GI Special:



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







Emily Dieruf, Lexington, Kentucky finds her husband's dog tag at Camp Pendleton, California May 26, 2005.  A memorial service was held in honor of the 420 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and British Soldiers who lost their lives while serving with the 1st Marine Division in Iraq.  Since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, at least 1,647 American military personnel have lost their lives in Iraq. REUTERS/Mike Blake



Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Says Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld Are Traitors


May 27, 2005 By CHRIS BERG, Columbia Missourian


What was coined as a discussion on real patriotism sounded more like a case for why the Bush administration has failed in foreign policy.


“I will not stand by and watch an appointed president send our sons and daughters around the world to kill terrorists for the oil companies,” Robert Bowman said.


The retired lieutenant colonel spoke in front of a group of about 50 people Thursday evening at Stotler Lounge in MU’s Memorial Union.  Bowman said that he wore his former dress white uniform as a way to honor his brothers and sisters in arms for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.


In his speech Bowman urged the audience to question the federal government’s justification for going to war in Iraq.


“Let those of us not called upon to fight in this war give our troops what they deserve, the thanks of a grateful people and the promise that we will never again allow our representatives in Congress to issue a president a blank check to conduct an unnecessary, illegal, and unconstitutional war,” Bowman said.


Bowman spoke out against the Pentagon’s decision to prohibit photographers from taking pictures of dead U.S. soldiers as they are transported.


“Those who give their lives deserve to be honored, not swept under the rug,” Bowman said.


Bowman told the audience that the biggest threat to the American way of life comes from within the country.  He said instead of the battle lines being overseas, they were right here at home.


“The war protesters are the shock troops gathering to preserve our freedoms by exercising those freedoms in spite of obvious objections.”


Bowman concluded his speech by saying that patriotism means supporting the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and other nations all over the world.  The military veteran also called for an overhaul in Washington.


“It is time for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the whole political mafia to be removed from office and indicted for treason,” he said.



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.






U.S. Soldier Killed Near Diyara


5.28.05 By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer


A U.S. soldier died from wounds from a homemade bomb near Diyara, west of Baghdad, the military said Saturday.  The soldier, who died Friday, was assigned to the 155th Brigade Combat Team, II Marine Expeditionary Force.



Marine Killed Near Haqlaniyah;

Soldier Dies Of Wounds


5.29.05 By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer


A Marine was killed Saturday when a roadside bomb struck his vehicle near Haqlaniyah, 85 miles northwest of Baghdad.


Another soldier who was wounded May 4 died on May 25.



U.S. Patrol Attacked In Ameriay:

Vehicle Burning


5.29.05 KUNA


An Iraqi Police source told KUNA that the gunmen attacked a US Army patrol in the Ameriya area in western Baghdad, burning a US military vehicle.



The Second Battle Of Baghdad:

As U.S. Command Boasts About Powerful Baghdad Offensive,

Resistance Launches Powerful Baghdad Offensive:

“Insurgents Attack Everywhere”

Wolf Brigade Cowards Run Away


5.29.05 By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer & Aljazeera.Net & (Xinhuanet) & KUNA & World News


BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi police fought pitched battles with insurgents Sunday as thousands of security forces backed by American troops swept through Baghdad's streets to flush out militants.


"We have fairly aggressive operations that are being run throughout the Baghdad area," said a senior U.S. military intelligence official who asked not to be named for security reasons.   [See the details below about who’s executing the aggressive operations.  And it’s not the collaborator government.]


"Basically they are going to sweep Baghdad and make sure that the insurgents are run out of the city."  [That will be quite a spectacle. Baghdad has about 5 million citizens, and the overwhelming majority support the armed resistance.  So, he thinks they’re going to run a couple million people out of town?  Of course not.  He’s just too stupid to understand what he’s up against.]


A senior U.S. military intelligence official acknowledged there are few indications they "are packing their bags."  [No wonder the source is anonymous.  He’s got a grip on reality.  In the U.S. command lunatic asylum, having a grip on reality is unforgivable.  See his next statement too.]


Asked if al-Qaida was behind the network, the official said "that's the convenient name that everyone wants.  I am not sure that in fact is the answer."


Insurgents seemed to be ready for battles with government forces in the flashpoint neighborhood of Ghazaliyah, according to residents.


"Masked gunmen spread across Ameriyah commercial area calling on shop owners to close their shops and disappear," said Sami Hadad, another witness. "They (gunmen) also fired warning shots to prevent us from watching the battles."


"When the Wolf Brigade entered Ghazaliyah, insurgents ambushed them almost everywhere.  Sometimes they (security forces) ran away and sometimes fierce clashes broke out," Abu Sabah, a resident in the area told Xinhua. 


[The Wolf Brigade is the Occupations’ pride and joy, endlessly boasted about by U.S. commanders, as they went around kicking down doors and beating the shit out of civilians.  Looks like they have some trouble with soldiers who can fight back.  Well, bullies are indeed cowards; always have been, always will be.  Maybe, when they regroup, they can find some more kids to rape and torture, another of their specialties.]


According to the source, the US forces closed off Al-Munadhamah St., where resistance forces gathered and spread around.


In western Baghdad, insurgents attacked two police stations, an Iraqi army barracks and a checkpoint within 30 minutes in the Abu Ghraib, Amariyah and Khadra neighborhoods, killing three civilians and wounding 15 people, including 10 Iraqi security forces, police officials said.


In the day's biggest battle, about 50 gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns at a Baghdad police unit in a half-hour battle. 


Several minutes later, car bombs exploded at a nearby Amariyah army barracks and an Iraqi military-controlled checkpoint in Abu Ghraib, the focus of a recent Iraqi-U.S. military operation that was the prelude to the current offensive.


Meanwhile, severe clashes erupted today between joint Iraqi, US forces and resistance soldiers in Ameriya area in western Baghdad.  Rocket propelled grenades and machineguns were used during the clashes. 


The source added that resistance fighters also attacked a police center in the same area. The attackers seriously damaged the building.


About 4 p.m., fighters attacked Khadra police station during a 15-minute firefight, police Lt. Majid Zaki said.


Nine Iraqi soldiers were killed on Sunday when a driven, explosive-laden car exploded nearby an Iraqi Army checkpoint.


Iraqi Police source told KUNA that the checkpoint is located between the towns of Yousefya and Mahmoudya in Babylon Province, south of Baghdad, noting that the blast killed nine soldiers and wounded three others.


Two other policemen were killed when a suicide car bomber targeted their patrol in south-western Baghdad.




What The Comical Collaborator Said Yesterday:


5/29/2005 Knight Ridder Washington Bureau


BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents detonated at least five car bombs in Iraq on Friday and Saturday in what a government spokesman called a response to a new offensive against them in Baghdad.


"This is a message from (the insurgents) that they are able to move anyplace.  But we are sure this is the beginning of the end," said Maj. Mohammed Hasan, an Interior Ministry spokesman. "We were expecting this."  [The beginning of the end, indeed, but not for the resistance.  Duh.]



Command’s Lies Grow Dumber As

Insurgents “Using More Sophisticated Tactics”


May 25, 2005 by Tom Lasseter, Knight Ridder Newspapers


Many American military officials have pointed to less-effective roadside and car bombs as proof that a series of captures of top insurgent leaders had weakened the insurgency.


But 39 of the 54 soldiers and Marines killed so far this month died as the result of those devices.


Insurgents are also using more sophisticated tactics.


During an unsuccessful raid on an Iraqi police station south of Baghdad on Saturday, for example, soldiers responded to a tip about a possible car bomb.  As they arrived at the station, the bomb exploded, and a gun battle with insurgents followed.  Investigators also found four unexploded 160 mm artillery rounds rigged with timers, according to a military release.


"There has been at least an appearance of things being more sophisticated, more coordinated," said Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a top military spokesman in Baghdad.  "I'm not sure we've seen anything that links different groups, but there's definitely more sophistication in the execution" of attacks.


Bloodshed has continued despite the arrests of suspected insurgent commanders.



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)



British Soldier Killed, Four Wounded Near Kahla


29 May 2005 Aljazeera.Net & By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer & (CNN)


A British soldier was killed on Sunday in an attack on British forces in southern Iraq, the British Defence Ministry said.


According to Iraqi Captain Karim Asab as a British military convoy was driving on the main road near Kahla.


Four others were injured.


The incident happened at 10:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. EDT) Sunday along the al-Kahla highway about 25 miles south of Amara, according to Amara Police Brigadier General Isma'il.


It is in Maysan province, at the northern end of the British-controlled sector on the Iranian border.  That area has been the scene of some of the British army's most fierce fighting with insurgents in the last two years, PA said.




“One More Brit”


[This is a message from Rose Gentle.  Her son was killed in Iraq.  She leads a campaign to bring all the Scots and other troops home from Iraq, now.] 



To: GI Special

Sent: Sunday, May 29, 2005 7:01 AM


one   more  brit  killied


      blair,  you  should   go  now,  you  lied,  you  go  to  iraq,


   see  if  you  cum   back,   4 week,  then  my  boy  has  bein   ded  a year,


and   when   i  see  blair  on  the  tv,   i  get  so  mad,   one  day  i  will  see  this


pig.  eye  to  eye,   he  dus  not  give  a dam,  for   the  troops.   get  them   home


now. . i hope   i  see  him  in court,   soon,








                  DEAD, DENIED   INQUEST    FOR  THE LACK


                    OF  100,000.



               THE   FAMILIES  OF  55  TROOPS   KILLIED  IN  IRAQ,

























































                                           ROSE   GENTLE.















[The previous GI Special, in a story about Sgt. Kevin Benderman, carried an error in the headline, “Ft. Steward.”  That’s “Ft. Stewart.”  The name was correct in the body of the text.  T]



Words From The Front Lines


[Thanks to D, who sent this in.]


May 28, 2005 (AP) Ramadi


"We want to hand it over to them.  But when it comes down to it, the (Iraqi police) we're hiring are all bad," said Army Sgt. Nicholas Radde, 21, of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, as his soldiers took a break from the heat in the parking lot of an abandoned storage area.


"A lot of us are just trying to survive and make it through the next two months," said Sgt. Shawn Biederman, 27, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, riding in the back of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He has an infant daughter back home.



Gold Star Mothers For Peace:

“You Are A Disgrace To My Country”


From: Cindy Sheehan

Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2005 2:04 PM

Subject: Re: get out


Dear Patty,


Your disrespectful note to my friend Fernando:


hey this is america not mexico, so take your cause over there. maybe you could change that shit hole and all of you fucking crybabies could go back there. this is america we do not owe you fucks anything. go back to mexico and ask them for their taxpayers money. oh yeah you wont ever stop the war. as long you fuckers like you cry the world will laugh shit heads. go back to mexico we are tired of paying your bills. fuck and speak english.


My wonderful friend Fernando's response to you:


Hi my friend, tanks for you mail, you is a real American with nice education.

Good Bless you and you Family.



Dear Ignorant Fellow American,




First of all, I would like to say that I am ashamed of you.  I am ashamed of your dirty mouth and your disrespect to a father whose son was killed in Bush's war of lies.  You are a disgrace to my country.


Second of all, Fernando Suarez is hard working, amazing, kind, gentle, loving and compassionate person whom I have the honor of knowing.  Fernando's strength and resolve give me the courage and strength to continue my struggle of trying to make meaning out of my son's senseless murder in Iraq and trying to end this illegal and immoral war.


It appears that you are under some misconception that what Fernando is doing by speaking out against this government and its deceptions is wrong.  Fernando and his son Jesus have more patriotism in their little pinkies than you do in your entire body.


Jesus wanted to serve America and give something back to this country, and for this he was killed by American cowardice and stupidity.  A true patriot, like Fernando, sees that this country can be better and fights to make it so. A true patriot, like Fernando has the courage to challenge the lies and the liars and in doing so forces the rest of us to look into our hearts and compels us to do the correct thing, also.


It looks like you have internet access, so don't take my word for it do some research. Iraq had no WMD's and there was no link to Iraq and 9/11...these facts are in several reports requested by the Bush Crime Cabal in power. There is absolutely no reason that our young people should be dying and killing innocent people in Iraq.  Fernando is out their fighting for peace with justice.


If I were Fernando, maybe I would go back to Mexico.  George Bush and his Crime Cabal is mis-leading this country right into the toilet.  Fernando could spend the rest of his life laying on a beach and sipping Coronas, but Fernando wants to see the rest of our children come home from this obscenity of an occupation before it is too late for them and their families.


May I make a suggestion to you Patty?  The next time you write to a person who has had a son or daughter killed in Iraq, whether you agree with our politics or not, could you please be a little more respectful and cut out the f-bombs.  It is appalling to me that, number one, there are people like you who think the way you do in our country, and number two, that you would be so disrespectful in expressing yourself.  It is your absolute right to express yourself, but show some courtesy and please quit making us Americans look so rude.


Peace to You,

Cindy Sheehan

Cofounder of Gold Star Families for Peace: www.gsfp.org

Mother of needlessly slain soldier: Casey Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04




Gold Star Mothers For Peace:

“It Is Too Late For Us Gold Star Families”


From: Christine Jayroe

Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2005 4:41 PM

Subject: Re: get out


My dear patty,


I am secretly hoping that the email to Fernando was not really from you, but perhaps from some misguided youths using your email.  You know, kind of like an electronic version of the old prank phone calls that were done in my day.  Although I do have to admit, as frustrating as my prank calls were to their receivers, they were never at the point of being this downright rude and disrespectful!


But, either way, it does not change what was written. 


Somebody out there had an opinion for him. 


How sad to be so angry and vicious with someone like Fernando.  He as well as the others of us that have had loved ones killed in this war are only trying to stop it for everyone else. Do you not understand that??


We have already payed the ultimate sacrifice.  It is now your loved one we are trying to save. It may be you son, brother, husband, friend that is killed next.  Do you know anyone fighting in Iraq right now??




It is too late for us gold star families.


So, if that selfless action on our part makes you angry enough to throw out profanity and insults, then all I have to say to you are these last 2 things—


1. you are one very sad pathetic person.


2. fuck you! :)



Christine, sister of Mike Mitchell, KIA 04/04/04



Got That Right


From: JL

To: GI Special

Sent: May 29, 2005 3:27 AM

Subject: Congressman Says Active Duty Troops Are Stingy, Greedy Assholes


Dear GI Special,


You quoted Rep. John Kline, R-Missouri :


“Paying reservists more than active-duty troops for doing the same work would be an immediate disruption and would unravel the trust that has built up between active and reserve forces through training and deployments, Kline said.”


How about the foreign mercenaries protecting the oilfields and the VIPs in Iraq who are paid up to $1000/day to do the same "work" as active-duty troops?


Since they work for well-connected Republicans that's A-OK.  Think what their bosses are raking off!



Capitalism At Work:

Returning Vets Treated Like Shit:

“He Felt Devastated, Betrayed, Worthless”


"I don't know what I'm going to do now.  I'm in the exact position I was when I came back from Iraq," said Cummings, a father of two.  "I'm 50 years old, and I have a mortgage payment due.  I'm tired of it."


May 29, 2005 Observer-Reporter


WASHINGTON – Nearly every day he was in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Steven Cummings heard mortar rounds so loud that even now he drops to the ground at the crackle of lightning.


In Milan, Mich., Cummings' wife took out two mortgages and the couple went $15,000 in debt during his 14 months overseas, because his salary was less than he was making as a civilian electrical controls engineer.


Looking back, those almost seem like the good times.


In the year since he's been home, Cummings has been laid off from two jobs.  While other reasons were given for the layoffs, Cummings thinks both were related to his duty in the Michigan National Guard and the time off it requires.


Like some other veterans who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq, he is struggling to find work.


"I don't know what I'm going to do now.  I'm in the exact position I was when I came back from Iraq," said Cummings, a father of two.  "I'm 50 years old, and I have a mortgage payment due.  I'm tired of it."


Although many employers take pride in hiring veterans and make up any pay an employee lost while deployed, some are reluctant to hire those in the Guard and Reserves who might have to deploy again for months at a time, said Bill Gaul, chief officer at Destiny Group, an online group that seeks to match employers and veterans.


There are laws designed to protect the civilian jobs of deployed Guard and reserve troops, but some still come home unemployed if their companies skirt the law or take away jobs for other reasons, such as the closure of a business.


Others are looking for work because they were unemployed when they left or are coming off active military duty and entering the civilian job market for the first time.


Some are changed by war, and find the civilian jobs they had before are no longer as meaningful.


Sgt. Benjamin Lewis, 36, a civilian chef who worked at a restaurant in Ann Arbor, Mich., that burned down while he was deployed in Iraq with the Michigan National Guard, said some employers directly told him they could not hire him because he could be deployed again and needed weekends and time off in the summer for drilling.


Others, he said, asked if he struggled mentally because of his time at war.  He got so desperate he considered returning to Iraq with a new unit.  [And that is really desperate!]


Lewis, whose stepson was killed in Iraq, said fortunately he's been able to find a restaurant that is flexible and supportive of his military service.


"I was pretty frantic in the end," Lewis said.  "It was almost a year without a job."


Cummings, a member of the 156th Signal Battalion who did telecommunications work in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Mosul, said he is surprised to find himself in this predicament.


Cummings said he thought he was returning to Gentile Packaging Machinery Co., where he worked for 11 years in Bridgewater, Mich., but he was told he was laid off the first day he was back to work, he said.


Anthony Gentile, director of marketing for Xela Pack Inc., a sister company of Gentile Packaging Machinery in Saline, Mich., said the company had just four workers and three were laid off after production slowed down after Sept. 11, 2001.


If Cummings hadn't been in Iraq, he would have been laid off sooner, Gentile said.


"He was notified when he was back because the whole time he was gone we were hoping we'd have work for him," Gentile said.


Cummings said he considered suing the owner, but freshly home from war, it just seemed overwhelming to do so because he felt "devastated, betrayed, worthless."


"Everybody told me to go after the guy. I thought, you know what, if he's going to go after me, I don't want to work for him," Cummings said.


A few months later through a veterans program he was able to get work at Superior Controls Inc., in Plymouth, Mich. But, he said he was laid off from that job on May 20.


He said he was told the company was downsizing, but he believes it was because he complained about a company policy that said it could not promise to hire returning veterans from war.  [Hey, that’s just good business, fuck this whining vet, right?  That’s how capitalism works, right?  Love it or fight it and wipe these predators off the face of the earth once and for all.  Your choice.]



Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez:



July 2005 by Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive


When Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year, he was asked whether he "ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise, and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison." 


Sanchez, who was head of the Pentagon’s Combined Joint Task Force-7 in Iraq, swore the answer was no.  Under oath, he told the Senators he "never approved any of those measures to be used."


But a document the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) obtained from the Pentagon flat out contradicts Sanchez’s testimony.  It’s a memorandum entitled "CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy," dated September 14, 2003.


In it, Sanchez approved several methods designed for "significantly increasing the fear level in a detainee."  These included "sleep management"; "yelling, loud music, and light control: used to create fear, disorient detainee, and prolong capture shock"; and "presence of military working dogs: exploits Arab fear of dogs."


On March 30, the ACLU wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, urging him "to open an investigation into whether General Ricardo A. Sanchez committed perjury in his sworn testimony."


The problem is, Gonzales may himself have committed perjury in his Congressional testimony this January.


According to a March 6 article in The New York Times, Gonzales submitted written testimony that said: "The policy of the United States is not to transfer individuals to countries where we believe they likely will be tortured, whether those individuals are being transferred from inside or outside the United States."  He added that he was "not aware of anyone in the executive branch authorizing any transfer of a detainee in violation of that policy."


"That’s a clear, absolute lie," says Michael Ratner, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who is suing Administration officials for their involvement in the torture scandal.  "The Administration has a policy of sending people to countries where there is a likelihood that they will be tortured."


The New York Times article backs up Ratner’s claim. It says "a still-classified directive signed by President Bush within days of the September 11 attacks" gave the CIA broad authority to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogations. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International estimate that the United States has transferred between 100 and 150 detainees to countries notorious for torture.


So Gonzales may not be the best person to evaluate the allegation of perjury against Sanchez.



Marines Drop Murder Charges Against Brave Back-Shooting Lieutenant


[Thanks to Katherine G who sent this in.]


May 26 Associated Press


CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. Murder charges have been dropped against a Marine lieutenant accused of killing two Iraqis without justification.


The military says the decision by Major General Richard Huck ends the prosecution of Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano.


A Marine Corps statement says the "best interests" of the government and Pantano have been served.


Pantano was accused of premeditated murder for what prosecutors maintained was the unjustified killing of two suspected insurgents in 2004.


Prosecutors alleged he intended to make an example of the men by shooting them 60 times and hanging a sign over their bodies - a sign that read "No better friend, no worse enemy," a Marine slogan.


[Just in case you missed it, the Marines with him testified to two Iraqis were unarmed and he shot them in the back.  Reloading a fresh clip so he could shoot some more.]



Gay Or Female, Uncle Sam Should Want You


Max Boot May 26, 2005 Los Angeles Times


At a time when the Army and Marine Corps are struggling to fill their ranks, many conservatives are determined to limit the ability of women and gays to contribute to the war effort.  Are they more concerned with winning culture wars at home or winning the war on terrorism abroad?



Another War Profiteer Caught Stealing


May 26, 2005 St. Louis Post-Dispatch,


A unit of Honeywell International will pay $2.75 million to settle an investigation into claims that it overcharged the Air Force.  The settlement resolves allegations that Honeywell Technology Solutions misrepresented its use of a cost management system to win a 2001 contract.  An investigation revealed that Honeywell had no such system, and improperly charged the Air Force $1.4 million to put one in place.







Car Bomb Kills At Least 2 Outside Iraqi Oil Ministry


May 29 (Xinhuanet)


A car bomb detonated outside the Iraqi Oil Ministry on Sunday, killing at least two security guards and wounding others, officials said.


"A suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden vehicle into the main gate of the heavily fortified ministry and exploded at about 1:20 p.m.," Falah al-Khawaja, an official in the ministry told Xinhua.


Two security guards were killed in the attack and several others wounded, officials in the ministry said on condition of anonymity.



Assorted Resistance Action


29 May 2005 Aljazeera.Net & AFP & By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer & APF


Two Iraqi policeman were killed on their way to work in the Dura area south of Baghdad.


“A booby-trapped car exploded at 0730 (0330 GMT) near a convoy of interior ministry commandos, killing a policeman and two civilians and injuring four police officers and five civilians,” an interior ministry source said.


The attack took place in the village of Jaar, in the Madayen region south of Baghdad.


In western Baghdad, insurgents attacked two police stations, an Iraqi army barracks and a checkpoint within 30 minutes in the Abu Ghraib, Amariyah and Khadra neighborhoods, killing three civilians and wounding 15 people, including 10 Iraqi security forces, police officials said.


In the day's biggest battle, about 50 gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns at a Baghdad police unit in a half-hour battle.  The Iraqi forces successfully fought them off, the U.S, military said.


Several minutes later, car bombs exploded at a nearby Amariyah army barracks and an Iraqi military-controlled checkpoint in Abu Ghraib, the focus of a recent Iraqi-U.S. military operation that was the prelude to the current offensive.


About 4 p.m., gunmen attacked Khadra police station during a 15-minute firefight, police Lt. Majid Zaki said.


An Iraqi soldier was killed along with one militant and another soldier was injured in a firefight during a raid in Khan Bani Saad, just south of Baquba.









"If only 2% of those assigned to perform military service should announce their refusal to fight, governments would be powerless; they would not dare to send such a large number of people to jail."  Albert Einstein [Thanks to Mike Hastie, Vietnam Veteran.]



“The Iraqi Government Is Like A Doll In The Hands Of The Americans”


29 May 2005 By Jeffrey Fleishman, The Los Angeles Times


"I only want to put this question to you," said Sana Abdul-Kareem, a dentist with four children.  "Why can't the US, with all its might and capabilities, impose security here? How come with all our oil they cannot provide us with electricity?  My son was so happy when the American soldiers first came.  But after two years of failure to make good on their promises, he abhors them."


Baghdad resident Ali Jalal said: "The Americans are behind these problems.  They don't want the country to be stabilized.... The Iraqi government is like a doll in the hands of the Americans."


"It's a policy of divide and conquer being applied by our occupiers," said Abu Izz, a Baghdad antiques dealer who was born in Fallouja.  A civil war will not succeed because Iraqis are all brothers and relatives, he added.






Should We Laugh Or Cry?


[Thanks to Phil G who sent this in.]


May 29, 2005 DAVID ROSSIE, Commentary


We're living in a country governed, nominally at least, by a man who as governor of Texas never encountered a death penalty he didn't heartily endorse, a man who has fronted for a gang of neoconservative war lovers, a man whose environmental agenda threatens the lives of everyone who breathes the air or drinks water.


And that man gets up on his hind legs and tells us that every human life is precious.


Should we laugh or cry?


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.



Notes From A Lost War:

“There Are Simply Too Few US Troops To Fight The Guerrillas”


May 25, 2005 Juan Cole, Informed Comment


There are simply too few US troops to fight the guerrillas.


There are only about 70,000 US fighting troops in Iraq, they don't have that much person-power superiority over the guerrillas.


There are only 10,000 US troops for all of Anbar province, a center of the guerrilla movement with a population of 820,000.  A high Iraqi official estimated that there are 40,000 active guerrillas and another 80,000 close supporters of them.


The only real explanation for the successes of the guerrillas is that the US military has been consistently underestimating their numbers and abilities.  There is no prospect of increasing the number of US troops in Iraq.


The guerillas have enormous advantages, of knowing the local clans and terrain and urban quarters, of knowing Arabic, and of being local Muslims who are sympathetic figures for other Muslims.


American audiences often forget that the US troops in Iraq are mostly clueless about what is going on around them, and do not have the knowledge base or skills to conduct effective counter-insurgency.  Moreover, as foreign, largely Christian occupiers of an Arab, Muslim, country, they are widely disliked and mistrusted outside Kurdistan.



Thomas L Friedman Wins Close Race For Blind, Ignorant Imperial Asshole Of The Week


May 29, 2005 Baghdad Burning, By Riverbend, Iraq


Someone (thank you N.C.) emailed me Thomas L. Friedman's article in the New York Times 10 days ago about Quran desecration titled "Outrage and Silence".


In the article he talks about how people in the Muslim world went out and demonstrated against Quran desecration but are silent about the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis in the last few weeks due to bombings and suicide attacks.


In one paragraph he says,


"Yet these mass murders - this desecration and dismemberment of real Muslims by other Muslims - have not prompted a single protest march anywhere in the Muslim world. And I have not read of a single fatwa issued by any Muslim cleric outside Iraq condemning these indiscriminate mass murders of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds by these jihadist suicide bombers, many of whom, according to a Washington Post report, are coming from Saudi Arabia."


First of all- it's not only Kurds or Shia who are dying due to car bombs.  When a car detonates in the middle of a soug or near a mosque, it does not seek out only Shia or Kurdish people amongst the multitude.  Bombs do not discriminate between the young and the old, male and female or ethnicities and religious sects- no matter what your government tells you about how smart they are.  Furthermore, they are going off everywhere- not just in Shia or Kurdish provinces. They seem to be everywhere lately.


One thing I found particularly amusing about the article- and outrageous all at once-was in the following paragraph:


"Religiously, if you want to know how the Sunni Arab world views a Shiite's being elected leader of Iraq, for the first time ever, think about how whites in Alabama would have felt about a black governor's being installed there in 1920. Some Sunnis do not think Shiites are authentic Muslims, and they are indifferent to their brutalization."


Now, it is always amusing to see a Jewish American journalist speak in the name of Sunni Arabs.  When Sunni Arabs, at this point, hesitate to speak in a representative way about other Sunni Arabs, it is nice to know Thomas L. Friedman feels he can sum up the feelings of the "Sunni Arab world" in so many words. His arrogance is exceptional.


It is outrageous because for many people, this isn't about Sunnis and Shia or Arabs and Kurds.


It's about an occupation and about people feeling that they do not have real representation.


We have a government that needs to hide behind kilometers of barbed wire and meters and meters of concrete- and it's not because they are Shia or Kurdish or Sunni Arab- it's because they blatantly supported, and continue to support, an occupation that has led to death and chaos.


The paragraph is contemptible because the idea of a "Shia leader" is not an utterly foreign one to Iraqis or other Arabs, no matter how novel Friedman tries to make it seem.


How dare he compare it to having a black governor in Alabama in the 1920s?


In 1958, after the July 14 Revolution which ended the Iraqi monarchy, the head of the Iraqi Sovereignty Council (which was equivalent to the position of president) was Mohammed Najib Al-Rubayi- a Shia from Kut.  From 1958 - 1963, Abdul Karim Qassim, a Shia also from Kut in the south, was the Prime Minister of Iraq (i.e. the same position Jaffari is filling now).  After Abdul Karim Qassim, in 1963, came yet another Shia by the name of Talib as prime minster.  Even during the last regime, there were two Shia prime ministers filling the position for several years- Sadoun Humadi and Mohammed Al-Zubaidi.


In other words, Sunni Arabs are not horrified at having a Shia leader (though we are very worried about the current Puppets' pro-Iran tendencies).


Friedman seems to conveniently forget that while the New Iraq's president was a polygamous Arab Sunni- Ghazi Al-Yawir- the attacks were just as violent.  Were it simply a matter of Sunnis vs. Shia or Arabs vs. Kurds, then Sunni Arabs would have turned out in droves to elect "Al Baqara al dhahika" ("the cow that laughs" or La Vache Qui Rit- it's an Iraqi joke) as Al-Yawir is known amongst Iraqis.


This sentence,


"Some Sunnis do not think Shiites are authentic Muslims, and they are indifferent to their brutalization."


...Is just stupid.


Friedman is referring to Sunni extremists without actually saying that.  But he doesn't add that some Shia extremists also feel the same way about Sunnis.  I'm sure in the "Christian World" there are certain Catholics who feel that way about Protestants, etc. Iraqis have intermarried and mixed as Sunnis and Shia for centuries.  


Many of the larger Iraqi tribes are a complex and intricate weave of Sunnis and Shia.  We don’t sit around pointing fingers at each other and trying to prove who is a Muslim and who isn't and who deserves compassion and who deserves brutalization.


Friedman says,


"If the Arab world, its media and its spiritual leaders, came out and forcefully and repeatedly condemned those who mount these suicide attacks, and if credible Sunnis are given their fair share in the Iraqi government, I am certain a lot of this suicide bombing would stop"


The Arab world's spiritual and media leaders have their hands tied right now.  Friedman better hope Islamic spiritual leaders don't get involved in this mess because the first thing they'd have to do is remind the Islamic world that according to the Quran, the Islamic world may not be under the guardianship or command of non-Muslims- and that wouldn't reflect nicely on an American occupation of Iraq.


Friedman wonders why thousands upon thousands protested against the desecration of the Quran and why they do not demonstrate against terrorism in Iraq.  The civilian bombings in Iraq are being done by certain extremists, fanatics or militias.  What happened in Guantanamo with the Quran and what happens in places like Abu Ghraib is being done systematically by an army- an army that is fighting a war- a war being funded by the American people.  That is what makes it outrageous to the Muslim world.


In other words, what happens in Iraq is terrorism, while what happens to Iraqis and Afghanis and people of other nationalities under American or British custody is simply "counter-insurgency" and "policy".


It makes me nauseous to think of how outraged the whole world was when those American POW were shown on Iraqi television at the beginning of the war- clean, safe and respectfully spoken to.  Even we were upset with the incident and wondered why they had to be paraded in front of the world like that.  We actually had the decency to feel sorry for them.


Friedman focuses on the Sunni Arab world in his article but he fails to mention that the biggest demonstrations were not in the Arab world- they happened in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan.  He also fails to mention that in Iraq, the largest demonstration against the desecration of the Quran was actually organized, and attended by, Shia.


Luckily for Iraqis, and in spite of Thomas Friedman, the majority of Sunnis and Shia just want to live in peace as Muslims- not as Sunnis and Shia.


[Friedman is nothing but a well-paid hack propagandist for the Empire.  If there weren’t so many fools around mouthing the same kind of idiocy, printing this would be a waste of time and space.]








(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)


"He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because

there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it."  The Gospel according to St. John, VIII, 44.







Israeli Soldiers Attack And Punch Several Children


International Middle East Media Center 5/26/2005


Thursday afternoon, Israeli soldiers attacked and punched several children, on their way back home from school, in Wad al-Rasha area, south of Qalqilia.


A local source in Qalqilia reported that soldiers installed a military check post near the school, stopped the school bus, and severely attacked several students after forcing them to step down.


A medial source in Tulkarem said that the following children sustained bad bruises to several parts of their bodies, Adli Ribhy Odeh, Mohammad Adel Odeh, Dhia’ Abdul-Hameed Odeh, Gheith Abdul-Fattah Odeh, and Fadi Abdul-Fattah Odeh, all are 10-11 years old.


[To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation by a foreign power, go to: www.rafahtoday.org  The foreign army is Israeli; the occupied nation is Palestine.]








Angry Indians Have La Paz Surrounded


May 26, 2005 Christian Parenti, The Nation


La Paz


Bolivia is again in the grip of a major political crisis, marked by parliamentary deadlock and street fighting.  


Huge marches, thousands strong, have descended on La Paz all week. In the ensuing battles indigenous protesters throw dynamite, stones and bottles, while paramilitary police shoot tear gas and rubber bullets.


The basic question is this: Who will control the nation's massive natural gas reserves, which has jumped to 53.3 trillion cubic feet from just 5.6 trillion cubic feet in 1999?  The deeper issue, of course, is the unwillingness of the highly organized and politicized majority indigenous population to suffer through another generation of brutal high-altitude poverty.


The rolling protests and road blockades around La Paz come a week after Congress passed a law raising taxes on the foreign oil companies that have controlled Bolivia's petroleum wealth since a sweeping privatization in 1996.  The companies cast the new law as far too severe, while the largely indigenous left decry the law as too weak.


Part of the opposition, led by MAS (the Movement Toward Socialism) and its leader, Evo Morales, is calling for 50 percent wellhead royalties rather than the new law's combination of 18 percent royalties and a 32 percent tax on more easily hidden company profits.  MAS also wants an aggressive renegotiation of all contracts with foreign companies, as well as four other major amendments to the new law.


But many more sectors in the popular movement are calling for outright nationalization and an overthrow of the government.


As I write, for the third day in a row the city of La Paz is under siege--the two major highways linking it to the world are closed by a series of peasant roadblocks.  No supplies are getting in or out.  The international airport is functioning only sporadically; it has been closed by a strike.  And for the third day running, tens of thousands of protesters--peasants, teachers, miners, shopkeepers, factory workers and unemployed people--have marched on La Paz.  


A smaller subset of this force has repeatedly tried to take Plaza Murillo, location of both the Parliament and presidential palace, a space rarely occupied by protesters since the populist revolution of 1952.


The vanguard sector in this struggle is the well-organized Aymara peasants, who have descended en masse from the altiplano, above the capital.


Joining them are 800 miners. In heavy jackets, fedoras, bowlers and wool hats, their faces lined and buffed by years of wind and cold, the Aymara columns march fast and hard, carrying sticks, pipes, shepherds' whips and wiphalas, the rainbow-colored banner of indigenous self-determination.


All week I have had a front-row seat to the action.  


On Tuesday, as the columns circled around the police, who had barricaded Plaza Murillo, marchers smashed minibuses and cars that they found in their path, tossed rocks at journalists and then threw dynamite into police lines.  The frightened, penned-in cops responded with volleys of rubber bullets, tear gas and sometimes water cannons.


As the canisters popped around us the and rubber pellets ricocheted off the walls we ran, protesters and press alike, sucking in the burning fumes as we sprinted through the curtains of gas that floated like thick walls of stage smoke.  At times the narrow hillside streets of old La Paz became so choked with accumulated vapors that you felt your lungs would burst.  In the chaos, the lines between protesters and cops seemed to overlap in an increasingly claustrophobic and panicky game of cat and mouse.


Wednesday was more of the same, with protesters rolling several very large dynamite bombs toward the police, who, on at least one occasion, broke ranks and ran in fear only to return the favor immediately with rubber bullets from shotguns and more gas--always more gas.


So far about a dozen protesters have been injured, and a handful, including at least one important popular leader, have been arrested.


Meanwhile, above La Paz on the rim of the altiplano in the city of El Alto, neighborhood groups are maintaining a general strike.  Throughout the country unions, community groups, peasant federations and all manner of popular organizations are meeting to plan their next moves.


In short, angry Indians have La Paz surrounded.


The capital's banks, hotels, offices, restaurants and middle-class neighborhoods are running on limited supplies, and the popular movements have all transportation routes on lockdown.  The situation feels untenable.  But despite the drama, there remains a strange political stasis here.


The president, Carlos Mesa Gisbert, a former historian and journalist, has vowed to stay in office until elections in 2007.  Furthermore, he has pledged, or perhaps bragged, that he will not kill protesters.


His former boss and predecessor, Gonzalo Sلnchez de Lozada, ordered the military to kill scores in October 2003, when the gas issue first erupted.


Officially sixty-seven people died, but the social movements say as many as eighty were killed.  In response to the repression, the left united and sectors of the equivocating middle classes joined them.  In the end, Sلnchez de Lozada was forced to flee to the United States.  Mesa wants to avoid that fate.


The far right doesn't like Mesa's stance but seems too divided to oppose him effectively. The military is also divided, with a few officers openly taking the side of protesters.


Likewise, the left is at odds with itself and most importantly is, by the admission of MAS and most other social movements, not ready to take power.


If Mesa lets loose the forces of order, the entire political equation will change.


But if the government does not overreact, it is not clear how the left will proceed.  Can the popular movements hold on longer than the government?  And, most of all, can they unite and force nationalization?  Or will their own tactics exhaust them before the government and business sector capitulate to their demands?






New York City Labor Against Won’t Sponsor Iraqi Labor Collaborators Tour


Statement on US tour of Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions


May 19, 2005


New York City Labor Against the War cannot support the northeast tour organized by USLAW (US Labor against the War) for the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions.


As shown below, the IFTU -- and its political affiliate, the Iraqi Communist Party -- shares a position virtually indistinguishable from the Bush administration’s: U.S. troops must remain in Iraq for as long as it takes to crush the resistance.


(Since July 2003, the ICP has been an ardent member of the occupation regime, which on January 28, 2004 designated the IFTU as “the legitimate and legal representatives of the labour movement in Iraq. [1])


June-July 2003. Former ICP general-secretary: “If the [U.S.] were to withdraw from Iraq, there would be a civil war and democrats would have no chance.” [2]


June 25, 2004. IFTU general-secretary Majid Musa to British union UNISON: “[U]nilateral withdrawal of troops would be bad for Iraq, bad for the emerging progressive forces, a terrible blow for free trade unionism and would play into the hands of extremists and terrorists.” [3]


September 28-29, 2004. IFTU international representative Abdullah Muhsin successfully urges the British Labor Party conference to defeat a resolution calling for “early withdrawal” of British troops: “[A]n early date for the unilateral withdrawal of troops . . . would be bad for my country, bad for the emerging progressive forces, a terrible blow for free trade unionism, and would play into the hands of extremists and terrorists,” [4] and would “lead at best to the Balkanisation of Iraq and or even worse a bitter civil war.” [5]


*November 23, 2004. ICP general-secretary Majid Musa opposes a December 31, 2005 deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops: “[T]he withdrawal of foreign forces . . . is an objective that all Iraqis without exception seek to achieve. . . . However, the problem is deciding when those troops could depart. We have not yet built sufficient military, police or security forces to protect the security of Iraq.” [6]


*December 19, 2004. ICP general-secretary Majid Musa: “[H]ow can we [end the occupation] in view of the country’s complex situation, the current balances of power and the regional and international circumstances around us? . . . . [T]errorist and subversive acts will only prolong the presence of foreign forces and give an excuse to others to say the country is in danger and cannot endure the bad consequences and so the help of the foreign forces is needed.” [7]


*April 22, 2005. Saady Edan, president of Mosul IFTU: “[I]f [the occupation] ends now, it will bring chaos.  Once the Iraqi security forces are capable, then the occupation should leave. But they are not yet.” [8]


In sharp contrast, the Southern Oil Company Union demands an immediate end to the occupation:  “We as a union call for the withdrawal of foreign occupation forces and their military bases. We don’t want a timetable -- this is a stalling tactic.  We will solve our own problems.  We are Iraqis, we know our country and we can take care of ourselves. We have the means, the skills and resources to rebuild and create our own democratic society.” [9]




1. “Official recognition given to new union federation by Iraqi Governing Council,” February 9, 2004  http://www.iraqitradeunions.org/archives/000016.html

2. “NDI Assessment Mission to Iraq, June 23 to July 6, 2003,” p. 4 http://www.ndi.org/front_page/1625_iq_report_072503.pdf .

3. “UNISON Labour Link committee chair on Labour Party conference,” October 1, 2004  http://www.labourfriendsofiraq.org.uk/archives/000006.html .

4. “Open letter from Abdullah Muhsin, foreign representative of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, to trade union delegates at the Labour Party conference”  http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/B1571.pdf.

5. Patrick Wintour and Kevin Maguire, “Deal with unions to keep Blair safe,” Guardian, September 30, 2004  http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour2004/story/0,14991,1316 070,00.html .

6. Juan Cole, “Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion,” Guardian, November 26, 2004  http://www.juancole.com/2004_11_01_juancole_archive.html .

7. “Iraqi Communist Party leader views electoral program, obstacles to elections,” BBC International Reports (Middle East), December 21, 2004.

8. John Lloyd, “United we understand,” Financial Times, April 22, 2005  http://www.iraqitradeunions.org/archives/000262.html .

9. Hassan Juma'a Awad, “Leave our country now,” Guardian, February 18, 2005  http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1417222,00.ht ml



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