GI SPECIAL 3A54:
REALLY BAD PLACE TO
BRING THEM ALL HOME
February 18, 2005 2:42 AM
I would like to thank you for your
time and care into what I perceive as a truly passionate issue in
your life. I don't know if you have had or lost loved ones at
Anaconda, have one there now, or are just a truly well-informed,
patriotic America citizen. Whatever the case, thank you for your
truly informative website.
My fiancÚ has just
recently arrived at Anaconda (Sunday, Feb. 13, 2005). X has been
either National Guard (11 years), and just recently Reserve for two
years. We knew that he would be called up as an 88 Mike, and his
orders hit last October. He is currently serving in that position
in a new Reserve unit from XXXXXX.
I am just now
opening my eyes as to what he must face on a daily basis in this
life he must lead there.
I frankly don't think that he knew
prior to arriving there; however, he may have, but just tried to
protect me from it as he does.
I am fortunate that many of the other
men serving with him have wives that I have become very good friends
with here. That, in and of itself, is a blessing and a curse.
What he doesn't feel he can tell me, I
still find out about, but even before that, I just know when
something is not right with him.
In just the last
three days, and I believe on his first mission out, they were hit
with and IED or EID, I can never remember the order of that, but I
don't guess that matters much, does it? Thank God
no one was injured during that mission, but it just hit too close to
I just guess if
you could provide me any helpful information as to survival at
this so called base, tips, and what to write to any congressmen,
senators, and/or military officials, I would be eternally grateful
if it would bring my man home.
Thank you in advance for your help and
concern for the men on the ground.
I am the daughter
of a Marine DI, and trust me, I'm a good girl, but he always had to
work for the "sir"!
Thank you so much, Sir, in advance,
for your help,
[Anybody who would
like to help out can send an email to Anaconda, C/O GI Special at
the upper left address, and it will get forwarded on to WK. This
means people who have spent some time in Iraq, and have some
survival tips to offer. She’s trying to help out her man over
there, and how about getting some help to her? Do the right thing.
FYI: Soldier X and Soldier “Tom Joad” have been asked privately for
their suggestions. How about some help from some IVAW troops? T]
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.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS:
MARINE KILLED IN AL
February 22, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED
STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-32C
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq --
A Marine assigned to I Marine Expeditionary Force was killed in
action Feb. 21 in the Al Anbar Province.
Feb. 22, 2005 JOSHUA FREED, The
Three Minnesota National Guardsmen
were killed in Iraq, family members and civilian sources confirmed
They were identified as Staff Sgt.
David Day, of Morris; 1st Lt. Jason Timmerman of Tracy, both of the
151st Field Artillery based in Montevideo, and Jesse Lhotka of
Appleton, whose rank and unit weren't immediately known.
Word of Day's death came from his
grandmother, LaVonne Day. Timmerman's death was reported by Carmen
Brunsvold, who leads a Marshall-based Guard support group. Lhotka's
death was confirmed by his grandmother, Arvilla Lhotka of Waconia.
LaVonne Day said the family was told
that Day was checking on an overturned Humvee when a roadside bomb
went off, killing him. The military reported three soldiers were
killed Monday in Baghdad by a roadside bomb as they were evacuating
a fellow soldier, though it couldn't immediately be confirmed
whether those three were the Minnesota soldiers.
"This Humvee was on
its side, tipped over, and he went over to see if anybody was hurt
when it blew up," she said.
"He was going to help. That would be
David, that would be exactly him."
Arvilla Lhotka said her grandson lived
in Appleton with his wife. They were just married in September.
Brunsvold told the Independent of
Marshall that she spent Monday evening with Timmerman's parents,
Gary and Pat Timmerman.
Marshall Mayor Bob
Byrnes said word of Timmerman's death had been slowly spreading.
"It'll be felt by
the entire community," he said.
from Lakeview High School and had gotten married last year, the
"He bought her a
brand new car and the diamonds, and he said 'Now I want you to be
taken care of.' They were together for about four or five days"
before he deployed, she said.
Jason Timmerman was a high school math
and computer teacher at Lake Benton Public School last year,
Principal William Delaney said. While Delaney himself didn't know
Timmerman - this is his first year with the district - he said
students and staff said Timmerman had a "zeal for learning and
helping students learn."
"Many times they mentioned they'd got
one of their own over in Iraq," Delaney said.
where Timmerman went to high school, grocery store owner Jim Munson
called Timmerman's death "a gut-check." He said his own son, Josh,
also serves in the 151st but in a different area of Iraq.
"I'm waiting to
call my wife after our noon rush, because I know she's going to
break down," Munson told the Independent of Marshall.
brother, Travis, is also serving in the Guard in Iraq, Rep. Marty
Seifert of Marshall said.
Arvilla Lhotka said
her grandson lived in Appleton with his wife. They were just
married in September.
Lhotka graduated from Lac qui Parle
Valley High School in Madison in 1999. Superintendent Robert
Munsterman told the West Central Tribune of Willmar that Lhotka made
a trip back to the school a couple of years ago to tell his former
teachers he made sergeant.
made it easily the worst day for the state since combat began in
Iraq in 2003. During Vietnam, Minnesota lost multiple soldiers on
several days, including nine on May 5, 1968, according to the U.S.
National Archives and Records Administration.
1 MEF Marine Killed
In Vehicle Accident
February 22, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED
STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-34C
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq –
One Marine assigned to I Marine Expeditionary Force was killed in a
non-hostile motor vehicle accident February 22 in the Al Anbar
February 22 CHICAGO (AP)
Long-time neighbors say a Tinley Park
serviceman who was killed in Iraq was a sweet man who told
neighborhood kids that he always wanted to join the Marines.
Philip Clarke said today that his son,
21-year-old Corporal Kevin Michael Clarke, was killed last week by
small arms fire in Qaim, near the Syrian border.
At Andrew High School, Clarke was on
the varsity wrestling, track and football teams. Wrestling coach
Dave Arndt says Clarke was a very sincere and motivated young man.
Philip Clarke says
his son was scheduled to return from his second tour of duty in
Clarke is the
second alum of Andrew High School to be killed in Iraq.
Convoy Hit In Doura
22 February 2005 The Associated Press
A U.S. military
convoy was hit in a roadside bomb attack in the southern Baghdad
neighborhood of Doura, police Lt. Haitham Abdul Razak said.
Bomb Blast Injures
February 22, 2005 By DEAN BAKER,
Columbian staff writer
A 23-year-old U.S. Army sergeant from
Vancouver suffered wounds Friday in Iraq when a bomb destroyed his
Justin K. Wright, a 1999 graduate of
Mountain View High School, was driving an armor-plated Humvee when a
homemade bomb blew the vehicle apart, said his mother, Kathryn
Wright of Cascade Park. The incident happened near Tel Afar, a city
of 350,000 west of Mosul in northern Iraq.
"Apparently, Justin has a shattered
shoulder blade, and he is really bruised and has a concussion. The
captain who called us said he looks like he was in a horrible car
accident, but we are very thankful that it wasn't worse," Kathryn
A passenger in the Humvee, Staff Sgt.
Tony Wilson of Tooele, Utah, walked away from the blast with minor
injuries, said Wright's mother, a substitute teacher in the
Ridgefield School District.
She and her husband, Richard, manager
of offices in The Academy building in downtown Vancouver, spoke
briefly with Justin, who was heavily medicated.
"We didn't say
much," Kathryn Wright said. "We just wanted to make sure he had his
arms and legs because that's the worst injuries that happen to
specialists like him."
Wright, who was an Eagle Scout in
Vancouver, is an ordnance disposal specialist. He was just eight
days into his second tour in the war zone, having served earlier in
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He is one of about a dozen soldiers in the
Tooele-based 62nd Explosive Ordnance and Disposal Company.
Wright married his
wife, Christine, an air traffic controller in the U.S. Air Force, on
Jan. 3. She is stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Kathryn
Reported In The City”
February 20, 2005 Washington Post
As the battlefield is gradually
transformed into a construction zone, U.S. officials acknowledge
that they have a limited amount of time to establish faith among
residents eager for life return to normal.
If they do not
rebuild the city quickly enough, the officials say, they risk losing
their already tenuous support, a potentially dangerous situation
with insurgents still reported in the city. [Of course. Otherwise
known as Iraqis.]
Military “Just Say No” To Iraq
02/19/2005 Phillip O'Connor, St. Louis
Unlike Vietnam, where only volunteers served a second tour, many of
today's armed forces members are being ordered to return for a
second or even third tour in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And in a war theater where rocket
attacks, roadside ambushes and suicide bombers are a constant
threat, many spend their entire tour in constant danger with little
chance to relax.
The Army was forced to confront the
issue when the number of deserters more than tripled between 1995
and 2001, to 4,739. Shortly
after Sept. 11, 2001, regulations changed. Rather than shipping
deserters off to Fort Knox or Fort Sill to await military justice,
the Army now returns them to their unit, where discipline is left to
the unit commander. The unit commander can retain and
rehabilitate the person, separate him or her from service or seek a
court-martial. Each case is evaluated on its merits.
"They want to give them some
punishment just to let everybody else know you just can't walk and
nothing will happen," said Morse of the GI Rights Hotline.
"But on the other hand, they don't
want to lose that person as a soldier. Their primary thing is if
that person comes back, they want to make sure that that person gets
Gold Star Families
Loss In Iraq Turns Into Antiwar Activism
Like other Gold
Star families, she recalls that her son began to express
disillusionment over Iraq. "Some of his men had to go to civilian
Web sites to get boots," she said. "He did not have enough parts
for his tanks." Neil, who had married his college sweetheart at
22, was killed on Aug. 13, one month shy of his 25th birthday.
February 22, 2005 By Evelyn Nieves,
Washington Post Staff Writer
VACAVILLE, Calif. -- Five minutes
after President Bush began his State of the Union address, Cindy
Sheehan clicked off her television set.
She would read the transcript, watch
the salute to the parents of a Marine killed in Fallujah, chew over
such words as "ultimate sacrifice" and "fight against tyranny" --
the next morning.
But that night, live, in her living
room, so close to her son's photos and medals on the foyer wall --
no. It was too much to hear the cheering for the man who had sent
her son to Iraq on the premise that Saddam Hussein stockpiled
weapons of mass destruction.
Casey Sheehan, a former Eagle Scout
and altar boy who had joined the Army hoping to serve as a
chaplain's assistant, was killed at age 24 in a war he wasn't sure
why he was fighting. And more soldiers like him were dying every
day. Where was the outrage?
Cindy Sheehan found it where she
always does: in other families who have lost a loved one in a war
they neither believe in nor want to believe will continue, without
end, with the nation's acquiescence.
themselves Gold Star Families for Peace. Organized less than two
months ago, it is part support group and part activist organization,
with members united by grief and the belief that their loved ones
died in a war that did not have to happen. The Gold Star Families
say they support the soldiers because their mission is to speak out
to help bring them home and minimize the human cost of the war.
They include Bill Mitchell of
Atascadero, Calif., who lost his son, Mike, 25, in the same April 4
ambush that killed Casey Sheehan, and who also was unable to watch
And Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia,
whose eldest son, Sherwood Baker, 30, a National Guardsman, was
killed while on the search for weapons of mass destruction. She
watched Bush's speech with the sound turned down, "trying to discern
some truth amidst the choreography of clapping and fawning." Other
Gold Star Families shared the same knot in their stomachs, the same
sense of stunned disbelief.
stumbled upon one another through the Internet and through Military
Families Speak Out, an antiwar group for families with loved ones
serving in Iraq. With no outreach and little publicity, Gold Star
Families for Peace -- the name is a variation on American Gold Star
Mothers, a group for mothers of slain soldiers that dates from the
1920s -- gets inquiries from two or three families nearly every day,
They are regular people: teachers,
civil servants, stay-at-home moms and hardware-salesman dads. Most
are not used to political protests or speechmaking. Their loved
ones -- sons, mostly -- had joined the military because they wanted
to, usually out of a sense of duty.
Patrick McCaffrey, who managed an auto
shop in Palo Alto, Calif., joined the National Guard after Sept. 11,
"He wanted to
protect the homeland from terrorism," said Nadia McCaffrey of Tracy,
Calif. Her only child, 34 years old and with a wife and two
children, never dreamed he would be sent abroad to fight. "He would
never have signed up if he thought that was a possibility,"
McCaffrey said. "His family was too important to him."
They have written letters and made
calls to Bush and to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, "yet
there has been no response at all," Zappala said. On Inauguration
Day, half a dozen Gold Star Families, letters in hand, tried to gain
an audience with Bush and Rumsfeld. They were turned away at the
White House by guards.
Many of them will
meet in person for the first time when they converge with peace
organizations in Fayetteville, N.C., March 19 to mark the second
anniversary of the start of the war.
Then, they say, they will go full
steam ahead in speaking out against the war, together, in ones and
twos, and with other peace groups. The most prominent member is
Lila Lipscomb of Flint, Mich., who was featured in Michael Moore's
"Fahrenheit 9/11." The film shows her encouraging her son, Michael
Pederson, to join the Army for its career opportunities, only to end
up grieving for him two weeks after the war in Iraq began.
"I consider being in that movie such a
blessing," she said, "because it has given me the opportunity to
have an audience."
Bill Mitchell said Gold Star Families
in general have had no problem capturing a crowd's attention. "When
we get together," he said, "it's pretty powerful."
For the families,
discussions always begin with their loved ones' lives.
Mitchell talks about his son, Mike, a
high school track star who found time for a run the day he died. He
had volunteered for the Army with friends "out of a sense of
brotherhood," said his father, a retired corporate manager. After
11 months in Iraq, Mike Mitchell was killed two weeks before he was
scheduled to leave. Engaged to marry a German woman who had moved
her graduate studies to Southern California in preparation for their
life together, he was eager to return home. But he volunteered for
one last mission.
It was the same mission that Casey
Sheehan, in Iraq for two weeks, was on when they were ambushed. A
devout Catholic, he had also entered the Army in solidarity with
friends. He did not have a steady girlfriend, and had told his
mother that he wanted to stay a virgin until he married. After his
tour was over, he planned to become an elementary school teacher.
"The sons and daughters dying in that
war are the most decent people," said Sheehan, who raised four
children while her husband worked as a hardware salesman.
Vicki Castro's only son, Jonathan,
could have gone to college but enlisted in the Army as a combat
engineer, almost against his parent's wishes, she said. "We told
him, 'Just apply to college and we'll pay for wherever you want to
go,' " said Castro, a high school math teacher in Corona, Calif.”But
he wanted to learn things most people don't, and experience things
you don't when you go from high school to college."
He had designed and
built scooters with motorcycle parts -- "chopperscooters," he called
them. Upon returning from Iraq, he planned to use the Army's
small-business loan program to open a shop on the beach and rent
them out. He was more than ready to return, but the Army extended
his stay one year. He died at age 21 in the Dec. 21 suicide bombing
that killed 22 soldiers in a mess tent in Mosul.
Diane Santoriello, who teaches
troubled elementary school students in Pittsburgh, knew her son
would be sent abroad. First Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello Jr. had
joined the Army after high school.
"He wanted this as a career from the
time he was in fifth grade, though he knew I wasn't crazy about it,"
she said. Neil had been an Eagle Scout, along with friends who
joined the Army with him. "Nine scouts that were with my son are
currently in uniform," Santoriello said. "His two best friends are
over in Mosul right now."
Like other Gold
Star families, she recalls that her son began to express
disillusionment over Iraq. "Some of his men had to go to civilian
Web sites to get boots," she said. "He did not have enough parts for
his tanks." Neil, who had married his college sweetheart at 22, was
killed on Aug. 13, one month shy of his 25th birthday.
"He was very interested in government
and politics," his mother said. "We all knew that he was going to
change our country in some way. Maybe I consider what I'm doing now
a way of carrying on his work."
Australia To Send
450 More Troops To Bush’s Imperial Slaughterhouse
ABC Online, February 22, 2005. 1:09pm
Prime Minister John
Howard has announced an extra 450 Australian Defence Force personnel
will be deployed to Iraq.
The troops are a new task force to
provide security for Japanese engineers and will cost Australia
between $250 million and $300 million per year.
The soldiers will be mainly from the
1st Brigade based in Darwin and will leave for southern Iraq in 10
weeks' time. Mr Howard says there are currently about 950
Australian Defence personnel in and around Iraq.
"Self-evidently we would have liked
the major combat to have gone differently ... (but)
Coalition withdrawal or defeat is
unimaginable." [“Unimaginable?" Only if you’re brain dead. Even
the clowns in the White House can imagine it.]
Pentagon A Sewer Of
War Profiteer Waste
February 21, 2005, 2004, Pg. B2)
Of the 25 items on this year's list of
high risk federal activities issued by the Government Accountability
Office, the Defense Department is a key player in 14.
"This is unacceptable and should
not be tolerated," David M. Walker, the head of GAO, said.
He suggested that
the revolving door between government and big business might
contribute to the Pentagon's lack of ability to deal with complex
Photo Essay: Who
Says They Weren't Greeted With Flowers?
By: Susan Meiselas, Magnum Photos on:
They were. And still are, in fact. In the mock Iraqi villages of
Jarbar Nahr and Sadiq, set up in May 2004 in Fort Polk,
Louisiana, USA, to simulate "the conditions that soldiers will
face when dispatched to Iraq". Move over, Disneyland.
"Now let's hear it
for our brave liberators! Hip hip…"
The scene being played out shows the
'Imam' negotiating with the "villagers" who are protesting the
"Hey meester! Give
us a Coke and we will tell you the location of every IED in the
volatile Al Anbar province!"
USA. Fort Polk, Louisiana. March
2004. US Military prepare new troops at the "Joint Readiness
Training Center", in the mock Iraqi village of Jarbar Nahr. 1200
"role players" have been hired to recreate the conditions that
soldiers will face when dispatched to Iraq.
Here villagers harass American
troops as they attempt to enter the village.
Half IRR Won’t Go:
Pentagon Says OK
Post-Dispatch, February 20, 2005, Pg. 13)
By the end of last year, the Army had
issued mobilization orders to 3,845 ready reservists to fill
vacancies, mostly in Army Reserve units, including some in Iraq.
Almost half requested a delay or
exemption from reporting, generally for medical and family care, and
all but 85 were approved.
Seize Control At Pentagon
(New York Post,
February 22, 2005)
The Pentagon has
blocked soldiers in Iraq from accessing an "amateur porn" site on
the military's Internet service that is posting nude pictures of
their female comrades-in-arms and warned soldiers that they would
face discipline if the activity continues.
Campaigns To Recruit Gays
(New York Times,
February 22, 2005, Pg. 1)
Five years after
Britain lifted its ban on gays in the military, the Royal Navy has
begun actively encouraging them to enlist and has pledged to make
life easier when they do. The service announced
that it had asked Stonewall, a group that lobbies for gay rights, to
help it develop better strategies for recruiting and retaining gay
men and lesbians.
do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans,
are especially welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
“The Army Was My Life. Fuck Them Now."
Quack “Doctors” At
Walter Reed Torment PTSD Soldiers Into Giving Up Their Benefits
Army buddies who
visited him in the days before his death said Soto-Ramirez was
increasingly angry and despondent. "He was real upset with the
treatment he was getting," said RenÚ Negron, a former Walter Reed
psychiatric patient and a friend of Soto-Ramirez's. "He said:
'These people are giving me the runaround ... These people think
I'm crazy, and I'm not crazy, Negron. I'm getting more crazy
being up here.'
"They asked me if
I missed my wife. Well, shit yeah, I missed my wife. That is not
the fucking problem here. Did you ever put your foot through a
troubling, the Army seems bent on denying that the stress of war
has caused the soldiers' mental trauma in the first place.
(There is an economic reason for doing so: Mental problems from
combat stress can require the Army to pay disability for years.)
Feb. 18, 2005 Mark Benjamin, Salon
They're overmedicated, forced to talk
about their mothers instead of Iraq, and have to fight for
disability pay. Traumatized combat vets say the Army is failing
Before he hanged himself with his bathrobe sash in the psychiatric
ward at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Spc. Alexis Soto-Ramirez
complained to friends about his medical treatment.
Soto-Ramirez, 43, had been flown out
of Iraq five months before then because of chronic back pain that
became excruciating during the war. But doctors were really worried
about his mind. They thought he suffered from post-traumatic stress
disorder after serving with the 544th Military Police Company, a
unit of the Puerto Rico National Guard, the kind of unit that saw
dirty, face-to-face combat in Iraq.
A copy of
Soto-Ramirez's medical records, reviewed by Salon, show that a
doctor who treated him in Puerto Rico upon his return from Iraq
believed his mental problems were probably caused by the war and
that his future was in the Army's hands.
"Clearly, the psychiatric symptoms are
combat related," a clinical psychologist at Roosevelt Roads Naval
Hospital wrote on Nov. 24, 2003. The entry says, "Outcome will
depend on adequacy and appropriateness of treatment." Doctors in
Puerto Rico sent Soto-Ramirez to
Walter Reed in Washington, D.C., to get the best care the Army had
to offer. There, he was put in Ward 54, Walter Reed's "lockdown,"
or inpatient psychiatric ward, where the most troubled patients are
supposed to have constant supervision.
But less than a
month after leaving Puerto Rico, on Jan. 12, 2004, Soto-Ramirez was
found dead, hanging in Ward 54.
Army buddies who
visited him in the days before his death said Soto-Ramirez was
increasingly angry and despondent. "He was real upset with the
treatment he was getting," said RenÚ Negron, a former Walter Reed
psychiatric patient and a friend of Soto-Ramirez's. "He said:
'These people are giving me the runaround ... These people think
I'm crazy, and I'm not crazy, Negron. I'm getting more crazy
being up here.'
"Those people in Ward 54 were
responsible for him. Their responsibility was to have a 24-hour
watch on him," Negron said in a telephone interview from his home in
Puerto Rico. While Soto-Ramirez's death was by his own hand, Negron
and other soldiers say the hospital shares the blame.
In fact, repeated interviews over the
course of one year with 14 soldiers who have been treated in Walter
Reed's inpatient and outpatient psychiatric wards, and a review of
medical records and Army documents, suggest that the Army's top
hospital is failing to properly care for many soldiers traumatized
by the Iraq war.
As the Soto-Ramirez case suggests,
inadequate suicide watch is one concern. But the problems run
deeper. Psychiatric techniques employed at Walter Reed appear
outmoded and ineffective compared with state-of-the-art care as
described by civilian doctors.
The troops also
complain that the Army relies too much on pills; few of the soldiers
took all the medication given to them by the hospital. [Benjamin
has it 100% wrong. The “pills” soldiers are given are not
“medication.” They are drugs. Medication attacks physical
illness. Drugs have only one effect: mental numbing. They do
nothing to solve problems. They just stun the person who is fed
troubling, the Army seems bent on denying that the stress of war has
caused the soldiers' mental trauma in the first place.
(There is an
economic reason for doing so: Mental problems from combat stress can
require the Army to pay disability for years.)
Soto-Ramirez's medical records reveal the economical mindset of an
Army doctor who evaluated him. "Adequate care and treatment may
prevent a claim against the government for PTSD," wrote a
psychologist in Puerto Rico before sending him to Walter Reed.
"The Army does not
want to get into the mental-health game in a real way to really help
people," said Col. Travis Beeson, who was flown to Walter Reed for
psychiatric help during a second tour with one of the Army's special
operations units in Iraq. "They want to Band-Aid it. They want you
out of there as fast as possible, and they don't want to pay for
Indeed, some psychiatric patients at Walter Reed are given the
option of signing a form releasing them from the hospital as long as
they give up any future disability payments from the Army.
One soldier from
Pennsylvania, who was shot five times in the chest and saved by
body armor, told me he would do anything to get out of Walter
Reed, even relinquish disability pay. "I'll sign anything as soon
as I can get my hands on it," he told me several days before being
released from the hospital. "I loved the Army. I was obsessed
with it. The Army was my life. Fuck them now."
The conditions for traumatized vets at
the Army's flagship hospital are particularly disturbing because
Walter Reed is supposed to be the best. But leading veterans'
advocate and retired Army ranger Steve Robinson, executive director
of the National Gulf War Resource Center, agrees that when it comes
to psychiatric care, Walter Reed doesn't make the grade. "I think
that Walter Reed is doing a great job of taking care of those
suffering acute battlefield injuries -- the amputees, the burn
victims, and those hurt by bullets and bombs," said Robinson, who
has spent many hours visiting psychiatric patients at Walter Reed.
"But they are failing the psychological needs of the returning
The high level of satisfaction among
inpatients as reported by Walter Reed is completely opposite what I
saw and heard while tracking soldiers there over the last year.
The soldiers I interviewed invited me
to their bedsides in the lockdown ward. They handed over their
private medical records. They allowed me to call their buddies,
their girlfriends, their mothers.
All professed to
loving the Army, though some said their trust in the institution had
been irrevocably shattered.
All said their symptoms either stayed
the same or worsened while at Walter Reed; two said they made
suicide attempts. While it's true that patients' self-reports about
treatment are not always objectively based, the repeated, bitter
complaints I heard over the course of more than a year, in
combination with conversations with civilian experts, cast serious
doubts on Walter Reed's approach to treating PTSD sufferers.
It all convinced me
that something is seriously amiss at the Army's top hospital.
celebrities -- like Dale Earnhardt Jr., ZZ Top and President Bush --
routinely visit the wounded at Walter Reed; but dignitaries don't
come to Ward 54.
When I first visited the lockdown unit
in February 2004, it held around 35 patients, who slept as many as
six patients to a room.
Soldiers who have stayed in the
lockdown unit say they were heavily medicated the entire time.
Some remember hearing screaming, or
patients being subdued on stretchers after shock therapy.
"Inpatient can be a traumatic experience for anyone," said Lt.
Julian P. Goodrum, 34, who was in Ward 54 last February after
serving in Iraq. Records show Goodrum was held in the ward 13 days
longer than needed while the Army decided whether to charge him as
absent without leave when, after getting back from Iraq, he was
earlier hospitalized by a civilian psychiatrist. He is fighting
The soldiers told me about their
textbook symptoms of PTSD: sudden, ferocious bouts of rage, utter
detachment, anxiety attacks accompanied by shortness of breath, and
increased perspiration and rapid eye movement. They complained of
relentless insomnia, racing thoughts, self-loathing, blackouts,
hallucinations and the constant reliving of war through flashbacks
by day and nightmares at night.
vivid fantasies of violence toward the Army brass in charge of
patients there -- slicing their throats, throwing them out windows
or shooting them. [That’s not insanity. That’s a perfectly
reasonable response to abuse.]
One psychiatric outpatient, who
watched as his best friend was blown up by a roadside bomb in Iraq,
said: "It does not matter how hardcore you are. Once you go to that
war and you start to see dead bodies -- you see an arm over here,
you see guts over there. There is no way you are ever going to erase
When it is done right, PTSD treatment
is a delicate task. Trust is crucial, and medications are carefully
administered and monitored.
[Here comes the “medication” bullshit again.]
the soldiers at Walter Reed, though, was that the Army seemed
determined to downplay their war trauma and search for other
causes for their mental health problems. In group therapy,
sessions often focused more on family relationships and childhood
experiences than war, the soldiers said. One outpatient soldier
was so angered about this avoidance of the topic of war, he threw
a chair during group therapy. Doctors promptly sent him to
"When you get (to Walter Reed), they
analyze you, break you down, and try to find anything wrong with you
before you got in" the Army, said Spc. Josh Sanders, in a telephone
conversation from his home in Lovington, Ill.
asking me questions about my mom and my dad getting divorced. That
was the last thing on my mind when I'm thinking about people getting
fragged and burned bodies being pulled out of vehicles," said
Sanders. "They asked me if I missed my wife. Well, shit yeah, I
missed my wife. That is not the fucking problem here. Did you ever
put your foot through a 5-year-old's skull?"
Sanders, 25, served in Iraq with the
1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, from May until December 2003. I
met him in the summer of 2004 while he was getting treatment at
Walter Reed in the outpatient clinic. Sanders had been evacuated
from Baghdad because of the toll the war had taken on his mind. His
complaints about Walter Reed were sadly typical. "Nobody hears about
this. Nobody hears about what really happens when you are there
getting the 'premier' medical treatment," Sanders said.
Dr. Herbert Hendin, medical director
of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention spent many years
studying and treating veterans with PTSD after the Vietnam War. In
discussing their treatment, Hendin said, "What veterans need is not
simply to be able to talk about their combat experiences but to be
able to talk about them with someone who understands the context."
Hendin said a combat veteran "needs to feel an empathic connection
with the treating professional." But to the soldiers, the
atmosphere in the Walter Reed psychiatric units wasn't conducive to
feeling understood, or getting better.
In Ward 54, recent combat veterans are
mixed with other soldiers and even civilians suffering a wide range
of mental problems.
For them, coming
back from Iraq and being treated alongside soldiers with
schizophrenia, for example, or maybe even soldiers' dependents
with schizophrenia, makes them feel "crazy," as opposed to having
a natural reaction to combat stress. "If you are a hard-charging
person, or somebody who tries to do things right, you are already
taking a huge hit to your ego by being put in there," Beeson, the
Army colonel, told me. One of the two Walter Reed officials who
spoke on condition of anonymity agreed that recent combat vets
shouldn't be lumped in with other psychiatric patients. Those
soldiers "need to have a specialized unit," the official said.
"They are labeled
goofy and crazy, and they are not crazy."
Beeson served in Iraq with the Army's
Civil Affairs Command, part of the Army's special-operations units.
He is a 47-year-old reservist with 26 years of service under his
belt, a wiry man grizzled by war. Beeson says his PTSD manifested
during his second tour in Iraq. He was flown to Walter Reed.
When I first met
him in August 2004, heavy medication made him speak in slow, halting
sentences like a drunk with a stutter. [Repeat: this is not
“medication” of any kind whatsoever, that has any curative value of
any kind whatsoever. He was given legal drugs, designed to produce
a nice, happy, quiet little fellow the shrinks can torment further.
In NY City, Iraq vets with PTSD report they are given thorazine,
which produces irreversible central nervous system damage and
impotence, and valium, a benzo, one of the most highly addictive
drugs known to medical science.]
"A lot of the
therapy was counterproductive to me," Beeson said in a telephone
interview from his home in Arkansas, after getting out of Walter
Reed. "It was a very paranoia-inducing place. If I was not
paranoid when I got there, I was paranoid when I left ... To me,
they need to figure out if they are going to treat people for war
or be a regular hospital."
Josh Sanders, like the other soldiers
I spent time with, also believes he is worse off because of his
treatment at Walter Reed. "I don't trust anybody now ... I wish
people could understand," he said. Sanders made two suicide
attempts while under outpatient care at Ward 53. Hospital officials
would not answer questions about the prevalence of suicide attempts
at Walter Reed, but said two incidents that occurred there in
January, one apparent fatal overdose and another suicide attempt,
are under investigation.
The Army's system
for allocating disability pay to traumatized vets is another source
of their frustration and anger. An Army panel at
Walter Reed, called the Physical Evaluation Board, decides what
percentage of income each soldier should get from the military to
compensate him if he is too ill to serve any longer. The doctors
decide whether wounds are combat related, and then the board decides
how much disability the Army will pay. The board's decision is
critical for soldiers trying to make a living after leaving the Army
with what can be a debilitating mental condition . Fighting with the
hospital about disability pay is a source of considerable stress
just as these soldiers are trying to heal their minds.
Some of the
soldiers are fighting decisions by the board at Walter Reed. Out of
the 14 soldiers interviewed, five have left Walter Reed. Three
ended up getting zero percent of their income as disability pay,
despite what they said was serious mental stress that made it more
difficult or impossible to work. Even those who got a third of their
pay still had trouble making ends meet.
(In every case I
followed, the Department of Veterans Affairs made a later
determination that the soldiers deserved more. The soldiers can
choose to take the higher percentage of pay from the V.A., but in
some cases if they do so, they must pay back what they have received
so far from the Army.)
After 26 years of
service, the Army gave Col. Beeson, from the Army's Civil Affairs
Command, zero percent of his income as disability pay for his mental
wounds. Luckily, he still gets some retirement pay because of his
many years of service, but he says he struggles with his injuries
every day. He is appealing Walter Reed's decision.
Josh Sanders, from
the 1st Armored Division, got 30 percent from the Army, but the Army
also said his problems did not come from the war. "When I was over
there [at Walter Reed] the PEB (Physical Evaluation Board) process
was degrading. It is like pulling money from an insurance company.
All my paperwork says 'non-service connected.' If it is non-service
connected, then why am I getting 30 percent?" he asked. The V.A.
recently decided to give him 70 percent disability.
One Army reservist I
spent time with tried to return to his day job as a policeman after
the war, but his mental state prohibited him from carrying a gun.
The reservist cannot go back to policing, but since the Army decided
his mental problems did not come from the war, the small percentage
of disability pay he got is not enough to make ends meet, he said.
He's hoping the V.A. will give him more.
RenÚ Negron, the
former soldier who visited Soto-Ramirez before the suicide, was
given 30 percent of his pay until February 2006, when he'll be
reevaluated. Negron was a psychiatric patient at Walter Reed after
11 months in Iraq. At one point he checked himself into the
emergency room there because he thought he might kill himself. But
the Physical Evaluation Board determined that "the soldier's
retirement is not based on disability from injury or disease
received in the line of duty," according to a copy of Negron's
evaluation board proceedings. "This disability did not result from a
Negron, 48, taught hair care and
cosmetology before serving in Iraq as an Army specialist with the
Puerto Rico National Guard. Now, he says his debilitated mental
state after the war has left him unable to work. He drives two
hours each way for mental health treatment at a V.A. medical
center. "You think I can live on $700 a month?" Negron asked. "I
can't work. My wife is suffering. She can't leave me alone.
Sometimes I feel suicidal. Sometimes
I hear voices. Sometimes I see lights. I feel like I'm being shot
at. They sent me home like that. I've been dealing with this since
I got back," Negron said. "I left
here in good condition. If I have a mental condition, they have to
deal with it ... I did my part. Why can't they do their part?"
[Negron doesn’t get
it. They are “doing their part.” They are indeed doing their job.
Their job is saving money by denying soldiers their benefits so Bush
can buy his new billion dollar personal helicopter fleet, the war
profiteers can get their cut, and the political whores who fill
Congress can get their free medical care for life and their fat
paychecks. It’s just a question of priorities, so fuck the troops.
And hopefully one day payback will come to every one of the
predators on top. And hopefully it will come at the hands of the
very troops they fuck over now. Payback is overdue.]
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
6% Of Wounded Are
February 21, 2005 KATE WILTROUT, The
Advanced trauma care means more troops
in Iraq are surviving severe combat injuries that might have killed
them in earlier conflicts.
But 6 percent of
those wounded become amputees, twice the figure of previous wars.
Suffering On The
Mom Wishes Soldier
Son Would Head For Canada
February 16, 2005 BY PETER GORMAN. Ft.
families are in agony over Iraq.
Lynn Jeffries figured she knew about
emotional trauma from her years of working as a registered nurse in
the emergency room of a Lubbock hospital. Then in late 2003, her
24-year-old son Nathan, a sergeant in the Army’s 3rd Cavalry, was
deployed to Iraq — and Jeffries was soon dealing with the worst
emotional pain of her life, with almost nowhere to turn.
Nathan left for Iraq, Jeffries found herself unable to take care of
trauma patients; she left the emergency room to work as a hospice
nurse. “I just started crying at everything,” she said. “I was so
angry about this war, but at the same time I felt like I couldn’t
fight against it without betraying my son. It just ate at me every
day, more and more.”
Her depression grew
until, she said “at one point I thought of taking my own life in
order to get my son home. It’s just made me a
little crazy. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life — there were
days I could not even leave the house.”
Jeffries’ son was home on leave when
she spoke with Fort Worth Weekly, and she said she was feeling a
little better. But he was scheduled to go back to Iraq soon
thereafter. “What will happen the day I have to put him back on the
plane to go back?” she asked — and had no answer.
“I would do
anything to have him go to Canada, but he says his friends need him
and he can’t leave them.”
One of Teri Wills Allison’s two sons
is deployed in Iraq. The Austin woman said that since her son left
for that war zone, she has become so depressed that “though I’d
never taken pills before, I’ve needed Xanax just to get through the
day since my son’s deployment.”
[Horrible idea. Xanax is one of the most addictive legal drugs
going, and once addicted, which can happen quickly, people who can’t
get the next fix can go into convulsions, coma and death. Many
heroin treatment programs won’t treat people if they are addicted to
Xanax; too much trouble and too much risk. They have to detox from
Sharon Allen, from Fort Worth, held it
together during her son’s first tour in Iraq. Now he’s scheduled to
go back, and the news has shaken her to her core. I’m a wreck,” she
said. “I don’t know how I will get through this one.”
“The mothers and
fathers of the boys in Iraq, we’re getting by, but barely,” Wills
Allison said. “Some of them tell me they need a six-pack before bed
to fall asleep. Others can’t leave the house for fear they’ll come
home to have that call from the military waiting on the machine.
Some families are just torn apart by this.”
Nancy Lessin, who helped organize
military-family protests in front of the Pentagon during George W.
Bush’s inauguration, acknowledged that, “Every member of every
family who has ever sent a loved one to war has suffered.” But, the
Massachusetts activist said, “this one is different. The stresses
are different.” Her stepson, Joe
Richardson, served in Iraq during the invasion and is expected to be
called back for a second deployment there any day.
For some, the
feelings of helplessness are beyond endurance. In late November
2004, Marine Lance Cpl. Charles Hanson Jr. was killed in a
roadside bombing of his convoy in Iraq. One week later, on Nov.
30, his stepdad, 39-year-old Mike Barwick, entertained guests at
his Crawfordville, Fla., home with stories of the stepson he loved
Three days later,
just hours before guests were coming for a wake at the home
Barwick shared with Charles’ mother, Dana Hanson, Barwick shot and
killed himself. Family members were quoted in the local
newspapers as saying it was clear he simply couldn’t live with the
Misha ben-David, a drug and trauma
counselor from Austin, said he remembers his own family being torn
apart when his father went to Vietnam. He’s beginning to see the
same kind of trauma developing again now that his son is being
deployed to Iraq.
“The stress on the
family is unbearable,” he said. “I can already hear my ex-wife
starting to freak out, retreating into a ‘rah-rah, do you love your
son or not?’ frame of mind. We’ve got so much pressure on us from
people like the Fox network to see this as a black and white
issue—either you’re for the war and a patriot or you’re a no good,
There is also the
added stress — not just on the soldiers, but on the family members
as well — of involuntary tour extensions, multiple deployments,
and shortages while the troops are in the field of body and
vehicle armor and, sometimes, supplies as basic as drinking water.
“Put it all together, and what you’ve created is an emotionally
explosive situation,” said ben-David, an Military Families Speak
This is also the first war in which
soldiers have access to the internet, intended by the military to
keep morale up by keeping soldiers in regular contact with their
families. But there have been unintended consequences to such
regular contact as well.
“It’s not a letter
every couple of weeks, where parents can try to imagine that
everything is OK,” Lessin said. “With the internet we’re learning
that our loved ones don’t have enough food or water or weapon
replacements or armored vests, things that leave us feeling
eloquently described her feelings of helplessness in an essay that
initially appeared on the internet. One of the worst aspects of
this war, she wrote, is the wedge it’s driven between her and much
of her family. “They don’t see this war as one based on lies.
They’ve become evangelical believers in a false faith, swallowing
Bush’s fearmongering, his chickenhawk posturing and strutting, and
cheering his ‘bring ’em on’ attitude as a sign of strength and
resoluteness ... .
“These are the same
people who have known my son since he was a baby, who have held him
and loved him and played with him, who have bought him birthday
presents and taken him fishing. I don’t know them anymore.”
But for most families, MFSO and a few
other internet forums are the only things that even begin to fill
the void. “It’s the only place I can go at 4 a.m. when I can’t
sleep, even with the Xanax, to talk with people who feel like I do,”
Wills Allison said.
Vietnam, Iraq Wars
Cited For Minister's Suicide;
He Wrote That The
Latest Conflict Brought Back Unbearable Horrors
"He was a
casualty of Vietnam," Waggoner told the crowd of several hundred
gathered at St. Luke's. "After 38 years the horror never left
him. He lived with it, and he died with it."
February 22, 2005 By Mike Lewis,
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
He never was inclined to talk much about the damage, at least not to
his wife and children. They knew -- it was obvious -- that a land
mine in Vietnam took large portions of both of the Rev. Alan
McLean's legs 38 years ago.
They knew that the
single detonation in 1967 triggered ongoing waves of psychological
temblors when McLean heard helicopters or when war footage appeared
on the news. They knew that the decorated veteran was profoundly
distressed by the Iraq war, an anxiety that ran as deep as the
former Marine's patriotism.
But they didn't
know about the .45-caliber pistol. Or the suicide note in his
laptop, written but never printed out, seven days before he used
that pistol. In it, McLean, the popular rector of St. Luke's
Episcopal Church here, apologized to his wife, Betsy, and his
children for not being stronger. The war in Iraq, he said,
unbearably amplified his nightmares.
He said he'd had enough.
"35 Marines died
today in Iraq, only slightly more noticed than my legs," the former
second lieutenant typed on Feb. 4. "I did not get
any of my Marines of Charlie (Company) killed. It is possibly a
sign of God's presence there. Certainly not of my ability."
With his final
decision to call 911 from his church office and turn his pistol to
his chest on Feb. 11, McLean, 62, became a casualty of two wars,
his family members said.
the power of the war to take his life," said his daughter, Mary
Watkins, 29, of Tacoma. "And I really feel that though my dad's
been in Wenatchee, the war in Iraq killed him."
Betsy McLean, Alan's widow, agreed.
"That is why he killed himself," she
said while sitting in the family home as relatives, friends and
visitors drifted in and out. "Noticeably, it had become a burden,
the frustration about what was being said. He was anxious about the
soldiers coming home."
McLean discovered he first wanted to
be a soldier while working on his undergraduate degree at Harvard.
Some friends had enlisted. He felt a responsibility to serve,
In 1966, the collegiate rugby player
picked the Marine Corps, completed his degree and went into basic
He was commissioned a second
lieutenant and was sent to Vietnam. He had been there one month when
he stepped on the mine.
As a result, he was awarded the Purple
Heart and Bronze Star. After five months of surgeries and
rehabilitation -- his right leg was amputated above the knee; his
left, below -- McLean was out of the service and back in Cambridge,
On crutches and at a party, he began
chatting with the other person in the room also on crutches. "I had
broken my leg," recalled Betsy. "He asked if I wanted to sit down.
He said he needed to."
Betsy kidded him about needing to sit.
After all, she didn't. He said in a matter-of-fact way, "Well, I
lost my legs."
Betsy, who couldn't see past the
khakis to the prosthetics, said "Oh, sure," and chuckled. Then he
lifted a pants leg and showed her. She smiled at the memory.
"He was right."
The pair later married and moved to
Palo Alto, Calif., where McLean earned a master's degree in business
from Stanford University. In 1969, the Pillsbury Corp. hired him
for its finance department, and by the fall of 1970 the pair had
moved to Paris, where they would live for five years as McLean
climbed through corporate ranks.
Every year, Betsy said, he would bring
up the notion of becoming an Episcopal priest. Every year, something
would get in the way.
"It took him a while to get that
collar turned around," she said.
In the fall of 1985, he entered the
seminary. He never looked back.
"He loved his new life in the church,"
After graduating from the Christian
Theological Seminary in Indianapolis in 1990 at 42, he eventually
ended up as a pastor, first in Pine Bluff, Ark., and then Forest,
Va., before coming to St. Luke's two years ago. In all three places,
he made disabled access to the church a priority.
But stress disorder episodes dogged
The first Gulf War left him nearly
debilitated, his daughter said. Panic attacks followed the
whup-whup-whup of a helicopter. War footage, especially about
ground wars, left him shaken. Over the years, the reactions
"It got worse and worse," Betsy said.
"We stopped watching the news."
Unexpectedly, in the past couple of
years he began to talk more about his experiences, Watkins said. He
told his daughter about the mine, about how he was upended by the
In recent weeks, they chatted about
the war in Iraq.
"It's funny. I assess people for
suicides every day at work," said Watkins, who is a
behavioral-health specialist for Pierce County. "Looking at what my
dad had been doing with his life I would not have assessed him as
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experts
say the condition comes from a single event or a series of events
such as involvement in a war, natural disasters, sexual or physical
abuse, or any life-threatening trauma. The stress reaction can cause
nightmares, memory problems, feeling of imminent threat and
continual reliving of the event, among other things.
Once called shell shock or combat
fatigue, the disorder can be minor and disappear in months. Or they
can last for years, sometimes worsening.
Noted a war veteran
who attended a memorial service for McLean and asked that his name
not be used: "Many of us go through it in one way or another. Some
of us (veterans) never really get over it."
Six months after
the Iraq war began, McLean gave a sermon about having faith in what
the government was doing. His family and friends noticed the war
began to have an increasingly heavy effect on the rector.
Half a year later,
he offered a different view, one that divided parishioners in the
conservative farming town. He told the congregation he was no
longer sure the country was doing the right thing.
"Some people were upset with him,"
Betsy said. "But he was not unpatriotic by saying that. He was
deeply patriotic. He supported the troops, just not the war."
McLean is survived by two other
children: a son, Robb McLean of Albuquerque, N.M.; and a daughter,
Margaret Kennedy of Olympia.
In a memorial service Saturday -- 38
years to the day that McLean was wounded -- Spokane Bishop James
Waggoner Jr. said what his friend suffered from was "the human
condition" of what people can do and what they can endure.
"He was a casualty
of Vietnam," Waggoner told the crowd of several hundred gathered at
St. Luke's. "After 38 years the horror never left him. He lived
with it, and he died with it."
Stations Under Siege
"I've had people
throwing objects at me when I was driving by. I've had people who
as soon as they see me on the street, they cross to the other
side. Those situations never occurred before, and it makes me
wonder how far is this all going to go."
February 21, 2005 By DAMIEN CAVE
(Source Unknown; from internet.)
EAST ORANGE, N.J. -
The five United States Army
recruiters who work from a storefront office here arrived on the
morning of Feb. 5 to discover that a plate-glass window above the
main entrance had been shattered, along with a window in the Navy
office next door.
By noon, about 35 protesters were
marching out front with antiwar placards, condemning the American
invasion of Iraq and the recruiters' efforts to enlist new soldiers.
The group's leader, Lawrence Hamm, a
New Jersey civil rights activist, said the protesters had nothing to
do with the broken windows, and he condemned any violence against
the recruiters. The police have not found any evidence of a
But for the men on
the other side of the broken glass, and recruiters throughout the
New York area, the vandalism here underscored what they say are the
risks of signing up young people for the military during a war that
has polarized the American public.
The shattering of
windows here followed two similar incidents in New York City and a
third in the Midwest that week. On Jan. 31,
authorities said, recruiters at a station near the Flatiron section
of Manhattan reported that a door had been cracked, and that
anarchist symbols had been scrawled in red paint on the building.
That same day,
before dawn, the police arrested a 19-year-old Manhattan College
junior who they said threw a burning rag into an Army recruiting
station that was closed for the night in the Parkchester section of
the Bronx, and jammed the door locks with powerful glue. He was
caught carrying a handwritten note declaring that a "wave of
violence" would occur throughout the Northeast on Jan. 31, aimed at
the "military industrial complex" in response to American military
actions, the police said.
A day later in
Toledo, Ohio, a bucket of manure was thrown at the window of a
recruiting station that housed all four branches of the military,
the police said, and antiwar obscenities were scrawled on a nearby
Since the beginning
of 2003, there have also been more than a dozen other often violent
incidents aimed at military recruiters or property throughout the
country, according to the police, recruiters and
the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In a few cases,
vehicles have been set on fire; in others, blood has been thrown
through windows. Spokespeople for the armed
services have downplayed the incidents even as some recruiters have
increased security at their stations.
Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the
Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky., said that no recruiters
had been hurt and that most of the nation's nearly 1,700 Army
recruiting stations had not been harmed or attacked.
"We're aware that there are some
instances of damage to stations, and we're keeping an eye on this,"
he said. "But it is not something that has us overly concerned."
in the field, however, said that they remained on edge.
On Jan. 20, the day of President Bush's inaugural,
several hundred students at Seattle Central Community College
surrounded two Army recruiters on campus, shouting insults and
hurling water bottles until the recruiters were escorted away by
campus security. The protest was covered by The Army Times, and
several recruiters said that they feared such situations might
become more common.
Sgt. First Class
William C. Howard, a recruiter here in East Orange, said that the
antiwar sentiment seemed to have grown more aggressive. Though
recruiters are still frequently thanked for their service, he said,
the insults, dirty looks and other signs of discontent seem to be
"Within last year, the whole security
issue has become more of a concern with me," he said.
"I've had people throwing objects
at me when I was driving by. I've had people who as soon as they
see me on the street, they cross to the other side. Those
situations never occurred before, and it makes me wonder how far is
this all going to go."
Car Bomb Kills 2
Allawi Soldiers, Wounds 30
22 February 2005 (Reuters) &
BAGHDAD - A car bomb detonated near an
Iraqi troop convoy as it left Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone on
Tuesday, killing three soldiers and wounding 30, police and hospital
The attack happened
shortly after midday as the convoy was leaving a main Green Zone
exit near the Mansour district of western Baghdad.
Police said the car blew up as a commando unit was passing,
spraying shrapnel across a wide area.
The sound of the blast echoed across
IF YOU DON’T LIKE
It Really Was Blood
And That’s All It
February 20, 2005 Shailmanman,
Following is an
excerpt from an interview with John Perkins, author of "Confessions
of an Economic Hit Man", in which he reveals how the U.S. became
the world's largest superpower by forcing developing countries into
Copied below is
his reply about Iraq that confirms economic reasons for the
invasion, and Iraq's refusal to play along with imperialist wishes.
February 16, 2005. By Amy Goodman,
Iraq: How does
that fit in?
Well, Iraq followed
Saudi Arabia. After our tremendous success in Saudi Arabia, we
decided we should do the same thing in Iraq. And we figured that
Saddam Hussein was corruptible. And, of course, we had been
involved with Saddam Hussein anyway for some time.
And so the economic hit men went in
and tried to bring Saddam Hussein around, tried to get him to agree
to a deal like the royal House of Saud had agreed to. And he
didn't. So, we sent in the jackals to try to overthrow him or to
assassinate him. They couldn't. His Republican Guard was too loyal
and he had all these doubles.
So, when the economic hit men and the
jackals both failed, then the last line of defense that the United
States, the empire, uses these days, is the military. We send in
our young men and women to die and to kill, and we did that in Iraq
We thought Saddam Hussein at that
point was sufficiently chastised that now he would come around, so
the economic hit men went back in the 1990s, failed once again. The
jackals went back in, failed once again, and so once again the
military went in - the story we all know - because we couldn't bring
him around any other way.
Iraq had become
very, very important to us for many reasons. Its strategic location,
the fact that it controls a great deal of the water of the Middle
East, the Tigris and Euphrates both flow through and out of Iraq
and, of course, its oil.
And now we're not
so sure we can keep the House of Saud in control.
It's become extremely unpopular amongst its own people. Over 100
assassinations this year. We've been recently reading about the
U.S. Consulate being attacked in Saudi Arabia. The House of Saud is
losing control. It's very unpopular, partly because it accepted
this deal with the West. It did a lot like what the Shah of Iran
And Osama bin Laden, of course, is
very against it. But so are a tremendous number of Muslims around
So we've been
afraid that we're going to lose the grip on the House of Saud. One
way to protect against that is by taking over Iraqi oil fields,
which may be larger than those in Saudi Arabia.
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
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