www.albasrah.net

 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

5.19.05

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

 

GI SPECIAL 3B34:

 

 

FTA 1968

 

“Fuck The Army”

 

From: Soldier R, Iraq Veteran

To: GI Special

Sent: May 11, 2005

 

But I do get out in [a few] days.

 

However, the army is getting their last good fucking in before its said and done.

 

The bureaucratic channels and flaming hoops guys like me (getting out and all) that we have to jump through is ridiculous.

 

The stop loss just keeps on affecting us even to the very end.  I think about one third of our brigade is getting out or going somewhere else all at once, so much of what we need to get done is being pushed to the very last minute before we leave.  It’s completely out of our hands.

 

Fuck the army.

 

Well, I got gear to clean so I can turn it in. I won’t miss any of it.

 

The way I see it, there are two kinds of guys in the army:

 

Guys who hate the army

 

and...

 

guys who love the gear.

 

 

MORE:

 

From: Soldier R

To: GI Special

Sent: May 16 & 18, 2005

 

No [new] stop loss in this brigade, at least not that I heard.

 

There was a crazy rumor about one hitting a year from now, but I haven’t heard shit about it since.  This brigade is moving back stateside.  Hell I don’t remember that either, nor do I care.  All I know is that this particular brigade is not receiving any new soldiers and isn’t scheduled to deploy [again] for another year and a half.

 

But we're almost outta here.

 

Ok I got some shit to do, more appointments and signatures.  i already elaborated on the "getting the fuck out of the army" process.  Yeah, it still sucks.

 

We’re going to see star wars tonight at an English theater in [XXXX] tonight.  This one looks like The One.  I can’t wait.

 

We could see it at the military theater on post, but we'd rather spend more money to see it in another town just so we don’t have to stand at attention for the national anthem.  Yes, they do that here.

 

I pledge allegiance to NO GOVERNMENT!

 

Do you have a friend or relative in the service?  Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.  Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services.  Send requests to address up top.

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

 

 

Oregonian Dies While On Patrol

 

May 18, 2005 MARK LARABEE and MIKE FRANCIS, OregonLive

 

Jacob Simpson, a 24-year-old U.S. Army sergeant who was raised in Hood River and Ashland, was killed Monday near Tikrit, Iraq, when he was struck by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade, family members said Tuesday evening.

 

He is the 46th member of the military with strong Oregon ties to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since March 2003. Another five civilian contractors with Oregon ties have been killed in the two countries during that time.

 

Simpson's Army job was as a gunner on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, but he was killed when he was on foot on a reconnaissance patrol, clearing a building near the northern city of Tikrit, said his sister, Kimberly Bemiss of Banks.  She said he was a member of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Carson, Colo.

 

His mother, Roberta Simpson, lives in Lake Oswego, along with his brother, Carey.  He has two sisters, Rebekah Simpson of Glenwood, Wash., and Bemiss.  An uncle, Gary Simpson, lives in Hood River.

 

Bemiss said he was born and started high school in Hood River, continued in Ashland, then earned his G.E.D. certificate and joined the Army.  She said he was smart and "very loving, very protective of us." 

 

Bemiss said Jacob taught himself to play the guitar and bought a Les Paul model that he coveted after his first tour in Iraq.  She said he looked forward to coming back to Oregon after his tour and attending college.

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

Families Of Slain Troops Say The U.S. Military Lies:

"I Don't Believe Anything The Government Says"

 

Two years after the official end of a war in Iraq hailed for its few incidents of fratricide, a Press-Enterprise investigation has revealed that twice as many troops as reported might have fallen to "friendly fire."

 

05 May 2005 By Gregor McGavin, The Press-Enterprise

 

They paid the ultimate price on the battlefields of Iraq -- some killed by the enemy, others by their own side.

 

For that sacrifice, some families of slain troops say the U.S. military has paid them back in lies and a lack of information.

 

Two years after the official end of a war in Iraq hailed for its few incidents of fratricide, a Press-Enterprise investigation has revealed that twice as many troops as reported might have fallen to "friendly fire."

 

But the U.S. military -- which vowed after the Persian Gulf War in 1991 to both curb and be more open about its deadly mistakes -- is still keeping secret a report designed to lessen the risk of repeating them.

 

"It's not right to keep it a secret," said Dorothy Halvorsen, whose son Chief Warrant Officer Erik Halvorsen was one of six soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in central Iraq on April 2, 2003.

 

Since then, Halvorsen has gotten varying accounts from the military of what happened that night, and she and other relatives of the slain troops have had to fight for information.

 

"They're putting more restrictions on what we can know," she said. "And we have a right to know."

 

Across the country, many mothers and fathers, wives, siblings and grandparents -- including some who remain staunchly pro-war -- say they feel they've been kept in the dark.  These families question the military's commitment to decreasing friendly fire, and to telling them the truth of how their loved ones died.

 

The Press-Enterprise investigation, meant to parallel the work of military investigators, uncovered that as many as 24 Marines, soldiers and sailors -- 18 percent of the 139 combat deaths during major fighting from March 19 to May 2, 2003 -- might have been killed by their own side.

 

Some experts say the military has long been plagued by an institutional unwillingness to own up to its mistakes.  Others say defense officials have taken misinformation to new levels, "spinning" casualties to downplay the negative.

 

"They've gone into a turtle shell, and they only want to talk about the good things that happen in the war," said Steve Robinson, a veteran Army Ranger who now heads the National Gulf War Resource Council, a military watchdog group in Washington, D.C.

 

Robinson, who has done extensive research on this war and past conflicts, said the Pentagon has engaged in a public-relations campaign.

 

"It's part of the strategy in war, and it's something we employ in Iraq to gain the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people," Robinson said.

 

"And in some cases it looks as if the Department of Defense is employing information warfare at home by not releasing accurate information or making it difficult to obtain information," he said.

 

Robinson said he thinks now the military is covering up the number of troops killed by friendly fire.  But critics say even the language the military uses in discussing casualties is purposely confusing.

 

One hundred and thirty-nine U.S. troops were killed during the period of major combat operations -- March 19 to May 2, 2003. Of those, 115 were classified as hostile, the others nonhostile.  The military lists as nonhostile those deaths not directly attributable to enemy or friendly fire, or terrorist activity. They include accidents such as vehicle crashes, as well as suicides and homicides.

 

Casualty reports include categories such as combat and noncombat deaths, the first being those related to direct or indirect fire from the enemy, even if the victim is killed by something other than that fire.  Thus, a soldier killed in a jeep that crashes after swerving to avoid a hand grenade is a combat death.

 

It all makes for a confusing picture, critics say.

 

"I don't believe anything the government says," said Johnny Burkett, a Vietnam veteran whose nephew, Lance Cpl. Tamario Burkett, was one of 18 Marines killed at An Nasiriyah on March 23, 2003.

 

Robinson said the Defense Department has a history of not coming clean.

 

Defense officials "lied, misled and withheld critical information" about Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, he said, and he believes they did so again regarding Gulf War veterans' exposure to chemical and biological warfare agents.

 

 

Recruiters Hit New Low:

Fake Job Adds:

"It Seems Like A Pretty Desperate Tactic"

 

Help Wanted: Postal Workers for the (Shh) Navy

 

[Thanks to PB and Phil G. who sent this in.]

 

Whether it works well or not seems to be an issue outside the scope of this inquiry.  The real issue is whether blind advertising in tantamount to unethical advertising, an accusation the U.S. military is facing more and more frequently as it becomes desperate for recruits to fulfill it needs during a war that is becoming unpopular.

 

05.16.2005 By Nathaniel R. Helms, Defense Watch

 

The U.S. Navy has pulled out all the stops to recruit hard-to-reach candidates using classified ads in newspapers across the country offering jobs as postal workers with "excellent pay & benefits" for high school graduates who respond to a toll-free "800" telephone number.

 

What has a number of critics seething is that the ads do not mention the Navy at all, or that the telephone number connects inquiries to a Navy recruiting team manning a nationwide telephone bank, a DefenseWatch inquiry has learned.

 

A woman in Bridgeport, Conn., seeking summer employment for family members stumbled upon the ruse when she dialed an 800 number last week for someone seeking postal workers.  The so-called "blind ad" led her to a Navy recruiter instead of the U.S. Postal Service.

 

The discovery so incensed her that she complained to her boss, Miles Gerety, an attorney who contacted DefenseWatch because he found the ad to be deceptive and unworthy of appropriate behavior by an organization such as the U.S. Navy.

 

"My secretary, Darrett Evans, showed me an ad in The Connecticut Post 'Help Wanted' section that read, 'Postal Workers Wanted,' Gerety explained in an email to DefenseWatch.  "It gave an 800 number and said that anyone 17-34 could apply. She has a nephew looking for work so she called the number. A Navy recruiter answered it. His pitch was that this was for work on a Navy ship but would involve enlisting."

 

Ms. Evans, who already has a brother-in-law who just completed one tour in Iraq and doesn't want to send another family member there, grilled the recruiter as to whether he could guarantee that enlisting wouldn't mean going to Iraq.  Of course, the recruiter couldn't make that guarantee.

 

"Darrett got the impression that this is a national recruitment program – not just an ad run by Connecticut recruiters," Gerety said. "It seems like a pretty desperate tactic."

 

"I was looking for my nephew and my daughter," explained Evans, 43, a legal secretary in Bridgeport who works for the State of Connecticut Public Defender's Office.  "I was looking at ads for jobs they might be interested in.  It sounded good, I know a young man who graduated from high school not too long ago and got a job working at the post office.  When I called I said I was calling for an ad in the paper. He asked me if I knew this was the U.S. Navy."

 

Robin Watson, a spokeswoman for the newspaper, said The Connecticut Post was unaware of the Navy classified advertisement until alerted by DefenseWatch last Thursday.  When Watson, a 29-year-old editorial assistant in the newsroom, called the 800 number last Friday morning, the recruiter who answered asked her a series of qualifying questions before he identified himself as a Navy recruiter, Watson said.

 

A Navy Recruiting Command spokesman says the use of so-called "blind ads" has been an approved Department of Defense recruiting policy since the mid-1970s.  "Blind advertising had been used in the recruitment arena for a long time," said Capt. John Singley, a 27-year Navy veteran and Recruiting Command spokesman.  "The Navy has had the permission of the Department of Defense for a long time,"

 

Singley added that the Navy not only perceives the nebulous practice as ethical, but finds it a worthy marketing tool that can be aimed at particular targets that can't always be reached in mass advertising.

 

Watson said when she called the 800 number a male voice on the other end of the line asked her a series of specific questions before he identified himself as a Navy representative.

 

"He asked for my age, where I lived, if I had a high school diploma, if I was single, had any children, and when I said no, he told me he was a Navy recruiter," Watson said.

 

Watson said Navy officials have not given an explanation for why they used that form of advertisement.  She said her newspaper's inquiries to the Navy had been bounced around and nobody to date has provided her with a response of any kind.  When DefenseWatch tried calling the 800 number listed in the ad Friday afternoon and Monday morning, there was no response.

 

Evans, of Costa Rican descent, said she thought the ad was sneaky and discriminatory because it targeted poor people and minorities that search the classified ads because they are desperate for good jobs that are hard to come by for inner-city kids and disadvantaged youth.  She said the lure of a good paying job right out of high school is irresistible to kids who find themselves in that predicament.

 

Whether it works well or not seems to be an issue outside the scope of this inquiry.  The real issue is whether blind advertising in tantamount to unethical advertising, an accusation the U.S. military is facing more and more frequently as it becomes desperate for recruits to fulfill it needs during a war that is becoming unpopular.

 

 

“My Son’s Patriotism Was Betrayed”

 

May 18, 2005 Interview by Laura Flanders, by CommonDreams.org

 

Reg Keys, father of a British soldier killed in Iraq, ran against Prime Minister Tony Blair in Blair’s home constituency of Sedgefield during the last general election. He talked with Laura Flanders on Air America Radio, two days after the election, May 7, 2005.

 

LF: Reg, welcome to the show. Tell our audience why you decided to run for Parliament, have you always hankered to be in politics?

 

RK: No, eh (laughs), well not really….no, I’ve never hankered for politics whatsoever! Like most people in Britain (and probably in America as well), I believed my Prime Minister’s rhetoric, as you believed Mr. Bush’s rhetoric about Saddam posing this evil threat and being able to launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.

 

”My son believed that, I believed that, and the nation believed the Prime Minister but we were all deceived. Sadly, we were all betrayed by our own government. Iraq couldn’t launch within 45 minutes, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction or WMD program and I feel that my son’s oath to allegiance to Queen and country was betrayed. His patriotism was betrayed and that young life was snuffed out in a filthy police station in Iraq for what?

 

And I stood in the elections to try to make Tony Blair accountable for the deceit of this nation and the trust that we’ve placed within him, so that is basically the reason that I became a fledgling politician.

 

LF: How many votes did you get?

 

RK: Obviously, it was a very very strong seat, he had a majority of 17,000.  It was like trying to break a religion up in Sedgefield.  People there said to me on their doorsteps, Listen mate, we don’t count the votes, we weigh them!’  Another chap said to me, ‘If you brought a donkey with you and pinned a red rosette on it, we would still vote Labour’!

 

LF: So, you were really up against it.

 

RK: I was really up against it, but bearing in mind within five weeks from coming from nowhere, I got just over four thousand votes…

 

LF: Not bad in five weeks – how did you run your campaign?

 

RK: Tony Blair got 24 thousand votes, the Conservatives got 5,900, the Liberal Democrats got 4,900 and I got 4,200, so bearing in mind for an amateur, who campaigned for only four weeks, I came forth out of 15 candidates and I was only just behind one of the main parties.

 

LF: That’s incredible…

 

RK: …that’s the strength of feeling that can be found against the illegal war, so I think I gave a fair account of myself.

 

LF: Final question, Reg. You stood there on election night -- you hadn’t won, but you got a chance to speak -- and you shared a stage with Tony Blair, as is the custom, live on camera to the world.  You were able to dedicate your campaign to your son and everyone else who had died, including the Iraqis, and to reiterate your feelings about he apology that has never come from Blair.  Did he say anything to you afterwards? How did he respond?

 

RK: Not one word.

 

He stood there looking quite ashen and shocked.  But I had two and a half minutes. We were told by the election official that each candidate could have a two and a half minute speech.  

 

And he had to stand there and listen and take it and that to me made it all worth while. I could stand in front of the Prime Minister uninterrupted and speak to the world and say to the world exactly what I thought.  That for me was the defining moment of my campaign.

 

 

FOR A RICH IRAQI CORPORATE TITAN, WAR AND DEATH IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS:

Iraqi Businessman Says His Country Appreciates Americans' Sacrifices

 

[Thanks to DB, who sent this in.]

 

May 1, 2005 By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA, American Forces Press Service

 

Rubar S. Sandi, an Iraqi businessman, wants the American public to know U.S. troops killed in Iraq have not died in vain.

 

"Your sons, your husband," he said to the wife of Army Capt. Bill Jacobsen, who died in a suicide-bomb attack in Mosul, Iraq, "I don't call them dead; they live in every one of us.

 

"You all need to be proud of your sons and daughters," he said. "They are doing a terrific job. Their lives have definitely not been wasted. They are there because of you."

 

Sandi, an outspoken critic of Saddam Hussein, was a guest speaker at an April 27 luncheon sponsored by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which aims to help families through the grief process.

 

Now, Check Out Who You’re Fighting For:

 

From thesandigroup.com --

 

In Iraq, The Sandi Group has held a prominent role in real estate development and trading for over a century.  This responsibility has been handed down though the generations and today's leadership is ably continuing Iraq's infrastructure improvements and modernization efforts. The Sandi Group is now an established developer, contractor, logistical support provider and investor in Iraq, and the largest private sector employer with offices throughout the country.

 

The Sandi Group and Iraq's private sector are both on the threshold of extraordinary growth.  The combination of massive infusions of aid for reconstruction, the resurrection of Iraq's oil industry and the release of pent up consumer demand are creating a vast range of business opportunities.  The Sandi Group is uniquely positioned to take advantage of these opportunities directly and to assist our partners and customers in doing so as well.

 

There is no doubt that the environment in Iraq is challenging. Wrenching social and political change has created security issues as well as legal, political and regulatory ambiguities. It will be some time before multi-national corporations and international investors will be able to operate effectively on their own in Iraq.

 

The Sandi Group has been designed to solve this problem.

 

We offer a focused and complementary menu of services to allow multi-national companies and foreign investors to thrive in this environment.

 

Our customers can rely on our execution skills and professionalism to deliver solutions to the challenges of Iraq, whatever their needs.  At the same time, The Sandi Group

is investing in facilities that complement these services, especially in the

hotel sector.

 

REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT

AGRI-BUSINESS

MASS TRANSPORTATION

WATER TREATMENT

 

Vision, strong leadership, financial expertise, advanced technical skills and a network of seasoned professionals gives The Sandi Group the ability to plan, finance and simultaneously manage multiple large-scale projects worldwide.

 

The Sandi Group's objective has always been to secure promising projects, which meet the strong demands of those selected markets.  Satisfying their demands with overwhelming efficiency will create very tangible benefits for host countries and ensure the success of The Sandi Group, its partners and investors.

 

[Comment from DB: MG Smedley Butler, USMC, said: War is a racket.  The Smedley Butler Society]

 

 

Unions Go To War With Rumsfeld, Sort Of

 

GovExec.com, May 17, 2005

 

Union officials who walked out of meetings with Defense Department leaders over the design of the National Security Personnel System asked Congress to repeal legislation authorizing the department to create new civil service rules for its 650,000 civilian workers.

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

"The Interior Minister Is The Biggest Terrorist"

 

May 18, 2005 By Diala Saadeh, (Reuters)

 

Hassan Nuaimi, a senior member of the Muslim Clerics Association, was found dead in Baghdad on Tuesday, a day after the group accused the Shi'ite-led government of state terrorism.

 

Hundreds of angry Sunnis attended Nuaimi's funeral on Wednesday and condemned the Iraqi government.

 

"The interior minister is the biggest terrorist," read one banner, referring to the Shi'ite official.

 

Dhari said Sunnis would not keep silent over the killings.

 

"We are heading towards a catastrophe, only God knows when it will end, this is a warning from us," he said.

 

 

Assorted Resistance Action

 

18 May 2005 FOCUS News Agency & Anatolia.com Inc. & By BASSEM MROUE

(AP) & (KUNA) & 2005-05-17 Middle East Online

 

18 people, including 14 policemen were injured in attack with a car-bomb aimed at a police convoy in the Iraqi town of Bakuba North of Baghdad, announced AFP, citing police sources.

 

The parked car blew up as a police convoy drove by in the city centre, damaging all the vehicles, police Col. Mudhafar Muhammed said.

 

Two Iraqi police were killed in a car bomb attack near the oil refinery town of Baiji early Wednesday morning, a police captain said.

 

The bomb targeted a US-Iraqi convoy around 3 am (2300 GMT) on the road near Siniya, 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of Baghdad, Ali Yousef, the police captain told AFP.

 

A booby-trapped vehicle explosion outside a police station in north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad killed Wednesday two Iraqi policemen.

 

A police source said in a press statement that the vehicle exploded outside Al-Siniyah police station near Biji in the governorate of Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

 

The source said the explosion also resulted in material damage.

 

Insurgents killed a senior Iraqi Interior Ministry official Wednesday

 

Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Khamas was shot and killed by four gunmen in a four-door sedan as he drove through Baghdad's southeastern Zaafaraniyah district, police Col. Nouri Abdullah said.

 

Gunmen also shot dead Transport Ministry driver Ali Mutib Sakr in Sadr City, police Lt.-Col. Shakir Wadi said. 

 

One Iraqi soldier was killed when a bomber rammed his motorbike into a checkpoint near Tuz, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of the capital, army Captain Omar Khaled said.

 

An hour later, nervous soldiers manning the checkpoint opened fire on a car that reportedly failed to slow down, killing three civilians.

 

Further north, the Iraqi army discovered the bodies of two Iraqi contractors working for the US military.

 

"The bodies of Nazhan Khaled al-Sarrai, 33, and Omar Hashim, 37, were found in a pit on the way to Sharqat Tuesday morning," said an army officer, adding that "3,000 dollars were found in one of the victims' pockets, as well as badges showing they were Baghdad residents."

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

The Chicken Factory

 

 

From Traveling Soldier

 

Once upon a time there was a chicken factory, where, let us suppose, 1000 men and women work.

 

Live chickens come in one end of the factory complex, and cut up chicken parts and whole chickens come out the other end.

 

The people who cut up the chickens make about $3 an hour, work in cold, wet rooms, get sick a lot, and frequently lose body parts during the chicken cutting process. The managers are cold assholes interested in profits, and don’t give a shit how dangerous the equipment is. The supervisors are petty tyrants and frequently sexual predators.

 

If you get too sick or hurt to work, too fucking bad, you get put out the door.

 

This is not a desirable state of affairs.

 

You think maybe there should be some kind of organization of the work force to resist this shit. Maybe you can get more money, or insist that you have decent protection from being maimed or killed.

 

At that point you are alone, and powerless. So you have to very carefully find somebody else that agrees, and then somebody else, and all unnoticed by the assholes in command of the chicken factory, you slowly but surely build an organization.

 

You need meetings to talk over plans. Off company territory. You need security. You need some kind of way of communicating, maybe a newsletter, but you’re careful about that too.

 

You can take it from there.

 

But it is obvious that you do not want anybody to stand up in the middle of the third shift and loudly tell management, “I refuse to participate any further in your immoral enterprise and will defy all your orders.”

 

He or she is immediately gotten rid of, and is lost to organizing inside your chicken factory because he or she is gone. And the management is delighted, because they’ve just ID’d and fired somebody who could give them trouble in the future.

 

So, if you’re alone, organize. People who act together can have an effect.

 

And if somebody snaps and does an individual refusal, and gets arrested, in trouble, or whatever, your organization does not leave them behind; they’ve been hurt, and let no one judge them, because anybody can snap, anytime.

 

A soldier from the 1st ID summed up his job situation like this:

 

“Before any soldier risks going to prison he should realize that his ability to communicate with other troops will be limited.

 

“We choose our battles and continue to speak out in our underground action.

 

“There has to be a point when we reach a high enough number of troops in our peace effort that a unified boycott of all military action will have a desired effect.”

 

Use Traveling Soldier to serve your organizing purposes and say what you have to say. You say how. That’s what it’s for.

 

[FOR MORE, CHECK IT OUT:]

 

Traveling Soldier

 

GI Says:

"Ask Me 'What Would You Rather Do, Spend Your Life In Prison Or Murder A Child?,' I Would Much Rather Spend My Life In Prison."

 

This issue features:

 

1. "All the reasons we were given were false, so it was people dying and people suffering for lies" say Kelley Dougherty of Iraq Veterans Against the War http://www.traveling-soldier.org/4.05.ivaw1.php

 

2. Nicholas Przybyla of I.V.A.W.: "I don't think that's a good way to fight a war, just to blow the shit out of a country, kill a bunch of innocent people, and then charge into another country that has nothing to do with it" http://www.traveling-soldier.org/4.05.ivaw2.php

 

3. Military mom: "I will not stop fighting until our last soldier is home" http://www.traveling-soldier.org/4.05.mfso.php

 

4. GIs, Iraq vets, and military families speak out. http://www.traveling-soldier.org/4.05.mailbag.php

 

5. Should al-Qaeda occupy New York? http://www.traveling-soldier.org/4.05.al-qaeda.php

 

6. The Chicken Factory - it's time to organize. http://www.traveling-soldier.org/4.05.chicken.php

 

7. Words from the front-lines - what soldiers are saying about the war in Iraq. http://www.traveling-soldier.org/4.05.words.php

 

8. Download the new Traveling Soldier to pass it out at your school, workplace, or nearby base.

http://www.traveling-soldier.org/TS10.pdf

 

 

Construction Workers Got That Right

 

From letter May 18, 2005 Peter Lems, American Friends Service Committee

 

Our hand delivery of petitions to key senators was disrupted by the evacuation of the Capitol when a plane strayed into DC's restricted airspace.

 

I was particularly struck by the conversations we overheard as a river of staffers and senators flowed out of the Hart Senate Office Building.

 

Rumors that a plane was on the way towards Washington were interrupted by a construction worker who said, "You just gave $80 billion dollars to bomb Iraq, what do you expect?"

 

 

Suicide Bombing Isn't As New Or Alien As We Imagine

 

It is the powerful who determined how such events are understood; while the Japanese and Islamist militants are feared as inhuman, the Soviets are celebrated for their courageous defiance of nazism.

 

May 14, 2005 Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian

 

The rate of suicide bombings - the seemingly endless supply of people prepared to blow themselves up - leaves a western audience utterly bewildered.

 

What kind of psychology motivates people to such violent extremes? The incomprehension prompts revulsion that this form of warfare is historically unprecedented and reveals a peculiar, aberrant irrationality - a kind of inhuman madness.  All too quickly, Islam is blamed for deluding its believers into martyrdom with promises of 72 virgins; the old prejudices about Islam as a faith uniquely associated with violence and unquestioning belief are fanned into life again.

 

The line in war between a suicidal mission and a reckless disregard for one's own life can be very blurred.

 

This was true in the Soviet struggle against the Germans in the second world war.  Some Soviet pilots undertook explicit suicide missions to ram bridges in Germany in 1945; many others went into battle knowing they would die, and saw their death as a sacrifice for the "motherland".

 

It is the powerful who determined how such events are understood; while the Japanese and Islamist militants are feared as inhuman, the Soviets are celebrated for their courageous defiance of nazism.

 

The idea of suicide to serve a set of beliefs is also deeply rooted in history.  The staging of the current brilliant production of Julius Caesar in London pointedly refers to Iraq with its US military fatigues and the set of a military warehouse.  Several suicides in the final scenes lead to Brutus's poignant comment that swords have been turned "in our own proper entrails".  Roman republicanism, imperial Japanese militarism: both elevated suicide as an honourable part of military valour.

 

Even more closely related to Iraq's suicide bombers is the fascinating description of early Christian martyrdom in Farhad Khosrokhavar's new book, Suicide Bombers.

 

The suicidal recklessness of a large number of early Christians, aimed precisely at bringing about their martyrdom, bewildered and horrified contemporary commentators.

 

But martyrdom was an astonishingly effective propaganda tool designed to inspire awe - and converts.  The Greek origin of the word martyr is "witness".

 

Interestingly, it prompted exactly the same sorts of criticism among pagan Romans as today's Islamist militants do in the west: the Christian martyrs were accused of dementia and irrationality.  Such was the flood of Christians in pursuit of martyrdom by the third century that the theologians had to step in to declare this thirst for a holy death to be blasphemous.

 

That concept of using your death to bear witness to a cause, without killing others, has prompted more than 1,000 suicides since 1963, when a Buddhist monk set himself on fire in protest against the oppression of Buddhism in Vietnam.  Global mass media ensure that this individual protest has impact across the world; it is a desperate but hugely effective way to give the cause prominence.

 

These are concepts which are very difficult for westerners living largely comfortable lives to grasp.

 

Honour is meaningless to us; we have replaced it with a preoccupation with status and self-fulfilment.  We dimly grasp self-sacrifice but only apply the concept to our raising of children.  Meanwhile, nothing can trump our dedication to the good life of consumer capitalism, and certainly not any system of abstract beliefs.

 

Not having experienced the desperation of oppression, we have little purchase on the extremism it might engender.  Meanwhile, we have medicalised rather than politicised the condition of hating the world and longing for death. The gulf in understanding yawns wide.

 

But our outraged incomprehension of suicide bombing is also partly because it is the opposite of how we have come to believe wars are fought.

 

It is not the high technology of laser-guided bombs, nor the strangely sterile detachment of the aeroplane camera without any images of the screams, smashed bones and blood.

 

The west can only now kill from a distance - preferably from several thousand feet up in the air or several hundred kilometres away on an aircraft carrier.

 

It is the very proximity of these suicide missions which is so shocking.

 

This kind of intimate killing is a reversion to pre-industrial warfare - the kind of brutality seen in the thirty years war, for example.  Suicide bombers in Iraq are a new permutation of old traditions; they have no monopoly on the horrors they reveal of the human psyche and its capacity to destroy life.

 

MORE:

 

“Is It Not Better To Have These Killers Far Away In Iraq?”

 

New York Times, May 18, 2005

 

The author of the forthcoming "Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism" writes that his study of 315 suicide bombings over two decades shows that the common goal was to compel withdrawal of military forces from territory that the terrorists considered to be their homeland.

 

Religion was often used as a recruiting tool and in seeking aid from abroad but was rarely the root cause.

 

18 May 2005 By Robert A. Pape, The New York Times

 

Some have wondered if the rise of suicide terrorism in Iraq is really such a bad thing for American security.  Is it not better to have these killers far away in Iraq rather than here in the United States?

 

Alas, history shows otherwise.

 

The presence of tens of thousands of American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula after 1990 enabled Al Qaeda to recruit suicide terrorists, who in turn attacked Americans in the region (the African embassy bombings in 1998 and the attack on the destroyer Cole in 2000).

 

The presence of nearly 150,000 American combat troops in Iraq since 2003 can only give suicide terrorism a boost, and the longer this suicide terrorist campaign continues the greater the risk of new attacks in the United States.

 

 

Suicide Reporters

 

May 13, 2005 Charles E. Carlson, WHTT.ORG

 

“INSURGENT” is a convenient propaganda word.

 

It sounds like a foreign invader surging into the country, does it not?  “In-surg-ent.”  But it means “an uprising from within.”   “Look it up,” as Yogi used to say.

 

“INSURGENT” is defined as a hometown boy fighting a guerilla war for his turf; one who rises up against civil authority.  We Americans are the foreign invaders and the Iraqis are the local patriots.  Understand that and you know why they fight back so desperately: it’s their property that is being taken.  If Arabs from other countries are helping the uprising that should surprise no one; they all know they are next on the war list.

 

“SUICIDE BOMBER” is another new Iraqi propaganda word.  We associate “suicide” with mentally deranged, or sinful, for it is a sin to destroy a life God created in both Islam and Christianity.

 

But the human special delivery bombers of Iraq are not committing “suicide.”  They are warriors.  Suicide has a clear definition; it means taking your own life for the specific purpose of ending your life.  There is not a shred of evidence that the sacrificial bombers of Baghdad (or Gaza) want to die.

 

To my knowledge not one family member of an Iraqi bomber has been interviewed.  Why not?  It's pretty obvious, our media wants us to think of the Human Bomb as a non-person, or maybe a subhuman, demented and suicidal.

 

Never are they shown as persons with a mission.  We do not need to approve of what they do to understand it.  Some of us will never forget the Buddhist monks who burned themselves to death in front of TV cameras in Saigon to protest our presence there.  There could be no doubt about their motives, and we were soon gone.

 

The Human Bomber of Iraq are following in the footsteps of the warriors from Philistia who tragically learned that hand-carried bombs were their only remaining weapons after 55 years of being strangled in confinement and humiliation at the hands of the American equipped invading Israelis.  The Iraqis have the advantage of Pakistan’s experience; they have no illusion of obtaining independence from their conqueror without winning it.

 

Here is a start for We Hold These Truths’ new dictionary of Serial Wars: The real meaning of the Neo-Words:

 

INSURGENT: A local indigenous Iraqi man or woman willing to fight for his property and freedom.

 

SUICIDE BOMBER: The most feared fighting warrior on earth, serious enough to risk almost certain death to kill or frighten his enemy.

 

OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM: Palestinian style repression applied to Iraq.

 

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.

 

 

Senator Goophie Explains Why Troops Must Stay

 

[Thanks to Z for sending this in.]

 

***NEWSFLASH***

5/17/05 Washington

 

Speaking today before a large corporate and academic audience, Senator I. B. Goophie, a liberal politician long renowned as a dove, gave a vivid explanation of why US troops must remain in Iraq.  The highlights of Senator Goophie’s warmly received speech:

 

Say you and I are happily walking down the street one fine day when suddenly somebody steps up to us and gives us a black eye, punches us in the nose, kicks us in the groin, and knocks us to the ground. 

 

Now would we really want our attacker to leave us lying all bruised in a pool of blood and just walk away?  Of course we wouldn’t!  We’d want him to help us to our feet, put his arm around us, spend some quality time bonding with us, and perhaps even assist us in looking for a few of our scattered teeth.  Well if that’s what we would want, what makes us think the Iraqis would want anything less? [Applause]

 

My example may be too hypothetical for a few out-of-step individuals trapped in rigid and dogmatic modes of thought [Applause], but fortunately I studied history at Yale [Applause] and can offer them a couple of historical antecedents to ponder.

 

They should know that after Hannibal invaded ancient Rome with his elephants, the Romans would not permit his troops to leave Italy until they had cleaned up every last load of elephant doo-doo they’d left behind while crossing the Alps.  Once that was done, the two peoples kissed and made up, the invasion forgiven. [Applause]

 

And then years later, when Romans razed Carthage to the ground, the enslaved Carthaginians insisted the Roman troops reconstruct every one of the deconstructed houses—especially the bathhouses—before they’d let them end the occupation and go home.  It is not recorded if the Romans complied, but you can bet your booties we would’ve done it, and we are this old globe’s new imperial Romans! [Applause]

 

I could go on with innumerable stories of other conquests, all of which share the same moral, but I will spare you. [Applause]

 

The incontrovertible point is this: occupied people in all times and places have longed for a responsible occupier, a loving overlord who will pat them on the head and repair the damage caused by the initial assault.

 

The repair may take various forms ranging from re-erecting flattened schools and hospitals to reassembling the dismembered and raising the dead, but that is precisely what conquered people want; they do not want some hasty self-centered departure.  [Applause]

 

We are justly looked up to throughout the civilized world for never having cut and run, for always taking loving care of each of the dozens of countries we have assaulted, and for kindly managing their internal affairs.

 

This time too we shall proudly live up to our lofty traditions and responsibilities even if it takes us forever.  Let us pledge to do all we can for our dazzling new satellite!  Thank you and God bless our noble investments!  [Prolonged ovation]

 

 

 

OCCUPATION REPORT

 

 

Syria Demands US Prove Iraq Insurgent Claims

 

5/17/2005 Anatolia.com Inc. & May 18, 2005 By Paul Garwood, Associated Press

 

DAMASCUS - Syria on Tuesday demanded that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice provided proof of her renewed allegations that Damascus is supporting insurgents fighting in neighbouring Iraq.  [Don’t hold your breath, it takes time to come up with convincing forged evidence.]

 

"Who are these terrorists and where is Rice's proof for repeating these accusations against Syria?  No one will say," the official Tishrin newspaper said.

 

"What is important (for Washington) is that Syria remain under pressure in order to satisfy American neoconservatives and Israelis."

 

Syrian political analyst Imad Fawzi al-Shueibi, who is close to the Damascus government, dismissed the report as “part of an organized campaign against Syria.”

 

“Syria has no interest in (helping) al-Zarqawi,” al-Shueibi said. “If al-Zarqawi and his group win in Iraq, they will turn the region into a fundamentalist nightmare.”

 

 

 

BREAKTHROUGH:

TERRORISTS FOUND DISGUISED AS KIDS!!

 

(Information Clearing House) (Thanks to John Gingerich)

So If This Was Your Daughter How Would You Feel?  What Would You Decide To Do About It?

 

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

 

 

 

 

Cessna Causes DC Pants Pissing

 

[Thanks to NF who sent this in.  She writes:  And if the folks in washington think a cessna is scary, I wonder what they'd think of ten nights of aerial bombardment.]

 

May 11 WASHINGTON (Reuters)

 

Fighter jets scrambled over Washington and authorities hurriedly evacuated the White House and the U.S. Congress on Wednesday when an unidentified plane roamed into restricted airspace, sparking fears of a Sept. 11-style attack.

 

The light private Cessna ignored calls from air traffic controllers and entered the restricted zone around Washington, coming within 3 miles of the Capitol before turning away, authorities said.

 

The plane's approach sent at least two F-16 fighter jets into the air over the U.S. capital and hundreds of staff and tourists into the streets outside the Capitol building, White House and Supreme Court in an urgent evacuation.

 

Vice President Dick Cheney was in the West Wing and was quickly moved to a secure location, an administration official said.

 

The Cessna, which turned away from the Capitol after it approached then turned back, was escorted to Frederick, Maryland, and the pilot was taken into police custody, a U.S. Homeland Security official said.

 

"Get out, get out," Capitol police shouted to lawmakers and staff as they moved through the building and offices, clearing the floors and galleries in both chambers.

 

U.S. senators debating highway legislation dropped their papers and ran from the Senate chamber.  House of Representatives lawmakers were in the midst of a vote when the evacuation order came.

 

Capitol police swiftly moved senators, aides, lobbyists and journalists toward Union Station, about two blocks away.  Police used bullhorns to order onlookers near the Capitol to "stay away from the building."

 

The incident prompted the U.S. government's joint operations center to send an "alert" to White House staff.  "Do not leave building. Proceed to interior halls and lower levels. Avoid windows," the alert read.

 

 

 

CLASS WAR REPORTS

 

 

Sadistic Assholes Attack Pregnant Woman With Taser:

“Is This What It's Come Down To?"

 

[Obviously plenty of work for our troops to do at home.  Obviously this is where the real enemies of freedom are going out of control while the troops are stuck in Iraq.]

 

May 10, 2005 By HECTOR CASTRO, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

 

She was rushing her son to school.  She was eight months pregnant.  And she was about to get a speeding ticket she didn't think she deserved.

 

So when a Seattle police officer presented the ticket to Malaika Brooks, she refused to sign it. In the ensuing confrontation, she suffered burns from a police Taser, an electric stun device that delivers 50,000 volts.

 

"Probably the worst thing that ever happened to me," Brooks said, in describing that morning during her criminal trial last week on charges of refusing to obey an officer and resisting arrest.

 

She was found guilty of the first charge because she never signed the ticket, but the Seattle Municipal Court jury could not decide whether she resisted arrest, the reason the Taser was applied.

 

Seattle police officials declined to comment on this case, citing concerns that Brooks might file a civil lawsuit.

 

But King County sheriff's Sgt. Donald Davis, who works on the county's Taser policy, said the use of force is a balancing act for law enforcement.

 

"It just doesn't look good to the public," he said.  [Make that man a general in Iraq.  He’s really figured things out.]

 

Brooks was stopped in the 8300 block of Beacon Avenue South, just outside the African American Academy, while dropping her son off for school.  [And how many pregnant white ladies do you suppose have been tasered in King’s County for not signing a traffic ticket?]

 

In a two-day trial that ended Friday, the officer involved, Officer Juan Ornelas, testified he clocked Brooks' Dodge Intrepid doing 32 mph in a 20-mph school zone.  [Taser? Fuck, give her the death penalty for that one.]

 

He motioned her over and tried to write her a ticket, but she wouldn't sign it, even when he explained that signing it didn't mean she was admitting guilt.

 

Brooks, in her testimony, said she believed she could accept a ticket without signing for it, which she had done once before.

 

"I said, 'Well, I'll take the ticket, but I won't sign it,' " Brooks testified.

 

Officer Donald Jones joined Ornelas in trying to persuade Brooks to sign the ticket.  They then called on their supervisor, Sgt. Steve Daman.

 

He authorized them to arrest her when she continued to refuse.  [What?  Hey, the death penalty is too easy.  Lots of torture first..  Oh, that’s what they ended up doing.]

 

The officers testified they struggled to get Brooks out of her car but could not because she kept a grip on her steering wheel.

 

And that's when Jones brought out the Taser.

 

Brooks testified she didn't even know what it was when Jones showed it to her and pulled the trigger, allowing her to hear the crackle of 50,000 volts of electricity.

 

The officers testified that was meant as a final warning, as a way to demonstrate the device was painful and that Brooks should comply with their orders.

 

When she still did not exit her car, Jones applied the Taser.

 

In his testimony, the Taser officer said he pressed the prongs of the muzzle against Brooks' thigh to no effect.  So he applied it twice to her exposed neck.

 

Afterward, he and the others testified, Ornelas pushed Brooks out of the car while Jones pulled.

 

She was taken to the ground, handcuffed and placed in a patrol car, the officers testified.

 

She told jurors the officer also used the device on her arm, and showed them a dark, brown burn to her thigh, a large, red welt on her arm and a lump on her neck, all marks she said came from the Taser application.

 

Brooks said, she remains shocked that a simple traffic stop could result in her arrest.

 

"As police officers, they could have hurt me seriously. They could have hurt my unborn fetus," she said.

 

"All because of a traffic ticket.  Is this what it's come down to?"  [Yeah, it sure has.  The “enemies domestic” are running the show.  Welcome to the occupied USA.]

 

 

“Karimov's Uzbekistan Is The Absolute Market Leader In Torture Right Now”

 

May 17th 2005 Martin Samuel, Irish Independent

 

ISLAM KARIMOV, President of Uzbekistan, boils people alive.  Why?  For the same reason Saddam Hussein put his enemies in a shredder: because, at the time, he could.

 

When the West is your pal you are able, quite literally, to get away with murder. And what murder!

 

It is a surprise Karimov has time for governing at all, once he has spent the morning formulating new ways to poach, grill, tenderise, smoke and flambe his citizens to death.  Boiling water, electrocution, chlorine-filled gas masks, drowning, rape, shooting, savage beatings, Karimov's Uzbekistan is the absolute market leader in torture right now.

 

The CIA would not shop anywhere else, which is why a mysterious Gulfstream 5 executive jet routinely delivers terrorist subjects from Afghanistan there for interrogation and, perhaps, percolation.

 

Live and don't learn would appear to be the moral to this story.  Karimov may be a vicious, murdering, malevolent despot, but he is our vicious, murdering, malevolent despot so, like Saddam, he can boil, shred and gas away until we tire of uses for him. Saddam was in the right place, sharing our hostility towards Iran at the right time, and so the West armed him to the teeth in the name of a cause.

 

Karimov, a nasty member of the regional Soviet hierarchy even before independence in 1991, stands beneath another flag of convenience.  He is frightened of Islam, rich in gas and oil, and within striking distance of Afghanistan.

 

An American airbase, which Karimov allowed to be built at Khanabad, now protects the American-owned pipeline carrying Central Asia's black treasure through Afghanistan to the sea.  Is it not strange that all the West's pals have the same thing in common?  Just as celebrities end up latching on to other celebrities, so the West always finds itself hanging out with guys who are knee-deep in four-star.

 

In 2002, the United States gave Uzbekistan $500m in aid (as opposed to $36m four years earlier) of which $120m went to the army and $79m to the notorious SNB, Karimov's secret police.

 

It was the SNB who boiled Muzafar Avazov, an Islamist activist, to death, having already beaten him severely and ripped his fingernails out.

 

The fate of his fellow prisoner Husnidin Alimov does not bear thinking about, considering the Government restricted viewing of his lifeless body.

 

It was also the SNB who came to collect Avazov's 63-year-old mother, Fatima Mukhadirova, sentenced to six years' hard labour for the crime of telling the world about the murder of her son.

 

(She was released the day before Donald Rumsfeld was due to visit, during which he praised "the wonderful co-operation we have received from the Government of Uzbekistan" over the War on Terror.)

 

So the freedom the precious coalition claims to be exporting around the world is not true freedom at all.

 

Rather, it is freedom being giving back, having conspired with sadists to take away. What the Iraqi people enjoyed at the polling booths in January was freedom on the allies terms, not theirs.   Considering the dreadful human toll, one would think Bush and Blair would then acknowledge that mistake by not repeating it, but no: there were no opposition parties in Uzbekistan's last election and there are no arms restrictions imposed by these Governments, either.

 

The West mould these little monsters such as Saddam, Karimov and General Manuel Noriega and they do the dirty work until such a time when it is no longer expedient, at which point the West extract revenge and dress it up as a moral crusade; or enduring freedom.  

 

As it stands, the War on Terror finds an exalted place in its ranks for a man whose idea of government is a dissident casserole.

 

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