GI SPECIAL 3B53:
Like I Would Be Proud To Have Taken
Part In A
Goodrich, (USAF ret’d), Co-founder, Iraq Veterans Against
the War / Western Region
To: GI Special
Sent: June 07, 2005
know if you saw this in the news last week, but if not, it’s
worth a look.
2005 By Michael Smith, The Sunday Times UK
and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping
bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam
Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new
evidence has shown.
The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the
United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord
Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition
the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had
become a full air offensive.
It was not
until November 8 that the UN security council passed
resolution 1441, which threatened Iraq with "serious
consequences" for failing to co-operate with the weapons
The systematic targeting of Iraqi air defences appears to
contradict Foreign Office legal guidance appended to the
leaked briefing paper which said that the allied aircraft
were only "entitled to use force in self-defence where such
a use of force is a necessary and proportionate response to
actual or imminent attack from Iraqi ground systems".
glad that someone finally got this information out to the
helping with those missions because I was deployed to
Saudi Arabia from August-October of 2002.
they intensified the bombing six months before the war
started. I even saw the Army troop movements go through
my base on their way into Iraq; again six months before
the war started.
I was helping bomb Iraq and the war apparently started at
least six months before the “official” date, I’ll never be
recognized for it.
will all of the other troops that took part in the “pre-war”
means that some won’t get their benefits that they deserve
for fighting in OIF- all because it hadn’t “officially”
I was honored for something such as this, it’s not like
I would be proud to have taken part in a lie anyway, so
I guess it’s not so bad.
The part that gets me the most
is this, though: I’ve been telling people all across the
United States that this happened.
Now, a news story finally
comes out about it, and the people still don’t care.
What is it
going to take to wake up the general population of the U.S.?
A draft? A nuclear bomb set off by Iraqi terrorists that
we have “made” over the past 2+ years?
Sorry to ramble on here, I
guess I just needed to vent. Feel free to print this if you
think it’s worthy.
words, and those of other Iraq veterans, carry more weight,
contain more truth, and are more worthy, than 5000 pages of
bullshit from the politicians. Never doubt it. And we will
prevail. Thankfully, members of our armed forces, and
veterans, will do the right thing. They have taken the oath
to protect us against all enemies, foreign
Every day makes it clearer to all concerned exactly who
those enemies are. T]
have a friend or relative in the service? Forward this
E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and
we’ll send it regularly.
Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is
extra important for your service friend, too often cut
off from access to encouraging news of growing
resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed
Send requests to address up top.
KILLED NEAR FALLUJAH
June 7, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-06-05C
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq –
A Marine assigned to
Regimental Combat Team-8, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine
Expeditionary Force (Forward), died June 6 from wounds
sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near
incident took place during combat operations June 5, near
MARINE KILLED NEAR FALLUJAH BY IED
June 7, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-06-06C
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq –
A Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team-8, 2nd Marine
Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was
killed in action June 6 when an improvised explosive device
detonated near the vehicle in which he was traveling.
The incident took place near
DIES AT CAMP DUBLIN
June 7, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-06-07C
BAGHDAD, Iraq –
A U.S. Soldier died of
non-combat related injuries June 5 at Camp Dublin near the
Baghdad International Airport.
From Idaho Killed
06/07/05 AP, BOISE, Idaho
19-year-old Caldwell woman has become the first female
soldier from Idaho to die in fighting in Iraq.
Spec. Carrie L. French died
Sunday afternoon. She had been assigned to the National
Guard's 145th Support Battalion, which is based in Boise.
She is the 13th soldier from
Idaho to die since the March 2003 invasion.
French's family declined
requests for interviews. She's survived by her mother,
Paula Hylinsky, and father, Rick French.
"Carrie was a fun-loving young
woman with a warm heart and desire to serve," a statement
from her family said. "She will be dearly missed."
According to a Defense
Department statement, the front of French's convoy vehicle
was struck by the bomb at about 3 p.m. in Kirkuk.
French was an ammunition
specialist with the battalion, which provides logistical and
medical support as well as supplies to the National Guard's
116th Brigade Combat Team. The 116th is headquartered at
Boise's Gowen Field and includes about 1,700 Idaho residents
among its 4,300 soldiers.
Actually Believe In The War He Was Fighting”
June 07, 2005 By Charles
Shumaker, Staff writer, The Charleston Gazette
Brian Scott Ulbrich, who
brought a little bit of his Boone County expertise to help
his Army unit in Iraq, was killed this weekend by a roadside
bomb in Baghdad, his mother said Monday evening.
Ulbrich, a 23-year-old private
first class, died Sunday after a bomb exploded outside his
Humvee in Baghdad, according to his mother, Barbara
Ulbrich. He was a cavalry scout based at Fort Carson, Colo.
Ulbrich, known as “Scotty,”
usually drove a Bradley Fighting Vehicle but was behind the
wheel of the smaller Humvee when the explosion rocked the
vehicle, his mother said. Ulbrich and other soldiers got out
just as a second roadside bomb exploded, killing Ulbrich and
two other men, Barbara Ulbrich said.
Two Army chaplains met with
Barbara Ulbrich on Sunday evening. He died Sunday, about
4:30 a.m. West Virginia time, they said.
One of those killed alongside
him was a sergeant who had written a letter to Ulbrich’s
mother last month that spilled over with compliments for her
son, she said.
“He said [Scotty] was so good
at what he did,” Barbara Ulbrich said.
Her son and the other seven
soldiers in his unit scoured Iraqi land for insurgents
before other soldiers came through.
On a recent
mission, Scotty Ulbrich and other soldiers came upon a canal
that looked to be uncrossable, Barbara Ulbrich said.
her son spotted a bulldozer nearby, ran to it and hopped on
it. Before his commanding officers could react, he had the
engine started and had a plan to cross the canal.
doubting officer questioned him, he replied, “Sir, I’m a
West Virginia coal miner and I know what I’m doing.” He
plowed a path that helped his unit navigate the canal a
short time later.
Ulbrich spent his weekends home from Marshall University
working part time at a Boone County coal mine. He learned
the ins and outs of running a bulldozer there, she said.
His mother, a fourth-grade
teacher at Brookview Elementary School in Foster, took a
week off in February to visit her son in Colorado before he
went to fight.
“he didn’t actually believe in the war he was fighting,”
Scotty Ulbrich was determined to do his job, his mother
Scotty Ulbrich, his mother and
21-year-old sister, Beth, stayed in close touch between his
missions in Iraq. E-mails, letters and telephone calls were
always topped off with Scotty Ulbrich’s wit, his mother
“I am more
proud of him than anything,” she said. “He had such a love
for life and for putting a smile on everyone’s face. He was
just a phenomenal person.”
Illinois Soldier Killed
6.7.05 Associated Press
SIMPSON, Ill. A soldier from
the small town of Simpson in southern Illinois has died in
Melinda Astin of Dongola says
she was notified yesterday that her son -- 20-year-old Army
National Guard soldier Brian Romines had been killed by an
Astin says she's waiting for a
phone call from the military so she can get more details.
Romines joined the National
Guard after his 18th birthday and had been in Iraq since
early this year.
were last in contact by instant messenger on their computers
Friday. He told his mother he was worried because there was
lots of activity going on.
her son tried to hide his nervousness from her when they
talked the last time over the phone on Mother's Day.
(Simpson is about 30 miles
southeast of Carbondale.)
7 June, 2005 BBC
Colonel Peter DeLuca, US
military, Baghdad, 1950 LOCAL TIME (1550 GMT)
The trip to and from the range
was blessedly uneventful and everybody received training on
the variety of weapons in the section.
The heat was another thing and
definitely can suck the energy out of you if you don't
consume water like a maniac.
There was a breeze today and
it helped even though it was a hot and dusty wind out at the
The interview with the
representative from Joint Forces Command was relatively
brief, touching on the high points of how we execute
construction in Iraq. Some controversial points from us
perhaps but nothing that anyone actually involved in
construction in Iraq wouldn't agree about.
received some very sad news as well.
One of our
project sites west of Baghdad was hit with rocket fire and
several Iraqi workers were killed and wounded.
This is the
worst attack on any of our job sites since August 2004. We
are attempting to gather all the pieces of information and
share it with all who need to know including coalition and
Iraqi security forces.
contractors and our J7 officer at the site are working to
notify and coordinate with the families of the injured and
Los Angeles Times, June 7,
Iraqi commanders have deployed
about 40,000 troops to Baghdad for a security crackdown,
leaving other trouble spots virtually unprotected and more
vulnerable to insurgent attacks.
With troops scouring Baghdad
for insurgents, militants will seize the chance to strike
cities from which forces have been pulled.
Downing Street Memo, Say What?
June 7, 2005 Article written by Lietta Ruger, a member
family of MFSO
June 07, 2005
“In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to
offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them
something important: It is our duty to ensure that they
never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly
necessary for the security of the country.
“In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them;
we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending
their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived
concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President
Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them.
Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because
Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those
in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an
30, 2005, The Star Tribune
May 1, 2005, The London Times article; The Downing Street
Memo. Classified information released and reveals origins
of initiation of war in Iraq.
June 7, 2005,
No media coverage in USA on this important document,
save one lone newspaper, The Star Tribune.
That is the passing of a month and what do Americans
know about the Downing Street Memo? Do Americans even
care, I ask myself?
The official minutes of a briefing by Richard Dearlove, then
head of Britain's CIA equivalent, MI-6.
“Dearlove briefed Prime Minister Blair and his top national
security officials on July 23, 2002, on the Bush
administration's plans to make war on Iraq.
Blair does not dispute the authenticity of the document.
In emotionless English, Dearlove tells Blair and the others
that President Bush has decided to remove Saddam Hussein by
launching a war that is to be "justified by the conjunction
of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction." Period.
What about the intelligence? Dearlove adds
matter-of-factly, "The intelligence and facts are being
fixed around the policy."
When this article was made known to me within the day of its
release, I understood the potential impact and waited to see
if American mainstream news would even report it and not
surprisingly it went unreported.
Of course, not so on internet and in blogosphere where the
impact was also understood. Yet it is newsworthy, surely
more so than the headline stories of the past month.
If it’s not newsworthy, not notable, it really does beg the
question, doesn’t it, of why it is not.
the interim, Amnesty International has made its 2005 report
US government is operating an "archipelago" of prisons
around the world, many of them secret camps into which
people are being "literally disappeared," a top Amnesty
International official said.
And the Bush Administration finds this an unfair attack, yet
cited Amnesty International reports as among the reasons to
take out Saddam Hussein. How low we’ve fallen, USA, to now
be the subject of an Amnesty International Report citing our
country’s villainy and not inaccurately either.
If as early as July 2002, both Bush and Blair knew they
were taking their countries to war in Iraq, knew they
would be sending in troops, why then by March 2003 (8
months later) was neither prepared to equip the troops
they knew they would send into Iraq?
If there was lead up time to prepare the plans to go to war
and induce fear into a susceptible congress/parliament and
citizenry, there was time then to adequately prepare for the
needs of troops being sent into combat.
Even if an optimistic case scenario of shock and awe and a
quick finish was an expectation of these 'planners and
leaders', now 2 + years later it's abundantly apparent this
will be a long drawn out IraqNam and IranNam next?
And if PNAC had years to prepare their blueprint, why didn't
that blueprint include the needs of troops in combat? How
disposable are our troops?
So for me, a military family speaking out in support of
our troops deployed in combat, I continue to wait,
watch, say what I can when I can, and hope the American
public will listen to the disquiet that must by now be
rumbling around in their gut telling each there is
something very wrong about what we are doing in Iraq.
More than that, I continue to wait and watch and hope the
American public will not continue to try to quiet those
inner feelings of agitation by out shouting them with their
voices reciting the now tired rhetoric, jingoism and
platitudes of why our loved ones are in combat in Iraq.
And more than that, I continue to wait, watch and hope the
American public will be moved to action on behalf of our
troops and call to account this Administration’s culpability
become collectively culpable as a nation and it troubles me
deeply to now fully appreciate and understand how it might
have been once upon a time for the German people as a nation
when they seemed frozen and unable to act to hold their own
misunderstand as I am not making a comparison of our
Administration to that period of time, but I am making a
comparison of the American public response to the German
public response and have come to know the answer to the
question that I used to ask ‘how could they do nothing, let
it happen, let it continue’.
It is a question I now mentally ask daily these days about
our own American public.
the Congressman Conyers Letter To President Bush Concerning
‘The Downing Street Minutes’ (link:
the Petition to Prime Minister Tony Blair supporting the
public inquiry into the Iraq war. (link
Silly Larceny Charge Against Sgt. Benderman
[Thanks to D, who sent this
Jun. 06, 2005 RUSS BYNUM,
Associated Press, SAVANNAH, Ga.
An Army investigator has
recommended a court-martial on desertion charges for a
soldier who refused to deploy to Iraq.
Sgt. Kevin Benderman, 40,
faces up to seven years in prison if the recommendation of
the investigating officer - whose role is similar to that of
a civilian grand jury - is followed by Fort Stewart
Benderman, an Army mechanic,
refused to deploy with his 3rd Infantry Division unit for a
second tour of duty Jan. 8, days after he told commanders he
was seeking a discharge as a conscientious objector.
military judge halted Benderman's first trial May 11 and
ordered a new preliminary investigation, ruling previous
investigative hearings may have been biased against
Following that ruling, prosecutors added charges of
larceny against Benderman, saying he accepted $2,922 in
combat pay and related deployment bonuses while he
remained in the United States.
hearing officer, Maj. David Bedard, said in his report
released Friday that the larceny charges should be
dropped, blaming the payments on an accounting error.
Bedard's recommendation to
Col. John M. Kidd, Fort Stewart's garrison commander, would
leave Benderman in the same position as his prior legal
fight: facing charges of desertion and missing movement in a
Maj. Scot Sikes, Benderman's
military defense attorney, applauded the recommendation to
drop larceny charges, which carried a maximum penalty of 10
pleased he saw the added charges for what they are - an
administrative oversight by Army finance," Sikes said. "As
for the desertion and missing movement charges, we just feel
like there's exonerating evidence that, at trial, will carry
Benderman's attorneys have
argued that at worst, the soldier had been absent without
leave - a lesser charge than desertion - because he reported
for duty the Monday after his unit's weekend deployment.
Military, Distrusts Main Stream Media”
Business & Congress Also In The Toilet
Heather, who sent this in. She writes: ''We the people''
very compelling evidence that the mainstream media is
drastically out of step with the majority of the American
public: Military Tops Public Confidence
List in New Gallup Poll
WASHINGTON, June 3, 2005 By
Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service
The American public has more
confidence in the military than in any other institution,
according to a Gallup poll released this week.
Seventy-four percent of those surveyed in Gallup’s 2005
confidence poll said they have “a great deal” or “quite a
lot” of confidence in the military - more than in a full
range of other government, religious, economic, medical,
business and news organizations.
Those surveyed expressed
strong confidence in the military, with 42 percent
expressing “a great deal” of confidence in the military and
32 percent, “quite a lot” of confidence. Eighteen percent
said they have “some” confidence, 7 percent, “very little,”
and 1 percent, “none.”
This year’s 74 percent
confidence level exceeded that of all 15 institutions
included in the 2005 survey.
maintenance organizations bottomed out the list, with
just 17 percent of responders expressing high confidence
business and Congress tied for the second- and
third-lowest rankings, with 22 percent of responders
expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence
Gallup organization noted that public trust in
television news and newspapers reached an all-time low
this year, with 28 percent of responders expressing high
confidence in them.
Worse, “Experts” Say
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June
military experts say the number of casualties suffered by
U.S. forces in Iraq reflect the cost of war, with one noting
that casualties would be worse if “things were getting
Avenge The Betrayal!
Veteran’s Association Announces War Crime Report Filed
[Thanks to Phil G who sent
Ward Boston, a JAG (Naval Legal) Officer involved with
the initial inquiry and retired FBI agent examined the
original copy of the Court of Inquiry record released
under the Freedom of Information Act and declared it a
fraud. “It is not the record I certified and submitted
in 1967,” says Captain Boston.
June 7, 2005 Common Dreams
CONTACT: Gary Brummett,
President, USS Liberty Veterans Association
WASHINGTON, DC - Friday, June
10 at 1:00 pm, Hotel Washington, 515 15th. St NW, Washington
Room 11th floor (hit R for roof in elevator), Moe Shafer,
board member of the USS Liberty Veterans Association and
Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, USN, Ret., Former Judge
Advocate General of the Navy who was involved with the
initial Court of Inquiry investigating the attack in 1967
will present details of the “Report of War Crimes” brief
filed on behalf of the USS Liberty Veteran’s Association
concerning the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.
The “Report” was filed with by
James R. Gotcher, General Legal Counsel, USS - LVA, with the
Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon on June 8, the 38th
anniversary of the attack on the USS Liberty.
establishing prima facie evidence that Israel committed war
crimes the Secretary of Defense under existing Dept. Of
Defense directives is obligated to initiate an inquiry into
the commission of war crimes, an investigation that should
have been carried out 38 years ago.
Gotcher was an Air Force
intelligence officer in Vietnam in 1967 and is one of three
intelligence officers who were in different parts of the
world at the time.
Independent of each other they
signed sworn affidavits that they saw intelligence messages
saying the USS Liberty was under attack by Israeli aircraft
in the Mediterranean.
Moe was a
3rd class communications technician on the USS Liberty and
survivor of a torpedo attack that killed 25 of his ship
mates in the part of the ship where he was stationed.
Ward Boston, a JAG (Naval Legal) Officer involved with
the initial inquiry and retired FBI agent examined the
original copy of the Court of Inquiry record released
under the Freedom of Information Act and declared it a
fraud. “It is not the record I certified and submitted
in 1967,” says Captain Boston.
Painter, Officer of the Deck on the USS Liberty and
retired secret service agent of 24 years testified that
his statement mentioned in the report, “that the Israeli
torpedo boat crews machine gunned the USS Liberty
inflatable life boats” was removed from the final report
that was submitted in 1967.
Immediately following the
press conference there will be a panel discussion at the
Guard Commander Quits Under Fire:
Shooting Skills Test
June 07, 2005 Associated
Press, SACRAMENTO, Calif.
commander of the California National Guard has resigned amid
allegations he failed to meet a Pentagon shooting-skills
requirement and improperly tried to arrange a military
flight for members of a Republican group.
Major Gen. Thomas Eres stepped
down late Monday after questions about his conduct and
qualifications were raised by the San Jose Mercury News and
Contra Costa Times.
newspapers obtained interviews and documents indicating that
Eres did not pass a required shooting-skills test before
visiting troops in Iraq last fall and that a top aide
falsely informed the Pentagon that the general had passed
newspapers also said Eres attempted to arrange a flight for
a Lincoln Club group — a GOP organization — that wanted to
travel last month to the North American Aerospace Defense
Command center in Colorado. The trip, which was eventually
canceled, appeared to violate military rules because of the
group’s party affiliation.
Eres was appointed in March
2004 as leader of the nation’s largest National Guard
force. The California Guard includes 22,000 troops, 13
bases and more than 100 armories.
TRUTH? CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
the truth - about the occupation or the criminals
running the government in Washington - is the first
reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more
than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance
- whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or
inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling
Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class
people inside the armed services together. We want this
newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize
resistance within the armed forces. If you like what
you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in
building a network of active duty organizers.
with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and
bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)
Of Injustice In Our Armed Forces:
Scapegoats Walk A Well-Worn Path
June 7, 2005 Jonathan Turley,
scandals occur, scapegoats are gathered from the military’s
lower ranks and offered up for the sins of their superiors.
Generals may be retired early or demoted in rare cases, but
jail time is largely the province of the lower ranks. The
Abu Ghraib investigation has pretty much followed this
unseemly, seamless tradition.
Has Infiltrated Security Organizations
June 7, 2005 Barry R. Posen,
New York Times
U.S. and Iraqi
counterinsurgents face two key tasks---collecting
intelligence on the rebels and preventing the insurgents
from gaining intelligence on their own troops. The weight
of evidence suggests that U.S. and Iraqi agent are behind on
both counts. The insurgents have good information.
There are many reports that
they have operatives within the Iraqi security organizations
Washington Post, June 7, 2005
A new Iraqi
base for security forces in Baghdad was hit by a bomber who
drove straight into a building where men were housed. The
full extent of the attack has not been determined. One
police official said three policemen and three bystanders
Military Supply Convoy Ambushed & Destroyed:
Jun. 07, 2005 Associated
Press, BAGHDAD, Iraq
A convoy of
trucks believed to be carrying supplies to a U.S. military
base west of Baghdad was ambushed Tuesday, and reporters who
arrived after the attack said they saw the bodies of at
least seven people.
The attack occurred in
Habaniyah, 50 miles west of Baghdad and between Fallujah and
Ramadi. The victims, all apparently Iraqi men in their 20s
and 30s, were placed side by side in a ditch on the side of
the road, the reporters said.
bullet-riddled trucks were on fire and bystanders, including
young boys, were seen taking items from the trucks. As some
at the scene of the attack tried to put out the fires, a
group of heavily armed and masked men came to watch.
Hart Security Ltd., a
Cyprus-based British security firm, announced that a convoy
of trucks its employees were escorting had been "ambushed by
insurgents" near Habaniyah.
"It has not been possible to
confirm the whereabouts or safety of certain members of this
convoy," said the announcement posted on its Web site.
DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
Uprising At Abu Ghraib
07 June 2005 Aljazeera.Net
Iraqi prisoners rioted against guards in the U.S.-run Abu
Ghraib prison in Baghdad and pelted them with stones, the
American military said in a released statement on Tuesday.
and detainees were injured after rioting erupted in the
notorious US-run prison of Abu Ghraib on Baghdad's western
outskirts after a detainee tried to escape.
"The disturbance occurred shortly after a detainee, using
the hours of darkness and a heavy sandstorm, was caught
trying to escape," the US military said in a statement on
"Detainees in several of the compounds began throwing rocks
at the portable light generators and the guards," it said.
The US military
said the incident occurred on Sunday shortly before
midnight. Four guards and six detainees were injured and
treated at the scene.
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
Collaborator Lt. Says Go Kill Americans
Iraqi soldiers looks at
destroyed vehicles after three suicide bombers struck almost
simultaneously, targeting army checkpoints on the northern,
western and eastern entrances of the town of Hawijah. © AFP
is a terrorist act because real resistance should only
target American troops, not Iraqis trying to protect
their country.'' Lt. Sadiq Mohammed 26
June 07, 2005 (AFP) &
Aljazeera.Net & By Paul Garwood, AP & Reuters
the former rebel stronghold of Fallujah, west of
Baghdad, three civilians died and 13 were wounded in a
mortar attack on a military base.
near Falluja police said a roadside bomb targeting a
convoy of contractors enroute to the U.S. military base
at Al-Jabaniya killed three people and injured one.
Iraqis died, half of them soldiers, in early morning car
bomb attacks around the northern town of Hawijah in the
latest major attack on Iraq's security forces.
explosions occurred as officials hailed gains from Operation
Lightning, a more than two-week-old sweep of the capital.
coordinated string of four bomb attacks within seven minutes
targeted army checkpoints on the northern, western and
eastern entrances of the town, 210
kilometres (130 miles) from Baghdad, police said.
early morning attacks appeared coordinated and aimed at
checkpoints manned by members of Iraq's fledgling army,
which has been a constant target of
fighters opposed to the country's new government.
explosion, caused by a roadside bomb, rocked Hawija, about
65km south of Kirkuk, at around 9.30 am.
Heavily armed US soldiers
sealed off the bomb scene, allowing only ambulances to enter
and reach the dead and wounded.
three bombers waiting in lines of cars at army checkpoints
to the west and north of Hawija struck in quick succession.
In the deadliest attack, 10
civilians and one soldier were killed at a checkpoint in
Dibis, two miles west of Hawija, army Lt. Faleh Ahmed said.
Three soldiers and two civilians were killed at a checkpoint
in Bagara, three miles west of Hawija. Two soldiers died in
an attack on the Aziziya checkpoint at the northern entrance
''I was standing some distance
from the checkpoint when I heard a big explosion and I was
thrown onto the ground,'' Lt. Sadiq Mohammed 26, whose right
leg was wounded in the Dibis attack, said from his hospital
''This is a
terrorist act because real resistance should only target
American troops, not Iraqis trying to protect their
car bombs attacks were coordinated because they happened
almost at the same time and in the same way, where the
drivers of the cars waited in lines of traffic before
reaching the checkpoints before exploding their cars next
the soldiers,'' police Col. Ahmed Hammoud said.
US forces sealed off what
quickly became a virtual ghost town with Apache attack
helicopters circling overhead, an AFP correspondent
were killed in the northern city of Mosul, including four
peshmerga militiamen reportedly shot dead by police after
they were mistaken for insurgents.
policeman died in a drive-by shooting in the city's
industrial district and another in a mortar attack on his
station in Tun Kubri, to the south.
Baghdad, four Iraqi soldiers were killed in an ambush and
capital, an employee of the foreign ministry was killed in a
drive-by shooting and a commando was shot dead in the
southern Aamel neighborhood.
shooting left an Iraqi police official critically wounded.
The body of
a policeman bearing gunshot wounds was also discovered near
the infamous Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad.
managing director of a state agency attached to the ministry
of housing was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting that
killed his driver.
A new car
bombing in Baghdad on Tuesday wounded 28 people.
blast hit a police patrol in the predominantly Shia Shula
district in northern Baghdad,
an interior ministry official said.
The blast occurred near a
coffee shop this morning. The U-S military confirms that a
bomb planted in a parked car exploded, as an Iraqi police
A convoy of
contractors was attacked near Baghdad at 11:30 a.m. June 7,
while they were delivering supplies for Coalition forces
west of here.
June 2005 by Neil Davidson,
Socialist Review (UK) [Excerpts]
Award-winning historian Neil Davidson considers the
precedents for army disaffection and revolt.
for which George Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party
was appealing to British soldiers not to carry out illegal
orders during the invasion of Iraq.
invasion was itself an illegal act, Galloway was effectively
committing the offence which the ruling class refer to as
'incitement to mutiny'. This may explain some of the hatred
with which they have responded to his election.
In the end, all revolutions
succeed or fail depending on whether they have been able to
break the military power of the existing state. Generalised
violence against the mass of the population is not, of
course, the preferred method of bourgeois rule, since
regimes that depend mainly on repression to maintain
themselves in power tend to be unstable and insecure.
But in a
crisis, when the very existence of the system seems under
threat, the military will always be the final barrier
against the working class and its allies.
We are not
yet in a revolutionary situation, alas, but any weakening of
the command structure, such as implied by Galloway's
eminently moderate invitation for the troops to obey
international law rather than criminal orders, threatens to
weaken the final bulwark upon which our rulers depend.
The one thing armed forces are
not supposed to do is think, at least in other than
instrumental ways; part of the otherwise incomprehensible
nature of military discipline is precisely to instil
obedience to orders, no matter how pointless, illogical or
perverse. The Victorian Poet Laureate Tennyson spoke more
truthfully than he perhaps intended when he wrote of the
Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava, 'Theirs not to
Refusal to obey orders or,
even worse, to establish an alternative source of command,
everywhere carries the most severe of penalties, including -
as in the British army until 1998 - death.
therefore a serious business, and not one which members of
the armed forces of any country undertake lightly. In
general, it occurs only when they are either supremely
confident or extremely desperate. For this reason, the
question of how sections of the armed forces have, in the
past, abandoned their posts, or even changed sides, is of
considerable interest to socialists.
serious mutiny took place during the English Revolution, but
it was a mutiny within the revolutionary forces, not those
of the Stuart state.
By 1647 the
soldiers of the New Model Army had several grievances,
including opposition to being sent to Ireland to suppress
the Catholic rebellion and resentment at not receiving their
arrears of pay. The situation produced several innovations.
Within the New Model Army itself rank and file soldiers
elected representatives ('agents' or 'agitators') and came
under the influence of the first real political organisation
in modern history, the Levellers.
The demands of the men quickly
generalised from their immediate concerns to the broader
issue of who should have the franchise. Indeed, it was
difficult for them to ignore the contrast between their
ability to elect representatives within their own ranks, and
the way they were prevented from doing so in the wider
society they were sworn to defend.
The actual rebellion followed
on from the inconclusive outcome to the famous Putney
Debates, but was easily overcome by a combination of
(actually quite limited) repression and successful appeals
to the loyalty of the troops in the face of Charles's
attempt to restart the civil war. The significance of this
episode is that it was essentially a dispute over the extent
of democracy in the post-revolutionary state, in which the
more consistent democrats lost.
The New Model Army was an
ideologically committed army, with a membership drawn from a
relatively homogenous social group of independent farmers
and small producers. The British bourgeoisie had no
intention of allowing such body, or a standing army of any
sort, to be recreated.
Nevertheless, for the century
between the consolidation of the English Revolution in 1688
and the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, the
British army had several differences from most of those in
continental Europe. It no longer relied on mercenaries, but
on an army raised from volunteers and supplemented by men
forced into service or 'pressed' - although the latter
phenomenon was considerably more important in the navy. Men
enlisted for economic reasons, and nowhere in the 18th
century was this truer than the Highlands of Scotland. This
was a society in crisis even before the Battle of Culloden
in 1746, and it entered a period of total disintegration
One effect of this was massive
levels of recruitment to the British army. The regiments
were often composed of men from the same estates. They
received agreement that they would be allowed to retain
their local regimental identities and not be sent outside
the British Isles.
Both promises were regularly
broken, with the result that there were at least 16 serious
mutinies by Scottish Highland regiments between 1743 and
Far more significant were the
naval mutinies at Spithead and the Nore in 1797, since the
British state relied on the navy for protection to a far
greater extent than it did on the army. Here we encounter
for the first time, not just opposition to bad conditions,
but a possible political direction which is opposed to the
existing state. The extent to which political influence of
Jacobin radicalism influenced the sailors is still widely
disputed by historians, but it is surely significant that
the fleet contained several thousand Irishmen, given the
proximity of the mutiny to the revolt of the United Irishmen
the following year. The notion of going on strike - meaning
here the 'striking' or lowering of sails - may actually
originate in these events.
What changed the political
significance of mutinies was, from the middle of the 19th
century, the introduction of conscription - that is, of the
systematic, compulsory enlistment of men of a certain age
who met certain (initially relatively low) physical
Outside of the Balkans, Europe
was at peace between the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian
War in 1871 and the start of the First World War in 1914.
In other words, the latter event was the first major war to
have taken place since the completion of the bourgeois
revolution in the main European states. Conscription was
universal between 1914 and 1918 and it was during this great
imperial slaughter that the first explicit connection was
made between the struggle for socialism and the revolt in
the armed forces. (There is a precursor in the 1905 revolt
of the Kronstadt sailors which was one of the opening
episodes of the 1905 Russian Revolution.)
Two elements were necessary
for these connections to be made.
was that socialists who were called up did not try to evade
the process by going on the run or pleading conscientious
objection, but that they 'went with their class', as the
saying had it.
important, because when the massed armies and navies of the
combatants began finally to crack under the unrelenting
pressure of the slaughter and deprivation, there were
socialists alongside them who could try to explain their
situation and what could be done about it.
Essentially, the army and navy
mutinies varied in significance depending on whether or not
the country involved was suffering defeat, with all the
heightened social pressures that involved. The Russian
Revolution of 1917, as Trotsky pointed out, was a
combination of a peasant uprising for land and a working
class uprising for socialism. Below the officer corps the
Tsarist army consisted of members of both classes and so
their rebellion - which in many places simply involved mass
desertion-linked the two great revolutionary classes and
effectively broke the ability of the Tsarist regime to
In Germany a revolt by sailors
at Kiel, in opposition to a suicidal attempt to engage the
British fleet, effectively began the revolution of 1918.
On the Allied side, however,
the role of mutinies played a less significant role, which
reflected the fact that the revolutionary wave itself was
weaker in Britain, France and the US than in Central and
Eastern Europe. At the end of the war these were mainly
about the speed and equity of demobilisation, although at
least one important naval mutiny, by the French Fleet in the
Black Sea, was directed against intervention against the
Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War.
Mutinies played a generally
far smaller role in the revolutionary movements at the end
of the Second World War.
Discipline did not break down
among the Axis Powers. In Germany, unlike in the First
World War, the Wehrmacht fought on to the end. In part this
is because of the savage reprisals which deserters could
expect - the ruling class was famously obsessed with
avoiding the collapse of 1918 - but also because of fear of
what the advancing Russian armies would do in retaliation
for the atrocities committed by German troops in the east.
In the case of the Allies,
such mutinies that did occur were again principally
concerned with demobilisation. This was certainly the case
with the British army in Egypt, although revolutionaries,
including Trotskyists like Duncan Hallas, were involved.
The main exceptions, and they
were very important indeed, occurred in the colonies.
as the mutiny of the Indian Fleet in 1946 were clearly part
of the opening rounds of the struggle for liberation in
Asia. (The hostility of both Congress and the Communist
Party to the mutineers is also indicative of the betrayals
that were to follow.)
of the GIs
episode I want to discuss, which in a sense still casts its
shadow over all succeeding events, is the American
experience in Vietnam.
First, by the time of the war
in Vietnam the class experience of the army had come to
represent the class and racial structure of society to a far
greater degree than previously. In the Second and -
especially - the First World Wars the level of casualties
among the officer class was, in relative terms, extremely
high, something which they were increasingly determined to
On the other side, however,
black participation in the fighting was far more extensive -
there had been black troops in the world wars, of course,
but they were often restricted to non-combatant roles at the
rear. This was now reversed. It was the American working
class who died in the jungles of Vietnam.
of the GIs was different from those of the world wars, in
that it did not take the form of a classical collective
refusal to serve. On the one hand it saw an intense degree
of politicisation, including the production of regular
anti-war, or at least anti-army, bulletins and newspapers.
On the other, it saw a drugged withdrawal from active
service. At its most extreme, it involved a guerrilla
strategy of selectively assassinating particularly gung-ho
or oppressive officers through the use of fragmentation
end, large sections of the US combat forces in Vietnam
were simply unreliable for one reason or another, and
this was recognised by the more intelligent sections of
the officer corps. Colin Powell was among those who
suggested to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that it
might not be entirely sensible to send black US troops
to oppose the black nationalist movement, the MPLA,
which was on the verge of power in Angola during 1976.
There is at least a case for arguing that,
uncharacteristic though it was, this was the most
effective mutiny in military history.
What had happened?
two things. In the battlefield was an enemy whose
increasingly successful struggle against superior force and
technology had belied US propaganda claims about their
supposed minority status among the population. At home a
mass movement that involved the friends and relatives of the
troops acted to remove the usual sense of isolation that
troops beginning to doubt their role usually feel.
The precise circumstances of
Vietnam are unlikely ever to be repeated, even in Iraq, but
several elements are still in place.
The fact that conscription has
largely been abandoned by the imperialist powers (except
where they are colonial-settler regimes like Israel) does
not mean that mutinies are no longer likely to occur.
majority of private soldiers and naval ratings still come
from the working class (the class basis of the air force
tends to be slightly different) - and often from the poorest
and worst educated sections of the working class at that, as
the role of Lynndie England in the Abu Ghraib atrocities has
demonstrated. To say in advance that this layer of people
cannot be won to socialist politics is effectively to write
off whole sections of the working class.
This does not mean that troops
will automatically achieve class consciousness, but this is
also true of working class people in civilian life.
other hand because - unlike the police - the army is far
less likely to be used regularly against the home
population, there are greater opportunities to connect the
intense class divisions within the armed forces with those
in the outside world. The prospect of what used to be
called 'disaffection in the ranks' escalating to the point
of refusal to fight, let alone any further action, is likely
to be enhanced by three factors.
The first is division within
the ruling class, including the chiefs of staff themselves.
Where the leaders are divided on tactical questions - and
they are of course unlikely to question the fundamental
political or moral positions of their class - it can produce
a situation of institutional paralysis that reduces to some
extent the risks involved in disobedience.
is resistance on the ground against invasion and occupation.
Without this ruling classes would rarely question the
correctness of their strategy, let alone split over the
issue. But it also true that without the prospect of
stand-off or defeat a large enough number of troops are
unlikely to question their role - even if only from the
point of view of self-preservation. But without one final
factor, the effect of battlefield violence, death and the
loss of comrades is just as likely to turn to blind hatred
towards the enemy as to a refusal to fight.
factor is an active mass movement 'at home' articulating
reasons for opposing the war and supporting those in the
armed forces who do so.
A movement like the Stop the
War Coalition can give potential dissidents in the forces
the confidence to refuse orders.
context, the importance of developments like Military
Families Against the War cannot be underestimated, and it is
important to understand just how rare it has been for this
to happen during a war.
Although the stories about returning GIs being spat on
by protesters during the Vietnam War are mainly lies, it
is vital that the movement continues to emphasise that
it does not see individual soldiers as the enemy, and
that we, rather than the politicians and generals
ordering them to their deaths, are their true allies.
POLITICIANS AT WORK
[Thanks to David Honish, Veterans For Peace]
What do you think?
Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are
especially welcome. Send to
email@example.com. Name, I.D., withheld on
request. Replies confidential.
Resigns, Leaves Town
La Paz “A
City At War”
[Thanks to CS who sent this
Hormando Vaca Diez and the other politicians afraid of
the groups fighting in the streets of La Paz? Today,
one of the slogans was clear: “Send Vaca to the
slaughterhouse!” (“Vaca” is Spanish for “cow.”)
6.7.05 By Jean Friedsky & Luis
Gomez, Narco News & BBC
Mr Mesa, who came to power 19
months ago after his predecessor was forced out by popular
protests, announced his resignation in a televised address
on Monday after a day of mass protests.
"This is as far as I can go,"
Anti-government demonstrators have fought running battles
with police in Bolivia's main city, La Paz, despite the
president's offer to resign.
Paz streets turned into rivers of people, wiphalas,
placards and banners, the strikes and blockades across
the nation continued to work their tactical magic: El
Alto, paralyzed for days; La Paz, a virtual island, with
blockades at all entrances, lacking gasoline and certain
food supplies; Cochabamba and Potosi, shut down by
protesters; the nation's highway system, over 70
impenetrable road blocks halting shipping and transport.
angles, it was a day unlike the others.
people had filled San Francisco for a cabildo abierto (open
public meeting) that demonstrated a growing unity and
minutes of adjourning the cabildo to encircle the Plaza
Murillo, the thousands of protesters were besieged by gas
and rubber bullets.
were relentless, raining their dispersal weapons upon crowds
in all directions. For the next hour, people were pushed
block by block away from both San Francisco and the Plaza
Murillo by the pursuant police. As we made our way up and
over from San Francisco, we could hear the alternating
explosions of dynamite (protesters) and gas canisters
(police) in the distance.
Elliott Gotkine reports from La Paz that if Mr Mesa thought
his offer to resign was going to pacify the protestors, he
anything, they have grown more violent and the place now
feels like it is a city at war, our correspondent says.
Tuesday, poor Indian peasant farmers, miners and trades
union members clashed with the police.
hurled deafening charges of dynamite, riot police responded
with tear gas, forcing demonstrators and unlucky civilians
to scurry for cover.
An Associated Press news
agency correspondent says he saw at least three ambulances
taking people away, and police making arrests.
The road blockades across
Bolivia are strangling the country, with access to many of
its neighbours now impossible.
In La Paz, prices on some
products like meat have tripled, and rubbish is not being
collected because lorries have no fuel.
The protests erupted last
month after a law was passed imposing taxes on foreign
companies that have invested in Bolivia's gas reserves,
which are the second-largest in South America.
protesters said the law did not go far enough and called for
the gas industry to be nationalised.
They also want constitutional
reforms to give greater rights to the country's impoverished
highlanders, most of whom are of indigenous descent.
They oppose demands from
Bolivia's resource-rich eastern provinces for greater
autonomy and more foreign investment.
erupted between police and the protesters in La Paz on
Monday, Mr Mesa left the presidential palace in the city
under an armed escort.
appeared on national television to announce his resignation.
Mesa's resignation creates
more questions than it answers because though many people in
the streets are burning Mesa dolls in effigy, his action
does nothing to address their primary demand of
Here are the complications:
Mesa's actual release of power is contingent on
Congressional approval and we don't know when the Congress
is going to meet next, let alone how they will vote on this.
Second, the next in line,
President of the Senate Hormando Vaca Diez is a right-winger
and supporter of regional autonomy who has minimal support
outside of Santa Cruz and is hated by the social movements.
His ascension to power would only bring on a fierce leftist
Third, should Vaca Diez be
pressured to step down, new elections would be called within
three months. However, new elections do nothing - in and of
themselves - to attain the nationalization of Bolivia's
Leftist groups would have to
transfer the momentum of the streets to a momentum of the
ballot box if they wanted the outcome of this battle to have
an effect on their primary goal.
In a country where the people
have little faith in their elected officials, this is a
risky and difficult task.
Fourth - and of immediate
importance - is the question of tomorrow.
Congress will not convene
despite its promise and so the questions above will most
likely, remain unanswered.
Based on immediate reactions
by movement leaders, Mesa's resignation only strengthens the
people's resolve. The ongoing road blocks and strikes
remain in effect.
workers have announced for the first time in these few
weeks, a general and indefinitely long strike starting
On the streets, everyone that
was present today is planning to return in the morning, plus
some. The miners and the bulk of the Altiplano campesinos -
the two most notoriously fierce social movement groups -
will be in attendence. With the addition of these two and
the increasing intolerance the police demonstrated today,
tomorrow could again make history.
Hormando Vaca Diez and the other politicians afraid of the
groups fighting in the streets of La Paz? Today, one of the
slogans was clear: “Send Vaca to the slaughterhouse!”
(“Vaca” is Spanish for “cow.”)
of “die!” hurled against the Congress president (who seemed
quite excited yesterday at the prospect of taking power)
were no joke… the leader of the Movement of Unemployed
Workers of La Paz, Jaime Alanoca, told us at the beginning
of the day: “This is the big one… we won’t allow Hormando to
govern for even two hours.”
we will sack this place,” was one of the slogans heard among
the Aymara… and, surely taking that as a warning, the police
tried to disperse the people unsuccessfully.
for example, the march of more than 20,000 people today in
Cochabamba (which the local farmers, the same ones behind
the “water war” of 2000) have also blockaded, is what
Hormando Vaca Diez is afraid of: he knows that we are now in
outright civil war, and that if he assumes the presidency,
it could get worse.
The demonstrators are
regrouping, enduring the teargas, raising barricades, and
nothing can stop them…
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