www.albasrah.net

 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

5.21.05

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

 

GI SPECIAL 3B36:

 

 

A wounded American soldier receiving two bottles of serum albumin, just minutes before he was put on a helicopter.  I never found out if he survived or not.

 

I was so filled  with rage after returning from Vietnam, that for years I wanted to take every political hawk in the United States and rub their faces in the reality of the Vietnam War—just like someone would rub a puppy’s nose in the carpet after it wet on the floor.  The only difference is, the wet area on the carpet would be the blood of teenage boys.

 

Mike Hastie

U.S. Army Medic

Vietnam 1970-71

 

 

Photo and caption from the I-R-A-Q  ( I  Remember  Another  Quagmire ) portfolio of Mike Hastie, US Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71.  (Contact via address top left for more of his outstanding work.  T)

 

 

 

 

“We Shouldn't Be There

And We Shouldn't Have Gone There.”

British Iraq Vet Fighting Mad

 

In Iraq, he says, "it's become horrendous.  My friend who died just couldn't stand it any more.  We shouldn't be there and we shouldn't have gone there.  I think it's important that someone like me says that.  I think there should be someone who was a soldier saying that, not someone in a suit and tie, saying it for their own ends, but saying it for the sake of the men and women left out there; that they shouldn't be there, fighting an unjust war that was lied over."

 

[Thanks to NB who sent this in.  He writes: "We are betrayed, sold, lost!" - The French Army, 1917, after the failure of the Nivelle offensive. That may come again!]

 

May 4, 2005 The Guardian

 

Dave Corrigan was proud to be a British soldier serving in Iraq.  Then he was wounded and his nightmare began.  He tells Ed Vulliamy why his old comrades should all be brought home.

 

There are few soldiers who wear their medals and the blazer and tie of the Parachute Regiment with as much pride as Corporal Dave Corrigan after 22 years in both the regular and territorial army.  So when he was called up to go to Iraq in March 2003, at five days notice, "I was proud to be there, serving my country".

 

But then things started going wrong.  First, Corrigan was wounded, and endured what he calls a "catalogue of negligence" by the army, so that he is now suing the Ministry of Defence. Recently, his closest friend - "the brother I never had" (and whose identity he wishes to protect) - was killed in Iraq.  And now come the latest revelations about the dubious legality of the war: "We were sent there, and boys are coming back in coffins, all because of a massive lie", says Corrigan.

 

"I'm not politically minded in any way, but I've got a brain.  I'm not anti-regiment or anti-military, but now I can see that we should not have been there in the first place.  All this about Iraq in the news now, it's really getting under my skin.  Tony Blair has let me down, let the troops down, and let the country down."

 

Here comes the twist: Corrigan lives in Tony Blair's constituency of Sedgefield. At the last election, he voted for the prime minister; this time he will vote for Reg Keys, father of Lance Corporal Tom Keys, who was horribly killed along with five other Royal Military Policemen in Iraq in June 2003.  "And if Reg wasn't standing," says Corrigan, "I wouldn't vote at all."

 

While families have spoken out, the voices of soldiers who served in - let alone were wounded in - the war in Iraq are seldom heard.  Earlier this year the MoD refused requests by the Guardian to interview casualties. At one point, the authorities of the hospital in which most of the 900 wounded in Iraq are treated, at Selly Oak in Birmingham, were happy for the Guardian to visit a ward where military and civilian casualties are treated alongside one another.  But the MoD has vetoed their permission.

 

But Corrigan has now - finally - been medically discharged from the territorial army to which he has devoted most of his life, "and now that I can, I want to speak for the lads out there.  Let's face it, there are a lot of lads in a much worse position than me.  And there are many more who feel even angrier than I do about it all."

 

Corrigan joined the TA, attached to the 4th Parachute Regiment, in 1983.  He was named champion recruit and promoted to full corporal within three years.  From 1989 to 1991, he served as a regular, professional paratrooper, but resumed his territorial status in order to study for a degree in sports sciences.  He commuted from County Durham to Nottingham in order to "stay airborne" with the paras.  By 2001, Corrigan was working as an ambulance technician, and "changed my cap badge" to the Royal Army Medical Corps, 144 Parachute Medical Squadron.

 

As such, mobilisation to Iraq was compulsory - TA medical personnel are subject to conscription.  On his birthday, March 22 2003, Corrigan "went through the breach" from Kuwait into southern Iraq as a field ambulance commander with the 16th Air Assault Brigade.  "I was proud to be there. I was serving my country, and I was doing good; putting kids into the back of my ambulance with no limbs."

 

On the night of April 8 came a vicious fire fight at Adaiya, in southern Iraq.  Corrigan's regiment took 25 casualties in 45 minutes.  During a frantic operation to treat the injured - "I'll never forget chest-draining one soldier; we saved his life" - Corrigan fell from the ambulance, badly damaging his knee.

 

He was evacuated back to RAF Halton, near Luton.  There, what he calls his "nightmare" began.

 

No one had told Corrigan's wife that he was injured, let alone back.  After a two-minute examination, he was, according to his papers, "discharged to care of civil GP" - although mobilised TA soldiers are subject to the same care as regular soldiers, until discharged. Corrigan, carrying 100lb of battle kit, had to hitch-hike as far as Catterick, Yorkshire, then get a friend to take him home to Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

 

There followed a litany of neglect.

 

A baffled local GP referred him to the military wing of the Duchess of Kent hospital in Catterick (he had to organise and pay for all his own transport) where he was booked in for an operation three months hence.

 

He demanded one immediately and got it: most of the cartilage was removed.  But the knee worsened, and a second operation five months later revealed a huge tear in his cartilage.  Despite this, Corrigan was declared fit for a tough rehabilitation course at Catterick, in November 2003, with a view to returning to Iraq.

 

After three weeks of agony, his knee was so bad he was finally demobilised, in February 2004.  It was only when he appeared in front of a medical board in York in August that anyone in the army acknowledged the extent of the neglect.  The board's president, retired colonel Jimmy Weir, wrote a memo on the history of the case, saying Corrigan had become "desperate" and was "at the end of his tether".

 

By now, Corrigan had been forced to seek help privately, paying Bupa 2,100 for a third operation in October 2004, which removed the remains of the cartilage and found a crack in the patella.  It also confirmed grade four osteo-arthritis, which had been spotted but ignored during the first, military, operation.

 

The injury and subsequent neglect have dashed Corrigan's professional ambitions in the ambulance service.  Despite glowing references and the promise of promotion to full paramedic status, his employer, the North East Ambulance Trust, has had to restrict his activities: he cannot work at accident scenes, lift patients or drive for longer than 20 minutes.

 

Shortly after the third operation, Corrigan wrote to Blair.  The PM's agent, John Burton, passed on the case to the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, on December 15 2004.  "We have other cases of this coming from TA soldiers, and we find it worrying," added Burton.  Hoon replied to Blair on February 22 this year, apologising "that adequate transport arrangements were not provided" for Corrigan, and authorising backdated disability allowance that had not been paid.

 

Corrigan called the response "pathetic".  "I've asked three times to see Tony Blair," he says, "but it hasn't happened.  I'm surprised actually - I'm the only injured soldier in his constituency and he could have turned all this to his account.  But then, one of the amazing things is that Blair and Hoon have made no effort to visit the wounded, have they, not even in hospital?  I think that's disgusting."

 

Corrigan has formed strong views on his local MP.  "I'm happy to serve my country, but for the right reasons.  I've been amazed by all this that's coming out in the news, about how it was all a lie, that there were no weapons, that it was illegal.  I'm prepared to fight, but not because someone is so far up Bush's rear end.  He still can't accept it, can he?  I think he believes his own lies.  He seems to have brainwashed himself."

 

In Iraq, he says, "it's become horrendous.  My friend who died just couldn't stand it any more.  We shouldn't be there and we shouldn't have gone there.  I think it's important that someone like me says that.  I think there should be someone who was a soldier saying that, not someone in a suit and tie, saying it for their own ends, but saying it for the sake of the men and women left out there; that they shouldn't be there, fighting an unjust war that was lied over."

 

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

 

 

SOLDIER KILLED IN TAJI VEHICLE ACCIDENT AFTER IED EXPLOSION

 

May 20, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Number: 05-05-25C & UPI

 

LSA ANACONDA, BALAD, Iraq – One 1st Corps Support Command Soldier was killed in a vehicular accident following an improvised explosive device attack during a combat logistic patrol north of Taji at approximately midnight May 20.

 

The Soldier was evacuated to a nearby medical facility where he was pronounced dead.

 

The soldier was on a walking "combat logistic patrol" north of Taji, Iraq, early Friday when he was killed by a vehicle that swerved to avoid a roadside explosion, CNN reported.

 

 

Pinckneyville Soldier Killed In Iraq

 

5/20/2005 AP

 

26-year-old Pfc. Wyatt D. Eisenhauer, from Pinckneyville, has been killed in Iraq.

 

The Department of Defense says he died May 19 in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, on an escort mission in a HMMWV when there was an explosion on a bridge.

 

Private Eisenhauer was assigned to the Army's 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Fort Riley, Kan.

 

Friends described him as a music lover who was very generous and willing to help out people in need.

 

His mother -- Gay Eisenhauer -- says if her son saw someone with car trouble, quote, "He would stop whether he knew them or not."

 

Eisenhauer graduated from Pinckneyville High School in 1996 and later attended Southern Illinois University to study automotive technical training.

 

He enlisted in the Army early last year and was shipped to the Middle East of February of this year.

 

His mother says the family was informed late Thursday night that her son was killed.

 

 

U.S. Command News Release Didn’t Report Wounded Troops Yesterday:

Why Not?

 

May 19 By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer

 

Another American soldier was killed and five wounded late Wednesday in a rocket attack on Camp Ar Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad.

 

 

IED Wounds 3 U.S. Troops In Dujayl

 

May 19 By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer

 

Three American soldiers were injured when a roadside bomb blast struck their patrol in Dujayl, 35 miles north of Baghdad, military spokesman Sgt. David Rhodes said.

 

 

U.S. Baghdad Convoy Hit:

Casualties

U.S. soldiers unload a military truck after a roadside bomb blast destroyed a 5 ton U.S. military logistics truck and wounded an unspecified number of American soldiers traveling on a highway in southeastern Baghdad's Ghadir area, according to a military spokeswoman in Baghdad May 20. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

 

5/20/2005 Anatolia.com Inc. & By Abdul Hussein Al-Obeidi, Associated Press

 

A roadside bomb destroyed a U.S. military truck and wounded an unspecified number of American soldiers on a highway in southeastern Baghdad, said a military spokeswoman and police Lt. Mazin Saeed.

 

There were no immediate reports of casualties but a column of smoke could be seen rising over the area.

 

 

More Fighting Inside Baghdad

 

5/20/2005 Anatolia.com Inc.

 

Iraqi forces came under mortar round fire and US and Iraqi troops were involved in clashes around the Kadhimiya and Adhamiya neighbourhoods across the Tigris River.

 

 

Another Magic Moment

 

5/20/2005 Anatolia.com Inc., BAGHDAD

 

A car bomb killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded five people, three of them soldiers, on Friday near a military convoy in the Baghdad Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya, an interior ministry official said.

 

Iraqi forces called in air support after the car bomb attack, the US military said.

 

Two US gunships responded, striking a house with at least four rockets and setting it on fire, an AFP correspondent said.  It appeared the house was in the Sunni Muslim Adhamiya neighborhood.

 

The US military did not say why the house was a target.  [Shit, isn’t it obvious?  It’s a house.  It’s an Iraqi house.  There are Iraqis in the Iraqi house.  What more do you want?  Hey, if the Iraqis don’t like the Imperial occupation, they can go back where they came from.]

 

 

US Generals Say Iraq Outlook “Bleak”

“'I Think That This Could Still Fail”

“The US Mission In Iraq Could Collapse”

 

May 20, 2005 By Tom Regan, Christian Science Monitor

 

US military commanders from both Iraq and Afghanistan, in a series of briefings and interviews over the past week, gave downbeat assessments of the situations in both countries.

 

The New York Times reports that the generals "pulled back" from predictions made earlier this year that the US would be able to substantially reduce its troop level by early 2006. 

 

“Only weeks ago, in the aftermath of the elections, U.S. generals offered a more upbeat view, one that was tied to a surge of Iraqi confidence that one commander in Baghdad now describes as ‘euphoria.’”

 

Another senior officer in Baghdad, speaking to the Times on condition of anonymity, said unless the new Iraq government gives Iraqis something to believe in, the US mission in Iraq could collapse. 

 

“'I think that this could still fail,” the officer said at the background briefing, referring to the US effort in Iraq.

 

The officer said recent polls conducted by Baghdad University had shown confidence flagging sharply, down from an 85 percent rating immediately after the elections.

 

“For the insurgency to be successful, people have to believe the government can't survive,” he said.  “When you're in the middle of a conflict, you're trying to find pillars of strength to lean on.”

 

The Boston Globe reported Thursday that Gen. John Abizaid, chief of US Central Command, said one of the main reasons for the deterioration of the situation was the "slow progress of Iraqi police is delaying improvements in the country's overall security, forcing Iraqi military units to perform internal security functions."

 

The Washington Times also notes that the "somber public acknowledgement by senior Army officers this week is likely to come as a cold shock to the US public and to hawkish media commentators" who had assumed that the recent election of an Iraqi government would declaw the insurgency.

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

Recruiters Caught Lying Again:

Asshole Captain Defends The Fraud

 

5.20.05 Associated Press, NORTHAMPTON, Pa.

 

A woman said a recruiter told her the Army National Guard would send her to nursing school after basic training, but instead her unit has been told it has a 90-percent chance of going to Iraq.

 

Jessica Faustner, 18, of Bath, said she was deceived and wants out.  But Faustner is scheduled to leave July 6 for basic training and was told if she doesn't go, she'll be arrested.

 

"I finally made a decision about what to do with my life, and this is the total opposite of what I wanted," she said, tears streaming down her face.  "I thought I was going for schooling.  They knew that's what I wanted, so that's what they told me."

 

Capt. Cory Angell, a spokesman for the National Guard, denied any deception took place in Faustner's case.  Angell said she is suffering "nerves about basic training," but is bound by her four-year contract. "She took the oath and her parents signed the paperwork, and that's the facts," he said.

 

NEED SOME TRUTH?  CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER

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

 

 

The Whole War A Bag Job For Bush Buddies:

Iraqi Billions Looted So Far;

Dead Troops A Convenient Smokescreen For CPA & Other Bush Buddy Criminals

 

"The Iraqis will be paying for the screw-ups of the CPA for a long time," said a coalition adviser who requested anonymity.  "They have had to unwind what we did in that year, and that has made it tougher for them to recover."  [Wrong again.  The resistance is recovering Iraq very nicely, and these corrupt scum helped them do it, by making it so perfectly clear that all this war was about was looting Iraq.

Every dead and maimed troop was there to make that possible.  That was and is the mission, and nothing more, and that was always the mission, and there never was anything more.  T]

 

May 20. 2005 By T. CHRISTIAN MILLER, Los Angeles Times

 

WASHINGTON - Bill Keller knew that rebuilding Iraq's shattered telecommunications network meant throwing money into a black hole.

 

As the clock ticked down to the end of the U.S. occupation last June, reconstruction projects were hopelessly mired in delays, and financial controls at the Iraqi Communications Ministry appeared non-existent.  Yet instead of putting the brakes on spending, top U.S. officials urged that contracts be accelerated, Keller said.

 

"We were squandering the money we were entrusted to handle," said Keller, at the time was a deputy adviser to the Communications Ministry.  "We were a blind mouse with money."

 

This apparent indifference toward accountability when it came to spending Iraqi money was common among U.S. officials last year as they rushed to sign contracts in the waning days of U.S. control of Iraq, according to interviews and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

 

In recent audits and interviews, June 2004 has emerged as a month when money and accountability were thrown out the door.  The United States played the role of frenzied shopper, leaving the Iraqis to pay the bill.  [Wrong.  These thieves have names, addresses, they can be hunted down, they can and will face retribution, and they are not “The United States.”]

 

More than 1,000 contracts were issued by U.S. officials in June, about double the usual number.  Auditors disclosed this month that several U.S. officials are under investigation for possible embezzlement during the June spending blitz.

 

"There were lots of examples of bad management because of the chaos around the turnover," said Ginger Cruz, chief of staff for the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, who oversees U.S. spending in Iraq.  "There was a greater opportunity for fraud."

 

Senior officials with the Coalition Provisional Authority that ruled Iraq until June defended their actions. They acknowledged paperwork problems but said wartime circumstances demanded a focus on action, not accounting principles.  Most of the money, they said, helped prevent bloodshed by providing desperately needed goods and services for the Iraqis.  [What the fuck would you expect them to say, maybe “Yeah, we’re thieving pieces of shit, and we ripped off every million we could?”]

 

U.S. officials are now unsure [!] whether billions of dollars dispatched to Iraqi ministries to fund reconstruction projects ever reached their final destinations.  Schools and hospitals refurbished with hastily issued contracts have again fallen into disrepair.  The oil and power industries are in worse shape than during the Saddam Hussein regime.

 

Under the terms of a U.N. resolution, the United States was supposed to safeguard Iraqi money in a special account.  The money consisted of Iraq oil revenue and assets seized from Saddam's regime.

 

The United Nations, which had control over Iraqi oil proceeds, would deposit money into the fund as it cleared old debts.  In March 2004, the United Nations unexpectedly released $2.5 billion into the development fund.  [Another pack of murdering thieving scum.  These are the same noble UN politicians who imposed the sanctions on Iraq that killed a million Iraqis, while those on top of the Iraqi government, including Hussein and his psychopathic kids, the supposed objects of the sanctions, lived the life of millionaires, untouched by the slightest want or deprivation, like shit-eating ruling classes do everywhere in the world.  That’s why the Iraqi resistance considers UN personnel legitimate targets of war, and they are right to do so.]

 

Coalition officials suddenly had a massive windfall.  A former senior CPA official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity surrounding the issue said the new money sparked an intense internal debate:

 

Should the coalition spend it, or leave it for the new Iraqi government?

 

In the end, the official said the United States decided in consultation with the Iraqis that the country's needs were too urgent to wait.  There was also a belief that the Iraqi money could be spent more easily than the U.S. money, which was governed by far stricter contracting rules and oversight.  [More smoke.  Translation: more easily stolen now, by us.]

 

So the spree began.

 

On a single day in May, U.S. and Iraqi officials approved almost $1.9 billion worth of spending, including new oil, security and electricity projects.

 

Over the next few months, U.S. officials throughout Iraq placed more focus on launching projects, and less on accounting concerns.  E-mails, documents and interviews with officials who worked in Iraq at the time portray a mania to move money.  [Right.  Into their own bank accounts.]

 

"The Iraqis will be paying for the screw-ups of the CPA for a long time," said a coalition adviser who requested anonymity.  "They have had to unwind what we did in that year, and that has made it tougher for them to recover."  [Wrong again.  The resistance is recovering Iraq very nicely, and these corrupt scum helped them do it, by making it so perfectly clear that all this war was about was looting Iraq.  Every dead and maimed troop was there to make that possible.  That was the mission, and nothing more, and that was always the mission, and there never was anything more.]

 

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.

 

 

Thieving Major Locked Up

 

May 20 AP

 

War souvenirs shipped from Iraq to the United States by Maj. Gregory McMillion are shown.

 

A U.S. military judge sentenced McMillion to one year in prison and dismissed him from service May 20, 2005, for illegally shipping a small arsenal of automatic weapons and hundreds of other war souvenirs home from Iraq. (AP Photo/U.S.Air Force, File)

 

 

A Pentagon Play In Three Acts

 

ACT 1

 

Plate Saved Soldier’s Life:

He’d Like To Have It Back:

Rumsfeld Gets It, Gives Soldier A Coin For It:

Command Caught In Another Stupid Lie

 

May 09, 2005 By Joseph R. Chenelly, Army Times staff writer

 

A tank crewman with C Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, was standing watch from the turret of his M-1 Abrams tank near Baghdad when a shot rang out March 22.

 

Spc. Anthony Dowden, 22, remembers feeling a shove in the back that knocked him forward.

 

“I knew I had been hit, but I didn’t know how bad it was,” Dowden recalled thinking as he lowered himself into the tank.

 

The round hit the bottom edge of the Small Arms Protection Insert Dowden had in his body armor.  The tip pierced the SAPI and tore through Dowden’s desert combat uniform and brown T-shirt.

 

But the plate stopped the bullet just before it penetrated any skin.

 

“I had a bruised kidney, and it left a huge bruise on my back, but it saved my life,” Dowden said from Iraq by telephone.

 

But Dowden doesn’t have the plate anymore.  He turned it over for analysis, and a few weeks later, was ordered to Baghdad to present it to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was in Iraq on a surprise visit.

 

The plate had been turned into a plaque.  A 3rd Infantry Division patch and an engraved brass placard were affixed to the strike face.

 

At press time, no one in Rumsfeld’s office at the Pentagon knew what had become of it, but they’re looking.

 

Capt. Chris Midberry, S-1 for Dowden’s battalion, said the plate was sent up the chain for analysis shortly after the incident.

 

The battalion didn’t see the plate again until about three weeks later, on April 11, when division ordered Dowden to Baghdad International Airport.  He was to present the plate to the secretary of defense.

 

Dowden and 3rd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. William Webster presented the plate to the secretary.

 

“Thank goodness this sniper round hit this SAPI plate,” Webster was quoted in a Defense Department news release as saying to Rumsfeld.  “This is his SAPI plate that (Dowden would) like to present to you, sir, for all the things you do for our soldiers.”   [What an ass-kissing lying piece of shit.  “General” Webster has his head so far up Rumsfeld's ass he’s worn out his tongue.]

 

It’s not clear whose idea it was to turn the SAPI plate into a plaque.

 

Midberry said the decision was made above the battalion level.

 

According to the Defense Department release, Dowden said it wasn’t his idea to hand the plate over to Rumsfeld, “but it sounded like a good idea.”

 

Dowden said yes when his commanding officer asked whether he wanted to keep the plate.

 

“We filed some paperwork and my CO submitted it up, but the request was turned down,” Dowden said. “It would have been great to keep, but the Army wanted it.”

 

His father, Dean Frisbee, said that the plate would have made a great family heirloom.

 

Items such as the plaque presented to Rumsfeld typically become property of the Defense Department, said Col. Gary Keck, a Pentagon spokesman.

 

Dowden received a challenge coin from the secretary, but he later told Army Times the plate would have made a nicer keepsake.

 

“I understand it is government property,” Dowden said. “But I was kind of hoping I’d be allowed to keep it.

 

“If the secretary wanted to give it back, that would be great.”

 

 

ACT 2:

 

Whose War Trophy Is It?

Give The Kid His Plate Back:

He’s The One Who Earned It

 

May 09, 2005 Editorial, Army Times

 

For generations, soldiers have come back from war with mementos of time spent in battle:  The canteen that got them through long days in the Vietnamese jungle; the Lugar they wrested from the German who jumped into their foxhole; the torn flack jacket that showed they were among the lucky who survived the D-Day invasion of the Normandy beaches.

 

They are physical memories that mean something only to the individual soldier, something to point out to his grandchildren as a symbol of what he was in youth and what he went through for his country.

 

So when a 22-year-old specialist is thrown forward by a sniper’s bullet while standing in a tank turret in Iraq, he marvels at how the bullet pierced all the way through his SAPI plate and clothing, but caused him no more than a bruised kidney.

 

That bullet was meant for him and he knows it.

 

A few weeks later, the soldier sees his lifesaving armor again — now made into a plaque — as he’s giving it away to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “for all the things you do for our soldiers,” the general said in the ceremony.

 

Whose idea was that?  We may never know, but it’s a bad one.

 

It most likely wasn’t Rumsfeld’s idea.  And it certainly wasn’t thought up by anyone in Spc. Anthony Dowden’s battalion.

 

If the pierced armor plate is worthy of hanging up, it belongs on the kid’s wall, or his family’s wall back in South Carolina, until the specialist comes home.

 

It’s certainly not Rumsfeld’s souvenir, and it won’t mean anything to anyone if it’s stowed in a warehouse at the Pentagon or hung there in some hallway.

 

And it certainly can’t be used again by another soldier in combat.  If the bullet hole didn’t render it unserviceable, turning it into a plaque certainly did.

 

Give the kid his plate back.  He’s the one who earned it.

 

ACT 3

 

Shitstorm Works:

Rumsfeld Backs Down;

Plate To Go To Soldier

 

Letters To The Editor

Army Times

May 16, 2005

 

When contacting the defense press office about his May 9 article “Plate saved soldier's life; he'd like to have it back,” your reporter, Joseph Chenelly, never mentioned that Spc. Dowden was interested in keeping the small arms protective insert that was presented to (Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld) during his latest trip to visit soldiers in Iraq.

 

If this office had any knowledge of this soldier's desire to have the plate returned before Mr. Chenelly wrote his story, we would have certainly brought the issue to the attention of the secretary.  When the secretary learned that Spc. Dowden would like to have the plate, he readily agreed to make arrangements to have it returned.

 

Bryan Whitman

Deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs

Arlington, Va.

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

''Down, Down Israel;

Down, Down USA''

More Iraqis Demonstrate Against Occupation

FROM BAGHDAD...

(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

 

May 20, 2005 NAJAF, Iraq, By Abdul Hussein Al-obeidi, The Associated Press

 

Thousands of Shiites stomped on American flags painted on roads outside mosques in a show of anger over the U.S. presence in Iraq.

 

''Down, down Israel; down, down USA,'' chanted protesters following midday prayers at a Kufa mosque.

 

More than 10,000 protesters heeded a call by Muqtada al-Sadr to step on and drive over American and Israeli flags painted on roads outside mosques.  Many of the worshippers were chanting or waving the Quran, Islam's holy book.

 

His appeal came after U.S. and Iraqi forces detained 13 al-Sadr supporters during a raid this week on a Shiite mosque in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad.

 

Crowds attended angry services in the Shiite-dominated cities of Najaf, Kufa, and Nasiriyah.

 

Cops get into the act: Baghdad's Sadr City May 20, 2005. REUTERS/Kareem Akal

 

Some 2,000 people, carrying copies of the Koran, marched in protest on Friday in Nasiriyah, 375 kilometres south of Baghdad.

 

In Nasiriyah, about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, al-Sadr supporters clashed with guards at the headquarters of Dhi Qar provincial governor, Aziz Abed Alwan.

 

The fighting broke out before noon as about 2,000 members of al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Amy marched toward the cleric's local office, which is near the governor's headquarters.

 

Armed men guarding the headquarters shot toward the crowd in an apparent bid to disperse it, prompting retaliatory fire from al-Sadr supporters.

 

An official from Nasiriyah General Hospital, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said four policemen and four civilians were wounded. Another nine al-Sadr supporters were injured, said Sheik al-Khafaji, an official at al-Sadr's Nasiriyah office.

 

"We warn the government not to fight the al-Sadr movement because all the tyrants of the world could not beat it," Hazim al-Araji, the imam of a Kufa mosque, said during today's sermon.  "We say to the government:  Do not be a tyrant like Saddam or (former interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad) Allawi."

 

Another 5,000 al-Sadr supporters marched in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, the scene of fierce fighting last year between U.S. forces and fighters from his al-Mahdi Army.

 

.…TO BASRA

(AFP/Essam al-Sudani)

 

 

Saddam In His Underwear

 

THE STORY:

[Thanks to PB, who sent it in.  He writes: I don’t think I want to see Bush or Cheney in theirs.]

 

Photos of Underwear-Clad Saddam Published

May 20, By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer

 

British and American newspapers published photos Friday showing an imprisoned Saddam Hussein clad only in his underwear and washing his laundry.

 

The Comment:

 

May 20, 2005, Shailmanman, Anti-Allawi Group

 

oooooooooooooooooooo!!!

 

Saddam in his underwear??!!

 

Blush Blush Blush!!!

 

I can see it all now!  The resistance fighters are giving up and piling their arms in squares of cities all over Iraq.  They're blushing with shame!

 

The fight has certainly been brought below the waist.

 

OK, I could see nothing wrong with his underwear.  It looked clean, and practically new. And evidently he's got em.  That's more than can be said for certain of many.

 

And what will they do if a few resistance diehards manage somehow to overlook the underwear and go on fighting?  Shall we see pics of Saddam without his underwear?  Maybe that'll do it?

 

But ooooooooooooo!  The Geneva whatnots!  The US military promises to investigate! Nice!  They remembered!

 

 

More Silly Nonsense Bites The Dust, Maybe

 

[A theme repeated from time to time by various sources, ranging from U.S. occupation commanders and politicians to condescending deluded leftists, is that there is no political program expressing views from the Iraqi resistance.  This is part of the same racist propaganda that argues the Iraqis are too stupid, chaotic, etc. etc. to govern themselves.  Just a bunch of fanatics running around blowing things up, but crude fanatics, with no politics.

 

[Below is, oops, a resistance program.  This resistance program was put together at, oops, a meeting in Baghdad.  That says something about who controls Baghdad, as well as driving a stake through the slanders about the resistance lacking politics.

 

[There may well be other organizations with other, better programs.  That’s not the point.

 

[There are certainly criticisms to be made of this one.  One huge omission is anything about the needs of the Iraqi working class, what role they are to play, and how they have the unlimited right to control the wealth, including the oil wealth, their labor creates.  And of course those who developed this program may well form a government as cruel and predatory as the one that rules the U.S.A., composed of thieving merchants, power-hungry politicians, bought-and-paid-for preachers, business men, generals, and other assorted scum, like the one that took over in Iran after the revolution that overthrew the Shah, and re-enslaved the Iranian working classes.  Their Iraqi counterparts have their eyes on the oil wealth, and intend to have it for themselves, and fuck the working class.  Why not?  They believe in capitalism too, just like George W.

 

[Also, nothing is said here to confirm the unlimited right of the Kurdish people, whether in Turkey, Syria, Iran or Iraq, to complete self-determination and independence, if they choose that path.  This is a stupid omission, since it would drive a wedge between the pro-Occupation Kurdish leadership and the Kurdish people.  It’s clear (points #3 and #8) that those who drafted it intend to continue the oppression and repression of the Kurds.  Demanding self-determination for one’s self, while denying it to others, has ever been the hallmark of greedy nationalist assholes.

 

[That’s not the point either.

 

[The point is to refute the silly nonsense that defends a foreign occupation by ascribing political illiteracy to Iraqis.  And the Iraqi working class will have a far easier time exterminating local predators when the foreign predators are driven out, which is one of the best reasons of all for working people in the USA to oppose the occupation, and demand that all U.S. troops come home now, alive.  Our troops and the working people of Iraq are both our brothers and sisters.  Their enemies are our enemies, whether foreign or domestic.

 

[Their liberation is necessary for our own liberation.  And we have plenty of predators right here in the USA that urgently require our attention, and that of our troops, who belong here doing that, not over there doing service to the Evil Empire in Washington DC on behalf of those who send them to kill and die for corrupt purposes.  T]

 

Iraqi National Foundation Congress

Second Session - Baghdad 7 May 2005:

Concluding Statement

 

The Iraqi National Foundation Congress convened its second on Saturday 7 May 2005 in the Iraqi Law Association hall in Baghdad.

 

The gathering of anti-occupation political parties, movements and personalities discussed the current changing political scene and the conduct of the congress over its first year.

 

They addressed the events that preceded, accompanied and followed the elections, and the consequences of the continuing raids and attacks on Iraqi towns.

 

They noted the grave tendency to implant division and strife amongst the Iraqi people through the adoption of sectarian and ethnic quotas in formation of government bodies, and the mounting insecurity and chaos in all areas in the country.

 

The congress critically reviewed its activist, political, organisational and media roles, and resolved to uphold the patriotic principles expressed in the Charter of National Mutuality and Action, with emphasis on the following points:

 

1.                  The congress rejects the foreign occupation of Iraq and work to end it with all possible means, including annulling all its political, economic, educational and moral consequences.  The minimal demand of the current government should be a declaration of an unconditional schedule of withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq. This is the minimal condition for us to participate in the writing of the constitution, in the coming elections, and in any other political process.

 

2.                  The congress upholds the legal right of the Iraqi resistance in all its forms as the unalienable right of a people under occupation. The resistance constitutes, in all its kinds and options, an essential part of the national liberation movement.  The Iraqi resistance, together with the Palestinian resistance, and the peace, anti-globalisation, anti-hegemony movements in the world at large, are together the main barrier to the US-imperialist and Zionist plans to impose their will on humanity.

 

3.                  The congress upholds the unity of Iraq as a people and territory, and its Islamic-Arabic identity in cultural non-ethnic terms, upholding all the cultural and national rights of the components of the Iraqi people. To reject all plans that aims at undermines the sovereignty and leads to partition, especially in the federal form recorded in the administrative law.  

 

4.                  The congress condemns the security breakdown in Iraq, and call for combating organised crime, the assassination of scientists and the kidnapping of citizens.  It also condemns the suspect terror inflicted on innocent Iraqi lives and public utilities and property, declaring it is totally alien to the history and practices of people in Iraq.

 

5.                  The congress condemns all the suspect feuds that have flared of late, which threaten to saw seeds of strife and ethnic, religious and confessional hatreds.  It places the responsibility for these on the occupation forces, the interim governing council and the transitional government. It calls for efforts to uncover those behind them and for the formation of national committees to monitor such terrible moves, and to offer guidance about them.

 

6.                  The congress calls for the reconstitution of Iraqi armed forces under the command of Iraqi officers with well-attested qualifications, integrity and loyalty, following the removal of those who caused harm to the people and the country. One of the first steps in this respect is the re-activation of the long-establishes Iraqi military colleges, so as to rebuild the Iraqi army in the service of our people.

 

7.                  The congress affirms it rejection of the transitional administrative law which has been imposed by the occupation forces. This is an illegal document, internationally rejected through it not being part of any intentional decision.

 

8.                  The congress affirms its esteem and commitment to Arab-Kurdish brotherhood, and declares its readiness for dialogue with all and any of the Kurdish fraternal groups to arrive at a peaceful brotherly solution that guarantees the legitimate aims, and strengthens the unity and stability of Iraq.

 

9.                  The congress strongly condemns the escalation in the number of political prisoners whose numbers are now in the tens of thousands, and the indeterminacy of their terms of arrest. The torture to which many of the prisoners are subjected has those sections of international community who uphold human rights and individual freedoms, while the abuses include denying family visits, and other basic rights.  The congress appeals to all international organisations to support its own efforts to put a stop to these illegal and inhuman practices, to submit those accused of crimes to independent Iraqi courts, and to release all the innocent rest.

 

10.              The congress calls on the Iraqi army and police forces to carry out their patriotic duties  to ensure the safety and security of citizens with courage,  and to be steadfast in opposing plans to enrol them in actions against their compatriots since their charges are the citizens not the occupiers, 

 

11.              The congress declares its hope in establishing good neighbourly relations with all countries bordering Iran, and refusal to interfere in internal affairs of others. It warns against the use of Iraqi territory against its neighbours, especially Syria and Iran amongst other Arab and Islamic countries, and places the responsibility for the grave consequences of such action on the occupying forces.

 

12.              The congress declares it total support for the valiant struggle of the Palestinian people towards the attainment of its will and sovereignty.  It rejects the establishment of any political or normalisation links with the Zionist, usurper settler entity.

 

13.              The congress affirms its eagerness to widen its membership to include all patriotic movements, bodies and personalities which shares its principles, and its eagerness for national dialogue with all forces under the banner of Unity and Independence.

 

Long live free and independent Iraq, with sovereignty intact.

 

Long live inclusive, resolute Iraqi unity.

 

The Iraqi National Foundation Congress

Information Bureau

 

 

Assorted Resistance Action

 

May 19 By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer & By Abdul Hussein Al-obeidi, The Associated Press

 

A car bomb killed two Iraqi soldiers patrolling with U.S. troops in Baghdad, the U.S. military said.  American helicopters were called in for support and fired on insurgents in the area.  Police said four Iraqi soldiers were killed in what appeared to be the same attack.

 

A bomber also drove his car into an Iraqi army checkpoint in southern Baghdad's Dora neighborhood, killing one soldier and injuring eight [omitted yesterday from news reports], Iraqi army Capt. Firas Aied said.

 

A drive-by shooting late Wednesday killed Salah Niyazi, an official from the Youth and Sport Ministry, in Baghdad, police said.

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

Long Tradition Of Brass Assholes

 

From: Z

To: GI Special

Sent: May 20, 2005

 

General Littleton Waller on Haitians (statement evidently made during 1915-1934 US occupation of Haiti): "These people are niggers in spite of the thin varnish of education and refinement.  Down in their hearts they are just the same happy, idle, irresponsible people we know of."

 

 

Iran Leaders Aim Sharp Stick At Bush’s Eye:

Fuck With Us? We’ll Make Iraq Hell For You;

Stop Being An Evildoer

 

May 20, 2005 By Scott Peterson, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

 

In an interview with Reuters, Iranian Presidential front-runner Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Thursday said that Iran "cannot ignore" the US, and that Iran would "feel that America has given up its hostile policies" if the US "begin to adopt positive behavior rather than doing evil."

 

"Had the Islamic Republic of Iran exploited the situation in Iraq to interfere in Iraq's affairs and allow terrorists to enter Iraq from Iran," Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi added, "the situation in Iraq would have been much worse."

 

"When Iran has a friend in power (in Iraq), they want to see that government succeed.

 

And when Iran wants to flex its muscles in Iraq, it can," says Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst with the Brussels-based International Crisis Group

 

"The danger is if there is heightened tension between the US and Iran.  The battlefield for that will be in Iraq."

 

 

Repeat After Me:

“We Are Winning.

Democracy Is On The March”

 

2005-05-03 Danny Schechter, Common Dreams

 

There is a word missing in most of the coverage of Iraq.  It's a ghost-laden word that conjures up distressing memories that Washington and most of our media prefer to keep in that proverbial "lock box," hidden away in dusty archives and footage libraries,

 

The word is Vietnam.

 

Its absence was never more noticeable than in the coverage this past weekend of the 30th anniversary of the Vietnam war, marked in Vietnam with celebrations, but largely ignored in America where CNN led with the story of a bride who went missing when she had second thoughts.

 

In Vietnam, we called the "enemy" communists; in Iraq we call them foreign terrorists.

 

(Soldiers had their own terms, "gooks" in Vietnam, "ragheads" in Iraq)

 

In both counties, they was in fact an indigenous resistance that enjoyed popular support. (Both targeted and brutalized people they considered collaborators with the invaders just as our own Revolution went after Americans who backed the British.)

 

In both wars, as in all wars, innocent civilians died in droves.

 

In Vietnam, the Pentagon's counter-insurgency effort failed to "pacify" the countryside even with a half a million US soldiers "in country."  The insurgency in Iraq is growing despite the best efforts of US soldiers.  More have died since President Bush proclaimed "mission accomplished" than during the invasion.

 

The Vietnamese forced the US into negotiations for the Paris Peace Agreement.  When the agreement was continually violated, they brilliantly staged a final offensive that surprised and routed a superior million-man Saigon Army.  Can the Iraqi resistance do the same?

 

The BBC is wondering too, reminding us, "As the casualties mounted so did the questions about how much a threat the Vietcong could really pose.  Today another pre-emptive war against an enemy far from home has posed similar questions."

 

As the insurgency in Iraq escalates and continues to seize the initiative with the capacity to attack where and when it wants, is it unthinkable to suspect that another April 30th campaign of the kind that "liberated" Saigon is possible in Baghdad?

 

We have already seen "the fall" of Baghdad. Can it "fall" again?

 

Of course not!

 

Repeat after me.  We are winning.

 

Democracy is on the march.

 

 

 

OCCUPATION REPORT

 

 

Welcome To “Liberated” Iraq:

Journalists Thrown In Prison But Not Charged With Anything

 

20.05.2005 IFJ, Brussels

 

The International Federation of Journalists is demanding that US and Iraq authorities free eight Iraqi journalists, most working for western media, who were arrested in March allegedly because “they pose a security risk to the Iraqi people and coalition forces.”

 

“These arrests, without formal charges, are nothing short of intimidation,” said White.

 

“Journalism in Iraq is in the deepest crisis and the authorities should bring forward clear charges or release these journalists immediately.  The uncertainty and injustice of arrest and arbitrary detention is intolerable.”

 

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

IRAQIS UNAFRAID TO OPENLY SHOW LOVE FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH

5.20.05 Psyops Productions, Inc.  Najaf, May 20, 2005. (AP Photo/Mohammed Hato)

 

Here we see Iraqis showing their deep love for President George W. Bush and their joy in his benevolent stewardship of their benighted, backward, long suffering land.

 

Prime specimens of the simple, primitive, happy Iraqi tribal natives, possessing a natural sense of rhythm, these quaint and amusingly untrained young bucks were trying to dry a United States flag that had been soaked in a sudden rainstorm, when it accidentally caught fire.  But nothing could stop those big toothy grins, cheers and stormy applause for their beloved liberator, the fount of all wisdom and benevolent protection, George W. Bush, the sun and moon of the new, free, democratic Iraq.

 

 

Pro-Occupation Thugs Blowing Up Mosques

 

05/20/05 AFP

 

The Committee of Muslim Scholars, Iraq's main Sunni religious authority, earlier this week accused a Shiite militia of killing Sunnis, including three imams.

 

"It is the Badr Organization which is responsible for these killings.  I take responsibility for what I am saying," Hareth al-Dhari, spokesman for the Committee of Muslim Scholars, told a news conference.

 

The Badr Organization replaced the officially disbanded militia of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, one of two leading political parties in the United Iraqi Alliance, which now dominates the government.

 

Three Sunni organisations - the Committee of Muslim Scholars, the Iraqi Islamic Party, and the Waqf (religious endowment) - on Thursday called for the closure of Sunni mosques and a three-day "prayer strike", starting Friday evening, to protest against the recent killings.

 

 

So Much For That “Sovereignty” Bullshit:

“U.S. Military Officers” Slap Down Fake “Defence Minister”

 

05/20/05 AFP

 

Defence Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi earlier this week ordered Iraqi troops to keep out of mosques, saying such raids had "terrorized" the faithful.

 

US military officers suggested this would not stop Iraqi police from searching mosques if they were used by insurgents.

 

 

So Much For That “Sovereignty” Bullshit:

Bush Issues Decree On Control Of Iraq Oil

 

5.20.05 Associated Press

 

President George W Bush extended for another year an order that protects Iraq's oil assets from companies seeking compensation for losses under President Saddam Hussein's rule.

 

Last May, Bush declared a national emergency that shielded the Development Fund for Iraq from court claims against those assets and other interests. He expanded and modified the order in August and twice more last year.

 

Bush said he was extending the order because obstacles to orderly reconstruction of Iraq and the move toward democracy threaten US national security.  [Translation: Bush and the rest of the criminal gang in the White House want control of who gets the oil.  Reality: The thieves have no hope.  The Iraqi resistance has already seen to that.  Game over.  Time for the troops to come back home, where the true bad guys are in charge, for now, stealing everything that isn’t nailed down, and a lot that is.]

 

 

So Much For That “Sovereignty” Bullshit:

“U.S. Moves To Reassert Itself In Iraq Affairs”

 

May 20, 2005 By Paul Richter and Ashraf Khalil, L.A. Times Staff Writers, WASHINGTON

 

Facing an intensifying insurgency and a frail government in Baghdad, the Bush administration has reluctantly changed course to deepen its involvement in the process of running Iraq.

 

The change comes at a time when confidence in the leaders elected in January has been falling and U.S. officials have grown more pessimistic about how soon Iraqi security forces will be able to take charge of the counterinsurgency effort.

 

Although Iraqis are making the choices, the officials said, Washington has "red lines" that its partners must not cross.

 

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of rules that forbid many U.S. officials from talking publicly unless they restrict themselves to the language of prepared policy statements.

 

One official said that although the Iraqis were "the ultimate determinants of their own destiny … we have 140,000 troops here, and they are getting shot at."

 

"We're also spending a lot of money.  We don't dictate action plans," the official said.  "But we constantly remind them that we're working toward the same goal, and we have our 'red lines.'"

 

If printed out, this newsletter is your personal property and cannot legally be confiscated from you.  “Possession of unauthorized material may not be prohibited.”  DoD Directive 1325.6 Section 3.5.1.2.