GI Special:



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Still Lying About Troop Protection Armor


“I come to this hearing with a sense of outrage,” said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.

“When we … are told this problem had been solved, we believed that.  We’ve been repeatedly assured that we have equipment in the field that is meeting needs,” only to find out later that’s not the case, he said.


May 16, 2005 By Gordon Trowbridge, Army Times staff writer


Congress is again pressing the Pentagon to move faster in getting vehicle armor and other protection to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking military officials to speed production and fielding of equipment to counter the deadly threat of improvised bombs.


Army officials said they hope to meet U.S. Central Command’s request for the last of more than 10,000 armored Humvees by June; about 8,000 of the “up-armored” vehicles are available, said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, an Army acquisition official. Hunter and Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., the committee’s top Democrat, said they want Pentagon and industry officials to try to speed that date.


Members of both parties offered sometimes angry criticism of the military’s handling of the vehicle armor issue, a controversy that broke out in December when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was criticized for his response to a reservist in Kuwait who asked about his unit’s ad hoc armor.


“I come to this hearing with a sense of outrage,” said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.

“When we … are told this problem had been solved, we believed that.  We’ve been repeatedly assured that we have equipment in the field that is meeting needs,” only to find out later that’s not the case, he said.


Weldon said he was especially upset at a New York Times article quoting several members of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, as saying they repeatedly asked for better armored vehicles and were denied.


The company’s commander, Capt. Kelly Royer, was relieved shortly before the unit left Iraq; Weldon said it appeared the officer had been relieved because he complained about the armor issue.


Skelton pressed Army officials on why residents in his district felt the need to raise money to buy armor for a Missouri National Guard unit deploying to Iraq.


And several Democrats asked about an April 8 Government Accountability Office report that said inadequate planning and funding and poor distribution resulted in shortages of key war supplies, including armored vehicles and body armor.


In the end, however, it was unclear what Congress or the Pentagon might do to speed delivery of “up-armored” Humvees to the battlefield.  [Nothing unclear about it.  Send every one of the assholes in the chain of command to Iraq on the next flight, issue them an unarmored truck or Humvee, and send their worthless butts into downtown Ramadi.  Those that live will be suitably motivated to find something “to speed delivery.”  If they fail again, they get a second tour, and a third, just like the troops.  Soon they’ll figure out a solution, or be dead, and their successors can get the same deal.  Amazing how that would focus their concentration on the problem.]



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)






1905 For Tsar Bush?

How A War Was Lost



May 15, 2005 Ahmed Al-Habbabi, Anti-Allawi-group


Almost exactly a century ago the Russian empire fought a war with Japan in the belief that a swift victory would strengthen the powers-that-be in St Petersburg.  Instead the Tsar's armies met defeat.  Russian generals, who said that their tactic of charging Japanese machine guns with sabre-wielding cavalry had failed only because their men had attacked with insufficient brio, held their jobs.


In Iraq, American generals and their political masters of demonstrable incompetence are not fired.


The US is turning out to be much less of a military and political superpower than the rest of the world had supposed.


15 May 2005 Patrick Cockburn, Independent


"The battlefield is a great place for liars," Stonewall Jackson once said on viewing the aftermath of a battle in the American civil war.


The great general meant that the confusion of battle is such that anybody can claim anything during a war and hope to get away with it. But even by the standards of other conflicts, Iraq has been particularly fertile in lies.  Going by the claims of President George Bush, the war should long be over since his infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech on 1 May 2003. In fact most of the 1,600 US dead and 12,000 wounded have become casualties in the following two years.


The ferocious resistance encountered last week by the 1,000-strong US marine task force trying to fight its way into villages around the towns of Qaim and Obeidi in western Iraq shows that the war is far from over.  So far nine marines have been killed in the week-long campaign, while another US soldier was killed and four wounded in central Iraq on Friday.  Meanwhile, a car bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in central Baghdad yesterday, killing at least five Iraqis and injuring 12.


Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, the leader of one of the Kurdish parties, confidently told a meeting in Brasilia last week that there is war in only three or four out of 18 Iraqi provinces.  Back in Baghdad Mr Talabani, an experienced guerrilla leader, has deployed no fewer than 3,000 Kurdish soldiers or peshmerga around his residence in case of attack.


One visitor was amused to hear the newly elected President interrupt his own relentlessly upbeat account of government achievements to snap orders to his aides on the correct positioning of troops and heavy weapons around his house.


There is no doubt that the US has failed to win the war.  Much of Iraq is a bloody no man's land.  The army has not been able to secure the short highway to the airport, though it is the most important road in the country, linking the US civil headquarters in the Green Zone with its military HQ at Camp Victory.


Ironically, the extent of US failure to control Iraq is masked by the fact that it is too dangerous for the foreign media to venture out of central Baghdad. Some have retreated to the supposed safety of the Green Zone.


Mr Bush can claim that no news is good news, though in fact the precise opposite is true.  Embedded journalism fosters false optimism.  It means reporters are only present where American troops are active, though US forces seldom venture into much of Iraq. Embedded correspondents bravely covered the storming of Fallujah by US marines last November and rightly portrayed it as a US military success.


But the outside world remained largely unaware, because no reporters were present with US forces, that at the same moment an insurgent offensive had captured most of Mosul, a city five times larger than Fallujah.


Why has the vastly expensive and heavily equipped US army failed militarily in Iraq?


After the crescendo of violence over the past month there should be no doubts that the US has not quashed the insurgents whom for two years American military spokesmen have portrayed as a hunted remnant of Saddam Hussein's regime assisted by foreign fighters.


The failure was in part political.  Immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein polls showed that Iraqis were evenly divided on whether they had been liberated or occupied. Eighteen months later the great majority both of Sunni and Shia said they had been occupied, and they did not like it.


Every time I visited a spot where an American soldier had been killed or a US vehicle destroyed there were crowds of young men and children screaming their delight. "I am a poor man but I am going home to cook a chicken to celebrate," said one man as he stood by the spot marked with the blood of an American soldier who had just been shot to death.


Many of the resistance groups are bigoted Sunni Arab fanatics who see Shia as well as US soldiers as infidels whom it is a religious duty to kill.  Others are led by officers from Saddam's brutal security forces.  But Washington never appreciated the fact that the US occupation was so unpopular that even the most unsavoury groups received popular support.


From the start, there was something dysfunctional about the American armed forces. They could not adapt themselves to Iraq. 


Their massive firepower meant they won any set-piece battle, but it also meant that they accidentally killed so many Iraqi civilians that they were the recruiting sergeants of the resistance.


The US war machine was over-armed.  I once saw a unit trying to restore order at a petrol station where there was a fist fight between Iraqi drivers over queue-jumping (given that people sometimes sleep two nights in their cars waiting to fill a tank, tempers were understandably frayed). In one corner was a massive howitzer, its barrel capable of hurling a shell 30km, which the soldiers had brought along for this minor policing exercise.


The US army was designed to fight a high-technology blitzkrieg, but not much else.  It required large quantities of supplies and its supply lines were vulnerable to roadside bombs. Combat engineers, essentially sappers, lamented that they had received absolutely no training in doing this. Even conventional mine detectors did not work. Roadsides in Iraq are full of metal because Iraqi drivers normally dispose of soft drink cans out the window.  Sappers were reduced to prodding the soil nervously with titanium rods like wizards' wands.


Because of poor intelligence and excessive firepower, American operations all became exercises in collective punishment.  


At first the US did not realise that all Iraqi men have guns and they considered possession of a weapon a sign of hostile intention towards the occupation.  They confiscated as suspicious large quantities of cash in farmers' houses, not realising that Iraqis often keep the family fortune at home in $100 bills ever since Saddam Hussein closed the banks before the Gulf war and, when they reopened, Iraqi dinar deposits were almost worthless.


The US army was also too thin on the ground.  It has 145,000 men in Iraq, but reportedly only half of these are combat troops.  During the heavily publicised assault on Fallujah the US forces drained the rest of Iraq of its soldiers. 


[Cockburn is clueless that it takes minimum 7 support troops for each combat effective.  Do the math, and it’s not anything remotely close to “half” of the 145,000.  25,000 combat effectives would be amazing efficiency.  To hold down all of Iraq.  Game over, time to go home, alive.]


"We discovered the US troops had suddenly abandoned the main road between Kirkuk and Baghdad without telling anybody," said one indignant observer. "It promptly fell under the control of the insurgents."


The army acts as a sort of fire brigade, briefly effective in dousing the flames, but always moving on before they are fully extinguished.


There are only about 6,000 US soldiers in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital and which has a population of three million.  [There it is.  Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit.]


For the election on 30 January, US reserves arriving in Iraq were all sent to Mosul to raise the level to 15,000 to prevent any uprising in the city.  They succeeded in doing so but were then promptly withdrawn.


The shortage of US forces has a political explanation.  Before the war Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defence, and his neo-conservative allies derided generals who said an occupation force numbering hundreds of thousands would be necessary to hold Iraq.  When they were proved wrong they dealt with failure by denying it had taken place.


There is a sense of bitterness among many US National Guardsmen that they have been shanghaied into fighting in a dangerous war.  I was leaving the Green Zone one day when one came up to me and said he noticed that I had a limp and kindly offered to show me a quicker way to the main gate. As we walked along he politely asked the cause of my disability. I explained I had had polio many years ago. He sighed and said he too had had his share of bad luck.


Since he looked hale and hearty this surprised me. "Yes," he said bitterly. "My bad luck was that I joined the Washington State National Guard which had not been called up since 1945. Two months later they sent me here where I stand good chance of being killed."


Almost exactly a century ago the Russian empire fought a war with Japan in the belief that a swift victory would strengthen the powers-that-be in St Petersburg.  Instead the Tsar's armies met defeat.  Russian generals, who said that their tactic of charging Japanese machine guns with sabre-wielding cavalry had failed only because their men had attacked with insufficient brio, held their jobs.


In Iraq, American generals and their political masters of demonstrable incompetence are not fired.


The US is turning out to be much less of a military and political superpower than the rest of the world had supposed.





A U.S. soldier walks past a puddle of blood after two suicide bomb attacks in Baquba, 65 kms (43 miles) north of Baghdad, May 15, 2005. REUTERS/Faris al-Mahdawi







Wounded Iraq Vet Needs Help


[She needs some help.  Please respond if you know of service organizations that can intervene.  T]


From: Deneise39@aol.com

To: GI Special

Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2005 5:14 PM


Can anyone help my son with bills?  He got wounded in Iraq like all the other stories I hear no one is really helping our soldiers.


I loved your articles.


Please let me know.






Ward Reilly Comes Through




Hi...My name is Ward Reilly, and I am veteran, and the SE National contact for "Veterans For Peace" and "Vietnam Veterans Against the War"...I got this message from Thomas Barton, of the GI Special news service.... I was wondering if you could give me a little more info...Is your son discharged, or is he still active duty? Where are you, more or less. Are your sons medical bills from his Iraq wounds?


Answers to these questions would make it easier to (possibly) find you some help.  Do you know about the "G.I. Hotline? 1-800 394-9544


They offer extensive help to all veterans.


I'm so sorry to hear that another vet is hurting...please give him our greetings, and I hope that he is all right, and tell him to hang in there.


I look forward to hearing from you.




What Price A Hero's Sacrifice!


[Thanks to Alan S., who sent this in.]


The act also recognizes that "wounded warriors" need a cash infusion, too.  So it authorizes immediate payments of $25,000 to $100,000 to families whose loved one is coming home blind.  Or crippled.  Or both.


May 11th, 2005 New York Daily News


Usually I read the news looking like the "Home Alone" poster.


"Aghhh!" I scream to myself, mouth wide open, hands compressing cheeks:  Four years after 9/11 we're spending billions in Iraq while our own ports and borders are still unsecured?  Aghhh!


A terrorist attack on New Jersey's chlorine plants could kill everyone within a 14-mile radius and still Bush won't make his chemical industry pals safeguard their plants? Aghhh!


Despite the explicit recommendations of the 9/11 commission, EVERY SINGLE STATE is going to get a piece of the homeland security pie, no matter how red and remote its chances of attack?  Aghhh!


We're opening national forests to developers, cutting funds for low-income college loans, threatening to close VA hospitals during wartime. ... How come everything that seems so NUTS to me seems absolutely WONDERFUL to the people in power?


And then suddenly, out of the blue, Congress goes and passes a bill so shockingly, seriously, stand-up-and-cheer decent, all I can say is: Wha?  I mean: Bravo! What took you so long?


The $82 billion wartime appropriations act that passed the Senate yesterday and the House last week recognizes the shameful fact:  We have been treating our soldiers like Handi Wipes.


To rectify this, the bill will boost the payout for combat deaths from $12,400 to $100,000. In other words, a dead soldier will no longer cost the government less than a Hyundai.


The act also increases maximum life insurance payouts for soldiers from $250,000 to $400,000.  Moreover, it recognizes that "wounded warriors" need a cash infusion, too. So it authorizes immediate payments of $25,000 to $100,000 to families whose loved one is coming home blind.  Or crippled.  Or both.


Previously, there was no such payment.


These measures passed both houses by wide margins because everyone, Democrat and Republican alike, finally realized we were ignoring the very people willing to take a bullet - or car bomb - for us.


But the fact that it took more than two years of war to get these benefits only shows that my original "Aghhh!" got it right.


President Bush pursued this war without thought to the staggering financial hits that soldiers - and reservists and National Guardsmen and their families - were being asked to make. Congress was too preoccupied to take him to task.


"It is amazing that this wasn't considered sooner," admits a spokesman for the bill's sponsor, Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.).


"I don't think anyone really thought about doing anything for these people," says a spokesman for Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), who proposed the wounded warriors part of the bill.


No, the people in power were too busy dividing up the homeland security money. Or maybe trying to kill the filibuster.  Or granting the energy industry's wish list.





“I Just Wish He Didn't Have To Go"

Fresh Meat For Bush’s Imperial Slaughterhouse:

4,300 Leaving Ft. Stewart;


May 14, 2005 WSBTV.com


FORT STEWART -- Family members gave a tearful send-off Saturday to 4,300 citizen soldiers who start leaving for Iraq on Sunday in the biggest wartime deployment of the Georgia National Guard since World War II.


Karmen Callaway of McDonough in Henry County said goodbye to two sons in the 48th Infantry Brigade. They and their fellow soldiers are due to spend at least a year in Iraq.  "They're good kids, and they've got the Lord," Callaway said. "We're going to all be praying for them and we're all ready for them to get back."


"It's his job and he's proud of what he's doing, and I'm proud of him," Sandra Vivans of Atlanta said of her son. "But I just wish he didn't have to go."


One woman who didn't give her name choked up at the thought of her son leaving his young daughter, who slept through part of the ceremony.



Support The Troops Who Resist:

They Can End The War;

Pablo Paredes And Kevin Benderman:

Closing Statement for the Defense


But the resistance of PO Pablo Paredes and SGT. Kevin Benderman is not only morally and legally justified; it is also effective.


A mass GI mutiny ultimately ended the brutal and corrupt U.S. war in Vietnam; it can do so today in Iraq and Afghanistan.


May 12, 2005, By Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325


Most people do not want to be sent to war to kill or maim - or be killed or maimed - to make the rich and powerful more rich and powerful.  And like all empires, the United States has gotten around that problem by lying.


To steal Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico, it lied in 1845 about "Mexican aggression."  To conquer Cuba and the Philippines, it lied in 1898 about "Remembering the Maine."  To devastate Indochina, it lied in 1964 about being attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin.  Today, to wage war in the Middle East for oil and empire, the Bush administration lies about "Weapons of Mass Destruction," "Terrorism," and "Building Democracy."


But the U.S. has made life in Iraq far worse than under Saddam Hussein.  It has killed one hundred thousand Iraqis and maimed thousands of others; wiped out the national infrastructure; poisoned with depleted uranium; destroyed Falluja, Najaf and Ramadi; set up a puppet regime of CIA operatives to bless the U.S. war, promote ethnic strife, and "Salvadorianize" with death squads of Hussein's former security forces; holds more than 11,000 political prisoners who are detained, tortured and murdered in hells like Abu Ghraib; and plundered and privatized Iraqi's economy.


Working people in this country have also paid a terrible cost.  As of this week, 1,600 GIs have been killed and thousands more wounded; hundreds of billions of dollars have been squandered, while jobs and services at home plummet.  And also this week, the Senate voted - unanimously - for another $82 billion to fund this obscenity.


This war and occupation is indefensible.  Legally, they are the same criminal acts for which the Nazis were tried at Nuremberg:  (1) Conspiracy to Wage Aggressive War; (2) Waging Aggressive War, or Crimes Against Peace; (3) War Crimes; and (4) Crimes Against Humanity.  They also violate Chapter VII of the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention.


These crimes justify resistance - particularly since Bush's crimes have been blessed, rather than challenged, by both Democratic Party politicians and the UN.


For those under attack, the right to resist is reflected in Article 51 of the UN Charter, which guarantees "the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence."  It is important to note that this right is not limited to people whose politics we may happen to approve.  Today, with the vast majority of Iraqis demanding an immediate end to U.S. war and occupation, the Iraqi resistance is exercising this right by tying down the world's most powerful military machine.


For soldiers in an aggressor's army, resistance is not only a right - it is an obligation.  The Nuremberg trials specifically rejected the defense of "following orders," and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) requires military personnel to disobey unlawful orders.


But the resistance of PO Pablo Paredes and SGT. Kevin Benderman is not only morally and legally justified; it is also effective.


The war and occupation in Iraq have given birth to a GI revolt reflected in a huge shortfall of enlistments and re- enlistments - especially among people of color; widespread refusal to report for reserve and national guard activation; and nearly 6000 desertions.


A mass GI mutiny ultimately ended the brutal and corrupt U.S. war in Vietnam; it can do so today in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Pablo Paredes and Kevin Benderman are guilty only of great principle and courage.  They, and all resisters, deserve our admiration and support.


“The only reason I am being court-martialed is because I applied for conscientious objector,” said Benderman, who has been assigned to administrative duties. “It seems strange to me that I’m a deserter. I still go to work every day. I wear my uniform every day.”  May 11, 2005, Russ Bynum, Associated Press




Air Force Office Types Have Four Months Rotation In Iraq!


05 May 2005 Sue Pleming, Reuters


Rapid turnover and a shortage of experienced U.S. staff in Iraq managing billions of dollars of contracts is wreaking havoc on a rebuilding plan already slowed down by violence.


Companies working in Iraq, auditors and the U.S. government office running the $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding program all say contracting staff shortages in Baghdad are a problem as overworked employees struggle to oversee and award contracts in a stressful, hostile environment.


Many of the contracting staff in Iraq are drawn from the military, particularly the Air Force, which typically has had a four-month rotation, said Project and Contracting Office spokesman Major Tom Leonard.



And Now For The Good News About The Iraq War:

Searchers Find Blind, Suicidal Iraq Veteran Alive


May 11, 2005 By Cindi Lash and Gabrielle Banks, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


After a daylong search over rugged hills, through caves and around creek beds in Fayette County, search crews last night located Salvatore "Sam'' Ross Jr., a blind, severely injured Iraq war veteran who disappeared a day earlier after threatening suicide.


Joe Basinger, a U.S. Army veteran from Connellsville, and four of Ross' relatives and friends riding all-terrain vehicles found Ross, 22, at about 9:30 p.m. in the Wheeler Bottom section of Dunbar Township. Ross, who walks with a prosthesis, did not appear to have new injuries, but authorities were not sure how long he'd been there, Dunbar Borough Police Chief Mike Garlowich said.


Garlowich said Ross apparently walked about two miles along the trail into Dunbar Township, where he was found sitting near storage tanks at the municipal water-treatment plant.


Crew transported Ross, who appeared to be tired, in a sheriff's department patrol car to the Dunbar Fire Hall, where yesterday's search had been based.  He walked from the car to an ambulance, which took him to Highlands Hospital in Connellsville.


Before he was found last night, authorities said Ross, who'd been gravely injured in Iraq two years ago this month, would be involuntarily committed to a hospital for psychiatric care if he was found alive.


Basinger said he'd never met Ross, but immediately recognized him when he stepped out in front of his ATV in the darkness. He said he told Ross, "You're a vet and I'm a vet, too."


"He just wanted to be left alone and I wasn't leaving him," said Basinger, 43. "In the military, we don't leave anybody behind."


More than 80 volunteers spent yesterday using ATVs, trained dogs and a helicopter to search around Ross' home atop the remote Hardy Hill area of Dunbar Township, at homes of friends and other places he frequented before disappearing Monday night.


Relatives said he'd threatened suicide in a call and note before he left and said they feared he was despondent because of the approaching second anniversary of the day he was injured.


After losing his eyesight, his left leg and part of his hearing and suffering other injuries on May 18, 2003, while defusing a bomb in a dusty Baghdad lot, Ross came back to a hometown parade and a community that hailed him as a hero.


News accounts detailed his injuries, his rehabilitation and his vow to craft a productive life, spurring hundreds of well-wishers to send letters, cards and pledges of financial or medical support.


But family members and authorities said Ross also has suffered from crushing bouts of depression.  He's also had a couple of run-ins with police, including a fight with three patrons and two police officers in a Uniontown bar in February that resulted in his facing trial on aggravated assault and other charges.


"It was so hard when Sam was hurt and we didn't know then if he'd live or not," Ross' sister, Tiffany Ross, said yesterday as she paced and shared hugs with other relatives gathered outside the fire hall, about a mile down Hardy Hill.  "This has been so much worse.'"


Ross apparently walked away from his modest beige mobile home Monday night after calling a veterans crisis hotline and asking for help at 7:58 p.m., his cousin, Mindy Werner said. He also called his girlfriend, Jenna Bennett of Smock, and left a message saying that he planned to kill himself, Werner said.


Hotline officials notified police, who accompanied a mental health caseworker to Ross' home, Garlowich said. Ross was gone when they arrived, Garlowich said, but he'd left a note written neatly on plain white computer paper.


Authorities did not release the note yesterday, but Garlowich said the note said "something along the lines of, 'You won't find my body.' "


T.J. and Tiffany Ross said they were not sure if their brother had a weapon with him.  But T.J. Ross and Garlowich said relatives had cleared his trailer of weapons a few days ago, worried about his emotional state.



Arms Makers Rolling In Cash;

(War Is Good Business: Invest Your Kid)


New York Times, May 12, 2005


U.S. military contractors are flush with money, which makes shareholders happy and pushing their stocks to new highs.



Air Force Chaplain Tells Of Academy Proselytizing;

Satan Loving Loonies Retaliate


New York Times, May 12, 2005


An Air Force Academy chaplain has described a “systemic and pervasive” problem of religious proselytizing at the school and says a religious tolerance program she helped construct to deal with the problem was watered down after it was shown to officers, including the major general who is the Air Force’s chief chaplain.


[And the Christian radical cleric assholes went after her, and the brass promptly dismissed her from her post.  Fuck, we can’t have religious tolerance at a service academy.  OK, fair enough, let’s have no tolerance for these loony fanatics, and whip their ass out of town with the rod of righteousness and a few barbed-wire scourges.  These are the shit-eaters who preach that two-year old kids should have “evil” and “Satan” beaten out of them, and that women must be made to obey and serve their husbands.  They actually write and publish how-to-do-it-books on both topics, when they take time off from their busy schedules beating up their wives and molesting kids.  Time to pour out some vials of wrath upon their heads.]










May 13 2005 DailyTimes


Iraq stopped efforts to resume sustained crude oil exports through Turkey on Friday after a bomb hit the main pumping station feeding its northern pipeline, said an Iraqi oil official. The blast at the Athana crude gathering and pumping station came as Iraq was reviving crude flows to storage tanks at Turkey’s Ceyhan port, said the official. 


Hours before the blast, shipping sources said that Iraq had resumed pumping crude to Turkey and was exporting almost 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) on that route.


The Iraqi oil official gave a more conservative figure, saying an average of 100,000 bpd had been moving through the pipeline to Ceyhan, where about 400,000 barrels were stored.  He said another sabotage blast had hit a domestic pipeline from Kirkuk that feeds refineries




Armed members of a militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr man a traffic checkpoint in Baghdad's Sadr City May 15, 2005. REUTERS/Kareem Akal



Assorted Resistance Action


05/15/05 AP & Reuters & Aljazeera


Guerrillas released the governor of Iraq's western Anbar province, relatives and a government official said.  Gov. Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi was seized Tuesday as he drove from Qaim and kidnappers had vowed to hold him until U.S. forces withdrew from the border town.


The released governor's cousin, Safi Jalal, told AP the captive had been freed without conditions in the village of Obeidi, scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the first days of the weeklong U.S. offensive.


Two carloads of men opened fire on an Industry Ministry official and his driver, killing both in a hail of bullets, police Major Musa Abd al-Karim said.


The victims were travelling through Baghdad's Al-Gazaliya area when they were attacked, Abd al-Karim said.


An Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified one of the victims as Colonel Jasim Muhammad al-Lahibi, a former intelligence officer who worked as an assistant director in charge of government-owned buildings.


In the battleground city of Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, the slain bodies of 10 Iraqi soldiers were found Saturday, an Interior Ministry statement said. Their bodies had been dumped in an eastern part of the city, the statement added without providing further details.


Insurgents have killed scores of Iraqis they suspect of ties to US troops or the Iraqi government and dumped their bodies.


Two explosions detonated about five minutes apart in a busy street as residents were heading to work in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 37, hospital official Raed Abdul Munim said.


The first, a car bomb, targeted the convoy of Diyala provincial Gov. Raed Rashid Hamid al-Mullah Jawad, who escaped unharmed, said police Col. Mudhafar Mohammed.  Three of Jawad's guards were wounded.


Minutes later, a suicide bomber dressed as a police lieutenant blew himself up when he was stopped from entering a court building about 500 yards away, police Brig. Gen. Adil Mollan said.


Mollan said Maj. Imad Shakir Mahmoud, who blocked the bomber, was among three policemen killed in the blast, and three other officers were injured.



Looks Like The Foreign Fighters Have Left Town

Residents celebrate around a destroyed U.S. armoured vehicle near Rommana village near Qaim, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) northwest of Baghdad in Iraq Sunday, May 15, 2005.  (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)






Can’t Fool A Taxi Driver


Abu Ali, a taxi driver, said: “I heard Rice was here.  Is she here to improve electricity?  Is she here to listen to the agonies of the Iraqi people?  Of course not. She is here to promote American interests, not Iraq’s.”  May 15, 2005 Richard Beeston, Times (UK)







"What If This Is As Good As It Gets?"


May 15, 2005 Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune


Brookings Institution scholar Ivo Daalder noted something ominous about our experience: "We have had one bright spot in Iraq in two years--the elections."


Many Americans assume that if we stay the course, things will get better. But it's worth pondering the question Jack Nicholson asked in "As Good as It Gets": "What if this is as good as it gets?"



“The Insurgency Can Never Be Defeated By Military Force”


05/14/05 TIM HARPER, WASHINGTON BUREAU, Toronto Star Newspapers Limited


David Phillips of the non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations also points to statements from the White House that U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had intervened to try to break the cabinet stalemate as another spark.


"It reinforced the view in Iraq that (Prime Minister Ibrahim) Jaafari was merely a proxy for those people in Washington," he said.


When asked about the chances that the brakes could be put on the insurgency in the short term, he answered: "None. This insurgency will go on for years and years, regardless of what the U.S. does."


The insurgency can never be defeated by military force, he said.


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.




“An Exercise In Extreme Madness”


May 9, 2005 By BOB HERBERT, The New York Times


When Bob Woodward asked President Bush if he had consulted with his father about the decision to go to war in Iraq, the president famously replied, "There is a higher father that I appeal to."  It might have been better if Mr. Bush had stayed in closer touch with his earthly father.


From the very beginning the war in Iraq has been an exercise in extreme madness, an absurd venture that would have been rich in comic possibilities except for the fact that many thousands of men, women and children have died, and tens of thousands have been crippled, burned or otherwise maimed.


Abu Ghraib was not an aberration. It was a symptom. This is a war in which the people in charge have had no idea what they were doing. 


One of the recommendations of Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who investigated the scandal at Abu Ghraib, was that a team be sent to Iraq to teach some of the soldiers how to run prisons.  How's that for an innovative step?


The American public is becoming fed up and with good reason.  Support for the war is declining and the reputation of the military is in jeopardy.  The Army has been unable to meet its recruitment goals and the search for new soldiers is becoming desperate.


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.



Thoughts From A Christian Fundamentalist Warrior


“The Ten Commandments are a code of living to which there’s no refutation.  These precepts correspond to irrefragable needs of the human soul.”


“Providence withdrew its protection and our people fell, fell as scarcely any other people heretofore.  In this deep misery we again learn to pray. . . . The mercy of the Lord slowly returns to us again.


“And in this hour we sink to our knees and beseech our almighty God that he may bless us, that He may give us the strength to carry on the struggle for the freedom, the future, the honor, and the peace of our people.  So help us God.”  Address to the German people, March 1936


“But there is something else I believe, and that is that there is a God. . . .  And this God again has blessed our efforts during the past 13 years.”  Feb 1940


“To be sure, our Christian Cross should be the most exalted symbol of the struggle
against the Jewish-Marxist-Bolshevik spirit."


Adolf Hitler



Hitler Wishes He Were Younger;

Praises President Bush


May 14, 2005

From: Z

To: GI Special




5.15.05 Der Fuhererbunker


The trademark cookie-duster mustache is still there, though now venerably snow-white, and he still parts and combs his hair the same way.  Adolf Hitler, who recently celebrated his 116th birthday in his mini-bunker somewhere between Rangoon and Port-au-Prince, is thin and wrinkled but as he himself puts it with a beaming smile, "still alive and kicking!"


"Sure I died in my Berlin bunker," he jokes.  "OK, that was my double, poor Schlomo the tailor.  Eva Braun was real, though; no other way to dump that annoying groupie."  His only companion now is a strikingly well preserved Eva Peron, a present from the Florida-based Friendly Fascist Freedom Fighters (FFFF).  "Isn't she stunning?" he asks with an affectionate glance at his demurely silent partner.  "I call her my sleeping beauty."


Surrounded by his poignant paintings of big-eyed puppies and kittens, Mr. Hitler is eager to set the historic record straight.


"They say we invaded Russia for selfish reasons. All lies.  We did not covet their land, oil, gold, timber, or slave labor.  Our motive was altruistic: to liberate the people from Stalin's tyranny.  But they hated freedom, you see?  Hordes of anti-Russian insurgents and terrorists attacked us from all sides.  Of course we dealt with them firmly, ruthlessly."


"The only way to rule subhumans is with an iron hand," exclaims Mr. Hitler, banging a rickety table with his fist.  "Messrs Bush and Sharon understand that, and I admire them for it."


Totally convinced that the world is in good hands, the former German chancellor is confident that the current war on terror will eventually be won.  He looks every inch an elder statesman as he muses about world affairs.  "Ach, if only I were younger," he sighs, "The dawn of global domination is finally at hand and I long to be a part of it."


"You must always fight against chaos with blood and steel," Mr. Hitler hotly asserts.  "All sorts of malcontents, troublemakers, dissidents, and terrorists must be crushed.  The rabble must be taught that work is freedom, and made to work and pray.  I'm as certain as the Pope is Catholic that the present global leader will stay the course and bring peace to the world as I myself tried to do.  It may take ten, hundred, or a thousand years, but the war on terror will be won.  Remember the words of Herr Mick von Jagger: "Time is on my side." Yes it is. There will be law and order.  Indeed there will.  And discipline, iron discipline -- God is a disciplinarian."


Asked about his old ally Benito Mussolini, the old authoritarian grows pensive. "Benito was not so bright, but he was a good man.  As everyone knows, he made the trains run on time and organized wonderful parades.  He also did his best to bring the blessings of Roman civilization -- Verdi, Puccini, pizza, linguini -- to the barbarians of the dark continent.  Alas, shamelessly slandered and misunderstood, he was forced to bomb some sense into the misguided natives.  But he was compassionate and always regretted any loss of innocent life.  God bless the old thug!"


Mr. Hitler pauses to take a sip of the iguana milk to which he attributes his longevity (and from which he makes his own yoghurt, butter, and cheese).


As our talk turns to California's Governor Schwartzenegger, his features brighten and he looks at least sixty years younger.  "What a superb man, finest Aryan stock!  Those bulging biceps!  Good politics too!  I dearly loved his father as well.  My only regret in this life is that my lovely director Leni Riefenstahl and Arnold never made a movie together -- think what a masterpiece that would have been: "Triumph of the Terminator!" Ach, you can't always get what you want."


And with that, the great dictator drops off into a sudden nap and snores serenely, surely dreaming of conquering the world next time.



An Interesting Question


10 May 2005 ElectronicIraq.net


FALLUJAH, May 10, 2005 - On May 6, 2005 a group of Shi'a Muslims called Muslim Peacemaker Team (MPT) traveled to the Sunni-dominated city of Fallujah from as far away as Kerbala and Najaf to help their Sunni counterparts clean up rubble from the previous U.S. assault on the city. In a symbolic act of solidarity, members of MPT sought to counter the growing reports of Sunni-Shi'a sectarian violence and to demonstrate unity in a tense time.


A civic leader asked MPT and Christian Peacemaker Teams members why the United States military felt it had to attack and destroy a city of 300,000 in order to capture one man and his small band of terrorists.  One person noted that when Al Capone and his gangsters were controlling Chicago in the 1920's, the FBI didn't come in and level the city in order to eliminate them.






How Bad Is It?

Going To War With Rabbits


05/14/05 The Scotsman


General Thomas Conway admitted, however, that the insurgents were showing signs of becoming more organised. "There are reports that these people are in uniforms and there’s some suspicion that their training exceeds that of what we have seen with other engagements further east."


Although the US claims to have trained more than 150,000 Iraqi security forces, the level of their training, at most 12 weeks’ duration for an Iraqi commando, is open to doubt.


"If you ask any Iraqi leader, they will tell you these people can’t fight. They just aren’t trained - and yet we’re cranking them out like rabbits," says Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council for Foreign Relations, who recently returned from a trip to Iraq, said, and who advocates slower but better training of fewer recruits.



U.S. Command Adopts Israeli Occupation Tactic


May 16, 2005 By Alex Neill, Army Times Staff Writer


Batteries with the 2-8 along with supporting elements rooted out several suspected terrorists April 20, after shutting down all incoming and outgoing village traffic before dawn and ordering all adult males to the elementary school.  Intel officers ran the names of more than 1,300 male villagers through their databases, identifying and arresting 27 of them as suspected terrorists.


[This comes straight from the playbook of the Israeli Occupation Army in Palestine.  They have been doing this one for years.  And everybody knows how successful they have been in stopping the Palestinians fighting for their national liberation.  Stupidity knows no national border.]












5.15.05: By Ima Flack, Kept Press Inc.


Following this incident at the White House May 14, caught by a lucky KP photographer present for a photo-op, the turkey, which escaped White House security personnel to approach President Bush undetected, was transported to Guantanamo Bay camp for interrogation.


Witnesses report as the turkey ran for the President, it was heard to emit sounds transliterated by CIA personnel as “gaagga gagagga gakestgh ulaloom gjssjjwajsk.”


The sounds were later deciphered by CIA code experts, who identified them as an obscure Iraqi dialect from the Sahi Sinjar area.  An anonymous source said the sounds mean “Zarkawi and Osama are really cool.  I hate you for your freedom.  I am an evildoer and a Saddam Hussein remnant intent upon denying the Iraq people their freedom and democracy.”


Following the attack, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered a B-52 strike on Sahi Sinjar.  “Nobody ever heard of the fucking place anyhow.  It’ll never be missed,” he said.







“Down With Bush”

“Down With U.S. Officials”

University students march in the streets in Jalalabad, Afghanistan  AP Photo


05/15/05 irib.ir


In continuation of the anti-American demonstrations in Afghanistan, Ghalat the center of Zabol province was the scene of another rally in southern Afghanistan on Sunday.  The demonstrators chanted slogans such as ‘Down with Bush’, and ‘Down with US officials’, and condemned the blasphemous act of the US soldiers to the Holy Quran.


The Afghan Defence Ministry Sunday called on the US government to initiate an investigation into the reported abuse of Muslim holy book, the Quran, at Guantanamo Bay prison.


Defence Ministry Spokesman, Zahir Azimi at a press conference told reporters, “while condemning any blasphemous acts, the Afghan Defence Ministry is calling upon the US government, particularly Pentagon, to initiate a thorough probe into the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran”.  He noted that anyone, if found guilty of desecration, should be openly interrogated and punished.  [Huh?]



Occupation Stooges:

A Government Of Thieves And Drug Dealers


2005-05-14 Scott Baldauf and Faye Bowers, The Christian Science Monitor


Abdul Karim Brahowie, Afghanistan's minister of tribal and frontier affairs, says that the government has become so full of drug smugglers that cabinet meetings have become a farce.  "Sometimes the people who complain the loudest about theft are thieves themselves," he says.


Afghan officials interviewed say that Inayatullah's case isn't an isolated one. They say that the people facilitating the drug trade are often the very people who have been assigned to stop it — the police.


"Whatever number of police cars there are in Kabul, I can tell you that more than 50% of them are carrying drugs inside from one place to another," says a senior police commander in Kabul, requesting anonymity for his own safety.







Fun Loving Israelis Happy To See Palestinian Dance


5/10/2005 International Middle East Media Center


“If you want to pass through the checkpoint, you will have to dance for us”, an Israeli soldier told a Palestinian child who was trying to cross a gate of the Separation Wall in his way back home in Jaba’, near Jenin.


Mohammad Hasan, 14 years old, looked at the soldier, who had his gun pointed at him, when he soldier repeated his request and told him ‘If you want to go back home, you will have to dance for us”.


‘The soldiers surrounded me, and one of them asked me about my name, they he shouted at me saying “Dance, now!”, so I had no other solution and danced for five minutes”, Mohammad said.


[To check 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.]







Bush Buddy Who Boils Political Critics Alive At Risk Of Overthrow:

White House Defends Him


Outrage among human rights groups followed claims by the White House on Friday that appeared designed to justify the violence of the regime of President Islam Karimov, claiming - as Karimov has - that 'terrorist groups' may have been involved in the uprising.


Critics said the US was prepared to support pro-democracy unrest in some states, but condemn it in others where such policies were inconvenient.


May 15, 2005 Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow & By Nick Paton Walsh and Paul Harris, The Observer & By BAGILA BUKHARBAYEVA, The Associated Press


The violence that has reportedly killed hundreds of protesters in eastern Uzbekistan appeared to be spreading to neighbouring towns last night, raising fears that the volatile Central Asian state could erupt into a full-scale revolution.


As human rights workers in the flashpoint town of Andijan warned that the death toll there could reach 500, an official from the neighbouring country of Kyrgyzstan said sporadic rioting had broken out in the border town of Karasu, with government buildings and police cars on fire and military helicopters circling overhead.


One local official was reported by the Russian Interfax news agency to have been heavily beaten.


In Andijan, hundreds of angry protesters gathered Saturday at the site of Friday's bloodshed, placing six bodies on display from the scores witnesses said were killed in fighting.  Clusters of bystanders watched as men covered other bloodied bodies with white shrouds.


Demonstrators, some with tears in their eyes, condemned the government for firing on women and children.  Residents said a group of hundreds later went to a local police station to confront the heavily armed authorities, who sent a helicopter buzzing low over the crowd to scare them away.


The Uzbek President, Islam Karimov told reporters in the capital, Tashkent: 'I know that you want to know who gave the order to fire at them ... No one ordered (the troops) to fire at them.'  [Right.  Just like nobody told the troops to torture at Abu G.  Troops don’t take orders, they just do whatever comes into their heads.] He said 10 soldiers were killed in the clash and 'many more' protesters.


Galima Bukharbaeva, a reporter with international monitoring group the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, who witnessed the killings, described a column of armoured personnel carriers firing indiscriminately and unprovoked at protesters.  [And of course nobody in the government or command gave any orders.  Hopefully the troops will soon decide a much better course of action is to join with the citizens and kill their commanding officers, the dictator, and his political stooges.]


They had stormed the city prison after 23 businessmen were put on trial for alleged Islamic extremism.  They took over the local administration centre and blockaded the city centre, some demanding that the government resign.


Human rights worker Lutfulla Shamsutdinov told Agence France-Presse yesterday: 'This morning I saw three trucks and a bus in which 300 dead bodies were being loaded by soldiers.  At least one third of the bodies were women.'


One witness said that he saw 1,000 people, mostly women and children, gathering in the city centre yesterday morning.  'Some were bringing their dead.  Many of them were old people or women, some were throwing stones at the soldiers.  I saw over 20 dead, but someone told me they had seen many more piled up near the central square.'


Daniyar Akbarov, 24, one of those freed from jail on Friday, tearfully beat his chest in the square yesterday. 'Our women and children are dying,' he said, claiming he had seen 300 people killed.


On Friday night, the United States raised fears that members of a 'terrorist group' may have been released from prison during the riots, but urged both sides to show restraint.


The former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who claims that he lost his job for exposing the human rights abuses of the US's new ally in the war on terror, said the Islamic elements in the Andijan crowds were moderate - 'more Turkey than Taliban'.


He added: 'This has really blown up in the US's faces.  When will the US and UK call for fair, free and early elections in Uzbekistan?'


America gives $10 million a year in aid to the Uzbek security services and police, agencies which it says indulge in torture as a 'routine investigation technique'.  Murray said: 'The US will claim that they are teaching the Uzbeks less repressive interrogation techniques, but that is basically not true.


'They help fund the Uzbek security services and give tens of millions of dollars in military support as well.' He said the money was a 'sweetener' in return for the Uzbeks allowing the US to have an airbase in the southern town of Khanabad, vital for operations in neighbouring Afghanistan.


Outrage among human rights groups followed claims by the White House on Friday that appeared designed to justify the violence of the regime of President Islam Karimov, claiming - as Karimov has - that 'terrorist groups' may have been involved in the uprising.


Critics said the US was prepared to support pro-democracy unrest in some states, but condemn it in others where such policies were inconvenient.


Witnesses and analysts familiar with the region said most protesters were complaining about government corruption and poverty, not espousing Islamic extremism.


The US comments were seized on by Karimov, who said yesterday that the protests were organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic group often accused by Tashkent of seditious extremism.  Yet Washington, which has expressed concern over the group's often hardline message, has yet to designate it a terrorist group.


Uzbekistan is believed to be one of the destination countries for the highly secretive 'renditions programme', whereby the CIA ships terrorist suspects to third-party countries where torture is used that cannot be employed in the US. Newspaper reports in America say dozens of suspects have been transferred to Uzbek jails.


Murray said that during a series of suicide bombings in Tashkent in March 2004, before he was sacked as UK ambassador, he was shown transcripts of telephone intercepts in which known al-Qaeda representatives were asking each other 'what the hell was going on. But then Colin Powell came out and said that al-Qaeda were behind the blasts. I don't think the US even believe their own propaganda.'


Last year Human Rights Watch released a 319-page report detailing the use of torture by Uzbekistan's security services.


It said the government was carrying out a campaign of torture and intimidation against Muslims that had seen 7,000 people imprisoned, and documented at least 10 deaths, including Muzafar Avozov, who was boiled to death in 2002.



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