GI SPECIAL 3B1:
THIS IS HOW BUSH
BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
BRING THEM ALL HOME
The casket of Christopher W. Dill is
brought into St. Edmund's Church in Tonawanda, New York April 15,
2005. Dill, 32, a Buffalo firefighter with Engine 21 and a staff
sergeant with the 98th Division of the United States Army Reserve,
died in battle in Iraq April 4. REUTERS/Gary Wiepert
Criminals At Work:
Dereliction Slaughters U.S. Troops;
How Pentagon Liars
Tried To Hide The Truth:
"It Just Seems Like
It Is Too Little, Too Late For These Boys"
[Thanks to PB, who sent this in.]
bombs began killing American soldiers in Iraq, the Pentagon
promised to run factories around the clock until they had enough
armored vehicles. But that didn't happen.
Though the Army
says all of its 35,000 vehicles on the roads of Iraq now have some
sort of armor, 11,700 of them are protected with nothing more than
crudely cut sheets of steel - inadequate by the Army's own
standards, according to figures released April 8.
Apr. 14, 2005 BY JOSEPH TANFANI, TOM
INFIELD, CARRIE BUDOFF AND EDWARD COLIMORE, PHILADELPHIA - (KRT)
When roadside bombs
began killing American soldiers in Iraq, the Pentagon promised to
run factories around the clock until they had enough armored
But that didn't
happen. And nearly two years and hundreds of dead and maimed
soldiers later, many troops are still riding dangerous roads in Iraq
without adequate armor on their vehicles.
Though the Army
says all of its 35,000 vehicles on the roads of Iraq now have some
sort of armor, 11,700 of them are protected with nothing more than
crudely cut sheets of steel - inadequate by the Army's own
standards, according to figures released April 8.
The Army intends to replace that
armor, but the Pentagon says that job won't be done for five
months. And the Army said April 8 that combat commanders have now
requested 4,000 more armored humvees and trucks.
"It just seems
like it is too little, too late for these boys," said Lee Woodliff
of Punta Gorda, Fla., whose son Michael, 22, was killed by a bomb
a year ago in an unarmored humvee.
Just last week, a
Kentucky National Guard soldier died when shrapnel came through the
window of his truck. A comrade says James A. Sherrill, 27, could
have been saved if antiballistic glass had been installed.
Staff Sgt. Brad
Rogers e-mailed home: "Our command is saying that they are working
on this issue, but I don't think they are working fast enough."
Since May 1, 2003,
when the United States declared an end to major combat operations,
attacks on vehicles have accounted for as many as 40 percent of the
1,037 deaths of soldiers attributed to hostile action,
an analysis of Pentagon information shows.
delivery of more armor, faster, might have saved lives. That
conclusion is shared by soldiers, Pentagon analysts, even
Why didn't it
have blamed everything from steel shortages to America's industrial
But the shortage
had more to do with Pentagon missteps than any lack of industrial
capacity, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer review of documents
and interviews with officers, soldiers, analysts and industry
Today, its former
procurement chief says the Army could have moved faster.
"I would call it a success story, but it took too long to
materialize," said retired Gen. Paul Kern, who headed Army Materiel
Command until November.
"In retrospect, if I had it to do all
over, I would have just started building up-armored humvees," he
said. "The most efficient way would have been to build a single
production line and feed everything into it."
Instead, Kern says, the Army went
In a study completed in February, the
Defense Department faulted itself: "Clearly, in some cases, such as
ballistic armor for tactical vehicles, the department did not
recognize the problem early enough to ensure adequate supply."
Armor did arrive - eventually. An
alarmed Congress earmarked a total of $4 billion, and in 18 months,
a military that had long resisted the notion of armoring noncombat
vehicles put at least some armor on 35,000 humvees and trucks in
Iraq. The military managed this in a procurement system in which
four years is seen as quick turnaround.
Even so, the
Inquirer found a record of missed chances to protect soldiers, and
of unlearned lessons from previous conflicts:
For more than a
year, as the toll in Iraq mounted, officials said armor production
was running flat out. Owners say they could have built more - if
the Army had ordered more.
ISG says it rarely
got enough armor orders to run at full capacity. "Over the course of
the last year we could have made a lot more," said Gary P. Sarpen,
the plant manager.
The Army's own
depots took a similar stop-and-start approach, making armor kits
full tilt at times but then stopping as they waited weeks or
months for new orders. "I don't think any of them was ever
producing at their maximum capacity consistently," Kern said.
The military did not expect a fight
after Baghdad fell, and, even as the sneak attacks grew in frequency
and ferocity, the Army expected the insurgency to fizzle and the
troops to start coming home. That meant the Army was slower to put
in orders for more armored vehicles, and industry, in turn, was
slower to add capacity.
The Army still
hasn't fully shielded its cargo trucks. Its analysts had warned
of risks to these targets, and designed add-on armor kits before
the war - but the Army didn't start making truck armor until last
year. It won't be done until fall, officials say.
"It could mean the fact that we can
save a soldier's life," Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson said at a news
briefing in December, "if we can get some of these vehicles sooner
there to theater, whether it's a day, a week or two weeks."
The pace of
providing armor has mystified and angered soldiers' families as well
as many in Congress, who pushed for more than a year to get faster
Simmons, R-Conn., says the military has called armor a "top
priority" since November 2003.
"Our troops in
the field continue not to have the very basic steel plate that
they need on every vehicle to be safe," said Simmons, a Vietnam
veteran. "Why is that? What went wrong?"
The answers begin
more than a decade ago.
For Army commanders, the "up-armored"
humvee has always been a kind of unwanted stepchild. The humvee -
HMMWV, or High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle - was first
designed as a kind of bigger, tougher jeep for rear areas. It can
carry a half-dozen troops and a heavy machine gun or
The factory-armored humvee, known as
the M1114, was first built by O'Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt, a small
plant just north of Cincinnati.
Prototypes were built in 1992 and
flown to Mogadishu, Somalia - but too late for troops who rode
unarmored humvees in the "Black Hawk Down" ambush that left 18 of
them dead. "In essence, it was built because those soldiers died,"
said Jim Mills, a former Army program manager who worked on
up-armoring the humvees.
But they got short
shrift amid lean budget years and high-tech combat systems, even
after Mogadishu. "I call them lessons unlearned," Mills said.
In the 1990s, a few up-armored humvees
were built for scouts and military police.
In Bosnia, Douglas
Callicotte and two other MPs were riding in one in 1997 when a mine
blast lifted the five-ton vehicle off the ground and shredded its
motor. Everyone thought the blast was fatal - until three bruised
MPs climbed out.
"I wouldn't be
alive if I was riding in a regular humvee," said Callicotte, who is
now a car rental manager in Phoenix. "I don't know why the Army
didn't invest more in them."
Generals saw them
as too slow. To this day, they cite Serbian troops' 1999 capture of
three U.S. soldiers in an armored humvee. "The M1114 has not really
been ... loved nor desired by the Army," Sorenson said in an
interview. "Because (A) the incident in Bosnia. And (B) it was not
determined there was a need for it."
But one of the
former captives disputes that bit of Army lore.
now a Michigan National Guard lieutenant, says the armored humvee
was somewhat slow, but that's not why it was captured. Stone says it
lost power after Serb soldiers raked it with gunfire.
He thinks the armor
saved him: "If it had been the other type of humvee, it seems to me
the rounds would have gone through."
The Army first had just 235 armored
humvees in Iraq. Planners did not expect a long, bloody occupation.
Loren Thompson, a
defense analyst, recalls an upbeat briefing on Iraq reconstruction
with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the joint chiefs of
staff: "The one thing missing was the enemy."
As the invasion ended and the
occupation began, humvees - smaller, more nimble than tanks or
armored personnel carriers - got more use.
Three weeks after President Bush's May
1, 2003, "Mission Accomplished" speech on an aircraft carrier, a
bomb exploded on a road near Baghdad, hitting an unarmored humvee as
it escorted a convoy. The blast wounded three troops and killed
Pfc. Jeremiah Smith, 25, of Odessa, Mo., a father of two girls.
It was one of the first of many
attacks using crude, remotely detonated bombs - in military
parlance, improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Sorenson says, "No
one, no one, predicted in the insurgency a potential" to use this
tactic so widely.
From the supply side, officials said,
the problem was that the armor "requirement" - what combat
commanders asked for - went up in small jumps, over months, forcing
them to chase a moving target.
By the time Brownlee decided that the
Army needed a total of 8,105 factory-armored humvees in Iraq, the
insurgency was 15 months old. And on April 8, the Army said it
needed more, pushing the total past 10,000.
"I'm going to get
my ass in trouble, (but) the real challenge is, there had always
been an assumption, quite frankly, that the requirements would
continue to tail off," said Gary J. Motsek, director of support
operations for the Army Materiel Command in Fort Belvoir, Va.
By August 2003, commanders wanted more
armored humvees. The goal went to 1,200, then 1,400. Because those
requests were relatively modest, the Army chose to simply gather in
armored humvees from bases around the world.
The IED deaths mounted.
Pfc. John D. Hart,
20, of Bedford, Mass., called his father on Oct. 11, 2003. "He was
whispering into the phone, the insurgency was moving his way," said
Brian Hart. "He thought he was going to be hit, and he was totally
exposed in his vehicle."
A week later,
Hart's thin-skinned humvee was hit by gunfire and grenades. He was
killed, as was his lieutenant, David Bernstein, 1997 valedictorian
at Phoenixville High School in Chester County, Pa.
Brian Hart couldn't
believe that armored humvees couldn't be built any faster. He quit
his drug-company job and started digging into the issue full time.
His advocacy helped
propel Congress into action.
Though the Army
told "congressmen and the troops that the plants were running
24/7," he said, "at not one time were those plants running full
When it came time to mass-produce
armored humvees, the Army had one place to turn: the O'Gara plant in
Ohio, owned by Armor Holdings of Florida.
The humvee's maker, AM General in
Indiana, builds the chassis and sends it to O'Gara, where workers
replace canvas and thin metal with hard steel and antiballistic
The contract was
"sole source." The Army, with little interest in this work before
Iraq, did not shop for other suppliers - even after O'Gara paid a $1
million fine in 2000 to settle a "whistle-blower" lawsuit over
"Every day, our soldiers are killed or
wounded in Iraq - by IEDs, RPGs, small-arms fire. Too many of these
attacks are on HMMWV's that are not up-armored," the Army's Brownlee
wrote on Oct. 20, 2003. "While we may already be expediting
up-armored HMMWVs ... we are directing that all measures to provide
protection to our soldiers be placed on a top priority, most highly
urgent 24/7 basis."
The memo went out to humvee
suppliers. On April 8, a copy was still on the bulletin board at
the ISG steel plant in Conshohocken.
But 24/7 didn't
quite happen. Until January, the ISG plant had capacity that the
Army never consistently used, says Sarpen, the plant's general
In November 2003,
Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., grilled Brownlee about armor delays,
noting that three Massachusetts troops had died in unarmored
humvees: "Are they running their plant 24 hours?"
Brownlee said the
O'Gara plant in Ohio was running at "maximum capacity."
But it wasn't.
Army documents show that monthly armor production at O'Gara fell
after that - from about 55 to 45 humvees, in December.
By early 2004,
O'Gara officials were telling members of Congress that they could
armor vehicles much faster - if they had a commitment to buy them.
Rep. Simmons says
he toured the plant a year ago and found their antiballistic-glass
operation working just one shift, "so they obviously weren't at
O'Gara spokesman Michael Fox declined
to discuss details, but said, "There's no doubt if you knew on day
one you would need 8,000 (armored humvees), you would have done
Fox says the plant "would have ordered
all the steel it needed at one time. It would have hired all
employees it needed at once."
The Army's Brownlee visited the O'Gara
plant in February 2004, and struck a deal: If the plant ramped up
to 450 armored humvees a month, he would find money to buy them.
But there was still
reluctance to have O'Gara go flat out.
Comptroller Dov Zakheim says the worry was that O'Gara, in stepping
up production, would get sloppy: "People would have said, `Look at
the Department of Defense, wasting all this money.'"
When O'Gara couldn't armor humvees
fast enough, the Army decided to try to quickly get a kit - steel
doors and antiballistic glass - made at its own depots, a nationwide
system of factories left over from World War II.
The Army has three levels of armor.
Level 1 is a brand-new, factory-made humvee. The factory-made kits
are known as Level 2, with thick steel doors and antiballistic
windows, shipped to the combat zone and added to trucks or humvees.
Some of these have floor armor, some not - an important difference
because nearly three dozen troops in vehicles have been killed by
blasts from below, records show.
Level 3 is a
temporary fix and offers the slimmest protection: steel cut from
sheets and hung or bolted on.
At the Army's own depots, Motsek says,
managers bent procurement rules to make kits faster.
"Normally, in acquisitions programs,
you do it in six and eight years, that is considered a success
story," he says. "This was done in a matter of months." He calls
criticism of the pace of production "a cheap shot."
But even at the
depots, the effort was bedeviled by funding gaps and cautious,
incremental orders. One issue: While Congress was throwing money at
the armor problem, the Army didn't always spend it quickly. The
Army says it had to get budget approvals - creating, at times, weeks
It wasn't until
December 2003 that the Army came up with money for a large order of
humvee armor kits.
When the orders arrived, crews sweated
to crank them out. At Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pa.,
an armor crew worked around the clock from Jan. 4, 2004, to April 27
with one day off - Easter, said Col. Bill Guinn, Letterkenny
But in spring of
2004, Letterkenny and the other depots significantly slowed their
armoring kits lines. Why? Orders tailed off. The depots had built
what the Army had requested, about 8,900 kits. An additional 1,000
were built over the summer.
In August, the Army
decided it needed almost 4,000 more kits - but again, two months
passed as the Army scrounged for the money.
The armoring lines
at Letterkenny didn't start moving again until December. Now, they
are making armored cabs for five-ton Army trucks - but are not
slated to be done until August.
The armor issue entered a new age on
Dec. 8 when a Tennessee soldier, Thomas Wilson, stood up and asked
Rumsfeld why his unit had to scrounge for scrap armor.
Rumsfeld said the military was
addressing this problem. But part of his answer - "you go to war
with the army you have" - created a firestorm.
Things changed in a hurry, starting at
O'Gara. The company had reached its goal of 450 armored humvees a
month by September, and announced that it could add capacity.
More Liars Caught
said armored humvees couldn't be built any faster, O'Gara
officials told reporters they actually could build 100 more a
That was news to
the Army, said Sorenson and others. But records and interviews
show that O'Gara had been saying months earlier that it could push
The next day, the Army agreed to fund
a faster production rate, to 550 armored humvees a month. That is
what O'Gara is producing now.
The ISG plant in Conshohocken got the
message, too. "That was the most intense part of armor production
that we saw in the past year and a half," ISG's Sarpen said. "It got
very heavy, very fast."
The calls came from contractors, not
from the Pentagon, he said. Suppliers feared being labeled "the
next company that `couldn't produce the armor quicker,'" Sarpen
Meanwhile, the Pentagon formed a task
force to get Navy and Air Force machinists and welders working on
armor in Iraq. It is headed by an Air Force general who reports to
Rumsfeld twice a week.
Bryan Whitman, a Rumsfeld spokesman,
said last week: "The Secretary of Defense does not decide how much
or when the Army buys its equipment."
Snags persisted. Two days after the
Rumsfeld episode, Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., said he visited the
Rock Island, Ill., arsenal and found just three people working on
armor - two cutting steel, one welding.
On Feb. 17,
Rumsfeld told Congress that "with very few exceptions" no
unarmored vehicle would enter Iraqi danger zones.
But many vehicles
labeled "armored" by Rumsfeld are at Level 3, with a few steel
plates, cut in the field and bolted or latched on. Many still
don't have antiballistic glass. Upgrading all of them will take
By September, the Pentagon aims to
have all vehicles in Iraq sheathed in better armor.
Kentucky National Guard sergeant who wrote the e-mail from Iraq
about Sgt. Sherrill's death, said his men would be riding the same
roads with only "hillbilly armor" - steel panels on two sides of
"I think this is
something the public needs to know," he wrote in recent days. "Most
of all, please continue to pray for us."
(Knight Ridder Newspapers
correspondents Alletta Emeno, Denise Boal and Frank Donahue
contributed to this report.)
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK
OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
Telling the truth
- about the occupation or the criminals running the government in
Washington - is the first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we
want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the
resistance - whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or
inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to
become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed
services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help
you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what
you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a
network of active duty organizers.
And join with Iraq War
vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
Three U.S. Soldiers
Killed, Two Wounded In Baghdad
April 15 By Mohammed Al-Ghazzi, (KUNA)
& By Michael Georgy, (Reuters)
Iraqi police said
three US soldiers where killed and two others were wounded in a car
bomb blast in the Iraqi capital.
The explosion that took place Friday
morning at Al-Ameerat crossroad in Al-Mansour district, was executed
by a bomber driving a booby-trapped Opel and targeted a US convoy
that was passing by, police said.
The police added
that the explosion knocked out a US Humvee vehicle.
They confirmed the injury of five Iraqis, who received treatment in
Al-Yarmouk hospital. US forces cordoned off the blood-drenched scene
of the blast.
Bodies lay in the street and several
cars were burned. A witness said smoke and flames rose near a
restaurant following the blast.
MARINE KILLED BY
SMALL ARMS FIRE IN RAMADI
April 15, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED
STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-04-16C
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq –
A Marine assigned to the 2nd Marine
Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed April
14 by enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations in
MARINE KILLED BY
MORTAR FIRE AT CAMP HIT
April 15, 2005 U.S. Department of
Defense News Release No. 365-05 & AP
The Department of
Defense announced today the death of a Marine.
Cpl. Michael B.
Lindemuth, 27, of Petoskey, Mich., died April 13 as a result of
wounds received from enemy mortar fire at Camp Hit, Al Anbar
He was assigned to
Inspector/Instructor Staff, 3rd Battalion, 25th
Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Akron, Ohio.
During Operation Iraq Freedom, Lindemuth was attached to Regimental
Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine
Expeditionary Force (Forward).
The Marine was
killed when a mortar round landed inside a military base.
IED Gets Humvee At
15 April 2005 Aljazeera.Net & (AP)
Khan Dhari area near the Abu Ghraib neighbourhood, a roadside bomb
destroyed a US Humvee and wounded several US soldiers in it,
Trying To Sweep
Back An Ocean Of Resistance With A Broken Broom
Soldiers walk past graffiti, which
reads, “Warning to all policemen: You will be killed.” in Mosul,
Iraq, on April 5. —
Edward Harris / AP photo
April 14, 2005 By Edward Harris,
MOSUL, Iraq — It’s
just spray-painted graffiti, but the writing on the wall gets the
attention of U.S. troops: “Warning to all policemen: You will be
killed.” Soldiers then storm into the compound, demanding the
owners erase the death threat against the Americans’ Iraqi allies.
“If I come back
tomorrow and it’s still there, I’ll fix it myself, and you won’t
like it,” Capt. Blake Lackey says sternly. “I’ll tear the wall
It’s all part of a
war of words in Iraq, where U.S. troops patrolling the northern city
of Mosul constantly inspect handbills and graffiti on sun-scorched
walls, searching for insurgent messages that they counter with their
own psychological operations — or “psy-ops.”
Both sides are wielding the pen
alongside the sword in hopes of winning converts among Mosul’s more
than 2 million, ethnically varied people — a goal American
commanders say is key in an unconventional battle where
every street is a front line and
public spaces double as militants’ mission-planning centers.
“In an insurgency, (the fighters) rely
on anonymity. They swim in the population, which only needs to be
neutral,” says Col. Robert B. Brown, of the 1st Brigade, 25th
Infantry Division, whose troops operate in Mosul, 225 miles
northwest of Baghdad.
Graffiti extols the virtues of noted
militant leaders, like the Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
al-Qaida’s man in Iraq. “Zarqawi is the prince!” reads one.
The propaganda also is spread by
word-of-mouth. Militants started rumors that the candy American
soldiers toss to children from their vehicles was poisoned, or that
a tip-line set up by the Americans wasn’t confidential and people
calling it would be punished by insurgents.
In a small building
on an American forward-operating base in Mosul, the Americans’
offerings whir out of a copying machine. Officers insist it isn’t a
“It’s a fine line,
but propaganda is more based on untruth,” says Capt. Corbin England,
34, of Puyallup, Wash., who helps coordinate the U.S. military’s
coercive efforts in Mosul.
“Psy-ops is a multiplier. We multiply
the effectiveness of the troops on the ground, which saves lives.
We’re just one of the many cogs in a system that works.”
has stacks of cubbyholes filled with leaflets of all shapes and
colors bearing various messages, all with a single goal: to bring
Mosul around to the side of the Americans and the Iraqi security
“In an insurgency, the key is the
local population. If you win them over, the other guy loses,”
The Americans drop
leaflets from helicopters and hand them out on the streets,
encouraging Iraqis to pass the material around.
They also produce
slick posters of Iraqi policemen in heroic poses in front of golden
mosques — an attempt to boost the nascent force’s profile and prompt
Matchbooks announce a $25 million
reward for information leading to the capture of al-Zarqawi, whose
face is shown on both sides of the packet.
“This malicious vermin is the obstacle
that stands between the Iraqi people and security,” reads a message
on the matchbook.
In Mosul, soldiers
say the insurgent graffiti and handbills are, effectively, the
militants’ own force multiplier.
“It sends a message that the
terrorists are harbored or supported in the area,” says Lackey, 30,
of Manassas, Va. He adds that he doesn’t actually knock down walls,
but will efface insurgent scrawlings if owners don’t.
“I personally think they’re
responsible for their neighborhood. The outside of their wall is
still their wall. You can infer that what’s on the outside of the
wall is what’s believed inside the house.”
civilian population is often stuck. Mutsam Ubade, 35, tells Lackey
he will erase the graffiti, but he worries about the response from
“The fighters will
think I’m with the coalition forces and I’ll probably be killed,” he
states flatly. “But I have my orders, so I have to do it.”
Infecting U.S. Troops In Iraq
[The way this is
written you have to read between the lines to figure it out. So
let’s sum up: this parasite causes a skin infection. This
parasite, if it isn’t cleaned out of the body, can infest the
internal organs and kill you, years later. Treating the skin
infection doesn’t do anything to remove parasites that have located
in other parts of the body --- the ones that can kill you later on
by eating out your internal organs.
[That’s why the
Pentagon doesn’t allow service people who have been infected to
give blood again, ever. They know that.
[If you aren’t
tested after getting rid of the skin infection, you don’t know if
the parasite is gone or not. And the Army isn’t telling you about
that. Hey, after you’re discharged, it’s not their problem.
[Demand the test
and demand the treatment, and if anybody fucks with you, raise hell
and tell world about it. The alternative can be a very ugly death.
And if you trust them for one second, remember how many Gulf War
vets died, and how many years passed, before the Pentagon was forced
to admit they had been poisoned on the battlefield.]
Apr. 15, 2005 BY CARY LEIDER VOGRIN,
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - (KRT) -
Troops in Iraq call it the "Baghdad boil," and Dr. Peter Weina
predicted an outbreak among soldiers even before the first case
Weina was sent to Iraq with the first
wave of soldiers in 2003 to assess endemic disease threats. When he
started noticing sand flies, he bet there would be a problem.
He was right.
In the past two
years, hundreds of soldiers have been afflicted with a nasty
infection known in the scientific community as cutaneous [skin]
symptoms are ugly, slow-healing sores caused when sand flies bite
and inject a parasite into the skin. If untreated, the lesions have
the potential to leave disfiguring scars. [And kill you later on,
but why mention that little fact?]
The U.S. military has brought many -
but not all
- of the afflicted troops home for treatment.
[Why not? Easy. Hard up for
The official case
tally since March 2003 is 830, according to the Army Surgeon
General's Office, but Weina, a leishmaniasis expert with the
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, believes the number is
closer to 1,500.
"I'm concerned that we don't have a
full understanding or appreciation of how many cases there are out
there," he said.
Cases have been documented among Fort
Carson troops, for example, but neither Weina nor another doctor
from Walter Reed Army Medical Center had figures broken down by
Fort Carson reports sending one
soldier from the post to Walter Reed, which, for the first half of
the war, was the military's only leishmaniasis treatment center.
It's possible other Fort Carson soldiers were sent directly from
Iraq to Walter Reed for care.
Fort Carson's 3rd
Armored Cavalry Regiment entered Iraq just in time for prime
transmission season, which starts in mid-April and lasts until
The regiment's spokesman, Maj. Gary Dangerfield, said by telephone
last week that sand flies haven't been a problem.
[Instead of telling the troops their lives are at risk, he babbles
happy talk. Fucking lying murderous bullshit.
This whole article is about how
sand flies are a problem.]
A recent study done
at Fort Campbell, Ky., found 181 cases of confirmed leishmaniasis
among 20,000 soldiers who spent a year in Iraq. Most had been
assigned to northern Iraq.
With a second round of yearlong
deployments under way, the military has stepped up efforts to
encourage troops to use bed netting and insect repellent.
although troops are living in better conditions than in 2003, when
many slept unprotected outdoors, he's concerned about the
potential for the more dangerous form of the disease, known as
cutaneous leish, which affects the skin, visceral leishmaniasis
does not cause lesions. Its
primary symptom is a persistent, unexplained fever, and it's fatal
if not treated.
here. The reporter makes it sound like if you get the skin form,
you don’t have anything to worry about. A
letehal misunderstanding. Once the parasite is in your
body, and produces the skin lesion, there’s a very good chance
it’s already spread to other parts of your body. You can also
have the parasite without any skin lesions at all, but if you got
the skin lesions, you got the parasite. Duh.
"The threat is there," Weina said. "There's a lot of visceral
leish." Last month, a 3-year-old Iraqi boy died from visceral
Four cases of visceral leish have been
diagnosed among U.S. soldiers - two in Afghanistan and two in Iraq.
All have recovered, Weina said.
[Were soldiers with the skin lesions
tested for internal parasites after the skin lesions healed? Why
does that seem so very very unlikely?]
Because leishmaniasis is rarely seen
in the United States, the standard drug to treat it - Pentostam -
has not been licensed here and is available to physicians only
through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Barbara Herwaldt, a leishmaniasis
expert with the CDC, said there's normally about 30 or 40 civilian
cases a year, most among tourists or scientists who acquire it in
one of the many countries where it is common.
Soldiers with the
worst cases - those with facial sores that could
result in permanent scarring or lesions over joints that could
affect mobility - are brought
back to U.S. military hospitals for treatment.
kinds of patients are high on our priority
to come back to get Pentostam," said Col. Naomi Aronson,
director of the leishmaniasis treatment center at Walter Reed Army
Treatment consists of 10 to 20 days of
Pentostam given intravenously. The drug kills the parasites but has
many side effects: upset stomach, severe body aches and headaches
"We feel we can use it safely, but
it's a drug that has enough toxicities that we keep our patients
close by," Aronson said.
leish lesions eventually will go away, but healing could take months
- even up to a year. The result could be horrible scarring. [Not
to mention death once the viscera are destroyed.]
An alternative to
Pentostam is being used in combat clinics in Iraq.
- using a probe to burn the tissue to kill the parasites - is
showing decent results although it's not as effective as
Pentostam, Aronson said.
Weina said it's
not a treatment he prefers in the field because of concerns about
[Leave it to
command to treat the symptom in a way the doctor rejects as
dangerous. Flying troops home costs money and cuts troop
strength. You can bet your ass a general would get the best.]
A topical cream treatment is being
tested, but Weina said it could be a couple of years before it's
Experts say leishmaniasis is not
contagious, yet concede the possibility of transmitting the disease
if two open sores come in contact or there's a genital lesion.
"The soldiers ask me a lot about
sexual transmission," Aronson said.
And because it
can take months after an infection for lesions to appear,
it's been recommended by the
American Association of Blood Banks that any soldier serving in
Iraq not donate blood for a year after their return.
In addition, Department of Defense policy requires that soldiers
diagnosed with leishmaniasis be permanently barred from blood
No test is
available to screen donated blood for leishmaniasis.
[So, if you don’t
see it on your skin, they both agree, you can still have the
parasite inside you. Otherwise, why the rule prohibiting blood
donation? There it is. 2+2.]
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.
Ukrainian Troops Go
4.15.05 By TRACI CARL, Associated
began withdrawing some of its 1,462 soldiers from Iraq amid plans to
have them all out by year's end, the U.S. military said. It said the
Ukrainian force would be down to 900 soldiers by May 12.
Returning Iraq Vet?
Tough Shit. Go
Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 10,
A growing number of
National Guard and Reserve members have lost their civilian jobs
while serving abroad---others are being discriminated against as
they search for jobs.
Abu Ghraib Convict
Says MI And Mercenaries OKd Prison Abuses
Washington Times, April 13, 2005
Pvt. Charles Graner, now serving a
10-year sentence for his role in the Abu Ghraib scandal, has given
Army investigators a lengthy statement accusing others of misconduct
at the Iraq prison.
Graner, a member of
the 372nd Military Police Company, claims that he was told by a
civilian contractor and military intelligence officers that it was
okay to treat prisoners rough.
Report From Investigation They Demanded;
Silly Lying Lt.
Col. Bush Nailed By Soldiers’ Dad
got a briefing on the inquiry “only a couple of weeks ago,” Bush
said, adding that there was “a degree of satisfaction expressed by
Sr., when asked by The Arizona Republic whether it was true that the
family was satisfied, responded: “No. And I don’t want to talk
April 14, 2005 Associated Press,
The Army Special
Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., has completed an
investigation into former NFL star Pat Tillman’s death in
Afghanistan that aimed to address concerns raised about whether the
military held back some information.
aren’t being released, however.
“We are not going
to release it,” said Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman at
Secretary Les Brownlee ordered the new investigation in mid-November
based on questions from Tillman’s family.
The results of the original Army
investigation were released on May 29.
It found that Tillman was shot to
death on April 22 after a U.S. soldier mistakenly fired on a
friendly Afghan soldier in Tillman’s unit, and other U.S. soldiers
then fired in the same direction.
Initial reports by the Army had
suggested that Tillman was killed by enemy gunfire when he led his
team to help another group of ambushed soldiers.
Lt. Col. Hans Bush, chief of public
affairs for the Army Special Operations Command, described the
written report on the new findings as “huge in the level of detail”
but declined to elaborate.
got a briefing on the inquiry “only a couple of weeks ago,” Bush
said, adding that there was “a degree of satisfaction expressed by
Sr., when asked by The Arizona Republic whether it was true that
the family was satisfied, responded: “No. And I don’t want to talk
April 15, 2005 By Kimberly Hefling,
EVANSVILLE, Ind. —
A provision in a sweeping education
reform law that allowed military recruiters broad access to students
is under fire, fueled in part by charges of sexual abuse by military
Critics say the No Child Left Behind
law is putting young people at risk by requiring high schools to
give military recruiters the same access afforded universities and
prospective employers. It also allows them access to the names,
addresses and phone numbers of students unless a parent objects.
At least eight
recruiters have been accused of assaulting potential or new recruits
in Indiana, West Virginia, Washington, California, New York and
Maryland since the law took effect in 2002.
Rep. Mike Honda,
D-Calif has proposed legislation that would require students to “opt
in” if they want military recruiters to have access to their
personal information and to contact them.
Prepare To Fight Off U.S.
Miami Herald, April 13, 2005
reservists are training civilians to defend their country against a
Thousands of Venezuelans are joining
militia groups created by the government to fight off any
invaders---especially U.S. troops---who try to thwart Hugo Chavez’s
socialist “Bolivarian revolution.”
4.16.05 By Mariam Karouny, (Reuters)
heavy weapons appear to have taken control of the town of Madaen,
just south of Baghdad, and no police or government forces were in
Guerrillas have taken control of
cities such as Falluja before but seizing many hostages in a town so
close to the capital will pile pressure on Iraq’s new leaders to
deliver the improved security Iraqis have expected since the
Puts Face To Bombers
April 15 By Ian Simpson, (Reuters)
The remains of the
man who blew up four police officers in a quiet market square on
Thursday evening drew a crowd of curious onlookers on Friday,
overseen by police toting AK-47 assault rifles.
The man staggered
up to a group of officers acting as if he were retarded, then
triggered a vest laden with explosives, Hussein al-Ta'i, mayor of
the small town of Mahawil, told Reuters Television.
The body was severed below the rib
cage and the torso lay on its right side on top of a cloth, Reuters
Television images showed. The undamaged head was still attached,
unusual among militants who use explosive vests.
His eyes were still staring across the
square of the typical impoverished town.
Small groups of young men gathered
around gawking and chatting. Nobody knew why the corpse was left in
public for so long.
The shirtless man had short dark hair
and appeared to be in his 20s or early 30s. He had a few days of
dark beard, heavier around the slightly open mouth. The man's left
hand hung down by his side.
"I was drinking
juice nearby and the police were gathering here. Then there was an
explosion and the four policemen were dead," said an Iraqi man.
The Mahawil's bomber's legs and other
body parts were heaped on a cross-striped blanket next to the trunk.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE
15 April 2005 Aljazeera.Net & (AP) &
Middle East Online & By Michael Georgy, (Reuters)
Roadside bombs kill
three Iraqi soldiers in Balad, two policemen near Tuz, foreign truck
driver in Al-Dujail.
soldiers were killed at dawn on Friday when their vehicle hit a
roadside bomb in Balad, north of the Iraqi
capital, said army Captain Mohammed Nuri.
In a similar attack
late on Thursday night, two Iraqi policemen were killed near Tuz in
the northern Salaheddin province.
And in Al-Dujail,
an unidentified foreign truck driver was also killed by a roadside
bomb overnight, said the Iraqi army.
television journalist has been shot dead in the ethnically divided
oil city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq.
Shamal Abd Allah Assad, who worked for
the local station of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan, was killed on Friday by armed men in a car park,
said police Colonel Ad al-Zain al-Abidine Ibrahim.
Lebanon's Al-Hayat LBC channel aired a
short videotape showing an Iraqi soldier it said was decapitated by
members of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The station didn't air audio of the
tape, but said the man, wearing a military uniform, identified
himself as Jassim Mohammed Hussein. The tape could not be
A roadside bomb
near the northern city of Samarra killed two Iraqi soldiers, an army
Iraqi demonstrators hold a protest
calling for the release of detained men in the town of Karma April
15, 2005. Hundreds of
demonstrators marched through the town to demand the Iraqi
government and U.S. forces to release Iraqi prisoners and mujahideen
fighters from prison. The banner reads ' the people of Karma demand
the release of detainees from prison'. REUTERS/Mohanned
“The Driver Avoided
Main Roads Where Bombers Might Lurk”
15 April 2005 By Patrick Cockburn in
Mosul, The Independent
believes Iraq has turned the corner and violence is diminishing
should pay a visit to its northern capital, though they must be
extremely careful when doing so. A suicide bomber
detonated explosives in his car outside an army post in Mosul
yesterday, creating a cloud of smoke and dust that hovered over the
I was in a car a few hundred yards
away when the bomb in Mosul went off. I
was being driven by a Kurdish soldier who had disguised himself as a
civilian by sitting on his pistol and wearing a long brown Arab robe
over his uniform. Another soldier, concealing his machine gun, sat
in the back, dressed in a tracksuit.
We were trying to reach the centre of
Mosul to meet the deputy governor, Khasro Goran. We had driven from
the Kurdish province of Arbil with four uniformed soldiers - all
Kurds from the 1st Battalion of the Iraqi National Guard - to
protect us. There was no trouble on the road between the two cities.
But when we reached
an army post on the outskirts of Mosul the soldiers looked
apprehensive. Lt-Col. Yassin, commander of the base, said: "If I
send you further into the city in a convoy with three vehicles and
men in uniform, you are likely to be a target for suicide bombers."
Two of his men,
disguised as civilians, drove us in a nondescript car at speed
through east Mosul, a city of 1.75 million people, about 30 per cent
Kurdish and 70 per cent Sunni Arab. Although we were in the mostly
Kurdish and supposedly safer part of the city, the driver avoided
main roads where bombers might lurk.
As we got close to the fortified
office - once the headquarters of the local Baath party - of Mr
Goran, the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Mosul, as well
as deputy governor, we saw smoke rising from a suicide bomber's car.
Mr Goran assured us the city was "much
more secure than a few months ago and soon it will be better still".
The insurgents could no longer
establish checkpoints or kidnap
so easily. [Meaning the insurgent can still establish
checkpoints and capture collaborators.]
The 30 police
stations in Mosul city have been largely abandoned. He is trying to
have the chief of police fired.
Mr Goran says
that, while he disagreed with General Petraeus, a critical mistake
was the US replacement of the 21,000 strong 101st Airborne by the
much smaller Stryker Brigade. He thinks there are now only 5,000
to 6,000 US troops in Nineveh.
The Iraqi Communist
Party And George Bush Join Hands To Fuck Iraq
April 15, 2005 By Eric Ruder,
Ilario Salucci, A People’s History of Iraq: The Iraqi Communist
Party, Workers’ Movements, and the Left 1924-2004. Haymarket Books,
2005, 190 pages, $12.
government has been a notorious enemy of Communist Parties around
the world. Washington has spent millions, sponsored coups and
organized covert wars, all to keep CPs and their affiliated unions
and organizations out of governments and away from power in Latin
America and elsewhere.
But in U.S.-occupied Iraq, the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) was part
of the Iraqi Governing Council appointed by Washington’s overseer
Paul Bremer. And the council--as well as U.S. occupation
authorities--gave the nod to the ICP-affiliated Iraqi Federation of
Trade Unions (IFTU) as the sole legal representative of Iraqi
is something the antiwar movement has had to grapple with in
building opposition to Washington’s war on the Iraqi people. Last
October, for example, IFTU international representative Abdullah
Muhsin (who has lived outside of Iraq for 20 years) appeared before
a conference of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour
Party--and gave a passionate speech in support of British occupation
troops remaining in Iraq.
This year, U.S. Labor Against War (USLAW) plans to tour unionists
from three Iraqi labor federations, including the IFTU.
ERIC RUDER reviews
a new book that tells the history of the ICP--and examines the
controversy over the role played by the ICP and IFTU today.
IRAQ’S Communist Party has been one of the largest and most
important forces on the country’s secular left. Over the years, it
has sometimes stood alone as an organization prepared to take up the
demands of Iraq’s working class and peasantry.
Yet it also has a
record of betraying Iraqi workers at crucial points--a consequence
of its commitment to the Stalinism that came to dominate Communist
Parties throughout the world following the defeat of the Russian
Revolution and the rise to power of a new bureaucratic ruling class
in the ex-USSR.
Ilario Salucci’s book--newly published
in English by Haymarket Books as A People’s History of Iraq--is
filled with examples of the party’s twists and turns.
Like other CPs around the world, the
ICP took its political line from Moscow and subordinated its agenda
to the foreign policy needs of the former USSR. Thus, when Nazi
Germany’s invasion of the USSR in 1941 put an abrupt end to the 1939
Hitler-Stalin pact, Moscow formed a military alliance with the U.S.,
Britain and France against Germany and Italy--and ordered CPs to
praise these new allies as leaders in the “struggle against
In Iraq, this
political line put the ICP in the absurd position of supporting the
British, Iraq’s former colonial overlords--whose military had been
forced out some 10 years earlier, but who continued to dominate
Iraq’s economy through their close relationship with the Hashemite
monarchy that ran the country with an iron fist.
In 1947, when the
USSR supported the partition of Palestine and the creation of the
state of Israel, the ICP again adopted this line as its own--in
opposition to the feelings of most Iraqis.
In 1958, mass demonstrations in many
Iraqi cities paved the way for the overthrow of the monarchy by a
group of military officers, who appointed Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim
Qasim as prime minister.
During the next year, the ICP reached
the height of its powers. It won mass support among ordinary Iraqis
by pushing for agrarian reform to benefit peasants against the large
landowners and economic development that would benefit the working
But its acceptance of the Stalinist
redefinition of socialism to mean not workers’ power but national
economic development--and its commitment to a “stagist” view that
any revolution in Iraq would be limited to ushering in a period of
capitalist development--meant that the ICP was continually thrown
into alliances with forces whose interests were often opposed to
those of workers.
Thus, when the ICP pushed Qasim to
recognize its broad popularity by bringing ICP representatives into
the government, Qasim instead turned on his ICP supporters. This
provoked a debate within the party about whether the time had
come--given the widespread struggles of workers and peasants and the
party’s own popularity--to organize for a seizure of power.
Ultimately, the ICP decided against
this course--a victim of its own theoretical framework, which ruled
out the possibility of accomplishing anything more than a revolution
to bring about the full development of capitalism. Since the Qasim
government was already carrying out this objective, the ICP could
come to no other conclusion than to continue supporting it.
Not only did this decision sap the
fighting spirit of the ICP’s supporters among Iraqi workers and
peasants, leading to a sharp decline in party membership, but it
also handed the momentum to Qasim--who responded by outlawing the
ICP, arresting its leaders and reversing agrarian reform.
AFTER THE Baath Party cemented its
hold on power in Iraq with a 1968 coup, the ICP was again drawn into
lending support to a nationalist government over the following few
years--with catastrophic consequences for the left, the Iraqi labor
movement and the struggle of Kurds in the North against their
In the early 1970s, the Baath regime
nationalized the Iraq Petroleum Company, granted workers the right
to organize (though severely limiting the right to strike or join
anything but state-sanctioned unions) and introduced land reform
even more sweeping than the policy supported by the ICP.
According to Salucci, this began “a
new period...during which the ICP depicted Saddam Hussein as the
Iraqi Fidel Castro...as the Baath Party’s man of the Left closest to
the ICP’s own political line. In February 1974, the ICP closed all
its independent (necessarily illegal) workplace organizations. It
supported the actions of the Baathists, including the bloody war
perpetrated against the Kurdish people in 1974-75.”
Then, Hussein began his attack on his
Communist allies. By 1976, Salucci writes, “the Baathists had fully
exploited the acquiescence of the Communists in order to gain almost
total control of the trade unions, the peasant unions, and other
mass organizations.” Even so, between 1972 and 1976, the ICP and
IFTU worked tirelessly--within Iraq and internationally--to persuade
anyone who would listen that Hussein’s regime had “reformed” itself
and was now pursuing “progressive and patriotic” measures.
After this point, the ICP was reduced
to a bit player in Iraq’s political system--and it failed to take up
significant opportunities to rebuild its influence.
After the 1991 U.S. invasion of Iraq,
for example, massive uprisings against Hussein’s regime took control
of huge areas in both the northern Kurdish region and the
Shiite-dominated South. Dozens of workplace and neighborhood
councils sprang up, especially in the north, and a large section of
Iraq’s military broke ranks to join the struggle. Yet neither the
ICP nor any other opposition organization in Baghdad supported the
With the blessings
of the U.S.--which preferred Saddam’s authoritarianism to a
government that gave _expression to Iraqi workers and oppressed
minorities--the central government regained the initiative, launched
a counteroffensive and crushed the uprising.
THIS HISTORY is crucial background for
understanding the role of the ICP today--in particular, the party’s
pattern of issuing radical-sounding statements that are belied by
its alliances and actions.
“We are against
occupation now and were against the war in the past,” Hamid Majid
Moussa, a leader of the present-day ICP, told the Egyptian Al-Ahram
Weekly in mid-March. But this seemingly uncompromising statement
masks the ICP’s collaboration with the U.S.-appointed Iraqi
Governing Council two summers ago, and its participation in the
puppet regime led by Iyad Allawi leading up to the January election.
At every turn, the
IFTU has followed the ICP’s lead--and collaborated with the U.S.
effort to legitimize its handpicked political leaders and to
demonize those Iraqis who decided to actively oppose the
U.S./British occupation. “On the other hand,” writes Iraqi exile
and antiwar activist Sami Ramadani, “the IFTU and the ICP are yet to
launch a campaign against the massacres committed by the occupation
As Hani Lazim, a
member of Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation, summarized: “If you
are part of a government that allows the U.S. to bomb towns like
Falluja and the al-Sadr area of Baghdad, don’t tell me you oppose
Ramadani has urged
unions in the West to reject collaboration with the IFTU.
“It’s time to call
a spade a spade,” he wrote in an open letter to a British unionist.
“The leaders of the IFTU and the ICP are part of a left-wing
sounding, trade-union ‘friendly’ campaign to oppose the immediate
withdrawal of the occupation forces from Iraq.”
Let Them Eat Bombs;
The Doubling Of
Child Malnutrition In Iraq Is Baffling
[Thanks to JM, who sent this in.]
12 April 2005 By Terry Jones, of Monty
Python, The Guardian
A report to the UN
human rights commission in Geneva has concluded that Iraqi children
were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now.
This, of course,
comes as a bitter blow for all those of us who, like George Bush and
Tony Blair, honestly believe that children thrive best when we drop
bombs on them from a great height, destroy their cities and blow up
hospitals, schools and power stations.
It now appears that, far from
improving the quality of life for Iraqi youngsters, the US-led
military assault on Iraq has inexplicably doubled the number of
children under five suffering from malnutrition. Under Saddam,
about 4% of children under five were going hungry, whereas by the
end of last year almost 8% were suffering.
These results are even more
disheartening for those of us in the Department of Making Things
Better for Children in the Middle East By Military Force, since the
previous attempts by Britain and America to improve the lot of Iraqi
children also proved disappointing.
For example, the
policy of applying the most draconian sanctions in living memory
totally failed to improve conditions. After they were imposed in
1990, the number of children under five who died increased by a
factor of six. By 1995 something like half a million Iraqi children
were dead as a result of our efforts to help them.
A year later,
Madeleine Albright, then the US ambassador to the United Nations,
tried to put a brave face on it. When a TV interviewer remarked
that more children had died in Iraq through sanctions than were
killed in Hiroshima, Mrs Albright famously replied: "We think the
price is worth it."
But clearly George Bush didn't. So he
hit on the idea of bombing them instead. And not just bombing, but
capturing and torturing their fathers, humiliating their mothers,
shooting at them from road blocks - but none of it seems to do any
good. Iraqi children simply refuse to be better nourished,
healthier and less inclined to die. It is truly baffling.
And this is why we
at the department are appealing to you - the general public - for
ideas. If you can think of any other military techniques that we
have so far failed to apply to the children of Iraq, please let us
know as a matter of urgency. We assure you that, under our present
leadership, there is no limit to the amount of money we are prepared
to invest in a military solution to the problems of Iraqi children.
In the UK there may now be 3.6 million
children living below the poverty line, and 12.9 million in the US,
with no prospect of either government finding any cash to change
But surely this is
a price worth paying, if it means that George Bush and Tony Blair
can make any amount of money available for bombs, shells and bullets
to improve the lives of Iraqi kids. You know it makes sense.
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.
CLASS WAR NEWS
April 15th: You're
[Thanks to PB, who sent this in.]
Fifty years ago,
corporations paid 60 percent of all federal taxes. But by 2003,
that was down to 16 percent. So individual taxpayers have to make
up the difference, as corporate profits soar and wages fall.
April 14, 2005 Molly Ivins, AlterNet
China Sends More
Riot Cops To Help Prop Up U.S. Backed Thugs Running Haiti
China's second batch of riot police
board a plane at Capital International Airport in Beijing April 15.
The Chinese riot police team flew to Haiti Friday to replace the
first batch of Chinese 125-member contingent for the U.N. occupation
mission in the country. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Yuan Man)
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