GI Special:



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“We Have Never Been Attacked When We Were Expecting It.  Why Would They Start Now?”


Exhausting Elections


From: Soldier X, IRAQ

To: GI Special

Sent: February 01, 2005 4:44 AM

Subject: Exhausting Elections


I have survived through the elections.


Actually there was very little resistance.  I am not surprised however.  Our battalion was over taxed and worked to the point of exhaustion.


Everyone pulled three times the work load as we normally do.


If that is what it takes to keep violence down in Iraq we will need three times as many soldiers on the ground.


I myself lived out of a "one-one-three" personnel carrier.  Which is the small boxy looking tanks.  I spent seventy-two hours at the Iraqi Army Command Center in (XXX) defending it in the absence of the Iraqi soldiers that manned the polls.


There were three soldiers per track that rotated from two hours behind a fifty cal machine gun mounted on top, then two hours on the ground around the tank on guard, and then two hours sleeping.  The sleep was always sitting up on a hard bench or on the concrete thick metal of the track.


There was no showers, only MRE rations to eat, and the only entertainment was watching Third Infantry Division roll by in long convoys.


We were at a maximum amount of soldiers in sector conducting different missions to insure a smooth election process.  Although the insurgents would enjoy nothing more than to foil the elections, the coalition forces were to alert and numerous to make the risk worth the reward.


We have never been attacked when we were expecting it.  Why would they start now?


Besides I believe many of the insurgent groups are waiting for the elections to go through and when the conditions in Iraq fail to change for the better they will say "I told you so."


When our unit arrived in sector the insurgents held back and watched for a while.  After we started forming bad habits and showed our weaknesses, they hit us with everything they had.  We rolled in in March 04' and April was one of the deadliest months of US casualties.  I suspect the new soldiers coming in will experience another surge of attacks this spring.


Many soldiers didn’t return inside the wire for days straight and the whole time holding our breath.  We didn’t come up for air until the last ballot was escorted to the main base.


There were very few soldiers still on camp and soldiers were forced to pull guard duty three days back to back.


Previously it was not allowed to pull force protection two days in a row due to exhaustion making a soldier’s awareness obsolete.


Accidents were the main cause of injury for our soldiers during this election.


Soldiers fatigued and nervous were subject to making simple mistakes.  Humvees driving off the road, accidental discharges resulting in injury or death, one soldier even was crushed under a cement barricade that fell from a lift.


It proves we can not operate like this for very long.  Already soldiers deployed work all year with no weekends, no holidays, missing meals and having a lack of sleep.  Additional stress compounds the chance for accidents.


Once the Iraqis figure out that the elections was just a show to try and knock some wind out of the population supporting the resistance they will feel betrayed and angry.


The elections that are planned in less than a year from now will take more attention to secure.  It will be a huge pressure on the units replacing us.  We will need more soldiers in Iraq to pull it off.


I feel sorrow for the suffering and heartache that the soldiers of OIF 3 will endure this coming year and a half.


But with every passing convoy, I knew my own time in this wicked assignment was shorter and shorter.


Good Luck New Guys,


Soldier X


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 inside the armed services.  Send requests to address up top.










TIKRIT, Iraq -- Two Task Force Danger Soldiers were killed and four were wounded in an improvised explosive device attack on a Multi-National Forces patrol near Bayji at 4:25 p.m. Feb. 4.


One Soldier died at the scene of the attack and another died of wounds at a Multi-National Forces medical treatment facility.


The four wounded, who were riding in an up-armored Humvee when attacked, were transported to a Multi-National Forces medical facility for treatment.







Iraq Sand Flea Infection Can Kill

Picture 8. Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (Courtesy of Dr Kenneth F Wagner)  This is what can happen if you don’t get the treatment.  But Walter Reed says “don’t worry, be happy.”


[As you read this, check out the happy talk from the Army doctor.  The same parasite that produces the skin infection can migrate to the visceral body organs, and kill you if untreated.  It can take as much as years to show up.  Unless all the parasites are out of your body, you are nothing but the walking dead.  But hey, according to this asshole, as long as the skin lesion disappears, be happy, don’t worry.  That is total lying, deadly bullshit. 


[Make them test you to make sure none of the parasites have gone deeper into your body.  This is a fatal, repeat, fatal infection, unless all parasites are gone from inside your body.  And anybody who advises you not to worry about it just because the skin lesion has cleared up is a cold blooded premeditated murderer who ought to face a firing squad.


[Check out the excuses offered for not treating the troops now.  “Too dangerous.”  You can bet your ass if some Major or General had the infection, it wouldn’t be “too dangerous” to make sure the officer gets immediate treatment, and this lying happy talk would not be handed out.


[The scum just don’t want to spend the money to get enlisteds treated, and don’t want them to leave their units.  Not enough troops to go around, and hey, if a few get killed by the parasite, who gives a rats ass?  They’ll probably be discharged by the time it eats their guts out anyway.]


February 2, 2005 By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes


ARLINGTON, Va. — U.S.-based military doctors are bracing for a wave of servicemembers returning from Iraq this spring whose treatment for a skin disease has been delayed by the dangerous security situation there.


The soldiers who may be infected with cutaneous leishmaniasis are mostly from the 1st Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division, the Army’s “Stryker Brigade,” according to Dr. Alan McGill, infectious disease specialist at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md.


“We’ve heard rumors of a couple hundred cases in the Stryker Brigade,” McGill said Friday.


But travel in Iraq is so perilous for U.S. troops that health care staff there are choosing to let suspected cases of the disease go, rather than risk a trip to the large medical facilities for diagnosis, said McGill, the U.S. military’s leading leishmaniasis expert.


McGill said he agrees with that decision, because the sores caused by cutaneous leishmaniasis eventually go away without treatment.


“If I were over there, I wouldn’t take the risk of sending (a soldier) to (a large medical facility) to treat a skin lesion that’s going to get better anyway,” McGill said.


Leishmaniasis takes hold when infected sand flies bite humans who sleep on the ground or work in very dirty, sandy environments.


Human cases of leishmaniasis mostly fall into one of two categories: cutaneous, which causes skin lesions that vary from the size of a pencil head to larger than the bottom of a soda can; and visceral, a far more serious variation which leaves no external marks, instead attacking the internal organs.  [This is slimy lawyer talk.  There is only one form of the parasite.  Repeat, one form of the parasite.  It infects the skin first through the flea bite.  Then the parasite can move inside your body to your viscera to kill.  Check the next line from CDC.] 


Untreated visceral leishmaniasis can be fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  [It is fatal, if not treated.  When they say “can be” what they mean is, it’s not fatal if you take the medications that kill the parasite.  That’s like saying “rabies can be fatal.”  If not treated, you die.  Either all the parasites in your body die, or you die.  Get it?]


U.S. military doctors diagnosed about 750 cases of leishmaniasis among troops who participated in the first rotations of Operations Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, McGill said.  [And how many were checked to see if any parasites remained?]



Local 1455 Shop Steward Wounded In Mosul:

“It Seems That We Should Be Packing Up And Getting Out Of There”


Feb. 2005 Public Employee Press, By JANE LaTOUR


On Tuesday, Dec. 21, Sgt. Kenny Ghany was standing on the chow line in a mess tent in Mosul, waiting for lunch.  Seconds after Sgt. Ghany stepped away to talk with someone on the other side of the tent, a bomber detonated his deadly vest.


The huge explosion killed 22 people including 14 U.S. soldiers — and injured 44. Shrapnel pierced the sergeant’s leg, but his life was spared.


At their home on Staten Island, wife Lori Ghany learned of the massacre from the television. Horror-stricken, she called her pastor, who prayed with her on the telephone.


Moments later, she received a call from her husband, who said he was fine.


Her dread-filled moments waiting for news were a heightened part of the daily vigil that soldiers’ families keep as they try to hold onto hope.


The explosion occurred just days before Christmas.  “I didn’t send my cards this year,” said Lori Ghany.  “I just wasn’t able to do that.”  Her children, Richard, 11, and Crystal, 8, set up the Christmas tree by themselves.  “They came to me and said: ‘Mommy, can you help us with the lights?’”  After that, the tree offered some solace for the little family.


Kenny Ghany, a 14-year veteran Traffic Device Maintainer for the Dept. of Transportation, is a shop steward in Traffic Employees Local 1455.  “He’s a good steward who has solved problems for a lot of members,” said Local President Michael DeMarco.  “We are all very proud of him, and we wish him a complete recovery from his wounds.”


Sgt. Ghany has been a member of the U.S. Army National Guard for over 18 years.  He is serving in Iraq with the 204th Engineering Battalion.


“They trained for combat, but that’s not their primary mission,” explained Ms. Ghany. “They construct buildings and do electrical work.”


“He volunteered to go to Iraq,” she said.  “He felt it was his duty.  But it’s getting very bad.  It seems that we should be packing up and getting out of there,” she said.



Traveling Soldier Needs Some Help


[Traveling Soldier is GI Specials sister publication, mailed out to places email can’t reach, or isn’t safe, like bases in various parts of the world, including Iraq.  And unlike stuff on the web, you can hold it in your hand, refer back to it, and pass it on to a brother or sister in the service.  For organizing inside the armed forces, it’s far more important in that way than GI Special can ever be.  T]


Dear Traveling Soldier readers,


In our year and a half history, Traveling Soldier has never asked its readers for money. But now we have to.


The computer that had all of Traveling Soldier's files - pictures, old issues, and most importantly our mailing list - crashed.  We have to pay a repair man to fix it, and if it cannot be fixed, we have to buy a Zip drive, salvage the information, and buy a brand new computer.


All of this costs money.  And nobody who works on Traveling Soldier has got more than ordinary working class jobs to cover expenses. 


Please send whatever you can spare to our address: Traveling Soldier, c/o Thomas Barton, 2565 Broadway, #281, New York, New York 10025. 


Checks should be made out to Pham Binh, who leads the production staff. 


Pound, Euro, Dollar, Yen, Real, Peso etc. paper money or gold also cheerfully accepted.  No pre-occupation dinar notes, please!  We already got wallpaper.


A report on what came in and from where, and how the money was spent, with receipts, will be published in GI Special, without names listed to protect your privacy.




What Good Does Traveling Soldier Do?

Why Give A Damn Dime?


From: (XXXX)

To: GI Special

Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 6:03 PM


Thank you for sending the issues of Traveling Soldier to me, I have forwarded them on to my husband stationed at (XXXX) Base Iraq.


I'm sure they will be a hit with the soldiers and screw the brass!


Thanks again!





From the current issue, Traveling Soldier:


Words From The Front Lines


http://www.traveling-soldier.org/1.05.words.php   See the article for source of quotes.


 “The reality right now is that the most dangerous opinion in the world is the opinion of a U.S. serviceman.” – Lance Corporal Devin Kelly, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Iskandariyah, Iraq.


 “We’re basically proving out that the government is wrong.  We’re catching them in a lie.” – Lance Corporal Alexander Jones, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Iskandariyah, Iraq.


 “We don’t give a crap.  What are they going to do, send us to Iraq?” - Corporal Brandon Autin, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Iskandariyah, Iraq, commenting on the possibility that he might be punished for telling reporters how he felt about the war.


 “If we did half the shit back home we’ve done here, we’d be in prison … Where the fuck did Jesus say it’s OK to kill people for your government?  Any priest who tells me that has got no credibility.” – Anonymous Marine Sergeant, after a conversation with his chaplain, Baquba, Iraq.


 “What does the American public think happens when they tell us to assault a city? Marines don’t shoot rainbows out of our asses.  We fucking kill people.” – Anonymous Marine, commenting on the shooting of a wounded man in a Fallujah mosque.


 “When I went [to Iraq] to begin with, there was a mission. …I don’t trust the people sending me over there. I have to stay focused, give it 100 percent.  I just don’t agree with it.  The war cannot be won.  It won’t be won, not now, not ever.  We’re getting maimed for bullshit.” – Army Sgt. Fred Bemis


 “Given the choice, I would never have wanted to fire a gun.  But it didn’t work out that way.  I’d like a thousand boring missions rather than one interesting one.” – Corporal Chris Merrell, Fallujah, Iraq.


 “We think Bush is an asshole for starting a war over nothing, trying to get money and oil. That’s what Paul thought. I think they should just get the boys out of there now.  If not we’re going to lose a lot more than this.” – Craig Lowe, commenting on the death of his friend.  Both served in the Scottish Black Watch regiment.


 “If Tony Blair is so keen to be here, he should send his son over.  To be honest I can’t understand what it is we are supposed to be doing here.  Iraqis don’t want to kill each other, they only want to kill us.” – Trooper Tim Clews, Queen’s Dragoon Guards, Camp Dogwood, Iraq.


 “Every day you read articles in the states when it’s like ‘Oh, it’s getting better and better.’  But when you’re here, you know it’s worse every day.” – Lance Corporal Jonathan Snyder, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Iskandariyah, Iraq.


 “How do I put this?  First of all, this is a whole different thing.  We’re supposed to be looking for al Qaeda.  They’re the ones who are supposedly responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.  This has no connection at all to Sept. 11 because this war started just by telling us about all the nuclear warheads over here.” – Lance Corporal Carlos Perez, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Iskandariyah, Iraq.


 “This is Vietnam.  I don’t even know why we’re over here fighting.  We’re fighting for survival.  The Iraqis don’t want us here.  If they wanted us here, they’d help us.  They’re certainly not helping us in this city.” – Corporal Daniel Planalp, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, Ramadi, Iraq.


 “The funny thing that we laugh at sometimes is that the terrorists and us want the same thing.  We don’t want to be here and they don’t want us here.” – Lance Corporal Jamie Sutton, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, Ramadi, Iraq.


 “The only question for us is how many of us have gotta die before we get to go home.” – Anonymous GI, 4th Infantry Division, Baquba, Iraq.





Telling 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.  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)



Wisconsin Soldier Refuses Redeployment To Iraq;

Mother Says “It Needs To Stop"


2.1.05 By Molly Borgstrom, Barbabo News Republic (Wisconsin)


A day after the first post-Saddam Hussein elections in Iraq area peace activists said at a Baraboo rally Monday they wanted to pressure the administration to follow through on a timetable for withdrawal.


During the rally 30-45 people marched around the courthouse square in downtown Baraboo carrying signs like "No blood for oil" and "Bring the troops home."  Few pedestrians were out in the chilly, overcast weather to notice their efforts, but some drivers honked and one woman flashed a peace sign out her car window.


Two friends from Baraboo, Cortney Boyce and Ashlee Goetz, had never been to a rally before.  Clad in green wool, military-style trenches and with black paint smeared under their eyes, they led the march.


The two girls became interested in anti-war activism through their experience with friends and family members in the military. Goetz, 19, a Madison Area Technical College student, has a 26 year-old sister in the Navy and Boyce, 21, has a cousin and a friend serving in Iraq with the National Guard.


Boyce said her friends in Iraq became disillusioned when they found out there were no weapons of mass destruction. Now she and Goetz want to get more involved to keep other people from making the same mistake, she said.


"(We want to) prove that not all youth are sitting around doing nothing," Goetz said.


Many in the crowd were moved by the next speaker, a military mother from Keshena, Wis., who told how her son came back from service in Iraq a changed person who wouldn't look her in the eye.  Picking up body parts and literally being splattered with a friend's brains warped her son, she said.


"He said, 'the first time you kill somebody you can't even imagine what that's like... then after that it's just business as usual,'" she said.


Although he faces a court-martial, he abandoned his unit when it re-deployed Monday. The people in her community don't understand how he could desert, she said.


"He might have to spend some time in the brig but he doesn't have to die -- not my child, not their child.  It needs to stop," she said.  "Tell everyone you know, 'don't join the military."


Starting Feb. 12, the new group "Bring Them Home Now Coalition of Central Wisconsin" will start weekly Saturday night peace marches in Wisconsin Dells, Kinder said.



The Presidio Mutiny:

“If I Run Will You Shoot?” He Asked.

He Ran.  The Guard Shot Him Dead


January 28, 2005 Robert Schweizer, Times Online


THEY WERE BEATING the farm boy from Utah.  Cowering in my isolation cell, I heard his whimpering and the sickening sound of punching  Earlier that day, the kid had got hold of a scalpel and slashed his wrists.  They closed his wounds, but twice he reopened them.  Now they had him in a straitjacket, lashed to his bed, and periodically beat him. The other four of us in the isolation block, although we could not see each other, took turns reading aloud from our Bibles.  It got us through that dreadful night.


The year was 1967, the place the Presidio Stockade on the US Army base at the Golden Gate in San Francisco.  I had seldom revisited the horrible memories, but the exploits of Specialist Charles Graner in Abu Ghraib, and his swaggering, smirking image at his recent trial, along with revelations about Guantanamo Bay, have reminded me of what it can mean to be a prisoner of the US military.  Now British and Danish soldiers also stand charged with prisoner abuse.


People say they are shocked by these stories.  I’m not — only sickened and saddened. Are we to believe that these are isolated incidents perpetrated by gung-ho GIs?  Whether or not soldiers are “only following orders”, there will always be some who do so to excess.  And, whether the military system demands, encourages, condones or merely makes this possible, that system is dysfunctional.


I grew up in the peaceful, prosperous Eisenhower era of the 1950s, believing, however naively, that America was a force for good in the world.  In the mid-Sixties I was in and out of university, trying to find a direction in life.


The conviction had been growing in me that America was waging an immoral, unjustified, economically driven war.  I was into the anti-Vietnam movement and, with the draft board breathing down my neck,  I took a job on a Norwegian oil tanker as a dodge. For the next six months, as I sailed around South America and the Caribbean, my parents received my draft notice at the family home.  I knew I had to come back to resolve the issue.  I was going to face the music — but I wasn’t going to dance.


My appeals to the draft board were to no avail.  Could I claim to be a conscientious objector?  If my mother, my girlfriend, my sister were being attacked, would I stand by and watch?  Of course not — so I wasn’t a pacifist. In January 1967, they inducted me.


I was a purposefully disruptive soldier, declining officer candidate school, disseminating anti-war leaflets, refusing to pick up a weapon, but the war effort needed bodies.  I trod a narrow path, not wanting a dishonourable discharge, or to go to prison, or to leave my country.


After basic training, I was sent to helicopter school.  They planned for me to be a mechanic and gunner.  I asked myself constantly if I was merely a coward, but the reasons for fighting in Vietnam were tenuous at best.  I wanted neither to kill nor to be killed and, with the situation now urgent, I went Awol.


For six weeks I was on the run, finally spending three glorious days in San Francisco, caught up in the Zeitgeist of the counter-culture — the music, “make love, not war”, the “summer of love” in Haight-Ashbury.  Meanwhile, the FBI were calling on and questioning my parents.  I planned to turn myself in, but in my own time.  Then somebody shopped me to the military. (I hope he scored some bad acid with his $15 bounty.)


I was woken by the military police pounding on the door, was arrested and taken into the stockade, where the verbal berating and physical manhandling began.  I had knowingly broken federal and martial laws but was not prepared for the degradation I would face. They bundled me out of my clothes and into a large shower room, where I was disinfected, power-hosed, shorn, shaved, inspected and processed before being put in an isolation cell where I would spend eight days.


In “the box” we were kept in our underwear, exposed to the biting night air that blew in off the North Pacific through the open barred windows.  As the saying goes, “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco”.  We slept on inch-thin mattresses on ridged metal shelves, covered by a single sheet.  Three of the cells had the 24-hour glare of bare light bulbs; the other two, painted black and facing a wall, were lit only by sun and moonlight.  With no commodes in the cells, our toilet needs were met at the whim of the guards (too bad if you couldn’t hold it).


In the main prison, conditions weren’t much better.  Imagine 100-plus young men, waiting in line during morning toilet-call, to use just four open lavatories, with the guards barking, “Come on! Come on!”


Food was inedible and there was little of it.  Everyone was losing weight.  I remember with a shudder, “shit on a shingle”, a kind of creamed mince on toast.


Days began at 5.30am, in the still-dark, chill morning air, with calisthenics and interminable standing to attention.  After “breakfast”, we were broken into details for our day’s hard labor.  The work was boring and often meaningless.  For example, we’d dig a ditch, then fill it back in.  We got very good at scrubbing latrines and cleaning the beaches around the base.


In the heat of the day there would be people sunbathing as we picked up dogs’ mess under armed guard.  And at night the mournful sound of ship foghorns out in the bay struck at the heart, bringing home to us our loss of liberty.


In the stockade my vow was sealed never to comply with this army.  I saw a very dark side of our system.  We were America’s own, but we were still cannon-fodder to a ruthless military and industrial machine.  After ten weeks I was court martialled, but it was another 14 weeks before my Undesirable Discharge came through (“under conditions other than honorable”).  It was very desirable to me.


On a beautiful sunny day, almost a year to the day after I was inducted, I was able to fly home.  But the hardship, apprehension, fear and humiliation had taken their toll.  I was gaunt and drained.


Nine months after my release, a prisoner, 19-year-old Private Richard Bunch, was shot and killed by a guard in the stockade.  All day he had been asking other prisoners how best to kill himself.  Approaching a guard, he asked him, “If I run, will you shoot me?” The guard told him, “Why not run and find out?”  “Aim for my head!” shouted Bunch, running.  And, without a warning shout, the guard shot him at close range.  The army judged this “justifiable homicide”.


Three days later, 27 inmates staged a spontaneous sit-down demonstration, linking arms and singing “We shall overcome”.  They were charged with mutiny and risked execution.  But the national media had wind of the stockade scandal. The anti-war movement was growing by the day, swollen by disaffected soldiers.


Ensuing military and Congressional investigations into prison conditions in the Presidio revealed gross overcrowding, underfeeding, sadism, institutionalised racism (white on black, black on white), suicide and attempted suicide, and now even murder.  If America can do it to its own citizens, should we be surprised if it does worse to those it identifies as its enemy?


In one six-month period in the Presidio there were 33 suicide attempts among 24 prisoners.  In my time, that would have been about a quarter of the inmate population. One solider drank polish, one drank shampoo, one slashed his arms, wrists and chest, another drove a spike into his vein.  A prisoner was offered razor blades by a guard and invited to take his own life; he was squirted with urine from a water pistol.  I personally witnessed a prisoner being escorted back to the stockade from the base hospital.  He broke free and repeatedly smashed his bandaged wrists through a line of windows before he was subdued.


The Presidio mutineers, though sentenced to 14, 15 and 16 years in the Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth, were released in 1970 thanks to public pressure. They had overcome.


Not before time the stockade was closed, and the Presidio base, formerly the army’s showpiece West Coast installation, is today a National Historic Landmark, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a “recreation destination, outdoor classroom and peaceful retreat”.  Its history has been sanitised.


Meanwhile, we are hearing predictions that Iraq will be “another Vietnam”, a protracted, inglorious and ultimately futile war.


We are hearing of detainees in Iraq, and in Camp Delta, being physically and mentally tortured, threatening to commit suicide, sexually taunted, stripped, “crucified”, piled naked on each other and otherwise mortified.  The role of the US Army should be to protect human rights and freedoms, not to deny them.  It breaks my American heart.


After Robert Schweizer, 60, was given an undesirable discharge, he studied at the State University of New York where he gained a degree in philosophy.  He later taught children with learning disabilities for two years and then found a career in the restaurant business, first as an employee and later as a manager / owner. He now lives in London and works as a photographer.







1,342 Collaborator Forces Killed Since June


2.5.05 United Press International


Nearly as many Iraqi security forces have been killed in Iraq since June 2004 as U.S. troops have died since 2003, a top Pentagon official says.


Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that 1,342 Iraqi police, soldiers and national guardsmen have died in Iraq since the country assumed sovereignty.


At least 1,471 Americans have died in Iraq since March 2003, according to Wolfowitz.






Assorted Resistance Actions

A destroyed vehicle on a Basra road after four Iraqi soldiers were killed when a booby-trapped motorcycle was exploded by resistance fighters in the Hay al-Rissala neighborhood.  (AFP/Essam al-Sudani)


2/5/2005 By ROBERT H. REID, The Associated Press & By Alister Bull, (Reuters) & BBC


Insurgent attacks killed nine Iraqi soldiers, a collaborating Baghdad city council member, and 8 other occupation employees on Saturday as guerrillas stayed on the offensive after failing to scupper last week's historic election.


Police on Saturday said four Iraqi Army soldiers were killed by a hidden roadside bomb in the southern city of Basra, which has been relatively peaceful compared with the rest of Iraq.  A booby-trapped motorcycle exploded near their vehicle in the southern city, an army spokesman said.


Gunmen stormed a police station in the northern city of Mosul, killing five officers, police said.  Insurgents assassinated a member of the Baghdad city council, Abbas Hasan Waheed, and a member of Iraq's intelligence service in two separate drive-by shootings.


Eight bodies were found Saturday in Anbar province — five in Ramadi and three in the town of Baghdadi — and residents said they were believed to be Iraqis who worked for the Americans or Iraqi security services.










Photo and caption from the I-R-A-Q  ( I  Remember  Another  Quagmire ) portfolio of Mike Hastie, U.S. Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71.  (Please contact at: (hastiemike@earthlink.net) for examples of his outstanding work.  T)



Reality Check:

Guess What?

1.  Draftees Far Less Radical Than Volunteers

2.  Having A Volunteer Army Crippled Bush’s “Unilateral” Imperial Dream In Iraq


1.  “Draftees expect shit, get shit, aren’t even disappointed.  Volunteers expect something better, get the same shit, and have at least one more year to get mad about it.”


2.  Without the easy option of expanding draft calls whenever additional manpower is desired, national security managers lose a crucial element of their ability to act unilaterally—a condition of considerable worry to many military planners.


In rejecting recommendations for ending the draft in 1967, for example, President Johnson’s Marshall Commission objected strenuously to the “inflexible nature” of a volunteer force, which they said would allow “no provision for the rapid procurement of larger numbers of men” in crisis situations.


From: SOLDIERS IN REVOLT: DAVID CORTRIGHT, Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, New York, 1975


No subject of armed-forces policy has generated more controversy than the question of the all-volunteer force, and it would thus seem the proper place to begin our discussion.


Perhaps the central issue of the debate is whether or not an all-volunteer military increases or diminishes the likelihood of military adventurism.


I think that such a force establishes limits on executive war-making powers and makes future Vietnam-type operations less likely.


Without the easy option of expanding draft calls whenever additional manpower is desired, national security managers lose a crucial element of their ability to act unilaterally—a condition of considerable worry to many military planners.


In rejecting recommendations for ending the draft in 1967, for example, President Johnson’s Marshall Commission objected strenuously to the “inflexible nature” of a volunteer force, which they said would allow “no provision for the rapid procurement of larger numbers of men” in crisis situations.


One suspects that such reservations are a principal reason why many Pentagon and Congressional military officials have been reluctant to support the all-volunteer force.


The exorbitant manpower costs associated with the volunteer force add a powerful economic argument against excessive use of the armed forces.  


Recognizing that “the cost of manpower expansion would be tremendous,” General Westmoreland complained in 1973 that “such realization could serve as a deterrent” to military planning.


The volunteer force is also more open to popular control, because voluntary recruitment makes the size of the armed forces dependent on the participation of the nation’s young people, General Westmoreland saw this point well: “In the final analysis the size of our forces will be determined by the numbers of men that can be recruited—not by security requirements,” meaning that military capabilities will depend directly on the American people themselves, not on the flat of Pentagon bureaucrats.



Many have warned that an Army composed only of volunteers will no longer be subject to the healthy internal questioning evidenced during Vietnam.  Inherent in this position is the view that the GI movement developed primarily because the military was forced to draft middle-class college students.


While disgruntled ex-college students may have sparked some Gl-movement activities, particularly certain of its more articulate expressions, the bulk of the GI resistance came not from draftees but from volunteers.


The evidence available from an examination of the GI movement suggests that the majority of dissenters and organizers were volunteers from working-class backgrounds.


While by no means conclusive, a number of small-scale surveys conducted in recent years confirm this.   In March of 1970, the National Council to Repeal the Draft looked into the backgrounds of twenty- five members of GIs United Against the War at Fort Bragg.  According to Tom Reeves of the Council, seventeen of the twenty-five activists had volunteered and sixteen of the group came from lower-middle-class families.  In November of 1971, the United States Servicemen’s Fund sponsored a GI- movement conference in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.  Of the approximately fifty active-duty GIs and veterans attending from various organizing projects, the vast majority were volunteers, not draftees.


At one meeting of active dissenters, an informal poll showed that eighteen of the twenty men present had volunteered.  


Additional evidence comes from an independent survey taken among members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War encamped on the Mall in Washington, D.C. on April 23, 1971.  The results of 172 returned questionnaires showed that approximately two thirds of the veterans had enlisted in the service, while nearly 49 per cent listed their father’s occupation as ‘labor.”


Further indication of the volunteer origins of GI dissent comes from the extensive history of protest within the Air Force and the Navy, neither of which uses conscripts, and the continuation of the GI movement beyond 1972, despite the end of the draft.  These findings confirm the opinion of nearly every leading Gl-movement figure with whom I had contact in writing this book.


They also corroborate my own experience.  At Fort Hamilton and Fort Bliss; most of the people involved in anti-war work were, like myself, volunteers from working-class families.


To be sure, many had volunteered most reluctantly, and some had been to college, at least for a time; but very few were draftees.


This should not really surprise us, given what we he seen of the oppression of enlisted service and the economic compulsion of volunteering.  It seems certain that lower-middle-class enlistees will not shirk protest against policies and conditions they find intolerable.


This was best summed up by Sp/5 Jim Goodman, former editor of the Baumholder Gig Sheet in Germany: “Draftees expect shit, get shit, aren’t even disappointed.  

Volunteers expect something better, get the same shit, and have at least one more year to get mad about it.”


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.






Vote Or Starve


Friday, February 04, 2005 Raed Jarrar, Raed in the Middle


I mentioned the fact that there were very strong rumors in Iraq that were putting people under pressure to go and vote.  Khalid, my brother living in Baghdad, told me about this a week ago, and I found an article on the Washington Post mentioning it too.


The Washington Post published another piece containing a confession from an Iraqi official saying: "Even though we spread a rumor in the city saying anyone who doesn't vote will be deprived of their food ration, only 10 people voted . . . mostly old men." said Khalaf Muhammed, 43, the electoral commission official in charge of a polling station in the city's center -- who acknowledged spreading the false rumor to try to lure voters.





The way the balloting was constructed, there was no venue for an _expression of Iraqi nationalism.  There was no nationalist party.  05 February 2005, By Jude Wanniski, Aljazeera. Jude Wanniski is a former associate editor of The Wall Street Journal.








Colonel Gary Brandl: “The enemy has got a face.  He's called Satan.”

Here’s confirmation that Col. Brandl got it right.  Satan, AKA George Bush, flashes the demonic signal called “The Hand Of Five,” which transforms members of the White House press corps into slobbering idiots eager to take everything he says at face value and regurgitate it endlessly.  Note the lower teeth pattern, with two protruding incisors, commonly found in vampires and other unclean spirits. 

(AFP/File/Brendan Smialowski)



Anti-Sex Lunatics On The March


05 February 2005 By Frank Rich, The Los Angeles Times


NEW YORK - Let us be grateful that Janet Jackson did not bare both breasts.


On the first anniversary of the Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction that shook America, it's clear that just one was enough to wreak havoc.


The ensuing indecency crusade in Washington has unleashed a wave of self-censorship on U.S. television unrivaled since the McCarthy era, with everyone from the dying D-Day heroes in "Saving Private Ryan" to cuddly animated animals on daytime television getting the ax.  Even NBC's presentation of the Olympics last summer, in which actors donned body suits to simulate "nude" ancient Greek statues, is now under federal investigation.


Public television is so fearful of crossing its government patrons that it is flirting with self-immolation.  Having disowned lesbians in the children's show "Postcards From Buster" and stripped suspect language from "Prime Suspect" on "Masterpiece Theater," PBS is editing its Feb. 23 broadcast of "Dirty War," the HBO-BBC film about a terrorist attack, to remove a glimpse of female nudity in a scene depicting nuclear detoxification.


Next thing you know they'll be snipping lascivious flesh out of a documentary about Auschwitz.


This, too, has its antecedent in the McCarthy era.  A Senate committee of the time did investigate the comics. Its guiding force was the psychiatrist Fredric Wertham's fear-mongering 1954 tome "Seduction of the Innocent," which posited that Batman and Robin could corrupt children by inducing a "wish dream of two homosexuals living together."







Killing Of Palestinian Girl Shatters Family


[Via Liz Burbank; lizburbank@speakeasy.net]


3 February 2005 Laila El-Haddad, Al Jazeera



Ten-year-old Nuran Iyad Dib went to school as ecstatic as any schoolgirl should be.  But this crisp winter day was special: she would receive her bi-annual report card.  As it turned out, she passed with flying colors, which meant a gift from her parents, who had been saving up their dwindling funds for this occasion.  The teacher's comment on top of her report read: We predict a very bright future for Nuran.


But Nuran would have no such future, and her gift lies abandoned in a corner of her family's grieving home.  On the afternoon of 31 January 2005, Israeli sniper fire ripped through her face as she stood in her school's courtyard, lining up for afternoon assembly.


The last thing Nuran's mother remembers of her daughter before she left to school that morning was hearing her say her morning prayers, during which she recited a verse about God having created death - and life - as a test for mankind.


In retrospect, Nuran's mother believes it was a premonition of what was to come.  "Then she left for school. She was a completely selfless child.  She was thinking of her sisters till the last second.  She came back after she had left the house, and said 'Mommy, it's cold - please put some sweaters on my sisters before they leave'," her mother said. "What more can I say except that she was a breath of fresh air in these hard times?  Her name was Nur (light) and that's exactly what she was."


Her death has many here questioning Israel's commitment to a ceasefire amid a one-sided truce and virtual period of calm.  "We extended an olive branch to them and instead of reciprocating they cut our hand off," Nuran's mother cried, sitting in an unpainted cement-block bedroom with nothing but thin foam mattresses on the ground.


"What did she ever do to deserve such a fate?  Or her sister, who saw Nura die in front of her?  Every night she wails out in her sleep 'Bring me my sister, bring me my sister'".


According to UNRWA's spokesperson Paul Mccan, the UN relief organisation has repeatedly protested against the Israeli military’s indiscriminate firing into civilian areas in the occupied Palestinian territory.  Nuran's school, which is about 600 metres away from the border, has been hit on numerous occasions since the start of the conflict, he said. This is the first time the shots have had tragic consequences.


"We want to ask the world: Was Nuran holding an explosive belt around her waist?  Was she toting a Kalashnikov?  She knew no politics, only love," her aunt Iktimal Husayn asked rhetorically.  "She was supposed to bring home her report from school, but instead she brought home her death certificate."


Nuran's mother says minutes before receiving news of her daughter's death she sensed something was not right. "I asked her father about a beautiful picture of Noran we had taken a few years back.  I wanted to see it.  And then her baby sister dropped a large jar of chili sauce on the floor."


Witnesses say the children were clapping their hands and singing the national anthem when the firing started.  One bullet pierced the hand of Aysha Isam al-Khatib, while the other hit Nuran in the head.  She fell to the ground at once.  Bystanders say they assumed she was unconscious until they noticed the pool of blood beneath her shattered skull.


A third bullet hit a young girl's book bag, and was stopped in its tracks by one of her folders, only a few excruciating centimetres away from her spine.  Eleven-year-old Salwa al-Khalifa was next to Nuran when the bullets struck.  She described with disturbing composure well beyond her years the details of that bloody hour. "A bullet went in through her nose and came out of her neck.  We all ducked.  Several other bullets hit the window and school wall over there."


A day after the incident, Israeli authorities said their initial investigation indicated it was fire from jubilant Palestinian police celebrating the return of Hajj pilgrims, not Israeli sniper fire, that killed Nuran.


But the pockmarked wall of the UNRWA school, which stands 600m away from an Israeli sniper tower and far away from residential blocks, tells a different story.  "There is nothing around us here, and there were no pilgrims that we know of celebrating that day. There is just an outpost a few hundred metres away - one from which sniper fire has frequently hit our school," school principal Siham al-Ghoff said.


Al-Ghoff says if the fire was indeed Palestinian, the bullet would not have hit Nuran in the face but rather landed on top of her head, as rifles fired in celebration usually point upwards.


Both Palestinian security sources and UN officials confirm the account, saying that the way the bullets were scattered along with witness testimonies, point to Israeli gunfire. "Everything is pointing to the fact that it was the Israelis.  There were a number of shots, and the way they were scattered gives us an indication of the direction where they came from, and that corresponds with witness reports that the firing came from an (Israeli) APC or tank in the area," one official said.


Meanwhile, in Nuran's school, life goes on.  Girls who received top marks this term were rewarded with tins of toffee that they passed out enthusiastically to all visitors, a step taken by school counselors to attempt to normalise an abnormal situation. 


But in Nuran's fourth-grade classroom, the mood was far from celebratory.  "The children are too afraid to go out for their recess, and many simply go to the bathroom and weep all day," principal al-Ghoff said.


Counsellors have been trying to help the children work through the trauma of recent days.  When asked to portray their conception of their classmate's death, most drew tanks and Apache helicopters invading their school.  "I thought there's a truce now, something like this would never happen.  Now we're trying to pick up the pieces," al-Ghoff added.


The Palestinian Authority has filed a formal complaint with the Israeli side about the girls' shooting, but it is unlikely Nuran's family will ever get answers about their daughter's death.


Back in her family's home, Nuran's mother sat gazing in disbelief at her daughter's report card, while her father Iyad stood weeping silently.  


Nearby, an Israeli tank shell rattled the windows of the room, which together with young Nuran's death served as a reminder that if there is any "calm" it has not yet reached Rafah.  "When Nuran died, a part of me died also," her mother said.  "She was a bright light that was extinguished.  For me, there can be no more peace."


The blood of Raghda al-Assar 10, taints her copybook in the classroom.  She was killed by Israeli bullets on September 7, 2004. (WAFA


[To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation by a foreign power, to: www.rafahtoday.org  The foreign army is Israeli; the occupied nation is Palestine.]







Looking For Western Washington Vets


From: Garrison Davis" peacecraft1@gmail.com

To: GI Special

Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 7:46 PM

Subject: Looking For Vets


Karen Aharn from Bainbridge island turned me on to your site.  great stuff.


I am on a campaign to uncover these Iraq vets in the greater Seattle area, colleges, and universities and just out there in the neighborhoods.


[Please contact if you are in the western Washington area.]


Thank you


Gary l Davis

Seattle area # 92

Veterans for Peace



Re: “Died In Vain”


From: EG

To: GI Special

Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 1:42 AM

Subject: RE: GI Special 3A36: "Died In Vain"


Thanx for sharing G.I. Special 3A36 and all the other tremendously important messages you continue to send.


Peace – solidarity

G, Vets For Peace




About 90% of the thanks goes to the troops, vets, military family members and civilian activists who send in the articles, and are reaching out to those in the armed services opposing this evil Imperial war.   T.



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