GI Special:



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Vietnam:  They Stopped An Imperial War

(From http:// www.gifightback.org)





March and Rally Will Be Largest Held Near Ft. Bragg Since Vietnam


On March 19, the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, military families, veterans, communities, congregations and activists from around the U.S. will march in Fayetteville, North Carolina to voice their opposition to the war in Iraq.


Fayetteville is home to Ft. Bragg, one of the largest military bases in the U.S., headquarters of the US Army 82nd Airborne Division and the Special Forces Command (Green Berets), and is adjacent to Pope Air Force Base.


Last year's mobilization, the biggest demonstration in Fayetteville since the Viet Nam War, drew 1500 people to the small central North Carolina city, and gained national media attention.


“This year,” said Lou Plummer of Bring Them Home Now! and Fayetteville Peace With Justice, “we’re upping the ante.”


The march this year is expected to be one of the largest on the East Coast and will draw participants from across the country.


“Already, we have been contacted by grandparents who are driving from Texas with their three grandchildren to help end the war,” said Plummer.  “Family members of deployed soldiers are coming from as far away as Vermont, Ohio and Hawaii to be in Fayetteville on the 19th.”


Information about the event is posted at www.ncpeacejustice.org.


The heavy involvement of veterans and military families makes the Fayetteville march and rally unique among the more than 300 demonstrations that will take place around the country on March 19.


Originating sponsors for this year’s march include Bring Them Home Now!, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans for Peace.  Other sponsors include Fayetteville Peace With Justice, North Carolina Council of Churches, North Carolina Peace & Justice Coalition, Quaker House, and United for Peace and Justice.


“Organizations of veterans and military families opposed to the war in Iraq continue to grow,” Plummer added.  “More than 50 people from  our community have been killed in Iraq.  Many more than that have been  wounded.  Nearly one out of five soldiers deployed in Iraq comes from North Carolina, many from Fort Bragg and the Fayetteville area.  Our government continues to kill Americans and Iraqis in the name of peace.  We’re holding the march here in Fayetteville to show that military families and veterans know what others know: that we are all negatively affected by the war and occupation in Iraq, and by its consequences at home.” 


Over the past three years, North Carolina has become home to one of the South’s most vibrant anti-war movements.


From the 8,000 person-strong demonstration on the Old State Capitol grounds in Raleigh the month before the invasion of Iraq, to the local constituents who pushed conservative Republican Congressman Howard Coble to announce that he was calling for a return of the troops home, North Carolinians  have resisted the war along with tens of millions of people worldwide.


The march and rally on March 19 form the centerpiece of a full  weekend of activism in Fayetteville.


A press conference on Friday the 18th will feature Lila Lipscomb, a Gold Star Mother seen in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911, and Michael Hoffman, co-founder of Iraq  Veterans Against the War.


In the evening nationally known hip-hop  artists Ricanstruction and Little Brother will headline a concert at Fayetteville’s Seabrook Recreation Center.


On Sunday March 20 the organizers of the event will meet with others from across the South for a one-day gathering entitled “Organizing in the South: Strengthening  Our Communities, Sharpening Our Skills”.


The first national meetings of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families for Peace are also scheduled for that day in Fayetteville.



GI Resistance To This War Is Alive:

“We Never Won An Election, But We Stopped The War”


The Viet Nam generation knows that we never won an election, but we stopped the war, and that the importance of GI resistance in stopping a war can not be overstated.


This message came from the Code Pink web site

From: Randy Rowland, Presidio 27 Mutiny (1968)

Sent: February 26, 2005 10:59 PM


Dear Friends,


This is the message I have been waiting for.


This divides the past from the future.


GI resistance to this war is alive and this is a message that will connect with many GIs who know just how true it is.


When Nixon withdrew ground troops from Viet Nam, going to the air war and "Vietnamization" of that war, it was--as the Pentagon later admitted--because the US Army had become "unreliable."


As a GI resister from those days, I take considerable pride in having helped that to happen.


The Viet Nam generation knows that we never won an election, but we stopped the war, and that the importance of GI resistance in stopping a war can not be overstated.


Before I even considered becoming a GI resister, I had a picture of Capt. Howard Levy, the doctor who refused to train Green Berets, taped inside the door of my wall locker in the barracks.


I was greatly influenced by his stand, and truth is, he was not nearly as clear or convincing as what you will read below.


Still, I followed Howard Levy, and others followed me.


Camilo Mejia represents the moral high ground that begins with him, but has the potential to go quickly to a thousand vets throwing their medals at the capitol steps.


This is the message I have been waiting for:


Great News!

Camilo Mejia Released From Prison


We were delighted to receive a phone call yesterday, February 15, from Camilo Mejia, letting us know that he has just been released from prison.


Some of you might remember Camilo, a courageous soldier who spent more than 7 years in the military, 8 months fighting in Iraq, came home for a 2-week furlough, and decided that he could not—in good conscience—return to Iraq.


He applied for Conscientious Objector status, and was declared a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.  But the US military convicted him of desertion, and sent him to serve a one-year prison sentence in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.


This happened the same day that Spc. Jeremy Sivits was court-martialed and sentenced to a year in prison for abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, an order Camilo had refused to obey.


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.






Bartlesville Soldier Killed;

“Her Son Was Not Happy To Return To Iraq”


Feb 28, 2005 KOTV


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The fact that Adam Noel Brewer was just weeks away from finishing a second tour of duty in Iraq and returning to Oklahoma made his death even harder for family members to take.


Brewer, 22, chatted online with his 19-year-old sister, Jennifer Sullivan, just three days before his death, saying he'd be home soon, his mother, Karen Brewer, said.


"When I got the phone call, it was so close to him coming back," his father, Jeffrey Brewer, said. "It just devastated me."


Jeffrey Brewer said the last time he spoke with his son, Adam Brewer mentioned a recent incident in which a homemade bomb had gone off nearby and injured a fellow soldier.


"He told me he hopes he makes it home, and that he loves me," Jeffrey Brewer said.


Brewer was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment of Fort Hood, Texas. Karen Brewer said her son was happy to be part of the 7th Cavalry unit, but not happy to return to Iraq.


Brewer graduated from Bartlesville High School in 2000 and joined the military shortly thereafter.


Adam Brewer is survived by his father and mother, sister, a nephew, stepmother and grandmother.  Brewer was in the process of getting a divorce.


Funeral services are pending, but Brewer will be returned to the United States in eight to 10 days, family members said.






2 Fort Riley Soldiers Killed:

Farman Sent To Iraq In February


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two Fort Riley soldiers were killed in an improvised explosive device attack Friday in Iraq.


The attack happened in Taji, Iraq.


Spc. Colby M. Farnan, 22, of Weston, Mo., and Spc. Jason L. Moski, 24, of Blackville, S.C., were killed.


Moski was assigned as a field artilleryman.  He joined the Army in August 2002 and had been stationed at Fort Riley since January 2003.


Farnan was assigned as a field artilleryman.  He joined the Army in August 2002 and had been stationed at Fort Riley since March 2003.  Farnan died only four days after arriving in Iraq, KMBC's Krista Klaus reported.



Korean-American Soldier Dead


SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap)


A South Korean-born U.S. soldier was killed by an insurgent attack in Iraq over the weekend, about one month after he was dispatched to the war-torn Middle Eastern country, a Korean Internet news agency said Monday.


Choi Min-su, 21, was killed in an ambush on a road 20 miles north of Baghdad on Saturday (Iraqi time) while marching with his colleagues, Media Daum reported, quoting his family members.



Caterpillar Employee Dies


February 28, 2005, 2005 WEEK-TV


A Caterpillar employee serving in the Iowa National Guard died in action Sunday morning in Iraq.


Second Lieutenant Brian Gienau was a member of the Iowa National Guard's Company 'A', 224th Engineer Battalion.


Before the call to active duty, Gienau was a Caterpillar Systems and Processes Division I-T Specialist in Peoria.


29 year old Gienau arrived in Iraq last month.  He was the commander on the mission and was sitting in the front seat of the Humvee when it was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device.


Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood of the Iowa National Guard said in a press conference, ''It was a convoy traveling on this particular route at that point there was no indication an IED up ahead or that any other insurgent activity was going on that day on that particular route.''  [Another brilliant Lt. Col. at work.  No shit.  What did he think they were going to do, put up a sign, “Insurgent activity ahead.”]


Four other guardsman were injured in the attack, including 32 year old Specialist Dennis Smutzer of Moline, Illinois.


Gienau is a graduate of Tripoli High School in Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.







A Task Force Baghdad Soldier died at a level two care facility just after 9 p.m., Feb. 27, 40 minutes after being shot while manning a traffic control point in south Baghdad.



Bayji Wreck: One 1st Corps SC Soldier Dead, Two More Injured


Feb. 28, 2005 American Forces Press Service


A 1st Corps Support Command soldier is dead and two others were injured as a result of a vehicular accident about 20 miles northwest of Tikrit near the town of Bayji today.


The soldier who died was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said, and the wounded soldiers were taken to nearby hospitals.



Car Bomb Hits US Military Convoy In Mosul


28 February 2005 Focus 1 News


Mosul. A bomber blew up his vehicle as a US military convoy passed in Iraq's main northern city of Mosul today, a witness said, AFP announced.


The US military had no immediate word on the attack and it was unclear if there were any casualties.


Eyewitness Mohammed al-Taieb Abdullah said a bomb exploded near the US convoy, followed by the suicide attack at 4.30 pm.



S.A. Soldier Injured;

Spc. Andrade Has Legs Amputated

Spc. Craig Andrade with his baby girl.


February 28, 2005 KSAT.com


SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio soldier was among nine American soldiers injured Friday in a bomb blast in Iraq.


Spc. Craig Andrade was on patrol in Tarmiya, which is 30 miles north of Baghdad, when a roadside bomb went off, killing three soldiers and wounding nine.


Andrade's wife told KSAT 12 News on Sunday that doctors were going to amputate both of her husband's legs, but he would later be fitted with prosthetics.


Andrade is being treated at a military hospital in Germany.


The mission was believed to have been the last for Andrade and other members before they were scheduled to go on leave.



Local Soldier Injured On Last Day In Iraq


February 28, 2005 NewsNet5


CLEVELAND -- A soldier from Elyria was seriously injured in Iraq over the weekend, on his last day of active duty before he was to come back home.


Sgt. Bradley Sabota, 26, was driving a tank when a bomb exploded nearby.  He suffered broken arms, broken legs and other injuries, according to Julianne Gerena, a registered nurse and a co-worker of Sabota's mother, Brenda Towers, at Elyria Memorial Hospital.


Sabota was flown to Germany, where he will undergo surgery.  NewsChannel5 reported that he is in critical but stable condition.


When he is well enough, Sabota will be flown to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington for further treatment.


Sabota has an 8-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter with his wife, Marie.


According to Gerena, Sabota's mother and wife plan to fly to Washington to be with him while he is hospitalized.







National Anti-War Rally And Iraq Veterans Against The War Meeting

March 19th And 20th, 2005

Fayetteville, North Carolina


Join us in the home of Fort Bragg for a weekend of networking, training, and raising our voices to demand real support for our troops by bringing them home now.


Saturday, March 19th - Rally and Speakout on 2nd Anniversary of Iraq Invasion. For more info, check out NC Peace & Justice Coalition.


Sunday, March 20th - IVAW National Meeting:  This will be an opportunity for all recent veterans, active duty service men and women, national guard members, and reservists who oppose this war to meet and learn the skills we'll need to end this war and Bring Them Home Now. Workshop topics include: the VA, Public Speaking, Organizing Skills, GI Opposition during the Vietnam War. Financial assistance is available for those in need.


For more info, email or call: (215) 241-7123.



Telling the truth - about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington - is the first reason for Traveling Soldier.  But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance - whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces.  Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces.  If you like what you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers.  http://www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)



No Exit? No Money!


2.28.05 PeaceMajority.org


The Bush administration has asked Congress for another $82 billion to fund its wars in Iraq and elsewhere.  This gives us a clear window to challenge the Iraq war.


The cost of this war is fast approaching a quarter trillion dollars. It has weakened our national defense, drained our economy, and trashed our moral standing in the world.


It is time for Congress to stand up and tell Bush, No Exit, No Money.  [We’ll see how many “peace” Democrats in Congress stand up and do the right thing.  As Bring Them Home Now says, “Not Another Day, Not Another Dime, Not Another Life.”  http://www.bringthemhomenow.com/



Soldier On Third Iraq Tour To Return To U.S. For Burn Treatment


February 28, 2005 By Angeljean Chiaramida, DailyNews & By CAROL ROBIDOUX, Union Leader Staff

SEABROOK — A Seabrook Marine injured by a mortar attack in Iraq will be returning to the United States to undergo burn treatment.


Family members of Marine Staff Sgt. Ian LeJeune, injured on Feb. 23, were called late last week about his injuries and his recovery.  According to LeJeune's sister-in-law, Tarnya Cody, LeJeune, 26, was able to speak with his wife, Vanessa, at their home in California.


"Vanessa spoke to him at 3 o'clock this morning (Friday)," Cody said, "and he told her that he has only one broken leg, his right leg.  But both legs are in casts because the left one is injured as well.  The four-inch deep tissue laceration is to his forearm, not his thigh.  And he is burned on the lower half of his body, including his feet."


Cody said LeJeune was one of four Marines injured in the attack when a rocket exploded in their barracks about 7:30 p.m. Iraq time.


Surgeons spent 10 hours yesterday trying to repair damage to both LeJeune's legs, Cody said.


"He got some pretty bad burns.  His tibia was broken in his right leg, his fibula in his left leg, and he's lost his Achilles tendon on his left foot," Cody said.


LeJeune also had several wounds, including a 4-inch-deep tissue wound in his thigh, a 3-inch-deep wound across his stomach, and burns requiring skin grafts on his legs and arms.


While speaking with his wife, Cody said, LeJeune expressed his concern for her and their three sons.  Proof, Cody said, that mentally, he had his wits about him.


Cody said that at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 a building that LeJeune was inside came under mortar attack.


LeJeune, a Seabrook native, is the son of Richard and Bernice LeJeune, also of Seabrook.  He has been in the Marine Corps for seven years.


He had just arrived for his third tour of duty in Iraq three weeks before being injured.  According to Cody, LeJeune had served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 and is a computer technician comptroller. 


"He'd only been there for three weeks this time.  He was called home during his second tour when my sister had an infection and wasn't in good shape during her last pregnancy," Cody said.


LeJeune was supposed to be stationed in Iraq until October, Cody said. He had just been promoted to staff sergeant before his deployment.


"Ironically," Cody said, "February 23 was their third wedding anniversary. ... (Vanessa) got another call ... from someone who'd been with Ian in the hospital. That person said Ian told him to call my sister to wish her a happy anniversary."


The couple and their three children, Ian Jr., 1; Jonathan, 3; and Tyler Morton, 10, live in California where he is stationed at Camp Pendleton.


The LeJeunes' three children remained at home in Camp Pendleton, Calif., with their maternal grandparents, Walter and Donna Janvrin of Seabrook, who had flown out to help their daughter move to a new home Feb. 18.


Cody said she will be flying to California to retrieve the two youngest boys, Jonathan, 3, and Ian Jr., 1, and bring them back to Seabrook for a while.  The oldest, 10-year-old Tyler Morton, will remain in California with his grandparents while he finishes school.


The LeJeunes first met as grammar school students in Seabrook, and attended the same high school for a few years, Cody said.  They happened to reconnect several years after graduation, and married four years ago.


"As far as his recovery time, they're saying two months with the one leg, and six weeks with the other — then they will go from there with the other injuries. I know he also has a fractured arm and a lot of his skin is just gone," Cody said.



Small Towns Bear Greatest Burden Of Casualties


February 28, 2005 By Vince Crawley, Army Times staff writer


Casualty figures analyzed by a Missouri congressional staff show that Americans from rural areas and small towns are dying in combat zones at a much higher rate than their share of the U.S. population.


An analysis of Army casualties in Iraq provided by the Pentagon show that 43 percent of those killed in Iraq and 44 percent of those killed in Afghanistan are from hometowns with a population of less than 20,000. The U.S. Census Bureau says just 22.5 percent of Americans live in towns with population below that level.



Air Force Wasted $1 Million On Faulty Devices


(Salt Lake City Deseret News, February 27, 2005, Pg. 1)

A Defense Department Inspector General's report says the Air Force not only wasted $1 million on unreliable chemical agent detectors, but it may have put airmen at increased risk when the hand-held equipment was rushed prematurely to the Middle East.



Recruiters Lied About Aptitude Test;

"They Just Don't Like The Military In There Right Now”


[Thanks to Desmond, who sent this in.]


"They clearly gave the impression they weren't doing this to recruit people into the armed forces, that that wasn't the motivation behind the test."  But he said, "I believe they obviously were."


February 28, 2005 The Union Leader


A military aptitude test traditionally given to high school juniors is coming under increased scrutiny by school administrators and parents.


Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, military recruiters had no trouble getting New England high schools to offer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which is used to screen promising candidates. But three years later, in the midst of a controversial war in Iraq, things have changed dramatically.


"It's much more difficult right now to get into schools," said Petty Officer Jason Lowe, ASVAB testing coordinator at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Boston, which handles enlistment processing for Rhode Island, much of New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts.


"People aren't happy, I guess," he said.  "They just don't like the military in there right now with everything going on in the world.  It makes it real tough."


Administrators at Nashua High School North this year reversed a long-standing policy of giving the three-hour test to the entire junior class, which usually numbers around 500.


Principal R. Patrick Corbin said an increasing number of students were opting not to take the test; 60 parents last year sent in letters to exempt their children from taking the test. And another 100 students schoolwide were absent on testing day, he estimated.


“I would say the major variable that is different is obviously the war,” Corbin said.


"I know the recruiters are under great pressure and I know there's a war going on, and they're trying to recruit people, but you can see the attitude of many parents and students has dramatically changed towards this thing," he said.


Lowe said his test administrators were in 30 New Hampshire schools during the 2003-04 school year, but this year only 19 are scheduled to offer the test.


Lowe said participation in the test has been dropping steadily since the Iraq war began, “but this is the biggest one.”  He said he’s trying to get into new schools to meet annual quotas that are ever more difficult to reach.


His region is the worst in the country right now, Lowe said. He's reached 40 percent of this year's quota of testing 9,500 students in 11th grade or above.


Lowe said his office has changed its approach in selling the program to schools.  "Really, we try to leave the military everything out of it," he said.  "We pretty much focus on that it's a career exploration program that we're doing for the schools.  Which is what it is."


But that approach makes some uneasy.


Corbin believes some of those promoting the test to New Hampshire schools "have probably been disingenuous about the test."


"They clearly gave the impression they weren't doing this to recruit people into the armed forces, that that wasn't the motivation behind the test."


But he said, "I believe they obviously were."


“To tie up and disrupt the entire school for the benefit we get back from it, in terms of the number of kids who take it seriously and use the information in a meaningful way, it just hasn’t worked.  We can’t justify it anymore.”


Corbin said the school did suggest an alternative: “We offered to the ASVAB people that we would give it to students who voluntarily wanted to take it, and that was unacceptable to them.  They said it’s all or nothing.”


Master Sgt. Blake Trimarco, the Army liaison at the Boston military station, said the scores are used to generate "leads" for recruiters.  He said students who score at the 50th percentile or above on the qualifying section of the test, will be the "priority" calls.


Michael Dolphin, president of the New Hampshire Association of Guidance Directors, said school administrators need to ask explicit questions up front about how the ASVAB scores will be used by recruiters.  


And he said they have to be equally frank with students: “Once they get the scores, they’re going to call you and talk to you about the armed services.”


One New Hampshire school that’s considering dropping the ASVAB is John Stark High School in Weare.


Suzanne Sauer, the director of guidance, said she was comfortable giving the test in the past because she had signed a form several years ago that the students’ test scores and personal information could not be given to recruiters.  But that process seems to have changed.


“At one point, somebody told me two years ago that unless I agreed to do this, they would not come and administer it,” she said.


Sauer stuck to her guns, and thought that would end the program at her school. “But they kept showing up every year.”


However, last week, when Sauer checked with the school counselor who now oversees the test, she realized that there is no longer a form to sign to keep all student information from recruiters.  So she called Lowe, who she said assured her that students could still indicate they do not want their information shared with recruiters.


Sauer said if she does let the ASVAB testers back in, “I would make that known to the kids and they would have the right to either take it or not. It’s their choice. I am not going to violate anybody’s privacy.


And she said, “I would never consider redoing it unless we had some kind of understanding about what they’re going to do with these names.”







Attack On Occupation Police Recruiting Center In Hilla Kills 125



February 28, 2005 By Haider Abbas and Mussab al-Khairalla, (Reuters) & The Associated Press


A car bomber killed 125 people and wounded 130 by detonating a car near police recruits in a crowded market south of Baghdad on Monday, the single bloodiest attack in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.


The bomber blew the car up next to a line of 400 National Guard and police recruits waiting at a health centre to take an eye test in the town of Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of the capital, witnesses said.


"I was standing in the queue when I saw this Mitsubishi coming slowly towards us," Ameer Hassan, one of the recruits, told Reuters at a nearby clinic.  "Then it blew up in a huge fireball. When I opened my eyes again, I was in hospital."


Reuters television footage showed a pile of bloodied bodies outside the building.  Smoke rose from the wreckage of burnt-out market stalls as bystanders loaded mangled corpses on to rickety wooden carts, usually used to carry fruit and vegetables.


Others, their limbs ripped to shreds, were piled into the back of pick-up trucks.  Nearby buildings were pockmarked by shrapnel.


"The suicide bomber came from a nearby alleyway," said Zeyd Shamran. "There were two people in (the car) and when it stopped one man got out, shook hands and kissed the other man."


Moments later the car exploded, he said.






Resistance Action:

Police vehicle destroyed by a roadside bomb in western Baghdad February 28, 2005 in a separate attack. One officer was injured in this blast.  REUTERS/Thaier Sudani



Feb 28 (KUNA) & Feb 28 (AFP) & By SAMEER N. YACOUB (AP) & By Haider Abbas and Mussab al-Khairalla, (Reuters)


A police officer and one of his aides were wounded on Sunday night when they were attacked by unknown gunmen in one of Baghdad's streets.  Another was killed by a roadside bomb, police sources and witnesses said.


The Army of Ansar al-Sunna released a video Monday purporting to show the execution of a member of an Iraqi Kurdish faction for allegedly spying on Islamist militants.


The man, who was detained in the main northern city of Mosul and spoke Kurdish, "admitted to having been entrusted by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party of apostate Jalal Talabani, with tracking down the mujahedeen and collecting information concerning them which the apostates would pass on to the crusaders," a statement read out in the video said.


The video posted on the internet showed the man then being shot in the head by a hooded gunman.


A car bomb exploded Monday at a police checkpoint in Musayyib, about 20 miles north of Hillah, killing at least one policeman and wounding several others, police said on condition of anonymity.







Draft Refusal: Pro And Con


From: LEFT FACE, Soldier Unions and Resistance Movements in Modern Armies, By DAVID CORTRIGHT AND MAX WATTS; Contributions in Military Studies, Number 107; GREENWOOD PRESS, New York • Westport, Connecticut • London


Near the end of his life the great Russian author and religious pacifist Leo Tolstoy penned his famous “Notes For Soldiers,” urging young men to refuse military service:


“If you indeed desire to act according to God’s will you have only to . . . throw off the shameful and ungodly calling of a soldier.”


Tolstoy’s exhortations have since become the rallying cry of pacifists the world over: If youths would simply refuse to serve, wars and militarism could end.  Tolstoy might have been very pleased by the example of modern Germany, where pacifism is widely pursued as a means of preventing war.


While one might sympathize with Tolstoy’s sentiments, his ideal have never been realized in practice.


Indeed, one could argue from the opposite viewpoint, that pacifist objection actually weakens military resistance and reinforces command control over the army.


It is the opinion of some, for example, that conscientious objection in Germany has had a negative impact on soldier organizing, screening from military service precisely those draftees most likely to resist.


The more educated and middle-class sectors of the youth population, the “intellectuals” most able to articulate opposition to war and violence, are channeled into alternative service while the poorer and less-educated classes serve.


Thus conscientious objection can be considered the least disruptive form of anti militarism.  It allows the individual objector, usually middle class, to keep his conscience (if not his hands) clean, while the system of violence against which he objects continues to function undisturbed.


This was the view adopted by the draftee radicals of Holland in the late 1960s, especially those of the BVD.  They decided to give up the pursuit of conscientious objection and chose instead to enter the army and organize within.


Conscientious objection during a period of rising soldier resistance merely serves as a safety valve for the command, diverting from military service those people most likely to support democratic movements within the ranks.


It would be unfair to Count Tolstoy, however, not to mention some recent historical circumstances where his ideal came close to realization.


One occasion, the most striking, occurred in the United States during the Vietnam War.


Draft refusals and conscientious objector applications reached such mass proportions by the late 1960s that the Selective Service System had to be first changed and then abandoned.


By 1972, for example, there were actually more conscientious objector applications than inductions.


This resistance clearly played a major role in the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.


The other occasion of mass refusal was the previously noted flood of conscientious objectors in Germany in late 1977.  Our two examples show that Tolstoy’s ideal is theoretically possible but difficult to achieve in practice.


In the U.S. situation, draft refusal did, in fact, help to cripple the war effort.  In Germany, however, when mass legal objection began to reach menacing proportions, the state simply changed the rules of the game and slammed the flood gates shut.


What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Send to contact@militaryproject.org.  Name, I.D., withheld on request.  Replies confidential.



“Poor, White And Pissed”


Fuck it.  I've wanted an out and outright armed revolution ever since the November elections.  But that's another matter and the guy listening in from Homeland Security right now can go take a flying fuck.  Write to me in Gitmo, y'all!  Just address it to "Joe from Yemen."


February 22 (Excerpt) By Joe Bageant.  Joe Bageant is a magazine editor and writer living in Winchester Virginia.


To be poor and white is a paradox in America.  Whites, especially males, are supposed to have an advantage they exploit mercilessly.  Yet most of the poor people in the United States are white (51%,) outnumbering blacks two to one and all other minority poverty groups combined.


America is permeated with cultural myths about white skin's association with power, education and opportunity.


Capitalist society teaches that we all get what we deserve, so if a white man does not succeed, it can only be due to laziness.


But just like black and Latino ghetto dwellers, poor laboring whites live within a dead end social construction that all but guarantees failure.  If your high school dropout daddy busted his ass for small bucks and never read a book in his life and your mama was a textile mill worker, chances are you are not going to be recruited by Yale Skull and Bones and grow up to be president of the United States, regardless of our national mythology to that effect.  You are going to be pulling an eight-buck-an-hour shift someplace and praying for enough overtime to make the heating bill.  A worker.


Ain't no wonder libs got no street cred.


Ain't no wonder a dope-addicted clown like Limbaugh can call libs elitists and make it stick.


From where we stand, knee-deep in doctor's bills and hoping the local Styrofoam peanut factory doesn't cut the second shift, you ARE elite.


Educated middle class liberals (and education is the main distinction between my marginal white people and, say, you) do not visit our kind of neighborhoods, even in their own towns.  They drink at nicer bars, go to nicer churches and for the most part, live, as we said earlier, clustered in separate areas of the nation, mainly urban.


Consequently, liberals are much more familiar with the social causes of immigrants, or even the plight of Tibet, than the bumper crop of homegrown native working folks who make up towns like Winchester.  Liberal America loves the Dalai Lama but is revolted by life here in the land of the pot gut and the plumber's butt.  Can't say as I blame them entirely, but then, that is why God created beer.  To make ordinary life more attractive, or at least stomachable.


Whatever the case, helping the working poor does not mean writing another scholarly paper about them funded by grant money.  That is simply taking care of one's middle class university educated self.  Yet the cause of dick-in-the-dirt poor working white America is spoken for exclusively by educated middle class people who grew up on the green suburban lawns of America.


However learned and good intentioned, they are not equipped to grasp the full implications of the new American labor gulag---or the old one for that matter.


They cannot understand a career limited to yanking guts out through a chicken's ass for the rest of one's life down at the local poultry plant (Assuming it does not move offshore.) Being born working class carries moral and spiritual implications understood only through experiencing them.  It comes back to street cred.


The census bureau keeps numbers on the working poor.  Universities conduct studies and economists rattle off statistics.  If studies and numbers alone could solve the problem of working poverty, then rip-off check cashing would not be one of the hottest franchises in the country and Manpower would not be our largest employer.  Yes, and if a bullfrog had wings it wouldn't bump its ass.  Reason and social science are not cutting it, and numbers cannot describe the soul and character of a people.  Those same ones who smell like an ashtray in the checkout line, devour a carton of Little Debbies at a sitting and praise Jesus for every goddam wretched little daily non-miracle. (If that last part does not make sense to you it simply proves my point about the secular liberal disconnect.)


Before I am asked the more specific question, "What the fuck do you think middle class liberals should do then?"


I'm gonna answer it. ORGANIZE!


Quit voting for that pack of undead hacks called the Democratic Party and ORGANIZE! Howard Dean is just another millionaire Yale frat boy---(Daddy was a Dean in Dean Whitter) ORGANIZE!


Quit kidding yourself that the Empire will protect professionals and semi-professionals such as yourself and ORGANIZE!  Spend time on a Pentecostal church pew or in a blue-collar beer joint and ORGANIZE!  Join the Elks Club and ORGANIZE! 


Realize that there is no party whatsoever in the United States that represents anything but corporate interests and ORGANIZE!


Start in your own honky wimp-assed white bread neighborhood group and ORGANIZE! Knock on doors and ORGANIZE!   Move heaven and earth and hearts and minds and ORGANIZE!  And if enough people do it, it will scare the living piss out of the political elite and the corporations and they will come to club you down like they did in Miami and Seattle.  But at least you will have been among the noble ones when the history is written.


Given that every damned utterance or word published about America these days has to have political implications and relevancy to the crooked 2004 elections, let's talk about the much discussed political anger and "values issues' of hitherto faceless self-screwing working class folks.


Tell ya what. I have both prayed and been shit-faced six ways to hell with these people and I am NOT seeing the much bally-hooed anger about the values most often cited, such as gun control, abortion or gay marriage...True, these are the issues of the hard-line Bible thumpers and fundamentalist leadership that has harped on them for decades. And the politicians love that crap.  And apparently so do the media pundits.


But here in this particular heartland, once I step away from the fundamentalist crazies, I am simply not seeing the homophobia so widely proclaimed by the liberal establishment.

Hell, we've got three gay guys and at least one lesbian who hang out at my local redneck tavern and they all are right in there drinking and teasing and jiving with everyone else.  As my hirsute 300-pound friend Pootie says: "Heck, I have a lot in common with lesbians!" (I would concede however, that homosexual marriage, was just a bit too much for some of the working class to accept in the 2004 elections. It was the visuals.)


The working class people in my town are angry, but not especially angry at Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, or unseen fetuses.


I think working class anger is at a more fundamental level and that it is about this: rank and status as citizens in our society.  I think it is about the daily insult working class people suffer from employers, government both national, state and local, and from their more educated fellow Americans, the doctors, lawyers, journalists, academicians, and others who quietly disdain working people and their uncultured ways.


And I think working class anger is about some other things too:


It is about the indignities suffered at the hands of managers and bosses---being degraded to a working, faceless production unit in our glorious new global economy.


It is about being ignored by the educated classes and the other similar professional, political and business elites that America does not acknowledge as elites.


It is about one's priorities being closer to home and more ordinary than those of the powerful people who determine our lives.


It is about suffering the everyday lack of human respect from the government, and every other institutional body except the church.


It is about working at Wal-Mart or Home Depot or Arby's wearing a nametag on which you do not even rate a last name.  You are just Melanie or Bobby, there to kiss the manager's ass or find another gig.


It is about trying to live your life the only way you know how because you were raised that way.  But somehow the rules changed under you.


It is about trying to maintain some semblance of outward dignity to your neighbors, when both you and the neighbors are living payday to payday, though no one admits it.


It is about media-fabled things you've never seen in your own family: college funds set aside for the kids, stock portfolios, vacation homes...


It is about the unacknowledged stress of both spouses working longer, producing more for a paycheck that has been dwindling in purchasing power since 1976.


By the way, the working people I am talking about are not entirely unhappy with life, just angry to a certain degree at this point (and bound to be angrier when the Bush regime finally runs the nation's economy off the cliff.)  They simply resist change because for decades change has always spelled something bad---9/11, terrorism, job outsourcing...always something bad headed toward worse.


It is one helluva comment on the American class system that I get paid to speak, write about and generally expose to liberal groups the existence of some 250 million working Americans who have been fixing America's cars and paving its streets and waiting on its tables from day one.


As a noble and decent liberal New York City book editor told me, "Seen from up here it is if your people were some sort of exotic, as if you were from Yemen or something." Jeesh!


Delivering on all this in a peaceful orderly fashion will be a bitch.  So hard in fact that I do not much intend to participate.


Fuck it.  I've wanted an out and outright armed revolution ever since the November elections.  But that's another matter and the guy listening in from Homeland Security right now can go take a flying fuck.  Write to me in Gitmo, y'all!  Just address it to "Joe from Yemen."






Haitian Police Open Fire On March For Democracy


[Thanks to Desmond, who sent this in.]


February 28, 2005 by Bill Quigley, CommonDreams.org


One year ago today, the elected government of Haiti, led by President Jean Betrand Aristide, was forced out of office and replaced by unelected people more satisfactory to business interests and the US, France and Canada.


Today there was a large nonviolent March for Democracy called for the neighborhood of Bel-Air.  I attended with Pere Gerard Jean-Juste and others from St. Clare's Parish.  We started with prayers in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the center of Bel Air.  After prayers we joined the larger crowd outside marching and singing through the streets of the old and quite poor neighborhood.  Thousands of people were walking and dancing to the beat of drums, loudly chanting, "Bring Back Titi (Aristide)!!!!" in Creole, French and English.


Brazilian occupation troops surround the body of a Haitian man killed during a protest march by supporters of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide calling for his return on the one year anniversary of his ouster in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 28, 2005. Two people were killed and several wounded when Haitian police arrived to break up the pro-Aristide march four blocks from the National Palace. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)



Fr. Jean-Juste has become one of the main voices for democracy in Haiti since his release from prison several weeks ago after 48 days in jail with no charges.  He was interviewed two dozen times by local and international media during the walk with the crowd.  


It all seemed like a peaceful unorganized mardi gras parade until I noticed the Reuters correspondent was wearing a bullet proof vest.


MINUSTAH, the UN security presence was all around.


The giant moving party continued down Des Cesar Street.  The street was packed from side to side with people carrying signs, umbrellas, and handmade cardboard posters all calling for the return of democracy and Aristide.  Neighborhood people joined in or clapped and danced from their front steps.


Suddenly, at the corner of Monsiegneur Guillot Street and Des Cesar, there was a loud boom from very close by.


People started screaming and running.  Another boom, then another.  As people fled, I slipped on a pile of fruit and tried desperately to hide behind a very small tree.  As people rushed past and dove into an opening in a concrete wall, the booms continued.  I then dove though the wall and hid behind a one foot wide concrete pillar.  The booms continued.


People were down in the street.  I saw a big white official looking truck hurtling down the street as the booms continued.  Others saw police in black uniforms, helmets, ski masks, and large guns shooting into the crowd.  People around me were huddled under stairs and crying.  The group from St. Clare's pulled me into a corner and we rolled into a ball until the booms stopped.


Out on the street a man was down and unconscious.  Fr. Jean-Juste knelt over him and prayed.  Down the street others were carrying injured people on their backs.  The crowd screamed that the police were coming back and we ran down an alley into a small home. Children were screaming, adults were crying, everyone was in fear.  We waited, dirty and drenched in sweat, until the growing UN presence made it safe to leave.


Early reports document several people shot, including journalists, at least one killed. Others were beaten.  Two men showed me where the police wounded them.


As we drove slowly out of the now deserted neighborhood, the faces of the people on the porches who were so happy minutes before, were now somber, many crying.


As we rode back to his parish, Fr. Jean-Juste said: "The Aristide supporters were such a big number, it was very difficult to have a proper estimation of the crowd.  The message is clear.  Our vote has been counted. It still must be counted.  There is no other way for Haiti to go forward but with the return of constitutional order, the release of all political prisoners, and the physical return of President Aristide."


Though the march for democracy in Haiti was halted by police shooting into the unarmed crowd, the people I talked to said their march for the return of democracy in Haiti will continue.







Bush Buddies -- Hogs At The Feeding Trough:

Halliburton Could Get $1.5Bn More Iraq Work;

Grabbing The Cash While Soldiers Die


26 February 2005 Reuters & 25 February 2005 By Pamela Hess, United Press International


Halliburton, under scrutiny for its contracts in Iraq, would receive an extra $1.5 billion as part of the Bush administration's additional war spending proposal for fiscal 2005, a senior US Army budget official said.


Halliburton, once led by Vice-President Dick Cheney, is the largest corporate contractor in Iraq and has drawn fire for its no-bid contracts there, with auditors charging its Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) unit overcharged for some work.


If approved by Congress, that would bring the total spending under KBR's LOGCAP contract to about $6 billion in fiscal year 2005, about the same amount spent a year earlier, said the official.


Gen George Casey told a newspaper earlier this month that KBR had submitted budget estimates that exceeded the Army's proposed spending by $4 billion, adding, "someone has made assumptions that have driven the costs through the roof".


Overall, KBR has earned $7.2 billion under a massive 2001 logistics contract with the US military and could earn more than $10 billion under that deal.  It has separate deals with the government for reconstruction work in Iraq.


Halliburton's logistics contract with the U.S. Army in Iraq has been worth at least $9.6 billion since the start of the war and is mounting at a cost of about $6 billion a year, according to Army documents and officials.


The company, headed by Vice President Dick Cheney for five years prior to his election in 2000, has been paid $6.6 billion for its work so far, with another $3 billion in payments pending completion of the work, said Dan Carlson, spokesman for Army Field Support Command, Rock Island, Ill.


KBR has a separate contract originally worth up to $7 billion to restore Iraq's oil infrastructure, awarded on the brink of the war in March 2003. 


That contract was later divided and opened for competition; KBR won a contract for the restoration of the southern oil fields only for a maximum value of $1.2 billion.  [“Only” $1.2 billion!  Gee, they may have to go begging for spare change.]


Halliburton's fortunes increased dramatically with the onset of the Iraq war.


In 2003 alone it received contracts from the Defense Department worth $4.3 billion, more in one year than it won in Pentagon contracts over the previous five years combined, according to the Center for Public Integrity.


The total worth of DOD contracts from 1998 to 2003 was $2.5 billion.


Pentagon auditors discovered Halliburton overcharged the military $27.4 million for meals served to American troops at five military bases in Iraq and Kuwait last year.


[War is good business.  Invest your kid.]







Capitalism At Work On The Home Front


CEOs in the Mercer Study enjoyed median total direct compensation of $4,419 300 about 160 times as much as the average U.S. production worker made last year.


2.25.05 By Joann S. Lublin, Wall St. Journal


Bonuses for many chief executive officers surged last year amid rising criticism of what some deem excessive compensation, especially in cases where the bottom line doesn’t keep pace.


At 100 major U.S. corporations, CEO bonuses rose 46.4% to a median of $1.14 million, the largest percentage gain and highest level in at least five years, according to an exclusive survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting in New York.  Mercer, which began tracking the latest proxy statements of 100 big companies for The Wall Street Journal in 1999, didn’t scrutinize any heads of Wall Street firms, where much higher bonuses are common.


The biggest winners include Michael Eisner at Walt Disney Co., where 45% of the shares voted at its 2004 annual meeting opposed his re-election to its board; and John Tyson at Tyson Foods Inc., the target of a recent Securities and Exchange Commission probe into whether the company improperly accounted for perquisites provided to Don Tyson, his father and predecessor.


The Mercer study also revealed that the median 2004 bonus equaled 141% of annual salary, another record. 


CEOs in the Mercer Study enjoyed median total direct compensation of $4,419 300 about 160 times as much as the average U.S. production worker made last year.



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