GI SPECIAL 3A37:
“We Have Never Been Attacked When We Were Expecting It. Why
Would They Start Now?”
Soldier X, IRAQ
To: GI Special
Sent: February 01, 2005
survived through the elections.
there was very little resistance. I am not surprised
however. Our battalion was over taxed and worked to the
point of exhaustion.
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.
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
never been attacked when we were expecting it. Why
would they start now?
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
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.
very few soldiers still on camp and soldiers were forced to
pull guard duty three days back to back.
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.
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
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.
sorrow for the suffering and heartache that the soldiers of
OIF 3 will endure this coming year and a half.
every passing convoy, I knew my own time in this wicked
assignment was shorter and shorter.
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.
DANGER SOLDIERS KILLED, FOUR WOUNDED BY BAYJI IED
February 5, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-06C
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
Sand Flea Infection Can Kill
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
“We’ve heard rumors of a
couple hundred cases in the Stryker Brigade,” McGill said
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.
he agrees with that decision, because the sores caused by
cutaneous leishmaniasis eventually go away without
“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.
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.
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?]
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
Shop Steward Wounded In Mosul:
That We Should Be Packing Up And Getting Out Of There”
Feb. 2005 Public Employee
Press, By JANE LaTOUR
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
Soldier is GI Specials sister publication, mailed out to
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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
In our year and a half
history, Traveling Soldier has never asked its readers for
money. But now we have to.
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
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All of this costs money. And
nobody who works on Traveling Soldier has got more than
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Please send whatever you can
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Checks should be made out to
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A report on what came in and
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Good Does Traveling Soldier Do?
Give A Damn Dime?
Friday, February 04, 2005 6:03 PM
you for sending the issues of Traveling Soldier to me, I
have forwarded them on to my husband stationed at (XXXX)
sure they will be a hit with the soldiers and screw the
current issue, Traveling Soldier:
Words From The Front Lines
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,
“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
“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
“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,
“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,
“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.
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK THE NEW OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
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.
And join with Iraq
War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our
troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)
Soldier Refuses Redeployment To Iraq;
“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
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
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.
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.
'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.
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.
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."
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.
“If I Run
Will You Shoot?” He Asked.
The Guard Shot Him Dead
January 28, 2005 Robert
Schweizer, Times Online
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Collaborator Forces Killed Since June
2.5.05 United Press
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
At least 1,471 Americans have
died in Iraq since March 2003, according to Wolfowitz.
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
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
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.
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.
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
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.
DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
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: (email@example.com)
for examples of his outstanding work. T)
Draftees Far Less Radical Than Volunteers
A Volunteer Army Crippled Bush’s “Unilateral” Imperial Dream
“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.”
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
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.
central issue of the debate is whether or not an
all-volunteer military increases or diminishes the
likelihood of military adventurism.
that such a force establishes limits on executive war-making
powers and makes future Vietnam-type operations less likely.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org. Name, I.D., withheld on
request. Replies confidential.
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.
POLITICIANS AT WORK
Colonel Gary Brandl: “The enemy has got a face. He's called
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.
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.
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
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
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."
Palestinian Girl Shatters Family
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.
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
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."
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.
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
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."
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.]
Western Washington Vets
From: Garrison Davis"
To: GI Special
Sent: Friday, February 04,
2005 7:46 PM
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
contact if you are in the western Washington area.]
Gary l Davis
Seattle area #
Veterans for Peace
Saturday, February 05, 2005 1:42 AM
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
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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