GI SPECIAL 3B33:
They Are Shafting Everybody"
Boards Fucking Over Wounded Vets
think the Army Physical Evaluation Board is broken,"
Waple said. "The DoD would rather buy another cruise
missile than medically retire someone. Systemically,
what we've seen in the last seven years, they just seem
to give a zero, 10, 20 percent disability so they are no
longer on the DoD payroll. It is almost like a fix is
May 14, 2005 By KEVIN MAURER,
The Associated Press
FORT BRAGG, N.C. --
On good days, Cpl. Richard
Twohig doesn't throw up or have to spend 12 to 14 hours
hiding in bed with the shades drawn. The bad days come
about once a week. The headaches are so bad, his knees
buckle from the pain. Sometimes, his wife, Sang, has to
help him into bed.
Twohig is a former Ranger and
paratrooper who used to hunt, fish and play sports. He would
dive under the hood of his car and make repairs or chase his
2-year-old son, Damon, or 5-year-old daughter, Elizabeth,
around the yard.
on good days, too much noise or light brings on the
headaches. Just the clanking of the weights at a fitness
center on Fort Bragg makes him nauseated. His short-term
memory constantly fails him, forcing him to have simple
questions repeated. He has a constant ringing in his ears.
feel like a man anymore. I can't do normal stuff," Twohig
determined that Twohig was less than 30 percent disabled.
In order to maintain his Defense Department benefits, he had
to meet the 30 percent level.
difference is significant: If he loses the benefits, he gets
a taxable $12,000 severance payment from the Army and health
care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. His family
has no health care coverage. If he is 30 percent disabled,
though, he gets a monthly military retirement check and he
and his family are eligible for health care at military
Twohig is appealing the ruling
on his disability. Civilian lawyers who handle such appeals
say the odds are against him.
lawyers say that there is a systemic problem and more and
more injured soldiers are being shuffled off the Defense
Department books to the VA. The lawyers - including Mark
Waple of Fayetteville, who is representing Twohig - say they
are reluctant to take cases to the Army Physical Evaluation
Board because they rarely win.
think the Army Physical Evaluation Board is broken,"
Waple said. "The DoD would rather buy another cruise
missile than medically retire someone. Systemically,
what we've seen in the last seven years, they just seem
to give a zero, 10, 20 percent disability so they are no
longer on the DoD payroll. It is almost like a fix is
Over the past 10 years, Waple
has worked on 21 soldier disability cases. He won four.
David Sheldon, a Washington lawyer, said the Army Physical
Evaluation Board is the toughest one among all the service
branches from which to get a fair hearing. "They have a
boots-on-the-ground mentality," he said. "You are a soldier.
You have to buck up and go on with your life."
said he believes the Defense Department doesn't have the
money to continue to pay soldiers who can't fight, so it has
an incentive to transfer them to the VA.
Twohig was injured in May
2003, a few weeks after major combat ended in Iraq. He was
a team sergeant in the 1st Battalion of the 325th Airborne
Infantry Regiment. He was part of a quick reaction force -
a group of soldiers on call to respond to attacks - in
Baghdad when the unit received a call to help an Iraqi
police station that was taking fire.
He and the
rest of his men climbed on top of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle
and raced to the scene. The armored personnel carrier took
a sharp right turn at 45 mph. Twohig was thrown off and
landed on his head.
memory is of medics helping him on board a helicopter headed
to a hospital in Baghdad. After being treated in Iraq, he
was transferred to Germany a few days and then to Fort
Bragg's Womack Army Medical Center. He was diagnosed with
post-concussive syndrome with intractable headaches and a
mood disorder with depressive symptoms.
Sang said a different man came
back from Iraq.
"He wasn't there mentally,
physically and emotionally," she said.
She is a certified nursing
assistant, but she can't work more than three hours a day.
"It's like I don't want to
leave him alone," she said.
Sang makes sure he takes his
medication - four pills a day - which fights the pain and
alleviates the nausea. Twohig is moody and has bouts of
Airborne Division recommended that Twohig, who is 25, be
review of his records by the disability agency awarded him
20 percent disability. He requested a
formal hearing before a three-man panel at Walter Reed Army
Medical Center in Washington. On March 4, after more than
two hours of testimony from Twohig and his mother, two board
members - board President Col. James Babbitt and civilian
board member Larry Grubb - said that Twohig did not present
any objective information to prove that the headaches were a
result of the accident, according to the transcript of the
ruled that his disability was 10 percent.
Twohig's mother, Marine Maj. Belinda Twohig, said what
happened to him is an injustice. "It is sad to see that
soldiers have to fight an uphill battle against the
disability board," she said.
a Naval ROTC instructor at Florida A&M and sat on a
Naval disability board.
appalled. Being a Marine and having been in the military
for 26 years, when young men and women are injured,
especially in combat, they should be taken care of," she
Lt. Col. Nick Gnemi, the third
member of Twohig's board, believes that he is entitled to 30
percent disability. He said that there is objective
evidence that Twohig has headaches because of the accident,
according to his minority opinion.
It is rare that there is a
minority opinion in these cases, Waple said.
"The process is not arbitrary
or capricious, but is run by a strict set of written rules
and procedures for the review, documentation and rating of
soldier's impairments," Garvey said.
Twohig said the Army told him
when he joined that they would take care of him, and taking
care of his family is part of that.
expect them to mistreat me or anybody, even if I didn't go
to Iraq," he said. "I think they are shafting everybody."
LIBERTY SOLDIER KILLED, ONE WOUNDED BY IED
May 17, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-05-21C
TIKRIT, Iraq -
One Task Force Liberty
Soldier was killed and another wounded when an improvised
explosive device detonated next to their combat patrol about
30km south of Tikrit at about 7:00 a.m., May 17.
The wounded Soldier has been
returned to duty.
Brunswick-Based Soldier Killed In Kuwait Accident
May 17, 2005 Associated Press
BRUNSWICK, Ga. - A Georgia
Army National Guard sergeant has been killed in an accident
Sgt. Chuck Gillican III, 35,
was a member of the Brunswick-based 118th Field Artillery, a
part of the 48th Brigade Combat Team, which is deploying to
Iraq. Gillican died Saturday.
apparently was killed in Kuwait in a collision between a
32-ton Paladin howitzer and a 70-ton tank recovery vehicle.
He was part of the brigade's advance party.
Gillican's father, Charles
Gillican, said he was informed of his son's death shortly
after midnight Saturday by a chaplain and an officer who
came to his home.
"I heard the knock on the
door. I looked out and I saw the men in uniform. I knew
exactly what it was," he said.
Gillican is survived by a
wife, Tammi, two stepdaughters and a daughter, his father
From Area Wounded:
Parent, I'm Glad He's Out Of The Fight”
May 17, 2005 By Tom Troy,
BLADE STAFF WRITER
In the split second that he
had to think about the live grenade that landed a few feet
away from him, Marine Lance Cpl. Neil Burkhardt thought to
himself: "Oh, this is going to hurt."
It did, causing wounds to his
shoulder and foot. The Toledo Marine was one of the lucky
The Lima Company, 3rd
Battalion, 25th Regiment, 4th Division, based in Columbus,
is believed to have suffered eight dead and up to 30 wounded
in a furious weeklong offensive in western Iraq that began
Burkhardt, 23, a 2000 graduate of Bowsher High School, is
one of at least two northwest Ohioans belonging to the
company wounded in the fighting.
Michael J. Strahle, 20, of Bryan, a member of the same
company, was hit in one of his elbows and in the abdominal
area, but his injuries do not appear life-threatening,
according to his mother, Jody Strahle.
"He's just worried about his
guys," she said. "He hasn't been told anything yet" about
some of his fellow Marines being killed.
to what he told us, an insurgent threw a grenade from across
the street and it landed six feet away," said his father,
James Burkhardt, an attorney in the city of Toledo's law
department. "He thought, 'Oh, this is going to hurt.' There
was no time to react. It was instantaneous."
He said his son suffered
shrapnel wounds in the shoulder and the foot and may need
surgery on the foot. He's being cared for at the Marine
base at Qaim.
Mr. Burkhardt and his wife,
Diana, talked to their son Saturday. He told them he's fine
but is grieving for the loss of his friends.
"As a parent, I'm glad he's
out of the fight. My wife and I feel for every soldier over
there," Mr. Burkhardt said.
Corporal Burkhardt enlisted in
the Marine reserves Sept. 10, 2001, calling home to ensure
his mother, "Don't worry, Mom, nothing's going to happen."
He was three credits away from
graduation from Miami University of Ohio when his unit was
called up in December. Corporal Burkhardt arrived in Iraq
Corporal Strahle is recovering
from his injuries at the National Naval Medical Center in
Mrs. Strahle and her husband,
Michael, recently flew to Bethesda to be with their son as
he recovers in the medical center's intensive care unit. She
said doctors think he'll have to be in the hospital for at
least a couple of weeks.
She said they've been able to
talk to their son and he's in generally good spirits.
Soldier Injured In Explosion
May 17, 2005 By LILLIAN KAFKA,
man is recovering from serious injuries sustained from a
roadside blast in Iraq last week.
Spc. Matthew James, 23, was
hospitalized in Landstuhl, Germany, in serious but stable
condition, according to his father, Paul James of Manassas.
The soldier was performing
convoy duty in Ramadi on May 10 for Camp Liberty, near
While his son was manning a
.50-caliber machine gun, an improvised explosive device
detonated near his vehicle, according to Paul James.
“His battalion commander told
me it was a huge explosion -- one of the largest they’ve
seen as far as an IED,” said Paul James.
Another soldier, a close
friend and mentor of Matthew James, was killed in the blast.
Paul James said his son was
thrown from the vehicle.
The explosion broke his foot,
cracked his skull and caused blunt force trauma to his body,
his father said.
Last week the soldier, a
member of the 327th Signal Battalion, was alert and “getting
feisty with the medics,” said Paul James.
Injured In Iraq Training
5.17.05 Associated Press
The U-S Army is
investigating a training accident in Iraq that injured an
Iowa Army National Guard soldier from Burlington.
Jeff Bailey is with Company A of the 224th Engineer
Battalion. Military officials say he was injured last month
in a grenade range incident.
The Fairfield unit was
deployed in January and is stationed near the city of Ramadi
in the Sunni Triangle.
Halliburton Military Supply Workers Killed
militant group Army of Ansar al-Sunna said it shot dead two
Iraqis working for a subcontractor for a unit of U.S.
company Halliburton, according to an Internet video posted
on Tuesday. The two men said on the tape they had been
delivering medical supplies to U.S. bases in Iraq.
"I advise all Arabs and
especially Iraqis not to deal with U.S. forces because this
is religiously forbidden," said one of the men on the video
posted on a Web site used by Islamists.
County Mercenary Killed By Sniper
May 17, 2005 By MARK PERKISS,
A Northern Burlington Regional
High School graduate serving his third tour of duty in Iraq
as a private security guard after fighting in Afghanistan
with the U.S. Army was killed by a sniper last week.
Jaichner, 33, who grew up in Bordentown City and lived with
his wife in California, was killed Tuesday while on
assignment in Ramadi, Iraq, guarding an American diplomat.
ALL HOME NOW
U.S. soldiers at scene of a
car bomb attack in Baghdad May 14, 2005. A bomber blew up
an Iraqi police patrol. Photo by Akram Saleh/Reuters
How Bad Is
Operation Matador Says Hillbilly Armored Marine Force Too
Thin To Go After Resistance
it's a place where, I mean, insurgents apparently
operate pretty freely. But from what -- I mean, just
from what the local residents tell our reporters and
what the Marines say, and the Marines just -- the U.S.
military just doesn't have the resources now to go in on
a Fallujah-style operation and clean out that town.
May 16, 2005 MacNeil/Lehrer
MARGARET WARNER: Ellen
Knickmeyer, welcome. Thanks for joining us.
MARGARET WARNER: And then you
wrote a gripping account of the combat in Ubaydi, including
the fact that the insurgents seem incredibly well-equipped
in the form of armaments; in some degree better than the
ELLEN KNICKMEYER: Right.
Right. The Marines had
everything, all the kinds of weapons that the insurgents
did, and more, but Marines on a firefight don't carry all
those weapons around with them, so they initially they were
out-shot by the insurgents.
MARGARET WARNER: The New York
Times reported that the Marines have gone on a crash program
to equip and armor themselves because they're so upset about
having the lack of sufficient armor.
Were the Marines that you were
embedded with, did they ever complain to you about their
know, about the armor, they didn't complain, but they
did say they had just welded on a bunch of metals and so
the vehicles that we were riding around in, they had
just attached steel plates to them, or put steel plates
on the bottom of the floor, to guard against mines and
stuff. It's something they had to do themselves.
Then finally, when they did
get north of the Euphrates to these villages where they
thought the foreign fighters were hiding, they didn't find
ELLEN KNICKMEYER: No, they
didn't. It was disappointing to the Marines themselves.
They said we went through villages, you know, village after
village, and what we would find is, like, some of the
families that had already -- maybe half the families in some
of the villages had already fled. They were afraid that if
the Marines coming, then at the least it meant fighting.
And some of
the places, the fighting-aged men had gone and all the
weapons seem to have been gone. And we didn't really know
what to make of that because Iraqi households usually have
an AK- 47 to protect themselves.
ELLEN KNICKMEYER: Marines
say, and local residents along the Euphrates say, that a lot
of the foreign fighters and a lot of the insurgents are
holed up in Husaybah, which is a town right on the Syrian
And it's a
place where, I mean, insurgents apparently operate pretty
freely. But from what -- I mean, just from what the local
residents tell our reporters and what the Marines say, and
the Marines just -- the U.S. military just doesn't have the
resources now to go in on a Fallujah-style operation and
clean out that town.
resources it has, the U.S. Marines say that the U.S. is
concentrating its resources in Fallujah and other cities;
trying to calm them down.
Minister Says Time To Bring The Troops (27) Home
17 May 2005 Aljazeera.Net &
Kazakhstan's Defense Minister Mukthar Altynbayev at a
meeting of the sergeants' corps of the Kazakh army called
for pulling out the Kazakh troops from Iraq.
"It's time to think about stopping the work of our
contingent in Iraq," Defence Minister General Mukhtar
Altynbayev was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
He suggested that a new group
of servicemen might not go to Iraq that after the expiration
of the term of the current Kazakh assignment there.
Ministry press service confirmed that Altynbayev had spoken
in favour of a pullout during a meeting with army officers,
though a spokesman said it was the minister's "personal
currently has 27 soldiers serving in Iraq, where a
contingent was first deployed in August 2003. The unit is
charged with clearing mines and providing water to Iraqis.
Military Vets "Are On DU Death Row, Waiting To Die."
29 April 2005 By James Denver,
Vive le Canada
use of DU is "A crime against humanity which may, in the
eyes of historians, rank with the worst atrocities of all
time." US Iraq Military Vets "are on DU death row, waiting
horrified. The people out there - the Iraqis, the media and
the troops - risk the most appalling ill health.
And the radiation from depleted uranium can
travel literally anywhere. It's going to destroy the lives
of thousands of children, all over the world. We all know
how far radiation can travel. Radiation from Chernobyl
reached Wales and in Britain you sometimes get red dust from
the Sahara on your car."
speaker is not some alarmist doomsayer. He is Dr. Chris
Busby, the British radiation expert, Fellow of the
University of Liverpool in the Faculty of Medicine and
UK representative on the European Committee on Radiation
Risk, talking about the best-kept secret of this war:
the fact that by illegally using hundreds of tons of
depleted uranium (DU) against Iraq, Britain and America
have gravely endangered not only the Iraqis but the
For these weapons have
released deadly, carcinogenic and mutagenic, radioactive
particles in such abundance that-whipped up by sandstorms
and carried on trade winds - there is no corner of the globe
they cannot penetrate-including Britain. For the wind has
no boundaries and time is on their side:
the radioactivity persists
for over 4,500,000,000 years and can cause cancer, leukemia,
brain damage, kidney failure, and extreme birth defects -
killing millions of every age for centuries to come. A crime
against humanity which may, in the eyes of historians, rank
with the worst atrocities of all time.
These weapons have released
deadly, carcinogenic and mutagenic, radioactive particles in
such abundance that there is no corner of the globe they
cannot penetrate - including Britain. Yet, officially, no
crime has been committed.
story is a dirty story in which the facts have been
concealed from those who needed them most. It is also a
story we need to know if the people of Iraq are to get the
medical care they desperately need, and if our troops,
returning from Iraq, are not to suffer as terribly as the
veterans of other conflicts in which depleted uranium was
Capitalism At Work:
Paper Won’t Publish Story About DU Testing For Troops
“Because The Bill Won’t Cost The State Any Money”
May 16, 2005
PRESS RELEASE: Bob Smith,
Chair Depleted Uranium Awareness Committee P.O. Box 480
Franklinton, Louisiana 70438 (504) 581-1086
12th, Peter Kovacs, the Managing News Editor of the New
Orleans Times- Picayune, the region’s major daily newspaper,
in a telephone conversation with veterans advocate Bob
Smith, and a Times-Picayune political analyst stated that a
story concerning a bill giving the right for service women
and men from Louisiana to a best practices health-screening
test for exposure to depleted uranium would not be
reason Kovacs gave was because the bill was not costing
the state any money.
went on to say that the Times Picayune criteria for
newsworthiness was how much it would cost.
that the bill supports the troops’ health concerns is not
Four other media outlets in
the region have already covered the story expressing
concerns for the troops.
May 3rd, The Louisiana State House of Representatives passed
a bill to give the right to all Louisiana Servicemen and
women returning from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi
Freedom for testing for depleted uranium contamination.
Louisiana is the first state in the nation to have their
House pass this type of bill. The vote was 101 to 0 in
The Louisiana Brigade, with
approximately 4,500 National Guardsmen, is expected to
return home from Iraq between October and December 2005.
DU is radioactive and can
cause leukemia, DNA breakdown, various other cancers, and
birth defects in offspring of soldiers who have come into
contact with it.
The VA and
the DOD have been conducting testing that is not sensitive
enough to detect whether a soldier has been contaminated.
This bill would have helped
alleviate that by pressuring the State’s Adjutant General to
insure that the test mandated by DOD orders and Army
regulations would be executed.
“money” criteria used by the New Orleans Times-Picayune
is shocking in light of the fact that the country is at
war and legislation supporting the troops health
concerns is of utmost importance.
Army's Fine Print
May 17, 2005 DeWayne
Wickham, USA Today
sees the Army's 15-month mini-tour enlistment option as a
quick way to earn some GI benefits and then retreat back
into private life could be in for a big surprise.
take advantage of the Army's offer should know that their
actual commitment to Uncle Sam will be at least eight years,
during which time they could be recalled to active duty.
And last Friday, a federal appeals panel ruled that the
Army can use its "stop-loss" authority to keep people in the
service even beyond their eight-year obligation.
Of Kidnapping In Controversial Army Recruiting Incident
2005-05-16 Allan and Abbie
Phillips, MarkCrispinMiller Blogspot
May 5, 2005
Re: Army Recruitment
Dear Congressman Howard
We are writing on behalf of
our friend Maria Iris and her son, Ever Jandres. We have
known this family for over 10 years. Ms. Iris does not
speak English. Ms. Iris is extremely distressed over what
she describes as the dishonest and completely aggressive
behavior by army recruiter Jesus Lopez in his effort to
enlist her son against her wishes.
that both she and her son were directly lied to by army
recruiter Jesus Lopez. Thus far, she has been completely
stonewalled by the recruitment office in her many efforts to
get information regarding her son and his current
What we know:
1) Both Ms. Iris and her son
Ever Jandres are from El Salvador. Both have green cards as
reported in the enclosed Case Work application.
2) Ms. Iris lost one son in a
traffic accident several years ago.
Jandres is an affable, eager to please 24 year old who is
learning disabled and probably has a borderline low IQ. His
mother reports that he suffered from epileptic seizures from
toddler hood to the onset of adolescence. He
and his mother are extremely close and depend on each other.
4) For the last several weeks,
Ever has been frequently solicited both at home and at his
work (a Chevron gas station) by army recruiter Staff
Sergeant Jesus Lopez Febo. Ms. Iris thinks that they went
together to the bank, and also for a medical examination.
5) Ever kept referring to the
recruiter as his "friend".
6) Ms. Iris clearly tried to
discourage the recruiter, the recruiter continued to go to
Ever's work place.
week, according to Ms. Iris, The recruiter invited Ever
to go to Arizona for 3 days to observe basic training.
The recruiter promised directly to both Ms. Iris and
Ever that he would be home by Friday, April 22, so that
he could go to work that evening. Mrs. Iris still did
recruiter came to pick up Ever at 4:00am, and told him
not to wake up his mother. He did sign a paper at that
time - but he thought that he was giving permission to
go to Arizona for 3 days.
did not show up on Friday. He called home on Sunday,
April 24 in a hysterical state, saying that he was not
in Arizona, but was sent to South Carolina, and that
they would not let him leave, nor speak on the phone for
more than a minute.
efforts to contact the recruiter were fruitless. Several
family members tried to speak to the recruitment office and
were told that they could not be given any information. I
(Allan Phillips) also called and was told the head of the
recruiting office would call me back. He never did.
Finally, Ms. Iris herself went in person to the office.
She also was told that they could not give her any
information. She forced her way into the office of the
Station Commander, Sergeant First Class Todd A. Pooler.
He finally told her that Ever was enlisted properly,
never lied to (her word against theirs) and that the
recruiter, Jesus Lopez would not be allowed to speak
with her, and had gone back to school.
12) This Sunday, May 1, Ever
was able to make another 30 second phone call. He was
finally able to tell his parents that had been sent to Fort
Jackson in South Carolina.
He continues to sound very
agitated and terrified, does not understand why he is in
this predicament, and continues to state that he was lied
to. The family related that they understood him to be under
some form of punishment at the army facility.
Needless to say, as
U.S.citizens both my wife and I are alarmed and upset at the
actions of this Army recruitment office. We are also at a
loss as to how to rectify and assist this poor family in
their current situation.
their son have been victimized by the Army recruiter and the
U.S. Army seems to have colluded in this.
Attached please find a recent
article from the New York Times, which has documented many
other similar cases. Clearly
this is an insidious activity which has received "tacit"
approval by the U.S. Army.
Berman, we appreciate any help you or your office can
provide. Obviously time is of the essence.
Allan and Abbie Phillips
Fayetteville March 19;
Weighs In On The War
Late Than Never)
May 16, 2005 From:
The article run in Norfolk
(sorry for delay) but might prompt some good thoughts!
03/29/05 by D.D. Delaney, Port
Folio Weekly, Norfolk VA
If the eyes
and ears of Bush, Inc., saw and heard what I did on March 19
in Fayetteville, NC—an economically depressed town hosting
Fort Bragg, one of the largest military bases in the
U.S.—they’ve since reported back to their boss that he
should be worried about his grip on hearts and minds in
The feds were there, all
right. Otherwise, who were those guys in windbreakers
standing with uniformed escorts on hill sides and roofs of
high-rises along the march route? Or videotaping among the
crowd at the rally in Rowan Street Park, their expensive
cameras contrasting with their thrift-store threads which
showed no press or organizational ID badges?
What they observed (and
recorded), on the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of
Iraq, was the largest anti-war demonstration in Fayetteville
history—as many as 5,000 people, according to organizers,
bound together in a cohesive, uncompromising spirit such as
I, for one, have never experienced before, though I’ve been
to rallies, marches, vigils, and protests since the
people were not just petitioning the government to
change course. They were saying this government no
longer has their allegiance, a message not just spoken
in defiance—there would be nothing new in that—but with
a devastating emotion of indictment against those in the
seats of power, coming from a crowd whose critical core
numbered present and former military members and their
families seething with a sense of betrayal shatteringly
heartfelt, deep, and undeniably credible.
powerful to feel, was, of course, impossible to quantify.
You had to have been there, in the thick of the crowd, to
know for sure that some kind of shift in moral authority has
occurred. Despite all the pressures government has exerted
to control and contain it, the vitality of the American
spirit in ordinary citizens of many different persuasions
seemed empowered, strengthened, and renewed.
Maybe it’s an awakening
uniquely Southern. The North Carolina Peace and Justice
Coalition, organizers of the demonstration, suggest as much
in a welcome message published in its 12-page newsprint
guide to the weekend’s events: “We know that the legacy of
Southern resistance is rich. We must build upon this
foundation if we...are all going to be free.”
In that spirit, as a
contingent of pall-bearers bore flag-draped replicas of
coffins representing the 50 Americans from Fort Bragg killed
in Iraq, the Cabala Drum Corps, a youthful anarchist group
from Greenville, NC, sustained an energetic medley of
rhythms, more for dancing than marching, for the hour or
more it took for the procession to move to the rally site
from its starting place at the Cumberland County Health
Center. “It’s good to hear the tribal beat again,” grinned a
woman whose alternative history, like mine, reaches back to
a previous era of anti-war solidarity.
Still, providing a jarring
reminder that the clash of civilizations is within our
borders as much as without, a few counter-demonstrators,
with the support of some property owners along the march
route who stood guard at their curbs to keep demonstrators
(though not police on horses) off their lawns, shouted
insults at the passing peace parade from an intersection
where they’d stationed themselves.
“War IS the Answer” read one
man’s sign, listing the military defeats of Nazis,
Communists, and Terrorists as proof. “If You Think Bush Is
Bad, Try Saddam Hussein,” read another. A Cuban-American’s
sign said “Gracias a
Later, from a hill overlooking
the rally in the park below, the counter-demonstrators,
who’d held their peace for the most part until nearly the
end, began jeering through bull horns when a group of
activist women from Code Pink came to the microphones on the
amphitheater stage to speak. “Code Pink kills our troops!”
they chanted, while a Pink spokeswoman returned fire through
the rally’s powerful public address system. “Let us learn
from the people of Spain,” she cried, “who threw out a
government that lied to them and brought their troops home.
We can do it, too!”
counter-demonstrators continued their disruption through the
next speaker, Patricia Roberts, whose son Jamaal Rasher
Addison, of Decatur, GA, was killed at Nasiriyah, Iraq, “in
an explosion in a building,” she said, her voice thick with
outrage, “where he was looking for
weapons of mass destruction.”
Daniel Berg, father of
civilian contractor Nicholas Berg, the first victim to
suffer beheading at the hands of Iraqi insurgents, told the
crowd in a voice shaking with emotion, “I should have spoken
out sooner against the war. It’s too late for me, but it’s
not too late for you.”
Jimmy Massey of Waynesville,
NC, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War—discharged
with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after 12
years in the Marine Corps—called for “taking our country
back by taking back our high schools” from military
recruiters who omit the grim realities of war in the rosy
picture of military service they paint for young people.
Tom Barton of New York City, a
health-care worker, union officer, and member of Veterans
for Peace, predicted that “members of the armed forces are
turning against this war in increasing numbers,” bringing
about “a rebellion (which)...is necessary and will be
sufficient” to end it.
Camilla Mejia, a veteran of
the Florida National Guard who recently completed a year’s
jail sentence for refusing to return to Iraq following
leave, and Deidre Cobb, of Hampton, who is now awaiting her
separation papers from the Army after she refused to fire
her weapon or be vaccinated for Anthrax following her
deployment order, both spoke as conscientious objectors who,
in Mejia’s words, “will not fight your dirty war for oil.”
Cynthia Brown, a Durham, NC,
“economic justice activist” who ran unsuccessfully in the
2002 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by
Jesse Helms, equated the “loss of economic security”
reflected in disappearing jobs with “a revolving door to the
military. People should not be forced into war to achieve
economic security,” she said.
Nancy Lessen and Charley
Richardson, Massachusetts co-founders of the over
2000-member Military Families Speak Out, drew extended
cheers from the crowd with their summation of the main theme
of the day:
“Support our troops, bring
them home now, and take care of them when they get here.”
While pleased with the
historic turn-out, organizers were not entirely satisfied.
“We had room for more people,” said Lou Plummer of
Fayetteville, active in Military Families Speak Out, one of
the day’s principal sponsors.
(The bus chartered from
Hampton Roads was cancelled in favor of a van and a couple
of private cars when too few people booked seats.)
“Why aren’t the Christian
ministers in all Fayette County here?” asked Chuck Faber,
director of Fayetteville Quaker House, another co-sponsor.
“Why aren’t their flocks?”
“We still have work to do
when we get back home,” said Brown, “so we don’t have to
come back to protest this war for the next four or five
have a friend or relative in the service? Forward this
E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and
we’ll send it regularly.
Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is
extra important for your service friend, too often cut
off from access to encouraging news of growing
resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed
Send requests to address up top.
17 May 2005 Aljazeera.Net &
(KUNA) & Reuters
killed four Iraqi soldiers in clashes outside a power plant
in Mosaic on Tuesday, army sources said.
In Baghdad's Sadr City neighbourhood, two carloads of armed
men killed an Iraqi Defence Ministry employee.
Sergeant Alan Jabber Risen, was shot and killed in al-Flash
Street in Sadr City, a predominantly Shia area in the
eastern part of the capital, police Lieutenant-Colonel
Hagfish Mann said.
In another incident, a senior Iraqi anti-corruption official
was shot and killed, also on Tuesday, in southern Baghdad,
an Interior Ministry source said.
armed men opened fire at loam (0600 GMT) on the vehicle of
Alana al-Din Weir al-Unaided, a high-ranking official with
Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity (CPI).
He died on the
spot, but his driver escaped unharmed from the ambush in
al-Durra neighbourhood, the source said.
military forces found the dead bodies of three Iraqi
soldiers in the town of Salem, in western Iraq. An Iraqi
Army source told reporters that two of the soldiers were
shot dead, and the third was beheaded.
DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
A Reporter Comes Home From Iraq:
“Why Is It
That This Story Of Human Effort For Self-Determination By
Violent Means Cannot Be Told In America?”
roles were reversed, do you think for a moment that our
men wouldn't be stockpiling arms and attacking any
foreign invader with the temerity to set foot on our
soil, occupy our buildings of government and write us a
Wouldn't we as women be joining with them in any way we
could? Wouldn't the divisions between us -- how we feel
about President Bush, whether we're Republican or
Democrat -- be put aside as we resisted a common enemy?
2005-05-09 Molly Bingham,
Every one of the people
involved in the resistance that we spoke to held us
individually responsible for their security. If something
happened to them -- never mind that they were legitimate
targets for the U.S. military -- they would blame us. And
learned that they had the U.S. bases so well watched that we
had to abandon our idea of working on the U.S. side of the
story -- that is, discovering what the soldiers really
thought about who might be attacking them.
There were so many journalists
working with the American soldiers that we believed that
that story would be well told.
More practically, if we were seen by the Iraqis going in and
out of the American bases, we would be tagged immediately as
spies, informants and most likely be killed.
terrifying as that was to manage and work through, there was
another fear that was just as bad. What if the American
military or intelligence found out what we were working on?
Would they tail us and round up the people we met? Would
they kick down our door late one night, rifle through all
our stuff and arrest us for "collaborating with the enemy?"
Bear in mind that there are no
real laws in Iraq. At the time that we were working, the
American military was the law, and it seemed to me that they
were pretty much making it up as they went along.
I was pretty sure that if they
wanted to "disappear" us, rough us up or even send us for an
all expenses paid vacation in Guantanamo for suspected
al-Qaeda connections, they could do so with very little or
even no recourse on our part.
I could go into a long litany
of the ways in which the American military has treated
journalists in Iraq.
actions indicate that the U.S. military will detain
and/or kill any journalist who happens to be caught
covering the Iraqi side of the militant resistance, and
indeed a number of journalists have been killed by U.S.
troops while working in Iraq.
This behavior at the moment
seems to be limited to journalists who also happen to be
Arabs, or Arab-looking, but that is only a tangential story
to what I'm telling you about here.
The intimidation to not work
on this story was evident.
Dexter Filkins, who writes for
The New York Times, related a conversation he had in Iraq
with an American military commander just before we left.
Dexter and the commander had gotten quite friendly, meeting
up sporadically for a beer and a chat. Towards the end of
one of their conversations, Dexter declined an invitation
for the next day by explaining that he'd lined up a meeting
with a "resistance guy." The commander's face went stony
cold and he said, "We have a position on that."
For Dexter the message was
clear. He cancelled the appointment.
look closely, you will notice there is very little,
maybe even no direct reporting on the resistance in
Iraq. We do, however, as journalists report what the
Americans say about the resistance. Is this really
anything more than stenography?
And many American journalists
often refer to those attacking Americans or Iraqi troops and
policemen as "terrorists." Some are indeed using terrorist
tactics, but calling them "terrorists" simply shuts down any
sense of need or interest to look beyond that word, to
understand why indeed human beings might be willing to die
in a violent struggle to achieve their goal.
Pushing them off as simply
"insane, wild Arabs" or "extremist Muslims" does them no
service, but even more, it does the U.S. no service. If we
as Americans fail to understand who attacks us and why, we
will simply continue on this same path, and continue
watching from afar as a war we don't understand boils over.
gatekeepers -- by which I mean the editors, publishers and
business sides of the media -- don't want their paper or
their outlet to reveal that compelling narrative of why
anyone would oppose the presence of American troops on their
Why would anyone refuse
Why would anyone not want the
helping hand of America in overthrowing their terrible
It's amazing to me how
expeditiously we turn away from our own history. Think of
Think of our Founding
Fathers. Think of what they stood for and hoped for. Think
of how, over time, we have learned to improve on our own
Constitution and governance. But think, mostly, about the
words I just used: It was our decision and our
determination that brought us where we are now.
Recall Patrick Henry's famous
speech encouraging the Second Virginia Convention, gathered
on March 20, 1775, to fight the British, "Give me liberty or
give me death!"
Why is it that we, as
Americans, presume that any Iraqi would feel any
roles were reversed, do you think for a moment that our men
wouldn't be stockpiling arms and attacking any foreign
invader with the temerity to set foot on our soil, occupy
our buildings of government and write us a new constitution?
as women be joining with them in any way we could? Wouldn't
the divisions between us -- how we feel about President
Bush, whether we're Republican or Democrat -- be put aside
as we resisted a common enemy?
why is it that this story
of human effort for self-determination by violent means
cannot be told in America?
Are we so
small, so confused by our own values that we cannot
recognize when someone emulates our own struggle? Even if
it is the U.S. that they are struggling against?
I want to
be careful to explain that I am not saying that the Iraqis
fighting against us are necessarily fighting for democracy,
but they are fighting for their right to decide for
themselves what their nation looks like politically.
What do you think?
Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are
especially welcome. Send to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Name, I.D., withheld on
request. Replies confidential.
Democracy: The Empire Needs The Uzbek Torturer; White House
Shits On The Dead
western news agenda has moved the dead of Andijan from the
"democrat" to the "terrorist" pile. Karimov remains in
power. The White House will be happy.
2005 Craig Murray, The Guardian
of hundreds of pro-democracy protesters in Uzbekistan are
scarcely cold, and already the White House is looking for
ways to dismiss them.
The White House spokesman Scott McClellan said those shot
dead in the city of Andijan included "Islamic terrorists"
offering armed resistance. They should, McClellan insists,
seek democratic government "through peaceful means, not
5.17.05 From James Patton,
Ha ha ha - the hypocrisy of
these guys makes me sick sick sick.
should, McClellan insists, seek democratic government
"through peaceful means, not through violence".
sought democratic government in Iraq "through peaceful
means" and "not through violence"?!?!?!
the pot calling the kettle black. If only these sick minded
people could look in a mirror and see their own hypocrisy.
Phuccumoll Loves Our Troops
Z for sending this in. He writes: the magazine mentioned is
Atlantic, June 2005; the article is: 'How We Would Fight
China,' by Robert B. Kaplan. Solidarity, Z]
“Oh God, I treasure them!”
General Will I. Phuccumoll growls, his battleship-gray eyes
flashing. “I love those troops to death!” Reclining in
his king-size Pentagon armchair upholstered in calf leather,
the brilliant West Point graduate (IQ 260) exhales a cloud
or aromatic smoke vaguely reminiscent of Guantanamo Bay.
“They’re absolutely the best goddamned troops on this whole
fucking planet—they carry out every order to perfection!”
Overcome with emotion, General
Phuccumoll silently shakes his head. The general’s
oak-paneled walls are adorned with gold-framed paintings of
various glorious warriors: Richard the Lionhearted, Saint
George, Attila the Hun, Ivan the Terrible, and Generals
Franco and Pinochet.
Displayed among them with a
charming incongruity is an autographed photograph of a
smiling lady with white curls and sparkling pearls whose
inscription reads: “From one beautiful mind to another:
Light up those camel jockeys for me, won’t you Will? Hugs &
“You know what the greatest
human virtue is?” demands the general, his eyes glittering
sharp as ice-picks. “Obedience! That’s right, obedience.
Tell people to do pushups, they’ll do pushups. Tell them to
clean the shithouse, they’ll clean the shithouse. Tell them
to kill, they’ll kill. Tell them to die, they’ll die.
That’s obedience for you! I couldn’t do fuck-all without
it, but thanks to the will of God almighty I command it.
It’s so damned beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes!”
“The war? Oh the war is going
just great! Terrific. Couldn’t be better. It’s a
The general’s handsome chin
thrusts upward with utmost confidence, his stogie tilted at
an irresistibly rakish angle. “The enemies of freedom are
on the run everywhere and won’t stop running till they fall
off the edge of the world and right into hell. It’s
fabulous, a dream come true! And the people believe
wholeheartedly in our mission, you see. That’s the second
most important virtue: faith. I couldn’t do shit without
“By the way, seen this?”
General Phuccumoll tosses a well-thumbed magazine across his
gigantic gleaming desk. “It tells how we’d fight China. A
brilliant analysis by a wild and crazy genius! And you
better believe it: it’s an absolutely winnable war! Those
dumb shit Japs couldn’t do it—so what? We kicked the crap
out of the Japs and Krauts, basically clobbered the Gooks
and Dinks, and are now creaming the Ragheads. Hell, with
that kind of mileage, a war with Chinks would be a cakewalk,
we can chop them up before breakfast, no problem. All you
need is faith.”
General Phuccumoll pours
himself a tall glass of Chivas Regal and downs a manly gulp
before resuming in a more somber tone.
“You know there are some
perfidious cocksuckers who question our motives, as if the
Pentagon were some goddamned global death squad owned and
operated for the profit of the rich, or some shit like
that. I totally loathe fuckers who think like that: they’re
a menace to faith and obedience, enemies of free enterprise,
and ought to be locked up to let freedom ring. Damn right,
put the treacherous bastards behind razor wire for good!”
Suddenly the general’s cell
phone comes alive and starts to play “Stars and Stripes
Forever.” Phuccumoll talks briefly, signs off and grins
from ear to ear.
“Know who that was? The little
colored lady who runs the State. Ooh, such a fox! She’ll
go far, believe you me! Everybody’s got the hots for her:
General Letrick, General Moters, General Mills, General
Mayhum, General Hoare… and yes, goddamn it, Phuccumoll!!”
Helped U.S. Say Never Again:
Butchered For Their Trouble
May 17, 2005 Philadelphia
U.S. military hailed last week's Operation Matador as a
success that killed more than 125 insurgents in Iraq, local
tribesmen said it was a disaster for their communities.
say they are leery of ever again assisting U.S. or Iraqi
interviews, influential tribal leaders and many residents of
the remote border towns said the 1,000 U.S. troops who swept
into their territories in the weeklong campaign that ended
over the weekend did not distinguish between the Iraqis who
supported the United States and the fighters battling it.
Iraqi Collaborators Must Hide New Headquarters From
May 17, 2005 By Jospeh
Giordono, Stars And Stripes
The reconstituted Iraqi army
took another step Sunday toward leading stabilization
efforts in its own country, opening its first national
headquarters since the U.S.-led invasion.
Ground Forces Headquarters was inaugurated by a “small group
of Iraqi and Coalition dignitaries” at an undisclosed
location in Baghdad, according to
Multi-National Force-Iraq officials Monday.
celebrating today a historical event and the rebuilding of
the Iraqi army. Having the headquarters of our ground
forces here is an indication of the Iraqi army controlling
its own destiny,” Iraqi Ground Forces
commander Gen. Abdul Qadir Jassim said, according to the
statement. [Having to
hide the location certainly is an indication of the destiny
in store for collaborators.]
Come On, Look Busy
General Advises Collaborator Officials
By Jonathan Finer and Bradley
Graham Washington Post Foreign Service Saturday, May 14,
BAGHDAD, May 13 -- After
nearly three weeks of unrelenting attacks by insurgents,
U.S. military officials are urging Prime Minister Ibrahim
Jafari to respond with strong and decisive action or risk
erosion of confidence and a widening sense of insecurity
Army Gen. George Casey, the
top U.S. officer in Iraq, conferred with Jafari on Thursday
and Friday in meetings that other U.S. officials said
focused on reviewing options and encouraging a firm
government response to the violence.
significant than what the government might do, one senior
military officer said, is the fact that the government be
seen as doing something.
perception of governance is important," he said.
POLITICIANS AT WORK
Fucking Hands Off Our Natural Gas
El Alto Press Agency:
leaders of the Regional Workers' Federation (COR) and the El
Alto Federation of Neighborhood Committees (FEJUVE)
announced that until the indefinite civic/labor strike is
carried out, the El Alto International Airport will be
blockaded, and the Senkata plant of [the Bolivian state oil
company] YPFB will be physically occupied."
Tyrant Loses Control Of Korasuv;
For Protesters Spreads To Capital
17 May 2005 By Peter Boehm and
Daniel Howden, The Independent UK
in Uzbekistan have lost control of a key border town in the
eastern Ferghana valley, despite a brutal clampdown that has
so far claimed the lives of an estimated 700 people.
hardline government of Islam Karimov, an ally of London and
Washington in the "war on terror", has
dispatched an armoured force into the restive area in the
east of the country.
Saidjahon Zaynabitdinov, head
of Appeal, a local human rights advocacy group, said troops
had killed about 200 demonstrators on Saturday in Pakhtabad,
just outside the city of Andijan, where witnesses saw
security forces kill up to 500 civilians the previous night.
forces loyal to the regime of Mr Karimov had last night
sealed off the town of Korasuv on the border with
armed police set up roadblocks on the approach to Korasuv
and officials admitted they had lost control of the town,
which is an economic lifeline to the more affluent and
liberal Kyrgyzstan .
no police in there and there is no civil administration
there," a police official said.
for the protesters has spread as far as the capital, where a
small gathering of people risked the wrath of the
authorities to lay flowers in commemoration of the bloodiest
days of fighting in the country's post-Soviet era.
"It was a black day in Uzbek
history. We are ashamed," said Tashpulat Yuldashev, a
political analyst. "We dissidents have been long been
afraid of standing up to express our discontent. But this
time we can't stay silent," he said.
Many of the activists were
wearing black armbands and ribbons.
The rebellion in the Ferghana
valley has given the country's fragmented and disorganised
opposition movement a fresh momentum to unite and openly
express opinions, Mr Yuldashev added. Opposition parties
are banned from running in elections.
State television has so far
ignored the uprising, while Western and Russian broadcasts
have been cut off since the clashes began on Friday.
TRUTH? CHECK OUT THE NEW TRAVELING SOLDIER
the truth - about the occupation or the criminals
running the government in Washington - is the first
reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more
than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance
- whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or
inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling
Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class
people inside the armed services together. We want this
newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize
resistance within the armed forces. If you like what
you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in
building a network of active duty organizers.
with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and
bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)
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