www.albasrah.net

 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

6.3.05

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

 

GI SPECIAL 3B48:

 

 

REAL BAD PLACE TO BE

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW

Soldiers patrol outside a house during a night raid on Ajil Sharqia, a small village near Yussufiyah 20 kms south of Baghdad. (AFP/Karim Sahib)

 

 

“The US Has Long Lost Its Grip”

“There Is An Air Of Resignation”

 

May 31 2005 By Guy Dinmore in Washington, Financial Times

 

Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgency has reached a “kind of peak”. The Sunni now realise they erred in boycotting last January's elections “and so, as Iraqis see their interests as represented in the political process, the insurgency will lose steam”.

 

This sanguine view of the state of affairs in Iraq--as expressed by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, in a recent Bloomberg interview reflects the US administration's struggle to demonstrate that it remains in control and still has an exit strategy.

 

In the more sombre assessment of others in the administration, however, the US has long lost its grip on Iraq's political process.

 

“We are losing control,” said one veteran Arabist in the administration who requested anonymity.

 

He described the US embassy in Baghdad, without an ambassador for about six months, as “out of the loop” and not involved in significant decisions taken by the new transitional government dominated by the Shia Arab majority.

 

Geoff Porter, analyst with the Eurasia Group consultancy, said US interests had been “stymied on most fronts”, with US officials frustrated with, and ignorant of, Iraq's fractious politics.

 

“There is an air of resignation, with people throwing up their hands that this will be a long-term process.”

 

Moreover, one senior Kurdish official said the possibility of US withdrawal in the event of large American losses should not be discounted: “Bush is solid but you never know with American politics.”

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

 

 

SOLDIER DIES FROM SMALL-ARMS NEAR AR RAMADI

 

June 2, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-06-03C

 

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – A Soldier assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), died June 1 from enemy small-arms fire received while conducting combat operations near Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

 

 

SOLDIER KILLED BY IED IN AR RAMADI

 

June 2, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-06-02C

 

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – A Soldier assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed in action yesterday when an improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle in which he was traveling.  The Soldier was with a unit conducting combat operations near Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

 

 

TASK FORCE LIBERTY SOLDIER DIES IN KIRKUK OF NON-BATTLE INJURY

 

June 2, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-06-01C

 

TIKRIT, Iraq – A Task Force Liberty Soldier died of a non-battle-related injury at about 6:40 a.m. June 1 in Kirkuk.  The name of the Soldier is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

 

 

Mortar Attack On U.S. Base Shopping Area Injures Five Members Of 48th Brigade

 

Jun. 02, 2005 By Gray Beverley, Georgia News Service, CAMP STRIKER, Iraq

 

Five members of the Georgia-based 48th Brigade Combat Team were injured in a Tuesday night mortar attack of the nearby Camp Liberty shopping complex.

 

Two of the soldiers were seriously injured in the attack, which happened about 7:30 p.m. They were taken to a medical facility in Germany, said brigade spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Selena Owens.

 

Pfc. Kevin Cohrs of Brunswick was inside the post exchange building, which is 50 to 100 feet from the site of the blast.

 

"All I heard was a big humming noise and a big boom," Cohrs said.  "The PX filled up with dust."

 

Cohrs said he went outside and saw bodies strewn on the plaza.

 

Most of the brigade arrived in the Baghdad area this week.  Those stationed at Camp Striker can take about a 20-minute shuttle bus ride to Camp Liberty, where the shopping complex offers a larger post exchange, Popeye's Chicken and Burger King restaurants and a variety of local fare.

 

Vendors in wooden gazebos surround an outdoor concrete plaza.  The mortar hit the plaza about 30 feet from a shaded area where soldiers wait for the shuttle buses.

 

A separate mortar hit Camp Striker at about 10 a.m. Wednesday.  No one in the brigade was reported injured in that attack, Owens said.

 

Owens said two soldiers injured in the Liberty blast have returned to duty, and one is being treated at a combat support hospital in the section of Baghdad known as the "green zone."

 

Owens said Wednesday night that she did not have an update on the condition of the soldiers taken to Germany.

 

Airplanes at the nearby airport typically circle the area in a steep landing pattern that mitigates exposure to assaults from the ground.

 

By Wednesday afternoon, repairs had been made to the Liberty shopping plaza. Cohrs said a hole caused by mortar fire was about 1 square feet wide and 1 feet deep.

 

"It was just a big reality check," Cohrs said.

 

 

Murrayville Marine Wounded

 

June 2 AP

 

MURRAYVILLE - A Hall County marine has been wounded by a bomb, less than a month after being redeployed to Iraq.

 

Lance Corporal Matthew Bridges, a North Hall graduate, suffered several broken ribs, a concussion and multiple bruises and cuts when the homemade explosive went off near him.

 

In a letter to his parents, Bridges wrote that he was two feet away from the device when it exploded.

 

The injury occurred April 27. Bridges had been serving in Fallujah on his second tour in Iraq.

 

 

Notes From A Lost War:

Officers Say 400 Troops Too Few To Protect War Gains

 

June 1, 2005 Miami Herald,

 

Army officers in the badlands of northwest Iraq, near the Syrian border, say they don’t have enough troops to hold the ground they take from insurgents in this transit point for weapons, money and foreign fighters.

 

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

 

 

Kabul Police General Killed

 

01 June 2005 By Noor Khan, The Associated Press

 

A bomb tore through a mosque in southern Afghanistan Wednesday at the funeral of a Muslim cleric who spoke out against the Taliban, killing at least 20 people, including Kabul's police chief, and wounding dozens, officials said.

 

Afghan Ministry of Interior spokesman Latfullah Mashal said Kabul's police commander, Gen. Akram Khakrezwal -- who was attending the funeral -- was killed.

 

Nazir Ahmadzai, a doctor at Kandahar Hospital, said 20 people had been killed and 45 wounded -- many of them Khakrezwal's bodyguards.

 

Many local leaders had been expected to attend the funeral of Mullah Abdul Fayaz, the top Muslim leader in the province, whom the mosque is named after.

 

Fayaz, a supporter of President Hamid Karzai, was shot dead in Kandahar on Sunday by suspected Taliban gunmen -- a week after he led a call for people not to support the rebels.

 

 Even before the blast, security was tight.  Afterward, more police were deployed around the mosque, the main city hospital and other sites around the city.

 

In a second attack Wednesday west of Kandahar, a bomb exploded on a bridge as a group of Afghan deminers were driving over it, killing two of them and wounding five others, said Patrick Fruchet, spokesman for the U.N. Mine Action Center for Afghanistan.

 

The seven were working on a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, he said.

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

“A Soldier Sees Any Lives Lost Due To This Corruption As Totally Unacceptable”

US Army Stryker destroyed by IED (via Gaddy)

 

The devastating effects of such corruption on the morale of the troops who see it on a daily basis are incomprehensible.  A soldier sees any lives lost due to this corruption as totally unacceptable, even if they personally support the war.

 

June 1, 2005 Michael Gaddy. Michael Gaddy is an Army veteran of Vietnam, Grenada, and Beirut, lives in the Four Corners area of the American Southwest.

 

In case you haven’t noticed, the war in Iraq is not going that well despite the continual misrepresentations and out-and-out lies by those in our government.

 

The following incident illustrates the similarity of the Iraq and Vietnam situations with regard to the corruption of the "friendly" forces supposedly supporting the U.S. war effort.

 

An American battalion commander in Northern Iraq had just such a corrupt Iraqi officer working with him.  For some reason the American commander continued to support this corrupt Iraqi Colonel, no matter how much proof of corruption and corroboration with the enemy his staff presented.  A seasoned senior NCO was the first to see this corruption and brought it to the attention of the American commander. 

 

The NCO was promptly transferred.

 

When two Majors (both Kurds) on the Iraqi Colonel’s staff came forward with their own stories of corruption, including photographs documenting their claims, the American commander, too, shipped them out.

 

The camera and its contents conveniently disappeared.  Finally, the staff of the American commander working along with the Senior NCO who had been dismissed, was able to compile massive evidence of the corruption and proof that the Iraqi Colonel was feeding intelligence on this American unit’s movements to the insurgency.

 

The commander’s staff went over the head of the commander to Brigade level with their evidence and the commander was forced to turn the Iraqi officer over to the authorities.

 

The American commander promptly chewed out his staff for going over his head with the complaints and evidence, pretending all the while he knew nothing of the corruption charges.

 

It seems in the light of the same type activity occurring over 30 years ago with our units in Vietnam, we would have learned something of how to prevent this from happening again. 

 

The devastating effects of such corruption on the morale of the troops who see it on a daily basis are incomprehensible.  A soldier sees any lives lost due to this corruption as totally unacceptable, even if they personally support the war.

 

As powerful as the lies are, the truths we are not being told about the enormous amounts of money being made by corporations with close ties to the Bush administration are shocking.

 

Why are we taxpayers having to pay 18 dollars a plate for meals served to our soldiers? Why are we paying 100 dollars a bag for their laundry to be cleaned?  These are the exorbitant fees that we the taxpayer are paying to Kellogg Brown and Root. Does anyone believe KBR wants this war to end anytime soon, and who has the ear of this administration?

 

If our soldiers were receiving meals that were actually worth the 18 dollars per plate, perhaps there would be no argument.  Those who consume them on a daily basis tell a much different story.

 

On this Memorial Day, I saw a headline that said "Bush honors war dead at Arlington."  How can anyone without honor, "honor" those who died for his own lies and greed?

 

As a veteran, watching the hypocrites that have been elected to the office of President desecrate hollowed ground with their presence for the past 13 years makes me physically ill.

 

I know others were just as guilty, but the last two have been especially repugnant. When will Americans wake up and quit listening to the siren song (lies) that leads to war?

 

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.

 

 

UNLIKE THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, THEY ARE UNASHAMED TO PUBLICLY HONOR THEIR FALLEN

Italian soldiers stand by the coffins of the four Italian soldiers killed when an Italian military AB 412 helicopter crashed Tuesday southeast of Nasiryah June 1, 2005.  The bodies are expected to return to Italy on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said. (AP Photo/Italian Army, HO)

 

 

Citizens Respond To Anti-War Protestors:

“There Seemed To Be Some Kind Of Change”

 

June 2, 2005 From Chelsea (NY) Neighbors

 

On Tuesdays we gather at 8th avenue and 24th street each week (rain or shine) as "Chelsea Stands Up Against The War."  We carry signs and banners, distribute leaflets, sell buttons and talk to passerby about the war.  We visit with each other and have a good time.

 

"This evening was the fourth week of "Chelsea Stands Up Against The War."  It was bit different than other weeks because we had fewer participants from our group, but more interaction from passersby.  We gave out 300 flyers and sold more of our buttons, but we engaged more people in dialogue, hearing what they had to say.

 

Throughout the weeks we have received a lot of friendly waves and honks from passing taxi drivers, but for whatever reason, today the cabbies decided to stop their cabs and take leaflets from us.

 

There seemed to be some kind of change.

 

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.

 

 

How It Is

 

May 31, Jim Lobe (IPS)

"The military part of (the defence secretary's office) has been politicised,'' Gen. Jay Garner, the Pentagon's original choice to run Iraq, told the Sun.  ''If (officers) disagree, they are ostracised and their reputations are ruined." 

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

“Coalition Officials” Admit Resistance Movement Is Iraqi,

Reject “Foreign Fighter” Bullshit:

“Insurgents' Resources Are Increasing On Several Fronts”

 

[Thank to Phil G. who sent this in.]

 

Coalition officials acknowledge, however, that the numbers show an Iraqi-dominated insurgency.  Fewer than 5% of those killed or captured were foreigners, one official noted.  He also described the influx from abroad as making up a "very, very small part" of the estimated 12,000 to 20,000 insurgents.

 

June 2, 2005 By Carol J. Williams, L.A. Times Staff Writer

 

U.S. officials and Iraqi analysts say the insurgents' resources are increasing on several fronts: money to buy vehicles and explosives, expertise in wiring car and human bombs and intelligence leaks that help them target U.S. and Iraqi forces.

 

Suicide attacks are on the rise because the explosive devices "are simple to construct and easy to operate, thus making suicide bombers difficult to detect," said Navy Cmdr. Fred Gaghan, in charge of the Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell in Iraq that studies bomb scenes for clues to insurgent tactics.

 

"At this time, there is nothing to indicate that the availability of volunteers is on the decline," he said, noting the media coverage and videos of suicide bombings posted on the Internet that are said to fuel extremist recruitment.  [More amazing Imperial arrogance and stupidity.  This fool thinks the internet is fueling the resistance!  Yeah, right, and comic books cause delinquency, and evil music causes teens to have sex, and outside agitators caused slaves to hate slavery.  Get a grip.]

 

Coalition officials acknowledge, however, that the numbers show an Iraqi-dominated insurgency.  Fewer than 5% of those killed or captured were foreigners, one official noted.  He also described the influx from abroad as making up a "very, very small part" of the estimated 12,000 to 20,000 insurgents.

 

Saad Obeidi, a retired Iraqi major general and security expert, sees the rise in suicide bombings as recognition among Iraqi extremists that such attacks are an effective weapon against the superior numbers and arms of the coalition forces.

 

Insurgents "are choosing this method to create a balance against superpower might," he said.

 

 

The Hunt For Collaborator Cops:

Resistance Sets Up Checkpoints In Baghdad

 

June 1, 2005 Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times

 

Iraqi police move through a terrifying rhythm of car bombs, gun battles, kidnappings, exploding rockets and shallow mass graves holding tangles of handcuffed men with bullet holes in their heads.  The nation has spiraled into a confusing grid where crime, insurgency and intensifying sectarian attacks are overwhelming a poorly equipped police force trying to keep order in a whirl of smoke and rage.

 

Police stations have become tense outposts marked by barricades, barbed wire and grenade scars from insurgents who count anyone in uniform as an enemy.

 

Every officer knows that each time he clicks on the siren and flashing lights, he might be going to stop a crime, but he's also a blaring advertisement for an insurgent ambush.

 

At least 487 police officers have been killed and 1,258 wounded in Baghdad since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime on April 9, 2003, according to government statistics. That accounts for about 12 percent of the city's police force of 15,000.

 

These figures do not include dozens of special police commandos and the hundreds upon hundreds of men killed by car bombs and insurgent raids while waiting to sign up at police recruiting centers.

 

Like most Iraqi police officers, they say it's too dangerous to wear their uniforms to and from work.  Kadum hides his in a plastic bag.

 

"The insurgents set up a false checkpoint and stopped my bus a few months ago," said Kadum, a 24-year-old with a wisp of a mustache.  "I squeezed my uniform tight and hid it between the front seat and the driver's seat.  I tucked my police ID in my sock. Life is like this.  We have no choice but to face it."

 

"The streets are tricky," he said.  "We get a lot of false calls.  Sometimes the seeker of help is your enemy.  We are targeted for ambushes and bombs.  I have seen many men die."

 

Patrolmen work 12-hour shifts, and many of them dread the curfew between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., when an insurgent might call to say his wife is having a baby, only to set a trap for the responding ambulance and police car.

 

 

Collaborator Death Toll Up Sharply

 

June 1, 2005 By BUSHRA JUHI, Associated Press Writer

 

An Interior Ministry official said 151 police were killed in May, compared with 86 in April, up 75 percent.  He added that at least 325 policemen were wounded in May, compared with 131 in April.

 

A Defense Ministry official said 85 Iraqi soldiers were killed in May, compared with 40 in April.  Another 79 soldiers were wounded, compared with 63 in April, he said.

 

 

Assorted Resistance Action;

Attack By Watermelon

 

1 & 2 June 2005 (AFP) & (CNN) & Aljazeera 6.1.05 & 6.2.05 By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer

 

In northern Iraq, an Iraqi soldier died from poisoning and 9 others were in critical condition after they accepted free watermelon at their checkpoints, police said.

 

"An unknown driver of a truck full of watermelon gave late Tuesday poisonous watermelon to Iraqi soldiers on several checkpoints spread along the road from north of Sharqat to Hamam al-Alil town, near the northern Iraq city of Mosul," US-Iraqi liaison office in Tikrit said in the statement.

 

One soldier died and twelve others who were rushed to the Mosul hospital.

 

Police were searching for the assassin in what is believed to be the first such attack against Iraqi security forces.

 

Elsewhere, police lieutenant Mohamed Khairi was killed by guerrillas in the Dur region, 155 kilometers (100 miles) north of Baghdad, police captain Ahmed Chaker said.

 

A blast, in the northern town of Tuz Khurmatu, ripped through a restaurant as bodyguards of Kurdish Deputy Prime Minister Roj Shaways were having breakfast, police said.

 

"Seven cars were destroyed and 12 charred bodies were pulled from the wreckage," said a brief statement from the ministry of defence in Baghdad.

 

"The car bomb exploded at around 8:00 am in front of the Baghdad Restaurant in the town centre, completely destroying it," said Captain Imad Abdullah.

 

The guards were in the town, 45 miles south of the main oil hub of Kirkuk, on their way to meet up with Shaways.

 

“I was sitting inside my restaurant when about six cars parked nearby and their passengers came inside and ordered food,” said restaurant owner Ahmed al-Dawoudi.

 

“Seconds later, I heard a big explosion and the restaurant was turned into twisted wreckage and rubble. Blood and pieces of flesh were everywhere.”

 

Shaways was not at the restaurant at the time of the blast.

 

Shards of glass, shoes and splattered breakfast meals covered the restaurant’s floor as emergency workers raced around overturned tables and wooden chairs in a bid to treat the casualties.

 

Colonel Abbas Mohamed Amin, chief of Tuz Khormato police, believed the bomber, who was driving a white Toyota sedan, was following the Kurdish leader’s bodyguards, who had left Baghdad for the northern city of Sulaimaniyah, 160 miles north-east of the capital.

 

Four more people were killed, including a local politician, and five others wounded in a suicide car bomb attack in Baquba, some 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of Baghdad, an Iraqi security source said.

 

“The vice president of the Diyala provincial council, Hussein Alwan al-Tamini, and three of his bodyguards were killed in a suicide attack in the center of Baquba," said Colonel Ismail Ibrahim.

 

In Mosul "Five people, including a policeman, were killed and 13 wounded in a double motorcycle bombing around 4:15 pm (1215 GMT) in front of a cafe near a police station in the city," said Commander Mootaz Abdel Wahed Mohammed.

 

An interior ministry source said, meanwhile, that one policeman had been wounded when a car bomb exploded prematurely in southern Baghdad's Dura neighbourhood, with three suspects arrested following the blast.

 

In Baiji, 200 kilometers (130 miles) north of Baghdad, a Turkish truck driver was shot dead following a firefight between insurgents and police escorting a convoy.

 

Two members of the security forces died in the shootout, an army captain said.

 

In Siniyah, an Iraqi soldier died and another was injured in a mortar attack on their base.

 

Insurgents also carried out attacks in two sections of Baghdad on Wednesday, wounding six Iraqi security forces and a civilian, police told CNN.

 

An explosion, which happened at 8.30am local time targeted a convoy of Toyota Land Cruisers carrying civilian contractors, damaging one of the vehicles but injuring none of its occupants, the US military said.

 

At least three Iraqis have been injured after a bomber targeted US forces, exploding a vehicle near the heavily guarded checkpoint leading to Baghdad International Airport.

 

A security official at western Baghdad's main Yarmouk Hospital said three Iraqi Airways employees were wounded.

 

One of the victims, Ghassan Yassin, said he suffered facial wounds as a result of the blast.

 

"Me and some colleagues at Iraqi Airways were waiting in line when we saw a speeding car, then we heard a big explosion," Yassin said. "The next thing I realised is that my car was on fire. I got out through the window after the doors are jammed due to the explosion."

 

Sheik Safwan Ali Farhan, a senior member of the Shiite Badr Brigade militia, died after being shot Monday in eastern Baghdad, police said.

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

 

WELCOME TO ANBAR PROVINCE:

HAVE A NICE DAY

Insurgent carrying a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) in Ramadi April 13, 2005. REUTERS/Stringer/File

 

A survey conducted for U.S. network ABC last year showed 82 percent of Anbar's residents thought the U.S.-led invasion was wrong.

 

More than 70 percent of those in Anbar said attacks against U.S. forces were acceptable.

 

01 Jun 2005 By Luke Baker, Reuters

 

Masked insurgents frequently parade through the streets of Ramadi, and other towns in the Euphrates valley, showing off rocket-propelled grenade launchers and assault rifles.

 

Some have set up checkpoints on roads near the highway, which runs from Jordan to Baghdad, and ambushed convoys of trucks bringing in supplies.  Scores of Jordanian truck drivers have been killed, including one who had his eyes ripped out.

 

The vast majority of Anbar's one million people -- a fraction of Iraq's 26 million population -- lives in the Euphrates valley, whose islands, lakes and palm groves provide a good hideout for guerrillas but make military offensives hard.

 

Most commentators trace Anbar's virulent anti-Americanism to April 2003, when U.S. soldiers opened fire on a group of Iraqi protesters in Falluja, killing more than a dozen people.

 

Witnesses said the protesters, who were demonstrating against the occupation of a school by U.S. troops, were unarmed. Either way, the deaths sparked deep-seated outrage.

 

"Now, all preachers of Falluja mosques and all youths...are organizing martyr operations against the American occupiers," one resident said that day.

 

A survey conducted for U.S. network ABC last year showed 82 percent of Anbar's residents thought the U.S.-led invasion was wrong.

 

More than 70 percent of those in Anbar said attacks against U.S. forces were acceptable.

 

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

Been There, Done That

 

“When President Diem took over in 1955, his authority did not extend beyond the Presidential Palace.”  Leland Burrows, Head of U.S.O.M. Saigon, May 1957

 

 

“Three Days Light Duty For Getting Whacked On The Helmet While Tripping”

(And Respect To Drill Sgt Harris)

 

From: Veteran X, Vets For Peace

To:  GI Special

Sent: June 01, 2005 8:04 AM

Subject: GI Special 3B47

 

Imagine my surprise to read that drill sergeants can get bad conduct discharges for "punching recruits in the chest, stomach, and chin."  It makes me wonder if they have new rules, or are always existing rules just selectively enforced?

 

I attended BCT in the autumn of '73, during the Yom Kippur War.  The head games included no newspapers, TV, radio, or outside contact other than personal mail.  The D.I.'s took great pleasure in diverting our cattle cars on the way to the ranges past the post engineers in order to show us tanks being converted from Viet Nam jungle camo paint schemes to desert camo.  We were told our guaranteed enlistment training options were all voided, as we were all to be reassigned as riflemen in Israel.

 

"Physical corrections" were common daily occurrences by our D.I.'s.  A punch in the solar plexus to knock the wind out of guy, and thumb pressure on the trachea sufficient to cause a momentary blackout were the preferred techniques. 

 

They seemed to have quite a bit of practice at it, as nobody ever suffered internal injuries or a fractured larynx.

 

They pretty much all did it, except for Drill Sgt Harris.  Sgt Harris was a cool dude.  He got results from talking.  He never yelled or laid a hand on anyone that I saw.  He was in charge of many in my company, including myself, during reception station.

 

Once the BCT cycle started he would have to at least weekly tell a company formation "Stop coming to me with your problems!  The only people I care about now are in 4th Platoon."  Must have been tough for him to have the entire company coming to him because he was a decent human being, instead of keeping up the expected hard ass facade?

 

We did have one D.I. that got transferred out of the company at a minimum, for 'physical abuse of a recruit.'  No UCMJ action that we were aware of, at least I was never asked for a witness statement.

 

Wasn't really his fault, or at least not as bad as they thought when they punished him.  Maybe he was just having a bad day?  Maybe he did not like being out in the rain drilling anymore than we did.  In any event, his sin was to take my rifle away from me and whack me on the head with it.

 

I was wearing a steel pot, so it just knocked me down more or less.  It was his misfortune to do it just as the LTC battalion CO drove around the corner and saw it.  I forget what my offense was that provoked the D. I.?  Maybe I answered too slow, or too silly?

 

Me and one other guy I trusted amused ourselves by tripping on acid about three days a week in BCT.  The LTC maybe thought I looked a bit dazed, and insisted that an ambulance come take me to the dispensary for evaluation.

 

I suppose one look at my eyes while tripping, combined with the report of being struck on the head hard enough to knock me down, led to the presumption of a possibly serious head injury?  My verbal responses to the doc probably were a cause of worry about my neurological condition?  I was diagnosed with a concussion and held overnite and the next day for observation.  Got 3 days "light duty" on return to the training company.  I chewed up my tongue pretty good to keep from laughing during that escapade.

 

So a D.I. got replaced, and I got a day and a half in the dispensary and three days light duty for getting whacked on the helmet while tripping.   It was the highlight of my training cycle.  Sure beat training in the rain.

 

As a postscript, a couple weeks later on the grenade range I was by chance paired up 1:1 with the aforementioned Drill Sgt Harris as the instructor in the throwing pit with me.

 

Again by chance it was an "on" day for tripping.  The astute Drill Sgt Harris watched me enter his pit and said "You fucked up, ain't ya boy?  It don't matter.  Just do what I say and we both go home alive today."  I hope Drill Sgt Harris put in his 20 yrs safely and is collecting retirement somewhere today.

 

This one is just between you and me T.  Got to protect the guilty.  You can print it, but please withold my name this time around.  [Done, and thanks for sending.  This is real history that the politicians and reporters either never see or don’t give shit about.  Or both.]

 

 

Another Stupid Pissing Contest:

Two Demonstrations Better Than None

 

May 30, 2005 by Bill Onasch, Labor Advocate Online

 

The majority of American people opposed to the war in Iraq continues to grow.

 

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the organized antiwar movement which has long been divided by sectarian factionalism and lacks a mass focus.

 

We have reported on efforts by US Labor Against the War to try to unify antiwar forces around a mass demonstration this autumn.

 

Recently the two major centers of the movement-ANSWER and UFPJ-endorsed the need for unity.  They then each proceeded to call for their own March On Washington-two marches, same day, different locations in the same city.

 

It is good that efforts will be made to draw tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands into the streets to make antiwar sentiment visible.

 

It is absurd to have essentially competing actions.  The media will focus on movement divisions rather than the majority the movement seeks to speak for.

 

[Background:  UFPJ called September mass demonstration for New York City.  ANSWER called one for DC.  UFPJ decided not to have theirs in NY City after all, and changed the location to Washington, for the same date as ANSWER’s action.]

 

MORE:

 

One Way To Cut Out The Petty Bullshit

 

[Check out the part in the box below.  One demand, troops out NOW, with each organization free to say what else they please.

 

 

GETTING U.S. TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ NOW!

THE WORLD DEMANDS IT - WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

 

Sisters and brothers,

 

Since the Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC) added its views to the discussion about uniting the antiwar movement prompted by a unity call circulated by USLAW, September 24 has been set as the date for an antiwar march on Washington.

 

We believe that September 24 should be embraced by all as a critical opportunity to revive a determined and popular struggle to shut this war down.

 

The road to that end is not paved yet. The ANSWER coalition and then UPFJ have both called for marches on Washington DC on Saturday Sept. 24.  ANSWER has asked for a united event on this date with UFPJ.

 

We propose that the unifying demand for Sept 24 should be the complete, unconditional and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. occupation troops from Iraq.

 

Beyond that, we propose that each coalition raise the additional demands, and political views that they choose to. 

 

MORE:

 

While Troops And Iraqis Die, Trivial Pursuits Split Anti-War Movement

 

UFPJ’s statement to member groups about the September 24 call specifically excludes a united effort.  “[W]hile we applaud all efforts and activities to end the war and occupation in Iraq,” the statement reads, “UFPJ will not join with ANSWER (or the Troops Out Now Coalition) in the planning and organizing of the September 24-26 mobilization in Washington...Our steering committee agreed that should USLAW still decide to convene (a unity meeting), UFPJ will participate, but only to discuss logistical concerns for that weekend.”

 

Likewise, as in the past, ANSWER issued its call without consulting other forces in the movement--effectively, a rejection of the unity initiative.

 

June 3, 2005 Socialist Worker

 

SEPTMBER 24 will be a day of national mobilization against the U.S. war on Iraq. International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), two national antiwar organizations, have called for demonstrations in Washington, D.C. on that date.

 

This is a welcome development.  The antiwar movement has been at a standstill during last year’s election campaign and its aftermath.

 

There has been only one national antiwar mobilization since October 2003--and that at the Republican National Convention in New York City last fall, which allowed the demonstration’s organizers and most participants to focus their fire on Bush, while ignoring the pro-war position of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

 

Meanwhile, public discontent with the occupation has grown almost without interruption. The most recent Gallup poll found that 57 percent of people surveyed think the invasion of Iraq wasn’t “worth it.”  But with the antiwar movement stuck in the mud, this sentiment has had no active _expression.

 

Since the election, many antiwar leaders have spread the idea that holding demonstrations is irrelevant anyway--because this is only “preaching to the choir.”

 

That argument is wrong.  Demonstrations are important both to give confidence to the “choir” to keep organizing--and to reach out to those who are just beginning to question the war.  

 

In reality, the “preaching to the choir” complaint is a cover for a further shift to the right, away from an emphasis on organizing and action.

 

Now that a date has finally been set, local activists can begin building for the largest possible turnout.  The weekend in September can be a showcase for the important organizing that has taken place this year--defense of military resisters like Pablo Paredes and Kevin Benderman, opposition to military recruiters on campus, the efforts of soldiers’ families.

 

Unfortunately, the weaknesses of the movement are still evident.  For one thing, ANSWER and UFPJ have issued calls for competing demonstrations on September 24--and this in the face of a unity proposal initiated by U.S. Labor Against War and taken up by another antiwar organization, the Troops Out Now Coalition.

 

UFPJ’s statement to member groups about the September 24 call specifically excludes a united effort. “[W]hile we applaud all efforts and activities to end the war and occupation in Iraq,” the statement reads, “UFPJ will not join with ANSWER (or the Troops Out Now Coalition) in the planning and organizing of the September 24-26 mobilization in Washington...Our steering committee agreed that should USLAW still decide to convene (a unity meeting), UFPJ will participate, but only to discuss logistical concerns for that weekend.”

 

Likewise, as in the past, ANSWER issued its call without consulting other forces in the movement--effectively, a rejection of the unity initiative.

 

The ANSWER call does put forward a range of demands that represents the spectrum of opinion in the antiwar movement--opposing not only the occupation of Iraq, but of Palestine and Haiti, plus the threats against Venezuela and other U.S. targets, and the ”racist anti-immigrant, anti-labor offensive at home.”

 

UFPJ has a narrower set of demands, focused only on Iraq.  Over the course of this year, the coalition’s leadership has resisted any discussion of the legitimacy of the Iraqi resistance to U.S. occupation.

 

Plus, some voices in UFPJ even take issue with the one demand that should be the core point of unity in the antiwar movement--immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.  Instead, they propose a “responsible” end to the occupation--precisely the way that the pro-war Democrats and even the Bush administration have described their aims.

 

UFPJ’s September 24 call does demand immediate withdrawal.  But another sign of the conservative pull on the coalition is its attempt to combine a “massive march, rally and festival” on September 24 with a day of lobbying on September 26.

 

Congressional lobbying is a top priority for UFPJ leaders.  Indeed, UFPJ’s statements about the September 24-26 days of action appeared along with action alerts calling on supporters to “call your representative” to back a congressional resolution sponsored by Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

 

But Woolsey’s resolution doesn’t call for immediate withdrawal.  It is carefully crafted to avoid this, instead demanding that the Bush administration “develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq.”

 

The antiwar movement shouldn’t expend any effort on lobbying Congress.  The way to force Washington to respond to our demands is not by “educating” lawmakers”--who already know full well what is taking place in Iraq--but by building the kind of actions and ongoing organization it can’t ignore.

 

The call for the national mobilization in September provides an opportunity to take a further step in this direction.

 

The exact shape of events--where the two demonstrations will be held, what other activities will take place, the extent of any coordination--are still to be decided. But opponents of the barbaric U.S. occupation of Iraq can mark their calendars now--and get started in organizing an all-out mobilization for September.

 

MORE:

 

Senate Spits On UFPJ:

Every Democrat And Republican Votes For More War:

(So Much For The “Lobbying” Idiocy)

 

11 May 2005 By Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post

 

The Senate gave final passage yesterday to an $82 billion emergency war-spending bill, sending President Bush a measure that will push the cost of the Iraq invasion well past $200 billion.

 

The Senate unanimously approved the spending measure.

 

MORE:

 

IAC, ANSWER, And UFPJ:

Time For An Obituary?

 

May 02, 2005 montages.blogspot

 

Did anyone but the most dedicated observer of political activism notice the two rallies held in New York City on May 1, 2005?

 

The International Action Center, through a new "coalition" called Troops Out Now!, organized a march and rally to "Revive May Day," attracting only 1,000-1,500 according to organizers' own estimate.

 

United for Peace and Justice, meanwhile, marched and rallied to "Abolish Nukes!" (as May Day fell on "the day before the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference begins at the United Nations").  Perhaps, 10,000-40,000 attended the UFPJ march and rally.

 

It is clear that neither May Day nor nuclear disarmament resonated with many Americans.

 

Delegates to the UFPJ National Assembly on February 19-21, 2005 did vote for a proposal to make September 10, 2005 "World Day of Mobilization on the U.N. against War," [Whatever the fuck that means.  And you notice they pretend there is no war in Iraq worth mentioning.  Bush must very grateful.] but mobilization for it apparently has yet to begin.

 

Anti-war activists nationwide, who have always had only tenuous relations to the main US anti-war coalitions headquartered in New York City, are effectively on our own.  Is it time to write an obituary for the IAC, ANSWER, and UFPJ?

 

Ron Jacobs, arguing that ANSWER and UFPJ are not "the proper vehicles" to raise the political and economic costs of the Iraq War high enough to compel the US power elite to abandon it, calls for the creation of "a broad anti-imperialist coalition," rather than trying to change ANSWER's and UFPJ's nature and direction.

 

[See Jacobs article next below.]

 

Whether we agree or disagree with Jacobs on his call, it is undeniable that there is a big vacuum in the anti-war movement.

 

MORE:

 

UFPJ: Lobbyists Or Organizers?

If Imperialism Is The Cause, Shouldn't The US Anti-War Movement Be Anti-Imperialist?

 

This, in turn, means that we must understand that no organ of the imperial governments involved in these wars is going to help us because we have convinced them that they are wrong.  After all, this is their livelihood.  They do not believe that what they are doing is wrong, because their economic and political situation demands that these wars and occupations must occur.

 

[Thanks to PB, who sent this in.]

 

May 2, 2005 By RON JACOBS, CounterPunch

 

IF the comments I hear at public events or in private conversations (vocal and via email) about the current state of the "antiwar" movement are any indication, groups like the US organization UFPJ are in real trouble.

 

This trouble does not come from a lack of antiwar sentiment, nor does it come from apathy.

 

Instead, it comes from a growing sense that the leadership of this organization (and others like them) are attempting to lead those of us who attend their demonstrations into the arms of the dead-end process known as mainstream politics.  By this, I mean that the UFPJ leadership wants to lobby Congress to end the war.  While this is certainly a noble thought, it has about as much possibility of success as me turning into a frog.

 

History as recent as the history of the movement against the war in Vietnam proves that the only way one can pressure Congress to stop funding a war that it loves is by creating a situation in the daily life of the nation that makes business as usual difficult to conduct.

 

This is what happened in the late 1960s and the 1970s-the US war on Vietnam became a big hindrance to the way Congress and its corporate paymasters conducted business. Even in its hallowed halls there were people who stood with the protestors.  Money was not being made at the appropriate rate and eventually corporate America bowed to the pressure that the constant rallies, direct actions, and riots put on their profit making.  Only after years of this type of pressure did Congress stop funding the war.

 

A converse of this constant street action occurred during the US wars on the people of Central America in the 1980s.  Although certain regions of the country organized direct actions and protests, much of the movement against these wars was focused on lobbying Congress.  This lobbying did help get the Boland Amendment banning aid to the US counterinsurgency forces known as the Contras but, as any one who was involved in this movement remembers, Ronnie Reagan just had his secret team fund and support the contras through illegal drug sales and arms smuggling.

 

All of this work was done out of George Bush the First's office.  Then, when the men and women involved were indicted and convicted, George Bush the First pardoned them all.

 

Underlying the desire to organize (or lobby) Congress instead of organizing people to get in the streets and make life miserable for the warmongers is a belief that Congress's agenda is somehow different from the agenda of the Pentagon or the White House.

 

This belief is not only na´ve; if one really wants to end the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan it is downright foolhardy.

 

Congress shares the same agenda as the rest of the US government.  Even those (few) members who disagree on individual issues like Social Security, education, and labor issues share an underlying assumption that the US had only the best intentions in its attack on Iraq.

 

Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of the legislators in Washington share the administration's assumption that it is essential for the United States to maintain its imperial army and that it should not hesitate to use it when the interests of corporate America are threatened.

 

Given this, there is no way that Congress is going to be lobbied to end the US occupation of Iraq.  

 

Furthermore, unless those of us in the antiwar movement who understand this organize around this understanding, the movement against the war and occupation will be relegated to the role similar to that of Jiminy Cricket in the tale of Pinocchio.  We may be right, but it doesn't matter because we can be ignored as easily as a small insect.

 

So, what do we need to do?

 

I don't claim to have any of the answers, but, if we look once again at history, we can find some very helpful clues.

 

The most important one being that we must understand that the war in Iraq and the "war on terror" are imperial wars. In other words, they are part and parcel of Washington's and Wall Street's need to maintain, control, and expand their markets.  That means the movement against these wars must be an anti-imperialist movement.

 

This, in turn, means that we must understand that no organ of the imperial governments involved in these wars is going to help us because we have convinced them that they are wrong.  After all, this is their livelihood.  They do not believe that what they are doing is wrong, because their economic and political situation demands that these wars and occupations must occur.

 

The governments that Washington has put in place in Baghdad and Kabul are representing the interests of the imperial powers, not the interests of those capitals' respective peoples.  Let me repeat, the governments occupying Iraq and Afghanistan need to undertake these military actions in order to maintain their dominance in the world's political and economic dynamic.

 

The only way they will let go of these military actions is when the political and economic cost of those actions is greater than the benefits.  The resistance groups in Iraq and Afghanistan understand this, even with their internal differences and disparate motives. The movement against the war in the countries of the occupiers needs to also understand it.

 

Our job is to create the situation where that understanding becomes the case and is acted upon.

 

Are the current antiwar organizations (UFPJ and ANSWER in the US, Stop the War Coalition in the UK) the proper vehicles for creating this situation?  I can't speak for the UK organization or any organization in other countries outside of the US.  However, when it comes to the US organizations, I believe the answer is no, not as they are currently operating.

 

UFPJ has failed to put forward an anti-imperialist analysis of the war and occupation: a fact that is perhaps best displayed by their tacit support of war party member John Kerry via the Anybody But Bush electoral movement in 2004.

 

ANSWER seems to have too much baggage associated with its founding organization (Worker's World Party-WWP) to be able to reach very far beyond its current constituency.  This is too bad for ANSWER, especially considering their work against the sanctions and ongoing war on Iraq for more than a decade and their support amongst the communities of color in the United States.

 

I would like to state here that this is not meant to be a call to disband either of these organizations.  After all, they have played (and will continue to play) an important role in the antiwar movement.

 

It is instead, a call on those who consider themselves to be non-WWP anti-imperialists to stop trying to change the nature of UFPJ and ANSWER and form our own antiwar grouping(s).

 

There is a need for a broad anti-imperialist coalition to oppose the designs of Washington and London.

 

There is also a need to take that opposition to the streets, the schools, the workplace, the military, and wherever else we can.

 

The time is getting late.  Who will make the first step towards building this organization?

 

 

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

 

Operation Desperation;

Rumsfeld's Baghdad Fiasco

“The United States Is Being Beaten, And Beaten Quite Badly”

THE FIASCO KID RIDES AGAIN

 

05/31/05 Micke Whitney, Information Clearing House [Excerpt]

 

No one could have dreamed that 2 years after Bush declared "Mission Accomplished", 40,000 Iraqi security personnel and 10,000 American soldiers would be needed to pacify Baghdad, but that, in fact, is the underlying meaning of Rumsfeld's Operation Lightening.

 

Simply put, the magnitude of the failure exceeds our wildest expectations.

 

It's clear now that the size and strength of the insurgency has surpassed all the previous predictions and that the civilian leadership of the occupation forces is lashing out in desperation to quell the violence.

 

Iraq has quickly degenerated into the most poorly executed military campaign in American history.

 

The United States is being beaten, and beaten quite badly. Notwithstanding Vice President Cheney's nonsensical bluster, the insurgency has gained ground in all areas of the conflict; increasing the death toll among American servicemen, blowing up oil pipelines, controlling supply lines, sabotaging attempts at reconstruction, and enlisting broader support from the native population.

 

Despite the circus elections performed as a publicity stunt for the American public some months ago, Iraq has become ungovernable.  Again, the extent of the failure is truly breathtaking.

 

Normally, when the war strategy proves to be as tragically flawed as it has been in Iraq, changes are made at the top of the defense establishment.  That won't happen with Rumsfeld.

 

Rumsfeld's job is protected by his unique relationship to the administration.  In fact, Rumsfeld is corporate-America's personal ambassador, chosen for his rigorous commitment to ideology and his willingness to execute any crime that furthers the interests of his core constituents.

 

What this means in terms of the occupation is this; we are seeing how war would be conducted by businessmen and CEOs rather than highly-trained military experts.  This explains the futile siege and destruction of Falluja as well as the egregious violations of human rights at Abu Ghraib.  Neither of these is reflective of the standards we have come to expect from the military, but the corrupting influence of corporate magnates playing war-games.

 

For Rumsfeld, the war has continued far beyond the fall of Baghdad because he's never seriously pursued a political solution.  This omission ensures that security can only be enforced through ever-increasing levels of brute force.  That same mentality is being duplicated in Operation Lightening, another failed attempt to assert American dominance through counterinsurgency, round-ups and overwhelming firepower.  It, too, will certainly fail.

 

The reliance on force has produced the same grim results over and over again, and yet, it is applied to the exclusion of any other alternative.

 

That muddled thinking has led to the present inter-urban conflict; a fight that will undoubtedly produce more pointless detentions, more unnecessary civilian deaths and more recruits for the burgeoning insurgency.

 

The seeds of rage sown by Rumsfeld's orgy of terror have quashed any opportunity for achieving a negotiated settlement. Iraq is now beset by Bush's dichotomous "all or nothing" world view.

 

NEED SOME TRUTH?  CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER

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

 

 

“Now That We Are Criticizing The US, He Has Lost His Faith Again”

 

[#1.  The bullshit:]

 

Rumsfeld: Criticism Of Gitmo Inaccurate

June 2, 2005 USA Today,

Secretary Rumsfeld denounced Amnesty International’s depiction of Guantanamo as the “gulag of our time.”  He said the group’s characterization of the detention center is “reprehensible.”

 

[#2.  The truth:]

 

June 1, 2005 Amnesty International

 

From: Statement of Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA, WASHINGTON--June 1

 

Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush Administration ignored or dismissed Amnesty International's reports on the abuse of detainees for years, and senior officials continue to ignore the very real plight of men detained without charge or trial.

 

Amnesty International first communicated its concerns at the treatment of prisoners to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld in January 2002 and continued to raise these concerns at the highest levels as allegations of abuse mounted from Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Iraq.  The response was to bar AI's human rights investigators from visiting US detention facilities, in contrast to countries as diverse as Libya and Sudan, where governments have accepted the value of independent monitoring.

 

Twenty years ago, Amnesty International was criticizing Saddam Hussein's human rights abuses at the same time Donald Rumsfeld was courting him.  In 2003 Rumsfeld apparently trusted our credibility on violations by Iraq, but now that we are criticizing the US he has lost his faith again. [Schulz said U.S. officials were only too glad to back Amnesty when it focused on Saddam Hussein’s cruelties.  Washington Times 6.1.05]

 

On March 27, 2003, Rumsfeld said:

We know that it's a repressive regime?  Anyone who has read Amnesty International or any of the human rights organizations about how the regime of Saddam Hussein treats his people?

 

 

OCCUPATION HAITI

 

Fighting In Port-Au-Prince

 

May 31, 2005 The Haiti Information Project, Port au Prince, Haiti

 

The U.N. and the Police Nationale d╣Haiti (PNH) launched a major offensive today aimed at the pro-Aristide seaside slum of Cite Soleil.  At least 3 people were killed and scores injured after U.N. and PNH security forces reportedly entered the area with "guns shooting everywhere" according to residents.  St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bois Verna, home to a project of the French organization Medicin Sans Frontier, reported their staff was having difficulty treating the increasing number of gunshot victims resulting from today╣s action.

 

In what appeared to be a response to the armed incursion, unknown assailants set fire to a large market in the old quarter of Haiti’s capital known as Marche Tet Boeuf.  There was general panic in the area as the flames spread and engulfed a nearby school. Gunfire reportedly rang out as people in the area were forced to run for cover prior to the outset of the fire.

 

Radio stations in the capital reported soon after that Haiti's National Palace was also shot at.

 

 

 

CLASS WAR REPORTS

 

Bolivia:

Police Regiment Won’t Attack Protest Movement

 

June 1, 2005 Luis A. Gَmez, The Narco News Bulletin

 

This morning, while the marchers did what they've done every day for more than a week, the local media began to receive reports of a mutiny within the police.  Officials speaking for the administration of President Carlos Mesa denied the information: there had merely been an attempt within Regiment No. 1.

 

A few minutes ago, however, one of the officers from that regiment called Radio Erbol and clarified the issue: the police from that regiment had decided, by consensus, to stop going into the streets "to gas our women and our own children."

 

The officer, who complained of having been badly treated by National Police intelligence personnel, demanded along with a group of his fellow officers "total nationalization of the hydrocarbons."

 

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