GI SPECIAL 3A51:
REALLY BAD PLACE TO
BRING THEM ALL HOME
A U.S. soldier
covers the perimeter while others examine the body of one of two
Iraqi Police officers killed on a busy intersection in central Mosul
Feb. 19, 2005. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)
Leave Our Country
February 18, 2005 By Hassan Juma'a Awad,The
Hassan Juma'a Awad is general secretary of Iraq's Southern Oil
Company Union and president of the Basra Oil Workers' Union
We lived through
dark days under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. When the regime
fell, people wanted a new life: a life without shackles and terror;
a life where we could rebuild our country and enjoy its natural
wealth. Instead, our communities have been attacked with chemicals
and cluster bombs, and our people tortured, raped and killed in our
police used to creep over the roofs into our homes at night;
occupation troops now break down our doors in broad daylight.
The media do not show even a fraction of the devastation that has
engulfed Iraq. Journalists who dare to report the truth of what is
happening have been kidnapped by terrorists. This serves the agenda
of the occupation, which aims to eliminate witnesses to its crimes.
Workers in Iraq's
southern oilfields began organising soon after British occupying
forces invaded Basra. We founded our union, the Southern Oil
Company Union, just 11 days after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003.
occupation troops stood back and allowed Basra's hospitals,
universities and public services to be burned and looted, while
they defended only the oil ministry and oilfields, we knew we were
dealing with a brutal force prepared to impose its will without
regard for human suffering. From the beginning, we were left in
no doubt that the US and its allies had come to take control of
our oil resources.
authorities have maintained many of Saddam's repressive laws,
including the 1987 order which robbed us of basic union rights,
including the right to strike. Today, we still
have no official recognition as a trade union, despite having 23,000
members in 10 oil and gas companies in Basra, Amara, Nassiriya, and
up to Anbar province.
However, we draw
our legitimacy from the workers, not the government. We believe
unions should operate regardless of the government's wishes, until
the people are able finally to elect a genuinely accountable and
independent Iraqi government, which represents our interests and not
those of American imperialism.
Our union is
independent of any political party.
Most trade unions
in Britain only seem to be aware of one union federation in Iraq,
the regime-authorised Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, whose
president, Rassim Awadi, is deputy leader of the US-imposed prime
minister Ayad Allawi's party. The IFTU's
leadership is carved up between the pro-government Communist party,
Allawi's Iraqi National Accord, and their satellites. In fact,
there are two other union federations, which are linked to political
parties, as well as our own organisation.
Our union has
already shown it is able to stand its ground against one of the most
powerful US companies, Dick Cheney's KBR, which tried to take over
our workplaces with the protection of occupation forces.
We forced them out
and compelled their Kuwaiti subcontractor, Al Khourafi, to replace
1,000 of the 1,200 employees it brought with it with Iraqi workers,
70% of whom are unemployed today. We also fought
US viceroy Paul Bremer's wage schedule, which dictated that Iraqi
public sector workers must earn ID 69,000 ($35) per month, while
paying up to $1,000 a day to thousands of foreign mercenaries. In
August 2003 we took strike action and shut down all oil production
for three days. As a result, the occupation authorities had to raise
wages to a minimum of ID 150,000.
We see it as our
duty to defend the country's resources. We reject and will oppose
all moves to privatise our oil industry and national resources. We
regard this privatisation as a form of neo-colonialism, an attempt
to impose a permanent economic occupation to follow the military
The occupation has deliberately fomented a sectarian division of
Sunni and Shia. We never knew this sort of division before.
intermarried, we lived and worked together. And today we are
resisting this brutal occupation together, from Falluja to Najaf
to Sadr City. The resistance to the occupation forces is a
God-given right of Iraqis, and we, as a union, see ourselves as a
necessary part of this resistance - although we will fight using
our industrial power, our collective strength as a union, and as a
part of civil society which needs to grow in order to defeat both
still-powerful Saddamist elites and the foreign occupation of our
Bush and Blair
should remember that those who voted in last month's elections in
Iraq are as hostile to the occupation as those who boycotted them.
Those who claim to represent the Iraqi working class while calling
for the occupation to stay a bit longer, due to "fears of civil
war", are in fact speaking only for themselves and the minority of
Iraqis whose interests are dependent on the occupation.
We as a union call
for the withdrawal of foreign occupation forces and their military
bases. We don't want a timetable - this is a stalling tactic. We
will solve our own problems. We are Iraqis, we know our country and
we can take care of ourselves. We have the means, the skills and
resources to rebuild and create our own democratic society.
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.
And join with Iraq War
vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home
Task Force Baghdad
Soldier Dies During Attack In Kadhimiya
19 February, 2005 BBC & HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-28C
A Task Force
Baghdad Soldier was killed in Kadhimiya when a bomber blew himself
up after an exchange of fire with security forces.
Soldiers were responding to a request for help from Iraqi Security
forces after an earlier explosion wounded several local nationals
when the bomb detonated.
A local national
was also killed and a U.S. Soldier and ING were wounded.
Feb. 18, 2005 Associated Press,
Army Spc. Justin B. Carter, 21, of
Mansfield, died Wednesday from noncombat-related injuries at a
military base north of Baghdad, the Defense Department said on its
Louisville reported Friday that Carter was killed in an accident at
a storage depot when a rocket-propelled weapon in the facility
His father, William Carter, of
Elizabethtown, Ky., told the news station he is struggling with the
loss of his son.
"It's tough for me
because I didn't get to do all the things that most dads get to do
with him. I find myself blaming myself for some of that. And it's
hard because that's time I'll never get back," he said.
Carter attended Mansfield High School
and was involved with the Future Farmers of America, school
counselor Kelly Brazeal said. He enlisted in the Army after
graduating from high school and had served for two years.
"He was just a good, typical kid,"
Brazeal told the Springfield News-Leader.
A memorial service for Carter will be
held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Colesburg Baptist Church in
“We Lose A Soldier
Every 11 Hours.”
February 21, 2005 By Patrician Kime,
Special To The Army Times
“Every 30 hours, we
lose a soldier to an accident,” The Combat Readiness Center
spokesman J.T. Coleman said. “If you include combat, we lose a
soldier every 11 hours. “That’s a brigade a year. If we’re not
careful, we’ll have our worst year in more than 10.”
Killing Hearts And
[As you read this,
don’t forget who is responsible for everything you read: the
politicians right here in the good old USA who sent these troops
into an impossible situation for no reason except corporate greed
and lust for Empire. And also remember that some of the fiercest
fighters against the officers in command and the politicians during
the Vietnam War were the very same soldiers who had committed
atrocities against civilians, and later turned against the war,
killing their officers by the hundreds. Their rebellion finally
stopped the war.]
Feb 18 By Ken Dilanian, Knight Ridder
Newspapers, BAGHDAD, Iraq
American soldiers barged into the
house at midnight. A bomb had exploded on the highway out front
earlier that day, killing an Iraqi national guardsman.
"I want some answers," Sgt. 1st Class
Glenn Aldrich demanded through an interpreter as he shoved the
homeowner out his front door. The man's wife and children watched,
sobbing, from a side room.
Hadn't this guy seen something? The
Iraqi swore to God he hadn't.
As two soldiers
with rifles stood by, Aldrich yelled into the man's face and whacked
the ground with a metal baton that the Americans called a
"If I'm out here,
and I get shot at, I'm shooting every house near me!" Aldrich, 35,
yelled in his booming former drill sergeant's voice. "Because you
aren't helping me catch the bad guys, and if you're not helping me,
you are the bad guy."
The man stared back blankly, and
Aldrich let him walk back into his house. The Americans stormed into
four other homes on the block, with similar results.
After nearly 11
months in Iraq, the soldiers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th
Cavalry Regiment, still couldn't tell friend from foe. Frustrated
by a culture they didn't understand, and tired of having friends
blown up, they often felt compelled to play bad cop, even though
they knew that harsh measures risked creating more enemies.
"Every time we kill
one of them, we breed more that want to fight us," Aldrich said. "We
end up turning neutral people against us.
It's not really our fault, though,
because I have to defend myself." [Exactly
right Sgt. The fault lies with the politicians in DC who
wanted the oil, lied to you about why they were sending you, and
were so stupid they didn’t know they had no chance of winning. Now
you’re fucked. When soldiers in Vietnam figured out they were dying
for Empire in a hopeless war, they rebelled wholesale and stopped
it. They had the courage to resist what was being done to them.]
His men weren't always rough.
Sometimes Charlie Company soldiers were pictures of restraint, and
when the need arose, they improvised, taking up the role of
negotiator, social worker or neighborhood fixer.
Even Aldrich, who often played the
"big mean guy," as he put it, would take time to play basketball
with a resident or laugh with some children.
"What's really hard
is the fine line between the bad guys and the good guys," said Staff
Sgt. Riley Flaherty, a lanky, fast-talking character from Ohio.
"Because if you piss off the wrong good guys, you're really in
trouble. So you've really got to watch what you do and how you
treat the people."
On another day,
however, Flaherty saw it differently. "These people don't understand
nice," he said. "You've got to be a hard-ass."
Such contradictions are
The troopers of
Charlie 1-8 Cav arrived in Iraq with almost no training in Arab
culture or guerrilla war. In January they had just two
interpreters, one of whom barely spoke English. Patrols without
interpreters were disasters waiting to happen. One such patrol
began randomly searching houses on a whim after midnight one night.
The residents turned out to be Christians- more likely to be the
targets of terrorist attacks than the perpetrators.
"Why, mister, why?"
one woman in a nightgown asked. The soldiers could only shrug and
how a group of soldiers used fists and an electric stun gun to
punish an Iraqi teenager who'd flashed his middle finger.
"I've got 200,000
Iraqis I've got to control with 18 people," Aldrich said, referring
to his platoon's patrol sector. "So I've got to command respect.
And unfortunately, all that hearts and minds stuff, I can't even
think about that." [Think about your own words. You have no hope
whatever of controlling 200,000 pissed off Iraqis with “18 people.”
Think about who put you in that impossible situation. Think about
why they put you there. Who is the enemy? Where is the war?]
At another point he
added: "There are things I have to do out here that I can't explain
to my chain of command, and that the American people would never
The hundred or so troops of Charlie
1-8 Cav spent their days patrolling their sector in groups of two or
three armored Humvees. Occasionally a tank or two would come along.
All day long, the
soldiers pointed their guns at Iraqi civilians, whom they called
"hajis," the Iraq war's version of "gooks" in Vietnam and "skinnies"
Wary of ambushes,
they rammed cars that got in the way of their Humvees. Always on
the lookout for car bombs, they stopped, screamed at, shoved to the
ground and searched people driving down the road after curfew - or
during the day if they looked suspicious.
Iraqis who didn't
stop at warning shots when they approached a Humvee in the middle of
the night were met with a hail of gunfire. Sometimes the dead were
clearly civilians, and sometimes they were clearly insurgents.
Often there was no way to tell.
The soldiers had concluded that most
Iraqis lacked the courage to stand up to the insurgents, and it
"I mean, everybody in this country has
a weapon. Somebody is setting up a mortar tube in your front lawn -
do something! Call somebody! Shoot `em!" said Charlie Company's
commander, Capt. Rodney Schmucker, 30, a West Point graduate from
Latrobe, Pa., near Pittsburgh.
[West Point only partly explains why he’s a world class idiot. He
doesn’t understand anything whosoever about the real world he’s in,
including the simple fact that he’s the enemy, who invaded and
occupied their country, and every Iraqi patriot wants him dead. And
listen to him whine about why they won’t turn traitor and give him a
phone call! Even the Redcoat officers didn’t bellyache about
Americans not dropping a dime on George Washington.]
Early in their
tour, someone from Charlie Company thought he saw gunshots from a
roof while he was manning a defensive position along one of the base
walls. The troopers poured heavy weapons fire into the house.
The next morning,
soldiers arrived to find several female members of a family dead -
and one little girl alive, clinging to her dead mother. Some of the
men broke down in tears, the soldiers said.
"I will never
forget that girl raising her head up," said Staff Sgt. Victor
Gutierrez of Los Angeles. [And the silly Capt. thinks after that
action people are going to tell him about the resistance? They
are the resistance. And
rightly so. And you, Capt., are a Redcoat officer. Simple as
The girl was flown
to a hospital, where doctors saved her life.
the story matter-of-factly. Asked if the unintentional killing of
innocent civilians bothered him, he replied:
"The one thing you
learn over here is that there are no innocent civilians, except the
kids. And even them - the ones that are all, `Hey mister, mister,
chocolate?' - I'll be killing them someday."
do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans,
are especially welcome. Send to email@example.com.
Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
These Veterans Need
Marcie Hascall Clark
February 18, 2005
I just came across
your site while doing a google search for soldiers dying of
My husband came
back from Iraq July 2003 after being blown up and he has
I have been
fighting and fighting to expose this. We are civilians and can say
whatever we want.
I am getting a site up to help those
with it to find out the truth.
Please contact me
if we can help each other.
I have a friend
from the first gulf war dying from it as we speak.
[This month, some
quack army doctor at Walter Reed said if the skin lesion healed up
you got nothing to worry about. Lie. The parasite has to be killed
completely, internally as well, or it can enter the visceral
organs. These vets and their families need help! If you’re willing
to step up and join the fight, contact Marcie Hascall Clark.]
A Letter To Mr.
Saturday, February 19, 2005 10:23 AM
Re: GI Special 3A49: Rumsfeld Tells The Truth!
[From Rose Gentle in
Scotland. Her son was killed in Iraq. She leads a campaign to
bring all the Scots and other troops home from Iraq, now. T]
i have sent
mr blair a letter to meet with me,
i will let
yous no, if he will. [the man’s a cowerd, it will be
he can hear
me so how not see me,
well he got
my boy killed
Union Threatened Strike In Iraq Over Low Pay;
[Thanks to Max
Watts, who sent this message in. There were reports last month that
Dutch soldiers in Iraq had threatened to go on strike because with
the fall in value of the U.S. dollar, they were getting paid less
than they would have if safely stationed back in Europe.
[What’s new here is that they were also campaigning against having
to stay longer in Iraq because they are opposed to the war.]
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Dutch Troops In Iraq Threaten To
Go On Strike
The AFMP-FNV is a trade union for
military professional (time) soldiers, officers and nco's (as you
know, conscription is abolished in The Netherlands).
AFMP is also member of the FNV, the
big left-wing trade union (1.2 million members).
AFMP is a
completely legalized and recognized trade union who negotiates
directly with the ministry of Defense about working conditions etc.
As you may know I've worked for the
AFMP as a journalist, so I still have contacts inside.
The so called 'revolt' was more a
threat coming from some soldiers who were pretty emotional. It's
indeed caused by a pure material reason (which of course - as you
also put it rightly - the start of every movement in the direction
of more consciousness).
AFMP supported the
demands of these soldiers.
The fact is that
they would earn more money (compensation) during exercise in Germany
than they do on duty in Irak.
Of course their duty in Irak is much
more dangerous (although 'only' two Dutch soldiers were killed so
The second point
about the withdrawal.
politicians who wanted to let the Dutch soldiers stay longer in
Irak, but the government decided that they will leave in March as
demanded that that the mandate would not be continued, because
they have no 'solidarity' with the foreign policy of the US.
Support The Armed Forces Resistance:
Come To Ft. Bragg March 19:
“You Never Think
Your County Would Be This Evil Plaguing The Earth”
“We Were Going To
Be Sent To Be Meat Shields For Generals.”
1.19.05 BY MICHELLE ROBIDOUX,
Socialist Worker, Canada
With each passing week, the crisis in
the US military is growing.
On January 10, reports emerged from
Fort Stewart, Georgia that 17 servicemen had gone AWOL, two had
attempted suicide and one Sergeant had applied for conscientious
Kevin Benderman, 40 is a combat
veteran, having served one tour in Iraq in 2003. He stated “I am
ashamed to be associated with this mess, and I certainly did not
join the Army to kill women, children and old men. I just don’t see
how these innocent people could be a threat to the Constitution of
the United States.”
Last week he failed to leave with his
unit in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, saying he became morally
opposed to war after seeing it first hand during his first tour of
duty. The 19,000 strong division is the first in the Army tapped for
a second tour in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.
One of the
soldiers, AWOL from Fort Stewart who is now seeking refuge in Canada
stated, “We were going to be sent to be meat shields for generals.”
A second war
resister who has come to Canada, who has completed a 7- month Stint
in Iraq, stated, “I joined the military to go to college. I went to
Iraq ready to defend my country. But all we were doing was killing
“You never think
your county would be this evil plaguing the earth,” he said.
Bush’s policies of unilateral
extension of military service, known as “stop loss”, and the growing
use of reservists and National Guard in the Iraq war spells more
problems for the US occupation of Iraq.
Nearly half of the new rotation of
more than 135,000 American troops will be Reserve or National Guard
forces, the highest share since the war in Iraq started in March
All of this
points to the special importance of organizing among military
families and active duty personnel.
On March 19th
there will be global protests against the continued occupation of
Iraq. Significantly, a mass protest will take place in
Fayetteville, North Carolina, home to Fort Bragg and the 82nd
Lou Plummer, a member of Military
Families Speak Out, explains the significance of this mobilization:
“My family has a long history in the
military. My grandfather served in World War II, my father served
in Vietnam, and I served from 1983 to 1989.
“I’ve been active in Military Families
Speak Out since the summer of 2003. I helped to organize the Bring
Them Home Now campaign and have worked with military families
opposed to the war in the area around Fort Bragg.
“Fort Bragg is one of the largest
military bases in the US, with 40,000 active duty soldiers along
with their families. In this community it’s difficult to go
anywhere without encountering someone with a connection to the
“It’s important to
come to Fayetteville in March because those of us who are veterans
and members of military families can hardly be accused of being
unpatriotic or out of touch with reality when we speak about this
war. As a matter of fact, we are probably more in touch with
reality than the majority of the people who support the war.
“March19 and 20 are
the anniversaries of the invasion of Iraq. The dates are
significant. Also the location is significant. The place where this
rally is going to be held is in a park which in 1970 hosted a demo
by over 4,000 people, 1,000 of whom were active duty GIs, the
majority of whom were Vietnam veterans.
“So this community,
even though it is a military community, has a long and proud history
of Gl resistance and community support for those people.”
The March 19th rally in Fayetteville
is endorsed by Iraq Veterans Against the War, the North Carolina
Council of Churches, Fayetteville Peace with Justice, Vietnam
Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, the North Carolina
Coalition for Peace and Justice, and United for Peace and Justice,
the US’ largest peace and justice group.
For info, contact
MOBILIZATION AT CAMP PENDLETON MARCH 18
February 19, 2005, CODEPINK
Camp Pendleton Marine base, one of the
largest bases in the country, has suffered a tragic number of
causalities in the ongoing war and occupation of Iraq. CODEPINK
will honor the devastating loss of
these troops with a peaceful 30 mile, two day procession. Join us
on March 18th and 19th as we walk from Oceanside, home of Camp
Pendleton, to the massive rally at Balboa Park where we will unite
with the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice to mark the
second anniversary of the war in Iraq: The World Says End the War!
Bring the Troops Home Now! Rebuild our Communities!
For details and information about the
peace procession and rally, check out the CODEPINK
San Diego page.
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.
Soldiers Coming To
Defense Of Sgt. Kevin Benderman
[Thanks to Phil G,
who sent this in.]
February 18, 2005, By MICKEY Z.,
Sgt. Benderman, a man who believes
"War robs you of your humanity. It makes people do terrible things
they would otherwise never do," filed for Conscientious Objector
status in December 2004.
"We have heard from
many soldiers who support Kevin's position," says Monica.
Hey General, Best
Not Fuck With These Troops;
From The Looks,
They Just Might Not Be Buying What You’re Selling.
Marines from the first Battalion 23rd
Marines gather in the Haditha's dam deck, 250 kms northwest from
Baghdad, to listen to Brigadier General James L Williams, Commanding
1st Marine Expeditionary Force. (AFP/Jaime Razuri)
Veterans Against The War
February 17, 2005 by Amadee Braxton
and Derrick O’Keefe, Seven Oakes Magazine. Derrick O’Keefe is an
anti-war activist, writer and founding editor of Seven Oaks Magazine
Amadee Braxton is the Administrative Coordinator with Iraq Veterans
Against War, a new organization, but one with huge potential to
impact the anti-war movement in the United States.
Braxton spoke with Derrick O’Keefe about the organization’s upcoming
plans, which include a March 19 demonstration at the Fort Bragg
military base in North Carolina.
At least from the perception of those of us outside of the United
States, it sort of looked as though the presidential race swallowed
the anti-war movement – with the exception of the big rallies in
August against the Republican National Convention. Is it your
estimation that the anti-war movement will return to greater
visibility this year?
Amadee Braxton: I
think that the anti-war movement in the U.S. is going to become more
visible. It seemed to be at a high point maybe last spring, 2004,
and then of course the election sucked up everybody’s energy and
focus. And I think in particular the increasing
involvement of military families and Iraq war veterans is going to
give a big boost to the anti-war movement in the United States.
O’Keefe: When did
your organization come together, and what are some of the main kinds
of work that you do?
Braxton: Iraq Veterans Against the War
was founded in August of 2004 at a national annual meeting of
Veterans for Peace, which is a large and longstanding peace
organization made up of veterans. It was founded by several Iraq
war veterans who came to see that the war was a mistake. The
organization has been growing by leaps and bounds. Anytime one of
our members speaks publicly we get a lot of emails and phone calls
from veterans as well as active duty servicemen and women who are
interested in joining.
We’re finding that many people who
aren’t actively serving in Iraq right now see that the war was a
mistake and feel like there’s really no purpose in them being there,
they feel like there’s no mission really for them to achieve over
there, and they feel very resentful that the government has put them
in harms way basically for nothing, for the wealth of a few
corporations here in the U.S.
What we’ve been doing is reaching out,
trying to get more veterans involved, letting the country know where
some veterans are standing when it comes to the war.
I think our
organization is unique, because we’re calling for immediate
withdrawal of troops. We don’t think any slow, prolonged withdrawal
is going to solve the problems in Iraq. We think that the U.S.
military is an occupying force in Iraq, and the longer we stay
there, the more resentment and destruction and death will occur
there. And we feel that if you really want to
support the troops, you need to demand that they come home now.
A lot of people
take the view that, ‘oh, we can’t pull out every troop right away
because, you know, Iraq will fall into chaos.’ And our position is
that Iraq is already in chaos, and the reason is because we are
O’Keefe: I’m wondering if Iraq
Veterans Against the War is also consciously looking at the example
of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and the big impact that they
Braxton: As I said, our organization
was founded at a meeting of Veterans for Peace, which has a lot of
Vietnam veterans in it. And Vietnam veterans have played a big role
in helping nurture our organization and sharing their parallel
experiences of Vietnam with us.
And we’re seeing a lot of parallels
and similar tactics that were used by the Johnson administration, in
terms of having an election in Vietnam and thinking that that was
going to change everything. This is similar to the situation we
just had with the elections in Iraq. And the Bush administration
was hailing that that was going to signal a change in Iraq, a kind
of turning a corner in Iraq. We
know that in 1967 they had elections in Vietnam, and U.S. troops
continued to occupy Vietnam and fight there and die there for
another eight years. And we don’t want the same thing to happen in
understand that you have a major action planned for the March 19-20
weekend of global action, with a rally at a military base in North
going to be joining with members of Military Families Speak Out, a
lot of students, a lot of other veterans, to go to Fayetteville,
North Carolina, which is the home of Fort Bragg, one of the largest
military bases in the country, to demand an end to the occupation of
Iraq, and to call for bringing the troops home now. And we’re
hoping to have tens of thousands of people in Fayetteville on the
And then on the 20th, Iraq Veterans
Against the War will be having our first national meeting of our
members. And we’re trying to get members from all over the country
to come and meet each other, and network and learn some skills,
including how to organize a local chapter. And there are going to
be workshops on counter recruitment, conscientious objector status,
and things like that, and we’re really excited to get as many people
there as possible. And we also need money to support our members
that don’t have the means to get there.
and you touched on it by mentioning that your organization needs
financial contributions, what can people outside of the United
States do – aside from those of us in Canada obviously supporting
the war resisters – to support the important work that your
Braxton: Well, we’re hoping that
people in other countries can put pressure on their governments to
not follow the path of the Bush administration in its
Empire-building approach to the world. There are many people in the
United States who do not support George Bush, even some of us who
feel like a second rigged election occurred in the United States.
So continuing to put pressure on governments that are going along
with his plans is a really positive thing that people can do.
Also, you know, we
can always use financial support and if people want to host one of
our members to speak about the work we’re doing, we’re happy to send
our members out anywhere to let the world know that there are many
U.S. soldiers who think that what’s happening over there in Iraq is
And if people want
to make a donation, they can write a cheque made out to Iraq
Veterans Against the War, or IVAW, and send it to P.O. Box 8296 in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19101.
More Wounded Abuse
"You Feel They
Don't Give A Damn Whether You Get Well Or Not"
February 18, 2005 By Ann Scott Tyson,
Washington Post Staff Writer
perhaps thousands of injured Army National Guard and Reserve
soldiers -- including many severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan
-- have either lost or risked losing medical care and thousands of
dollars in pay for months because a "convoluted" personnel system
dropped them from active-duty status, according to a Government
Accountability Office report released yesterday.
The report found
that over a two-month period early last year, almost 34 percent of
the 867 soldiers whose records it examined were removed from active
duty while their requests for medical extensions were snarled in
bureaucracy, leading many soldiers and their families to lose pay
The Army does not track the numbers of
injured and ill reservists suffering such gaps in pay and benefits,
but with 16,000 reservists having passed through the military's
"medical holdover" system since November 2003, and 3,400 there now,
the total is "very possibly [in the] thousands," said Gregory D.
Kutz, director of financial management and assurance at the GAO and
author of the report.
Sgt. 1st Class John Allen, a weapons
sergeant on a Special Forces A team, suffered brain trauma and
injuries to his legs, torso and vision from a helicopter accident
and grenade blast outside Kandahar, Afghanistan, in summer 2002.
But it was not until Allen applied for an extension of his
active-duty status in November that his "real troubles started," he
testified before the House Government Reform Committee yesterday.
While coping with
his injuries, Allen was dropped repeatedly from active duty,
losing a total of three months of benefits and $11,924 in pay. "I
was essentially forced to 'go off orders' every three months,"
said the former police officer from Blairstown, N.J. "(I had) no
pay, no access to base, no medical coverage for my family," and
his medical appointments with military doctors were repeatedly
In July 2003, Allen
said he had to borrow $10,000 from his brother to pay bills. The
following month, his wife went into labor prematurely but was
refused treatment at the hospital in Fort Bragg, N.C., until a
senior Army commander intervened.
The "broken, dysfunctional system,"
Allen said, "placed my family under intense and indescribable
stress. In short, this by far caused the most burden on my family,
my financial situation and my life in general." Allen, who wears an
eye patch and walks with a cane, plans to retire this month from his
reserve unit, Bravo Company of the 20th Special Forces Group.
Sgt. Joseph Perez, a military
policeman with the Nevada National Guard, was wounded in the knee
during a riot in a Baghdad prison compound in June 2003. Perez also
saw fellow soldiers killed in mortar attacks, leading him to suffer
flashbacks and nightmares. Flown back to Fort Lewis for care,
he said he spent months
"languishing" in a World War 1 barracks with insufficient heat and
"You feel they don't give a damn whether you get well or not," he
told the committee. In February 2004, his unit
was demobilized and he was removed from active-duty status, leaving
his family without medical care or access to the local base.
Missing a total of $3,886 in pay, he at one point had to move with
his wife and three daughters into his father-in-law's basement.
"All this made me
feel worthless," he said. He ended up in a mental health unit
suffering with post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts.
Veteran At The Wall
The survivor voice has no rules. It is a burst of truth that is
often horrifying. The survivor’s ultimate mission is to bear
witness. Those who cannot take the truth, run for the rules,
because their belief system can only survive if the survivor’s voice
is no longer allowed to speak.
U.S. Army Medic
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: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
for more of his outstanding work. T)
Boot Camp Drowning:
Caught On Tape Striking 19-Year-Old
In this image taken from WIS-TV,
video, taken Feb. 7, 2005, on Parris Island, S.C., an unidentified
Marine Corps drill instructor, far-left, back to camera, grabs Jason
Tharp, far left, facing camera, by the collar, near a swimming
pool. Tharp of Sutton, W.Va., drowned the next day, Feb. 8. at
Parris Island while participating in a 25-meter swim that was part
of a water-survival course. His family wants answers from the
Marine Corps on the circumstances surrounding their son's drowning
death, which came a day after a TV station videotaped a drill
instructor striking the recruit at the same training pool. (AP
[Thanks to PB, who
sent this in.]
Feb. 17, 2005 By Jim Miklaszewski,
Correspondent, NBC News
An autopsy revealed 19-year-old Jason
Tharp drowned last week during water survival training at the Marine
Corps boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.
Video shot on Feb.
7, the day before Tharp's death, by NBC affiliate WIS-TV in
Columbia, S.C., shows Tharp, visibly shaken and almost terrified,
taking a forearm shot from a Marine drill instructor.
In the Marines only
five weeks, Tharp had written seven letters home telling his family
he wanted out. His father, John Tharp, claims Jason had been
singled out by drill instructors because he couldn’t keep up with
the rigorous basic training.
"I don't know how
they could treat my son the way we saw on that video," says Tharp.
"He never hurt nobody. He'd do anything anybody asked him."
During last week’s training, Tharp,
seen on the WIS-TV video, at first refused to get into the water.
"He's just afraid because he is not
able to do the swim correctly right now, and he just wants to leave
and go home," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Davis on the Feb. 7 videotape.
After 20 minutes of
trying to coax Tharp into the pool, the drill instructor turned
physical in apparent violation of Marine Corps regulations -
striking Tharp across the chest.
"That right there,
where this Marine grabs the recruit, this is not how you treat
recruits," said Eugene Fidell, the president of the National
Institute of Military Justice, when NBC News showed him the video.
"I mean, this is a wrongful touching. Basically, it's an assault."
officials say Tharp voluntarily entered the pool the next day, where
he drowned during a 25-meter swim. Officials also
say there's no early evidence of any misconduct by Marine
instructors at the time Jason drowned, but the conduct caught on
camera the day before raises questions about exactly what happened
in that pool.
Jason's father is
considering a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Marines.
"We just want
justice for Jason," says Tharp. "To get some kind of bill passed to
where this won't happen to another family."
The Navy and
Marines are investigating Jason's death and the conduct of the drill
instructors who were supposed to protect him.
Rape Survivor Says
The Army "Has Done Nothing But Lie To Me And Treat Me Like A
2.19.05 CORKY SIEMASZKO, New York
NEW YORK - Ten
serial rapists are serving in the U.S. military and have sexually
assaulted dozens of fellow soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and
elsewhere, a watchdog group has charged.
And more than a
year after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared "zero
tolerance" for rape, the number of troops who claim to have been
violated has nearly tripled, the Miles Foundation reported.
"This indicates to us that rape in the
ranks continues to be a problem in the military," said Anita
Sanchez, spokeswoman for the Connecticut-based foundation. The
nonprofit group assists service members who have been sexually
Based on victim
interviews, the group has identified 10 servicemen and a military
contractor who allegedly each sexually assaulted anywhere from two
to two dozen soldiers.
Sanchez said six
suspects are in the Army, two are Marines, one each are in the
Navy and Air Force -- and their superiors have been alerted. So
has the contractor's boss.
"The Pentagon should know about all of them," she said.
But female victims also face
roadblocks -- both in the United States and abroad -- when they
report a rape.
Press has reported that a former National Guard lieutenant said in a
TV interview that the Army treated her "like a criminal" after she
accused a fellow soldier of rape.
Jennifer Dyer, 26, of Mays Landing,
N.J., said in the interview to be broadcast Sunday on "60 Minutes"
that Army investigators sequestered her in a hotel after the
incident and threatened her with arrest when she didn't return to
the base following a two-week convalescent leave.
The Army "has done
nothing but lie to me and treat me like a criminal," Dyer said.
[Of course. Why be
surprised? The entire armed forces were raped by Bush when you got
sent to die for lies and Empire in Iraq. Why should the Pentagon
give a shit about a few hundred more?]
Her alleged attacker, Michael Hall,
35, also a National Guard lieutenant, is scheduled for trial on rape
charges next month in a military court in Alabama. He has said the
sex was consensual.
"I Don't See A Reason To Return To Iraq"
$15,000 Bait Flops In New Mexico;
Only 2 Of 57 Sign
February 19, 2005 By SIMON ROMERO, New
After missing recruiting goals, the
National Guard is offering a re-enlistment bonus of $15,000 in an
effort to bolster its ranks.
PRINGER, N.M. - Lisa Marez could not
manage a smile as this town cheered the return of her husband's
National Guard unit with a parade of pickups and police cars,
followed by a celebratory calling of names in the high school gym.
Just days earlier, she had learned that her husband, Sgt. Jesse
Guillermo Marez, had accepted a bonus to re-enlist for six more
years, virtually guaranteeing another tour in Iraq.
Sergeant Marez, who in civilian life
in Albuquerque works as a machine operator at a weapons laboratory,
stoically explained that he supported the war in Iraq and was not
afraid to return. He also said he would soon receive a
re-enlistment bonus of $15,000, part of the National Guard's effort
to bolster its ranks after missing its recruiting goals for the
first time in a decade last year.
Sergeant Marez is
one of two soldiers in his 57-member unit, about 90 percent Hispanic
and mostly men from northern New Mexico, to re-enlist for six years
while still stationed in Iraq.
"The Guard is
looking for an economic solution to a socio-political problem," said
David Segal, a military sociologist at the University of Maryland.
"Fifteen thousand dollars is half a muscle car. I'd be surprised to
see this policy have more than a marginal effect on the Guard's
Particularly in relatively poor areas
of the country like Springer, a town of 1,200 people surrounded by
small ranching communities, the Guard will be recruiting in coming
months as its roster of recruiters swells to 4,100, from 2,700. A
low-ranking Guard member can make about $35,000 a year in a combat
tour in Iraq, or about $5,000 more than a young schoolteacher can
earn here in a year.
may stretch further here, the pay and the bonuses failed to sway
many of the 515th who returned home with Sergeant Marez.
Sgt. Dennis Trujillo explained why a
couple weeks ago as he sat down for barbecue after the welcome-home
ceremony concluded with a show of digital photographs of the unit in
Iraq to a medley of hard-rock and heavy-metal classics.
No one in the 515th was killed in
Iraq, Sergeant Trujillo said, but the unit had suffered about 40
indirect mortar attacks and its duties, which included supplying
Army troops with gasoline and water, were sometimes grueling.
The money the Guard
was offering was "good but not enough," said Sergeant Trujillo,
29, who grew up in Roy, a ranching community of 400 people not far
from Springer, and whose term with the Guard expires this summer.
"I'm happy to be
back here," said Sergeant Trujillo, explaining how his main goal now
was to secure a stable state job in the forestry service. "I don't
see a reason to return to Iraq."
Ms. Marez, a 30-year-old teacher's
assistant who stood by her husband's side throughout the ceremony
celebrating the return of the 515th, did not look so favorably on
the re-enlistment bonus either.
"This time of war
has been so difficult," she said, holding back tears. "I don't care
much for the Guard. It's taking my husband away."
Quack Doc Objects
To Banning Deadly Painkillers;
Grubb Says Command
Needs Them To Keep Soldiers “Functioning On The Battlefield.”
[Miami Herald, February 18, 2005]
An Army doctor pleaded with an FDA
advisory committee to keep popular pain drugs on the market because
the military depends on them. A whistle-blower warned about
Army Dr. Christopher Grubb urged that
some popular paid relievers "are essential to the global war on
terrorism" and should be kept on the market despite their
potentially dangerous side effects.
He added that without the
painkillers, the military cannot keep as many soldiers functioning
on the battlefield. [Not to relieve the pain for wounded soldiers.
Oh hell no. To “keep them functioning.” This doctor was born 50
years too late. Mengele could have used his help at Auschwitz.]
Why We Resist
February 19, 2005 By Abu Assur, Al
Iraqis who are resisting the US
invasion of their country are defending their homes, their soil,
their culture, and their natural wealth against looters who crossed
far away land and oceans to come to kill and loot like wolves while
wearing the lamb skins and talking about bringing democracy.
foreigners come to your place and impose their jungle law, it is
normal that honest and responsible persons would fight them and
resist their aggression. You can't possibly call these resisters
terrorists, rebels, insurgents, fanatics or diehards.
outside aggressors is a natural human behavior.
The world over
knows that the US came to Iraq for oil.
The US doesn’t care
a damn about democracy, freedom, human rights, and political
If they came for
democracy why aren't they interested to talk about democracy to
their friends the Saudi rulers who oppress minorities and women
(women are oppressed, petty thieves see their hands severed etc.)?
There are no
elections whatsoever in the US protectorate of Saudi Kingdom, the
Saudi family is the most corrupt ruling family in the World. This
family is hated by its citizens and yet the US calls the ruling
family allies and friends etc. Surely, they are the friends of
Shell Exxon and Chevron and not at all friends with US values of
freedom, democracy and respects for human right.
What the Bushies
call a war against terrorism is a war about money and petrol,
This would've been
another ugly and insipid episode about human cupidity and greed, if
innocent lives both Iraqis and US were not daily lost to pay for
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Resistance Still Rules
[Washington Post, February 18, 2005,
Four months after
the American forces "freed" the city of Samarra from the clutches of
anti-occupation forces, insurgents continue to attack U.S. and
February 19, 2005 AP & (KUNA) & By
Mariam Karouny (Reuters)
A bomber blew up
his car at an Iraqi army checkpoint in Latifiya, 20 miles south of
the capital, killing nine Iraqi soldiers.
The attacks then shifted to the
northern districts of Baghdad, where
another bomber killed two Iraqi
Rashid Haroun said a bomber blew himself up close to the Nada Mosque
in Kadhimiya, killing seven Shiites, including three National
Guardsmen, and injuring 55 people.
A bomber blew up a
car outside an Iraqi National Guard base in Baqouba, 35 miles
northeast of Baghdad, killing six Iraqi Guardsmen and wounding
Six Guardsmen were
killed in a mortar attack on the main highway between Baghdad and
Two policemen were
killed when a hand grenade exploded near Samarra' city, north of
WELCOME TO RAMADI:
HAVE A NICE DAY
guerrilla carries a rocket propelled grenade launcher on the streets
of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, February 19, 2005. Insurgents attacked a
security headquarters in Ramadi on Saturday.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE
Goes After Richard Pearle
Mike Hastie U.S. Army Medic Vietnam
To: GI Special
Sent: February 18, 2005
Subject: Shoeless Charles
Thursday night a
friend of mine went and heard Howard Dean and Richard Pearle have a
debate on the Iraq War, foreign policy in general, and domestic
The debate took
place at a rather expensive concert hall in downtown Portland. My
friend (Bruce Charles), has been a peace activist for most of his
adult life, going back to the Vietnam War.
During the time
that Pearle was speaking, my friend got very upset at what he was
saying, so he took both of his shoes off, and proceeded to charge
the stage and was able to throw both shoes at Pearle.
Both shoes missed, but who cares.
About six security
guards finally got to him, but he was still able to call Pearle a
fucking liar. He said this several times.
He set off a little
chain reaction in the crowd, because several other people made some
caustic remarks to Pearle.
Bruce was arrested, and was later
released. I went down to the police station and took him home.
The episode was
shown on the news two hours later. So, baseball may have its
"Shoeless Joe," but Portland has its "Shoeless Charles."
What a tremendous
lift for the anti-war movement.
I have been
involved in many peaceful demonstrations with Bruce, but what this
man did tonight was above and beyond the call of duty. I only
wish his name would become a household word. BRUCE
CHARLES--blessed are the peacemakers.
He was feeling somewhat despondent a
couple of hours after the incident, but I told him I was very proud
As a medic in
Vietnam, I knew exactly what this man did.
It is actions like
this that may keep future Americans out of funeral homes from this
dog and phony war in Iraq. If more progressive
people do not join the anti-war movement, the Bush Administration
will bury everything they hold sacred in their lives.
and the Iraqi people are dying for the biggest lie in American
history. If we are going to stop this war, we will have to
experience the greatest effort of our lives. The price of sanity is
When I was in
Vietnam, I gave a hundred percent of my being toward the
preservation of life. I would have done anything to save a soldiers
In the past twenty
years, I have given that same effort in bearing witness to the lies
of the Vietnam War, and how those lies are now destroying this
country and Iraq.
My greatest effort
now, is to keep the Richard Pearle's from sending more Americans to
One piece of truth
can save a life. The next time you reach for your shoes, think of
You don't have to
throw them, just put them on, and go help stop the madness, because
sanity is not free.
[Baltimore Sun, February 18, 2005]
officials said nearly all of Iraq's new Army and National Guard
units are lightly armed and have limited mobility, raising new
questions about the effectiveness of those troops and their ability
to relieve U.S. forces now providing security in Iraq.
Attacks In Force:
A dead prison guard
outside the National Penitentiary, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on
February 19, 2005,
only a few hours after scores of
armed men broke into the institution and freed around 480 prisoners,
including former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune.
Witnesses said the
armed men were guerrillas claiming allegiance to former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was overthrown by the Bush regime on
Feb. 29, 2004. Neptune was his prime minister.
Nominee For Stupidity Award: 2004
Hiding In Green
Zone, Hillary Clinton Says Resistance Fails To Destabilize Iraq
[Thanks to PB and
Des who sent this in. PB writes: She must’ve raided Rumsfelds crack
Feb 19, 2005 By TODD PITMAN,
Associated Press Writer & By Michael Georgy, BAGHDAD (Reuters)
BAGHDAD, Iraq -
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday a string of attacks
killing more than 50 Iraqis in two days were failed attempts to
destabilize the country.
Clinton, a New York Democrat, and Sen.
John McCain, R-Ariz., were part of a five-member congressional
delegation that met with U.S. officials and members of Iraq's
The threat of attack prevented the senators from leaving Baghdad's
fortified Green Zone, a walled complex that is home to the U.S. and
British embassies and the Iraqi government.
When some of the
senators last visited Iraq many months ago, they were able to move
around the country. But security, always unsteady, has deteriorated
sharply over the past year.
"When I was here
last summer it was much easier for us to move around. We visited
several cities around Baghdad. We were able to move more freely
through Baghdad," said Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from
Jazar Didn't Hear The Shots Fast Enough.”
2/17/2005 [with photos]
Despite all the optimistic media
reports and the omnipresent photos of Sharon and Abbas shaking
hands, the killing continues in Rafah.
The latest victim
was Ibrahim Abu Jazar, killed by Israeli soldiers while he stood
near a childrens' playground in Rafah.
He was wearing
earphones and listening to local news on a small portable radio when
he was shot. One of the children who was there said, "While we were
playing football, the soldiers started shooting at us, so we all ran
away." Apparently, Abu Jazar didn't hear the shots fast enough.
[To check out what
life is like under a murderous military occupation by a foreign
www.rafahtoday.org The foreign army is Israeli; the occupied
nation is Palestine.]
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