary."
even with all the spin in the world, the parents,
children, siblings, grandparents, friends, and coworkers
who would gladly trade anything – including democracy in
this or that country – to have those dead kids alive
again, are prone to think and then speak the two most
deadly phrases for any war: "died in vain" and "died for
To keep the
public content with a war even when it's going poorly and
sending kids home in boxes, these two phrases, above all
others, must be silenced.
to be suppressed by whatever means necessary, for they are
little words have the power to stop wars, impeach
presidents, and change the course of history. They make war
promoters everywhere start to sweat, particularly when they
are spoken by people who've made the ultimate sacrifice –
losing the ones they love.
get out of hand. It can make the blinders fall off. It can
sink even your best propaganda. When you lose the military
families, you've lost your war – and your power.
TRUTH? CHECK OUT THE NEW TRAVELING SOLDIER
the truth - about the occupation or the criminals
running the government in Washington - is the first
reason for Traveling Soldier. 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.
with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and
bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)
Danger Soldier Killed, Seven Wounded By Bayji IED
02/04/05 MNF Release #050204o
Force Danger Soldier was killed and seven wounded in an
improvised explosive device attack on a Multi-National
Forces combat patrol near Bayji at 4:25 p.m. on Feb. 4.
The wounded are being transported to a
Multi-National Forces medical facility for treatment.
Lance Cpl. Richard Chad
Clifton, 19, of Milton Del., shown in this undated photo
released by his family, was killed Feb. 2, 2005, in Anbar
province. Clifton, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 5th
Marine Regiment, was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.,
before being deployed to Iraq.
He was scheduled to return
home next month. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the
Survived Earlier Attack That Killed 20
02/4/05 Published in the
Asbury Park Press
A former student at Manasquan
and High Technology high schools known for his love of
sports and the outdoors died on Thursday when insurgents
attacked his Army unit near Mosul, Iraq.
Sgt. Stephen R. Sherman, 27,
was the oldest of four children of a Willow Drive family. He
had joined the Army in April 2003 and had been in Iraq since
Sherman was a
passenger in an armored Stryker combat vehicle when it was
hit by a homemade bomb in the early morning hours, said
Henry Kearney, a spokesman for Fort Monmouth.
short time there, Sherman had survived an insurgent attack
in December that killed more than 20 of his fellow soldiers
inside a mess hall in Mosul, Kearney said.
After completing basic
training, Sherman became a chemical operations specialist.
As a noncommissioned officer,
Sherman oversaw other
soldiers who looked for and decontaminated nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons in Iraq.
He also maintained and
supervised chemical equipment and supplies for the Army.
Bruce Jeska, who coached
Sherman on the wrestling team at Manasquan High School,
remembered him as "a hard worker who always gave his all."
Manasquan High School
Principal Cary D. McCormack remembered Sherman as "a very,
very nice person" who was a friend of McCormack's son,
"When it's one of your own, it
definitely does hit home," McCormack said Thursday.
family was athletic, McCormack said. Edward Sherman, a
younger brother, played basketball at Manasquan.
the University of Oregon, earning a degree in business
administration in 2001. He spent a semester at La Trobe
University in Melbourne, Australia.
He enjoyed outdoor sports and
was interested in survival skills, which included an 80-day
Outward Bound Excursion survival skills training course.
Before joining the Army two
years ago, Sherman managed a Budget Rent-A-Car franchise in
the Cayman Islands.
Stephen Sherman is survived by
his mother, Bernadette Sherman of Neptune; his father,
Richard W. Sherman of Great Falls, Va.; his brothers, Eddie
and Danny, and his sister, Caitlin; his grandmothers, Rose
Wildeman of Point Pleasant and Beverly Marten of Dover,
Del.; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
No funeral arrangements had
been announced as of Thursday night.
KILLED IN BABIL PROVINCE
February 4, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-03C
Iraq –– A soldier
assigned to the 1 Marine Expeditionary Force was killed in
action yesterday in the Northern Babil Province.
SOLDIER KILLED, ANOTHER WOUNDED BY IED SOUTH OF MOSUL
February 4, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-04C
& The Associated Press
MOSUL, Iraq --
One Task Force Freedom Soldier was killed and another
wounded when their convoy was hit with a roadside bomb while
on patrol south of Mosul on Feb. 3. The attack
occurred at about 2:00 a.m.
A U.S. military Stryker combat
vehicle rolled over several anti-tank mines.
The wounded soldier was taken
to a Multi-National Forces hospital to be treated.
Gulf Coast Member Of Guard's 150th Killed In Iraq
2/4/2005 JACKSON, Miss. (AP)
Sergeant First Class Sean
Michael Cooley, a member of the Mississippi Guard's 155th
Brigade Combat Team has been killed in Iraq.
National Guard officials say
the 35-year-old Cooley, of Ocean Springs, died yesterday
when an explosive device exploded near his vehicle. The
incident occurred south of Baghdad.
Cooley was a member of Company
B, the 150th Combat Engineer Battalion located in Lucedale.
the 21st soldier with Mississippi ties killed He is the
fifth Mississippi National Guard soldier to die in Iraq.
Ambushed At Qaim, Humvee Damaged;
bomb exploded as a U.S. convoy passed on a highway near the
city of Qaim, on the Syrian border. The blast damaged a
Humvee, a witness said. The U.S. military had no immediate
Include Garbage Can Lids & Sandbags?
February 4, 2005
Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army
chief of staff, said there are currently more than 26,000
armored Humvees and other U.S. military vehicles in Iraq and
with some sort
Would Commit Huge Force To Thwart N. Korean Offensive
PB who sent this in. He writes: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. ARE THEY
SERIOUSLY BASING THEIR PLANNING ON THIS? DOES THEIR DEFENSE
MINISTRY READ THE NEWSPAPER? HAVE THEY HEARD OF IRAQ????]
February 04, 2005 By Sang-hun
Choe, Associated Press
Korea — The United States
will dispatch 690,000 troops and 2,000 warplanes
if war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, according to
South Korea’s new defense policy paper released Friday.
1/29/2005 By Donnie Johnston,
The Free Lance-Star
WE MAY SOON
be seeing some old familiar posters going up in the
recreation halls and dining areas of retirement villages and
With the situation in Iraq
only getting worse, our sights set on Iran and the military
admittedly already stretched dangerously thin, recruiters
are now reportedly trying to persuade retired soldiers to
take their old uniforms out of mothballs and re-enlist.
of course, is to find men and women to fill the spots of
those active soldiers and reservists whose terms are up but
whom the Department of Defense has refused to muster out of
we can't keep them in Iraq and Afghanistan forever. Well,
we probably could, but that wouldn't be good for morale. Not
since Genghis Khan have soldiers enlisted for life.
So, replacements must come
from somewhere. There is always the possibility of
reinstating the Selective Service draft, but if conservative
Christian Republican hawks woke up one day and discovered
that their sons and daughters might be thrown into harm's
way, well, the outcry for war might wane.
Of course, we don't want that
Where better to turn than
retirees? They have experience, which, as we all know, is
the best teacher. Oh, they may have lost a step in their
march, but they have the invaluable wisdom that comes with
Gulf War veterans, I would
assume, would be the government's first choice, but I know
plenty of Vietnam War vets who are still kicking butt and
might be willing to sign up for another tour of duty.
If enough Vietnam-era folks
don't volunteer to fill the quotas, then the Defense
Department's next logical recruitment targets would be
Korean War and World War II vets.
The only Korea veteran I know
has bad knees and is about 100 pounds overweight, but I
think some basic training at Parris Island would eventually
get him back into shape. I would say that in two--possibly
three--years, this guy would be down to his fighting weight
and ready to strap on a backpack and shoulder a rifle.
It might take a little longer
for World War II vets, many of whom undoubtedly would now
have a hard time passing the re-enlistment eye test.
World War II veteran re-enlistment woes would be the fact
that many of these men and women, rightly referred to as
America's greatest generation, have surrendered their
driver's licenses and couldn't legally drive convoys down
U.S. highways. But then I don't suppose you need a license
to drive a Humvee through the Iraqi desert.
this problem, it is rumored that Washington is working on an
idea to outfit electric wheelchairs with machine guns.
Elderly GIs could just wheel and shoot.
Older recruits would be easier
to handle, too. They would be far less apt to go out every
Saturday night raising hell all over town, and I certainly
don't think the military would have to spend tax dollars
spiking the mess-hall food with saltpeter.
World War II vet recruits
would have no problem answering reveille, but the army might
have to set up mock fast-food restaurants where these
old-timers could sit around for a spell each morning and
drink mock senior-citizen coffee. After a couple of hours
of shooting the bull, these guys would be revved up and
ready for action.
After the World War II
volunteer pool has been exhausted, the Defense Department
might be in some real trouble. Although there are probably
some World War I vets still alive, I could find no listing
for them on the Internet. After all, any World War I vet
would now have to be approaching or past 100 years old.
And the last Confederate widow
died about a year ago, so she is probably not eligible for
Once Washington gets past the
old-age homes, it is uncertain where recruiters will turn
next. We could return to the Vietnam War practice of giving
young convicted felons the choice of either going to jail or
going to Iraq.
Soviet Russia, of course, took
this strategy one step further than we did and simply
arrested men of draft age for whatever trumped-up reasons
and sentenced them to the military. We could do that.
Another option would be to
release current prisoners on condition they join the
If we are going to invade
Iran--as many now speculate--it is certain that the manpower
will have to come from somewhere.
No matter how much technology
we have, if we keep going to war we are going to need more
fighting men. If there are not enough volunteers, we will
see the draft reinstated, so get used to the idea.
soldiers have done their part, and they should not be asked
to contribute more.
be surprised if you see military recruiters hanging around
every local McDonald's early in the morning or "hiking" with
the old folks at the mall before it opens.
the attendants not to let your senile grandpa sign anything
put before him by a uniformed man in the nursing-home social
Panthers may become more than a political activist
organization; it may soon be a combat-ready military group.
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 inside the armed
Send requests to address up top.
Guard, Reserve Troops Not Told Of Access To VA Medical Care;
Commanders Won’t Let Them Find Out
January 24, 2005 By Mrasha
Austin and Nancy Lofholm, Denver Post
Overstreet returned from Iraq in June, no one told him he
was eligible for medical care and other veterans benefits.
Overstreet, a technical
sergeant in the Colorado Air National Guard, wasn't injured
during his tour but said he worries about the long-term
effects of vaccines and other medications he took before and
during deployment. Knowing he has the option of seeking
treatment at the Denver VA Medical Center would be
reassuring, he said.
"I wouldn't mind having it,"
said the 34-year-old, who works in public affairs for the
Guard. "Then if something came up ..."
is among thousands of members of the Colorado National Guard
and Reserve returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are not
seeking health care and other benefits they've earned and
might need later, according to Department of Veterans
Affairs officials, lawmakers and veterans' advocates.
Staff from Sen. Wayne Allard's
office held a meeting with veterans and VA officials in
Grand Junction this month after
the VA complained it wasn't
getting post-deployment access to Guard and Reserve troops.
One problem is a huge backlog
of claims at a time when the VA has had to cut claims
processors, critics said.
is lack of access for veterans groups and VA counselors
who want to help soldiers, said Stephen Robinson,
executive director of the National Gulf War Resource
can't get the (military) commanders to let us on the
base to give the soldiers information," he said.
VA's Ban On
Recruiting Vets Angers Activists;
Health Fair At Hospital Blocked
unfair to the veterans ... not being able to put out the
word," Dickerson said from the Robert E. Newman VFW Post
last week. "The veterans go and give their lives for
this country, and the country should give them something
Jan. 10, 2005 By Laura Ungar,
The Louisville Courier-Journal
America Heather French Henry's idea seemed simple: Hold a
health fair at the VA hospital in Louisville.
plan was derailed by a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
ban on any marketing that attempts to recruit veterans into
its medical system.
veterans say the ban flouts the government's promise to care
for those who served and prevents many of them -- including
older ones with expensive health problems -- from getting
the medical attention they need.
conniving to keep the old ones and their families out," said
John Sterner, a disabled Vietnam vet and activist.
"The latest generation is denying the greatest generation."
The issue arose after Henry
had posters printed for her event. They included the
phrases: "New Resolution? Try the VA Solution," "Enroll for
VA Healthcare" and "Learn about other Veterans Benefits."
Henry said that before she
could distribute those posters, she was told that the
language was problematic.
issued last year for the VA MidSouth Healthcare Network,
which includes the Louisville hospital, said "facilities may
not aggressively take steps to recruit new enrollees or new
directive followed a national VA memo issued in July 2002
that said recruiting veterans is "inappropriate" because of
a tight budget and growing demand for services.
"We're not allowed to go after
them," said Amanda Hedlund, acting public affairs officer
for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville.
Henry's health fair "was a great idea. But just because of
regulations and policies, we couldn't accommodate her."
National VA officials this
week declined to discuss repercussions of the 2002 memo.
Jo Schuda, spokeswoman for
the VA in Washington, said yesterday that officials were
preparing a statement for The Courier-Journal, but it did
Henry canceled the health fair
at the hospital and instead will hold a symposium Saturday
at the UAW Hall on Fern Valley Road from 6 to 9 p.m. It will
kick off a tour called Operation Veterans' Health, sponsored
by the Heather French Foundation for Veterans.
the power in my hands and not the government's hands," said
Henry, daughter of a disabled Vietnam vet.
All veterans are potentially
eligible for VA care, but they must enroll in the program.
Charles Cordova, a 59-year-old
Vietnam veteran, said he and many others don't know what
services they have coming and could benefit from VA
Rick Dickerson, a former truck
driver who served in Vietnam, said scores of veterans might
not know how to get help.
unfair to the veterans ... not being able to put out the
word," Dickerson said from the Robert E. Newman VFW Post
last week. "The veterans go and give their lives for
this country, and the country should give them something
The 2002 memo banning
recruitment of new veterans drew sharp criticism when it was
issued by Laura J. Miller, a Louisville native who is the
U.S. Deputy Undersecretary for Health for Operations and
said demand for health services "exceeds our resources" and
has resulted in waiting lists at clinics. "Therefore, I am
directing each Network Director to ensure that no marketing
activities to enroll new veterans occur within your
networks," Miller wrote.
Autry, deputy national director of communications for the
Disabled American Veterans, said the memo reflects the VA's
"appalling lack of resources." Its health-care budget for
fiscal 2004 was $26.9 billion, a 4 percent increase from the
Henry said the memo is
counterproductive. "If you don't increase the enrollment,"
she said, "you don't increase the budget."
said his group was assured after the 2002 memo came out that
it wouldn't become policy. But there is evidence the ban on
marketing to recruit enrollees has taken hold.
Last July, the VA's MidSouth
Healthcare Network issued an "outreach activities policy"
that elaborated on issues mentioned in the memo.
that veterans may enroll for VA care and that hospitals may
hold health fairs and open houses, but the directive said
hospitals cannot collect names of veterans who want to
enroll; distribute enrollment applications en masse; make
public-service announcements about enrollment; or send
general mailings to veterans.
Henry said she is not angry
with Louisville officials over the issue. "It's really a
problem from the top down," she said.
Federal statistics indicate
that the marketing restrictions might have slowed enrollment
growth. It rose 13 percent between the end of fiscal 2001
and 2002, but less than 5 percent each of the two following
marketing, even those who are eligible might not know which
services are available.
of veterans are shell-shocked. A lot of them lost limbs
and what have you. They need all the help they can
get," said Jack Hargadon, a 59-year-old Vietnam veteran.
"There's a tremendous amount of people who don't know
what's available, and they should be informed."
Convoy Ambushed Near Baghdad
Feb. 04, 2005 By TOM LASSETER,
Knight Ridder Newspapers
convoy leaving Baghdad for southern Iraq was ambushed and at
least one policeman was killed and five wounded.
Attack Kills One Occupation Cop, Five Wounded
2005-02-04 China Daily
attacked Iraqi police Thursday in the Baghdad suburb of Abu
Ghraib, killing one policeman and wounding five,
the Interior Ministry said.
Collaborator Killed West Of Baghdad
2/4/2005 BAGHDAD (AP)
An Iraqi contractor was killed
by assailants who pulled up next to his car on the dangerous
desert highway running out to Baghdad International Airport.
The man was
in charge of a road construction project inside the airport
complex that was contracted by the American military, said
Iraqi police Lt. Akram al-Zoubaie.
Samawah Kills Occupation Cop Officer;
Takes Cop Cars
BAGHDAD, Feb 4
Unidentified gunmen killed Friday an Iraqi officer and
injured a policemen in Samawah city, south of here.
Eyewitnesses told KUNA that
unidentified gunmen opened fire at a barricade erected by
the police in Samawah today.
that the assailants sped away with their cars without being
chased by any one.
Ghazalia Canister Blows Up Police Patrol
BAGHDAD, Feb 4
policeman was killed Friday morning when an explosive
canister blew up a police patrol in Ghazalia.
An Iraqi police source told
Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that one policeman was killed in
patrol bombing, adding that the patrol was on its regular
round of the area.
2005-02-04 Middle East Online
soldier and a rebel died in a clash at Dhuluiya, which
erupted after an insurgent attack on an Iraqi army patrol,
the military said.
One Was Exploded By Cooking Gas Tubes".
1.27.05 Eman Ahmad Khammas,
One of the buildings in Haswa
was flattened to the ground; a new neighboring building was
thickly surrounded by 2 meter high sand barriers."
This is the
new police station "Abu Hussein, our driver said "the other
one was exploded by cooking gas tubes".
There are 18 Falluja families
living in the ABH pilgrims' rooms. The majority of them
were from Jolan district in Falluja, which was heavily
bombed last October. As expected, there is no electricity,
no clean water, to bathrooms in the pilgrim's rooms.
Mohammad who owns a hotel in Karbala'a offered his hotel
free to these families, but they preferred to stay near the
hotel owners in Karbala'a did the same. These relatively
wealthy people and others formed a group called the
Karbala'i Group to collect and donate aid to the Falluja
refugees here and in other places. It is another example of
the Iraqi people unity between Shiite and Sunnis.
Tiger Cages And Flying Viet Cong;
January 28, 2005 By Robert
Robert Gaiek left the
military a Captain and is the recipient of a Purple Heart,
Air Medal and Bronze Star with clusters and now owns a small
Abu Ghraib and the torture of
our enemies no longer light up cable news with that mind
numbing repetition of perp walks and stacked nude bodies.
The military, we are assured, is taking care of the problem
and the slate will be wiped clean once again for a little
enlisted kids being punished now and in the future will take
the rap for "getting caught." The career officers will
escape accountability, just as they did in Vietnam over 30
The military had to be reborn
after Vietnam, but the job was only partially done. We
never came to terms with the Tiger Cages we ran where over
9,000 prisoners were tortured by the South Vietnamese
The military needed then and
still needs today, a genuine code of honor without winks and
nods. After all these years I still wonder what became of
the practice of taking Viet Cong prisoners up in helicopters
for "interrogation." Do we still do it today with the enemy
What would Alberto Gonzales or
Condi Rice think of threatening to throw VC out of
helicopters for not spilling their guts? Would that be
covered by the Geneva Convention; could the VC be considered
illegal combatants, not playing by the rules of war and not
dressing in a properly identifiable military garb? The
ruling might be that the Geneva Convention does not apply to
air born torture. It is
not far fetched to suggest that the Abu Ghraib syndrome was,
perhaps, born in Viet Nam.
But what if the drop was only
5-10 feet? Would that be torture if you were blind folded?
(All I remember is being on
the bed of a Huey Helicopter with guys with U.S. insignia
Brass on their shirts. The VC had a bag over his head. The
interpreter kept threatening to throw the bastard over the
side if he didn't talk. The guy really started to stink.
He wasn't going to talk. The guy in charge said to head
back to base.) [Plenty
of prisoners got thrown out the door before “heading back to
base.” The idea was take two, kill one, and see if the
survivor talks or goes out the door next. It wasn’t so nice
and friendly as this account suggests.]
thing about wearing U.S. brass insignia is that they replace
rank and branch--you're a spook. You could be taken for a
private but with the possibility of being a colonel.
I was the II Corps Project Officer for
"Duffelbag" in 1970, the Army version of Igloo White.
the important rules at Ft. Benning's school to train
young boys to be infantry officers used to be," get the
task done and don't quibble if you fail." You are
sternly warned about breaking the rules then given an
assignment that can only be accomplished by breaking
some rule, particularly, do not leave the base to
procure some item that can only be found off base.
Translation: "Don't get caught."
Commander gets on the phone and says, "Do whatever it
takes", it will get done. "Do it but don't get caught" (no
cameras allowed). Maybe that has all changed, but I don't
think so. The evidence suggests it has not. In fact, all
the evidence lies in the other direction
After 9/11/01 there was
endless banter about the lack of intelligence. The Bush
administration left no doubt that the goal was to take out
the enemy before they could attack us. Was there doubt in
anyone's mind that gathering human intelligence was the
number one priority throughout government? And there were
not any limiting conditions placed on this quest. The
American people would not suffer one hangnail from the
bogeymen terrorists. They were to be tortured and killed
before they could harm any American
led to was the ongoing torture of an entire country, Iraq.
We were reviled when we
returned from Vietnam, not because of war crimes but because
of the loss of a war for the first time in our history.
America despises losers and would rather not know about war
crimes. [Wrong. The huge
majority of Americans came to hate and oppose the Vietnam
War. Check the facts, in any poll, for public opinion at
the end of the war.]
only losers resort to war crimes. We lost in Vietnam and we
have lost the war in Iraq. You can't spin it any other
way. [“We” didn’t lose in Vietnam. They lost in
Vietnam, meaning the murderous assholes who love and promote
the U.S. Empire, and today bring you Iraq, Democrat and
Republican politicians together hand in hand both times.
Same old same old.]
Is The Message
26 January 2005 William
Bowles, excerpt from
yesterday’s BBC1 lunchtime news, diplomatic correspondent
James Robbins declared that US relations with Iran were
“looking very murky because of the nuclear threat”. (BBC1,
13:00 News, January 20, 2005)
BBC’s 18:00 news, Robbins again spoke of Iran “where the
President is confronting the nuclear threat”. (BBC1, 18:00
News, January 25, 2005)
it’s my working class background with the accompanying
ingrained sense of inferiority to my ‘betters’ that has
produced such a deep dislike and distrust of the
intelligentsia and their smug know-it-all attitudes,
virtually all of which is simply based on a superficial
command of language harnessed to an ideological mindset
supplied to them by their superiors, like fleas on a
fleas back, but ultimately, it’s not rocket science it’s all
down to the manipulation of language and an unstated but
implicit acceptance of the status quo.
A subtle manipulation typified
by the two examples above. After all, what could be more
‘objective’ or innocent than the word “threat”?
The problem for the Left comes
in dealing with such an incessant onslaught, with each salvo
finely tuned to be received by a specific constituency.
So we have
our Noam Chomskys, who having been through the same academic
mill have their own ears finely tuned to the nuances, but
who reads Noam Chomsky? How many people have even heard of
And in any
case, he deals with the ‘intellectuals’ who populate the
pages of the NYT and their ilk, he even talks their
language! Ultimately, he’s one of ‘them’.
Nothing Left Of Them, Not A Fragment."
February 4, 2005 Rory Carroll
in Baghdad, The Guardian
In the last
three months of 2004 around 1,300 cadets and police officers
were killed or seriously injured, according to academy
we are being killed, slaughtered, bombed," said Kalid
Eataya, 48, a senior instructor. "A checkpoint with four
guys was blown up not far from here and there was nothing
left of them, not a fragment."
Earlier this week Abid
Asmae'el and 11 other cadets travelling to the capital from
the south had a narrow escape when insurgents stopped and
searched their bus. "I stuffed my insignias and ID into the
seat pocket, others threw theirs out the window."
live in the academy and during visits home wear civilian
clothes. "You don't want anyone knowing your job," said
Shaima'a Mosa, 25, drawing a finger across her throat.
Blinding Flash Of The Obvious Strikes Showboat General:
Insurgents Hurt Iraqi Security Forces;
Suddenly Turns Shy About Providing Facts
February 04, 2005 By Robert
Burns, Associated Press
intimidation of Iraqi soldiers has hampered U.S. efforts to
build a reliable security force, the U.S.
general in charge of training Iraqi troops said Friday.
Gen. David Petraeus, speaking from Baghdad
to reporters at the Pentagon, said the Iraqi units had
suffered “losses due to severe intimidation,”
but he offered
He did not
cite an absentee or desertion rate.
POLITICIANS AT WORK
Buddies At Halliburton To Get More Billions
February 04, 2005 By Larry
Margasak, Associated Press
said Thursday it will not withhold any of the payments due
Halliburton in a contract providing services to U.S. troops
in Iraq and elsewhere.
flip-flopped several times last year on whether it would
withhold 15 percent of the payments, which could have cost
Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company $60 million a
KBR won the contract in 2001
and has been paid $6.4 billion so far. Work
requirements could bump the figure to $9.3 billion in the
fiscal year ending Sept. 30, but the number would continue
to grow beyond that, since the services are expected to
Foreign Policy Bursts Into Flame
A huge mountain of cow manure
is seen smoldering at a feedlot near Milford, Neb., Tuesday,
Jan. 18, 2005. The estimated 2,000-ton pile of burning cow
manure spontaneously combusted about two months ago and
continues to smolder despite attempts to douse it. AP Photo
Nati Harnik (Truthout 1.28.05)
January 24 2005 By Chris
Giles, Financial Times
banks are shifting reserves away from the US and towards the
eurozone in a move that looks set to deepen the Bush
administration's difficulties in financing its ballooning
current account deficit.
likely to undermine the dollar's value on currency markets,
70 per cent of central bank reserve managers said they had
increased their exposure to the euro over the past two
years. The majority thought eurozone
money and debt markets were as attractive a destination for
investment as the US.
The findings emerge from a
survey of central bank reserve managers published today.
Any rebalancing of central
bank reserve portfolios has serious implications for the
global financial system as the US has become increasingly
dependent on official flows of funds to finance its current
account deficit, estimated at $650bn in 2004.
At the end of 2003, central
banks held 70 per cent of their official reserves in dollar-
denominated assets and central bank purchases of US
securities had financed more than 80 per cent of the US
current account deficit in 2003.
reluctance to increase exposure to dollar assets further
could cause the greenback to plunge on currency markets.
cannot take support for the dollar for granted," said Nick
Carver, one of the authors of the study conducted by Central
Banking Publications, a company that specialises in
reporting on central banks.
banks' enthusiasm for the dollar seem to be cooling off."
further worrying sign for the greenback, 47 per cent of
reserve managers surveyed said they expected the growth of
official reserves to slow to less than 20 per cent over the
next four years. Between the end of 2000 and mid-2004,
official reserves had increased by 66 per cent.
Slower reserve accumulation
growth implies the supply of official finance is likely to
become more limited but few expect the demand from the US
for finance to slow. The consensus among economists is that
the US current account deficit will increase to $694bn in
In the two
years since a similar survey was conducted, reserve managers
had begun to seek higher returns for the money under
managers, dollar assets have become less attractive because
the fall in the dollar since 2002 has reduced the yield they
received and, in some cases, has led to negative real
Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, warned in
November that there was a limit to the willingness of
foreign governments to finance the US current account
was conducted on the guarantee of anonymity for the banks
01.10.05 Dan Ackman, Forbes,
An increasing number of
economists are seeing serious storms build on the horizon.
They point to ever-growing federal budget deficits, a record
current-account deficit, increased consumer debt, a real
estate market that looks like a bubble ready to burst, a
surge in personal bankruptcies and the prospect of
Meanwhile, interest rates are
on the rise, and if they increase much more, many of these
problems could get dramatically worse.
Doomsayers tend to be
ignored--until it's too late.
This week, we give voice to
five prophets of doom, starting with Peter Schiff, CEO and
chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital.
falling dollar mean we're in for a major financial
disaster? He thinks so.
He has been warning about the
currency's fall for a while now. Even though it lost a
third of its value in the last two years against the euro,
he believes it will decline even further. But, the dollar's
fall is more a symptom than a cause. The real problem is
that the U.S. is producing too little--and spending too
much--and the result is likely to be far worse than the
happy-talkers on Wall Street will ever let on.
going to go through one of the most trying financial times
in U.S. history, including the Great Depression," Schiff
"The basic problem," Schiff
states, "is that Americans don't produce enough, and don't
save enough." As a
result, the goods that we are consuming are being supplied
to us by foreigners. Not only are they producing the goods,
but they are lending us the money to buy them, and, in doing
so, are driving the U.S. deeper and deeper into debt to the
rest of the world, Schiff says.
As American industry has lost
productive capacity, it has become increasingly difficult
for the U.S. to produce enough--and sell enough--to reduce
that debt. The massive U.S. trade and current-account
deficits, now at around 6% of the gross domestic product,
mean that non-Americans are exchanging consumer goods today
for consumer goods they will obtain in the future.
doesn't have the ability to supply those goods, Schiff says.
"We are using dollars that we print to exchange for goods
that we don't produce. We have to borrow from abroad as
there are no domestic sources of savings, so the value of
those dollars will continue to fall."
Will It Get?
"Very bad," Schiff says.
will fall a lot lower than it already has--dropping by
perhaps 50% against the Japanese and Chinese currencies.
How will the government respond? Could efforts to forestall
the currency decline have a perverse--and ultimately
negative--effect? No matter what the outcome, Americans
will have to consume a lot less and save a lot more.
Spending on cars, clothing and electronics will all drop
dramatically--perhaps right out of the economy.
"We are a society that has
lived beyond its means for a long time," Schiff says, adding
that while the trend has been evident for two or three
decades, "in the last five years, it has gone off the deep
The Results Be?
Americans will have to
restrict future consumption or default on debt, whether
directly or indirectly.
something in the near future--maybe early this year--will
make us realize the error of our ways," Schiff says. "Our
creditors are going to stop. They are going to bite the
bullet," which means realizing we can't repay them in the
way they want and expect.
take a huge loss, but it will be necessary to check an
unsustainable process. At that point, the
people of Japan and other Asian nations will be able to
consume a lot more, because they will send less of what they
produce to the U.S.
"They will not be producing
for us; they will be producing for themselves."
to attract savings from abroad, the U.S. will have to
increase interest rates into the double digits. This will
cause a serious wave of defaults in the real estate market
further into the future this starts, the worse it will be
for Americans," Schiff says.
Why Will It Bottom Out?
know. A lot will depend on the government," Schiff says.
The debt to Japan, China and others has been building for a
long time. The process will also take some time to
reverse. But, the analysts on Wall Street don't want to say
their punches, because they don't want to be marginalized.
But, the fact is we owe Japan a fortune; it's not the other
way around." And that, Schiff says, means the dollar will
be heading south for a while.
Against The War Official Defends Open Collaborator With Bush
Iraq Occupation Dictatorship
From: Michael Eisenscher, US
Labor Against The War
Sent: Tuesday, January 11,
2005 9:44 PM
[Letwin, New York City Labor
Against The War]
I'm sorry that Salih's
assassins were so inconsiderate as to torture and kill him
the night before the SC call. Our objective in getting the
statement out ASAP was to put USLAW clearly on record
condemning assassination of trade unionists as a legitimate
means of opposing the U.S. occupation. Notice of the
assassination was sent to the Steering Committee at 9:45
a.m. PST on January 5, with announcement that draft of a
statement would be forthcoming prior to the call. The
statement was sent to the SC at 12:53 p.m., more than three
hours prior to the start of the call in hopes that everyone
would have a chance to review it and raise any issues they
might have during the call. When no one did, we issued the
statement in order that it would be timely in light of the
nature of the crime.
The IFTU is on record calling
for an end to the occupation. (For example, see the
statement by Abdullah Muhsin on November 4, 2004 at
Hadi Salih said just that during his presentation to the
ICFTU conference in Japan only weeks ago. In his remarks,
he said, "War does not serve the people of Iraq. Occupation
doesn't help democracy."
You are allowing your
ideological view to color your perception of the situation.
There is no justification for assassinating union leaders no
matter what their politics. The FCWUI recognized that
instantly and issued a statement immediately condemning the
torture and murder.
I have yet to hear from you
one word of condemnation of the torture and assassination of
Hadi Salih. Would you prefer that USLAW remain silent in
the face of this crime? If so, your view is a distinctly
minority one in the Steering Committee and in the larger
labor antiwar movement. Hadi Salih, whatever your
criticisms of his political views, suffered prison and
torture, then exile at the hands of Saddam Hussein. He put
his life on the line and lost it in the struggle to rebuild
the Iraqi labor movement. I figure that earns him respect
on the part of all those who claim to champion labor's
cause, whatever their politics.
The fact that the capitalist
media chooses to lump all opponents of the U.S. occupation
into the category "Resistance" should not hide the fact that
there are a wide range of groups involved in resisting the
occupation - some with arms and others without arms. That
Ba'athist elements and religious fascists do so with arms
does not mean that we ought to embrace them as legitimate
fighters for the autonomy, self-determination and national
integrity of the Iraqi people. Those who embrace these
elements and their "by any means necessary" posture, in my
view, are as opportunistic and irresponsible as they claim
the IFTU is by participating in the political process in
play in Iraq. It costs them little hurling their charges
from the safe and secure borders of the U.S., England, or
other parts of the imperialist world, while those who
struggle within the borders of Iraq have everything at risk.
USLAW's statement makes it
quite clear that we demand an immediate end to the
occupation. We said: "The ultimate source of violence in
Iraq is the US occupation. The Iraqi Federation of Trade
Unions calls for the end of the occupation and the US war.
Salih's murder does not bring this end one step closer.
Instead, it seeks to terrorize Iraq's labor movement, and
other parts of its civil society, to keep them from seeking
any peaceful means of gaining political power in the
interest of its working people."
Nothing I've heard from you or
others who share your view causes me to want to change one
word of that. No one but you on the Steering Committee
raised a word of objection. Rather than
impune our motives, you ought to be asking yourself
why you stand so much alone.
Yours in solidarity, Michael
From: Michael Letwin NYCLAW
Co-Convener & Member of USLAW Steering Committee Sent:
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 12:19 AM
To: Michael Eisenscher, USLAW
My criticism of USLAW's
statement on Hadi Salih was not motivated by "ideological"
prejudice; in fact, NYCLAW cosponsored (and I co-chaired)
the main USLAW Iraq labor tour forum in New York City, at
which 250 people donated $800, some of it for the IFTU (see
certainly have not have objected to USLAW's statement on
Hadi Salih, had it simply condemned his assassination,
pointed out that "[t]he ultimate source of violence in Iraq
is the US occupation," and demanded "Bring the troops home
What I did
object to was the attempt to whitewash the IFTU's
collaboration with the very war and occupation that USLAW
was created to oppose.
This was reflected in the
statement's misleading assertions that, "[t]he Iraqi
Federation of Trade Unions calls for the end of the
occupation and the US war," that "US Labor Against the War
shares [Salih's] vision of a peaceful and progressive Iraq,"
that "Hadi Salih was killed because of his commitment and
dedication to making Iraq a democratic and progressive
country," and that the Iraqi resistance assassinated Salih
in order "to terrorize Iraq's labor movement, and other
parts of its civil society, to keep them from seeking any
peaceful means of gaining political power in the interest of
its working people."
reality, the IFTU reflects the views of the "[t]he Iraqi
Communist Party (ICP) [which] totally supports the
client regime of Iyad Alawi and has one senior and two
junior ministers in his cabinet.
equates the armed resistance with fundamentalist
terrorism, and thereby approves the suppression of the
resistance." Both the ICP and IFTU remained silent as
the U.S. obliterated Falluja. 
to the USLAW conference in December, the IFTU blocked an
"Out Now" resolution at the British Labor Party conference
in October, where it "was not merely supportive of the
continued military occupation of his country, but could also
be read as supportive of the original invasion of Iraq."
few days ago, "[i]n collaboration with the [Iraqi
Petrochemical and Plastic Manufactures Company]
administration, [the IFTU] threatened workers with
sacking, jailing and killing to force them call off a
strike organized early this month. They justified these
oppressive actions by referring to resolutions passed by
Alawi's government, which ban union activity and install
IFTU as the only legal union."
commentator recently observed, "[t]he giving over of some
executive positions to the leaders of the Communist party of
Iraq, or the recognition of the trade union linked to this
party (IFTU) is a price the Pentagon and CIA are prepared to
pay for their support in repressing the resistance. . . . By
signing into this policy, groups such as the [Iraqi
Communist Party] show either ignorance or treachery."
Jasiewicz, who helped facilitate USLAW's 2003 delegation to
Iraq, reports "that more and more people, both within and
outside Iraq, are viewing the IFTU, as it stands now, as an
obstacle to genuine worker empowerment and direct,
participatory democracy in Iraq and will oppose it, angrily
Thus, Jasiewicz questions
whether Salih's assassination (which she too condemns), "is
related to his activities as a Union organiser."
Rather, she believes that
Salih may have been killed because "there is no neutrality
or security for a trade union federation which is so
enmeshed with a political party [the Iraqi Communist Party]
which is collaborating heavily with the occupation in Iraq
and remaining silent on the massacres being perpetrated
daily against the civilian population there."
Contrary to your claims, many
SC members had neither seen USLAW's statement on Salih
before it was publicly issued, nor were we informed that it
would whitewash the IFTU. That portion of the statement may
have reflected the views of its drafters. But it did not
reflect an above-board, democratic process.
disagree with the attitude that, "[r]ather than impune
[sic] our motives, you ought to be asking yourself why
you stand so much alone."
in raising the issues above, I criticized politics and
process, not your motives.
NYCLAW does not always stand alone within USLAW. For
example, USLAW's founding meeting on January 11, 2003
adopted NYCLAW proposals for the organization's name and
points of unity, while the national conference on
October 25-26, 2003 adopted its proposals to retain that
name and to demand "Bring the Troops Home Now."
case, standing alone is certainly no disgrace. And
minority views should not be met with personal attack or
1. Ardeshir Mehrdad, Between
Iraq's Colonialist and Islamist Quagmire the "Third Way" Is
Hard But Possible, Iran Bulletin Middle East Forum, November
2. Sami Ramadani, Britain's
Trade Unions, Iraq's Occupation, the IFTU and the ESF,
October 23, 2004
3. The Stop the War Coalition
and the IFTU, October 11, 2004
4. Iraqi Federation of Trade
Unions-IFTU Helps Alawi's Government to Crack Down on
Workers' Protests in Petrochemical and Plastic Company in
Baghdad, January 10, 2004
5. Mehrdad, note 1, above.
6. Ewa J., History Repeating
Itself - the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, ICP and Iraqi
Workers, October 31, 2004
What do you think?
Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are
especially welcome. Send to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Name, I.D., withheld on
request. Replies confidential.
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