GI SPECIAL 3B9:
Only A Tear
memorial statue was between the gas chambers. And
flowers were set at the base of the railroad were it
stopped. Only fifty feet from the gas chamber doors.
Women and children too small or weak to work were taken
directly there for extermination.
couldn’t help trying to understand how a soldier could
obey orders to do such inhumane things and how far the
war in Iraq could turn.
thought about Abu Gharib and the prejudice of Arabs by
middle America. Could another mass Genocide happen like
Soldier X On Leave
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 2:38 AM
Only A Tear Remains
Well I am
back from another amazing weekend of adventure. This time
we went to Poland to visit Auschwitz.
It was The
Cave Man (he just learned that Paris Hilton had a tv show),
Comrade (he apparently speaks fluent Russian now), “Jose”
(we call all the Hispanic guys “Jose” because racial
prejudice is not allowed and we are rebels that make are own
rules) and of course myself (who is too perfect for any
We decided to brave the roads
once more in a rental car and this time it proved to be a
Krakow and Auschwitz are
intense places to visit but the Eastern European road system
is the worst I have every seen. If the commies spent more
money in transportation and less in trying to out nuke the
states they would have been better off.
So we armed ourselves with all
the junkfood, beer, and gas coupons we could carry and drove
East. Out of the two routes we could take we chose a direct
route through Czech would be best opposed to up and over to
Dresden and around Czech all together. It was smooth
sailing and even the boarder guard glance at the bald eagle
relief on our pass ports and handed them back without
opening them. We cranked up the tunes and before long we
found ourselves lost in the middle of Prague.
The city is giant and maze
like. Many European cities were destroyed in WWII making it
easy to remap a handy grid system of streets. Prague
however just adapted the best it could and its best was not
very hard. The Auto Bahn dumped us in the city center
without warning and we scrambled around town looking for our
Comrade, who was driving at
the time, dove out of the car at red lights, which he is now
known to do frequently, and ask directions to the most
non-English speaking person he could find. We drove down
one way streets, down sidewalks, and through parking lots.
Eventually we gave up on maps all together and guided
ourselves East the best we could be the setting sun. It was
dark and two hours later as we sped away from the dizzy
Highway 11 was a straight shot
to Krakow. So with the worst behind us we pressed the lead
to make up lost time. Soon the multiple lane highway became
a two lane highway, then a street with traffic lights and
stop signs, then a non marked stretch of asphalt, then a pot
holed ridden broken up route with no signs what so ever,
then a dirt path. We drove through towns that weren’t even
aware that there was a WWII or electricity and running water
for that matter.
Hwy 11 took us into the
darkest woods I have ever seen. It was a fairy tale type of
place where monsters hid still and children were not allowed
to go. Many hours of slow driving near perilous cliffs we
passed across into Poland without even realizing it.
Other than a few detours
because the Polish Highway was completely deteriorated we
managed to find Krakow as the sun was coming up.
Since we couldn’t check into a
hostel for a while Cave Man and Comrade slept in the car
while Jose and
me decided to walk around. Krakow is beautiful, full of
churches with emerald brass tops and cobble stone (Poles
call cobble stone Cat Hats) squares and iron work street
Candle vigils for the Pope
John Paul II where still burning all over the town. Every
shop had a small shrine it his remembrance with a picture
and a cross. We found statues of Copernicus the astronomer
monk that discovered our place in the solar system and
killed for it, we found churches with Masonry, Illuminati
and Priory symbols in it, and we found a dragon’s den
underneath the castle. It even had a fire breathing dragon
statue, that breathed real fire every five minutes like some
scorching Ole Faithful shooting flame instead of water. We
found a hostel finally that would check us in early and
slept all day.
We woke up at 3pm and went
down to a café for toast and White Russians. After a good
buzz we walked about some more. The streets were more
active and we found a music shop that sold rare imports and
bootlegs. The man at the counter proudly showed off his
photo album of him posing with Metallica and Ace Of Spades.
Apparently from the t-shirts and Man O War/Pantara graffiti,
But Rock is still alive and well in the Eastern Bloc.
I walked out of the shop with
a new Pearl Jam "9 out of ten kids prefer crayons to guns"
shirt, a rare live acoustic bootleg, and a John Lennon
"Imagine" record still in mint condition.
The last track is "I don’t
want to be a soldier".
Cave Man found a rare Nirvana
CD he and his brother have been searching for, for ten years
call "Seattle Sounds".
Sites were seen and shopping
was done we decided to get the party started. We hoped from
cocktail bar to pizzeria, to pub, to lounge when we found a
good sized club with a random music selection. It went from
old school punk to R&B to disco to techno. We dubbed it the
Slash Club. It was hard to order Red Bulls and Vodkas
because I kept getting served a Polish beer called Warka I
ended up drinking Rum and Cokes all night. So the rest of
this paragraph will be omitted due to it’s embarrassing
Once again the I am conscious
to welcome the sun rise. This time the light chased me back
to the hostel and I crawled under the sheets in fear of it.
I was in a feral state and the fiery ball was not welcome.
Hours later we forced
ourselves up and rotated through the one bathroom. This
time we filled the car with OJ and water.
We popped painkillers and
drove off to Auschwitz. It is hard to express the impact of
the museum. The whole place leaves you with a sorrow for so
much suffering and a fear that it might happen again if we
never learn from our past.
There was a slight rain
falling dampening the ground and causing a grey light in the
sky. It was perfect for setting the sobering mood.
On the walk into the camp
there were plaques with quotes about peace from world
leaders from the Dali Lama to Hillary Clinton. My favorite
was a short line from Edgar M Bronfmann saying "Nothing can
be said, a cry remains."
Once through the front gates
with the words "ARBEIT MACHT FREI" (work will set you free)
the compound is organized in three story long brick
buildings about four rows deep and ten building across.
Double barbed wire circles them and wooden towers and dug
out machine gun nest are positioned outside of that.
The buildings mostly show how
the prisoners lived and worked. Many were museums. The most
intense were the memorial museums. There were one for each
Eastern European nation that mass anti-Semitic genocide was
carried out. There was history on how things became so
awful and many pictures and quotes. The extermination
museum went into detail on how the Jews were murdered and
even had an exhibit of belonging found after the camp was
liberated. There were entire rooms separated by glass of
piles of shoes, combs, luggage, even one room with mountains
of human hair ten feet high in a ten foot by forty foot
area. The hair was shaved off after the Jews were gassed
and sold to the textile industry. YUCK!
The last part of the compound
was the extermination room.
The building was underground
like a bunker and had a giant iron door with a port window
on it. The inside still smelt like Cyclone B gas. There
were nearly twenty tourists inside at the time and I felt
cramped. The plaque inside said that over two hundred jews
were packed into the room at a time.
The ovens that were used to
burn the dead bodies were right inside the gas room with
them so after it was through the Germans didn’t have to
carry the bodies far. There wasn’t a person that didn’t
leave that place green in the face and full of horror.
A long walk down the railroad
tracks was camp Birkenau another camp and a much larger
camp. Over four times the size of Auschwitz. The rows of
stable like buildings went on forever. The railroad went
through the center of the camp and at the very end were two
massive gas chambers.
in ruins, destroyed by the Germans when they tried covering
up the camps at the fall of the war. A huge memorial statue
was between the gas chambers. And flowers were set at the
base of the railroad were it stopped. Only fifty feet from
the gas chamber doors. Women and children too small or weak
to work were taken directly there for extermination.
help trying to understand how a soldier could obey orders to
do such inhumane things and how far the war in Iraq could
about Abu Gharib and the prejudice of Arabs by middle
another mass Genocide happen like that?
Maybe if infrastructure broke
down, like after another great depression perhaps. Genocide
occurred in the Balkans and still continues in parts of
Africa. Pol Pot in Cambodia was not too far long ago.
Sober and deep in thought we
piled into the car for another long drive.
We decided to go around Czech
this time hoping to hit major highways and autobahns. We
did manage to get lost once real well after a detour with no
marks to guide us back to the highway. The rest of the trip
we drove on the wrong side of the highway because our side
was being repaired. Over three hundred kilometers of
construction that probably started when the Sputnik was sent
We were stopped at the boarder
for an hour as the guards were perplexed at the idea of
renting a car. I don’t think we fully convinced them that
our car wasn’t stolen, but they were sick of us and let us
go on into Germany. We made it back in time to get a couple
hours of shut eye before formation.
The trip was totally worth the
trouble, but next time I think we will fly straight into
Krakow. Poland and Czech are now part of the European Union
so things might become better soon.
Our dollar won’t be triple the
value any longer, but they might have some paved roads.
Next weekend who they hell
knows where we will end up. There are talks of Athens or
Barcelona if we can fly, or Budapest if we take a train.
Until then all the best
Here is a photo of the rail head in Birkenau between the two
huge gas chamber ruins
FROM SOLDIER X: 4.21.05
rumors today about a July stop loss for our Battalion.
I won't be here for that but shit man,,,we just fucking
got back [from Iraq] you know!
the Reserve guy here said that we should expect to get
called back in two years for the IRR.
LUCK GETTING ME! those fucking bastards.
KILLED BY IED NEAR AL HASWAH
April 23, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-04-24C
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq –
A Soldier assigned to the 155th Brigade Combat Team, II
Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed April 23
when an improvised explosive device detonated near the
convoy in which he was traveling.
The incident occurred near Al
The 155th BCT is assigned to
II MEF (Fwd)
Soldiers Injured In Car Bomb Explosion
US soldiers check a destroyed
car after car bomb attacked on a US military convoy near
Baghdad airport on Saturday. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
April 23, 2005 The Associated
Press, BAGHDAD, Iraq & (Xinhuanet)
military says three U-S soldiers have been hurt in a car
bomb explosion along a busy Baghdad road.
A U-S patrol had been the
target of the attack that has left one Iraqi dead and a
total of seven wounded.
took place in the al-Atebaa neighborhood near the main road
leading to Baghdad International Airport, setting a US
Humvee and two civilian cars ablaze.
Power lines have been knocked
down and one military and two civilian vehicles have been
destroyed by the explosion.
Loses Leg While Checking For Car Bomb
4.23.05 By SHAWBONG
FOK/Democrat Staff Writer
resident Sgt. Brandon Huff has been severely injured by an
explosive while serving in the Stryker Brigade in Mosul,
injured on Wednesday by a hidden electronic explosive that
went off while his platoon was checking out a reported car
bomb. He lost his left leg above his knee and had shrapnel
throughout his body.
"We don't know if he stepped
on a mine (or) if it went off electronically," said Don
Huff, his father.
Brandon was taken to the
intensive care unit in Landstuhl Medical Center near
Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
"I am not
happy by any of it," the father said. "I am happy he is
Brandon is currently listed in
very serious but stable condition, according to his dad.
Brandon, 22, graduated from
Woodland High School in 2000. He later attended Lewis and
Clark College in Portland before enlisting in the U.S. Army
in 2001. He trained in Ft. Denning, Ga., until he was
stationed at Ft. Lewis, Wash. His Iraq service started last
Wounded In Iraq
04/23/05 By Adam Rush- Idaho
NAMPA -- The family of
19-year-old sailor William Briscoe is breathing a sigh of
relief after learning he survived an explosion in Iraq this
Relatives said the military
flew Briscoe first to Germany and then to the United States
for medical treatment after shrapnel from the explosion of a
crude bomb caused multiple injuries.
Wendell Hoppins of Nampa, his
grandfather, said the shrapnel went up his leg, through his
calf, past the knee and into his femur. Other shrapnel
struck near the young sailor's left shoulder blade, his
mother, Shawndra Hoppins of Nampa, said.
Hoppins read part of an e-mail his grandson sent to him.
hear things are going well," Briscoe wrote. "I hope Grandma
gets better. As for me, I was en route to Kalsu from
Fallujah. I almost made it to Kalsu when an IED went off
William graduated from Nampa
High School in 2004. In January of that year, he was
inducted into the Navy. After graduating from high school,
he went to Great Lakes, Ill., for training as a Navy Seabee
-- the U.S. Naval Construction Force.
"They go in before the Marines
and they build bridges. They set up camps," Briscoe's
mother said Friday. "They build stuff that's needed."
Briscoe had at least two
surgeries in Germany at the Landstuhl Regional Medical
Center, Wendell Hoppins said.
Shawndra Hoppins said her son
was flown from Germany on Friday to the United States, where
he will undergo additional procedures to repair damaged
had been in Iraq for about a week before the explosion.
Briscoe was in the back of a truck with
other servicemembers, one of whom was also injured.
"He was right above the wheel
well when the mine went off," Shawndra Hoppins said of her
son. "That's what saved his life." Shawndra Hoppins said
her son is careful what he tells her, and that she suspects
he's keeping some details to himself.
"If you knew my son, you'd
understand why he's not telling me everything," she said.
"He knows it would make me more upset. It's been a pretty
traumatic few weeks."
Says Resistance “Resilient” And “Viable”
The Hill, April 21, 2005
A retired Army general just
back from a fact-finding trip to Iraq has warned the
U.S.-led multinational coalition that insurgents may be
planning spectacular large-scale attacks to slow the
momentum of recent military and political gains there.
insurgency is viable and resilient and has the capacity to
achieve significant surprise," Gen. John Keane said.
Wants Military To Cut Troops’ Health Benefits
(Washington Post, April 22,
2005, 2004, Pg. 15)
Confronting medical costs that
have doubled in four years, military officials and
congressional leaders said that
the Pentagon needs to rethink the generous coverage it
provides or risk making sacrifices in other areas of the
Defense Department budget.
Means Booming Business For Tombstone Makers
London Daily Telegraph, April
daily, another e-mailed order from the U.S. military arrives
at monument-maker Granite Industries of Vermont, all too
many carrying the acronym OIF—Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ten
days after the order is received, a 230-pound headstone is
shipped to military cemeteries such as America's premier
graveyard, Arlington in Virginia.
Kind of Patriot
By Diane Rejman, April "Peace
Times," published by the San Jose Peace Center.
Diane Rejman, a member of Veterans for Peace, served in the
US Army from 1977-80.
She speaks to high schools students about the military, and
helps produce and manage the political folk group, Annie and
the Vets. Diane holds an MBA in International Management,
is listed in Who's Who in America, and has contributed
articles to Counterpunch.
unpatriotic, and they certainly are not cowards. It takes
bravery to stand up for your principles, especially against
the attitudes of society. And true patriots are often those
who challenge the decisions made by their leaders. Their
voice of “dissent” is often the voice of truth.
It’s an “all-volunteer”
military, so why have almost 6,000 soldiers deserted? These
individuals made a choice – shouldn’t they be forced to live
with it? The accusations start flying as soon as a soldier
refuses to deploy with his or her unit, or decides they
won’t return to fight a war they find immoral.
It’s loathsome to realize
how many of those who make the accusations have never
I’m not going to pretend I
understand all the reasons a soldier would walk away from
their enlistment agreement, so of course I don’t speak for
all of them. I do believe that, whatever the specific
reason, at the core is the painful realization that
somewhere along the way they were betrayed, or they see the
probability of betrayal. Maybe the recruiter promised them
a different assignment.
had enlisted in the National Guard to help fight fires in
their home state, but instead ended up on extended duty in a
war zone. Maybe they’ve seen too many of their buddies
stop-lossed for months beyond their enlistment commitment.
They realize too late that their enlistment agreement is
one-sided – they are supposed to adhere to the specifics
contained in it, but the government can modify its terms any
time it wants.
Maybe they didn’t fully
understand the reality of the military, and especially of
war. Then they witness the horror of what they volunteered
for, and realize they should be spending their lives
This horror can become visible
in the hate training camps they attend. Boot camp does not
only teach discipline and how to fire a weapon. It includes
what could almost be considered a brainwashing technique to
teach the recruits it’s ok to hate and kill. In
northeastern New Mexico, Rev. John Dear was awakened by a
National Guard unit, “….with their war slogans, chants
like ‘Kill! Kill! Kill!’ and ‘Swing your guns from left to
right; we can kill those guys all night.’”
Is this the kind of training
young men and women actually expect when they enlist? Of
course not. The recruiters never talk about this. They
quickly realize they made a mistake, and become desperate to
get out, even if it means going home to a job at a fast-food
restaurant, or even to jail.
But not all deserters are new
recruits. Many have served for years. Something has
changed in the military they used to love. They become
willing to throw their careers away because events have
triggered their conscience and humanity.
Who killed the 20,000-100,000+
Iraqi civilians? Mostly American soldiers, since they
comprise the majority of the troops over there. Who
witnessed the deaths of over 1,500 American soldiers, and
the maiming of possibly 20,000 more? American soldiers.
training prepare a person to pick up body parts of their
buddies from a river and put them in plastic bags, not
knowing which parts even belong together?
War is not a video game. It
includes sights and sounds and smells that are unimaginable
to a young adult sitting in their bedroom pushing buttons to
kill or maim digital images. “I just blew his head off!
At the time
the atrocities happen, it all may seem ok. In a way, it HAS
to seem ok. Their physical survival is at stake.
Psychologically they have to tell themselves it’s just “part
of war” to have to do these things.
But what do
they do when their humanity returns?
No – it’s not cowardice that
keeps them from returning. It’s a true understanding of the
nature of what they are being asked to do.
Some deserters are refusing to
return because they feel they would be “war criminals” to
continue fighting. Others have taken their stands to give
dissent a “powerful voice.”
Soldiers have the legal right
to refuse an unlawful order. It is unfortunate when they
use this right, they are verbally attacked and have to fight
off false accusations. And aren’t they in an impossible
situation, anyway? When soldiers such as Lynndie England
followed orders at Abu Ghraib, she, and others in similar
situations, have faced courts-martial.
Far from being cowards,
deserters display bravery in taking a stand to make people
aware of the horrors of war, and try to do something to end
Unfortunately, there is a strong similarity between what is
happening in Iraq, and what happened in Vietnam. Why didn’t
we learn from that war, from stories told at events such as
the Winter Soldier hearings? We need this war in Iraq to
end years faster than it took to end the war in Vietnam.
Wars would end if all soldiers
laid down their arms and refused to fight.
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
Send requests to address up top.
Takes On The Prime Minister;
Iraq War Victim A More Dangerous Foe Than The Usual List Of
April 22 2005 Ed Vulliamy, The
By tradition, an incumbent
prime minister - when time comes for re-election - faces a
miscellany of Monster Raving Loonies and hapless candidates
from the other major parties. Tony Blair is now up against
no less than 14 rivals for his Labour fortress of
time around, with so much hanging on Mr Blair's personality
and credibility, the prime minister faces one challenge more
solemn and serious than usual, one which combines personal
tragedy and political effervescence: that of Reg Keys,
father of Lance Corporal Tom Keys, a royal military
policeman, horribly killed along with five others in the
Iraqi town of Majar al-Kabir in June 2003.
Tragic, because of the
heavy-heartedness of the candidate and his reason for
standing. Effervescent, because Mr Keys has unleashed some
mercurial political energy.
The contents of a private
conversation with Mr Keys in a local pub after a hard day's
campaigning are not really publishable, simply because they
are so intimate, passionate and ridden with grief and anger
over his son's death. They reveal Mr Keys as a man
stricken, brave to be doing this at all.
"At least I
will be able to walk to Tom's grave and say that I tried to
do something," he said.
conversation emphasises the abyss between Mr Keys' situation
and demeanour, and that of the country's most powerful
figure, who sent L/Cpl Keys to war; it seems unbelievable
the twain will meet at the polls - and share a platform when
the result is announced on May 5.
"Two years ago, I wouldn't
have believed it," said Mr Keys, from Solihull, for 18 years
an ambulance paramedic. "I had just retired after all that
blood and gore to convert a barn in Wales. I was about to
embark on a sane life. Then - all this".
Before embarking on a day's
doorstep canvassing on Tuesday, Mr Keys insisted that war in
Iraq was "an illegal catastrophe - 35 British soldiers
killed, 900 maimed and 100,000 Iraqi deaths - which cannot
be swept under the carpet".
against the prime minister in Blair country is not easy.
campaign was refused successive vacant downtown shop fronts
in their search for a headquarters, ending up on an
industrial estate. A request to hold a rally at Sedgefield
racecourse was refused because management feared that to
grant it might prejudice a planning application lodged with
the local council.
His layman's candidacy taps
into a general disenchantment.
Mr Keys spent Tuesday
canvassing in the Labour heartland of former pit villages to
the north, beginning in Fishburn.
Here, some six out of 10
voters say they are undecided, with the remainder split
between Mr Keys and Mr Blair. Daniel Boyle thought Mr Blair
"a wonderful man doing a great job and standing up for his
of nowhere, came an anti-Blair outburst. "I think Labour
should represent people locally, instead of breaking the law
right and centre, and spending all those billions on the
war," said Helen Newton.
"I think people want Labour
but not Blair," he told Valerie Hall, in her front garden.
"No trust there," replied Mrs Hall.
"Will you think of me on May
5?" asked Mr Keys.
"It's looking that way so
far," was the reply.
Wednesday morning dawned, and
Mr Keys - with Mr Bell, wearing, of course, the white suit -
boarded a roofless double-decker bus, to drive back through
the lanes into what was coal mining country, and the town of
Perhaps it is a combination of
Mr Keys' sincerity and bereavement, and Mr Bell's immediate
recognisability and raw honesty that attracts such
"Everybody's talking about this Keys man," said Julie Hymer,
a home carer.
And perhaps it is Mr Keys'
presence in this constituency that makes Iraq more of a
factor than it seems across much of the country.
"I used to
think Blair was OK, but I'm not sure now," said Marjorie
Richardson. "I was against the troops going to war, and the
community tax rises".
against the war," said Julian Shilbock, who works for a
private ambulance firm and will vote for Mr Keys, "and there
are so many lies being told, you don't know what to
Finally the bus arrived in
Trimdon village, Mr Blair's ward, the place the prime
minister calls home in the north-east.
Over the road from the Labour
Club, Simon Cross was taking a day off from his job as a
decided yet. I'm very sorry about that man losing his son in
the war, but you sometimes think they would elect a monkey
in a suit around here, so long as it was Labour."
Sex Are Banned For Battle-Weary GIs From Iraq:
Like A Correctional Facility"
[Thanks to Tom at
email@example.com who sent this in.]
By Oliver Poole at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, Telegraph
is like a correctional facility," said 25-year-old
Specialist Lashunda Townes. "We sleep in bunk beds, 30
to a room. We can't get off base when we want. What are
you to do?"
biggest stimulants on offer are piles of free chocolate
bars and cans of Coca-Cola piled throughout the
facility. Alcohol is limited, and sex between male and
female soldiers strictly banned.
The soldiers knew what they
considered real rest and recuperation. "Beer and babes," a
crew-cropped private, just arrived at the US military's new
Middle East rest and recuperation resort, shouted to hoots
of approval from his buddies.
They would not find much of
either here. America may have instigated four-day off-duty
trips for its Iraq servicemen but these breaks obey all the
modern-day rules of acceptable behaviour for a soldier.
During the Vietnam war,
American troops made resorts such as China Beach a byword
for immorality as the booze flowed, the local vice girls
laboured and the pungent smell of marijuana drifted through
Others flew to neighbouring
Thailand for even livelier debauchery.
This time things are
The troop planes land daily
amid the concrete warehouses that constitute Camp As
Sayliyah - the barren, sand-covered base in Qatar which is
the American military's new entertainment centre - and pour
out their daily cargo of battle-weary GIs in search of a
biggest stimulants on offer are piles of free chocolate bars
and cans of Coca-Cola piled throughout the facility.
Alcohol is limited, and sex between male and female
soldiers strictly banned.
Qatar was struck by a suicide
bomb attack on a British amateur dramatics group last
Saturday - force off-base tours to be accompanied by armed
guards while civilian visitors are strictly prohibited.
"This is a military camp and
military rules are going to apply," an officer said. "Not
everyone may like it but those are the rules and everyone is
expected to abide by them."
Since being launched in July
2003, around 60,000 servicemen have been on the breaks,
available to everyone who has served four months in the
Millions of dollars were spent
building a giant gym, a swimming pool and pizza restaurants
and burger bars. Comfortable sofas in pastel colours, DVD
screens and a mini-cinema fill the building.
In Vietnam, rest and
recuperation meant officialdom turning a blind eye to
In the Iraq conflict, soldiers
are being offered the modern American teenager's fantasy
living room, and encouraged to sit on a sofa playing
computer games while gorging themselves on an unlimited
supply of snack foods.
In its centrepiece, the
computer gaming room, GIs lounged on Ikea furniture and
played the latest X-Box and Playstation2 games while a
Filipino attendant provided sweets and crisps on demand,
bringing them straight to their table so that they did not
even have to rise from their console.
two nightclubs but drinks are limited to a total of three a
night, a system monitored via a computer logging system that
requires military IDs to be swiped with each purchase.
But it is not, perhaps
unsurprisingly, to everyone's liking.
like a correctional facility," said 25-year-old Specialist
Lashunda Townes. "We sleep in bunk beds, 30 to a room. We
can't get off base when we want. What are you to do?"
Pte Randy Pemberton, 22,
bemoaned the lack of a good party. "They give you just
enough beer that it's a tease," he said. "As for the girls
- there is a severely limited hunting ground."
for the facility's organisers is how to keep the troops
happy while not breaching contemporary standards of
morality, as defined by the Pentagon and their Arab hosts.
Now women soldiers make up 15
per cent of US troops, the previous staple of visits by
female dance troupes is no longer politically acceptable. A
two-week tour to installations in Iraq and Kuwait last month
by a scantily-clad group, known as the Purrfect Angels,
resulted in a reprimand for the officer who organised it.
Instead, horseshoe throwing
competitions, the occasional comedian, volleyball games and
even a chess tournament are on offer.
in fact, a massage parlour but it is not the vice den the
words would have implied to their comrades who fought in the
paddy fields of South-East Asia.
Run by the
military, a sign at the door of one stated: "All male
patrons are required to wear BRIEFS during entirety of their
Attack Kills 8 Local Occupation Troops;
23 April 2005 Khaleej Times
soldiers were killed on Saturday when their convoy struck an
improvised explosive device in Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad
on Saturday, Iraqi police said.
said 20 soldiers were also wounded in the blast.
Other soldiers open fire after
the incident, killing a civilian who drove by the scene.
23 April 2005 irib.ir &
Khaleej Times & Associated Press
soldiers and an assailant were wounded in a firefight late
Friday near an army checkpoint in Muradia.
separate attack in Yusifiya, 40 kilometres south of Baghdad,
another two soldiers were killed and three injured when
their convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device.
225 miles northwest of Baghdad, a roadside bomb hit an Iraqi
army convoy on Saturday morning, wounding three soldiers,
said Dr. Bahaaldin al-Bakri at the city's
Baghdad, two policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb hit
their car in another morning attack, said
police Capt. Mahir Abdelsatar.
April 22, 2005 by James Cagan,
An incident on Tuesday
graphically illustrated the real relationship that exists
between the US military forces in Iraq and the
newly-elected, so-called "sovereign" Iraqi national
assembly. At a vehicle
checkpoint controlling the entrance to the "Green Zone"
compound where the assembly's building is located, a US army
private threw an assembly member's identity card in his
face, pulled him from his car, handcuffed him and dragged
him away in front of stunned onlookers.
A member of
the Kurdish Alliance, Abd al-Khaliq Zanganah, stated:
"According to the Geneva Conventions, an occupying force
must respect the occupied nation.
The offending soldier must
be thrown out of our country."
April 23, 2005 By Kelebdooni,
offending soldier must be thrown out of our country."
idea!!! I think the other GIs will just love it if
Can’t get a
chance to get out of Iraq that easy!
I can see
it all right now. Every GI in Iraq is pulling some MP out
of his car..dragging him along
the asphalt... and if that doesn't work, hang him up on a
In a very
short while, we'll have neither US forces nor collaborators
Normalization Of War
By Andrew J. Bacevich. A
graduate of West Point and a Vietnam veteran, he has a
doctorate in history from Princeton and was a Bush Fellow at
the American Academy in Berlin. From his new books:
The New American
Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced By War,
copyright © 2005 by Andrew J. Bacevich, Oxford University
Since the end of the Cold War,
having come to value military power for its own sake, the
United States has abandoned this principle and is committed
as a matter of policy to maintaining military capabilities
far in excess of those of any would-be adversary or
combination of adversaries. This commitment finds both a
qualitative and quantitative _expression, with the U.S.
military establishment dwarfing that of even America's
Thus, whereas the U.S. Navy
maintains and operates a total of twelve large attack
aircraft carriers, the once-vaunted Royal Navy has none --
indeed, in all the battle fleets of the world there is no
ship even remotely comparable to a Nimitz-class carrier,
weighing in at some ninety-seven thousand tons fully loaded,
longer than three football fields, cruising at a speed above
thirty knots, and powered by nuclear reactors that give it
an essentially infinite radius of action.
U.S. Marine Corps possesses more attack aircraft than does
the entire Royal Air Force -- and the United States has two
other even larger "air forces," one an integral part of the
Navy and the other officially designated as the U.S. Air
terms of numbers of men and women in uniform, the U.S.
Marine Corps is half again as large as the entire British
Army--and the Pentagon has a second, even larger "army"
actually called the U.S. Army -- which in turn also operates
its own "air force" of some five thousand aircraft.
these massive and redundant capabilities cost money.
Notably, the present-day Pentagon budget, adjusted for
inflation, is 12 percent larger than the average defense
budget of the Cold War era.
In 2002, American defense
spending exceeded by a factor of twenty-five the combined
defense budgets of the seven "rogue states" then comprising
the roster of U.S. enemies.
some calculations, the United States spends more on defense
than all other nations in the world together. This is a
circumstance without historical precedent.
Even before the Pentagon
officially assigned itself the mission of "shaping" the
international environment, members of the political elite,
liberals and conservatives alike, had reached a common
understanding that scattering U.S. troops around the globe
to restrain, inspire, influence, persuade, or cajole paid
dividends. Whether any correlation exists between this vast
panoply of forward-deployed forces on the one hand and
antipathy to the United States abroad on the other has
remained for the most part a taboo subject.
entire Cold War era, from 1945 through 1988, large-scale
U.S. military actions abroad totaled a scant six.
fall of the Berlin Wall, however, they have become almost
The brief period extending
from 1989's Operation Just Cause (the overthrow of Manuel
Noriega) to 2003's Operation Iraqi Freedom (the overthrow of
Saddam Hussein) featured nine major military interventions.
And that count does not
include innumerable lesser actions such as Bill Clinton's
signature cruise missile attacks against obscure targets in
obscure places, the almost daily bombing of Iraq throughout
the late 1990s, or the quasi-combat missions that have seen
GIs dispatched to Rwanda, Colombia, East Timor, and the
the tempo of U.S. military interventionism has become
nothing short of frenetic.
How Do We
Justify These Kinds Of Wars?
THE POINT is that terrorism
has been isolated and made to look like some kind of thing
that has no past and has no future and is just some
aberration of maniacs. It isn’t. Of course, sometimes it
But if you
look at it, the logic that underlies terrorism and the logic
that underlies the war on terror is the same: Both hold
ordinary people responsible for the actions of governments.
fact is that Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, in their attacks
on September 11, took the lives of many ordinary people.
And in the
attacks in Afghanistan and on Iraq, hundreds of thousands of
Iraqis and Afghans paid for the actions of the Taliban or
for the actions of Saddam Hussein.
The difference is that the Afghans didn’t elect the Taliban,
the Iraqis didn’t elect Saddam Hussein. So how do we
justify these kinds of wars?
Arundhati Roy, International Socialist Review Nov.–Dec. 2004
What do you think?
Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are
especially welcome. Send to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Name, I.D., withheld on
request. Replies confidential.
certain to involve the United States more deeply in the
tangled internal politics of these regions, and to
invite resistance from local forces—and there are many
of them—that object to current US policies and will
resent a conspicuous American military presence in their
from leading to a reduction in terrorism, as advertised,
these moves are certain to provoke more of it.
April 25, 2005 By Michael T.
Klare, The Nation [Excerpt]
leaders have placed ever-increasing reliance on the use of
military force to protect the global production and
transport of oil. This trend began in 1980, when President
Jimmy Carter vowed that the flow of oil from the Persian
Gulf would be assured “by any means necessary, including
basic premise was subsequently applied to the Caspian Sea
basin by President Clinton, and is now being extended by
President Bush to other producing areas, including Africa.
All of this entails the increased involvement of US military
forces in these areas—and it is to facilitate such
involvement that the Defense Department seeks new bases and
Normally, Pentagon officials
are reluctant to ascribe US strategic moves to concern over
the safe delivery of energy supplies.
Nevertheless in their
explanations of the need for new facilities, the oil factor
has begun to crop up.
“In the Caspian Sea you have large mineral (i.e.,
petroleum) reserves,” observed General Charles Wald, deputy
commander of the US European Command (EUCOM), in June 2003.
“We want to be able to assure the long-term viability of
Wald has also spoken of the
need for bases to help protect oil reserves in Africa (which
falls under the purview of the EUCOM). “The estimate is in
the next ten years, we will get 25 percent of our oil from
there,” he declared in
Air Force magazine. “I can see the United States
potentially having a forward operating location in Sمo
Tome,” or other sites in Africa.
Of the dozen or so locations
mentioned in Pentagon or media accounts of new basing
locations, a majority—including Algeria, Azerbaijan,
Cameroon, Gabon, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Qatar, Romania,
Sمo Tome and PrIncipe, Tunisia—either possess oil themselves
or abut major pipelines and supply routes.
the Pentagon’s perspective, the protection of oil and the
war against terrorism often amount to one and the same
asked whether the United States was prepared to help defend
Nigeria’s oilfields against ethnic violence, General Wald
replied, “Wherever there’s evil, we want to go there and
Equally strong geopolitical
considerations link the pursuit of foreign oil to American
concern over the rise of China. Like the United States,
China needs to import vast amounts of petroleum in order to
satisfy skyrocketing demand at home. In 2010, the Energy
Department predicts, China will have to import 4 million
barrels of oil per day; by 2025 it will be importing 9.4
China will also be dependent
on major producers in the Middle East and Africa, and so it
has sought to curry favor with these countries using the
same methods long employed by the United States: by forging
military ties with friendly regimes, supplying them with
weapons and stationing military advisers in them. A
conspicuous Chinese presence has been established, for
example, in Iran, Sudan and the Central Asian republics. To
counter these incursions, the United States has expanded its
own military ties with local powers—and this in turn has
helped spark the drive for new basing facilities in the Gulf
and Caspian regions.
certain to involve the United States more deeply in the
tangled internal politics of these regions, and to
invite resistance from local forces—and there are many
of them—that object to current US policies and will
resent a conspicuous American military presence in their
from leading to a reduction in terrorism, as advertised,
these moves are certain to provoke more of it.
So Much For
The Shadow Government.
resistance is relentless. Western Iraq is totally out
of US control. Mosul is infiltrated by the Iraqi
resistance. Ramadi, the resistance capital of the Sunni
triangle, is controlled by - who else - the resistance.
Apr 21, 2005 By Pepe Escobar,
Asia Times Online Ltd.
According to Washington's
script, progressive invisibility of the occupying force
means increasing repression exercised by Iraqi forces.
the return - in full force - of Saddam's Mukhabarat agents,
now posing as agents of the new Iraqi security and
Bush equals Saddam because the
same people who repressed us are back.
The masses correctly
interpreted the meaning of Rumsfeld's "message" to the
Shi'ite al-Jafaari: don't touch the defense and interior
ministries, ie, don't touch our old Mukhabarat allies and
featured in the elaborate Pentagon plans to regiment
Mukhabarat agents is that these same Sunni, Saddam-era
operatives may not be exactly inclined to fight the Sunni
complicate the equation, 70% of the US-trained Iraqi
security forces are former Ba'athists. The top commando,
with 10,000 operatives, is almost 100% composed of former
Saddam army officers. If the new prime minister, Ibrahim
Jaafari of the Da'wa Party purges them, it's the end of the
American dream of having Iraqis doing the dirty jobs.
All the explosive issues -
federalism, who gets Kirkuk, the fate of the oil industry -
which translated into nine weeks of turbulence before a
president, two vice presidents and a prime minister were
appointed - are now back into the negotiations over a new
constitution. People in Baghdad knows it's unrealistic to
expect a draft of the new constitution in the course of the
next four months, according to the American-imposed
Allawi - the Americans' man,
as he is known in Baghdad - also has his reasons to be
furious. He badly wanted the Interior Ministry, so he could
organize the Mukhabarat-led espionage and overall repression
in conjunction with the Green Zone.
The occupation is worse than
an economic tsunami: it managed to plunge Iraq - once a
beacon of development in the Arab world - into Sub-Saharan
There's less electricity each
day than in 2003 or even 2004. Without electricity, the
whole country is paralyzed: nothing - communications,
industry, the healthcare system, the educational system -
works properly. All water plants "reconstructed" by Bechtel
and co are breaking down.
With weekly, sometimes
daily attacks on pipelines, oil production is pitiful, still
inferior to Saddam-era, pre-war levels. Sixty percent of
the total population survives on food stamps.
Baghdad is a hellish labyrinth
of concrete walls and barbed wire, where a BMW is "the
kidnappers' car", 4X4s are favored by candidates for suicide
attacks and there's no safe place to hide.
Reuters staff survive
barricaded behind sandbags and concrete walls; the only one
able to venture out to collect images by motorbike is Abu
Ali, a kind of local hero. Gas lines are endless.
resistance is relentless. Western Iraq is totally out of US
control. Mosul is infiltrated by the Iraqi resistance.
Ramadi, the resistance capital of the Sunni triangle, is
controlled by - who else - the resistance.
There may be no funds for
rebuilding American-bombed Iraqi infrastructure, but US$4.5
billion promptly found its way to Halliburton's subsidiary
KBR for the construction and maintenance of the 14 "enduring
camps" or permanent military bases.
The most notorious of these
may be Camp Victory North, a sprawling complex attached to
Baghdad (former Saddam) International Airport. Camp Victory
is a KBR-built, bungalow-with-air-con American city for
14,000, complete with Burger King and gym. When finished, it
will be twice the size of giant Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo,
the base attached to surveillance of oil pipelines in the
American economist Jeremy Rifkin has calculated the
number of years known world oil reserves would last at
current rates of consumption and extraction.
US it would be only 10 years. By contrast, in Iran it
would be 53 years; in Saudi Arabia 55; in the United
Arab Emirates 75; in Kuwait 116; and in Iraq no less
than 526 years. That says it all about controlling oil
reserves in the Middle East.
Nothing gets done in Iraq
without Green Zone approval, ie the all-powerful American
overwhelming majority of Sunnis as well as many disgruntled
Shi'ites who sympathize with the Sadrists know the Green
Zone would never tolerate new Iraqi ministers not pliable to
the White House/Pentagon military/corporate agenda for Iraq.
The only way Jaafari's
transitional government can garner any measure of popular
credibility is to demand a firm deadline for total American
withdrawal. This is what the Shi'ite masses voted for.
Whatever the scale of mass protests though, Rumsfeld remains
unfazed: he wants Saddam's Mukhabarat back in action and he
wants the 14 military bases.
The White House/Pentagon/Green
Zone axis wants "shock therapy", deregulation, wide-ranging
privatization, control of Iraqi natural resources, Iraq
reduced to a deregulated capitalist colony with all or most
government properties and services controlled by American
multinationals and all assets held by the foreign lending
institutions that own the majority shares of the Iraqi
People who disagree may hit
the streets and scream.
So much for
the shadow Iraqi government.
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
POLITICIANS AT WORK
Buddies Iraq Thieving Total Nears $2 BILLION:
Could Have Been Used To Take Care Of Soldiers"
evidence suggests that the U.S. used Iraqi oil proceeds
to overpay Halliburton and then sought to hide the
evidence of these overcharges from the international
Halliburton - of which Vice President Dick Cheney was
formerly chief executive officer - is the largest single
contractor in Iraq.
22 April 2005 By William
Fisher, Inter Press Service
New York - The Halliburton
corporation, already the Iraq war's poster child for "waste,
fraud and abuse", has been hit with a new double-whammy.
from the U.S. State Department accuses the company of "poor
performance" in its 1.2-billion-dollar contract to repair
Iraq's vital southern oil fields.
And a powerful California
congressman is charging that Defence Department audits
showing additional overcharges totaling 212 million dollars
were concealed from United Nations monitors by the George W.
overcharges bring to two billion dollars, or 42 percent
of the contract amounts, the grand total of questionable
bills from Halliburton.
According to Rep. Henry
Waxman, the Defence Contract Audit Agency, which monitors
all Pentagon contracts, had identified Halliburton
overcharges and questionable costs of totaling 212.3 million
dollars - double the total amount of known overcharges under
Halliburton's Iraq oil contract.
case, Waxman said, the overcharges exceeded 47 percent of
the total value of the task order.
Defence Department - at Halliburton's request - withheld
the new amount from IAMB, the U.N. audit oversight body
for the Development Fund for Iraq, Waxman charged.
"The withholding of this
information is highly unusual and raises serious issues,"
Waxman complained in a letter to Subcommittee Chairman
evidence suggests that the U.S. used Iraqi oil proceeds to
overpay Halliburton and then sought to hide the evidence of
these overcharges from the international auditors."
He also alleged that although
Halliburton was paid in significant part from Iraqi oil
proceeds in the Development Fund for Iraq,
the administration - acting at Halliburton's request -
concealed these overcharges from the international auditors
charged by the United Nations with monitoring the
expenditures from the fund.
H. Amey, general counsel of the Project on Government
Oversight, a non-partisan government watchdog, told IPS,
"If a taxpayer was able to support only 63 percent of
their tax return, he or she would be brought to
justice. In the case of Halliburton, however, the
government continues to let it slide."
- of which Vice President Dick Cheney was formerly chief
executive officer - is the largest single contractor in
A former Halliburton employee,
Marie deYoung, audited accounts for Halliburton subsidiary
KBR. She claims there was no effort to hold down costs
because all costs were passed on directly to taxpayers. She
repeatedly complained to superiors of waste and fraud.
company's response, according to deYoung was: "We can be as
dumb and stupid as we want in the first year of a war,
nobody's going to care."
former Army chaplain produced documents detailing
alleged waste even on routine services: 50,000 dollars a
month for soda, at 45 dollars a case; one million
million a month to clean clothes - or 100 dollars for
each 15-pound bag of laundry.
could have been used to take care of soldiers," she said.
former employee, Mike West, says he was paid 82,000 dollars
a year to be a labour foreman in Iraq, but never had any
labourers to supervise. "They said just log 12 hours a day
and walk around and look busy," he said.
TRUTH? CHECK OUT THE NEW 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)
Occupation Soldiers Wounded In Gaza Blast
YNetNews 4/21/2005, GAZA
soldiers were wounded Thursday afternoon after an explosive
device was detonated near a security fence in the northern
Gaza Strip, close to the Kfar Aza kibbutz.
One of those injured sustained
moderate wounds and was taken to Soroka hospital in Beer
Sheva for treatment. A hospital spokeswoman said the
soldier sustained an injury to his skull, but added the
wound was not life threatening.
The two other soldiers
suffered from shock and were treated at the scene.
[Zionist Occupation Force] officials say 10 similar
explosive devices were uncovered by troops in the past
week. Military officials estimated the
roadside bomb, which targeted a jeep on routine patrol, was
a soldier sustained moderate wounds after being hit by
Palestinian sniper fire on the Philadelphi Route.
out what life is like under a murderous military occupation
by a foreign power, go to:
www.rafahtoday.org The foreign army is Israeli; the
occupied nation is Palestine.]
To: GI Special
Sent: April 23, 2005 9:56 PM
Subject: The White Rose
Unbelievably I had never heard of the White Rose leaflets or
of the brave young people who wrote and distributed them in
Germany in 1942 and 1943. They were beheaded by the German
'German' to 'American' and quote the first leaflet of the
Nothing is so unworthy of a
civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed without
opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to
base instinct. It is certain that today every honest
American is ashamed of his government.
Who among us has any
conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us
and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our
eyes and the most horrible of crimes - crimes that
infinitely outdistance every human measure - reach the light
If the American people are
already so corrupted and spiritually crushed that they do
not raise a hand, frivolously trusting in a questionable
faith in lawful order of history; if they surrender man’s
highest principle, that which raises him above all other
God’s creatures, his free will; if they abandon the will to
take decisive action and turn the wheel of history and thus
subject it to their own rational decision; if they are so
devoid of all individuality, have already gone so far along
the road toward turning into a spiritless and cowardly mass
- then, yes, they deserve their downfall. '
America does not have to keep
funding imperial war in the Middle East. America does not
have to continue goose stepping to its own destruction.
We Americans can change that,
if we are outraged and courageous.
As the Iraq War continues, the
numbers of returning veterans and civilians suffering from
post traumatic stress disorder grow. Millions of veterans
and civilians from other conflicts still suffer from the
psychological injuries of war.
"Voices in Wartime" has
developed a short documentary, "Beyond Wartime" which will
be in theaters sometime this month. We urge you to
participate in getting the word out about this film by
hosting a house party to show a clip from this film and
begin a dialogue about what needs to be done in our
community on this issue.
Voices in Wartime is a
feature-length documentary that delves into the experience
of war through powerful images and the words of poets -
unknown and world-famous.
Poets around the world, from
the United States and Colombia to Britain and Nigeria to
Iraq and India, share their poetry and experiences of war.
Soldiers, journalists, historians and experts on combat
interviewed in Voices in Wartime add diverse perspectives on
war's effects on soldiers, civilians and society.
You can join the effort to
help millions of people learn about post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) and other consequences of war by hosting a
Dialogue for Voices in Wartime. # Order a Dialogue Kit with
a DVD, Discussion Guide, buttons and post cards. # Show a
37-minute video titled Voices in Wartime and Beyond,
including short documentary Beyond Wartime, preview of
Voices in Wartime and intro to the filmmakers. # Facilitate
a discussion about Voices in Wartime and Beyond Wartime.
http://www.voicesinwartime.org/VoicesInWartime to learn more
about getting involved. View the movie trailer, find a
showing of the movie in your area, host a dialogue, submit
your own works; learn how at their website.
DVD Release Date: Summer 2005
Voices in Wartime will be available for purchase on DVD by
mid-year 2005. To receive news and updates on how and when
you can purchase the DVD, please sign up for the Voices in
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1325.6 Section 18.104.22.168.