www.albasrah.net

 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

5.6.05

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

 

GI SPECIAL 3B21:

 

 

 

 

“Make A Damn Plan Mr. Bush And Get Our Soldiers HOME”

 

 

From: Lietta & Arthur Ruger

To: GI Special

Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 10:43 AM

Subject: My daughter's blog (below); upon learning her husband will have to redeploy to Iraq for 2nd deployment.

 

The family is in Germany and he is with 1st Armored, who already served extended 15 month combat tour in Iraq March 2003 - July 2004.

 

Last month, he was just caught up in the unmitigatable trap of:

 

Option 1: not to re-enlist but already Stop-Lossed with Orders to redeploy to Iraq or

 

Option 2:  re-enlist, still under Stop-Loss with Orders to Iraq, but he worked extensively with personnel 'in the field' who promised him that with re-enlistment he could choose new PCS to new unit, and was given 3 choices.

 

He worked hard to uncover any hidden details and was clearly told that in choosing a new PCS, he would not have to remain with his present unit, thus not be bound to Stop-Loss or Orders for Iraq with that unit.

 

He believed the personnel 'in the field' as after all they are 'in the field' and not recruiters and who else is he to go to in the field if not field personnel?

 

He did re-enlist, chose his new PCS and the family began getting ready for a move to new duty station.

 

Yesterday his unit CO told him he's got to stay with the unit, needed in Iraq and is going to Iraq.

 

If that news wasn't devastating enough; he also was told that Rumsfeld coming to talk to his unit (likely other units as well) this week in Germany and was told 'Do not ask Rumsfeld about unarmored humvees on threat of an Article 15’.

 

My questions; 1) What are the field personnel telling these guys about re-enlistment and being field staff rather than recruiters; what is the line of authority?

 

2) Why would he be under threat of Article 15 not to ask Rumsfeld about an update on vital 'armored humvee' since it is publicly known already the production problem with uparmored humvees, and the President has already said publicly we need to get the troops what they need?

 

Help me, as I know there are more questions to ask, other ways to dissect this, other ways to frame the questions, and I need the help of many clear thinking heads and ideas.

 

I intend to take this to media and politicians, and I need some talking points rather than military mom distress to serve me.

 

Lietta Ruger, military family of Iraq Veterans

Pacific Northwest Military Families Speak Out (www.nwmfso.org)

 

[To offer help and suggestions, click on the name “Lietta & Arthur Ruger” up top and an email form will appear.]

 

 

My Daughter's Blog Entry Follows, I Have Permission To Share It:

 

“Make A Damn Plan Mr. Bush And Get Our Soldiers HOME”

 

Totally bummed out beyond WORDS.....

 

So my wonderful husband is in the field and calls me everyday or vise versa.  I love getting his calls and just hearing his sexy voice on the other end.

 

Well last night when we were talking he had some not so great news to share with me.  I wish last night I did not get a call from my soldier.

 

My soldier said he is having a meeting this week with his higher up (you know who).

 

They will be discussing him STAYING here under STOPLOSS.

 

They will be letting him know no matter what he tries to do he will be deploying again.

 

He told me that he is going to FIGHT this as far as he can.  But he told me to be ready for him to re-deploy to Iraq.  Even though we were to leave July 25th.  I am at a loss for words.

 

I mean yes, I know to expect this and deep down I was holding unto a glimmer of hope that my soldier would be spared going back to Iraq.

 

I do not want him deploying back to the HELL hole he survived just last year.

 

I was holding unto to faith that things would fall into place and get us out of Germany ASAP and away from this deployment with this unit he is in.

 

It is not a well run unit, nor do I feel good about him returning with this unit. All my fears were put back into the basket.  Another deployment to Iraq I will have to endure.  I will be without my soldier for another 12+ months.  I just really can not put into words what I am feeling right now.  It is beyond words.

 

Nothing I could type would make your realize how my heart aches and my belly turns and my head hurts.  NOTHING can describe the empty feelings I have now.  I don't care if this is his job, if he signed on the dotted line.  Going to a war zone and yes it is STILL a war zone is not something ANYONE is looking forward too.

 

We are still losing soldiers daily to Iraq.  And I do not want my soldier to be one that dies for Iraq or for our President.  His life is not worth that to me.  

 

He would not be serving his country this way, by dying by a roadside bomb or some other stupid ass reason other.

 

I have to now think about being here in another country with hundreds of depressed wives stressed out beyond there means for 12+ months.

 

I am not looking forward to that AT ALL!  I have to talk to my soldier but I think we will try to EDR before he deploys.  I would much rather be in the states by my family for this, than be here in Germany sitting around and waiting.

 

And if God forbid something happens to my soldier I will have all my family around me to help me cope with it.  I do not want to be here and get the news from downrange and have some complete stranger trying to tell me how proudly my soldier served his country.

 

My bubble has been burst.  I held unto the little tiny bit of hope that my soldier would get out of deploying.  I let myself believe we would leave here. I should have known better then to do that.

 

This is the fucking military I speak of, the ones that care more about bodies in Iraq than really caring about the soldiers.

 

Let us make sure we have every single body we can to maintain the troops levels and make sure we keep putting into harms ways soldiers for a cause not worth fighting for.  The emotional torture that is put on military families is UNREAL.

 

I will now be re-thinking this deployment and mapping out something that will work for the kids and I.  I do not want them suffering through yet another deployment without their daddy.  I will make sure to hold my head up, support my husband, let him know I am here for him 110% when he deploys.

 

But inside I am DYING.  I made it through the 15 month deployment -- barely the first time.  We were separated 18 months total last time.  This time even thinking about sending him back to Iraq is devastating to me.

 

I now feel hopeless and lost inside.

 

I do not want to lose the love of the life, not when we have such a wonderful marriage and such a beautiful family.

 

I do not want my kids growing up without their daddy.  I do not want to have to send letters and pictures and video's of the kids.  I do not want to have to sit up ALL night waiting and hoping that my soldier comes online to talk to me. Or check my e-mail every ten minutes seeing if he sent me an e-mail to let me know he is okay!  I do not have to think everyday if he will be coming home or not!  I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN.

 

I want this to be OVER.

 

When will this be over.

 

When will we NOT be sending our soldiers to IRAQ to DIE.

 

When we will bring them HOME???????

 

I want some answers.  No more bullshitting around the questions.  Make a damn plan Mr. Bush and get our soldiers HOME.

 

Okay I am going to go now, I have worked myself up and need to go calm down.

 

I am not taking this news well at all.  I am glad I have this blog to vent a bit, it helps... My soldier will call me ASAP after his meeting and let me know where things stand.

 

My soldier does not go down without a FIGHT.  He doesn't just roll with whatever someone says, he takes it higher and FIGHTS it.

 

So send him some prayers that something breaks somewhere and he gets to leave this unit and base and go unto Hawaii and NOT HAVE TO DEPLOY for his second deployment to IRAQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Screaming at the TOP of my LUNGS!!!!!!!

 

Does anyone hear me????????

 

Hugs and Prayers

 

Highly UPSET Army Wife-Bree from Army Wife 101 blog

(http://lifeofanarmywife.blogdrive.com/)

 

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.

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

 

 

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

 

May 5, 2005 U.S. Department of Defense News Release No. 436-05

 

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier.

 

Sgt. Kenya A. Parker, 26, of Fairfield, Ala., died April 30 in Baghdad, Iraq, of a non-combat related medical condition.  Parker was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

 

 

Minnesota Marine Killed In Iraq Air Crash 1 Year After Father Killed In U.S. Air Crash

 

The remains of Kelly Hinz, 30, have been found following a plane crash.

 

Hinz's father, Donald, died in May 2004 when a vintage fighter plane he was piloting crash-landed during an air show in Wisconsin.

 

A Department of Defense Web site had not reported Hinz death as of Wednesday night, but the military had notified the man's family. Hinz's family declined to comment Wednesday.

 

Mary Culbertson, the communications director at St. Thomas Academy, said friends of the family told teachers and former students that Hinz' body had been found.

 

Hinz graduated from the school in 1993.

 

 

Third Tour Proves Unlucky For Marine;

Jaw Shattered By Shrapnel:

“I Hope This Means He Never Has To Go Back To Iraq''

 

May 5, 2005 By Matt Assad Of The Morning Call

 

When Allentown Central Catholic graduate David Bednarcik was preparing for his third trip to the battlegrounds of Iraq, he reassured friends and family not to worry, saying ''the insurgents have lousy aim.''

 

Today, the career Marine might be reconsidering that claim as he lies in a bed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., the victim of an apparent insurgent attack on his patrol April 21 near Ramadi.

 

No one is exactly sure how, but Bednarcik's jaw was shattered by shrapnel that hit him while he was riding in a Humvee.  ''Three inches lower and I would have been attending his funeral instead of visiting him in the hospital,'' said his brother, John Bednarcik of Allentown.

 

''He can't talk, but he seemed in good spirits. I hope this means he never has to go back to Iraq.''

 

He was near Ramadi, where on the same day he was wounded 11 people died when insurgents shot down a helicopter.

 

Though Pentagon officials say they will not comment about injured troops, Bednarcik's parents said that with months of reconstructive surgery ahead, and their son's unit scheduled to come home in September, they believe he's made his last trip to Iraq.

 

In a few weeks doctors will begin what figures to be a series of surgeries to use bone and skin from Bednarcik's hip and leg to rebuild his shattered jaw.  After that, he hopes to return to his home in Temecula, Calif., where he lives with his wife, Rene.

 

According to his mother, Vincentine Bednarcik, who visited her son twice since he was wounded, Bednarcik was in the back seat on a Humvee when the shrapnel hit the right side of his jaw.

 

No one else was hurt, and Bednarcik's mother said military officials could not say whether the shrapnel was from a rocket-propelled grenade, a land mine or some other weapon.

 

Bednarcik doesn't remember anything.

 

''We may never know what happened,'' Vincentine Bednarcik said.  ''Right now, all that really matters is that he gets better.''

 

 

Bombing Targets US Patrol In Baghdad;

Casualties Not Announced

 

5.5.05 KUNA

 

Eyewitnesses said the bombing came after a number of insurgents attacked the patrol with rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) and machinegun fire.

 

No reports on casualties have been made available yet.

 

 

Explosive Charges Target US Army Convoys:

Truck Burning;

Casualties Not Announced

 

May 5 (KUNA) & By Thomas Wagner, Associated Press

 

An explosive charge targeting a passing US army convoy on the freeway near al-Dawra, south of here, was set off by insurgents, witnesses told KUNA on Thursday.

 

A damaged US army truck was seen on fire as a result of the blast, said the witnesses who added that US soldiers immediately cordoned off the site of the incident, while they attempted to put out the fire in the truck.

 

Skid marks suggested the attacker raced onto the highway from a side road, exploding his vehicle near the front of the truck and setting it on fire.

 

Earlier today another blast targeted in the same region a US patrol convoy, damaging the tire of one Humvee, said witnesses.

 

 

“It Blew That Striker 100 Feet And Broke It Into Five Pieces,” Stacy Said.

 

May 5, 2005 FOX40, WOODBRIDGE

 

A soldier from San Joaquin County is recovering from his injuries after an explosion in Iraq.

 

Stacy Beintema is the soldier’s mother. FOX40 News talked with her in Woodbridge on Wednesday.

 

“Anybody’s who’s been through something like this or similar, your body just kinda goes into autopilot”, she said.

 

Stacy and her family are running on adrenaline.  Her son Nick arrived today at Washington DC’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The Army Specialist was seriously hurt in an attack near Baghdad last week.

 

How eager is she to see him?  “There are no words.  It’s just that mother’s instinct.  At this point I just have to get there”, she said.

 

Even then, it won’t be easy.  Stacy and her husband must tell their 22 year old the same explosion that almost killed him did kill four of his buddies.  Their vehicle, called a striker, rolled over a bomb.

 

“From what I understand, strikers are like 50 tons, 5 semis. It blew that striker 100 feet and broke it into five pieces”, Stacy said.

 

Nick has seen tragedy in Iraq before.  In his first tour of duty, his best friend died in Nick’s arms.  His mom hoped he’d choose college over the Army, but she fell in line with his decision.  Honoring tradition, he’s following in the military footsteps of his grandfather and father.

 

The Beintemas know their son has a long road ahead and they’ll be there every step..  But they’re asking for something from the public.

 

“This war is a little different and I think people lose sight there is a war going on and that lives are being lost every day, and people wounded everyday.  I don’t want people to forget about that.  He’s not just my soldier.  He’s everybody’s soldier”, said Stacy.

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

U.S. Soldier Regrets Troops Not Allowed To Kill Collaborator Commandos:

Occupation Disbands “Elite” Thugs

 

"The SF tried to stop them once they realized what was going on but short of opening fire on them, which I would have preferred to see, we could do nothing to truly stop them.  We finally drove off back to Samarra, with the life of some farming family who wasn't home going up in flames.

 

May 5 2005 By Ned Parker, SAMARRA, Middle East Online & Japan Today

 

A battalion of Iraq's elite commando troops was pulled out of the rebel bastion of Samarra last month after repeated incidents of looting, culminating in the torching of a home, several US officers said Thursday.

 

The battalion, headed by a colonel named Jalil, was widely perceived as running amok, officers said.

 

US soldiers regularly referred to the commandos as "thieves" and said there were several incidents where Jalil's men looted homes.

 

In an incident in the second week of March that sealed the unit's fate, the commandos searched a home near Samarra, found no incriminating evidence and then set it on fire, officers said on condition of anonymity.

 

US officers and soldiers preferred their names not be disclosed due to their working relationship with the interior ministry and the awkward position of criticising the commandos, considered the vanguard of Iraq's security forces.

 

One US soldier who witnessed the March incident gave the following account.

 

"The ministry of interior (MOI) decided they wanted to hit a few more target houses and the special forces (SF) said 'OK' and we followed along.  We were pulling outer security a house or two down and couldn't see the MOI or SF," he said.

 

"All of a sudden we started seeing smoke billowing up and then SF came over the radio saying that the MOI colonel with us had given his 'commandos' the order to loot the house and then set it on fire," the soldier added.

 

"The SF tried to stop them once they realized what was going on but short of opening fire on them, which I would have preferred to see, we could do nothing to truly stop them.  [There will no doubt be other chances, hopefully soon.]

 

“We finally drove off back to Samarra, with the life of some farming family who wasn't home going up in flames.

 

"The SF and all of us were royally pissed and they immediately severed ties with them cancelling some upcoming missions.  We did the same," he explained.

 

In another jab at the interior ministry, several US soldiers and officers also questioned its account of a March 22 raid on an insurgent training camp on Lake TharThar that the ministry said left more than 80 dead.

 

The soldiers and officers who visited the training camp said they saw no trace of any bodies at the site, which some of them entered alongside and others shortly after the commandos.

 

The commandos are a controversial 12,000-strong unit of fighters, many of them from Saddam Hussein's special forces, security directorate and republican guard.

 

The commandos have been dogged by torture allegations and at least one of their detainees in Samarra turned up dead last month.

 

Shiite General Rashid Flaih, a brigade commander, has been a lightning rod for criticism.

 

In October, Iraq's de-Baathification committee protested Flaih's appointment to the interior ministry, citing his job as security chief in the southern city of Nassiriyah in 1991 after the suppression of that year's Shiite uprising.

 

"When they find a suspect, they start beating him, it's normal.  He's a criminal.  He is beheading and butchering people," Flaih told AFP in a recent interview.

 

Many of the controversial 12,000-strong unit are from Saddam's former special forces, security directorate and Republican Guard.

 

 

David Hackworth, Vietnam Vet And Military Analyst, Dies At 74:

Spoke Out Against The War

 

5.5.05 Associated Press

 

HARTFORD, Conn. Retired Army Colonel David Hackworth, a decorated Vietnam veteran who spoke out against the war, is dead at the age of 74.

 

His wife says Hackworth died Wednesday in Tijuana, Mexico, where he was being treated for bladder cancer.

 

Hackworth was also a journalist and an advocate for military reform and served as a Newsweek correspondent during the Gulf War.  He also worked in as a syndicated columnist for King Features, often criticizing the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war.

 

He reported last year that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used a machine to sign condolence letters sent to the families of fallen soldiers.  That prompted Rumsfeld to later promise to sign each letter by hand.

 

 

Anti-War Deserter Arrested In Florida:

“Half The Country Doesn’t Agree With The President”

 

May 05, 2005 Associated Press, WELLINGTON, Fla.

 

Karim Iraq, 25, was arrested as a deserter and is being held without bail at the Palm Beach County Jail, sheriff’s officials said.

 

His father said the soldier fled Fort Stewart, Ga., after the Army extended his enlistment because he had soured on the U.S. military mission in Iraq.  The father said the soldier was also harassed over his Palestinian heritage.

 

“He was feeling rejected or discriminated against for the last year or so.... He said he’d been made fun of all of the time.  He never fit in.  They made fun of his name.  They always looked at him like he’s an outsider,” Zayed Iraq said.

 

“He’s a dangerous guy with anti-American slogans and a deserter.  It’s someone we want to get off the street immediately,” sheriff’s Capt. Gregory Richter said.

 

Zayed Iraq said his Detroit-born son was proud of his service in Iraq and Kuwait on two previous tours but had become disenchanted and did not want to go back to the Middle East for a third time.

 

“It’s not like he hates the U.S. He’s been here all his life.  It’s the only country he ever knew.  Half the country doesn’t agree with the president,” Zayed Iraq said.

 

Iraq’s commander will determine whether he faces administrative punishment or a court-martial. If he is court-martialed, the maximum penalty under normal circumstances is up to five years in prison.  During war, the maximum penalty is death, but the Army hasn’t executed a soldier since 1961.

 

The case was referred to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

 

 

Bulgaria To Withdraw Iraq Troops

 

May 05, 2005 Agence France-Presse

 

BULGARIA'S outgoing parliament tonight voted for a withdrawal of all the country's troops from Iraq by the end of the year.

 

The decision was adopted by 110 votes against 53, with 45 MPs abstaining, and comes after the country this week suffered its 10th military fatality in Iraq.

 

 

Muslim Soldier Gets The Death Penalty While...

Politicians Forgive Murder In Iraq

 

May 6, 2005 By Eric Ruder, Socialist Worker

 

THE U.S. military values some lives more than others.  That’s the only conclusion you could draw from the trials of two U.S. soldiers--one accused of killing two American officers, the other of executing two Iraqi civilians.

 

Last week, Sgt. Hasan Akbar was sentenced to death for using grenades and his rifle at a base camp in Kuwait to kill two officers and injure 14 other soldiers shortly after the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

 

The chief prosecutor at the military trial, Lt. Col. Michael Mulligan, said that “(Akbar) is a hate-filled, ideologically driven murderer.”

 

But Akbar’s military attorney never presented witnesses to the abuse and racism that Akbar suffered, as the only African American and only Muslim in his unit.  In imposing the death sentence, the military judge also discounted the testimony of a psychiatrist, who diagnosed Akbar with forms of paranoia and schizophrenia.

 

During his trial, Akbar apologized for the attack. “I felt that my life was in jeopardy, and I had no other options,” said Akbar. “I also want to ask you for forgiveness.”  Akbar’s father told reporters that his son was regularly harassed by other soldiers in his unit, including implied threats that he could be “mistakenly” shot as “one of them.”

 

The climate surrounding the trial of Marine Second Lt. Ilario Pantano--who killed two unarmed Iraqis with a hail of bullets [Pantano, a coward, shot them in the back while unarmed] during a search of their car--couldn’t be more different.  The hearing will determine whether Pantano will have to face charges in a court-martial proceeding.  

 

Pantano became a Wall Street broker after serving in the 1991 Gulf War--and then decided to rejoin the military after September 11, 2001.  As he explained to a BBC reporter, “My duty...is quite frankly to export violence to the four corners of the globe to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

 

After firing some 45 rounds at the two Iraqis on April 15 of last year, Pantano left a handwritten sign on the corpses, bearing his unit’s motto--“No better friend, no worse enemy.”

 

Marine prosecutors say the sign indicates that Pantano was carrying out premeditated killings to send a message.  But that didn’t stop Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) from leaping to Pantano’s defense. “I’d have him for my son,” said Jones, who has written two letters to George Bush urging him to intervene on Pantano’s behalf.  Jones isn’t the only politician championing Pantano, either.

 

Press reports speculate that Pantano will get off with a slap on the wrist at most.  That would be no surprise--since despite the rhetoric about “democracy” in Iraq, Pantano’s killing spree illustrates the true nature of the U.S. occupation.

 

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

 

 

“We Need To Build All-Out Support” ---

Pablo Paredes and Kevin Benderman On Trial For Refusing To Go To War:

 

May 6, 2005 By Justin Akers, Socialist Worker

 

PABLO PAREDES will go on trial May 11 at a special court-martial--for refusing to take part in Washington’s war for oil and empire in Iraq.  But antiwar activists in San Diego--where last December Paredes refused to board his Navy ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard, bound for the Persian Gulf with 3,000 Marines--and around the country are rallying to his defense.

 

Likewise, Sgt. Kevin Benderman--who applied for conscientious objector status before his unit was scheduled to redeploy to Iraq late last year--learned last week that the Army had rejected his application, setting the stage for his May 12 court-martial trial at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

 

Paredes faces up to one year behind bars, a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of pay and a reduction in rank--Benderman could be jailed for up to seven years and given a dishonorable discharge.

 

The military is throwing the book at Paredes and Benderman in the hope of silencing them and squelching further dissent in the ranks.  Paredes has been a constant campaigner against the war since he appeared at the 32nd Street Naval Station in San Diego December 6--where his ship was scheduled to leave from--wearing a T-shirt that read, “Like a cabinet member, I resign!”

 

At the impromptu press conference he organized that day, Paredes pointed out that he would have been safely removed from almost all dangers of the war--but that he didn’t want to be an accomplice in the occupation of Iraq, which his ship’s mission was aiding. “The fact is that on December 6th, when this all started...there were only two options,” Pablo says. “One was right and one was wrong, and I have no regrets.”

 

Since then, Paredes has spoken at antiwar rallies and forums--even though he is confined to the naval base during the day--with a confidence that disarmed his most hostile pro-war detractors.  He has attracted support from opponents of the war across the country, including Martin Sheen, Howard Zinn and many others.  Now, he recently told his supporters, “it’s the final stretch, and it’s time to bang the pots really loud.”

 

Paredes and his supporters are calling for solidarity actions to take place the week of his court-martial.

 

Kevin’s wife, Monica Benderman, and Pablo’s brother, Victor Paredes, are among those calling for a national day of action for GI resisters on May 10, before the two trials start.

 

In San Diego, a support committee has a series of events planned, with forums that will include activists such as author Naomi Klein and fellow GI resisters Camilo Mejيa and Aidan Delgado.  Activists are also planning a mock trial outside the naval base where the court-martial will be held to “Put the Iraq War on trial, not a war resister!”

 

Meanwhile, Kevin Benderman has also made his views clear--despite the Army’s intimidation tactics, including a ban on his travel that prevented him from traveling to speak at several antiwar forums.

 

Benderman, a mechanic with 10 years in the Army, spent eight months in Iraq at the start of the war in 2003.  He said that witnessing the terrible consequences for Iraqis--including the sight of a badly burned young girl, and mass graves filled with men, women and children--convinced him to apply for conscientious objector status, rather than redeploy to Iraq with his unit.

 

Now, Army officials have unexpectedly rejected the application ahead of next week’s court-martial.  “I’m prepared to follow through on my beliefs,” Benderman said in an interview with Socialist Worker earlier this year.  “I have to be able to accept whatever consequences come from my actions.”

 

When soldiers and sailors stand up and refuse to kill or be fodder for this war, it’s a crucial step toward stopping the U.S. war on the Iraqi people.

 

We need to build all-out support for heroes like Pablo Paredes and Kevin Benderman.

 

 

Drill Sergeant Who Abused Recruits Welcome To Stay In The Army

 

April 25, 2005 By Jane McHugh, Army Times staff writer

 

FORT KNOX, Ky. — Sgt. 1st Class David H. Price could have been kicked out with a bad-conduct discharge.  He could have spent up to a year in jail.  And he could have lost 15 years’ worth of Army retirement benefits.

 

Instead, the 36-year-old senior drill sergeant was busted down one grade to staff sergeant after being found guilty of four counts of abuse of trainees in his care and one count of trying to cover it up.

 

In a case that has outraged other drill sergeants because of Price’s overt violations of basic drill sergeant regulations, prosecutors failed to introduce those regulations as evidence or charge him with violating Army regulations, and the judge refused to consider them in setting Price’s sentence.

 

The presiding judge, Lt. Col. Richard Anderson, refused to consider Army drill field regulations in assessing Price’s case because the two Army prosecutors, Capt. Steve Berlin and Capt. Joe Krill, did not introduce 350-6 into evidence.

 

“That training regulation is not in front of me and therefore I can’t consider it and I won’t consider it,” Anderson told them.

 

Experienced soldiers responded to the sentence with similar outrage, and some experts questioned whether the light sentence for Price, the senior drill sergeant in a case that implicates four others, would undermine subsequent prosecutions.

 

As for Price, while it’s almost certain he won’t be a drill sergeant again, his sentence does not preclude the Army from sending him back to “the trail” at the Armor School at Fort Knox, Ky., or from earning full retirement benefits by serving five more years in uniform.

 

Some think Price got off too lightly.

 

“The punishment netted out to drill sergeant Price was nothing but a slap on the wrist,” Staff Sgt. Joseph H. Parker, an intelligence noncommissioned officer at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., wrote in an e-mail to Army Times.

 

“I understand that soldiers are tired and being a drill sergeant is a very strenuous job. But these soldiers are placed there to be role models for these recruits to look up to and want to emulate.

 

“The punishment did not fit the crime,” wrote the staff sergeant, who has worked with drill sergeants in the past.  “He should have been demoted more than one rank (two maybe three at a minimum) along with some jail time as well as forfeiture of pay.”

 

MORE:

 

Bad Signals

 

April 25, 2005 Editorial, Army Times

 

What was the judge thinking?

 

Sgt. 1st Class David Price, a drill sergeant, took charge of E Company recruits in their first week in the Army.  Within five days, he had mistreated them enough to get the attention of a neighboring squad of recruits who turned him in, and an investigation was launched.

 

Last Monday, he was found guilty of hitting one recruit with a rolled up newspaper, grabbing one by the ankles and dragging him 20 feet down a hallway, and making another swallow his own vomit.

 

He was also found guilty of trying to cover it all up when Army investigators came around.

 

His punishment, Lt. Col. Richard Anderson decided, was to be busted down one grade to staff sergeant.

 

That’s it.  No jail time as recommended by Fort Knox’s commander, Maj. Gen. Terry Tucker.  No fine.  No confinement.  Just one paygrade — and the expectation that he may continue to serve the Army as an NCO until retirement, five years from now.

 

That’s not good enough.

 

Price knew the rules.  He had trained recruits for more than two years, and the rules of the drill field are clear: no touching, unless it’s to make a position or uniform correction or to protect trainees’ safety.  Hitting and dragging and other abuse are prohibited.

 

For no apparent reason, however, Price was not charged with violating Army regulations.  And since prosecutors failed to even introduce those regulations as evidence, Anderson refused to consider the rules in setting his sentence.

 

Drill sergeants must be tough, but they cannot abuse their power.  When they do, the Army must come down hard.

 

The failure to do so here sends the wrong signal to other drill sergeants and to potential recruits and, just as important, to their parents, who these days are increasingly reluctant to turn their kids over to the Army.

 

Granted, the troops under Price’s tutelage didn’t complain about the treatment.  But recruits in a neighboring platoon did complain.  This was their introduction to Army leadership, and outside the crucible of that particular platoon, it was clear that it was not within the bounds of decent behavior.  It was, quite simply, wrong.

 

The Army should do better by its recruits.  It usually does.

 

NEED SOME TRUTH?  CHECK OUT THE NEW TRAVELING SOLDIER

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

 

 

“Lord, Lead Me Not Into Temptation”

A US soldier with a machine gun mounted on a humvee as US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's Chinook helicopter, leaves Qalat, Afghanistan  (AFP/POOL/Gerald Herbert)

 

 

Two U.S. Soldiers Caught Dealing Arms To Death Squads:

“The Gringos Should Be Charged Here In Colombia”

 

May 05, 2005 By Kim Housego, Associated Press, IBAGUE, Colombia

 

Two U.S. soldiers accused of arms trafficking emerged from jail Thursday and were handed over to American officials, but a top Colombian official tried to delay their deportation, saying a treaty granting them immunity might be invalid.

 

Inspector General Edgardo Jose Maya’s move reflected a widespread sentiment among Colombians that the two soldiers should face trial in Colombia.  

 

They were arrested Tuesday in connection with an alleged plot to smuggle more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition, possibly to outlawed right-wing paramilitary death squads responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians.

 

The case is being closely watched by Colombians frustrated by accusations of law-breaking by American soldiers.

 

Hundreds of Colombians accused of drug trafficking have been extradited to the United States to face trial as part of President Alvaro Uribe’s get-tough measures.

 

But Colombians were aghast in March when five U.S. soldiers accused of smuggling cocaine to the United States from Colombia were flown to their homeland and detained there.

 

“The gringos should be charged here in Colombia,” said Jose Luis Villalobos, a 67-year-old retired engineer who was walking his dog.

 

The two American soldiers — identified as Alan Norman Tanquary and Jesus Hernandez — spent the night in a police holding cell in Ibague, a town of crumbling brick buildings in the mountains of west-central Colombia.  

 

On Thursday morning, they were hustled by authorities out a back door, eluding waiting journalists. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said they were headed to the U.S. Embassy in Bogota.

 

Authorities said the two had been in contact with a former Colombian Police Sgt. Will Gabriel Aguilar, who has been linked to paramilitary groups.  Aguilar, another retired policeman and two other Colombians were also arrested, police said.

 

 

Court Sides With Fired Officer

Judge Awards Him $500,000 For Unfair Dismissal After Call Up

 

April 25, 2005 By Vince Crawley, Army Times staff writer

 

A federal court has awarded a Marine Corps Reserve officer nearly $500,000 after finding his employer wrongly terminated him following his return from an overseas combat deployment.

 

The company said the job was cut in a restructuring move — then advertised the same position a few months later.

 

“Employers really need to know that there is a law out there designed to make the system work,” said Lt. Col. Steve Duarte of Littleton, Colo.  “You can’t summarily dismiss it.  There really is some teeth to this law.”

 

The law is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act of 1994, or USERRA, which strengthens earlier laws to protect those who temporarily leave civilian jobs to perform military service.

 

Duarte was employed 19 years, first by Hewlett-Packard, then by Agilent Technologies, which spun off from Hewlett-Packard in 2000.  He was a senior human resources consultant in charge of designing annual compensation packages for one of Agilent’s sales divisions and was earning $88,000 a year.

 

Duarte, now 52, served as an active-duty Marine from 1977 to 1980, then joined the Marine Corps Reserve and has been a drilling reservist ever since.

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

Insurgents Attack Kirkuk-Baghdad Oil Pipeline

 

May 5 (Xinhuanet)

 

"An oil pipeline that links northern Kirkuk oil fields to Baghdad was set ablaze after insurgents detonated an explosive improvised device under the pipeline late Wednesday near the Iraqi city of Balad, some 90 km north of Baghdad," said a statement released by the liaison office of US military and Iraqi security forces in Tikrit.

 

Firefighters rushed to the scene to put out the fire as Iraqi security forces sealed off the area, said the statement, a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua.

 

 

Assorted Resistance Attacks Kill 30 Local Occupation Forces

 

Many recruitment centres, to prevent car bombings, have been turned into small fortresses surrounded by concrete blast walls and razor wire.  But militants are striking back with an old weapon: the suicide bomber belt.

 

May 5 By Thomas Wagner, The Associated Press & (Xinhuanet) & Reuters & Japan Today & (KUNA) & Rogers Media Inc.

 

Insurgents attacked two police patrols in western Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing a total of eleven policemen, an official said.

 

In the worst attack, guerrillas opened fire on a patrol in the Al-Amil area of western Baghdad at 6:45 a.m., shooting dead 10 policemen and then setting their vehicles ablaze, said police Maj. Mousa Abdul Karim.  He first thought the blast was caused by a suicide car bomb but realized that wasn't the case when rescuers reached the scene, he said.

 

Many recruitment centres, to prevent car bombings, have been turned into small fortresses surrounded by concrete blast walls and razor wire.  But militants are striking back with an old weapon: the suicide bomber belt.

 

Col. Adnan Abdul Rahman, spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, said there has been an escalation in the use of suicide belts since security was stepped up around recruitment centres and other insurgent targets.

 

"But it is rather difficult to find out about an explosive belt put on by a person," Rahman said.

 

About 15 minutes after the Al-Amil attack, a suicide car bomb exploded in the nearby Al-Gazaliya area, killing one policeman and wounding six, said Karim.

 

A bomber strapped with explosives blew himself up at an army recruitment center at a former airfield in western Baghdad, killing at least 14 people and wounding 15.

 

The explosion occurred at the center at about 8 a.m., a police officer said on condition of anonymity.  The attack was half a mile from the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to the Iraqi government, foreign embassies and U.S. forces.

 

In western Baghdad, two policemen were wounded by sniper fire and the body of an Iraqi soldier was also found, police said.

 

In another part of Doura on Wednesday night, a car bomber attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint, killing at least nine soldiers and wounding 16.

 

A policeman was killed and four others wounded in a clash with a suspect insurgent in Sherqat, some 250 km north of Baghdad.  The suspect was also killed.

 

A car bomb was detonated as the deputy interior minister's convoy drove past, killing one of his bodyguards and wounding six people, police said.  The official was unhurt.

 

Four Iraqi commandos from the crack "Lightning Brigade" were killed and five wounded late in the day, when a bomber detonated a car laden with explosives next to their patrol in Mosul in Al-Wehda neighborhood in northern Iraq, police said.

 

 

1,800 Local Occupation Troops & Cops Killed Since June 2004

 

5.5.05 Rogers Media Inc.

 

An estimated 1,800 Iraqi soldiers and police officers were killed between June 2004 and April 27 this year, the latest date for which statistics were available, figures compiled by the Brookings Institution in Washington showed.

 

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

George Jackson 1941-1971

“They will never count me among the broken men”

 

5 May 2005 By William Bowles [Excerpt] www.williambowles.info/

 

Okay, this is a metaphor, a parable for our times but like all parables, it contains an elemental truth.

 

So whilst things do look grim right now, to my own amazement, I find myself being essentially optimistic.  For the first time in several generations we may actually be able once more to write our own story and even (gasp!) fire the actors and take over the stage.

 

You have of course, every right to challenge this ‘foolish’ notion when everything appears to contradict my assertion.

 

The ‘Left’ have never been smaller, our impact on events is, to put it mildly, miniscule, so by what right do I claim such extravagant ambitions?

 

Firstly, that in spite of generations of misinformation and falsification of the ‘archeological record’ that led us to where we are today, so glaring are the inconsistencies and contradictions, that no number of rewrites suffice to restore belief.  This is no mean victory, and one largely achieved without our ‘help’.

 

Second, it requires that we engage with history as it really was, not as difficult a task as it at first appears.

 

After all, the first step has already been taken for us, we merely need to replace ‘loss of legitimacy’ with our own definition.

 

This means re-ordering our priorities.  No more meaningless slogans that attempt to reduce our lives to sound bites but a genuine exploration of the lives of our ancestors who sacrificed so much and under much worse conditions yet managed to make sense of events which today would no doubt earn them double-firsts at any university you care to name.

 

Third, that we have, in the intervening decades allowed the political elite to purloin our history and ultimately make such a mess of it that now is the time, which is why the ‘election’ taking place today [in the UK] is of such importance, not because it matters who ‘wins’ because it doesn’t matter who wins but because it marks a historical fault line, when for the first time in living memory, we can vote according to principle and conscience, not according to someone else’s prescription whether of the ‘left’ or the right.

 

In turn, it explains why the ruling political class are pulling out all the stops because they, unlike my ‘left’ brethren, sense that the writing is on the wall for them and the class who employs them.

 

For the first time, I feel free of the weight of a past that was never mine in the first place!

 

So fuck ’em all folks, for as George Jackson said from his 8 x 12 cell before they took him out and shot him down in cold blood, he was free because being free first starts in your head, where it counts the most and where they can never reach you.

 

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

 

 

Re: Kidnapping of Australian Collaborator In Iraq

 

From: nl

To: GI Special

Sent: May 05, 2005

 

I make a suggestion for those negotiating Mr Wood's release.

 

In the matter of Mr Wood's kidnapping, it is unproductive to ignore or dress up the facts.

 

Mr Wood was in Iraq in order to make not a small, but a large profit.

 

That is why he took the risk.

 

He took it knowing the legal framework under which he was acting had been imposed by force.  In order to get a contract for work in Iraq he would have had to have dealt with the Coalition Provisional Authority, a body constituted by the occupying forces.  The CPA overturned the Iraq constitution, an act which is illegal under International Law.

 

I do not think that the appeal by Mr Wood's family will create sympathy for him on the part of his kidnappers, if they are Iraqi patriots.

 

It could have the reverse effect.

 

The appearance of his brothers on their TV appeal conveys the impression of wealthy capitalists.  The only part of their message that might have some effect is their promise to ask Mr Wood to abandon his business in Iraq. 

 

Even if he were to do so, under CPA rules he would be still entitled to sell and take out of Iraq any assets that he might have. This is illegal under the Constitution of Iraq, a Constitution that was overturned by the CPA, another illegal act.

 

I suggest one approach that could assist in securing Mr Wood's release would be for the Australian Government to promise to air during prime time on all major Australian TV networks, footage that demonstrates and explains why Iraqi patriots oppose the continuing occupation of their country.

 

It is that kind of attention that the act of kidnapping is attempting to attract.  I suggest that appropriate persons to negotiate this could be Ms Mulhearn, or the SBS journalist also kidnapped and released, John Martinkus.

 

The kidnappers would have to be made aware by the negotiators that the majority of Australians are unaware of the brutality of the occupation, and the doubt that surrounds the legality of Westerners doing business in Iraq under the CPA rules that are still in force.

 

I repeat that it is unproductive to ignore or dress up the facts.

 

When Donna Mulhearn was kidnapped in the course of her humanitarian work in Iraq, she was released by the kidnappers, without ANY intervention by the Australian Government.  The Australian Government called her "foolish".  They were wrong. Ms Mulhearn's faith in an underlying human bond was principled, and as her release proved, justified.

 

Who is foolish now?  Mr Wood, motivated by personal gain, or the Australian Government?

 

I urge the Australian Government to act responsibly, and drop it's silly posturing.  Lives are at stake.

 

In the words of Rose Gentle:

 

No more lies, no more lives.

 

Yours sincerely,

NL

 

PS I have circulated this message widely, perhaps one of you may be able to send it to someone directly involved in negotiating Mr Wood's release.

 

The reason for the primary address to Thomas F. Barton is because he hosts "GI Special".  If you want the truth of what is happening in Iraq, go there: http://www.militaryproject.org/

 

NL Mayfield New South Wales

Australia

 

 

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

 

 

Democrats, Republicans Agree:

We Love The Empire;

We Want More War!

 

May 05, 2005 By Liz Sidoti, Associated Press

 

The House easily approved another $82 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan on Thursday.  [Isn’t that wording just too cute?  “$82 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan.”  Come on Liz, tell the truth.  $82 billion more for destroying Iraq and Afghanistan, and killing more U.S. troops and the citizens of those occupied countries, so the assholes in Washington can keep their Empire going.]

 

The vote was 368-58, with one lawmaker abstaining.  [And for all you pathetic Democratic Party apologists out there, one question:  are there 368 Republicans in the House, or did the Democrat politicians vote for more war?]

 

The Senate is to vote on the measure next week when it returns from a weeklong recess, and approval is expected.

 

 

 

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

 

 

Seven U.S. Troops Wounded In Firefights;

Collaborator Troops Have Biggest Loss Since Start Of Occupation

 

A U.S. spokesman, Col. James Yonts, told The Associated Press “These were well-trained, well-armed people ... not just a rogue group.  They didn’t flee.  They stood and fought.”

 

May 05, 2005 By Stephen Graham, Associated Press, KABUL, Afghanistan

 

A surge of fighting in Afghanistan’s restive south killed 64 insurgents and 10 Afghan security men, the worst single loss suffered by the American-trained government army, U.S. and Afghan officials said Thursday.

 

Said a U.S. spokeswoman, Lt. Cindy Moore, “It’s unfortunate that so many Afghan army troops were lost.”

 

Moore said nine Afghan soldiers died in a firefight that erupted when rebels ambushed an Afghan army patrol near Spin Ghar in Kandahar late Wednesday.

 

The Afghan Defense Ministry said the nine army deaths were the worst ever for the force that has been put together with U.S. and other foreign assistance since the hard-line Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001.

 

Three Afghan soldiers and an American soldier attached to the unit were wounded, while six militants were captured, Moore said.

 

The clash came after American soldiers and insurgents waged the country’s deadliest fight in nine months, battling Tuesday and Wednesday in Zabul, another province along the Pakistani border that has seen more insurgent activity since a winter lull.

 

The U.S. military said 44 rebels died in that fighting, which also killed an Afghan police officer and wounded six U.S. soldiers and five Afghan policemen.

 

A U.S. spokesman, Col. James Yonts, told The Associated Press. “These were well-trained, well-armed people ... not just a rogue group.  They didn’t flee.  They stood and fought.”

 

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

Received:

 

Happy 5/5!

 

From: Z

To: GI Special

Sent: May 05, 2005

Subject: Happy 5/5!

 

Happy Marx's birthday!  The old emancipationist is 187 today!

 

Solidarity,

z

 

Web Copies

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http://www.albasrah.net/maqalat/english/gi-special.htm

 

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