GI SPECIAL 3A55:
Vietnam 1970: 155 mm artillery gun super-imposed over Vietnamese
If the American people knew how many innocent civilians were killed
by our own government during the Vietnam War, they would have panic
attacks. Same for Iraq.
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)
“We Can Win, And We
“But the linchpin
of the campaign I work with is to hollow out to the extent
possible the ideological support for the war inside the military,
as part of the larger campaign to show people in the US why this
war is being waged at their expense, and at the expense of their
“We can win, and
we will win. If we don't stop, we will defeat not just the war
drive, but imperialism itself. Have faith.”
By Stan Goff,
Master Sgt., U.S. Special Forces (ret’d) February
9, 2005 Green Left Weekly. Excerpts from
socialist and author
spent the majority of his military career in a field euphemistically
termed “Special Operations”.
Vietnam in 1970, Goff was deployed to eight countries designated as
“conflict areas”, including Grenada, El Salvador, Colombia,
Guatemala, Peru, the ill-fated US mission to Mogadishu, Somalia, in
1993 and Haiti in 1994. Goff also trained troops in Panama,
Venezuela, Honduras and Korea and taught military science at the US
Military Academy at West Point and tactics at the Army’s Jungle
School in Panama.
Goff is now a
member of the coordinating committee of Bring Them Home Now and has
a son serving in Iraq.
Weekly’s Kiraz Janicke asked Goff about his views
on the US war drive and the need to rebuild the global anti-war
Can you give me an
idea of the level of opposition to Bush's war drive within the US
That's difficult to do for at least
two reasons — first, because there is just no way of getting some
kind of representative sample for a number of demographic and
technical reasons, and second, because there are so many different
dimensions of “opposition”
What we can see are tendencies.
In the military
organizing that I have been involved with, we are seeing the
institutional breakdown of the military via the increasing numbers
of dissenters, deserters and refusers. We are connected with
various outreach and counseling efforts, so this is something we can
measure. And the numbers are climbing, fast.
The longer this
goes on, the worse it will be, and that's why there are cracks
developing inside the Pentagon. There are
generals who are both opposed to this war and devoted to the
You've seen the
iron fist of US imperialism in action first-hand. What was the most
significant factor in your political transition?
Well, going blind on the road to
Damascus makes a great drama, but that's not how I personally got
here from there.
I don't think there
was one outstanding factor that resulted in my embrace of
revolutionary politics, unless it was being in the military itself,
paradoxical as that might seem at first blush.
Any soldier with a
high level of intellectual curiosity is a potential political
Once we become
curious, our experience — if one works in combat arms as I did,
and actually spends a great deal of time deployed abroad — does
not incline us to a great deal of abstraction. An aversion to
abstraction makes a natural Marxist, I think. What Marxists call
fetishization and reification, soldiers call eyewash... or
sometimes there's a more scatological term.
characteristics that make a good soldier are also useful for
professional revolutionaries — knowing the distinction between
strategies, campaigns, and tactics, for example; coordination and
collectivity; discipline; mission focus; taking calculated risks; a
culture of criticism and self-criticism. And there is a principle
leaders learn early in the military — even though many fail to
follow it. That is, employ your unit in accordance with its
though, what motivates anyone to embrace revolutionary politics is
an element of faith — not the religious variety — but faith in the
ability of human beings to participate in their own history, and
in the possibility of a future society that is both conscious and
driven by human decency. There's a soldiers’ fatalism there, but
also that perennial human need to make meaning.
Any comments on
the US elections in Iraq? And any comments on the Iraqi resistance?
It appears that — as has been the case
from the very beginning — the US has once again wildly
underestimated the slum-cleric Moqtada al Sadr, who is possibly the
most popular — as opposed to “revered” in the case of Grand
Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most popular Shia cleric in the country.
With his amateur militias... there were very few former military
among them, the reason their casualties were so horrific... but with
them he shifted the political balance of power during last year's
Shia rebellion and forced Sistani to acknowledge Sadr's influence.
ceasefire, which humiliated the US which had sworn to arrest or kill
Sadr, Sadr has used his increased public stature to consolidate
political control over vast areas of Baghdad, turning them
effectively into US military no-go areas.
Sadr has been very coy on the election
question, probably to gauge the degree of influence Sistani would
actually exercise over both the process and the outcome of that
The US will have to somehow intervene
to ensure Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's continued influence over the
Iraqi National Assembly, because Washington has not the least
intention of allowing an Iraqi political body they prop up to orient
Bush's handlers must realize by now
that they are on the cusp of winning the Iran-Iraq War, and this is
definitely not the desired outcome for them.
is making noise like they want to attack Iran, even though they have
not the least capacity for such an action and it would be political
Sadr — as the Shia
cleric who made the most direct overtures to Sunni guerrilla forces
for a national united front — is now positioned to take the most
significant leadership role in the wake of the election, the next
time the Shias rebel... which will be when the afterglow fades and
the US is forced to expose its true agenda.
The armed resistance in the north
continues to grow apace, and the election has not changed that one
whit. But the real wild card here is Sadr, in my opinion.
have created a momentary political boost for the US administration
at home, but in the final analysis, it may be the biggest
political setback it has suffered to date. And war is purely
political at the end of the road.
Can the US war
drive be defeated?
In many ways it is
being defeated right now.
This is the most
important thing the left can grasp right now, in my opinion.
Failure to grasp this fundamental fact could lead to that very
fact being reversed because of demoralization and demobilization.
We are having a material effect on US power, and we cannot let up.
unfortunate result of the last 20 years of counter-revolution has
been the left's loss of its combat edge, if you'll forgive the
military language. Many people have taken to whining and putting on
But when the conditions are not
propitious — which they were not during the disintegration and
defeat of first epoch communism — we have to recognize that these
are the conditions.
By the same token,
when the conditions are favorable for intervention from the left, we
have to switch out emotional gears, and go back into overdrive.
A deep analysis
of the current conjuncture, some of us have been arguing, shows a
decaying US imperium that is increasingly fragile and increasingly
dependent on the two remaining pillars of its power — monetary
hegemony and its immense and immensely expensive military.
Part of that
military supremacy is real — the lethal high technology and capacity
to project it worldwide. But part of that is mystique, the belief
shared even by many on the left that this military is invincible.
Iraq is proving that it is not.
The United States
is objectively losing the war in Iraq, and it is caught in a
terrible dilemma. It can not win militarily, but it can not quit
politically. So it is paying a price, economically and
Our job globally, I think, is to
ensure that this price is as high as possible — both politically and
economically. Resistance to neoliberalism in any and all forms
right now, rebellion against the loan-sharking of the United States,
is very important in this regard.
Popular movements in the global South
must push hard for national default on external debts, for example.
Boycotting and shutting down US companies in these countries is
essential. If the movement needs a slogan, I've got one: Make them
Here in the US, we will continue to
put pressure on our craven elected officials at some level, through
escalating tactics including disobedience and even social
But the linchpin of
the campaign I work with is to hollow out to the extent possible the
ideological support for the war inside the military, as part of the
larger campaign to show people in the US why this war is being waged
at their expense, and at the expense of their children.
We can win, and we
will win. If we don't stop, we will defeat not just the war drive,
but imperialism itself. Have faith.
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.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS:
TASK FORCE LIBERTY
SOLDIER KILLED BY IED NEAR TUZ
February 23, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED
STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-02-34C
TIKRIT, Iraq – A
Task Force Liberty Soldier was killed by an improvised-explosive
device about 9 a.m. Feb. 23 near Tuz. The site
has been secured by Coalition Forces Soldiers.
During Third Tour In Iraq:
"But After Going To
Iraq Three Times, He'd Had Enough."
Feb 23, 2005 ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill.
(CBS/AP) A Marine killed in
hostile action in Iraq was on his third tour of duty there, and
while proud of his service, was ready to come home, a family friend
Cpl. John T. Olson, 21, was killed
Monday in hostile action in the Anbar Province of Iraq, the U.S.
Defense Department said Tuesday. He was assigned to Headquarters
Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force based
in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Olson is the 32nd
Marine from Illinois to die in Iraq since the war started.
His father, John Olson, said his son
graduated from high school in 2001 and joined the Marines right
after Sept. 11.
“My son was proud to be what he is,
that is a Marine," John told reporters late Tuesday. "He was proud
to defend our country, and we are proud of him. And we love him."
Family friend Marla White described
Olson, a graduate of Elk Grove Village High School, as an engaging
man who was close to his father, mother and 16-year-old sister.
White is acting as a spokesperson for the family.
"He wasn't a big guy, but he was a
tough little cookie," she said. "And he had the most beautiful
smile. He really lit up a room."
White, who lives across the street in
this Chicago suburb from Olson's parents, John and Diana Olson.
The family received word about Olson's
death Monday when three Marines came to the door.
"When Diana saw
them at the door, she screamed," said White. "She hasn't been able
to sleep since yesterday (Monday)."
A letter arrived
from Olson on the same day the family was told of his death.
"He was always
telling his mother not to worry," White said.
Diana Olson also recently received a
gold, diamond-studded necklace from her son as a gift.
"They were such a close-knit family,"
said White. "They were always together. It's heart wrenching."
And even though he was in Iraq, John
Olson found a way to call his 16-year-old sister last week on her
White said Olson saw his mission in
Iraq as a job that had to be done. When he returned home on leave,
dressed in his Marine uniform, he was embarrassed when people would
come up to him and thank him for his military service.
"He always volunteered for the heavy
duty jobs in Iraq, and he was never afraid," she said.
"But after going to Iraq three
times, he'd had enough."
His mother and
father were also wary when he recently returned to Iraq.
"The family was
feeling very nervous about the third tour," White said. "How many
times can you be lucky?"
Car Bomb Hits U.S.
Checkpoint In Ramadi
Feb 23, 2005 —RAMADI, Iraq
A car bomb blew up
at a U.S. military checkpoint in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on
Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Witnesses said a
car drove toward the checkpoint in the Sofiya district of the city
and blew up with U.S. troops standing nearby.
Earlier this week the 1st Marine
Expeditionary Force, backed by Iraqi troops, launched a security
sweep in Ramadi and other nearby towns to try to crush insurgents
holed up in the area.
60% Want Timetable
For Getting Out Of Iraq
Wall St. Journal 2.18.05
60% say the
administration should set a public or private
timetable for reducing U.S. troops. “The overall sense
of opinion here is, ‘We need to get troops home,’ says Democratic
pollster Peter Hart who conducts the Journal/NBC survey with
Republican Bill McInturff.
By 50% to
27%, Americans say Bush and Congress should focus on domestic issues
rather than terrorism and foreign policy.
embraced by at least 60%, are expanding health care, reducing the
deficit and improving public high schools.
Benderman To Face Court-Martial
February 23, 2005
FORT STEWART, Ga. — An Army hearing
officer has recommended a court-martial for a soldier charged with
desertion after he refused to deploy to Iraq last month.
Benderman, 40, would face a general court-martial, the most serious
type of court-martial, if Fort Stewart’s General Court Martial
Convening Authority accepts the recommendation.
Benderman, an Army mechanic, refused
to deploy with his unit Jan. 7 for a second tour in Iraq, 10 days
after he gave commanders notice that he was seeking a discharge as a
conscientious objector. He said
he became opposed to war after serving in the 2003 invasion.
Benderman has been
charged with desertion and missing movement. In a general
court-martial, he would face up to seven years in prison, reduction
in rank to private and a dishonorable discharge.
Benderman’s conscientious objector
application is being considered separately from the charges against
Fort Stewart officials say Benderman
should have obeyed orders to deploy with his unit, the 3rd Forward
Support Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division, while his objector
application was being processed.
Drugging Iraq Troops
(Army Times, February 28, 2005)
Some U.S. troops in
Iraq are given drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, as well as
sleeping drugs, to help keep them fit for combat duty, according to
a top military psychiatrist and physicians in the field.
Army Col. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, an associate professor of
psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health
Sciences, said that anecdotal reports she has received indicate the
drugs are working.
Pulls Officers Out Of Training For Iraq
(Washington Times, February 23, 2005,
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has
asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to provide options
for cutting back officer training "stress periods" - such as during
the war in Iraq - to allow greater numbers to be available for
deployment. At the same time,
the Army's 4th Infantry Division has decided to pull 29 officers out
of its 10-month professional education curriculum early to send them
What The Fuck?
(European Stars and Stripes, February
First lady Laura
Bush thanked service members and families who "serve without a
paycheck" during her first visit to Ramstein Air
Base in Germany. [Is this a tip
George has something new in mind to cut the budget deficit? Or is
she talking about the thousands of reservists who didn’t get their
military pay checks?]
VA Not Screening
Half Of Vets For PTSD
2/23/2005 Join Together Online
The Associated Press reported Feb. 17
that the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) has raised
concerns in a new report about the ability of the Veterans
Administration (VA) to cope with an expected flood of PTSD cases
among returning vets.
The VA says it has
already treated 6,400 veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars for PTSD,
but GAO noted that less than half of those using VA health services
are screened for PTSD.
Mysterious Death Of Guantanamo Physician
(Miami Herald, February 23, 2005)
Ten months after
the fact, the Pentagon disclosed the death of a Navy doctor at the
Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba. Pentagon spokesmen would not
explain the circumstances surrounding the death of Navy Cmdr. Adrian
Basil Szwec, 43, Chicago, a 19-year career naval
medical officer who died at the base on April 12.
Battling 'Pay Gap'
(Baltimore Sun, February 22, 2005)
As America enters the third year of
the Iraq conflict, the deployment is taking a financial toll on
part-time soldiers who make up about half of the 150,000 troops
there. Forty-one percent of
National Guard and Reserve soldiers are losing thousands of dollars
through a "pay gap" between their civilian salary and military pay,
Jobs Don't Always
Wait For Guards,
Soldiers Find Duty In Iraq Can Ruin Families' Finances
(San Francisco Chronicle, February 20,
2005, Pg. 1)
National Guard and Reserve troops are returning home from overseas
deployments and finding a range of difficulties-from paperwork
hassles to losing their homes and businesses-as they try to fit back
into civilian life.
By Arianna Huffington TRIBUNE MEDIA
The Bush administration has shown a
willingness to do just about anything to manipulate public opinion.
It paid pundits to say nice things about it. It spent lavishly to
create bogus--and, according to the comptroller general,
illegal--video news reports on the president's Medicare, education
and drug policies.
Now the Bushies are
taking things to the next level. Not content to buy their press
coverage retail, they are producing and distributing their own news
network. And, no, I'm not talking about Fox. It's the Pentagon
Channel, a 24/7 niche network brought to you by the Department of
Started last year as an internal
public relations unit within the Pentagon designed to keep U.S.
soldiers and their families informed about all things military, the
network is now expanding its reach to the general public. A number
of cable systems, including Time Warner, already carry the Pentagon
Channel--and the Dish Network will soon begin beaming the station to
its more than 11 million viewers right alongside the half-dozen porn
channels the satellite giant offers.
execs (there's a new phrase) say Pentagon Channel viewers can expect
programming that is "a mix between CNN and C-SPAN"--combining
military news and lifestyle shows with live coverage of military
briefings, speeches by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Congressional
appearances by The Man himself, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld.
So fire up those TiVos, disinformation
fans; Rummy TV is coming soon to a flat screen near you. "If you
hate the truth, you'll love DoD TV!"
Now, if Secretary
Rumsfeld were really interested in following the network's
motto--"Serving Those Who Serve"--he might want to consider a more
realistic lineup. How about:
-- "The Real World: Fallujah." What
happens when a group of former Abu Ghraib guards, forced to share a
bombed-out, camera-filled apartment in Fallujah with a collection of
their former prisoners, stop being polite? Series highlights:
Lynndie England hooking up at a Green Zone nightclub with a Baathist
hottie who turns out to be none other than the guy she had on the
leash! Then Mohammed, one of the ex-prisoners, getting wasted,
prank-calling new Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and asking him
if being sodomized with a broomstick sounds "quaint."
-- "Pimp My
Humvee." Xzibit, Mad Mike, Big Dane and the "Pimp My Ride" crew lend
a helping hand to American soldiers forced to scrounge through junk
yards in an effort to outfit their vehicles with the armor the
military has failed to provide--hooking our troops
up with protective plates, as well as slammin' paint jobs,
state-of-the-art sound systems, and spinning tire rims able to
detect the roadside explosives responsible for so many U.S.
casualties. The Humvees go from wimp to pimp while the soldiers go
from sitting ducks to Mac Daddies.
-- "Desperate Military Housewives."
There may be a lot of dark secrets on Wisteria Lane--but not half as
many as there are in the homes of America's military families.
"DMH" peels the curtain back on the home-front havoc being caused
by President Bush's stop-loss policies and the extended tours of
duty that result. Don't miss the
very special episode where the president promises to "support our
troops," then proposes a budget that slashes veterans' benefits and
leaves one in five military families needing food stamps or Women,
Infants and Children program aid to get by. Is it drama?
Is it comedy? We produce. You decide.
-- "Iron Chef, Iraq." It's military
cooking on an unlimited budget!
Watch as the master chefs at Halliburton show what kind of
battlefield-mess-hall-magic they can create with a noncompetitive,
no-bid, cost-plus contract that allows them to overbill the Pentagon
$186 million for meals that were never served. Who needs fast food
when you can feed the troops phantom food? Sponsored by (who
else?): "Halliburton, proud to serve our troops . . . and even
prouder of the money we rake in by not serving them!"
-- "Survivor: Pentagon." Forget
Africa, the South Pacific and the Australian Outback.
This classic reality show really
gets interesting when Donald Rumsfeld is cast adrift in the halls of
the Pentagon with a tribe made up of people he has clashed with and
helped push out the door, including former Secretary of State Colin
Powell, former Secretary of the Army Thomas White, former Army Chief
of Staff Eric Shinseki, former Secretary of the Air Force James
Roche, and former head of the Iraqi Occupation, Jay Garner. Outwit.
Outplay. Outlast. Out on your ass.
Will Rummy TV be a hit? Who can say?
As The Man himself once put it: "As we know, there are known
knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are
known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do
not know. But there are also unknown unknowns--the ones we don't
know we don't know."
[Dedicated to the
GI resistance troops who have served at FOB Warhorse.]
By Gina Cavallaro, Army Times Staff Writer
BAQUBAH, Iraq — The pre-dawn patrols
were routine for Alpha Company — deliberate sweeps of main supply
routes aimed at catching the people who plant killer roadside bombs
under cover of darkness.
Danger was more than a probability, it
was always present, and contact with the enemy was something
soldiers were prepared for.
But on June 24, the soldiers of 1st
Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment out of Wilmington,
N.C. —. part of the National Guard’s 30th Enhanced Separate Brigade
— had no clue they would be ambushed by more than 150 enemy
fighters. The fighters had infiltrated and set up firing positions
overnight as part of a coordinated multicity attack that claimed
scores of lives all over the country.
“It was one of those days we’ll be
talking about for the rest of our lives,” said Spc. Ralph Isabella,
one of the company’s medics.
The 3rd Platoon rolled out the north
gate of forward operating base Warhorse at 3 a.m. and was less than
a half-hour from wrapping up its three-hour patrol when insurgents
launched an aggressive ambush against them. The sun was coming up,
and the patrol were slowing to stop on the side of the road so the
drivers could switch out nights sights with daytime periscopes.
“I was thinking: ‘In 30 minutes we’ll
be off this patrol and I’ll get my laundry, I’ll get my breakfast,”
Bradley gunner Sgt. Charles Mclntyre recalled.
Then the first rocket-propelled
grenade sailed past the front of his tracked vehicle and exploded.
Within seconds, the 3rd Platoon
soldiers were thrust into full combat by masked fighters shooting at
them from positions in two- and three-story buildings on both sides
of the road. A hail of RPGs, small-arms fire and large-caliber
machine-gun fire showered the three Bradleys with lethal projectiles
that pinged, clanged and whizzed past.
Heading south, the platoon sped
through a half-mile-long kill zone and emerged relatively unscathed
on the other side, taking cover with a quick about-face, pointing
the frontal armor toward the enemy.
But the enemy kept creeping toward
them, expanding the kill zone.
Everyone recalled seeing enemy
fighters wielding RPGs, creating such a large number of targets that
they couldn’t fire fast enough. “There were more of them, about 30
to 50 guys, but we weren’t outgunned,” said McIntyre, one of three
gunners who returned fire from their 25mm cannons and coaxial
“These guys were very organized,”
Bradley commander Staff Sgt. Will Murray said.
After regrouping in the area just past
the ambush, 3rd Platoon was ordered to maintain contact with the
insurgents and bring them out into the open so the threat could be
assessed and reinforcements brought in. Stroud directed his platoon
to move toward the ambushers, who had already moved closer to the
platoon’s position, allowing the enemy to continue its attack from
both sides of the road.
The acrid smell of cordite hung in the
still morning air, and the unrelenting rain of metal destroyed water
cans and boxes of MREs strapped to the outside of the Bradleys. The
optical sights on one vehicle were damaged, and the turrets on the
two other Bradleys were immobilized when pieces of armor became
wedged under the turret, locking the guns into one position.
“On the fourth time through, they
started mortaring us, and off of a pedestrian crosswalk, they were
tossing down improvised explosive devices, but they missed,” Murray
said. The patrol had taken a dozen hits from RPGs, and no one was
hurt, but the experience left an indelible impression.
“When they hit the Bradley with an
RPG, the explosion was like a white flash of sunlight. It feels like
your brain is going to leak out your eyes,” Sgt. Jeff Dedrich said.
It was just before 6 a.m. when 3rd
Platoon was ordered back to Warhorse north of town so it could refit
and reorganize for a fight that showed signs of becoming a long
Picking up the baton, Alpha’s 1st
Platoon was dispatched to secure two bridges in the center of the
city. In addition to the platoon’s three Bradleys, the lineup
included tracks commanded by Capt. Christopher Cash and his
executive officer, 1st Lt. John Wilaby. The five Bradleys pushed
into the same ambush and made it to the site of the bridges, but
with tragic and irreversible consequences.
It was about 6:20 a.m. when Cash, 36,
was felled by a machine gunner perched atop a building.
Moments later, an armor-piercing RPG
ripped through another Bradley, mortally wounding gunner Spc. Daniel
Desens, knocking the Bradley’s commander unconscious and wounding
five other soldiers in the back of the vehicle.
The Bradley’s turret was in the nine
o’clock position when the projectile pierced the periscope on the
left side of the hull and struck the 25mm ammunition rack at
Desens’. feet. The high explosive rounds blew, shrapnel flew in all
directions and Halon gas filled the back of the track. All
communications were destroyed in a magic-bullet shot that sliced
through the wiring harness.
“We banged on the turret and there was
no response. It was kind of panicky. When you’re in the back of a
Bradley, you don’t really know what’s going on,” Spc. Christopher
Durham said. Without their ability to communicate with the driver
or the turret crew, the men, in the back of the track had no idea if
the Bradley was careening with no one at the helm, he said.
The only working radio was a manpack
in the back of the vehicle, but the thunderous roar of the tracked
vehicle overpowered their voices.
The driver was unhurt and in control,
but without communication with the rest of the crew — most of whom
were wounded. He stayed the course to the bridges, following the
Bradley in front of him. It was only when they stopped and set up
security at the bridges that the wounded were tended to and
Desens, everyone recalled, continued
shooting after he was hit, even though his femoral artery was
destroyed and, part of his leg was blown away by the ammo
explosion. “We had to pry his fingers off the gun,” said Isabella,
who confirmed that Desens, 20, killed the man who shot the RPG
before he slumped down into the turret.
Sgt. Chad Stephens climbed to the top
of the Bradley under fire and hoisted Desens up and out of the
“He had lost a lot of blood, but he
was breathing and had a pulse,” Isabella said.
The 1st Platoon Bradleys pulled away
from the bridges and began speeding toward nearby forward operating
base Gabe for medical evacuation and treatment of the other wounded.
Desens stopped breathing and Isabella
revived him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation three times,
including once when the Bradley carrying the wounded was hit by an
RPG and filled with Halon gas.
Both Cash and Desens died on the
10-minute helicopter ride to a combat support hospital in Balad.
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
“Why I Won't Fight
“It’s A War For
February 15, 2005 George Solomou, The
I am resigning from
the Territorial Army because I believe the war in Iraq is wrong.
This has not been an easy decision. I have been
in the TA for five years - years in which I have learned a lot; won
a humanitarian award for helping save the life of a fellow soldier;
made many friends; and, I hope, contributed something to this
I have no doubt that some of my fellow
soldiers will feel I am letting them down. Since I have spoken out
against the war in the last few weeks I have had a lot of support
from soldiers, but I have also been called a coward. I am a trained
medic and there is no doubt my skills could be used in the field to
save lives. But after a lot of soul-searching I have concluded my
priority must be to try to save lives by taking a public stand
against this war.
So I am resigning because I don't want
to fight a war that is unjustified and illegal. But I also have a
deep concern that British soldiers are being used in Iraq.
Soldiers from my
regiment tell me that much of their work in southern Iraq involves
protecting convoys of oil tankers shuttling between Basra and the
Kuwaiti border. Their stories have just confirmed my growing
cynicism about the motives for the war.
It has taken me two
years to be able to say it, but I really believe that our foreign
policy is being driven by the needs of US power, particularly the
need to control the flow of oil.
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.
Of Skimpy Funding In Bush's Budget Plan
February 22, 2005 By Ann McFeatters,
Post-Gazette National Bureau
WASHINGTON -- Alfred J. Casey, 82, of
White Oak, is a news junkie. Every day he reads newspapers, watches
TV and devours magazines. And ever since he read about the
president's proposed budget earlier this month, he's been stewing.
"I think this
administration is cutting money from the veterans, and that will
hurt a lot of people in Pittsburgh," said Casey, who served in the
Ardennes in France in World War II. "A lot of veterans are in bad
shape healthwise. A lot of people in this country forget that
besides those who don't come back, many come back needing help for
the rest of their lives."
Anthony Principi, Veterans Affairs
secretary during Bush's first term, told reporters recently that the
nation was simply not spending enough on its veterans. Principi
noted that nearly one in five soldiers returning from Iraq or
Afghanistan is suffering from mental health problems because of
urban warfare's stresses.
Principi is not popular with many
veterans, however, because he acted while secretary to rule that
many of them are no longer eligible for health care from the VA.
Because thousands of veterans were waiting an average of 38 days
(and a quarter of them waited two months) for appointments at the
department's hospitals and 856 out-patient clinics, Principi
rationed care in favor of the less well-off and disabled.
That meant thousands were shut out
of the system. Even Principi's deputy, Gordon Mansfield, injured in
Vietnam, was turned away from six overbooked VA centers.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, who has
served on the House Veterans Affairs Committee for much of her more
than two decades in Congress and who sponsored a bill that led to
erecting the World War II Memorial in Washington, said her reading
of the president's budget shows that it would fall $15 billion below
what is needed for veterans over the next five years.
"So how are we
going to care for all those new veterans with serious injuries
coming home?" she asked. "For nursing homes, they cut $351 million.
They [the administration] would eliminate state grants and would
serve 24,000 fewer patients. Only those who are highly disabled
will be served.
Some Republicans as well as Democrats
were dismayed by the president's budget request. Sen. Larry Craig,
R-Idaho, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said the
amount requested would not even keep pace with the current level of
services, let alone improve them, keep up with inflation or help
returning soldiers from the Middle East.
White Oak's Casey, who knows a lot of
veterans, says most of them think they have lost benefits in recent
years. He said he is convinced that America as a nation is showing
less and less gratitude toward its veterans and is less determined
to keep its promise to make certain that veterans get good care.
"It's par for the
course," Casey lamented. "After the war is over, our government
forgets about the veterans."
Vets Fucked Over
“By The Way, Better
Not Get Wounded Or You'll Have To Pay Extra For Your Health Care.”
Feb. 7, 2005 WASHINGTON
The leader of the
nation's largest military veterans organization reacted strongly to
the effects that President Bush's budget plan will have on
veterans. He called it a smoke screen to raise revenue at the
expense of veterans.
"This is not acceptable," said Thomas
P. Cadmus, national commander of the 2.7 million-member American
Legion. "It's nothing more than
a health care tax designed to increase revenue at the expense of
veterans who served their country."
referring to the portion of the proposed budget that would double
the co-payment charge to many veterans for prescription drugs and
would require some to pay a new fee of $250 a year to use their own
their own health care system.
"Is the goal of these legislative
initiatives to drive those veterans paying for their health care
away from the system designed to serve veterans?" Cadmus asked.
"The President is asking Congress to make "health care poaching"
legal in the world's largest health care delivery system."
"When the President
first came to Washington, among his first official acts was to
triple the prescription co-payment from $2 to $7," Cadmus said.
"Once again, the President wants
to double the co-payment and fortunately, Congress has
wisely rejected that proposal. Making veterans pay for timely
access to quality health care is wrong."
This is the third year in a row the
President has attempted to establish an enrollment fee for those
veterans making co-payments and third-party reimbursements to the
"Many of these
veterans are Medicare-eligible and already paying the federal
government for their part A and B coverage, so why should they have
to pay an additional enrollment fee? VA can't even bill Medicare,"
Cadmus said. "Other veterans with private health insurance make
co-payments and then VA is reimbursed for services. Again, why
should they be forced to pay an additional $250 to go to VA medical
"During my visits
to VA hospitals, I have not run into Bill Gates, Donald Trump, or
Ross Perot seeking care. I see mostly veterans -
many on small fixed incomes - trying to make ends meet and
exercising their very best health care option." Cadmus observed.
"Veterans' health care is an ongoing
expense of war," he added. "You don't thank veterans for serving
their country and then tell them,
'By the way, better not get wounded
or you'll have to pay extra for your health care.' This
is offensive to every veteran in America. That is why this
government must move VA health care out from under the umbrella of
discretionary spending to mandatory spending," Cadmus stressed.
"As young Americans
in uniform battle terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 119
other countries, it is incomprehensible that our veterans will pay
for the shortfall in VA health care funding from their own pockets
as tax dollars flow out the back door of America,"
"Our budget request
is very realistic when you consider the Secretary has slammed the
door in the face of hundreds of thousands of veterans eligible, but
currently forbidden from seeking quality care from VA."
"The current appropriations process is
broken and is not adequately funding VA medical care," Cadmus said.
service member in harm's way should ever have to question the
nation's commitment to veterans. This is the wrong message at the
wrong time to the wrong constituency."
Said John Furgess, the VFW's
commander-in-chief, "This budget
will cause veterans' health care to be delayed and may result in the
return of six-month-long waiting periods. That is especially
shameful during a time of war."
"The message that
this budget communicates is that part of the federal government's
deficit will be balanced on the backs of military veterans," he
said, "because it's clear that the proper funding of veterans health
care and other programs is not an Administration priority."
The budget proposal slashes $351
million from veterans' nursing homes by serving 28,000 fewer
residents and significantly reduces state grants from $114 million
to $12 million.
It cuts $4 million from medical and
prosthetic research, bringing to $53 million the total amount cut
from research in two years.
increase of 113 employees to help process veterans disability claims
barely covers the number of positions that were deleted just last
year, and won't begin to make a dent in the current backlog of
480,000 compensation and pension claims, a number of which are from
veterans from the current war
February 24, 2005 AFP & (CNN) & Middle
In the key northern
oil city of Kirkuk, a police officer was killed and another wounded
when an unknown person opened fire on them in a
restaurant at breakfast time, local officials said.
"A police officer was killed and
another wounded this morning at 6:00 am when an unknown person
opened fire on them in a restaurant in the centre of Kirkuk," said
police Colonel Adel Zin al-Abidin.
Salman Abderahman was hit by nine
bullets and his colleague was slightly wounded, he said, adding that
two suspects had been arrested.
An Iraqi soldier
was killed and another wounded in a mortar attack on their base
early Wednesday near Dhuluiya, 75 kilometres north
of Baghdad, police said.
strike on an Iraqi base near Tarmiya, north of Baghdad, killed two
soldiers, an army officer said.
subcontractor working on an Iraqi base was killed and another
wounded in an attack on their car near Suleyman Beg,
200 km north of Baghdad, the wounded man told AFP.
"The attackers concentrated on my
colleague Nader Shawkat and they left as soon as they saw he was
dead," said Ahmad Ghali.
assassinated an official in Diyala province who was a member of the
Dawa Party. "Khalil Ali Shuker, a local
representative from Dawa, was killed Tuesday around 7:30 pm by a
group of three men in the centre of Moqdadiyah," around 100
kilometres north of Baghdad, a police officer said.
missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the
land. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. When we
opened them, we had the Bible in our hand, and they had the
land." -Jomo Kenyatta, Kenyan independence
leader and first president
Silence No More
Now, here it is
2005, and I see the same horror happening all over again. If
anyone does not understand the lies of the Vietnam War, they will
not understand the lies of Iraq. Vietnam was a crime scene, from
the Delta to the DMZ. ( The U.S. government dropped 8,000,000
tons of bombs on Southeast Asia.)
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Subject: Conspiracy of Silence No More
From: Mike Hastie,
U.S. Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71
To G.I. Special,
A year before I went to Vietnam, I
went through a 41 week advanced training as a medic. This course
was at Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver Colorado. There were
two rotations I remember the most: Orthopedic, and the psyche ward.
There were a lot of amputees there
from Vietnam. Lots of young American soldiers without limbs. I
would see them in the hospital, and everywhere on the hospital
grounds. Most of them had been injured by mines and booby traps.
I could see the anger and pain in
their faces as they wheeled past me. Very seldom would they make
Shortly before I
got orders for Vietnam, I witnessed " shock therapy " on a young
soldier who had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic. In reality, he
was suffering from " Post-Traumatic Stress," from his experiences as
a combat soldier in Vietnam. Seeing him practically jump off the
bed after being shocked, was not an easy thing to watch.
Ten years later, I found myself in a
padded cell of a VA hospital, reflecting back on what I saw on that
psyche ward in 1969.
I was filled with
absolute rage, and hatred for the country I was born in. I felt
like America had thrown me away like a paper cup after a movie.
Several months before I was admitted
to the hospital, I can remember having fear every time I saw an
American flag. In retrospect, the flag represented a punishing
parent, something I could no longer trust.
My belief system
was dismantled, and along with that profound sense of reality came
the truth. My greatest revelation of being in Vietnam, was the
overwhelming realization that I was the enemy in Vietnam.
catapulted me into another world. Now, I truly understood why I
never received any validation from mainstream America. My political
beliefs threatened the norms of society, and virtually everyone I
came in contact with. This went from relatives, old high school
friends, and the gamut of VA mental health. It was like walking
into an ambush.
Now, here it is
2005, and I see the same horror happening all over again. If
anyone does not understand the lies of the Vietnam War, they will
not understand the lies of Iraq. Vietnam was a crime scene, from
the Delta to the DMZ. ( The U.S. government dropped 8,000,000
tons of bombs on Southeast Asia.)
If anyone does not believe this, they
need to make a trip to Vietnam, and talk to the Vietnamese about the
American War. I did this in 1994, and five months after I returned,
I was admitted to another psychiatric facility for severe
The Bull Shit of
the Vietnam War had a long shelf life for me. This same Bull Shit
is now being manifested in this war in Iraq. It has become a
runaway freight train, and it is going to crash into every home in
America--except the rich.
As Senator Bob
LaFollette once wrote: " Wealth has never yet sacrificed itself on
the alter of patriotism."
As a medic in Vietnam, when you see a
teenage American soldier take his last breath, or a Vietnamese
civilian, you are changed forever.
This war in Iraq is
a bright shinning lie.
Every time I see
the word WAR, I see three words, Wealthy Are Richer.
I will scream this
truth even if it kills me.
"There is no rest
for the messenger, until the message has been delivered."
You Do The Math
2.23.05 By Tom Engelhardt & Nick
factions of the insurgency are usually described by American
officials as having in total perhaps 10,000-20,000 members -- and
nearly ten thousand Iraqis are imprisoned for activities assumedly
related to the insurgency.
You do the math and try to explain it.
Either we have
close to the whole insurgency in jail, or we're holding an awful lot
of innocent people, or the insurgency is far bigger than anyone
cares to imagine.?
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Pentagon Is Lying
Its Way Out Of An Unwinnable War – Again
2005-02-22 Col. David Hackworth
(ret’d), Nashua Telegraph (New Hampshire)
As with Vietnam, the Iraqi tar pit was
oh-so-easy to sink into, but appears to be just as tough to exit.
This should be no big surprise! Most
slugfests - from bar brawls to military misadventures like Vietnam
and Iraq - take some clever moves to step away from once the
This is why most
combat vets pick their fights carefully. They look at their scars,
remember the madness and are always mindful of the fallout.
That’s not the case
in Washington, where the White House and the Pentagon are run by
civilians who have never sweated it out on a battlefield. Never
before in our country’s history has an administration charged with
defending our nation been so lacking in hands-on combat experience
and therefore so ignorant about the art and science of war.
increasingly flummoxed Bush team is stealing the page on
Vietnamization from Nixon’s Exit Primer, coupled with the same
deceitful tactics he used to get us out of the almost decade-long
Vietnam quagmire: telling lies.
The Nixon gang kicked off its con in
1969 via a killer of a PR snow job to pacify an American public
whose support for the war was exhausted. The guts of this spin show
were: We have clobbered the enemy; the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN)
is main-event material and ready to take over the fighting; and we
can bring our troops home. This
propaganda was supported by ARVN combat-readiness reports
systematically doctored by our brass to show that the units we were
advising were good-to-go.
I was on the ground
as an adviser to ARVN when the campaign launched, and I was
completely floored. Even the elite outfits -
Rangers, Special Forces, paratroopers - were not fully capable of
defending their country when put to the test. And these gung-ho
troops were ARVN’s finest.
Average ARVN grunts down in the ordinary infantry divisions were so
ineffective that they couldn’t have fought their way out of a
day-care center without massive U.S. air support.
Meanwhile, U.S. units started
redeploying. Two years after the last grunt climbed on the last
silver “freedom bird” and headed home, ARVN folded like a wet
All that blood,
sacrifice and billions of American taxpayer dollars went for
naught because politicians hadn’t worked out the endgame before
Round One. And then their solution-without-honor was to lie their
way out of a no-win war.
Thirty-five years later, President
Bush told the nation that Iraq had nine fully trained combat
infantry battalions. Just as he was proclaiming the prowess of the
Iraqi army, a major in the Iraqi Training Command told me that the
soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, when committed to their first battle,
threw down their weapons and ran. “Not sure where the president is
getting his info, but we have only one battalion that’s good-to-go,”
want to know: Is our president still being fed bad skinny comparable
to the intel incorrectly linking Saddam to Sept. 11 or claiming that
Iraq was chockablock full of weapons of mass destruction?
More recently, Pentagon hype claimed
140,000 trained and equipped Iraqi troops were set to go toe to toe
against an estimated 15,000 insurgents. But when congressional
pressure from both Republicans and Democrats lit fires around the
feet of both Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Joint
Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, they were quick to admit that
only 40,000 Iraqi soldiers were ready to meet the tiger. The rest,
according to Myers, “were useful in less-taxing jobs . . . in
relatively stable southern Iraq.”
Adam Smith Had It
"The workmen desire to get as much,
the masters to give as little as possible. The former are disposed
to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower the wages
of labour… But whoever imagines,
upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of
the world as of the subject. Masters are always and every where in
a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise
the wages of labour above their actual state."
legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and
their workmen." "Its counselors are always the masters.
When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is
always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in
favour of the masters."
"People of the same
trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion, but the
conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some
contrivance to raise prices."
Profiteers Uncle Gets Half Million $
(Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2005)
The Iraq war helped bring record
earnings to St. Louis-based defense contractor Engineered Support
Systems, and new financial data show that the firm's war-related
profits have trickled down to a familiar family name: Bush.
William H.T. "Bucky" Bush, uncle of the president and youngest
brother of former President George H.W. Bush, cashed in ESSI stock
options last month with a net value of nearly half a million
Bush Gets Hot
Welcome In Mainz
Feb 23, 2005 By Alexandra Hudson,
MAINZ, Germany (Reuters)
protesters, many carrying banners reading "Bush go home," "No. 1
Terrorist" and "Warmonger," marched through the German city of Mainz
on Wednesday, but were mostly kept away from the visiting U.S.
The official rally,
which was twice as big as expected, never got within earshot of
President Bush, but a small group of protestors rushed toward his
car as he left to visit a U.S. base in nearby Wiesbaden.
Police wrestled several demonstrators to the ground and led them
away in handcuffs, a Reuters witness said.
Bush was visiting Germany for the
first time since the 2003 Iraq war, which Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder and most Germans opposed.
Pakistan Army Told
To Fire At Intruding Americans
February 24, 2005 By Khalid Hasan,
Pakistan has issued new rules of
engagement permitting its Army to fire at US forces that cross the
border from Afghanistan without coordinating first, according to a
report contributed to the magazine ‘American Conservative’ by a
former CIA officer.
Philip Giraldi, now an international
security consultant and writer of intelligence matters, writes in
the February 28 issue of the magazine’s ‘Deep Background’ column
that “President Musharraf has
been receiving angry reports from his military that US forces have
been engaging in hot pursuit across the border in violation of
Earlier Giraldi, quoting Seymour
Hersch, reported in ‘Intelligence Brief,’ a newsletter he co-edits
that the White House has given the Pentagon permission “to operate
unilaterally in a number of countries where there is a perception of
a clear and evident terrorist threat,” including Algeria, Sudan,
Yemen, Syria, Malaysia and Tunisia.
The chain of command reportedly
includes Donald Rumsfeld and two of his deputies.
To: GI Special
Sent: February 23, 2005:
Subject: The Slaughter
You might be interested in this,
someone may like to know besides people who worry about their
Cher on Cspan
This morning. Transcript provided by
CHER c-span transcript
Peter Slen, C-Span Moderator: Good
Morning Miami Beach
caller: Good morning! Thank you for
C-span, I watch it every day!
Uh, I would like to say i had the
occasion the other day to spend the entire day with troops that had
come back from iraq & had been wounded and..um...I also visited
troops during the Vietnam era...but the thing that I was most
shocked by...um...as I walked into the hospital the first person i
ran into was a boy about 19 or 20 years old who'd lost both of his
arms...and when I walked into the hospital & visited all these boys
all day long...uh...everyone had lost either one arm...one limb or
two limbs or had lost one limb and there were...
there were a lot of
legs that seemed to be missing and a couple of the boys told me it
was because that their vehicles ...that the rockets pierce the
vehicles so much its like being kind of in a tin can...it doesn’t
have...there isn’t...the walls of the humvees are very soft and
there’s no protection...but three guys in the same
vehicle have lost a leg. ...and another thing that I saw was
that...um...if they'd lost one leg that... that shrapnel that had
hit the other leg had been so devastating that they were having to
pull like the thigh...you know...the muscle and the thigh around the
bottom of the calf to try to make the leg workable but in some cases
these boys had lost one leg and the other leg was so damaged that
they weren't sure what they were gonna be able to do.
C-Span Moderator: Where did you spend
C-Span Moderator: And you’re down in
Miami beach, back in Miami beach?
caller: I'm down here today.
C-Span Moderator: what were you doing
at Walter-reed? are you a volunteer?
caller: no, I was just asked to come
and spend the day. I was working that day in Washington, DC and...
C-Span Moderator: what kind of work do
caller: um, I’m an entertainer.
C-Span Moderator: oh, what kind of
entertaining? are you USO?
caller: no, I actually was called by
the USO but I'm...I'm...I'm just...I'm an entertainer. And I really
don’t want to go much past that but...um...
C-Span Moderator: Is this CHER?
C-Span Moderator: (worshipful silence)
ok. And you spent the day at Walter-Reed.
And I spent the day with, I mean they
were great guys...and the the men that took me around were in
the...you know...the services, you know, they were fabulous
men...uh...Mike and John ...and they these boys had unbelievable
courage and they still said for the most part that they were glad
that they did it, they felt that it was their duty...and there were
a few of the national guards that felt it was their duty that once
they were over there but they wondered why they were taken out of
America to spend that much time as actual service men when they
really felt that their job was to be, you know, protecting this
...but I I have to say that they had
the most unbelievable courage and it took everything that I have as
a person to...to not...you know... break down while I was talkin to
these guys...but I just think that if there was no reason for this
war this was the most heinous thing I'd ever seen... and also I
wonder why...why are none of Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bremer, the
president, why aren’t they taking pictures with all these guys?
Because I don’t
understand why these guys are so hidden and why... and why there
aren’t pictures of them because you know, talking about the dead and
the wounded...that's two different things but these wounded are so
devastatedly wounded...you know...that I think that... the
wounded...its just... it’s unbelievable...its just unbelievable to
me and I’m an independent but I....
C-Span Moderator: Are you supporting
anyone yet for 2004?
caller: I'm not a bush supporter, that
for sure...and I'm definitely not Ashcroft or Cheney or any of
them...but I would just like to see them have...you
know, if you’re going to send these people to war then don't hide
them, you know...and have some... have some news coverage where
people are sitting and talking to these guys and seeing how they are
and seeing their spirit and its just... I just... I think its a
C-Span Moderator: When you were up
here for your farewell concert earlier this month, is that when you
went to Walter Reed?
C-Span Moderator: Ok well thanks for
your time this morning, thanks for watching.
caller: Oh I have to tell you I watch
you every day and I really
appreciate it because I go all over the world and I must say that
the news we get in America has nothing to do with the news that you
get outside of this country And I think that’s why
people don't..people don't understand why so many of the allies did
not...you know, our usual allies did not join us because if you get
outside the United States you hear a different kind of news you know
C-Span Moderator: What's your favorite
news source outside the US?
Caller: Well there’s a source that I
really like inside the US that gives you special documentaries
called WORLDLINK but I think my favorite source outside the US is
BBC because they are our allies but you still get...on the nightly
news you get...you know, much more coverage and I think much more
honest coverage...I don’t know, I
guess they're not...well...they're independent so they're not owned
by any of the major corporations that are... you know, have vested
interest in this war.
C-Span Moderator: thanks for your call
caller: ok, thank you!
This was done in Oct. 03. A very classy lady.
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