www.albasrah.net

 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

2.19.05

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

 

GI SPECIAL 3A50:

 

 

ENOUGH.

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW.

Troy Hawkinss on the ground after being shot in the shoulder and leg during a gun battle in the Haifa Street neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq 02/16/2005 Joe Raedle/Getty Images  February 18, 2005 BAGHDAD

 

 

Mysterious Death Of Another Soldier:

All Had “Flu-Like Symptoms”

"He Went Through 16 Months Of Hell And He Came Back And They Didn't Do Nothing For Him."

Sgt. Clay Garton

 

February 18, 2005 Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. RALEIGH, N.C.

 

The mysterious death of a third soldier with North Carolina ties is raising questions.  All three died from flu-like symptoms after returning from overseas deployments, according to a report by affiliate station WRAL.

 

Sgt. Clay Garton was a flight medic at Fort Bragg.  He spent 16 months in Iraq and returned home in July.  Then, he got sick.

 

His family said he had symptoms like the flu.  He fought it for three weeks, but his fever soared to 106 degrees. The day after Christmas, he died.

 

"They came out in five minutes and said, 'He's gone,'" said Duane Garton, Clay's father.

 

According to a preliminary autopsy report, Garton's liver and spleen were swollen.  His wife said doctors told her he died from infection.

 

It is the third recent example of soldiers dying after exhibiting flu-like symptoms.  Capt. Gilbert Munoz was a special forces soldier at Fort Bragg who was deployed to the Middle East.  After he got back, he died from a bacterial infection.

 

Sgt. Christopher Rogers was a reservist from Raleigh.  He went to Afghanistan.  After he came home, his temperature hit 109 degrees.  His widow, Windy Rogers, wonders whether he had what Munoz had.

 

"Chris was admitted with flu-like symptoms.  Whatever it was, it shut all of his organs down -- shut them all down -- and I want to know what happened," she said.

 

Garton's family has questions, too.  His wife said while Garton was in Iraq, he treated someone exposed to depleted uranium.  Garton's father wonders if that had something to do with his death.

 

"He went through 16 months of hell and he came back and they didn't do nothing for him," he said.

 

WRAL called Fort Bragg, the Department of the Army and some congressional offices.

 

At this point, it does not appear that anyone is investigating the deaths or trying to determine if there is a common cause.

 

NEED SOME TRUTH?  CHECK OUT THE NEW TRAVELING SOLDIER

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)

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS:

 

 

IED Kills One U.S. Soldier, Wounds Another Near Diwaniya

 

2.18.05 MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters)

 

One soldier was killed and two were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. military base north of the town of Diwaniya, about 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, the military said.

 

 

One Soldier Dead, Two Wounded “North Of The Capital”

 

2.18.05 MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters)

 

Earlier Friday, a soldier was killed and two were wounded in a car bomb blast about 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital, the military said in a statement.

 

 

1st COSCOM SOLDIER KILLED, 2 WOUNDED BY IED NEAR CAMP SCANIA

 

February 18, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-27C

 

LSA ANACONDA, BALAD, Iraq -- One 1st COSCOM Soldier was killed and two others were wounded on Feb. 18 when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during a combat logistics patrol southeast of Camp Scania at approximately 1:30 p.m.

 

The Soldier was pronounced dead at the scene and taken to Camp Scania, while the wounded Soldiers were evacuated to a hospital in Baghdad.

 

 

TASK FORCE FREEDOM SOLDIER KILLED IN MOSUL

 

February 18, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-24C

 

MOSUL, Iraq – A Task Force Freedom Soldier was killed by small-arms fire in Mosul about 5 p.m., Feb. 17.

 

 

ONE TASK FORCE FREEDOM SOLDIER KILLED AND ANOTHER WOUNDED DURING TAL AFAR ATTACK

 

February 18, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-25C

 

MOSUL, Iraq -- One Task Force Freedom Soldier was killed and one was wounded by an improvised explosive device at while on patrol in Tal Afar on Feb. 17 at approximately 2 p.m.

 

The name of the Soldier killed is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

 

The wounded Soldier was transported to a military hospital in Mosul.

 

 

FOB McKenzie Soldier Dies, Cause Not Announced

 

February 18, 2005 U.S. Department of Defense News Release No. 175-05

 

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier.

 

Spc. Justin B. Carter, 21, of Mansfield, Mo., died Feb. 16 in Forward Operating Base McKenzie, Iraq, from non-combat related injuries.  Carter was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Benning, Ga.

 

 

Buena Vista Officer Shot By Sniper

 

Feb. 18, 2005 BY MICK WALSH, Staff Writer, Knight Ridder

 

It's not that Cynthia Greene enjoys many uninterrupted hours of sleep anyway, not with seven children living in the house.

 

But this has been a particularly trying week for the 39-year-old Buena Vista, Ga., woman.

 

She was awakened from a deep sleep Sunday with the news that her husband, Army Capt. Charles Greene, had been shot in the face by a sniper near the town of Mosul, Iraq, and was being med-evaced to Landstuhl Army Hospital in Germany. She's had precious little sleep since.

 

Greene was serving as an adviser with the 22nd Battalion, 6th Brigade, Iraqi Intervention Forces (Special Forces), the lone Army soldier and one of six Americans in a unit considered to be one of Iraq's best-trained.  Many in the outfit were veterans of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard.

 

"When I heard the words 'gunshot,' 'wound' and 'head,' I lost it," she said. "One minute I was gasping for air; the next I was screaming my head off."

 

It wasn't until the following night that she heard that Greene, a 22-year former Ranger instructor and an Officer Candidate School graduate, made it to Landstuhl in one piece.

 

The Army is flying her husband to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., she said excitedly.  "He told me it just wasn't his time." In fact, she said, it's not as bad as when he fell off his deer stand.

 

That was two years, and six shattered vertebrae, ago.  But he recovered from that, and will from his latest injuries, although he's now deaf in his left ear.

 

"The ear drum and ear canal were destroyed, and his ear had to be surgically repaired," Cynthia Greene said. "He's been on a breathing tube, but now he's breathing on his own."

 

He'll need additional surgery to remove shrapnel from his face and eyes.

 

Greene would often patrol the streets of Mosul, a hotbed of insurgency, along with the Iraqi soldiers.  It was on such a patrol Sunday that he was shot.

 

 

Another Bay Area Soldier Dead:

“Decoy” Killed “By Artillery” Near Ramadi

 

February 18, 2005 The Associated Press

 

FREEDOM -- A former Aptos High student, whose unit's role was to play a deadly game of hide-and-seek to flush out rebel insurgents in Iraq, was killed in an artillery attack near the Iraqi city of Ramadi, his family confirmed Friday.

 

The family of Jason Hendrix, 28, said they received word of his death early Thursday.

 

"The lieutenant told me they were in a firefight, and he was killed in an explosion," Hendrix’s stepfather, Dan Amick, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

 

Amick said Hendrix led a 25-man squad whose mission, in part, was to serve as a decoy so Marine units in the field could identify, advance and knock out rebel strongholds.  But his stepfather added that it was not known if the 28-year-old was killed in a friendly-fire incident.

 

Hendrix, the oldest of seven brothers and sisters, attended Aptos High for two years before moving to Oklahoma to live with his father.  He enlisted in the reserves as a 17-year-old and a year later went to active duty.  He was stationed in Iraq in 2004.

 

"It was his way of getting out of the house and doing something," his mother, Renee Amick, told the Sentinel. "It was a way of getting his life started after he graduated from high school."

 

The family also said a decision he made at Christmas was a reflection of the person he had grown into to. He gave up his Christmas leave so other men who hadn’t seen their newborn children could go home instead.

 

Hendrix is the sixth soldier from Santa Cruz County to be killed in the Iraq war.

 

 

West High Grad Killed

 

February 18, 2005 By Bryce T. Hoffman, The Leader

 

Sgt. Christopher M. Pusateri loved his job even though it was among the most dangerous in the world, family members say.  The 21-year-old Corning native drove an armored Humvee in Mosul, Iraq, as part of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

 

He was killed Wednesday by enemy fire, a month before he expected to come home from his second tour of duty, his mother said.

 

The 2002 graduate of Corning-Painted Post West High School was based at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he lived with his wife, Christine, 20, also of Corning.

 

The high school sweethearts married on Valen-tine's Day two years ago while she was a junior at East High School.  He was sent overseas a month later.  They never had a honeymoon.

 

Family members said Pusateri talked about a military career even as a young teenager. He saw it as a way up for his family, his mother said.

 

"When he grew up, we didn't have a lot of money," Brenda West said. "He went without a lot of things other kids had.  I think that was one of the things that made him drive to better himself."

 

Pusateri joined the Army through the Delayed Enlistment Program during his senior year of high school.  By coincidence, he signed the papers a few weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

 

Pusateri took part in the first push into Iraq in March 2003 and stayed through January 2004, his mother said.  He returned to Iraq in December.

 

"I was less worried this time because the war was over," his mother said.

 

One of the last times they talked, Pusateri told his mother he would come home next month if everything went well.

 

"He said he was trying to save up his money," she said. "He couldn't wait to get home and just blow it."

 

Pusateri struggled as a student but made it to high school graduation.  As a teen, he spent his spare time and money playing Dungeons & Dragons and a fantasy game called Warhammer at the Comic & Game Emporium on Market Street in Corning, his family said.

 

He also read avidly in the fantasy genre, including the "Lord of The Rings" trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.  His mother sent him a "Harry Potter" book for his birthday.

 

He also loved to hunt and spend time in the woods, his stepfather said.

 

Pusateri leaves behind four siblings: Heather Pusateri, 20, Richard Pusateri, 18, Ashley Iannarilli, 11, and Lorenzo Iannarilli, 5.

 

He and his wife did not have any children.

 

Brenda West said she is unsure whether services for Pusateri will be held in New York or in North Carolina. His wife was making plans to come to Corning later this week, she said.

 

Pusateri is the second Corning-area man to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The first was Marine Gunnery Sgt. Shawn Allen Lane, who was killed in a mortar attack in July.

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

Rose Gentle Gets It Right Again:

(Comment On Story About Deadly British Army Radio)

 

[This is another wonderful comment from Rose Gentle.  Her son was killed in Iraq.  She leads a campaign to bring all the Scots and other troops home from Iraq, now.  T]

 

From: Rose Gentle: justiceforgordongentle@yahoo.co.uk

To: GI Special

Sent: February 16, 2005 7:55 PM

Subject: Re: GI Special 3A46: Story About Deadly British Army Radio

 

if blair  cant  kill  you

if  bush  cant   kill  you,

for  god  sake dont  get  a radio,

lets  get,  bush,  and  blair   one   for  christmas,  this  year,

how  muchthats  ok.   you  can  get  bush  one

and  we  can  get  blair  one,.

then  the  two  of  them  can  go  to  hell  with  each other

 

From: GI SPECIAL 3A46:

 

Marvelous New British Army Radio System Deadly To British Troops

 

Feb 6 2005, By Rupert Hamer, Defence Correspondent, SundayMirror.co.UK

 

A BRAND new 2.1 billion Army radio system is so dangerous troops have to be issued with health warnings before they can use it.

 

Soldiers issued with the new Bowman radio system will be told never to use it on full power - for fear of receiving harmful doses of cancer-linked radiation.

 

 

D. Rumsfeld “At Work”

Says He Knows Nothing About Troops Death Benefits, Cuts To Veterans Health Care, Blah Blah Blah

 

When Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) mentioned an estimate of the costs for increases in troops' death benefits and life insurance, Rumsfeld said: "I've never heard that number."

 

How about the widely publicized cuts to programs for veterans?  "I'm not familiar with the cuts you're referring to."

 

February 17, 2005 By Dana Milbank, Washington Post Staff Writer

 

Two dozen members of the House Armed Services Committee had not yet had their turn to question Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld at yesterday's hearings when he decided he had had enough.

 

At 12:54, he announced that at 1 p.m. he would be taking a break and then going to another hearing in the Senate.  "We're going to have to get out and get lunch and get over there," he said.  When the questioning continued for four more minutes, Rumsfeld picked up his briefcase and began to pack up his papers.

 

The chairman, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), apologized to his colleagues for a rather "unusual" situation.

 

With the Bush administration asking Congress this month to write checks for half a trillion dollars for the Pentagon, you might think the secretary of defense would set an accommodating posture on Capitol Hill.  But, to paraphrase Rumsfeld's remark in December about the Army, you go to budget hearings with the defense secretary you have, not the defense secretary you might want or wish to have at a later time.  And Donald Rumsfeld doesn't do accommodating very well.

 

Asked about the number of insurgents in Iraq, Rumsfeld replied: "I am not going to give you a number."

 

Did he care to voice an opinion on efforts by U.S. pilots to seek damages from their imprisonment in Iraq?  "I don't."

 

Could he comment on what basing agreements he might seek in Iraq?  "I can't."

 

How about the widely publicized cuts to programs for veterans?  "I'm not familiar with the cuts you're referring to."

 

How long will the war last?  "There's never been a war that was predictable as to length, casualty or cost in the history of mankind."

 

Rumsfeld's blunt manner was seen as refreshing four years ago, but these are different times.  A few prominent Republican legislators have called for Rumsfeld's resignation, over his resistance to increased troop strength in Iraq, his perceived disparagement of the armed forces in December and the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.  Yesterday, GOP lawmakers greeted him with doubts on a variety of matters including war spending, death payments and veterans' benefits.

 

Yet, for a man in need of friends on Capitol Hill, Rumsfeld was both bipartisan and bicameral in his gruff treatment of tough questioners.  In the afternoon he appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee with sharp words for Republicans and Democrats alike.

 

When Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) mentioned an estimate of the costs for increases in troops' death benefits and life insurance, Rumsfeld said: "I've never heard that number."

 

Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) then complained about long-term Army expenses being included in an emergency spending package.  Rumsfeld said the matter "really is beyond my pay grade."  When Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) observed that there are few positions beyond Rumsfeld's pay grade, Rumsfeld retorted: "Senator, I thought Congress was Article 1 of the Constitution."

 

Rumsfeld and others in the Bush administration can afford to be cavalier with the minority Democrats.  More surprising is the rough treatment some Republicans receive.

 

Bush aides assume they can take GOP lawmakers' loyalty for granted, but they risk antagonizing people whose votes they need on crucial issues such as Social Security.

 

Asked by Rep. John M. McHugh (R-N.Y.) for his position on soldiers' death benefits, Rumsfeld replied: "As a presidential appointee, I tend to support the president."

 

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) pressed Rumsfeld on whether he had talked with an aide who was quoted last month as saying Congress had been too generous in expanding military retirement benefits.  "No, I have not, nor have I seen the statement that you've quoted in the context that it might have been included," the defense secretary replied.

 

Rumsfeld seemed to be spoiling for a fight from the start, when in his opening statement he implicitly chided Congress for "an increasingly casual regard for the protection of classified documents and information."

 

When the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.), asked about the number of insurgents in Iraq, the secretary said, "I am not going to give you a number for it because it's not my business to do intelligent work."

 

Ultimately, Rumsfeld admitted he had estimates at his fingertips. "I've got two in front of me," he said.

 

"Could you share those with us?" Skelton inquired.

 

Not just now, Rumsfeld said. "They're classified."

 

 

WANTED: ENEMY COMBATANT

ARMED AND DANGEROUS;

APPROACH AND APPREHEND WITH CAUTION

February 16, 2005. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

 

THE ENEMY IS IN WASHINGTON D.C. RUNNING THE GOVERNMENT:

“15,000 Disabled Reserve And Guard Members In 2004”

Wounded Tossed In The Trash:

Medical Benefits Denied, Health Care Cancelled, Pay Cut Off:

A Pregnant Wife Turned Away:

 

February 18, 2005 By John Hendren, L.A. Times Staff Writer

 

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of Army Reserve and National Guard troops returning home after being wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone months without pay or medical benefits they were entitled to receive, military officials and government auditors said Thursday.

 

Because of a bureaucratic mistake, about 1,000 reservists and Guard members were removed from the active-duty rolls once home, even though their wounds entitled them to extended care, according to a Government Accountability Office study released Thursday.

 

"This is the equivalent of financial and medical 'friendly fire,' " Rep. Thomas M. Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, told military officials at a hearing.

 

Defense officials and the GAO blamed the wartime crush of wounded part-time troops for overburdening a military health system that has not seen such an onslaught since World War II.

 

Lawmakers said they were fielding many calls from wounded Reserve and Guard troops who might have been wrongly denied their benefits.

 

In one GAO sample of 38 wounded reservists who had trouble getting the Army to recognize them as being entitled to benefits, 24 went weeks or months without pay and benefits, according to the agency, the investigative arm of Congress. They confront a "convoluted and poorly defined process" to obtain benefits, the GAO said.

 

"A lot of the guys can't deal with the bureaucratic problems," said Sgt. 1st Class John Allen of Blairstown, N.J., wearing an eye patch and leaning on a cane as he testified at the congressional hearing. "They give up somewhere in the process and just go home."  [And that saves the government money for important things, like Bush’s new billion-dollar personal helicopter fleet.  But what the fuck, these are only wounded troops.  Who cares about them, as long as the rotten thieving murderous piece-of-shit traitor that sent them to Iraq to make money for his friends, the war profiteers, can get every luxury in life he wants.]

 

Several wounded troops testified before the House panel Thursday.

 

A Special Forces soldier who lost a leg to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan said he did not receive $5,000 in paychecks.  Another veteran with knee and back injuries said he was forced to move in with his in-laws after missing paychecks totaling $3,886.

 

Allen, a 14-year Army veteran who serves with the National Guard's 20th Special Forces Group, has a brain injury and other injuries to his legs, back, neck and eyes resulting from a helicopter accident and a grenade blast.

 

But Allen said it wasn't until he returned home for extended treatment that his "real troubles began."

 

He had to reapply for coverage every 90 days and was at times denied pay, medical coverage and access to his military base.

 

After visiting his family in New Jersey for a week after his yearlong combat tour, his leave was cut short and he was ordered back to Ft. Bragg, N.C., because a commander could not find his paperwork.

 

When his wife went into premature labor in August 2003, she was turned away from a military hospital because his active-duty extension had not yet been approved, Allen said.

 

Allen was sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in January 2004 for continued care. Once there, he was referred to an outside physician. Allen was about to run out of coverage again in mid-December when he met Davis at Walter Reed.  The congressman offered to help the war veteran cut through red tape.  Eventually, the Army paid Allen more than $12,000 in overdue earnings.

 

Daniel B. Denning, acting assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, said the influx of wounded was "loading our system like it hasn't been loaded since World War II."

 

The Army's Human Resources Command processed 15,000 disabled Reserve and Guard members in 2004, said Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, the Army's head of personnel. That's more than at any time since the Vietnam War.

 

In other problems cited at the hearing, one soldier who injured his foot in combat said he was forced to use his retirement savings to live on because the Army declined to pay him for 101 days.  Another Afghanistan veteran who needed counseling for medical and financial stress said he was repeatedly refused medical treatment.

 

For part-time soldiers who are not wounded, medical benefits stop after their active-duty status ends.  Soldiers requiring medical treatment are granted extensions so they can qualify for continued benefits.  However, many soldiers were only extended for 30 days, then were required to apply to renew those extensions.  Many lost benefits awaiting processing of their paperwork.

 

Some soldiers and their families were forced to travel long distances every 30 days to extend their service.

 

The GAO found that recent changes had not resolved underlying management control problems.  In September and October, for example, the Army did not know how many soldiers were on medical extensions or how many had returned to active duty, the study said.

 

Historically the end game of DoD is to delay, deny, or cast doubt on any and all veteran or retiree claims.  Thomas D. Segel, February 15, 2005, gopusa.com

 

 

Town Asked For Help That Rumsfeld Won’t Give;

Wounded Soldier’s Family Having “Financial Strain”

 

February 18 By Scott Kimbler, Matt McClure, AccessNorthGa

 

GAINESVILLE - The Gainesville post of the American Legion is accepting donations to assist the family of Matthew Turner, who is the Oakwood Marine injured in an Iraq explosion last month.

 

Turner is at Brooks Army Medical Center in Texas with burns to over 40% of his body.  The legion says the family is having to make many trips to Texas while he recovers and it is causing a financial strain.

 

You can donate to the fund through the American Legion and Auxiliary P.O. Box 552 Gainesville, GA 30503

 

 

Non-Combat Deaths On The Rise In Iraq

 

Feb 18, 2005 By ROBERT BURNS, The Associated Press

 

U.S. troops in Iraq have suffered a rash of fatal vehicle accidents and other non-combat deaths in recent weeks.

 

Although details of recent accidents have not been made public, some officials believe the jump in their number can be explained in part by turbulence from the troop rotation that is now approaching its peak, with tens of thousands of troops arriving and like numbers going home.

 

In the first 16 days of February, there were 14 non-combat deaths, compared with 16 combat deaths.

 

January had the highest number of accidental or other non-hostile deaths for any month of the war, with 51.  That included 30 Marines and one Navy corpsman killed in a single helicopter crash, on Jan. 26.  Even setting that accident aside, the Army alone had 18 non-combat deaths in January - the most for any month of the war except August 2003, when it reported 22.

 

January also had 47 combat deaths, down from 57 in December and 125 in November.

 

The spike in non-hostile deaths in January and February coincides with the troop rotation, which began in small stages last fall but reached its peak over the past two months.  The last time there was a notable increase in non-combat deaths was during the previous troop rotation - in February and March of 2004, according to Pentagon casualty statistics.

 

Fatal accidents and other non-hostile deaths are almost inevitable in a war zone, and during 2004 the number reported each month in Iraq stayed within a fairly narrow range - from a low of five in June to a high of 19 in March.  The average during the year was 11 per month.

 

The latest surge in accidental deaths began in mid-January and has continued well into February.

 

This week alone, vehicle accidents killed at least eight soldiers and Marines.  That includes three crashes on Wednesday that killed two Marines, two soldiers and one Iraqi civilian and wounded two soldiers and two Iraqis.  In addition, one soldier died Wednesday on an unidentified U.S. base in Iraq from what the Army described only as a "non-combat injury."

 

For the entire war period, the Pentagon says 1,459 U.S. troops have died; 346 were non-hostile deaths.

 

 

South Carolina Soldier Dies In Iraq Vehicle Wreck

 

February 18, 2005 Associated Press

 

An Orangeburg South Carolina woman serving in Iraq has died after the truck she was riding in overturned.

 

Family members say 32-year-old Katrina Johnson died Wednesday in Baghdad while delivering supplies.  Johnson was assigned to the 418th Transportation H Platoon based out of Killeen, Texas.

 

She is survived by her husband and a one-year-old daughter.

 

 

Misisissippi Death Toll Rising, Funerals Planned

2 More Soldiers Killed In Iraq

 

February 18, 2005 By Lora Hines, The Clarion-Ledger

 

Two members of a Mississippi National Guard unit have died in Iraq, bringing to four the number of soldiers killed from the unit in two weeks.

 

Sgt. Timothy Osbey, 29, of Magnolia and Spc. Joseph A. Rahaim, 22, of Laurel drowned Wednesday when their vehicle rolled into a canal, according to a National Guard statement.  The vehicle tumbled into the water after the roadway collapsed.

 

Osbey's mother said she knew the news was bad when her daughter called while she was out running errands.

 

She was at a store Wednesday night when officials from the National Guard came to their home.

 

"I just started crying," Sherry Osbey said. "When they come to the house, you know it's bad."

 

On Saturday, services were held for another member of the 155th Brigade Combat Team.  Sgt. 1st Class Sean Michael Cooley, 35, an emergency room nurse at Pascagoula's Singing River Hospital, died Feb. 3 when an improvised explosive device blew up near his vehicle south of Baghdad.

 

Spc. Robert Allen McNail of Meridian will be eulogized on Saturday.  McNail, 30, was killed Feb. 11 in a vehicle accident that military officials say is still under investigation. McNail was a member of the Detachment 1, Company B 150th Combat Engineer Battalion from Quitman. The unit is attached to the 155th Brigade Combat Team.

 

Osbey's relatives were expecting him home next month for leave.  Now instead, they are making plans for his funeral.

 

Sherry Osbey said she last spoke to her eldest child Tuesday.  He called to wish her a happy birthday, which was Thursday.

 

"He told me to take some money and buy something for myself," Sherry Osbey said.

 

A National Guard medic, Timothy Osbey grew up in the Sherman community and graduated from Amite County High School.  He went to Southern University in Baton Rouge where he earned a track scholarship, his mother said.

 

Timothy Osbey married his long-time girlfriend, Willie Marie Dickerson, before he deployed.

 

Sherry Osbey said her son was "very loving, very understanding."

 

She chuckled as she recalled how he would offer to care for his younger brother, Antonio, while she would go out.  But she would have to be home by midnight or she would "lose a glass slipper."

 

Timothy Osbey worked as a veterinary technician before he deployed.  Magnolia veterinarian Dr. Keith Tamor had been looking forward to Osbey's return to his clinic. Osbey called him Doc.

 

"We really miss him around here," Tamor said.  "He was as good as gold.  You don't realize the impression you have on people until it's too late.  I never told Tim how much I thought about him."

 

Osbey, an animal lover, helped find homes for animals and took in a three-legged hound dog named Blue.

 

"He always had a delightful smile," Tamor said.  "I couldn't imagine one bad thing to ever say about Tim."

 

Family members said Joseph Rahaim, known as "Drew," followed in his grandfather Milheim Rahaim's footsteps and joined the Mississippi Army National Guard.

 

Joseph Rahaim moved into his grandfather's Laurel home after the elder Rahaim's September 2003 death.

 

Rahaim's father, Don Rahaim of Knoxville spoke briefly Thursday afternoon about his son, just hours after learning of his death.

 

Don Rahaim said he and his son spoke weekly before he deployed.

 

"You name it, we did it," Don Rahaim said.  He was also close to his sister, Erin Rahaim, their father said.

 

"It's too hard to talk about," Don Rahaim said. "It's still hitting me fresh."

 

Joseph Rahaim's aunt, Molly Rahaim Kennedy of Laurel, wept Thursday as she recalled the party before he left for Iraq.

 

"I went and got him a St. Christopher's medal and put it around his neck and told him not to take it off," Kennedy said through tears.  "It just breaks my heart."

 

She said he didn't hesitate to serve his country.

 

"He was ready to go," she said. "He wanted to go. He was a beautiful, beautiful young man. It just breaks my heart ... maybe he's with his granddaddy now."

 

 

Local Soldier At U. Of Kentucky Hospital;

"I Hope To Live Out The Rest Of My Days In Peace"

 

February 18, 2005 By LIZ MAPLES, Staff Writer, The Advocate-Messenger

 

LEXINGTON - Bombs can be hidden in a soft drink can or a dead dog.  A piece of trash in a war zone may be just litter, or it could be a homemade bomb.

 

Hustonville resident Army Staff Sgt. Barry Holt is trained to spot these improvised explosive devices.

 

The day of the Iraqi elections, Jan. 30, Holt was in an armored Humvee patrolling the U.S. military-named Route Detroit southeast of Baghdad International Airport.

 

Traffic was slow, but the soldiers had set off three or four bombs on the road.  When night fell, the company was called back out, and Holt decided, on a whim, to drive the armored Humvee.  He was in the lead vehicle, and there were nine other vehicles behind him.

 

About halfway down Route Detroit, he heard an explosion.  Glass shattered the bullet-proof windshield, which is three-inches thick.  Dust flew everywhere.  Time slowed. He thought, "Oh, my God."  Then he felt numb.  Holt says he only remembers telling the other soldiers, "We've got to go there."

 

His foot pushed the gas pedal.  He drove, but said the dust made it impossible to see. About 500 meters up the road, he stopped.  The area where his subconscious had chosen was lighted and clear.  Medics began to work on him.

 

Shots were fired.  The soldiers shot back and were able to stop the insurgents and secure the area so a Black Hawk helicopter could land to take Holt to the hospital.

 

A piece of shrapnel the size of a golf ball was stuck behind his knee.  In the coming weeks, he would be shuffled from Iraq to Germany to Washington D.C. to Fort Hood in Texas, to Fort Polk in Louisiana to Fort Knox in Kentucky.

 

it is a different Iraq than the one that Holt saw during his first tour of duty when the conflict first began in March 2003.

 

The first time he was there he says it was clear who was the enemy.

 

"Now, you don't," he said. "It could be a kid, an old man ... a woman."

 

After a total of 18 months in Iraq, Holt hopes his service there is finished.

 

"I hope to live out the rest of my days in peace," he said.

 

"I'm so proud of him," Christy Holt said. "I'm glad he's back ... we've got a lot of catching up to do."

 

Holt looked up at his wife and said, "I don't plan on going anywhere."

 

"I don't plan on you going anywhere, either."

 

 

Iraq Veterans Against The War Mobilize For Ft. Bragg Rally

March 19

Two veterans of military service in Iraq, Rob Sarra, left, and Michael Hoffman, both members of Iraq Veterans Against War, meet at a memorial service at Union Square Park in New York last fall. (AP Photo/Jennifer Szymaszek)

 

 

February 18, 2005 by Evelyn Nieves, The Washington Post Company

 

On Feb. 15, 2003, as millions of people worldwide took to the streets to protest the imminent U.S. invasion of Iraq, Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Hoffman was in Kuwait, awaiting deployment to Baghdad.

 

Two years later, Hoffman, 25, is a civilian on the lecture circuit, introducing himself as an Iraq Veteran Against the War.  On March 19, when war opponents plan to converge near Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., to mark the date of the invasion, Hoffman, who co-founded the Iraq veterans group, will be one of the lead speakers.

 

"I disagreed with the war before I went over," said Hoffman, the son of a steelworker from Allentown, Pa.  "But now, I can talk about the reality of war -- what it's really like, the lack of support the troops have, the civilians being killed.  The biggest problem with Iraq right now is the occupation."

 

Along with Gold Star Families for Peace, which is made up of people who have lost loved ones in Iraq, Iraq Veterans Against the War holds a powerful claim among peace groups as ones who can speak from experience about the consequences of the war. Together, they will be front and center among the scores of peace groups that are hoping to keep the war -- and its repercussions -- in the public consciousness.

 

In a way, the antiwar groups' task is easier than it was before the U.S. invasion, when the idea of then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein attacking the United States with weapons of mass destruction convinced many people that a preemptive strike was necessary.

 

Polls show that support for the war has eroded as its cost in lives, the economy and the social fabric of communities throughout the nation has climbed.

 

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.

 

 

George Bush’s’ Incredible Shrinking Coalition;

“A Public Listing Is Nowhere To Be Found.”

 

Feb. 18, 2005 DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press

 

Sometimes it's hard to know who your friends are - even if they're helping you fight a war.

 

President Bush, who hopes to coax more Iraq support from European allies next week, used to boast that some 50 nations had joined the United States in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Today, a public listing is nowhere to be found.

 

One thing, though, is clear: The coalition is shrinking.

 

Daniel Goure, a Defense Department official in the first Bush administration, said current Bush officials apparently decided to start talking about a "multinational force" instead of a "coalition" to avoid questions about which countries were in or out.

 

"They're anticipating what is coming down the road," Goure said. "It's an acceptance of the fact that countries are going to be withdrawing."

 

Even with the list of countries in the multinational force - readily available on the Internet site www.mnf-iraq.com - it's going to be hard to figure out who's leaving and who's staying in Iraq.  The last time the list was updated on the Internet was last October. Then it listed 28 non-U.S. military forces contributing to the ongoing stabilization operations in Iraq.

 

There have been many changes since October 2004.

 

On Friday, for instance, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged The Netherlands' plans to withdraw about 1,600 troops from Iraq next month.

 

 

Ancient Helicopters Coming Home;

Marines Too

 

February 18, 2005 by Cpl. Joel A. Chaverri, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Comprint Military Publications

 

AL ASAD, Iraq -- Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is packing up for home after eight months of service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 

Part of the process involved stripping down the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters, among other aircraft attached to the unit, for aerial transport back to their hometown unit in Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C.

 

"It's a long and grueling process to prepare these things," said Capt. Chris A. Browning, tactics officer, HMM-263.  "Not only do we have to disassemble the rotors, but we also have to clean out the entire helicopter."

 

The helicopters are extremely beat up and dirty from operating in the harsh conditions of the Iraqi desert.  This requires each piece to be thoroughly cleaned as they are disassembled.

 

"The hardest part has been all of the dirt and grime," said Gunnery Sgt. Michael A. Hamilton, flight line chief, HMM-263.  "There can be none left on the bird. It has to be spotless."

 

The process can be compared to the auto-detailing a car dealer does before reselling a pre-owned automobile.  Only the helicopter is like an off-road truck that's been driving through the dirt for 100,000 miles.

 

Hydraulic fluid, common to the Vietnam era helicopters, attracts dust from the high winds created by rotor wash.  All of this build up has to be removes to get the birds back to show-room condition.

 

"It's taken us about five days just to clean these seven," said Hamilton, a 36-year-old native of Woodville, Texas as he pointed to the aircraft.  "We're had to use toothbrushes and rags to get into all of the nooks and crannies."

 

The faces on the Marines expressed they were happy to finally be getting home after all of the hard work put into the departure.

 

"We've finished all of the work and it makes me feel pretty good," said Hughes. "The birds are ready to go home, and so am I."

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

Bodies Of Occupation Cop Lieutenant And “Businessman” Found In Hindiya;

Police Chief Father Had Defied Local Judge

 

18 February 2005 (AFP)

 

KARBALA, Iraq - The bodies of two kidnapped sons of Najaf police chief were found riddled with bullets in central Iraq on Friday as the Shiite mourning period of Ashura began.

 

“The bodies of Haidar and Baha al-Jazaeri were found at 10 am (0700 GMT) in Hindiya district, 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Karbala,” a police source said.  “The two bodies had their hands tied and were riddled with bullets.”

 

Haidar was a lieutenant in Najaf police force while Baha ran his own business, he added.

 

The general, a controversial figure who publicly accused Syria of involvement in a December bombing that killed 52 people in the holy city of Najaf, refrained from accusing any group of the kidnapping and killing.

 

Jazaeri was in charge of the police forces during the rebellion led by militants loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr last year.

 

He refused an order to transfer from Najaf to Baghdad and also ignored an arrest warrant issued by a Najaf judge who accused him of repeated violations of the law.

 

 

Assorted Resistance Attacks

 

02-18-2005 BAGHDAD (AFP)

 

Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and four civilians wounded in an attack targetting Shiite pilgrims waiting at an army checkpoint between Mahmudiyah and Latifiyah, south of Baghdad, police said.

 

"A suicide bomber in a car drove at the checkpoint where there were pilgrims going to Karbala, the holy Shiite city, killing two soldiers and wounding four civilians," said Captain Hassan Awad Amari.

 

North of the capital, an army officer was shot dead as he bought petrol, the army said.  "Unknown armed assailants opened fire Friday on officer Baha Yunes as he was filling up at the Baquba black market," 60 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, said Mohammad Moqdad.

 

An Iraqi soldier died and five others were wounded in a bomb attack Friday morning east of Samarra, 75 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

 

Another soldier was killed and one wounded in a mortar attack on their base near Dhuluiya, 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of the capital, the army said.

 

A bomb attack at a checkpoint in the suburb of al-Aadhamiya killed two policemen and a soldier, witnesses said on Friday.

 

Ten other people were injured from the blast which was caused by a man who had strapped himself with explosives.  A number of cars were damaged from the suicide blast.

 

 

Swedish Citizen Running Iraqi Political Party Begs For His Life

 

18feb05 Queensland Newspapers, From correspondents in Dubai

 

A KIDNAPPED Iraqi Christian politician who holds Swedish nationality was shown in a video broadcast by an Arab television station appealing to the king of Sweden and Pope John Paul II to help save his life.

 

Mr Yussufi was captured on January 28 after he took a taxi to party headquarters in the northern city of Mosul, according to fellow party members.

 

He called his family on February 6 and said he was being held by 15 armed men.

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

 

Four U.S. Military Base Workers Killed

 

02-18-2005 BAGHDAD (AFP)

 

The bodies of four Iraqis were found at Makhul, near Baiji, 200 kilometres (130 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

 

The dead had their hands tied and each had been killed by a bullet to the head.

 

Identity papers found on the bodies showed they worked on a US base and a pamphlet claiming responsibility was also found, signed by the Horror Brigades of the Secret Islamic Army in Iraq, said police Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Salah Janabi.

 

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

The Greatest Gift To Her

 

From: Z

To: GI Special

Sent: February 18, 2005

Subject: tortured for empire

 

Imagine being 8 years old and thinking you might be hugging your dad for the very last time!

 

This child (Christy Sparks, 8 years old) should not be going through this torment--nor should her father, nor anyone else...

 

 

This goddamned war has got to stop, and the soldiers have the power to stop it.  Doing it will be the greatest gift the troops can give to their families, to themselves, and to all of humanity.

 

In solidarity,

z

 

 

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

 

 

“Lesser Evil My Ass!!”

 

[Thanks to PB who sent this in.  He write: The Dems are bragging at being bigger and badder than Perle!  Lesser evil my ass!!]

 

Feb 18 By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press Writer

 

PORTLAND, Ore. - Howard Dean, the newly minted leader of the Democratic Party, and former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle made clear their opposing views on the war in Iraq

 

In his new role as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Dean has stressed that Democrats are stronger than Republicans on defense.

 

"Defense is a lot broader than swaggering around saying you're going to kick Saddam's butt," Dean said Thursday, drawing cheers from the crowd in this city that overwhelmingly voted Democratic last November.

 

Dean also said the Bush administration has ignored the mounting threat in Iran and North Korea.  "We picked the low hanging fruit in Iraq and did nothing" about the other, more dangerous regimes, he said.

 

 

 

 

Four Billion Happy People

 

[Thanks to Mike H. who sent this in.]

 

The President, the First Lady and Dick Cheney are flying on Air Force One.

 

George looks at Laura, chuckles, and says, "You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out the window right now and make somebody very happy."

 

Laura shrugs her shoulders and says, "Well, I could throw ten $100 bills out the window and make 10 people very happy."

 

Cheney says, "Of course, then I could throw one hundred $10 bills out the window and make a hundred people very happy."

 

The pilot rolls his eyes, looks at all of them, and says to his co-pilot, "Such big-shots back there... hell, I could throw all of them out the window and make four billion people very happy."

 

 

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