GI SPECIAL 3A73:
60% Of Troops Oppose War:
IRAQ = “I
Really Am Quitting”
3/11/05 By Stu Woo, Brown
Daily Herald - Campus News
Critical of the U.S. media and
Bush administration, a veteran of the war in Iraq spoke
Thursday night about the realities of the conflict, saying
that U.S. soldiers there were ill-equipped, poorly trained
and largely unsupportive of the war.
E-4 Patrick Resta, who served as an Army medic in Iraq for
eight months before returning to the United States in
November, spoke before an audience of about 80 Brown
students and local community members in Salomon 001.
pointed out how poorly equipped U.S. soldiers were in Iraq.
He said that of the 1,000 vehicles his brigade brought into
Iraq, only about 10 to 15 percent of them were armored.
In addition, of the vehicles that were
armored, many of them had only a half-inch sheet of plywood
or sandbags as protection.
"If you look at this fuel
truck," Resta said, referring to a vehicle in a photograph,
"what you see are three sandbags. That's the armor on that
many troops, including him, took out loans to buy their own
personal armor, which they either wore or used as protection
in their vehicles.
He said he was never trained
to use the rifle he was issued and his gas mask did not fit
dismissed the idea that most of the troops in Iraq were
satisfied with their situation, citing a poll in a military
magazine that found that about 60 percent of soldiers in
Iraq did not approve of the war. He also said soldiers were
open about their disapproval of the war, and many wanted to
a running joke that IRAQ stood for 'I really am quitting,' "
Audience members also said
they found Resta's presentation important. Some called the
media's representation of the war in Iraq alarming.
"I think that it's a disgrace
that our media does not portray everything in Iraq," Liza
Littenberg-Brown '08 said.
"It's just unfathomable that
what's going on in Iraq is this far off the mark," added
Leah Segal '08.
have a friend or relative in the service? Forward this
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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
Send requests to address up top.
Can, Come To Fayetteville.”
a big weed to pull on March 19, the second anniversary
of the invasion. I want to invite anyone and everyone
to come help yank on it. It's in Fayetteville, North
Carolina, home of Fort Bragg, the 82nd Airborne
Division, the United States Army Special Operations
Command, and Special Forces Command.
is starting the journey without knowing exactly how we
will get where we are going, but with the belief that
through organization and perseverance and the
development of strong revolutionary cultures and
communities, we can get there.
no idea what the last battle will look like, or what the
battles of others might look like in other places. We
make the fight that is in front of us, here and now.
When that one is done, we can step back and see how our
interventions have changed things, and prepare for the
March 12 / 13, 2005
By Stan Goff, Master
Sergeant, U.S. Special Forces, (Ret’d)
CounterPunch. (Full article at:
It is hard to be an optimist
these days, especially when we have access to the internet,
where we can quickly familiarize ourselves with a seemingly
infinite list of particular and terrible manifestations of
this system in its current US imperial form.
depredations of this system are no longer symptomatic of a
class that is aggrandizing their power, but of a class
astride a system that -- almost like the yeast used to make
a bottle of wine, that expands madly toward its own point of
no return to extinction -- is in an inevitable decline.
That's hard to see sometimes,
because they have accumulated so much power, and because
that system has so penetrated every dimension of our lives
all over the world. And
the chieftains of communications have so monopolized the
images we see of the world and the interpretations of that
world to which we are exposed that this power is magnified,
while this decline is denied and minimized.
But recognizing the
accumulation of insults to humanity in this system's
billions of daily doses of misery and defeat does not imply
that we have failed by failing to defeat the system in each
and all of its symptomatic forms.
That's the mistake. That's
the first step down the path of despair.
Revolutionary optimism is not
pollyanna optimism that leaves everything to God, or fate,
or whatever. A correspondent on an old list I was on said,
"Praying for peace is like praying for a weedless garden."
Revolutionary optimism contains an element of faith, too,
but not faith in some intangible realm that envelops our
own, and not faith that the world is permeable to our
Revolutionary optimism and
faith is the optimism of an activist and a movement that
makes up its mind not to quit until it prevails, and faith
in ourselves and the efficacy of collective action.
is starting the journey without knowing exactly how we
will get where we are going, but with the belief that
through organization and perseverance and the
development of strong revolutionary cultures and
communities, we can get there.
no idea what the last battle will look like, or what the
battles of others might look like in other places. We
make the fight that is in front of us, here and now.
When that one is done, we can step back and see how our
interventions have changed things, and prepare for the
Despair is individual. It
dies with each of us. The revolution is for our
grandchildren, for future generations. Think about it. And
the best way to fight despair is to connect with a community
and do something.
I am an activist in the
movement against the United States' attempt to consolidate a
permanent and vastly expanded military presence in strategic
Southwest Asia. The mass movement in the US and abroad is
now making the demand that the US end its occupation of
Iraq. The political rulers of the US have taken grave risks
and fought off one challenge after another, even from
factions of their own class at times, to achieve this goal
of a permanent and expanded military presence in this
region, because they think it is vitally important to
maintain the US position as an imperial hyper-power. They
may be right.
If they think achieving this
objective is essential to the maintenance of that malignant
power, then I tend to think that resisting that agenda has
some special strategic value for us...something that goes
well beyond the day-to-day struggles against the particular
and symptomatic outcomes of the system. Defeating them on
this agenda, I believe, will help weaken them and accelerate
the end of that imperial power, and the organization we
achieve as a movement in the process will strengthen us and
give us new wisdom for the next stage, which we can not see
clearly until we have resolved this phase.
I just believe we can defeat
them on this one, and a lot of us have made up our minds not
to quit until we do.
One of the
key vulnerabilities of the administration strategy is its
over-reliance on the military. The military is not composed
mostly of bureaucrats who are protecting their careers.
composed mostly of enlisted people, who are often only a
short step out of high school.
often ignorant and confused, but then so are most of us.
them are also idealistic, and they believe the horse manure
that has been shoveled at them, from 'Army of One' Madison
Avenue recruiting pitches to the US military as protector of
the weak in a caricatured world.
of Iraq has been particularly hard on the most idealistic of
these youngsters, and on some older troops as well.
One of the interesting things
about this struggle against the occupation of Iraq are all
the comparisons being made to Vietnam, especially
comparisons to the resistance that developed against the
invasion and occupation of Vietnam from inside the military.
resistance within the military against this war, too. But
it is different in several ways.
all, during Vietnam, the US public and the world did not get
into motion against the war for several years. In fact,
there was more public support for the Vietnam war when Nixon
began the process of getting out than there is for the Iraq
Now half the US opposes the
war, and there was an internationally networked and highly
militant opposition to the war even before the occupation
began in March 2003. So there is a general situation that
lends itself more to doubt about the official excuses for
doubt affects the people who are in the US military.
also the internet, where more dissident voices are
available, including many well-crafted analyses that give
the lie to administration bullshit. Soldiers are on the
During Vietnam, much of the
antiwar effort was concentrated in universities, and many of
the activists who tried to connect with dissident GI's and
to carry the message against the war to military service
members were college students... which was difficult,
because there was a good deal of social distance between
working class military people and the often class-privileged
college students. This
time around, resistance developed early... inside military
A soldier does not feel
suspicious and stand-offish with his mom or his spouse or
his sister like he might with some unknown college student.
I mention women, because the core of the military families
antiwar work -- while it certainly includes dads and
brothers and such -- has been women. This is another
departure from the experience of Vietnam.
Finally, there was no Veterans
for Peace or Korean Veterans Against the War already on the
ground and organized when the aggression against Vietnam
took off. But there is a very vital Vietnam Veterans
network and a Veterans for Peace now, which constitute a set
of voices that have special access to soldiers, and who have
created communities prepared to support dissident soldiers
in a variety of ways.
So the Bush
strategy is vulnerable, and the institution upon which he
has placed the burden of this strategy -- the military -- is
vulnerable to our interventions.
I am optimistic.
There's plenty to be
resistance from within military communities started,
military families groups and veterans groups have combined
their efforts. Military Families Speak Out spawned Gold
Star Families for Peace, an organization of families whose
loved ones have been killed in the war. Veterans for Peace
has midwifed Iraq Veterans Against the War. GI counselors
from legal and faith communities, including the GI Rights
Hotline, the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force,
Quaker House, and Catholic Worker have developed personal
and working relationships with each other, and have begun to
network their efforts with antiwar military families in UK.
We have linked up with
September 11 victims' families in September 11 Families for
Peaceful Tomorrows. We have also integrated our work and
collaborated with national organizations like United for
Peace and Justice and International ANSWER. Press and
activist organizations from all over the world seek out
spokespersons from this network.
Iraq, there is a powerful and multiform resistance to
the occupation that is proving to be very resilient.
But that is only half the battle to stop the occupation
and derail the imperial goal of an expanded and
permanent US military presence in the region. In the
United States and UK, we have a special responsibility,
and that is to attack and destroy the credibility of the
Bush-Blair enterprise and to mount an increasingly
militant resistance at home until the political cost is
so high, they must leave.
I am optimistic. This is
inevitable, because certain people have simply made up their
minds not to stop until we win. But we have to continue to
pull the weeds in the garden.
We have a
big weed to pull on March 19, the second anniversary of the
invasion. I want to invite anyone and everyone to come help
yank on it. It's in Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of
Fort Bragg, the 82nd Airborne Division, the United States
Army Special Operations Command, and Special Forces Command.
numbers. We need big numbers, because when they are big
enough, especially at Fort Bragg, even the capitalist press
has a hard time ignoring it. We need numbers, because then
the press that is drawn by their own competition to the site
will have to see and hear the voices of opposition coming
from soldiers, from veterans, from soldier's families, and
from those who have had their loved ones sacrificed on the
alter of Empire.
numbers to further polarize our society, to deepen that
polarization until it becomes a crisis for the rulers. Big
numbers are optimism in action, and our optimism right now
is our most potent weapon.
If you can,
come to Fayetteville. Google search "fayetteville march 19"
to find bus schedules and details. Buses are coming from
Georgia to Maine. Plan a road trip. Catch a plane. [For
Don't despair and we'll see you there.
TRUTH? CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
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.
with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and
bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)
Soldier Killed In Mosul;
Combat So Far
March 13, 2005 AP
soldier was killed late Saturday in a small arms fire attack
in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of
Baghdad, the U.S. command said Sunday.
brought to at least 1,514 the number of members of the U.S.
military who've died since the beginning of the Iraq war in
March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Attacked Near Abu G
March 13, 2005
Baghdad, on the road to Abu Ghraib, a US convoy was attacked
on Saturday causing damage to at least one tank.
Two U.S. Mercenaries
Mar 13, 2005 BAGHDAD (Reuters)
& By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer
A roadside bomb has killed two
American contractors in Iraq, the U.S. embassy said on
spokesman said the contractors working for the Blackwater
security company were headed for the southern town of Hilla
when the bomb exploded as they passed by
A third contractor was wounded
in the attack.
The Blackwater employees
killed Saturday were in the last vehicle in a four-vehicle
convoy and were traveling to Hillah from Baghdad. The road
crosses an area known as the "Triangle of Death" because of
the frequency of insurgent attacks.
Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the contractors
were assigned to protect American diplomats.
The Blackwater employees
killed Saturday were believed to be traveling in a black
Chevrolet Suburban, a foreign security official in Baghdad
said on condition of anonymity.
Massed Fire Taking Out Tanks
March 14, 2005 BY Sean D.
Naylor, Army Times staff writer
About 1,135 Abrams tanks have
seen action in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Terry Tucker, the Army’s
chief of armor, said in a Feb. 18 interview.
acknowledged that the loss of even a few Abrams tanks has
come as something of a reality check to the armor
community. In the 1991 Persian Gulf War,
during which Tucker commanded a cavalry squadron, tank
combat involved Abrams tanks engaging and destroying their
Iraqi counterparts with overwhelming fire in the open
fight’s different,” he said. “The enemy’s learned from that.
And the technique that they’re using is massed fire against
one tank: 14, 18, 20 RPGs — I’ve heard reports of tanks
taking 50 RPG hits. It’s a new technique that they’re
using, and in fact we’re having some significant damage on
tanks that has to be repaired before we put them back in the
The general estimated that
Iraqi insurgents have used a dozen different types of RPGs
against the Abrams in Iraq.
“My concern is that in the
future we’ll see more of the newer types, which are more
powerful and have more capability,” he said.
$200,000 A Year For Top Political Hacks Serving In Iraq
March 14, 2005 Army Times
Tens of thousands of U.S.
federal civilian employees live and work alongside the
150,000 American troops in Iraq
The Bush administration is
asking for bigger salary caps for those civilian employees.
limits federal civilian pay to a range of $128,200 to
$141,194 per year, depending on an employee’s home duty
station; the White House says 500 federal employees in Iraq
are hitting those six-figure wage ceilings due to
of its $82 billion wartime spending request sent to
Congress, the White House seeks permission to raise the
income ceiling to $200,000 per year for those in the
U.S. Central Command region or in support of other
“Such employees routinely work
extended overtime hours and often reach the annual
limitation on premium pay before their overseas tour or
operational assignment ends,” the White House said.
[Boo hoo hoo. Poor
babies. Fuck ‘em.]
service members get combat-zone pays worth $430 to $680 per
month, and those involuntarily extended beyond one year in a
war zone earn an extra $1,000 per month on top of that.
However, not many folks in uniform are in danger of breaking
the six-figure ceiling.
Sent To War With Antique, Worthless, Deadly Junk:
Forced To Use Unarmored Vehicles Today;
Replacements For Damaged Body Armor
his injury, he requested new body armor to replace the
jacket damaged in the ambush. He showed what he was
given — an old, torn jacket.
rear panel was so torn that it could not hold the
ceramic plate that is crucial to stopping bullets.
Instead of using it, the resourceful guardsman cut up
some of the extra Kevlar sheeting they had been given
for the M113s, stuffed it in the hole and taped up the
his troops found a collar piece, left on the floor by
the Virginia National Guard unit they replaced.
scrubbed it up and used it. It was better than what
they sent me,” Foss said.
March 13, 2005 By Steve Walsh
/ Post-Tribune staff writer
Tall Afar in Iraq, soldiers with the Indiana National Guard
113th Engineer Battalion were embarrassed by the
slow-moving, out-of-date equipment they brought from
At times, the local soldiers
said they were relegated to guarding towers inside the base
because the command didn’t trust their aging personnel
carriers inside the often dangerous city.
vehicles we have are antiquated. They are almost museum
pieces and we don’t have parts for them. ... It’s what we
have, and the active duty guys don’t understand that,” said
Sgt. Steve Foss of Michigan City while sitting in the office
inside the motor pool.
Nearly three years after the
war began in Afghanistan, Guard officials frankly said they
had not expected their role would expand to make up 40
percent of the force deployed in Iraq.
They said it will take time to
break the decades-old practice of equipping reserve units
with equipment cast off by the regular Army.
February, after the 113th Engineers were in Iraq about a
month, one of the four armored personnel carriers brought
from Indiana had blown its engine’s head gaskets and was
leaking oil so badly that it could not be used. The chassis
of another of the four M113 armored personnel carriers had a
manufacture date of 1967 — a year before the Tet offensive
in the Vietnam War. Its engine and transmission had been
refurbished 24 years ago, in 1981, the year Ronald Reagan
The National Guard unit, based
in Gary with companies in Valparaiso and LaPorte, deployed
with bulldozers manufactured in the mid-1970s.
with the 113th Engineer Battalion suffered with equipment
failures on election night in Mosul. A
front loader broke down. Local soldiers had been taking
fire in the city that night. They had inherited front
loaders built in the early 1980s, from the Virginia National
Guard unit they replaced. The aging front loaders — which
had already been heavily used in the months before the
Indiana soldiers arrived in Mosul — often broke down.
least one critical case, local soldiers left behind
better equipment back in Indiana. The Northwest Indiana
unit was sent into Iraq with an older model of armored
personnel carriers, even though soldiers trained on
newer equipment at Camp Atterbury in southern Indiana.
The commander at Camp
Atterbury, Col. Kenneth Newlin, speculated that the training
equipment could have come from other units that could later
be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Newlin began his
military career as a soldier in the 113th Engineer
Battalion, based in Gary. He later commanded the unit
before taking over as the commander of the National Guard
training base in Edinburgh, Ind.
“I have to believe the 113th
(armored personnel carrier) issue was simply beyond their
ability to fix,” he said.
The Indiana unit replaced a
Virginia National Guard unit. Newlin pointed out that
commanders with the Virginia National Guard unit recommended
the Indiana soldiers not bring any M113 armored personnel
carriers to Mosul. But the Virginia unit was more
mechanized, with a larger array of “up-armored” Humvees — a
term to describe a street version of the Humvee that is
armored with a metal plating from a kit or scrap to make it
more resistant to attack.
unit had fewer Humvees and none of them had been up-armored
before they left Indiana.
Newlin and 113th Engineer
Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Richard Shatto discussed taking
personnel carriers anyway, because the Indiana unit had
“fewer ways to get around on the battlefield.”
Newlin said he could not
recall being asked to hand over newer A-3 armored personnel
carriers so they could be sent to Mosul. [How convenient it
is to have a bad memory when troops are dying and you didn’t
give them the best.]
after Newlin was contacted, Indiana National Guard
spokeswoman Capt. Lisa Kopczynski confirmed the local
soldiers had trained on newer A-3s at Camp Atterbury.
weren’t the 113th Engineers, who were deployed to one of
the most dangerous regions in Iraq, given a priority for
the newest equipment?
Kopczynski could only site military procedure.
Atterbury was given the A-3 armored personnel carriers
for training. The 113th Engineers took their own
equipment to Iraq.
It was inspected at Camp Atterbury and deemed fit for
who? Can we have some names please, so they can be
invited to the funerals? Or better yet, sent to Mosul
for a re-inspection. And put Kopczynski on the first
unit leaves with the equipment on their authorization
documents,” she said.
At Forward Operating Base
Sykes in Iraq, Foss and other local soldiers were frustrated
that active duty commanders were leaving them out of
But old and poorly armored
equipment could be more than embarrassing; it could be
None of the 113th Engineers
understood that more than Foss. He was the first Purple
Heart recipient from the local unit. He was hit by a piece
of shrapnel the size of a rabbit’s foot when his convoy was
ambushed on the way from Kuwait to Tall Afar.
Ironically, the day before
Foss’s convoy left Kuwait, his friend, Sgt. Jason Otto of
LaPorte, talked about the poor quality of the steel plate
being installed on the Humvees and trucks for the drive
from Northwest Indiana had arrived roughly a month after a
Tennessee National Guard soldier in Kuwait on Dec. 8
publicly asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld why they
were being forced to scrounge for scrap metal to armor their
January, the jagged steel panels the U.S. Army was issuing
to armor the Humvees and trucks still had the look of
hastily assembled scraps.
soldiers covered jagged edges with duct tape so they
wouldn’t cut themselves on the doors or the gun turrets.
Anxiety was running
particularly high because soldiers were originally told they
were going to deliver a fleet of factory up-armored Humvees
to Task Force Olympia in Mosul.
The plan fell through the day
before the convoys were preparing to leave for Iraq.
of soldiers took one of the metal panels for the trucks
into the Kuwaiti desert and tested it with various
weapons. The makeshift steel panel didn’t do much to
repel small-arms fire. Their larger weapons cut the
steel door panel in half.
Otto described how the
soldiers had been instructed to modify the vehicles,
attaching steel to the exterior and placing sandbags on the
floor. Factory up-armored Humvees had larger engines to
handle the extra load and a bulletproof windshield.
Soldiers had already dubbed the kits “Mad Max” armor or
“To be honest, I don’t know
how it’s going to work. I’ve never previously deployed with
equipment such as this. In theory, it will deflect any of
the shrapnel thrown up by IEDs (roadside bombs), small arms
fire,” Otto said.
On the third day of the
convoy, Otto’s group was caught by a roadside bomb during
the ambush outside Tall Afar. The blast would miss his
Humvee, exploding in front of the vehicle. The windshield
broke but no one was injured.
Foss was ahead of him. His
Humvee would take a direct hit when a second roadside bomb
exploded. The glass windshield shattered. The gunner, Spc.
Michael Kieszkowski of Rolling Prairie, received a Purple
Heart after being hit in the leg by flying glass.
A chunk of metal hit Foss’
body armor in the seam between the detachable collar and
shoulder. The metal slid around and lodged in his back,
near the spinal cord. The heavily armed convoy returned
fire but kept moving until it reached the base.
Dazed by the explosion, Foss
got out of his Humvee. He checked the soldiers in the other
Humvees for injuries. When Otto saw the blood, he told Foss
to sit down. After Otto opened the vest, Foss began to feel
dizzy from the blood loss.
ambush outside Tall Afar, Shatto said the Kuwait-armored
Humvees would not be allowed off the bases.
The local unit would use the Humvees left by the
Virginia unit until its Humvees were up-armored.
guarantee could not be made for trucks. There remains a
shortage of up-armored packages for trucks throughout Iraq.
Shatto said the trucks were
not as vulnerable. They ride higher. Roadside blasts
tended to detonate underneath, rather than destroying the
crew compartments, as they would with a Humvee.
[This, of course, is the
commanding officer babbling all this moronic happy talk.
For some reason, he rarely drives a truck out on the road to
enjoy how safe it is without any armor.]
and February, the Indiana National Guard in Mosul sent the
M113s into Mosul without additional armor. The M113s were
operating on election night in the Palestine section of
Mosul — possibly the most dangerous neighborhood in Iraq.
to soldiers with the Stryker unit that patrols the area,
American troops are attacked by insurgents nearly every time
they enter the Palestine neighborhood.
Guard units are still sent
with their own equipment. If they do not have what they
need, they can ask their home state. If the state cannot
find the equipment, the request is funneled to the National
Guard Bureau in Washington. The Guard then calls units
throughout the country. If the Guard can’t find the
equipment, it asks the regular Army for additional supplies,
Johnson said. [And how
many are dead by the time that circle jerk is over?]
if active-duty forces go through a similar process,
Tolson said, “No, active-duty units are pretty much
prepared for this sort of deployment.”
The National Guard Bureau
disputes any notion that it has left units unprepared for
duty in Iraq. In the case of the better M113s left at Camp
Atterbury, there is no
evidence that a request was ever made to take the newer
[Anybody from the 113th care to comment on that?
Your name will be with-held to protect the innocent and nail
Not all of the equipment sent
with the Indiana National Guard to Iraq was built for
Vietnam. The local soldiers were outfitted with the latest
body armor, lightweight Kevlar helmet and new M-4 carbine
the layer of new equipment appeared to run thin.
injury, he requested new body armor to replace the jacket
damaged in the ambush. He showed what he was given — an
old, torn jacket.
panel was so torn that it could not hold the ceramic plate
that is crucial to stopping bullets. Instead of using it,
the resourceful guardsman cut up some of the extra Kevlar
sheeting they had been given for the M113s, stuffed it in
the hole and taped up the shoulder piece.
Some of his
troops found a collar piece, left on the floor by the
Virginia National Guard unit they replaced.
it up and used it. It was better than what they sent me,”
is in Washington DC running the government, not in Iraq.
What do you think?
Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are
especially welcome. Send to
email@example.com. Name, I.D., withheld on
request. Replies confidential.
SPEECH AT CITY COLLEGE OF NEW YORK (CCNY):
College Pres. Finds Counter-Recruitment Protesters Guilty
Goons Who Beat Them Up:
Student From Campus
PICKET the City College of New
York administration in defense of free speech!
Thursday, March 17, 12:30 p.m.
Meet in front of the
administration building, 138th and Convent Avenue
SIGN a letter of support (see
SPEECH AT CITY COLLEGE OF NEW YORK (CCNY)
The three CCNY students
arrested and brutalized Wednesday, March 9, for peacefully
protesting the presence of military recruiters at City
College's "career fair" were arraigned and released
They were charged with
misdemeanor counts of assaulting an officer, resisting
arrest, and disturbing the peace, among other things.
records from Mt. Sinai confirm that Nick Bergreen and
Justino Rodriguez suffered multiple contusions and post
concussion syndrome. Their court date is
set for April 5.
COLLEGE HITS BACK WITH SUSPENSION AND ANOTHER ARREST
March 11, Hadas Thier, an undergraduate student at CCNY, was
informed that she had been suspended from the University for
"posing a continuing danger," and was banned from even
setting foot on campus, pending a hearing to take place
sometime in the next seven days.
Carol Lang, a CCNY staff member, was arrested in connection
with Wednesday’s protest and also charged with assault.
Williams, the president of the College, sent an email to the
entire faculty and student body repeating allegations
against the students as if they were facts.
"The confrontation escalated and several of the
demonstrators grabbed and hit the officer. At this point,
the three students involved in the attack on the officer
were arrested," he wrote.
It is a disgrace that the
administration has so clearly sided with campus security
without any evidence or due process, rather than looking out
for the rights and safety of its students, faculty, and
Together, the actions of the
security guards, the City of New York, and the CCNY
administration have served to stifle dissent and create a
climate of intimidation.
1. Let them know what you
think: (and copy firstname.lastname@example.org on your
Gregory Williams, President
Maureen Powers, VP for Student Affairs 212-650-7285/7286,
212-650-7680 (fax) 212-650-5426, 212-650-7080 (fax) c/o
Chief of Staff Michael Rogovin c/o Assistant to the VP
George Rhinehart email@example.com
George Crinnion, Director of
Public Safety Danny Vasquez, Security Specialist
212-650-7992, 212-650-7991 (fax) 212-650-7988, 212-650-7991
(fax) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
2. Sign on to the letter
supporting free speech on campus. Please find the letter
attached. To sign onto the letter, send an email
the administration (and deliver your letter in person)
front of the administration building, 138th and Convent
Avenue THURSDAY, March 17, at 12:30 p.m.
and placards in support of free speech on campus!
Dear President Williams,
We, the undersigned, are
outraged that freedom of speech for faculty, staff, and
students of the City College of New York (CCNY) was so
blatantly attacked last week.
dismayed to learn that three students were attacked and
arrested by campus security guards for exercising their
constitutionally protected right to assemble and to protest.
further outraged to learn that you swiftly moved -- without
evidence, due process, or a discussion with the arrested
students -- to suspend one of the students and to arrest
another protester after the fact.
guilty-until-proven-innocent approach sends a chilling
message: security forces have free reign on campus.
that you defend the CCNY students, drop all disciplinary
proceedings against the students involved in the protest,
and launch an investigation into the actions of campus
X, On behalf of:
Hadas Thier, CCNY Class of
Justino Rodriguez, CCNY Class
Nicholas Bergreen, CCNY Class
sister publication, Traveling Soldier,
http://www.traveling-soldier.org/ got in trouble five
weeks ago, when the computer used for Traveling Soldier blew
up. The various files, including
distribution lists, and archives, couldn’t be accessed.
GI Special sent out a fund
$1470 has come in of the $1300 need to retrieve the
files from the old computer, and get a moderate quality
new computer! The excess will be used to pay web site
KP: Brookline, Mass: $15
PA: Lake Oswego, NY $40
Rise In Noncombat Ailments;
Never Gone To War With Guys As Old As This Before”
March 13, 2005 By Russ Rizo,
Stars and Stripes
In many ways, Maj. William
Wolfe is a typical Army reservist.
The 47-year-old high school
history teacher from outside Hershey, Pa., has served 21
years in a variety of roles as an active-duty and Reserve
Before deploying with his
transportation brigade in January, Wolfe had no major
medical problems and worked full-time behind a desk.
But once he arrived at Camp
Spearhead in Kuwait, Wolfe soon found his body was not ready
for the rigors of deployment: the long shifts lifting cargo
and climbing stairs; the stress of a daily commute on roads
insurgents were known to attack; the lack of sleep from
living with others in a tent.
Within a month, Wolfe’s body
sent him a warning. A nagging pinch developed near his
heart, and he found himself dizzy and out of breath — signs
of possible heart trouble he feared could lead to an attack
work 14- to 16-hour shifts when you’re 47 years old when you
haven’t been in that kind of environment and expect to be
fine,” Wolfe said recently from a bed at
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
To doctors at Landstuhl, Wolfe
represents a new reality for the U.S. military. As
reservists and National Guardsmen are called to duty in
unprecedented numbers, they are bringing new medical
challenges with them.
Part-time soldiers now make up
about 40 percent of the 150,000 troops in Iraq, a Pentagon
spokesman said. Overall, more than 184,000 reservists in
all services are deployed worldwide, according to the Army
National Guard Web site.
And because these troops tend
to be older, military doctors find themselves dealing more
with illnesses and injuries common in older patients.
The average age of reservists
in all services is 33, according to the Office of the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. A
quarter of all reservists are over age 40.
Landstuhl, where most soldiers injured downrange go for
medical treatment, more troops arrive with noncombat
injuries than fighting wounds. Eight out of 10 soldiers
airlifted from battle zones since the beginning of the war
in Iraq were treated for noncombat injuries, according to
the reserve affairs office.
from diseases such heart problems, joint pain or noncombat
injuries such as fractures suffered during training.
Atop the list of ailments is
chest pain, followed by back pain and hernias.
For Dr. (Col.) Randolph
Modlin, chief of cardiology at Landstuhl, the figures are
easy to explain.
never gone to war with guys as old as this before,” he said.
In 2004 alone, Landstuhl
physicians treated 559 soldiers who suffered from heart
disease or experienced chest pain downrange, according to
hospital statistics. That’s an average of almost 11 heart
patients a week.
By comparison, the hospital
treated an average of 24 patients a week for all types of
war wounds combined last year, according to hospital
While most heart patients are
over age 40, like Wolfe, Modlin said doctors have seen
clogged arteries in reservists in their 30s.
amazing how much coronary disease we’ve seen,” said Dr.
(Maj.) Michael Huber, a cardiologist at Landstuhl.
Just last month, doctors found
a 95 percent blockage in an artery of 37-year-old Sgt. 1st
Class Kris Barrett, a National Guardsman from Michigan.
They later discovered Barrett came to war with another
artery partially clogged that he knew nothing about.
While guarding Abu Ghraib
prison in Baghdad, Barrett felt a pain in his chest and
found himself out of breath while walking.
His first reaction: “I thought
I needed to work out more,” Barrett said from a bed at
Landstuhl before flying to Walter Reed Army Medical Center
in Washington, D.C., for heart surgery.
Barrett, some patients go to war with heart trouble they do
not discover until they push their bodies carrying heavy
flak jackets in the desert heat.
For others, heart disease
develops in combat because of habits common to the
battlefield, including stress, poor diet and smoking,
40-year-old there puts on 40 pounds of gear in that heat and
lets people shoot at him — that’s a recipe for heart
failure,” Modlin said.
Back pain is the second most
common noncombat injury Landstuhl doctors see. Like heart
patients, back patients tend to be older, because bones and
joints naturally deteriorate over time, doctors said.
“That low-back twinge a
reservist felt at home suddenly becomes a war-stopper,” said
Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director of deployment health
support in the reserve affairs office.
Hernias are the third most
common noncombat injury seen at Landstuhl. Most of these
patients are reservists and National Guardsmen because of
their older ages, said Dr. (Col.) Tyler Putnam, a general
surgeon who treats hernias.
An EKG test likely would have
shown Barrett’s early heart trouble, preventing him from
going to Baghdad in the first place.
But Wolfe’s diagnosis was
different. After days of evaluations at Landstuhl, doctors
released the reservist back to Kuwait. His heart showed no
“I guess it was just the
stress,” Wolfe said.
Demonstrators from the
Ministry of Health hold a protest against salary cuts in
Baghdad March 13, 2005.
Hundreds of employees,
including security officers working at the
ministry, protested after the Health Department cut their
wages. (Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters)
3/13/2005 TheDay & AFP and
guerillas killed three policemen and wounded a fourth at a
Two Iraqis, including one
policeman and the head engineer at the Baghdad airport, were
killed in two attacks in Baghdad, an interior ministry
source said Sunday.
Four other people were killed
in a bomb attack on a police chief's home in the north on
engineer at Baghdad airport, Moayad Ibrahim al-Muslah, was
shot dead Saturday at his home in Ghazaliyah district in
western Baghdad, the source said.
a policeman was killed at 8:15 am (0515 GMT) when a mortar
struck a checkpoint in Maamel district in eastern Baghdad,
the source said, adding three other officers were wounded in
Iraqis were killed when a US military vehicle smashed into
four cars in southern Baghdad, the source said.
Iraq, four people were killed, including two Iraqi
policemen, when a pickup truck bomb exploded Saturday
outside the home of Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed al-Juburi,
one of the police commanders in the town
of Al-Shurgat, said police.
soldiers died in a bomb attack in Siniya near Baiji,
home to Iraq's largest refinery, 200 kilometres (153 miles)
north of Baghdad, police said.
Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, a truck driver was
killed and two others wounded by armed men after they
delivered gravel to a US base.
from the party of secular Shiite politician Ahmed Chalabi
was seriously wounded by gunmen Sunday morning in Ramadi,
100 kilometres west of Baghdad, police said.
Hamid Farhan Dlimi, a member
of the Iraqi National Congress, was driving his car when a
vehicle drove up and gunmen opened fire, said police
lieutenant Khaldun Dlimi.
Dlimi, his body riddled with
bullets, was taken to hospital and listed in serious
condition, said Dlimi.
policemen were wounded in Tuz, 160 kilometres north of
Baghdad, local police said, adding three soldiers had been
wounded in a mortar strike in Dhuluiyah, 70 kilometres north
of the capital.
In Mahahawil, 90 kilometres
south of Baghdad, two shepherds were found dead and a third
wounded when they accidentally set off unexploded bombs from
the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, police said.
Latifiyah, six armed men were arrested, two of them wounded,
after a gunfight when the rebels tried to blow up a railroad
line on a bridge, the source said.
DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
March 13, 2005 (AP)
on oil installations left pipelines ablaze in Iraq on
One blaze occurred between
Samara and Fallujah to the east of the Iraqi capital, while
the other started after an attack close to the northern city
An oil installation security
officer in Kirkuk said the pipeline was attacked by mortar
At The Prospect Of An Iraq Ruled By Iraqis”
March 9, 2005 by Naomi Klein,
at the prospect of an Iraq ruled by Iraqis, former chief US
Envoy Paul Bremer designed elections that gave the
US-friendly Kurds 27 percent of the seats in the National
Assembly even though they make up as little as 15 percent of
And since the US-authored
interim constitution requires an absurdly high majority for
all major decisions, the Kurds now hold the country
hostage. Their central demand is control over Kirkuk; if
they get it, and then decide to separate, Iraqi Kurdistan
will handily include the massive northern oilfields.
Kurdish Iraqis have a
legitimate claim to independence, as well as understandable
fears of being ethnically targeted.
US-Kurdish alliance has handed Washington a backdoor veto
over Iraq's democracy. And with Kirkuk as part of Iraqi
Kurdistan, if Iraq does break apart Washington will still
end up with a dependent, oil-rich regime--even if it's
somewhat smaller than the one originally envisioned.
All The Same People Who Came Riding On American Tanks.”
March 13, 2005 By Alissa J.
Rubin, Times Staff Writer
With Iraqis increasingly
concerned about a security vacuum, the man who is expected
to become the next prime minister on Saturday defended the
winning blocs, which have not formed a government nearly six
weeks after millions of people risked their lives to vote.
Baghdad, one of the most mixed cities in Iraq, there are
rumblings of discontent and cynicism, even
though many people here voted for one of the three slates
that took the most votes: the United Iraqi Alliance; Iraqi
List, the ticket of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi; or a
coalition of the main Kurdish parties.
The doubts are still deeper
among those who did not vote — supporters of anti-American
anti-occupation] cleric Muqtada Sadr and many
Sunnis Arabs who feel they have been left out of the
Toward evening in Sadr City
recently, several tribal sheiks gathered outside Sadr's
office to chat before prayers.
we've never had any real government and now this is not a
real government either; these are all the same people who
came riding on American tanks. They did nothing before and
they will do nothing in the future," said Awad Abid Zubaidi,
35, before adding a common refrain: "We
don't really know who is in charge or whether a government
will be formed."
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
Forces Must Leave Iraq As Soon As Possible"
08 March 2005 By Patrice
Claude, Le Monde
American bases in Iraq? The question seems so incongruous
to His Most Austere "Eminence Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim," (as the
leader of the Shiite party which won the January 30
elections identifies himself on his visiting card) that he
almost bursts out laughing.
No. No one in Iraq desires the establishment of permanent
foreign bases on our land. The United Nations Security
Council resolutions are clear: it will be up to the elected
Iraqi government, when the time comes, to give those forces
a specific departure date. As soon as possible."
POLITICIANS AT WORK
Cheney’s Buddies Looted Iraq
only a few examples of the war profiteers at work, from a
very long article. These thieving assholes were supposed to
be taking care of the troops. While troops were eating sand
and sleeping in rat holes, these parasites, like any
organized crime gang, took care of themselves first, and
then funneled the money back to the bosses on top as
profits. But hey, that’s what the capitalism is about, and
profits for capitalism is what the war is about. Duh. Dead
troops are just a minor business expense.]
March 11, 2005 MICHAEL
SHNAYERSON, VANITY FAIR
It was at the LOGCAP office
that deYoung saw how well KBR managers in Kuwait were
in expensive waterfront hotels in Kuwait City and its
environs at more than $100 a night per room. They availed
themselves of hotel laundry service, even while KBR was
paying outrageous prices to a subcontractor for laundry.
And when they left their hotels, they didn't carpool or take
buses. They'd requisitioned expensive-brand S.U.V.'s for
did some number crunching and came up with the figure of
$73 million a year. That, she concluded, was what KBR
was spending for its top managers in Kuwait City to live
accurately, that was what U.S. taxpayers were paying—not
including the extra 2-to-3-percent profit that came with the
cost-plus system. (KBR says only a few managers are in
off-base housing and that those in hotel rooms are routinely
doubled up. DeYoung says the only people who stayed two to a
room were men with girlfriends, "often the lesser paid
What were the KBR managers
actually doing there?
Not overseeing construction
projects, or kicking the tires of convoy trucks they'd
brought in to supply the troops, or looking at blueprints
for new army bases in Iraq.
to deYoung, they weren't doing any of that. They were
sitting in their hotel rooms, or out on their waterfront
balconies, giving the nod to subcontractors to do all the
work. Once a subcontractor was hired, the
KBR team had no idea whether goods or services were
delivered, deYoung asserts. The team just paid whatever
invoices the subcontractors submitted, and hoped for the
Back in Washington,
Congressman Waxman had been raising a stir about KBR's
runaway costs in Iraq, so by the time deYoung reached the
LOGCAP office a "tiger team" of senior KBR managers had
flown over from Houston to Kuwait City for an intense
examination of how the company was managing the job.
team, deYoung recalls, had an odd way of pursuing the
demanding accountability from all the local vendors to whom
KBR had doled out contracts, the "old men," as deYoung puts
it, sat by the pool, not at their desks.
"Their objective was not to
set up clean accounts or justify costs," deYoung explains.
"Their No. 1 objective was to close the books because they
were operating under the assumption that if the books were
closed they wouldn't be subject to auditing."
In that, they may have been
right: when teams of Defense auditors finally reached
Kuwait, in the winter of 2004, to start questioning
contracts, they focused only on the open, ongoing ones.
DeYoung says the closed ones were ignored.
team was a "social gang," deYoung says, and "insiders were
rewarded with fancy digs … and promises of promotion." To
stay in the gang, you had to play the game—seeing that
contracts were awarded to the favored contractors.
contracting called for competitive bidding. But according
to deYoung that's not the way the gang did it. "Typically,
the high-ranking guy would go to a young, inexperienced
person and use him to award this contract to the
subcontractor of choice," deYoung explains. "If the young
person refused, he'd be threatened: 'You have 24 hours to
make a decision.' If he was adamant, he'd either be sent
home or to Iraq.
to say they'd put his life in danger.
"In the subcontracts
department, deYoung adds, KBR went through 12 managers in
one year. "When you got too close to what was going on, you
What was going on?
subcontractor would come in with bills for four or five
times the expected cost," deYoung explains, "which had to do
with under-the-table payments."
2004, deYoung came home. She'd seen a lot, and felt she'd
had enough. Her one regret was that she hadn't gotten into
Iraq; as a former soldier, she'd desperately wanted to do
that. And so she didn't see what it was like to work for
KBR on the ground in Iraq, day after day.
Warren and David Wilson did.
Wilson were two of the hundreds of truckers who signed on
for Iraq duty with KBR in the fall of 2003.
Patriotism was one draw, adventure another. And the
money wasn't bad: with premiums for working in Iraq, combat
duty in a convoy, and overtime, a driver could earn about
$8,000 a month. Like their fellow civilian recruits, they
started in Houston with a three-week orientation. For
Warren, 48, a Nebraska-born ex–navy man who drives his own
rig, the doubts began there.
"Things didn't seem right to
me from the first day in Houston," Warren recalls, speaking
to Vanity Fair by cell phone from his truck on an all-night
drive through half a dozen southwestern states. "The amount
of money being spent on these drivers, recruiting them!
Every job I've ever had, I stayed at a Motel 6 or Days Inn.
These were $200-a-night hotels. And they didn't even put
two people in a room with two beds." His KBR recruiter kept
saying, "We're spending about $10,000 on each of you in
orientation." Warren says,
"So taxpayers were paying
hundreds of thousands of dollars before KBR even found out
if I was a felon or not."
The honeymoon ended in Iraq,
when Warren and some of the other recruits were shuttled to
the U.S. military base known as Camp Cedar, south of
Baghdad. Now they were put in big tents, with 50 to 60
people to a tent. And yet, for KBR's managers, Warren
noted, the perks kept on coming.
day at Camp Cedar, I noticed flatbed trucks were bringing
brand-new S.U.V.'s, like Toyota Land Cruisers, Hummers,
4Runners—some of the most expensive S.U.V.'s that money can
buy. I saw hundreds of them going to Iraq." The S.U.V.'s
weren't hauling anything, Warren says. They were just for
KBR personnel to ride in from base to base.
They had power windows and CD players. "You don't have
CD players in a car in wartime," Warren says wonderingly.
On such delicate vehicles, desert conditions were brutal.
"Within 90 days," he says, "they were completely trashed."
Warren's job was to haul
supplies on an almost daily basis from Camp Cedar north to
Baghdad to Camp Anaconda—a distance of about 300 very
dangerous miles. He
realized pretty quickly that the KBR people in charge of
loading up the convoys had no experience in trucking.
majority of the goods we transported were transported
the wrong way," Warren explains. "You can't haul paper
towels and napkins on a flatbed when it's raining and
there's no tarp. We lost millions of dollars of goods
that scattered on the roads. Pants, boots, shirts,
water.… And we couldn't stop to pick that stuff up. We
told KBR time and again, You can't haul this stuff on a
flatbed—you need it in a container. But they never did
change. And what happens is, when you start losing
things that way, you attract Iraqis. We had people
following convoys so they could pick up stuff that fell
off the truck."
much Halliburton has profited from these huge Iraq contracts
is a matter of some debate.
David Lesar, Halliburton's
C.E.O., told analysts last fall that Halliburton's Iraq
contracts have yielded $1.4 billion, with a profit of merely
$4 million after taxes and expenses. KBR, which handled most
of those, actually incurred an operating loss in 2003 of $36
million on revenues of $9.3 billion, even as the rest of
Halliburton increased operating profits by about $200
million to $826 million. If the company bids for more Iraq
contracts, Lesar groused, it will probably "jack the margins
there's another way to look at KBR's work in Iraq.
Without it, the company would be in truly bad shape. In
fact, the Iraq work accounts for nearly all of KBR's
growth at a time when it has staggered under $4.2
billion in asbestos claims—thanks in large part to
Halliburton's former C.E.O. Dick Cheney.
Troops Shot In Hebron
7 March, 2005 BBC News
soldiers have been wounded - one seriously - in a clash with
Palestinian soldiers in the flashpoint West Bank city of
The soldiers were injured when
guerrillas opened fire at an Israeli security post near the
Tomb of the Patriarchs, a shrine holy to both Muslims and
troops are based in Hebron to protect 600 Jewish settlers
who live in the city of 120,000 Palestinians.
Soldiers opened fire in the
direction of the Old City where the shots appeared to have
come from before imposing an immediate curfew on the area,
witnesses are quoted as saying.
out what life is like under a murderous military occupation
by a foreign power, to:
www.rafahtoday.org The foreign army is Israeli; the
occupied nation is Palestine.]
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