www.albasrah.net

 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

3.3.05

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

 

GI SPECIAL 3A62:

 

 

“The Moving Wall,” in a large parking lot near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  August 2004

Average Age 19

From the Senior Prom to Vietnam

 

Photo 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: (hastiemike@earthlink.net) for more of his outstanding work.  T)

 

 

Iraqi Police On Strike In Tikrit:

Demand Release Of Commander Arrested By Occupation

 

March 2 (Xinhuanet)

 

Iraqi police in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, went on strike Wednesday demanding the release of a police chief captured by the US troops and guarantees from the foreign forces to respect the local police, a police officer said.

 

Police stations and streets of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, were devoid of police who went on strike in a protest against the capture of Brigadier Hatem al-Juboury, chief of the homicide department in Salahudin provincial headquarters, Lieutenant Colonel Muhamed Ali told Xinhua.

 

Al-Juboury was arrested Tuesday along with another officer by the US troops who surrounded the police headquarters of Salahudin in Tikrit and confiscated all weapons there.

 

"How can we work while the American soldiers arresting our officers without accusations and confiscate our weapons," Ali said.

 

"We won't resume our jobs unless the US troops release BrigadierHatem and offer guarantees to respect the Iraqi police," Ali added.

 

Another police officer, Major General Mizher Taha al-Ghannam, described the US arrest as "premeditated disarmament of the Iraqi police", accusing the US troops of destabilizing the province.

 

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS:

 

 

Cocke Co. Family Mourns For Soldier Killed In Iraq:

Family Opposed War

 

March 2, 2005 By Catharyn Campbell, 6 News Reporter

 

COCKE COUNTY (WATE) -- Pfc. Danny Anderson was deployed to Iraq in early February.  He was there two weeks and three days when his family heard he'd been killed.

 

On February 25th, Danny's family talked to the 29-year-old for the first time since he left for Iraq.  His sister, Patti Kalas, says, "This weekend, we were going to put together a care package.  We were putting together the cookies and everything to send him but we didn't get to do that."

 

Danny's mother, Pat Brady, was on her way home from an out of town trip February 27th when she got a phone call from her daughter saying Danny had been killed.

 

"They were at a checkpoint and a vehicle came through with four or five men in it.  They tried to run the checkpoint and there was gun fire exchanged," Pat says.

 

Danny grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas and later moved to Cocke County to live with his family.  He once worked as a window washer but needed a stable job to support his new wife and six-year-old stepson.  So Danny joined the Army in April 2003.

 

The soldier never thought he'd be able to have any children of his own.  However, five months ago he and his wife had a baby boy, Noah Daniel.  "Before he left, he said that he'd promised Noah that he would be back," Pat says.

 

While Danny's family doesn't support the conflict in Iraq, they say they admire him for the sacrifice he made for his country and his family.

 

 

3rd ID Casualties Rise To 13

Mar. 02, 2005 Associated Press

 

FORT STEWART, Ga. - The recent deaths of three Fort Stewart soldiers in Iraq raises to 13 the death toll of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division since it deployed for a second tour of duty in January.

 

The Pentagon identified the latest casualties on Tuesday.

 

Army Pfc. Min S. Choi, 21, of River Vale, N.J., and Pvt. Landon S. Giles, 19, of Indiana, Pa., died Saturday in Abertha, Iraq, when an explosive detonated near their patrol.  Both were assigned to the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division.

 

Army Spc. Michael S. Deem, 35, of Rockledge, Fla., died Thursday in Baghdad from non-combat related injuries, the Defense Department said. Deem was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion of the 3rd Infantry.

 

The 3rd Infantry deployed 19,000 troops in January, and 12 division soldiers have been killed in Iraq since Feb. 4.  One other 3rd Infantry soldier died Jan. 21 in Kuwait in a helicopter accident.

 

Deem's wife, Lynn, and the couple's 3-year-old son, William, live in Hinesville, Ga., but still own their home in Rockledge, Fla., according to the Orlando Sentinel.

 

His ex-wife, Joy Schaller, who has remarried and lived in Titusville, Fla., said the military told the family that Deem was found dead in his bunk and there was no obvious cause of death.  Schaller and Deem had a 7-year-old daughter, who lives with her mother.

 

Giles graduated from Arkadelphia High School in Arkansas last May.  Flags at the Clark County Courthouse in Arkadelphia were flown at half staff on Tuesday in honor of the fallen soldier.

 

 

Basra IED Wounds Two British Soldiers

 

BASRA, March 2 (KUNA)

 

A road-side bomb blew up in central Basra Wednesday wounding two British soldiers and three civilians.

 

Witnesses told KUNA the bomb exploded when a British military vehicle passed near it. The three civilians were also driving nearby.  The explosion damaged a number of cars.

 

 

Soldier From The 612th Wounded

 

March 2, 2005 WNWO-TV

 

On February 28, 2005 , SGT. Derek Hunker, of the 612 th EN BN’s Bravo Company, sustained a serious, but non-life threatening injury to the head as a result of an IED detonation in close proximity to his vehicle.

 

SGT. Hunker had under went surgery while in Iraq to stabilize and repair the wound. SGT. Hunker will be sent to Germany and then back to the States, where he will be sent to either

 

Walter Reed Medical Center or to Fort Knox for recovery and rehabilitation.

 

 

400 Turks Fighting U.S. In Iraq

 

March 2, 2005 By UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

 

ANKARA, Turkey -- Some 400 Turkish fighters from a group linked to al-Qaida are helping Iraqi insurgents battle U.S. forces, a report said Wednesday.

 

Turkish weekly Tambo quoted a spokesman from the Islamic group Yorosh as saying: "We do not carry out any activity in Turkey, but focus on American targets in Iraq."

 

The unidentified spokesman said some 30 Turkish fighters have been killed fighting U.S.-led multinational forces in Iraq.

 

 

Occupation Ceasefire Deal With Resistance Reported In Ramadi;

U.S. Base Hit

 

March 2 (Xinhuanet)

 

An influential Iraqi Sunni religious body brokered a peace deal between the US forces and insurgents in one of the country's most volatile areas, a source from the Sunni body said on Wednesday.

 

"The Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) held clandestine negotiations with the leaders of the Iraqi resistance on a possible ceasefire in the Anbar province," a source in the AMS told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

 

"We all agreed that the situation in Ramadi would be calmed by replacing Iraqi security forces selected from people of Anbar instead of the US troops,” the source said.

 

"Another agreement was to prevent the US troops from conducting search campaigns in the cities and to leave such missions to the Iraqi forces," he added.

 

It has been reported recently that the US diplomats in Baghdad were holding peace talks with representatives allegedly close to the insurgent groups.

 

The AMS has rejected to take part in the country's first post-Saddam elections and submitted harsh conditions for joining the political process.

 

Assisted by Iraqi troops, US marines were stepping up military operations around Ramadi and other cities along the Euphrates Riverthat runs across the vast desert province.

 

While the forces claimed that they had seized large weapon caches and captured dozens of suspects, they came under bolder attacks from the insurgents.

 

Witnesses said a US base east of Ramadi was attacked Tuesday night by 20 Katyusha rockets, and flames of fire and smoke was seen over the base.

 

 

Resistance Attack Well-Planned, General Abizaid Says;

Texas Rep. Has Stunning Insight!

 

March 02, 2005 By Liz Sidoti, Associated Press

 

The attack that killed 125 people in Iraq, mostly Shiite police and National Guard recruits, showed that insurgents patiently plotted for a vulnerable target, the top U.S. military officer in the Mideast said Wednesday.

 

A car bomber struck as recruits were lined up for physical exams at a medical clinic Monday in the deadliest single attack since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

 

“I believe that it was well-scouted. It showed itself to be vulnerable. They figured out that it was vulnerable. They figured out how to get the suicide bomb into place,” Gen. John Abizaid told the House Armed Services Committee. “They had taken the patience necessary to find the target.”

 

“It seems that every day recruits are killed,” said Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas.  “As long as they’re being killed, they will never be able to take the position of our soldiers in Iraq.”

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

Dutch Troops Go Home

 

2 March 2005 FOCUS News Agency

 

Ad Diwaniyah.  The mission of the Dutch contingent, which is a part of the Centre-South Multinational Division in Iraq, has ended, reported spokesman of the Centre-South Multinational Division LtCol Zbigniew Staszkow for FOCUS News Agency.

 

At a ceremony in Camp Echo, commander of the division General-Major Valdemar Szypczak thanked the Dutch soldiers for their work during the mission in Iraq and wished them success in future missions and in their lives.

 

 

No End In Sight For Failure To Pay Wounded Troops;

Pentagon Weasel Wolfowitz Refuses To Answer Senators About Fixing ProbIem

 

March 01, 2005 ByRick Maze, Army Times staff writer

 

Under tough questioning from a Senate Budget Committee member, senior Pentagon officials acknowledged serious problems with the military pay system but offered no predictions for when — or if — they could be fixed.

 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., raised the issue at a hearing on the 2006 defense budget and noted that complaints about military pay problems crop up often in her talks with wounded service members and reservists from her state.

 

“It is of great concern to me and I hope it is to you, as well,” Stabenow said.  “This is just not acceptable.”

 

She asked what action the Defense Department is taking, and in particular wanted to know how much money is being set aside in either the 2006 regular defense budget request or the 2005 wartime supplemental request to address problems with the pay system.

 

She did not get a direct answer.

 

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said he has talked with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson about trying to reduce the amount of time it can take for someone being medically retired due to combat wounds to receive their first post-service paycheck, but did not know when a solution would be found.

 

 

Marines Fail To Reach Recruiting Goal Second Month In Row

 

Mar 02, 2005 By Will Dunham (Reuters)

 

The Marine Corps for the second straight month in February missed its goal for signing up new recruits, the Marines said on Wednesday, in another sign of the Iraq war's effect on military recruiting.

 

"It is a challenging recruiting environment right now," said Maj. David Griesmer, spokesman for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

 

For the first time in more than a decade, the Marines in January fell short of their monthly goal for new recruits signing enlistment contracts to begin serving within a year. The Marines missed their monthly goal again in February by more than 6 percent, Griesmer said.

 

Marines have performed some of the most dangerous and grueling tasks in the guerrilla war, for example spearheading the November offensive in Fallujah.

 

The recruiting shortfalls come as Marines play an integral role in military operations in Iraq, which have caused a steady stream of combat deaths.

 

 

Recruiter Tries New Techniques:

Groping And Raping Enlistees

 

March 01, 2005 Associated Press

 

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — An Indiana National Guard recruiter was charged with sexually assaulting at least six women he enlisted in the military, prosecutors said.

 

Sgt. Eric Vetesy, 36, faces 31 counts of rape, sexual battery, official misconduct and corrupt business influence, prosecutors said Monday.

 

“These were very young women who were being recruited out of high school classes,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leercamp said.  Some of the women were groped and at least of them was raped, investigators said.

 

The Guard began investigating Vetesy in January 2004 when a recruit accused him of assaulting her while he was assigned to an armory north of Indianapolis.

 

The Guard moved Vetesy and restricted his ability to interact with female recruits, but another recruit accused him of rape in May, Indiana National Guard spokeswoman Capt. Lisa Kopczynski said.

 

Noblesville police detective Mike Sadler said some of the women were groped by Vetesy as he drove them to an Indianapolis processing station for enlistment proceedings. Police are investigating whether other victims were involved.

 

 

Cigarette Saves Corpsman’s Life

 

March 01, 2005 by Elizabeth Herrick, Oscoda Press

 

OSCODA n Navy Hospital Corpsman Matthew Parzych was awarded the Purple Heart during a ceremony on Jan. 20, for injuries he suffered while in Iraq.

 

Parzych, who was in the Iraq desert from Jan. 28 until Sept. 13, 2004, grew up in Oscoda and is a 2002 Oscoda High School graduate.  Two weeks after graduating, he went to Navy boot camp at Hospital Corpsman School in Great Lakes, Ill.

 

He then attended Field Medical Service School at Camp Lejuene, N.C. and was stationed at Fleet Hospital Bremerton in Wash. for about one year.

 

Parzych was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq for 10 months as a medic for the Marines to Fallujah and was wounded on Sept. 13, 2004, one day before he was scheduled to return home.

 

Because his unit lost their platoon commander during a mortar attack, Parzych was assigned to a new Humvee to even out the manning.  The Marines mission on that particular day was a counter mortar attack.  They were also dropping off ice to an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) on their way back.

 

Parzych and three Marines were in the Humvee when they stopped to drop off the ice, about 10 miles west of Abu Ghraib prison.

 

"I happen to smoke.  I know that's bad being a corpsman, but it saved my life this time," said Parzych.

 

Parzych and the three Marines got out of the Humvee to talk.  Because Parzych couldn't light his cigarette in the wind, he leaned into the back of the Humvee, between two steel doors, just as a car ran into the side of the Humvee, detonating an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the car.

 

He was knocked unconscious and woke up with a fractured tibula and two holes in his right calf.

 

He was the only one who survived the explosion.

 

 

Reservists, Guard Get A Raw Deal

 

(Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 1, 2005)

The United States is grinding up its soldiers not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but here at home as well by improperly interrupting pay, medical care and other benefits due injured and sick Army Reserve and National Guard troops and their families.

 

Despite attempts to fix the problem, the Army can't "provide reasonable assurance" that it can deliver what it owes those soldiers. This state of affairs cannot be tolerated.

 

 

Senate Rejects Bankruptcy Protection For Troops

 

March 02, 2005 By Rick Maze, Army Times staff writer

 

Senate Democrats failed Tuesday in an attempt to include extra protections for service members and their families in a bankruptcy reform bill.

 

The Senate rejected, 58-38, a Democratic amendment to streamline procedures for troops to declare bankruptcy; protect troops in bankruptcy proceedings from losing homes purchased prior to coming on active duty; and prevent some debts, such as high-interest payday loans, from being collected by lenders.

 

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., chief sponsor of the amendment, said his proposal is designed to provide protections for service members, especially mobilized National Guard and reserve personnel, who may suffer financial setbacks due to military service.

 

“Military service always involves sacrifice,” he said.  “In time of war, the sacrifice is multiplied.  Many families manage to scrape by using their savings and relying on relatives and friends.  Some families do all of these things, but their financial problems still become so severe they have no choice but to file for bankruptcy.”

 

Durbin and other Democrats said the broad bankruptcy bill would make it harder for service members to declare bankruptcy by forcing them to meet tougher requirements to show why they are in financial trouble and why they didn’t take more steps to protect themselves before being released from debts.

 

“Men and women who volunteer to go to war shouldn’t have to wage war against a mountain of paperwork that this bill creates,” Durbin said.

 

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala said “If a serviceman is unable to pay his debts, he will be able to file bankruptcy against those — he will be able to wipe out all those debts,” Sessions said.  “If he is able to pay back a portion, like any other citizen he would be required to pay back that portion under this legislation. I think that is fair.”

 

He said the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act also provides protection from legal action and caps the interest rate that can be charged to service members on various types of loans.

 

Durbin was not convinced, noting that the SCRA does not cover debts incurred during military service and does not prevent a creditor from going after a service members’ family.

 

Durbin said the bankruptcy bill also offers no protection to service members from payday lender companies whose loans come with extremely high interest rates.  His amendment would have limited companies to collecting 36 percent interest on debts in bankruptcy proceedings.

 

 

Recipe For Ranger Cookies

 

(Washington Post, March 2, 2005, 2004, Pg. F1)

U.S. troops subsisting on Meals, Ready to Eat, have their own recipes to add variety to the portable rations.  To prepare a "Ranger Cookie," pour the sugar packet into the powdered creamer packet, seal it up, and heat it with an entire book of matches. The ingredients crystallize into a white mass resembling a large Alka-Seltzer.

 

 

Sailors Force Royal Navy Command To Retreat:

Pinups Back (Male And Female)

 

March 07, 2005 Army Times

 

Pinup pictures are back aboard British warships, with men and women getting equal billing.

 

The Royal Navy had banned topless photos in December as part of a new code of conduct that officials said was aimed at shielding personnel from potentially offensive images, particularly female sailors who serve aboard ships with men.

 

The new policy provoked much discontent in the ranks.  So a new policy has been issued allowing sailors to post pinups in their private spaces, such as bunks and lockers, as long as the images are not graphically sexual.  The policy applies equally to images of men and women.

 

The Sun newspaper, famous for explicit photos of its “Page Three girls,” helpfully printed posters to be handed out to sailors to mark the policy reversal.

 

If that’s not good enough, a few ships are photographing their own pinups.  The mine countermeasures ship HMS Bangor, for example, publishes monthly pinup photos on its Web site.

 

The February photo features a male cook posing topless on the ship’s deck.

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

(Graphic: London Financial Times)

 

Resistance Fielded 3,500 Troops Election Day

 

(Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2005)

The top U.S. general in the Middle East said that approximately 3,500 insurgents were involved in planning and executing the roughly 300 attacks on election day.

 

 

Occupation Recruiting Station Bombed:

Seven Dead, 30 Wounded

 

02 March 2005 AFP & Aljazeera & By TODD PITMAN, Associated Press Writer

 

At least seven soldiers were killed and 30 wounded when a car blew up outside the army base in western Baghdad at 7 am, hospital officials said Wednesday.

 

Interior ministry spokesman Colonel Adnan Abdel Rahman reported that 27 other soldiers were wounded in the attack.

 

They were queuing by the entrance to the base at the disused Al-Muthanna airport when a white Toyota Corolla sped to the gates and exploded, eyewitnesses said.

 

"As he arrived, he blew himself up.  Two soldiers were lifted up into the air and knocked across the street," said eyewitness Hussein Mohammed, who was 20 metres (yards) away when the car exploded.

 

Muthanna airport is now used as U.S. and Iraqi army bases.

 

The explosion could be heard across the city, and a plume of black smoke billowed into the air afterward. Flames leapt from two destroyed civilian vehicles. Debris from the blast was strewn around the area, and witnesses said the severed head of a female soldier lay on the ground.

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

 

Resistance Action:

 

02 March 2005 AFP & By TODD PITMAN, Associated Press Writer

 

Seven soldiers were killed and three wounded when a car bomber blew himself up, said an army officer.

 

The bomb blast hit a convoy of Iraqi soldiers at an army checkpoint in southwest Baghdad, police said.

 

Two policemen were shot dead in separate incidents in the restive northern city of Mosul, police said.

 

 

Collaborator Judges Shot, One Dead

 

02 March 2005 AFP & By TODD PITMAN, Associated Press Writer

 

In another attack on those seen as collaborating with the government, insurgents on Tuesday killed an Iraqi judge and his son who worked for a tribunal set up to try Saddam and other former regime officials, a courts source told AFP.

 

Investigative judge Barwize Mohamed Marwane and his son, son, lawyer Aryan Barwez al-Merwani, who worked as a clerk for the Iraqi Special Tribunal, were killed as they stepped out of their Baghdad home Tuesday, the source said.  They were the first known members of the tribunal to be killed.

 

Police Capt. Ali al-Obeidi said three gunmen were in the car, a green Opel.  He said gunmen in a speeding car raked the pair with gunfire as they were trying to get into a vehicle outside their home.

 

The shootings in northern Baghdad's Azamyiah district on Tuesday marked the first time any legal staff working for the Iraqi Special Tribunal have been killed.

 

A court official says the judge's killing "was something personal." He says it wasn't because of the judge's work on the tribunal.  The son was a senior member in the PUK office in Baghdad. 

 

Judges and other legal staff working at the court have not even been identified in public because of concerns for their safety, and tribunal officials have kept a low-profile for the same reason, even refusing to say where the court is located.

 

In a second incident Tuesday, gunmen shot three times and seriously wounded investigative judge Wayed al-Jadr moments after he left his courthouse in eastern Baghdad, an Iraqi justice official said.

 

The Iraqi Special Tribunal was set up in late 2003 after Saddam was toppled.  But after five potential candidates were killed, some judges declined calls to work at the court.  At least half of the tribunal's budget has gone to security.

 

 

Two Military Supply Drivers Killed

 

03mar05 Queensland Newspapers

 

IRAQI militant group Army of Ansar al-Sunna said today it had killed two Turkish truck drivers transporting cement to US forces in the north of Iraq, according to an internet statement.

 

The statement said the group had "carried out God's punishment" against Turan Unal and Huseyin Aytag after it burned their trucks on the Kirkuk-Tikrit road.

 

It said the drivers were carrying cement from Turkey to Tikrit for a company which the group said supplied US forces.

 

 

Gas Pipeline Hit In Kirkuk

 

March 2 (AFP) A blast hit a gas pipeline west of Kirkuk on Wednesday, an oil company official said.

 

The attack on the pipeline happened at about 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) near the town of Al-Safra, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Kirkuk, an official with the Northern Oil Company told AFP.

 

There were no immediate details on what caused the explosion but fires could be seen raging from the scene of the attack.

 

The pipeline connects to the major refining and power plant complex at Baiji.

 

 

Two Occupation Suppliers Found Dead

 

March 2 (AFP)

 

The bullet-riddled bodies of two Iraqi contractors were found in their abandoned vehicle in Kirkuk, said Colonel Ali Abdullah of the local police. 

 

The pair worked for a company that manufactured and supplied concrete blast walls to US and Iraqi forces, he added.

 

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

A History Of U.S. Armed Forces Rebellions

 

By Martin Smith (Sgt. USMC ret’d)

 

Part 3:

The Grunt as Collective Laborer[1]

Through the trees he watched the black figures of the gunners as they worked swiftly and intently.  Their labor seemed a complicated thing.  He wondered how they could remember its formula in the midst of confusion.

 

Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage[2]

 

On March 8, 1965, the first U.S. combat troops attacked the coast at Da Nang, finding no enemy on the sandy shores.  Instead, they constituted the beginning edge of the quagmire known as Vietnam, the longest war in U.S. history.  While military advisors were in Vietnam since World War II, and in the 1950s, the U.S. had paid almost 80 percent of the cost for the French colonial war, the commitment of ground troops marked the starting point of what the Vietnamese called the “American War.”[3] 

 

Stanley Karnow, author of Vietnam: A History, points out that General Westmoreland despised the flashy landing the U.S. navy orchestrated for television and movie newsreel viewers.  Rather than taking cover from enemy fire, marines engaged with smiling Vietnamese women, stationed on the beach to welcome the U.S. invaders with flowers and a sign that read, “Welcome to the Gallant Marines.”  General Maxwell Taylor objected to the plan altogether and felt that the harsh Vietnamese jungles were unsuitable for “white-faced” troops.

 

The Pentagon press declared the South Vietnamese requested their assistance, yet the U.S. neither advised nor communicated with the South Vietnamese government about the military landing.[4]  While the uneasy footing of these marines at Da Nang reveals the emerging power struggles and racial ideology of the military planners, a study of the troops’ formation reveals an aspect of the war rarely studied.  The assault by troops at Da Nang, the same battle tactic that their fathers employed as they charged the beaches in the Pacific during World War II, required coordination, teamwork, and hard, physical labor.[5] 

 

The labor of the grunt in Viet Nam depended on a team effort.  Soldiers lost their individuality through basic training and emerged as collective laborers who saw their interests combined with those of their teammates.  Members of the infantry literally depended on the person next to them to watch their backs.  They also cultivated bonds of friendship and camaraderie forged through the experience of combat.  It was the desire to protect their teammates that motivated their work rather than military leadership and discipline. 

 

The American War (1965-1973) was a “Regular Army war,” because the U.S. army supplied the majority of combat troops, but its history continues to be told from the vantage of the military planners and as a matter of foreign policy.[6]  While soldiers composed the majority of the more than 2.5 million that served during the course of the war, the story of its leaders, the Johnsons, McNamaras, Nixons and Westmorelands, and their battle tactics remain the primary realm of interest in mainstream discourse.  The dilemma of policy makers and war planners, far removed from harm’s way, still continues as a debate between two sides.

 

On the one hand, whether the U.S. fought with its hands tied and the military was not allowed to win.  Or on the other, if the war was a needless mistake based on a misguided fear of the “domino theory,” that if Vietnam turned communist other countries in Southeast Asia would soon follow.[7]  Such debates meant very little, however, to the soldiers whose mission was to merely survive and return to the “world.”[8]  As Private First Class Carlton Dudley in a 1970 CBS news documentary, “The World of Charlie Company,” put it, “What’s life like over here?  It’s like pure hell.”[9] 

 

During Vietnam, the military assigned fewer troops to combat roles than in previous wars.  During the war’s entirety, only thirteen to eighteen percent of the Armed Forces served in the field, the front lines of combat, at any given time.[10]  At the height of U.S. involvement in 1968, with troop levels at over half a million, approximately eighty thousand people were in combat units, the vast majority of these draftees.[11]  

 

The organization of the infantry company depended on the unit and a top-down system of rank and discipline.  As defined by Shelby L. Stanton’s authoritative guide, Vietnam Order of Battle, a standard infantry company was made of four to six officers and about 158 enlisted men.  These companies held two or more rifle platoons, one mortar platoon, and the headquarters.

 

The company headquarters, led by a captain and a lieutenant, organized and directed the assigned missions.  The rifle platoons, each led by a lieutenant, in turn comprised roughly forty-one enlisted men divided into two or more rifle squads and one weapons squad. 

 

These squads, the basic building block of the combat unit, consisted of generally two fire teams of four men each, all lower enlisted, with a sergeant in charge.  Fire teams were a basic combat formation that allowed soldiers to move without exposing anyone in the company to friendly fire.[12] 

 

The vertical organizational structure of the company mirrored the system of hierarchy and discipline of the military overall and depended on the obedience to any and all orders by the lower enlisted, thus allowing the command of the officers to remain intact.  When this sacred institution broke down, as it did in the latter years of the war, the ability to carry out orders and prosecute combat missions proved problematic.

 

Within the seven to ten member squads, each member had a specific combat role that depended on the other.  These jobs included basic rifleman (the majority served in this capacity); grenadier, in charge of the grenade launcher; radioman, to call in coordinates or air support; machine gunner, the most important role for defense; mortar man, generally a two-man team that fired high angle shells; and point man, the dangerous job of leading the squad or platoon in the front.  The point man would clear the thick forest and often would be the first to encounter enemy fire. 

 

Each of these roles had specific weapons or machinery that the troops had to master and remain proficient on, involving technical and skilled labor, because their lives and that of their team members depended on it.

 

In the rifle squad, the majority of grunts carried M16 rifles, the basic infantry weapon, while some carried M79 grenade launchers, a weapon that looked like a sawn-off shotgun and bridged the gap between the short distance of a hand grenade and the longer range of mortar fire.[13] 

 

The weapons squad included M16 rifles as well, one 90mm recoilless rifle, which was generally left at base camp, plus two M60 machine gunners, which formed the backbone of defense and delivered grazing bands of fire.[14]  In addition, the mortar squads often functioned as rifle squads instead, leaving the 81mm mortars at the base camp due to their heavy weight.[15] 

 

When in use, the mortar required a two-man team and delivered support fire of shells at a high angle of fire with a range of 4,000 yards.[16]  Each grunt held a particular role within the squad to protect and defend their position from enemy attack—they worked as a team. 

 

Night watch required organized unit structure as well.  Troops took turns staying awake as the other soldiers slept, keeping their eye out for possible enemy activity.  “Sometimes you just can’t stay awake because you’re so damned tired.  At night, we had three guys on the gun squad, and each had half-hour watches.  So we’d sleep three hours, then be on another hour and a half.  But that’s every night, seven days a week,” explained veteran Larry Holguin, who served in the infantry from June 1969 to September 1969.[17] 

 

[To be continued.]

 

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.

 

 

The Coming End Of The American Superpower

 

A venal and self-important Washington establishment combined with a globalized corporate mentality have brought an end to America's rising living standards. 

 

America's days as a superpower are rapidly coming to an end. Isolated by the nationalistic unilateralism of the neoconservatives who control the Bush administration, the US can expect no sympathy or help from former allies and rising new powers.

 

3.2.05 By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS.  Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.

 

The US economy is headed toward crisis, and the political leadership of the country--if it can be called leadership--is preoccupied with nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

 

The US economy is failing.  The afflictions are serious.  They could be fatal even if diagnosed and treated.  America is losing the purchasing power of its currency and its ability to create middle class jobs.

 

The dollar's sharp decline and projections of continuing trade and budgetary red ink are undermining the dollar's role as reserve currency.  A number of central banks have announced that they will be diversifying their currency holdings and will not be buying dollars at the same rate as in the past.

 

This will put more pressure on the dollar.  At some point the flight will begin. Instead of buying fewer dollars, central banks will sell dollars hoping to get out before the dollar hits bottom.

 

Suddenly, the advantage of being the reserve currency becomes a nightmare as the world's accumulations of dollars are brought to market.  An enormous supply and weak demand mean a very low exchange rate for the once almighty US dollar.

 

Overnight those cheap goods in Wal-Mart, which are the no-think economist's facile justification for Wal-Mart's decimation of communities, small businesses and employment, shoot up in price.

 

Interest rates will escalate as the government struggles to finance its endless red ink.

 

Heavily indebted Americans with adjustable rate mortgages will attempt to sell homes just as rising mortgage rates reduce buyers.  Real estate assets, the rising value of which have been keeping the economy going, will give back gains.

 

The US has lost its ability to create middle class jobs or for that matter any jobs.  During the last four years the US has experienced a net loss of 760,000 private sector jobs (January 2001 - January 2005). Think what this means for graduating classes and people coming of age to enter the work force.

 

No-think economists explain away the difficulties as a "globalization adjustment" that will require Americans to curtail their consumption of imported goods.  These economists are ignorant of American's dependence on imported manufactured goods.  Even American brand name goods are made abroad in whole or in part.  Tightening the belt will mean much more than cutting out foreign made luxuries.

 

The dollars' decline will drive up the price of all inputs except US labor which is being substituted out of production functions and replaced with foreign labor.

 

Oblivious to reality, the Bush administration has proposed a Social Security privatization that will cost $4.5 trillion in borrowing over the next 10 years alone! America has no domestic savings to absorb this debt, and foreigners will not lend such enormous sums to a country with a collapsing currency--especially a country mired in a Middle East war running up hundreds of billions of dollars in war debt.

 

A venal and self-important Washington establishment combined with a globalized corporate mentality have brought an end to America's rising living standards. 

 

America's days as a superpower are rapidly coming to an end. Isolated by the nationalistic unilateralism of the neoconservatives who control the Bush administration, the US can expect no sympathy or help from former allies and rising new powers.

 

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.

 

 

OCCUPATION REPORT

 

 

Cheap Chiseling Bullshit

 

March 07, 2005 By Gina Cavallaro, Army Times staff writer

 

BAQUBAH, Iraq — Saturday is a big day at the Civil Military Operations Center here.

 

It is the day that the Judge Advocate General staff of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, sets up shop downtown and hands out cold, hard U.S. dollars to Iraqis who have legitimate claims against U.S. soldiers for property damage, injury and loss of life during non-combat operations.

 

The first claimants were five brothers, the proprietors of a well-known fruit orchard in Buhriz, a violent section in the southern part of the city.  Insurgents repeatedly targeted and sometimes overran the local police station, and Buhriz was the only part of the city that saw a protracted firefight during the Jan. 30 elections.

 

But the brothers’ claim went back to Nov. 21, when U.S. and Iraqi soldiers bulldozed a part of their 1.5-acre orchard, next to the besieged police station, in a move to deny the insurgents a hiding place from which to launch rocket-propelled grenades.

 

The men took seats in plastic chairs across a desk from Capt. Douglas W. Moore, the brigade JAG officer in charge of the claims payout operation.

 

He informed them that their claim was approved and that each brother would receive $8,305 as compensation for losses on one year’s crop.  The men argued that their original claim of $15,000 each should be paid to compensate for next year’s crop, too.

 

“This is our claim offer. If they don’t accept the money, they won’t get anything.  We can’t pay for future crops,” Moore, 34, of Columbus, Ohio, told the Mahmood Hussein brothers through a translator.  They would not be eligible to file another claim next year, he added.

 

Eventually, the brothers shuffled out, cash in hand.

 

[So, if somebody poisons your crop lands in Iowa, or deliberately puts your eyes out, by this obscene notion of justice, you would only get one years damages for the loss of the crop land forever, or one year’s wages for the loss of your eye sight forever.  Bullshit.  Meanwhile, Bush buddies in Iraq are scooping up billions of dollars for helping Bush occupy their country.  Of course the Iraqis join the resisstance and fight back.  They are right to do so.]

 

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

 

 

SWIFT BOAT VETS RIP AARP'S VIETNAM WAR RECORD:

Battle Over Social Security Gets Nastier In New Ad

 

March 1, 2005 The Borowtiz Report

 

The scorched-earth battle over the future of Social Security got a little nastier today with the release of a new television ad in which the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked the Vietnam War record of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

 

The Swift Boat Veterans, dormant in the months following the 2004 election, called their anti-AARP ad "our finest work to date."

 

In the controversial commercial, a swift boat veteran named Davis Debrew claims to have served on the same swift boat as the AARP during the Vietnam War.

 

"While the rest of us were in the front of the boat shooting at the Vietcong, the AARP was in the back of the boat talking about how to bankrupt Social Security," Mr. Debrew says.

 

But within hours of the commercial's first airing, the AARP disputed Mr. Debrew's claims, arguing that there was no way a retirees' organization numbering 35 million members could ever have fit on a craft as small and light as a swift boat.

 

The ad was released just as a new study from the Brookings Institution found that the money spent on anti-AARP ads, if invested in Social Security instead, could keep the program solvent until the year 2200.

 

In response to the Brookings study, swift boat veteran Debrew said, "I served on the same boat as the Brookings Institution, and when it came time to shoot at the Vietcong, they were no help at all."

 

 

DERANGED ENEMY COMBATANT

SPOTTED IN D.C.

Feb. 28. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

 

NEED SOME TRUTH?  CHECK OUT THE NEW TRAVELING SOLDIER

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

 

 

Received:

 

FBI Harassment

 

Feb 27, 2005 Charles Post

 

On Friday, February 27, 2005, two FBI agents came to my home in Brooklyn.  I was at work and they began to question my partner about Solidarity, the socialist organization I belong to, and its possible connection to a young man who was arrested for allegedly vandalizing a military recruitment center in the Bronx, NY.

 

The FBI agents indicated that they had obtained our address from the Solidarity website, where I am listed as the NY contact person.  They asked my partner numerous questions, including whether or not we knew the young men who had been arrested, how long she (who is not a member) and I have been members of Solidarity and whether Solidarity had a "web forum."

 

This may or may not be the beginning of FBI harassment of US citizens who are active in the movement against the occupation of Iraq.  It is certainly part of a pattern of harassment and repression, mostly targeting people from the Muslim and Arab communities and immigrants.

 

Whether it is the beginning of more generalized harassment, we feel it is important that socialists, radicals and anti-war and global justice activists generally understand their rights when approached by the FBI.

 

Unless they have a warrant or subpoena, you are under no obligation to answer any questions nor permit agents in your home.

 

We STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you do not answer any questions from the FBI. They may-- as they did when they questioned my partner-- assure you that they are "not out to get you."  However, anything you tell them can be used against you or other activists in the future.

 

Silence-- which is your right-- is your best policy.  If the FBI comes with a warrant or subpoena, we strongly recommend you contact a lawyer immediately.  We will be consulting with civil rights/civil liberties attorneys in the near future for more details.

 

Charles Post

charle-@nyc.rr.com

281 Adelphi Street, Apt. 2

Brooklyn, NY 11205

Home: (718) 858-3458

Cell: (646) 206-9236

 

 

Received:

 

The Apocalyptic Nature Of The Christian Fundamentalist.

 

From: JM

To: GI Special

Sent: March 02, 2005

Subject: The apocalyptic nature of the Christian fundamentalist.

 

My comments on William Bowles writing about an essay by Bill Moyers (There is no tomorrow) - GI Special Feb 26. I agree with what he says but wish to add my own ideas. --- JM.

 

I get the feeling that those who lead America today don't care if they destroy the world environment and, in doing so, bring about the end of life on the planet.  This cannot be the case because they also seek enormous wealth.  If the apocalypse is near the new wealth will be useless.  I think they are risking the destruction of the world for personal gain.  They are, for the same reason, presenting themselves as devout Christians.  It all helps their cause - personal wealth and power.

 

As for the Christian funermentalists.  They put all their faith in the fact they will be saved because they are the chosen ones.  Jesus told his followers not to commit murder, so why should people who advocate war and killing be saved?  They also read the Book of Revelations in a very lop-sided way.  The new Babylon, that is to be destroyed, is not Iraq.  The ruins of the old Babylon are there but the Bible gave images that people could understated almost 2,000 years ago.  The new Babylon, in the prophesy, is a place of many different peoples and languages.  The kings and merchants of the earth trade there and it seems to be a cosmopolitan place very similar to America.

 

I believe the Biblical New Babylon and New Jerusalem are both very different places to the old ones.  Maybe some Christians are following the false prophet who is also mentioned in the Book of Revelations.  They are told they can break the commandments, that they can kill and no longer need to love their enemies or turn the other cheek.  They no longer follow the teaching of Jesus because the false prophet says what they want to hear.

 

Will they be saved - or cast into the fiery pit?  Jesus always supported the underdog so I think they have chosen the wrong side.  Any true Christian should condemn torture or the destruction of Palestine and Iraq. I'm certain that Jesus would have - even if it landed him in prison or before a firing squad.

 

 

GI Special distributes and posts to our website copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.  We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  We believe this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law since it is being distributed without charge or profit for purely educational purposes to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for educational purposes, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  Go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml for more information.  If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

If printed out, this newsletter is your personal property and cannot legally be confiscated from you.  “Possession of unauthorized material may not be prohibited.”  DoD Directive 1325.6 Section 3.5.1.2.

 

 


 

[1] Rediker, titles chapter 2, “The Seaman as Collective Worker; The Labor Process at Sea.”

[2] Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957), 43.

[3] Robert J. McMahon, Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003), xv.

[4] Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), 431-32, describes the photo op moment in which marines landed ready to battle only to find Vietnamese women greeting them with lais.

[5] Karnow, 431.

[6] Shelby L. Stanton, Vietnam Order of Battle (Washington D.C.: U.S. News Books, 1981), 3.

[7] Michael Lind, “The Necessary War,” in Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War, ed. Robert J. McMahon (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003), 7.

[8] GIs referred to the U.S. as the “world.”  See Charles. R. Anderson, xiv.

[9] “The World of Charlie Company,” filmed in 1970, in The Vietnam War with Walter Cronkite, prod. Ernest Leiser and Russ Bensley, dir. Eric Shapiro, 54 min., CBS News, 1987, videocassette.

[10] Charles Anderson, xi; Otis Pikes claims 14 percent were combat troops in 1971, see Cincinnatus, Self-Destruction, The Disintegration and Decay of the United States Army During the Vietnam Era (New York: W. W. Norton, 1981), 146.

[11] Cincinnatus, 146; “America Pulls Back.”

[12] Guidebook for Marines (Quantico: Marine Corps Association, 1990), 463.

[13] The M14 began as the standard rifle, but as the war escalated the M16 was introduced in the field.  The weapon was known to frequently jam, and troops mistrusted the new rifle.  See “M-16,” Vietnam GI, January 1968, 1.  Mortars are “weapons used to fire shells at low velocities, short ranges, and high-angle trajectories,” see Spencer C. Tucker, ed., The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), s.v. “Mortars, Allied and Democratic Republic of Vietnam.”

[14] Guidebook, 303.

[15] Stanton, 53; Tucker, 154; The 81 mm mortar weighs 87.5 pounds, see Guidebook, 382.

[16] Guidebook, 381-83.

[17] Larry Holguin, quoted in Charley Trujillo, Soldados (San Jose: Chusma House, 1990), 72.