GI SPECIAL 3B39:
[Thanks to Phil G.]
The Empire Sir"
May 21, 2005
"I hate to
be the bearer of bad news" my slightly over weight NCO that
resembled Homer Simpson told me.
being read your fifteen at sixteen hundred."
smile on my face twisted into rage. I couldn’t control
myself. From deep down in my guts a rumble began. In
snowballed up threw my chest pulling my innards with it. As
it passed my lungs it gathered a velocity and mass. In
light speed it shot through my throat and out my mouth. "FFFFFFFUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!"
bastards had me on the ropes.
Jeff and I had the rented a
car and it was packed for a trip to Paris for the weekend.
However, in four hours I had to report to the Company
Commander and First Sergeant to learn of my punishment on
the [deleted to protect ID] incident.
An Article fifteen is a
punishment that meant I could be losing the privilege to
leave base and I could be forced to do extra duty, lose
money, or even lose rank.
especially bad because I had been skipping formations and
shamming out of work enough to bring the attention of the
dark powers upon me. I had to sign a counseling statement
earlier that day. This had all been a planed hit on my last
weekend in Europe. I was doomed.
At Four O’clock Max and I were
side by side against the wall outside the XO’s office
waiting to report. Max went in first and came out soon
after with a confused look on his face. He told me that he
had to tell the Commander what happened and then they kicked
him out to discuss the matter.
He went back in for awhile.
When he came out he was smiling. "Restriction for seven
days" he said. That gave me some hope. Restriction sucked,
but hell it beats working all weekend from nine am to
midnight and six to midnight on work nights. That makes for
a shitty week.
It was my turn.
I knocked three times loudly
and waited for them to yell enter, which they did.
thinking how silly the Army is with their rules. They have
about twenty written pages on how to officially report to an
officer. I stepped a few feet in front of the Commander’s
desk stopped facing ninety degrees away from him. Then made
a sharp right face to a position of attention. A gave a
solid salute and did the ole "Specialist Jefferson reporting
as ordered Sir."
He swung a lazy salute back.
What a jack ass I thought.
The salute goes back to the
days of knights. It is supposed to represent a respectful
gesture of raising your helmed visor so you can look your
leader or fellow soldier in the eye as you pass.
It was a
courtesy that I had often poked fun at. Sometimes if we
were in a group we would spread out in a long line with
space between us. So if an officer passed us he would have
to salute four or five people in a row instead of one large
group. Or, we would say clever things like "Kill them all
Sir" "Long live the Empire Sir" or "Scouts eat their dead
I feel like
sometimes it is the wild west, where I have to draw my
salute before the officer does. But today it seemed
After I explained my story I
was deep in thought while the Commander mumbled away the
details of my infraction and why I was being screwed.
After a few droning Roger Sirs
I snapped out of it as he came to what my punishment
entailed. He scribbled down on my Article 15 "7 days rest."
and under that "7 days X-tra Duty".
Again that dirty word wiggled
in my stomach. It popped around a bit and I swallowed it
hard with what little pride I had left. The burning anger
heated my skin and made me dizzy. I signed the paper work
and gave another salute. This timing chiming the 2-63
Headquarters motto "No Slack Sir"
before saluting, forcing me to stand there with my hand up
to my eyebrow. I wanted to open my mouth and vomit fiery
lava all over him. I wanted to roar so loud he would be
crushed by the concussion. I wanted to summon thunderstorms
inside the room and see these ass holes shredded in
violence. All I could do is stare straight forward stiff as
the power tripping egotist stood over me smug and happy he
finally had me.
another half ass salute that resembled more like a motion
some royalty might give a serf to leave his presence.
tight quivering lip I turned and walked out. I imagined
slamming the door with enough force to knock him over, knock
his picture of him off the wall, and shattering his windows.
Instead I walked quickly outside into the cool air looked up
into heaven and shook my fist at the evil deity that damned
me. Then with a point I cursed him back "I will fucking get
you for this".
Without a co-pilot Jeff joined
the boys for another wild night in Nuremberg.
They were enjoying themselves
at the pub while I was doing various janitorial work around
the company. I swept, mopped and scrubbed an entire
building the size of a large collage dorm. My last days in
Europe and I am just a laborer slave cleaning up after
dirtiest creatures on the face of the planet, US Soldiers.
As we have lived in the most
miserable circumstances in the world we have learned to
exist happily in trash and stink. An Army barracks can
become pretty nasty.
since almost all of us are on a giant drinking binge to
expel the memories of war or catch up on the year of
partying that we feel we missed out on.
My fellow extra duty partners
were enjoyable. Being able to talk to some of the soldiers
that share the commands disdain and share my hatred for the
of that one kid, while injured in Iraq, went to Anaconda for
treatment and came down with something. He had such a high
fever that he didn’t realize were he was and left the tent
hospital. He was found two days later in an empty connex.
thought he left to his unit and his unit reported him AWOL.
The Mps took him in, all the while he was sick as a dog.
He was hallucinating and at one point threatened the Mps
and his Sergeants. But no one believed he was so sick he
could lose control like that. They just thought he was
faking and trying to get out of trouble for shamming in
Anaconda rather than returning to his units base.
also Williams who punched a kid down range. He is a PTSD
case, who hit his wife during leave when he thought she was
Amendola, who pissed hot on a urine analysis when we got
was a soldier that went AWOL because he said he had some
family issues to straighten out when he was home for leave.
He missed his flight, but came in a week later.
with problems and could use some help instead of being
punished and treated like criminals.
No P-town, no leaving base, no
having fun for a long nasty week.
I hate the
Army and the Army hates me,
have a friend or relative in the service? Forward this
E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and
we’ll send it regularly.
Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is
extra important for your service friend, too often cut
off from access to encouraging news of growing
resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed
Send requests to address up top.
County Soldier Injured In Iraq Dies
May 23, 2005 WKYC-TV
COUNTY -- Army 1st Lt. Aaron Seesan, a graduate of Massillon
High School, has passed away after being injured in a
He is the
son of Tom Seesan, the superintendent of the Stark County
Board of Retardation.
Seesan was 24.
FORCE FREEDOM SOLDIERS KILLED, ONE INJURED IN MOSUL
May 23, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-05-26C
MOSUL, Iraq –
Three Task Force Freedom Soldiers were killed and one was
injured in two separate attacks in Mosul May 22.
The injured Soldier was taken
to a combat hospital for treatment.
LIBERTY SOLDIER KILLED BY TIKRIT IED
May 23, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number:
TIKRIT, Iraq --
A Task Force Liberty Soldier
died of wounds sustained in an attack at 10:00 a.m., May 22
when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device was
detonated near a combat patrol, just north of Tikrit.
LIBERTY SOLDIER KILLED IN KIRKUK VEHICLE ACCIDENT
May 23, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-05-28C
TIKRIT, Iraq --
A Task Force Liberty Soldier
died of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident near Kirkuk
at about 2:30 p.m., May 22. The cause of the
accident is under investigation.
Lewis Soldiers Die In Separate Incidents
May 23rd By Matt
Misterek; The News Tribune
MOSUL, Iraq – Three soldiers
based out of Fort Lewis were killed in a pair of enemy
attacks that occurred early Sunday morning, Stryker Brigade
of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division was shot to death
by insurgents while he was helping clear a house during a
search. One assailant was killed at the scene; a second
person was injured and detained.
Stryker soldier died and two others were wounded on an
overnight mission when a roadside bomb exploded near their
vehicle. One of the men was gravely injured and died Sunday
The deaths marked the 29th,
30th and 31st fatalities to beset Fort Lewis’ second Stryker
brigade since it deployed to Iraq in October.
That the incidents came within
a few hours of each other was devastating to brigade leaders
after a span of more than three weeks without an attack in
which a Stryker soldier was killed.
TROOPS WOUNDED IN RAMADI
Holes in a
U.S. armoured vehicle which was hit Sunday night by a
roadside bomb in the al-Tamim area of Ramadi May 23, 2005
wounding three U.S. soldiers. (AP
Soldiers Wounded In Samarra
May 23, 2005 AFP & AP
In Samarra, 125 kilometres
north of Baghdad, three bombers struck early Monday outside
a US military compound in the city.
car bombs at the perimeter walls, while the third, wearing a
jacket packed with explosives, ran up after the initial
attack in an attempt to kill soldiers emerging from the
soldiers were injured in the attacks, the US military said.
Professional Resistance Attacks Slaughtering Mercenaries:
Have Hit The Bottom Of The Barrel”
Security specialists said the terrorists appeared to
have calibrated mortars in advance of the attack,
permitting direct hits on the five-vehicle convoy just
as it hit a series of hidden bombs laid out in a "daisy
chain" along the road.
May 23, 2005 By Sharon Behn,
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
insurgents are conducting increasingly sophisticated and
lethal attacks on the private security companies.
contractors and officials point to the surprising level of
planning and brutality involved in a May 8 attack on the
British security company Hart Security Ltd., which provides
protection to convoys, homes and individuals in Iraq.
of 18 Iraqi and international guards were killed in the
attack, in which insurgents ambushed a convoy escorting
cargo for the U.S. forces from Baghdad to a base in al-Asat,
about 90 miles west of the city.
resistance from the security team ended, the attackers moved
in to finish off the wounded, then piled several of the
bodies on top of a bomb so they could not be removed without
setting off an explosion, sources said.
specialists said the terrorists appeared to have calibrated
mortars in advance of the attack, permitting direct hits on
the five-vehicle convoy just as it hit a series of hidden
bombs laid out in a "daisy chain" along the road.
The militants then managed to
split up the convoy and systematically wipe out members of
each smaller component.
Such attacks "have become much
more organized and much more complex," said one retired
special-operations officer working as a security manager for
a firm operating in Iraq.
"In 2003, they were random
small-arms fire. Then they escalated to roadside bombs --
sometimes command-detonated or with tripwires. Then they
escalated to car bombs that would run a ramp and pull into a
convoy or traffic circle.
they are very well organized, rehearsed, orchestrated, using
a combination of rocket-propelled grenades, (roadside bombs)
set in a daisy chain to get the wounded as they exit the
vehicles, heavy machine guns, small arms and hand-thrown
grenades," he said.
At least 93 security operators
have been killed in Iraq since April 2003, icasualties.org
reported. The Web site showed the number of contractor
deaths spiking in April with 20 killed, the most since 31
contractors died in August 2004. So far, seven have been
killed this month.
Security operators think the
numbers are higher. About 130 private security companies,
each with hundreds of operators working in Iraq, are hired
to defend personnel, facilities and convoys.
also say recruiters have hit the bottom of the professional
barrel and are hiring anyone who knows how to handle a gun.
companies are making huge profits
providing clients with a line of armored cars,
low-visibility cars, armed guards known as "shooters," and
With the intensity and
sophistication of terrorist attacks increasing, and with the
constant fear of kidnapping, the cost of security has
mushroomed to account for 16 percent of the total
Death Rate In Afghanistan Higher Than In Iraq
May 23, 2005 By Robert Burns,
American commanders say the
Taliban is a viable resistance force in Afghanistan even
three years after the Islamic radicals fell, but the U.S.
military’s fight to undermine their influence and bring
stability is showing signs of progress.
assessment follows a stretch in which U.S. troops in
Afghanistan have been killed at a higher rate than those in
Iraq, where there are about eight times as many American
soldiers and where the situation is widely perceived as more
proportion of their total numbers, U.S. troops in
Afghanistan recently have been dying at a slightly higher
rate than in Iraq, where there are about 135,000 troops.
Since early March, 27 American
military personnel have died in Afghanistan, according to
Pentagon figures, or about 1.6 per 1,000; the latest death
came from a bombing Saturday, with a purported Taliban
spokesman claiming responsibility.
During the same time period in
Iraq, at least 124 have died, a rate of about 0.9 per 1,000.
During a visit to Afghanistan
in April, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was told by
the top commander there at the time, Lt. Gen. David Barno,
that the capabilities of the Afghan police ranged from
“pretty good to extraordinarily bad.”
said that in some parts of the country the Taliban are still
able to intimidate villagers enough to gain their tacit
support. [Translation: Popular support for Afghan
resistance to foreign occupation is growing --- a few
thousand year-old Afghan tradition, most recently expressed
in the defeat of the Russian occupation army. The Bush
occupation is weaker. Time to come home.]
Soldier Wounded In Paktika:
Demand End Of U.S. Occupation Arrests:
Karzai To Fuck Off
May 23, 2005 By Daniel Cooney
& Jennifer Loven,
Saturday’s fighting in eastern
Paktika province left one U.S. soldier slightly wounded.
Spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry O’Hara said rebels had sneaked
across the border from Pakistan and opened fire on American
and Afghan forces.
After a winter lull, loyalists
of the ousted Taliban regime and other militants opposed to
Karzai’s U.S.-backed government have ramped up their
President Hamid Karzai called for an end to U.S. raids on
Afghans’ homes unless the government is notified
beforehand. The Defense Ministry said all arrests should
now be made by Afghan authorities.
Bush said Monday that U.S. troops in Afghanistan will remain
under U.S. control despite Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s
request for more authority over them.
Should Die In Baghdad? For What?"
23 May 2005 By Bob Herbert,
The New York Times
Potential recruits are staying
away from the armed forces in droves. Most Americans want
no part of the administration's hapless venture in Iraq.
A woman in
Connecticut with two college-age sons said to me recently:
"My boys should die in Baghdad? For what?"
Now the military is in a fix.
Many of the troops have served multiple tours in Iraq and
are weary. The insurgency remains strong, and the Iraq
military has proved to be a disappointing ally.
Now Support The War
percent of Americans think the war in Iraq is "worth
fighting" and only 42 percent think it's going well.
22 May 2005, Frank Rich, The New York Times
TRUTH? CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
the truth - about the occupation or the criminals
running the government in Washington - is the first
reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more
than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance
- whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or
inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling
Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class
people inside the armed services together. We want this
newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize
resistance within the armed forces. If you like what
you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in
building a network of active duty organizers.
join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the
occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)
Disease Hits Hawijah Troops:
Country Wants To Either Sting You, Bite You Or Kill You”
article says: “The skin version is nasty, but it won’t kill
you; the other, which manifests internally, can prove fatal
if not properly treated.”
article, as usual, confuses the problem. There are no
different “versions.” The infection is produced by a
parasite. The internal infection is from the same parasite,
migrating from the skin infection to the internal organs,
where it kills.
because the skin infection has cleared up, without further
testing there is no guarantee that you do not have the
parasite internally, where it will kill you.
what: the Army isn’t exactly letting that news be known.
troops knew that, they might demand testing and further
treatment if the tests are positive for the parasite
internally. And that costs money, and means the soldier
leaves the unit for treatment. Oops. Can’t have that.
Let’s just pretend if the skin clears up, everything is
fine. If the soldier dies ten years later, no loss for the
Pentagon, right? T]
May 23, 2005 By Kevin
Dougherty, Stars and Stripes
HAWIJAH, Iraq —
Last year, two out of three
soldiers sent to Hawijah in north-central Iraq caught a
pesky little bug called sand fly fever.
“We’re kind of holding our
breath,” said Army Maj. John Dubose, the battalion field
surgeon for Tasks Force Grizzly, the unit now assigned to
the area. “We’ve had a mild summer so far.”
Technically, summer hasn’t
started yet. But as U.S. troops who have deployed to Iraq
know, the seasons down in this part of the world are
somewhat of a mirage. Basically, it’s divided between cool
and varying degrees of hot, from Arizona dry to oven bake.
The phlebotomus papatasi, the
entomological term for sand fly, thrives in the heat. Sand
flies like standing water, but they don’t need it to live
and reproduce. Brush and even trash bins will do, according
to Dubose, an internist and pediatrician who serves in the
South Carolina National Guard.
Dubose talk, Hawijah must seem like heaven to a sand fly.
No other locale in Iraq reportedly has as high of an
incident rate of sand fly fever as the area around Hawijah.
“They’re all around,” said
Staff Sgt. John Crawford, a team leader at the aid station
on McHenry, the main forward operating base for 1st
Battalion, 163rd Infantry Regiment.
officials have taken extraordinary steps to lower the
incident rate of sand fly fever, which is currently at about
7 percent, according to Dubose. Nearby
brush has been burned, standing water gets treated with a
solution that’ll kill the pests and trash cans get emptied
on a regular basis.
Soldiers also like to put
their air conditioning units — if they’re lucky enough to
have one of those small hardened shelters — on full blast.
Better to freeze than to face them flies, they figure.
In addition, health officials
are strongly urging the more than 500 soldiers at the base
to treat their uniforms and bed nets with permethrin, and to
use repellent lotion on exposed skin. Those steps plus
properly wearing their uniform to cover as much skin as
possible can decrease bites by 95 percent.
“It’s all about establishing a
perimeter zone around your own body to keep them away,”
The more a person gets bitten,
the more susceptible they are to sand fly fever. Symptoms
can include a 103-104 degree fever, headaches, chills,
muscle aches, malaise and nausea. Fortunately, the fever is
On average, sand fly fever can
sideline a soldier from three to 14 days, Dubose said. So
an outbreak in a war zone like Iraq isn’t mission friendly.
outbreak “had a huge impact on operations,” 1st Lt. Eric
Rosenbaum, a medical battalion leader, said, referring to
the previous unit.
from a sand fly can also lead to a potentially fatal
disease known as leishmaniasis, which has an incubation
period of up to one year. The skin version is nasty, but
it won’t kill you; the other, which manifests
internally, can prove fatal if not properly treated.
country wants to either sting you, bite you or kill you,”
said Sgt. 1st Class Bill Unger.
Carolina National Guard unit based 80 miles southeast of
Kirkuk had the misfortune of being in an area where sand
flies carry the parasitic disease. Of the 180 soldiers at
forward operating base Rough Rider, now closed, there were
15 documented cases of leishmaniasis, Dubose said.
“It created quite an uproar,”
And all the clamor was caused
by a tiny brown female fly that is one-third the size of a
mosquito, makes no noise and needs blood to fertilize her
There is hope on the horizon
to minimize the destructive nature of this puny, perky pest.
The Israeli medical community
is testing a topical cream to treat the cutaneous (skin)
version of leishmaniasis, Dubose said. That’s significant
because this type, while not fatal, can cause lasting sores
that leave scars.
[Here’s the stupidity that can kill you. See above. There
is only one “type. One parasite. This is not rocket
science. And Dubose is a pediatrician. Case closed.]
Anti-Insurgent General Killed By Insurgents
[Thanks to D, who sent this
May 23, 2005 By PAUL GARWOOD,
(AP) & By Michael Georgy, Reuters Limited & The Guardian &
Carol J. Williams, The Los Angeles Times & May 24, 2005 AFP
carloads of guerrillas killed
general who was one of the key figures in charge of
controlling the insurgency, Maj. Gen. Wael al-Rubaei, the
new commander of a special operations room recently set up
by the ministry for national security to coordinate the
fight against insurgents, and his driver in
Baghdad's latest drive-by shooting.
bomb exploded in the town of Tuz Khurmatu south of the oil
city of Kirkuk, killing the brother of a senior official in
one of Iraq's main Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan, police said. The official, Mohammed Mahmoud
Jigareti, was wounded in the blast. Both
men had been in a car that was entering the mayor's office
compound when the bomber struck.
two Iraqi soldiers were killed and one was wounded when
insurgents fired 10 mortar bombs at a joint army-police
base, Army captain Salam Hadi told AFP.
Baghdad's southern Dora neighbourhood, guerrillas killed a
policeman as he was heading to work at a local court,
bombs killed an Iraqi policeman near the northern city of
Bad Lunch Break
Restaurant Blown Up:
Collaborator Cops & Troops Open Fire On Each Other
The scene at the site of a car
bomb which exploded at lunchtime outside the popular
Habayibna restaurant. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
May. 23, 2005 Associated Press
A car bomb
exploded Monday at a Baghdad restaurant popular with police,
killing at least seven people and wounding at least 113.
bomb in the busy Talibia neighborhood was detonated outside
the Habayibna restaurant at a time when police officers
usually meet there for lunch, said police Lt. Zaid Tarek.
Several cars parked on the street were
ablaze and bodies could be seen on the street.
"The car was parked in front
of the restaurant before it exploded," police Lt. Zaid Tarek
said. He said the explosion occurred at 2:15 p.m. (1015
GMT) when police officers usually meet at the restaurant for
Casualties were taken to three
Baghdad hospitals, including three dead and 54 injured at
al-Kindi hospital, according to admission records.
chaos outside al-Kindi, where police and army soldiers
exchanged gunfire for no apparent reason. At least one
police officer was injured.
DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
Iraqi In The Country?”
May 23, 2005, Marcus Hale,
Executive Editor Southeast Asia News
been defending their country from professional military
plunderers such as America, England, France, Russia and Iran
for decades and are not afraid to die protecting their
families, their culture and their possessions.
have they? They have now adapted their war into a
nationwide guerrilla resistance. This is virtually
impossible to overcome unless the Americans kill every Iraqi
in the country.
Mass, Non-Exclusionary Antiwar Movement”
[Excerpts from a longer
article: International Socialist Review Issue 41, May–June
[of Americans] (53 percent according to an April CNN/USA
Today/Gallup poll) says the situation in Iraq “was not worth
going to war over.” And Bush himself is even less popular.
Now only 44 percent of Americans now approve of his
administration, the lowest for any reelected president in
living memory, according to a mid-April Harris poll. In
fact, everything Bush has attempted—from privatizing Social
Security to his cynical manipulation of the Terri Schiavo
case—has only undermined his support.
the war has been thoroughly discredited in the minds of
millions of Americans, some sections of the antiwar movement
continue to retreat since Bush’s electoral victory.
Some earlier opponents of the
war in Iraq, eager not to offend an imaginary “ordinary
American,” have moderated, if not abandoned, continued
opposition to the occupation. Moveon.org, an organization
that stumped for prowar John Kerry, finally took the next
logical step and shifted its focus away from criticizing
Bush’s Iraq policies to highlighting only domestic issues.
The Education for Peace in
Iraq Center (EPIC), an organization that had been more
clearly identified with opposition to the Iraq occupation,
recently declared its opposition to the demand “Troops out
now.” According to EPIC’s executive director Eric
Gustafson, “An immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is not
responsible. The only way out of Iraq is through sustained
multilateral nation building.”
Anthony Arnove, from the ISR’s
editorial board—who, along with several others, resigned
from EPIC’s speakers’ bureau in protest over Gustafson’s
statement—argued in an April 6 debate with Gustafson:
the people who spoke out against this invasion, marched on
February 15, who opposed sanctions for years before that now
are suggesting that U.S. troops should stay in Iraq for the
benefit of the Iraqi people, that the people who have been
carrying out these abuses, these crimes, and have been
involved in torture and killing, and, before that, in
sanctions on Iraq, that the U.S. government, the military
troops sent into Iraq should stay for the benefit of the
“Thus, we confront a strange situation of the antiwar
movement mobilizing against the war and then supporting an
occupation that is a direct result of that war. I think
it’s an incoherent position and one that we have to
U.S. has the right to occupy Iraq to determine Iraq’s future
or Iraqis have the right to determine their own future. It
is not possible to hold both positions.
This is not a new debate.
During the early years of the anti-Vietnam War movement,
there were sharp debates around the slogans “negotiations
now,” or “out now.” At the 1965 mass Vietnam Day teach-in
held in Berkeley, California, socialist Hal Draper debated
liberal peace activist Robert Pickus. According to James
Petras, who edited a collection of the speeches from the
“[Pickus] said that he was opposed to U.S. violence in
Vietnam, but he declined to support the withdrawal of U.S.
soldiers. To oppose American intervention in Vietnam, as
Hal Draper pointed out in his debate with Pickus, is to call
for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. To call for it
“later” (under whatever pretense) is to legitimatize
violence in the here and now—since one cannot impose utopian
dreams on what the U.S. army does in fighting a war of
conquest. One would not be too irreverent to refer to this
type of “peace” approach as “War now—peace later.”
Draper’s argument for
immediate withdrawal could easily be addressed to a
formally opposing the occupation, a national antiwar
organization United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) is not
immune from the same logic.
UFPJ’s constituent organizations spent last year campaigning
for pro-war John Kerry, to the detriment of the movement.
Rather than concluding that campaigning for Kerry was a
mistake, these organizations have followed the Democrats in
searching for votes in America’s “conservative heartland.”
As a result, UFPJ and its close ally, Progressive Democrats
of America (PDA), have adopted a political perspective
emphasizes appealing to Democratic politicians, most of whom
support the continued occupation of Iraq.
Even the PDA-supported Rep.
Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), who sponsored a resolution calling
for the withdrawal of U.S. forces said:
“Let me be
clear: I am not advocating a cut and run strategy. It would
be irresponsible for the United States to abandon the Iraqi
people. We must play a role in facilitating their
transition to stable democracy. We ought to work with Iraq,
the Arab League and the United Nations to create an
international peacekeeping force that would keep Iraq
It is hard to spot a
difference (if there is one) between Woolsey’s position and
tailoring a political appeal so that it is acceptable to
Democrats and liberals has the corollary effect of
declaring as “unacceptable” other political positions
and perspectives in the antiwar movement.
rather than encouraging debate and discussion about
these issues within the movement, the (usually
unelected) minorities directing different antiwar
formations have used bureaucratic maneuvers to exclude
and marginalize others who don’t share their political
instance, UFPJ leaders in New York City refused to endorse
(and therefore, discouraged its supporters from attending)
the March 19 demonstration in Central Park—the main protest
in the country’s largest city on the second anniversary of
the invasion—in part, they said, because “some of the early
materials for this protest” contained “language about
supporting the Iraqi resistance...a position strongly
opposed by some groups in our coalition.”
doubt, these objections came from pacifist groups tied
to UFPJ; but it is also the case that some members of
UFPJ’s leadership support the Iraqi Communist Party
(ICP), which has collaborated with U.S. occupation by
accepting positions in the Bremer and Allawi
is the experience of Carl Webb. Webb is a soldier
refusing to ship out to Iraq on grounds that he
considers the war “an unethical and illegal aggression”
for “oil and profits.”
members of Military Families Speak Out, an important
antiwar organization, cancelled Carl’s April 6 speaking
engagements on the West Coast on the grounds that his
Web site expressed support for Iraqis right to resist
the U.S. occupation. In a similar vein, earlier this
year, the MFSO declined to speak in Boston on the same
platform as Howard Zinn and Ralph Nader—two of the
country’s leading voices against the war—on the grounds
that they were too radical.
This imposition of a political
litmus test on participation in the movement has its
historical precedents in the early anti-Vietnam War
movement, which carried an overhang of 1950s McCarthyism.
In contrast to liberal peace organizations, Students for a
Democratic Society (SDS) established an important principle
of “non-exclusion” of communists, socialists, and other
radicals from the ranks of antiwar activists. Respected
long-time peace activist A.J. Muste outlined the political
importance of non-exclusion to the movement:
practice, a non-Communist coalition is in danger of becoming
an anti-Communist one, though it may desire to avoid that.
In any event, its program will in the long run tend to be
moderate and its resistance to the war restrained in
policy. It will tend to seek allies to the right. If by any
chance its resistance to the war policy should be stiffened
and become radical then it will find itself classified with
the left, the “enemy,” anyway and in its actual withdrawal
of support from the Administration and from the war actually
will be in that revolutionary and noble position.”
Perhaps antiwar movement
leaders who decided to exclude radicals on political
grounds, real or imagined, believe that they are acting in
the best interests of the movement. But they are wrong.
As Muste points out, the end
result of this censorship is to tear out the guts of the
movement—to remove from its center the people who are the
most consistent and passionate opponents of the war.
And let’s be clear: the effect
isn’t only directed at self-proclaimed radicals and
socialists. It also stifles the emergence of activists with
a deeper and more thoroughgoing understanding of the war and
what it will take to end it.
certain forces in the antiwar movement treat Carl Webb as
persona non grata, what does this say to the thousands of
soldiers in Iraq today who share Webb’s views?
give them confidence to speak out and to organize against
The radical historian Manning
Marable wrote that anticommunism in the 1940s and 1950s
“retarded the black movement for a decade or more.” We
shouldn’t have to wait another decade to end the atrocity in
Even the whole issue of how
one supports the right of Iraqis to self-determination
should be a topic of debate and discussion in the
movement—and not a litmus test to determine who is entitled
to speak on behalf of the movement.
Many of the
300,000 Iraqis who demonstrated peacefully in Firdos Square
on April 9 were followers of the fundamentalist Shiite
cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. They had fought battles against
U.S. troops in Najaf and other cities. Are we to determine
that a peaceful demonstration is “good” resistance to the
occupation, but that fighting against occupation troops when
they attack your cities and homes is “bad” resistance?
is a long history of legitimate resistance, including
armed resistance, to colonization and military
occupation—from the American colonists who fought the
British in 1776 to the Native American fighters who
stood up against the colonization of their lands to the
Vietnamese resistance to the “American war” in the
Unfortunately, instead of leaving it to the Iraqi people
to decide how they will resist the occupation, leading
spokespeople for the movement, such as Rahul Mahajan of
UFPJ, have taken to referring to resistance fighters as
“extremists”—a characterization that echoes that of the
A movement in which minorities
seek to bureaucratically control what should be an
_expression of ordinary people’s commitment to end the war
cannot develop the kind of depth and breadth it needs to end
It cannot accommodate to the
positions of the prowar Democratic Party or else like
MoveOn.org it risks abandoning its principled opposition to
the war and occupation.
be built on the basis of accepting some version of U.S.
occupation, and it cannot be built without the open and
democratic structures that allow it to breathe and grow in
an atmosphere of open inclusion and serious debate and
The time has come for an open
and honest debate in the antiwar movement about what kind of
movement we need and how we can build it.
To ISR, the critical issues
reaffirm that the movement’s key demand should be “Troops
need to build a mass and grassroots movement that maintains
its organizational and political independence from the
should seek to build an open and non-exclusionary movement
that debates differences within it rather than seek to
must support resistance inside the U.S. military, especially
those brave soldiers who have spoken out and have refused to
participate in the occupation and subjugation of another
people. We also need to strengthen resistance at home, for
example, in the fight to get military recruiters out of our
high schools and colleges.
must support self-determination for Iraqis. Only they can
determine the future of their country. And only they can
determine how they will resist its colonial occupation.
must reaffirm our support for our own right to dissent at
home and to defend the rights of Arabs and Muslims whose
civil liberties have been under continued assault. We
believe these points provide an outline for a stronger
antiwar movement—something that we crucially need today.
What do you think?
Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are
especially welcome. Send to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Name, I.D., withheld on
request. Replies confidential.
IN JOURNALISM AWARD FOR NEWSWEEK
Rumsfeld pointed the finger at Newsweek and said,
"People lost their lives. People are dead." Maybe
Rumsfeld was upset that Newsweek was taking away his
job. After all, it's hard to beat Rummy when it comes
to making people dead.
5.18.05 by Greg Palast,
appalling that this story got out there," Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice said on her way back from Iraq.
appalling to Condi is that the US is holding prisoners at
Guantanamo under conditions termed "torture" by the Red
Cross. What's not appalling to Condi is that prisoners of
the Afghan war are held in violation of international law
after that conflict has supposedly ended. What is NOT
appalling to Condi is that prisoner witnesses have reported
several instances of the Koran's desecration.
appalling to her is that these things were REPORTED. So to
Condi goes to the Joseph Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda
But I don't want to leave out
our President. His aides report that George Bush is "angry"
about the report -- not the desecration of the Koran, but
the REPORTING of it.
And so long
as George is angry and Condi appalled, Newsweek knows what
to do: swiftly grab its corporate ankles and ask the White
House for mercy.
was no mercy. Donald Rumsfeld pointed the finger at
Newsweek and said, "People lost their lives. People are
dead." Maybe Rumsfeld was upset that Newsweek was taking
away his job. After all, it's hard to beat Rummy when it
comes to making people dead.
for the record: Newsweek, unlike Rumsfeld, did not kill
anyone -- nor did its report cause killings. Afghans
protested when they heard the Koran desecration story (as
Christians have protested crucifix desecrations). The
Muslim demonstrators were gunned down by the Afghan military
police -- who operate under Rumsfeld's command.
Our Secretary of Defense, in
his darkest Big Brother voice, added a warning for
journalists and citizens alike, "People need to be very
careful about what they say."
And Newsweek has now promised
to be very, very good, and very, very careful not to offend
Rumsfeld, appall Condi or anger George.
good behavior, I'm giving Newsweek and its owner, the
Washington Post, this week's Yellow Streak Award for Craven
Cowardice in Journalism.
the competition is fierce, but Newsweek takes the honors by
backing down on Mike Isakoff's expose of cruelty, racism and
just plain bone-headed incompetence by the US military at
the Guantanamo prison camp.
Isakoff cited a reliable
source that among the neat little "interrogation" techniques
used to break down Muslim prisoners was putting a copy of
the Koran into a toilet. In the old days, Isakoff's
discovery would have led to Congressional investigations of
the perpetrators of such official offence. The
Koran-flushers would have been flushed from the military,
panels would have been impaneled and Isakoff would have
collected his Pulitzer. No more.
nailing the wrong-doers, the Bush Administration went after
the guy who REPORTED the crime, Isakoff.
there a problem with the story? Certainly. If you want
to split hairs, the inside-government source of the
Koran desecration story now says he can't confirm which
military report it appeared in. But he saw it in one
report and a witness has confirmed that the Koran was
Of course, there's an easy way
to get at the truth. RELEASE THE REPORTS NOW. Hand them
over, Mr. Rumsfeld, and let's see for ourselves what's in
May 20, 2005, Richard Cohen,
spare you any harangue today about the mistakes and lies
that got us into Iraq in the first place. Suffice it to say
that for the White House and the Pentagon to come down on
Newsweek for making a mistake is the height of hypocrisy."
Notes From A Lost War:
Iraqi Occupation Training Farce Rolls On:
Police Are Corrupt As Hell" Sgt. Says
23 May 2005 By David Axe,
On the afternoon of Jan. 27 in
the Sunni city of Baquba, north of Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi
forces are hosting what they call a "peace day" at a
provincial government building near one of the most
dangerous parts of the city. The event is an opportunity
for known insurgents to sign a pledge against violence in
exchange for amnesty from arrest. Outside, Iraqi police and
soldiers patrol the wide, garbage-lined streets on foot and
in battered trucks that weave through traffic.
At an intersection just yards
from the peace-day proceedings, a compact car pulls up
alongside a police truck and explodes, scattering debris and
body parts and riddling the police truck with shrapnel.
Four policemen are gravely injured. Passersby drag them
bleeding into a nearby shop while U.S. and Iraqi forces and
ambulances race to the scene.
minutes after the explosion, Iraqi cops speed up and down
the street in their ubiquitous pickup trucks, firing machine
guns at God knows what.
Over the past several months,
Pentagon officials have maintained that the Iraqi forces are
steadily improving and growing in numbers -- and the top
brass has talked up the prospect of drawing down U.S. troops
in significant numbers by this summer, after handing off
much of the responsibility for securing the country to the
P. Abizaid, the top American officer in the Middle East,
pointed in particular to the Iraqi police forces, who he
said lack ''sophistication, chain of command, and cohesion
of leadership," and are susceptible to corruption and
intimidation. ''I don't know how much I would say time-wise
they're behind, but they are behind,'' he said, according to
the Associated Press.
"The Iraqi security forces
were close to meeting their force-structure goals last
summer," John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org in
Washington, says, "but then the goals went way up and the
forces on hand collapsed."
Pike is referring to the
widespread flight of Iraqi police and army troops in the
aftermath of the November 2004 battle for Fallujah.
"It all happened in two
weeks," says Lt. Col. Bradley Becker of the meltdown of
Iraqi police and army in his area. Becker commands a
battalion of the 25th Infantry Division from Fort Lewis,
Wash. Since October, Becker's battalion has patrolled the
dusty approaches to Mosul, an area known to U.S. soldiers as
Q-West, after its most important town, Qayyarah.
November, in the wake of the battle for Fallujah, Q-West,
which had been pretty peaceful to that point, "fell apart,"
in the words of Maj. Kevin Murphy, 36, Becker's operations
officer. Rather than stand and fight, most police in Q-West
dropped their weapons and ran. They never came back.
mid-November, Becker says, "I went from 2,000 police to 50."
There was a similar exodus in the Iraqi army. "Let me tell
you, there were some sleepless nights," he says.
same time, Iraqi police in the contested city of Samarra
"dissolved" under insurgent attacks, according to 42nd
Infantry Division Capt. Robert Giordano. U.S. troops in
Mosul, Samarra and elsewhere had no choice but to rebuild
local forces from scratch beginning in November.
Iraqi forces in Q-West are "capable of semi-independent
operations," in Maj. Kevin Murphy’s estimation.
"semi-independent" operation looks like is demonstrated on
the cold night of March 25, near Qayyarah.
Tom Burns, a second lieutenant
in the 25th Infantry Division, leads a joint American-Iraqi
patrol looking for smugglers and insurgents on the area's
remote, dusty roads. The Americans are in two speedy,
heavily armored Stryker vehicles; the Iraqis trail behind in
pickup trucks. Every
couple of miles, the Strykers have to idle to let the
pickups catch up, eliciting rolled eyes and muttered
epithets from Burns and his crew.
Spotting a good vantage point
atop a steep hill that only the Strykers can mount, Burns,
22, decides to leave the Iraqi trucks guarding a secondary
road. But in the spirit of cooperation -- and just in case
he needs someone who speaks Arabic -- Burns gestures at
several young Iraqis to climb into his vehicle.
at the Iraqis he's leaving behind, Burns shakes his head and
mutters, "Like little lost sheep."
Equipment for Iraqi security
forces is in short supply.
police chief Josef Hussein, working out of a compound in
Qayyarah that is within blocks of several police stations
destroyed in attacks, complains that his troops lack
transport, radios and machine guns.
American officers in Qayyarah have promised Hussein that
they will do all they can to meet Iraqi forces' needs.
But privately, the same officers admit to me that funds
Equipment shortages have
plagued Iraqi forces since the first new army units were
stood up in the fall of 2003, according to Michael O'Hanlon,
a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
In stark contrast to American
soldiers, almost all of whom have their own body armor (even
if they have had to pay for it themselves), many Iraqi
soldiers share a limited number of armor vests and often go
without. And while U.S. forces travel in up-armored
Humvees, Strykers and other armored vehicles (in some cases
also of their own furnishing) that protect them from snipers
and roadside bombs, Iraqi forces rely on trucks -- or simply
Equipment issues aside, hiring
[!] willing to
stand up to insurgents is one of the U.S. military's major
challenges in Iraq -- especially when it comes to the Iraqi
their importance and the heavy casualties they've suffered,
the police -- especially those in Sunni towns -- are widely
considered the most corrupt and least reliable of the Iraqi
police are corrupt as hell," says 38-year-old Master Sgt.
Justin Lucios from the German-based 1st Infantry Division,
which occupied Baquba until February. Lucios says
old-school Iraqi police are more likely to flee than fight,
just as they did in Q-West and Samarra last fall.
Americans continue to lead
Iraqi units in all but the most permissive of environments.
to several Army officers I spoke with, U.S. soldiers across
Iraq continue to take the lead even in small-scale combat
operations -- a tacit admission that Iraqi forces simply
aren't up to the task. Often this means
that individual American noncommissioned officers, or NCOs,
sideline their Iraqi counterparts. From January to May this
year, I often saw this taking place while patrolling with
U.S. and Iraqi forces in the Sunni triangle, and in northern
and eastern Iraq.
On one Jan. 26 patrol in the
town of Kanan, 1st Division Staff Sgt. Joshua Marcum, 25,
led a joint U.S.-Iraqi force on a door-to-door search of
Iraqi homes looking for insurgents who'd been shooting at
At one home, while Marcum's
translator cowered outside for fear of being recognized by
insurgents, Marcum could only gesture the other Iraqi
soldiers who accompanied U.S. soldiers inside the house. He
motioned for them to stand guard over the residents in the
living room while he and his American troops went room to
room with a flashlight, opening drawers and cabinets and
checking under furniture for any evidence of wrongdoing.
me he didn't trust his Iraqi comrades with any but the
simplest of tasks.
Baquba, in the wake of the suicide bombing that gravely
injured four Iraqi cops, Army reporter Sgt. Kim Snow from
the 1st Infantry Division watches Iraqi police recklessly
roar up and down the street in their pickup trucks, firing
their weapons at nothing.
clear that the sole suicide attacker, who now lies in pieces
among the burning wreckage, was the only threat in the area.
from the Iraqis' weapons rain down on the surrounding
streets, where civilians are quickly scattering into
grimaces at the spectacle. "Business as usual," she says.
Operations Fuel Iraqi Opposition:
Significant Support For Attacks On Foreign Troops”
show that a large majority of Iraqis have little faith
in coalition troops and view them as occupiers, not
is significant support for attacks on foreign troops and
a large majority of Iraqis want them to leave within a
18 May 2005 Carl Conetta,
Project on Defense Alternatives Research Monograph #10,
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, ABSTRACT
examination of Iraqi public opinion data and interviews
suggests that coalition military activity may be
substantially contributing to Iraqi discontent and
opposition. A "vicious circle" is indicated, whereby
actions to curtail the insurgency feed the insurgency.
Public discontent is the water
in which the insurgents swim.
show that a large majority of Iraqis have little faith
in coalition troops and view them as occupiers, not
is significant support for attacks on foreign troops and
a large majority of Iraqis want them to leave within a
But attitudes about the
occupation vary significantly among communities.
Kurds are uniquely positive
about the occupation and postwar order. Sunnis express the
strongest opposition. Shiites often represents a midway
position. Like the Kurds, Shiites felt very positive about
the 2005 election.
regarding foreign troops: Shiite opinion is closer to Sunni,
although it varies in accord with coalition military action.
A mix of
nationalism and the desire to avenge some wrong or
humiliation is apparent in interviews with Iraqis who oppose
One relevant factor is the
war's death toll. Since March 2003, approximately 30,000
Iraqis have died due to military and terrorist activity. An
additional 30,000 may have died due to the war's indirect
effects, including increased criminal violence. Twenty-two
percent of households report having been "directly affected
by violence". The incidence of such reports is three times
higher among Sunnis than Kurds and almost twice as high
among Shiites as Kurds.
of Iraqis report having had "very negative" encounters with
coalition forces. Fifty-eight percent claim that US forces
But US troops face a difficult
mission involves intrusive and coercive measures, which
stimulate opposition. Occupation duty, like war, is beset by
"fog" and "friction" that contribute to errors. In this
circumstance, the goal of "force protection" gains
precedence over "winning hearts and minds", which further
increases tensions and mishaps.
there is a correlation between Iraqis' experiences of
violence, negative appraisals of US troops, and support for
The geographic pattern of
coalition military activity corresponds with the
distribution of these attitudes, which peak in Sunni areas
As much as
80 percent of US military activity during the occupation has
focused on Baghdad and Sunni areas.
Initially, postwar military
activity aimed to assert US control locally, capture regime
personnel, and curtail possible supporters of the former
regime, including tribal leaders.
were significant collateral effects. Support for the
coalition subsequently plummeted and insurgent activity
surged, increasing three- or four-fold during the first
June 2004 showed that the chief reasons for the sharp
negative turn in Iraqi opinion were (in order): Abu Ghraib,
the Falluja attack, "bad" or violent behavior by troops, and
the failure to provide security.
A series of
deadly incidents and accidents in spring and summer 2003 may
have been pivotal in consolidating anti-coalition sentiment
among Sunnis. More important: several incidents involving
Sunni tribal leaders and former Iraqi soldiers protesting
for back pay may have been key in boosting insurgent
activity and organization
THE SAME REPORT:
05/17/05 Information Clearing
majorities in the Sunni and Shiite community oppose the
occupation – and significant minorities have registered
support for attacks on US troops.
drives these attitudes more than anything else," says
Conetta, "are nationalism, the coercive practices of the
occupation, and the collateral effects of military
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
Attacks Iraq War
Max Watts, who sent this in.]
April 8, 2005
Barbarella star Jane Fonda
resumed her outspoken ways last night (06APR05), when she
attacked the current war in Iraq.
The 67-year-old actress, who
was both praised and vilified for her protests against the
controversial Vietnam War in the 1960s and early 1970s, made
an appearance on David Letterman's US TV show on Wednesday
night, where she was asked how she felt about the current
applause from the studio audience when she responded, "I
think the war is wrong. I think it's a mistake and I think
that we should get out."
To: GI Special
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005
Thanks for including the story
on the missing and dead Chilean soldiers in your last issue.
country is grieving, many of them were 18 & 19 yr olds
without proper training (some of them had been recruited
only a week or two earlier) and, most crucially, lacked
proper equipment, clothing or supplies when faced with
temperatures around -25C and disorienting blizzard
Most of the
dead recruits came from the countryside and had joined up
because it was a choice between working in the fields or
getting shelter, food, may b even a trade and a bit of money
to take home.
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 18.104.22.168.