GI SPECIAL 2#C32
The Veteran, Vietnam Veterans Against The War, Vol. 34. #2
The weight of grief is heavy on my
I need no special day to bring
memories to mind of all you said and did.
Your face, smiling or grave, is with
me always, child of my heart’s desire.
I see you small and wondering, “Mom,
What makes the sun go down?” Then
thoughtfully, “I know, the wind
blows it away.”
So alive, biking, soccer, swimming,
skiing, running, rollerblading, pumping iron.
You became so very strong, but always
you were gentle and kind.
Your hands, light on the piano keys,
brought out the sounds of harmony, like wind
rustling softly in the leaves, or
rain, clear and sparkling on the grass.
Careful listening was your way.
Such a bright future you had planned,
and you labored long and patiently to realize
Then rolled the drums of war
and you were called
Your still small voice said, “No!”
But the rolling drums rolled on, and
you were gone.
Into hatred loosed from the gates of
hell, your winged bird was sent,
shot down, and fell.
Your bright future lay bloodied in the
sand to rise no more.
And each day as I grow old, I miss you
A grave is such a solitary place
for a little boy who loved to play.
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
Send requests to address up top.
Two Marines Killed
In Falluja, 3 Wounded;
Statement Says Fighting Will Continue
26 November 2004 Aljazeera.Net & By
Mariam Fam, Associated Press
have killed two US marines and wounding three others who were
conducting a house search in the war-ravaged town, US military
The fighters threw grenades at the
marines, Lieutenant General John Sattler said on Friday. Three
fighters were also killed in the incident which took place on
The marines still face resistance in
Falluja, where many buildings were reduced to piles of rubble.
"We will keep searching for weapons
until we put a 'green X' on the last house in Falluja," Sattler
have said they would inspect an estimated 50,000 houses in the city
west of Baghdad, a tedious task that involves searching everything
from ventilation systems to couches as snipers await opportunities
fighters in Falluja have claimed in a statement that they had
reorganized and resumed their attacks.
reorganising, the Mujahidin resumed their attacks on Wednesday with
the aim of shattering the myth of the invincibility of the coalition
forces, and the traitors and collaborators who are under the orders
of Allawi and Naqib," they said.
The statement issued on Friday by the
Mujahidin Council was referring to interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad
Allawi and Interior Minister Falah Naqib, both staunch supporters of
the vast operation launched on 8 November.
Green Zone Attack
On Mercenaries Kills 4, Wounds 15 More
11/26/2004 The Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq -
A British security firm said Friday
that four of its employees were killed and 15 others injured in an
attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
Tim J. O'Brien, spokesman for the
London-based Global Risk Strategies, said the employees were killed
Thursday. Global Risk Strategies is a London-based firm.
were heard Thursday and black smoke was seen rising from the
fortified Green Zone, which houses the U.S. and Iraqi leadership.
Soldiers Firing On
[Miami Herald, November 24, 2004]
Nerves on Baghdad's streets are so
frayed that U.S. troops and Iraqi police sometimes mistakenly
trigger gunfights with private security workers.
and Iraqi troops patrolling Baghdad have fired on fast-moving
vehicles, fearing that they might be suicide bombers, when they were
actually private security forces transporting local and/or foreign
officials to various destinations.
Welcome To Tan Son
11/26/2004 OVER BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) --
"Traffic! Traffic!" blares the cockpit's automated collision warning
system just as the pilots of Royal Jordanian Flight 814 pull their
airliner from its steep corkscrew descent and begin the final
approach to Baghdad International Airport.
"One thing you can say about these
flights is that they're not dull," says Robert Brand, the South
African pilot. "They're never uneventful. There's always something
there to challenge your flying skills."
To lessen the
threat of being shot at, pilots have adopted a "nonstandard
approach" for landings: They arrive at 15,000 feet and then
descend sharply in a stomach-churning series of tight, spiraling
turns that pin passengers deep in their seats.
After landing, crew perform a quick
walkaround to check fuselage and wings for bullet holes.
"We try to keep above the confines
of the airport at all times when we're taking off or landing," Brand
says during the landing.
Marines In Harm's
ABANDON ALL HOPE,
YE WHO ENTER HERE
at the entrance of Fallujah (AFP/Mehdi Fedouach)
November 21, 2004 By DEXTER FILKINS,
New York Times
FALLUJA, Iraq, Nov. 18 - Eight days
after the Americans entered the city on foot, a pair of marines
wound their way up the darkened innards of a minaret, shot through
with holes by an American tank.
As the marines inched upward, a burst
of gunfire rang down, fired by an insurgent hiding in the top of the
tower. The bullets hit the first marine in the face, his blood
spattering the marine behind him. The marine in the rear tumbled
backward down the stairwell, while Lance Cpl. William Miller, age
22, lay in silence halfway up, mortally wounded.
"Miller!" the marines called from
With that, the marines' near mystical
commandment against leaving a comrade behind seized the group. One
after another, the young marines dashed into the minaret, into
darkness and into gunfire, and wound their way up the stairs.
After four attempts, Corporal Miller's
lifeless body emerged from the tower, his comrades choking and
covered with dust. With more insurgents closing in, the marines ran
through volleys of machine-gun fire back to their base.
"I was trying to be careful, but I was
trying to get him out, you know what I'm saying?" Lance Cpl. Michael
Gogin, 19, said afterward.
So went eight days
of combat for this Iraqi city, the most sustained period of
street-to-street fighting that Americans have encountered since the
Vietnam War. The proximity gave the fighting a
hellish intensity, with soldiers often close enough to look their
enemies in the eyes.
For a correspondent
who has covered a half dozen armed conflicts, including the war in
Iraq since its start in March 2003, the fighting seen while
traveling with a frontline unit in Falluja was a qualitatively
different experience, a leap into a different kind of battle.
From the first rockets vaulting out of
the city as the marines moved in, the noise and feel of the battle
seemed altogether extraordinary; at other times, hardly real at
all. The intimacy of combat,
this plunge into urban warfare, was new to this generation of
American soldiers, but it is a kind of fighting they will probably
see again: a grinding struggle to root out guerrillas
entrenched in a city, on streets marked in a language few American
soldiers could comprehend.
[Hello? Najaf? Remember Najaf? No? What the fuck do you think
that was? And as for seeing it again, don’t hold your breath. This
war is lost The Empire is fucked. You can let up on the heavy
The price for the
Americans so far: 51 dead and 425 wounded, a number that may yet
increase but that already exceeds the toll from any battle in the
Marines in Harm's
The 150 marines with whom I traveled,
Bravo Company of the First Battalion, Eighth Marines, had it as
tough as any unit in the fight.
They moved through the city almost entirely on foot, into the heart
of the resistance, rarely protected by tanks or troop carriers,
working their way through Falluja's narrow streets with 75-pound
packs on their backs.
In eight days of
fighting, Bravo Company took 36 casualties, including 6 dead,
meaning that the unit's men had about a one-in-four chance of
being wounded or killed in little more than a week. [25%
casualties is the kind of “victory” this army can’t stand. These
troops are done for a good long time.]
The sounds, sights and feel of the
battle were as old as war itself, and as new as the Pentagon's
latest weapons systems. The eerie pop from the cannon of the AC-130
gunship, prowling above the city at night, firing at guerrillas who
were often only steps away from Americans on the ground. The weird
buzz of the Dragon Eye pilotless airplane, hovering over the
battlefield as its video cameras beamed real-time images back to the
The glow of the
insurgents' flares, throwing daylight over a landscape to help them
spot their targets: us.
The nervous shove of a marine
scrambling for space along a brick wall as tracer rounds ricocheted
The silence between the ping of the
shell leaving its mortar tube and the explosion when it strikes.
The screams of the marines when one of
their comrades, Cpl. Jake Knospler, lost part of his jaw to a hand
"No, no, no!" the marines shouted as
they dragged Corporal Knospler from the darkened house where the
bomb went off. It was 2 a.m., the sky dark without a moon. "No,
Nothing in the combat I saw even
remotely resembled the scenes regularly flashed across movie
screens; even so, they often seemed no more real.
Mortar shells and
rocket-propelled grenades began raining down on Bravo Company the
moment its men began piling out of their troop carriers just outside
Falluja. The shells looked like Fourth of July
bottle rockets, sailing over the ridge ahead as if fired by
children, exploding in a whoosh of sparks.
Whole buildings, minarets and human
beings were vaporized in barrages of exploding shells. A man
dressed in a white dishdasha crawled across a desolate field,
reaching behind a gnarled plant to hide, when he collapsed before a
burst of fire from an American tank.
casualties came in volleys, like bursts of machine-gun fire. On the
first morning of battle, during a ferocious struggle for the
Muhammadia Mosque, about 45 marines with Bravo Company's Third
Platoon dashed across 40th Street, right into interlocking streams
of fire. By the time the platoon made it to the other side, five
men lay bleeding in the street.
The marines rushed out to get them, as
they would days later in the minaret, but it was too late for Sgt.
Lonny Wells, who bled to death on the side of the road. One of the
men who braved gunfire to pull in Sergeant Wells was Cpl. Nathan
Anderson, who died three days later in an ambush.
Sergeant Wells's death dealt the Third
Platoon a heavy blow; as a leader of one of its squads, he had
written letters to the parents of its younger members, assuring them
he would look over them during the tour in Iraq.
"He loved playing cards," Cpl. Gentian
Marku recalled. "He knew all the probabilities."
Cpl. Nicholas Ziolkowski: A sniper who
was killed by a sniper. (Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times)
More than once, death crept up and
snatched a member of Bravo Company and quietly slipped away. Cpl.
Nick Ziolkowski, nicknamed Ski, was a Bravo Company sniper. For
hours at a stretch, Corporal Ziolkowski would sit on a rooftop,
looking through the scope on his bolt-action M-40 rifle, waiting for
guerrillas to step into his sights. The scope was big and wide, and
Corporal Ziolkowski often took off his helmet to get a better look.
Tall, good-looking and gregarious,
Corporal Ziolkowski was one of Bravo Company's most popular
soldiers. Unlike most snipers, who learned to shoot growing up in
the countryside, Corporal Ziolkowski grew up near Baltimore,
unfamiliar with guns. Though Baltimore boasts no beach front,
Corporal Ziolkowski's passion was surfing; at Camp Lejeune, N.C.,
Bravo Company's base, he would often organize his entire day around
"All I need now is a beach with some
waves," Corporal Ziolkowski said, during a break from his sniper
duties at Falluja's Grand Mosque, where he killed three men in a
During that same break, Corporal
Ziolkowski foretold his own death. The snipers, he said, were now
among the most hunted of American soldiers.
In the first battle
for Falluja, in April, American snipers had been especially lethal,
Corporal Ziolkowski said, and intelligence officers had warned him
that this time, the snipers would be targets.
"They are trying to
take us out," Corporal Ziolkowski said.
The bullet knocked
Corporal Ziolkowski backward and onto the roof. He had been sitting
there on the outskirts of the Shuhada neighborhood, an area
controlled by insurgents, peering through his wide scope. He had
taken his helmet off to get a better view. The bullet hit him in
For all the death about the place, one
inescapable impression left by the marines was their youth.
Everyone knows that soldiers are young; it is another thing to see
men barely out of adolescence, many of whom were still in high
school when this war began, shoot people dead.
The marines of Bravo Company often
fought over the packets of M&M's that came with their rations.
Sitting in their barracks, they sang along with the Garth Brooks
paean to chewing tobacco, "Copenhagen," named for the brand they
bought almost to a man:
what a wad of flavor
you can see it in my smile
Copenhagen, hey do
yourself a favor, dip
it drives the cowgirls wild
One of Bravo
Company's more youthful members was Cpl. Romulo Jimenez II, age 21
from Bellington, W.Va.. Cpl. Jimenez spent much of his time showing
off his tattoos - he had flames climbing up one of his arms - and
talking about his 1992 Ford Mustang. He was a popular member of
Bravo Company's Second Platoon, not least because he introduced his
sister to a fellow marine, Lance Cpl. Sean Evans, and the couple
In the days before
the battle started, Corporal Jimenez called his sister, Katherine,
to ask that she fix up the interior of his Mustang before he got
"Make it look real
nice," he told her.
On Wednesday, Nov.
10, around 2 p.m., Corporal Jimenez was shot in the neck by a sniper
as he advanced with his platoon through the northern end of Falluja,
just near the green-domed Muhammadia Mosque. He died instantly.
Despite their youth, the marines
seemed to tower over their peers outside the military in maturity
and guts. Many of Bravo Company's best marines, its most proficient
killers, were 19 and 20 years old; some directed their comrades in
maneuvers and assaults. Bravo Company's three lieutenants, each
responsible for the lives of about 50 men, were 23 and 24 years old.
They are a strangely anonymous bunch.
The men who fight America's wars seem invariably to come from little
towns and medium-size cities far away from the nation's arteries
along the coast. Line up a group of marines and ask them where they
are from, and they will give you a list of places like Pearland,
Tex.; Lodi, Ohio; Osawatomie, Kan.
Typical of the marines who fought in
Falluja was Chad Ritchie, a 22-year-old corporal from Keezletown,
Va. Corporal Ritchie, a soft-spoken, bespectacled intelligence
officer, said he was happy to be out of the tiny place where he grew
up, though he admitted that he sometimes missed the good times on
Friday nights in the fields.
"We'd have a bonfire, and back the
trucks up on it, and open up the backs, and someone would always
have some speakers," Corporal Ritchie said. "We'd drink beer, tell
Like many of the young men in Bravo
Company, Corporal Ritchie said he had joined the Marines because he
yearned for an adventure greater than his small town could offer.
"The guys who stayed, they're all
living with their parents, making $7 an hour," Corporal Ritchie
said. "I'm not going to be one of those people who gets old and
says, 'I wish I had done this. I wish I had done that.' Every once
in a while, you've got to do something hard, do something you're not
comfortable with. A person needs a gut check."
Marines like Corporal Ritchie proved
themselves time and again in Falluja, but they were not without
fear. While camped out one night in the Iraqi National Guard
building in the middle of city, Bravo Company came under mortar fire
that grew closer with each shot. The insurgents were "bracketing"
the building, firing shots to the left and right of the target and
adjusting their fire each time.
In the hallways, where the men had
camped for the night, the murmured sounds of prayers rose between
the explosions. After 20 tries, the shelling inexplicably stopped.
On one particularly grim night, a
group of marines from Bravo Company's First Platoon turned a corner
in the darkness and headed up an alley. As they did so, they came
across men dressed in uniforms worn by the Iraqi National Guard.
The uniforms were so perfect that
they even carried pieces of red tape and white, the signal agreed
upon to assure American soldiers that any Iraqis dressed that way
would be friendly; the others could be killed.
The marines, spotting the red and
white tape, waved, and the men in Iraqi uniforms opened fire. One
American, Corporal Anderson, died instantly. One of the wounded
men, Pfc. Andrew Russell, lay in the road, screaming from a nearly
Cpl. Nathan R. Anderson was killed in
an ambush. (Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times)
A group of marines ran forward into
the gunfire to pull their comrades out. But the ambush, and the
enemy flares and gunfire that followed, rattled the men of Bravo
Company more than any event. In the darkness, the men began to
argue. Others stood around in the road. As the platoon's leader,
Lt. Andy Eckert, struggled to take charge, the Third Platoon seemed
on the brink of panic.
"Everybody was scared," Lieutenant
Eckert said afterward. "If the leader can't hold, then the unit
can't hold together."
The unit did hold, but only after the
intervention of Bravo Company's commanding officer, Capt. Read
Time and again through the week,
Captain Omohundro kept his men from folding, if not by his resolute
manner then by his calmness under fire. In the first 16 hours of
battle, when the combat was continuous and the threat of death ever
present, Captain Omohundro never flinched, moving his men through
the warrens and back alleys of Falluja with an uncanny sense of
space and time, sensing the enemy, sensing the location of his men,
even in the darkness, entirely self-possessed.
"Damn it, get moving," Captain
Omohundro said, and his men, looking relieved that they had been
given direction amid the anarchy, were only too happy to oblige.
A little later, Captain Omohundro, a
34-year-old Texan, allowed that the strain of the battle had weighed
on him, but he said that he had long ago trained himself to keep any
self-doubt hidden from view.
"It's not like I don't feel it,"
Captain Omohundro said. "But if I were to show it, the whole thing
would come apart."
When the heavy fighting was finally
over, a dog began to follow Bravo Company through Falluja's broken
streets. First it lay down in the road outside one of the buildings
the company had occupied, between troop carriers. Then, as the
troops moved on, the mangy dog slinked behind them, first on a
series of house searches, then on a foot patrol, always keeping its
distance, but never letting the marines out of its sight.
Bravo Company, looking a bit ragged
itself as it moved up through Falluja, momentarily fell out of its
"Keep a sharp eye,"
Captain Omohundro told his men. "We ain't done with this war yet."
Nebraska Dies Of Infections
Nov 26, 2004 The Associated Press
FALLS CITY, Neb. -- A
U.S. Marine from Nebraska has died of injuries he received in Iraq
on Nov. 8, his family reported.
Sgt. Nick Nolte, a native of Falls
City, died Wednesday at the National Naval Medical Center in
Bethesda, Md., according to his aunt, Cindy Santo of Falls City.
Nolte, 25, was being treated for
injuries received when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle near
Baghdad. Four other soldiers also were injured.
Nolte is survived by his wife, Melina,
and 3-year-old daughter, Alanna, of Cherry Point, N.C. He also is
survived by his mother, Anita Nolte of Falls City.
breaks to both legs and one arm, as well as shrapnel wounds from the
blast, his uncle, Matt Santo, told the Omaha World-Herald. He died
shortly after doctors discovered Nolte's arm and a leg had become
Nolte was a 1998 graduate of Falls
City Sacred Heart and enlisted in the Marines after high school.
“Stay Away From The
Military," He Wrote. "I Mean It."
To Die, Writes His Son
Nov 26, 2004 By T.A. BADGER,
Associated Press Writer
SAN ANTONIO, Texas
- Gary Qualls worried a lot after his son went off to war, so he
went hunting last week to get his mind off it. When he got home, a
letter from Louis was waiting. The young Marine wrote about the
Fallujah offensive: "I fear it's a fight for my life. Dad, I need
your prayers and advice more than ever." About an hour later, there
was a knock on the door.
Louis Qualls, of Temple, was killed on
Nov. 16 — the latest of 12 soldiers and Marines from Texas killed in
combat this month, 10 in fighting in and around Fallujah.
It was an unusually high toll for one state, even in this deadly
month of warfare.
Shortly before he
was killed on Nov. 9, Marine Staff Sgt. Russell Slay wrote a letter
to his family. In it the 28-year-old Humble resident, anticipating
death, said his goodbyes to his young children. He told his
9-year-old daughter Kinlee that he'll miss her, but that she'll
always be his little girl and he'll always watch out for her.
Walker, he offered advice that he hoped would put the boy on a
less risky career path. "Be studious, stay in school and stay
away from the military," he wrote. "I mean it."
Marine Staff Sgt.
Gene Ramirez, who grew up in San Antonio, could have opted to not
return to the war zone because he had already served there and was
his family's only surviving son.
His parents — his
father Pedro also served in the Marines — urged him to use that
option, but his cousin and fellow Marine Ruben Hernandez Sr. says
Ramirez, 28, never would have.
"Gene was a hard charger, man, let me
tell you," said Hernandez. "There's nothing I could have told him,
or his dad or his mom."
For Hernandez, whose son Ruben Jr. is
a Marine sergeant scheduled to be sent to Iraq early next year,
Ramirez's death reverberated on several levels. Not only were they
related by blood and uniform, Hernandez was also the recruiter who
signed up Ramirez for the Marines back in the mid '90s.
"I felt guilty at first — 'Maybe if I
didn't put him in and had him do something else...'" he said. "Well,
he would have gone somewhere else and joined. That's the only thing
that I say to myself right now."
Army National Guard
Recruiting 30% Short Of Goal
November 24, 2004 By Dave Moniz, USA
WASHINGTON — The Army
National Guard has fallen significantly behind its recruiting goal
one month into the military's new fiscal year, continuing a downward
slide that began in 2003 and could make it harder for the Pentagon
to find enough troops for the war in Iraq.
In October, the
Army Guard recruited 2,546 enlistees, more than 30% below its target
Soldier Can Pursue His Case Against Stop Loss --- From Iraq!
November 23, 2004 Claire Cooper ,
Sacramento Bee (California)
SAN FRANCISCO -
A federal appeals court Monday refused to block a Sacramento-area
soldier's deployment to Iraq while he pursues a case against the
military's use of laws allowing it to extend enlistments during wars
or national emergencies.
The soldier, identified in court
papers as John Doe to prevent retaliation, contends the extensions
are illegal because Congress hasn't declared war and the military
action in Iraq isn't a U.S. emergency.
The government argues the program
is justified by the post-Sept. 11, 2001, national emergency.
This month U.S. District Judge Frank
C. Damrell Jr. in Sacramento refused to issue a preliminary
injunction that would have kept the soldier in the country while his
case is decided. The soldier filed an emergency appeal.
But in Monday's brief decision a
three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said
Damrell didn't abuse his discretion.
judges said the soldier could pursue his case from Iraq or, if the
9th Circuit ordered it later, he could be brought back from Iraq.
The soldier signed up to serve until
April 30 with the California National Guard. His company recently
was sent to Fort Lewis in Washington state for training before
deployment to Iraq. Its mobilization order and a second order
directed personally to the soldier both extended his service by at
least 11 months.
describe him as a married father of two, a decorated combat veteran
who enlisted with the Guard for two one-year terms.
“I'd Go To Jail
Before I'd Go Back There," He Said:
Resistance To Iraq
11/25/2004 WILLIAM BUNCH ,
Philadelphia Daily News (Pennsylvania)
"Last week when
he was home, he said he's not going to Iraq," Sears said. "He
really hates the war - he's always been against it."
Officials estimated that some 40,000
National Guard members have had their tours extended involuntarily,
most for hazardous duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.
In recent weeks, the Pentagon has been
digging deeper, calling on an additional 4,000 ex-soldiers - many of
whom left the military years ago to start jobs or raise families -
who are part of a pool called the Individual Ready Reserve, or IRR,
to resume active duty because troops are stretched so thin.
Still, with no
end to the insurgency in Iraq in sight, the call-ups are starting
to exhibit increasing resistance in ways that - like some other
aspects of the fighting in Gulf region - may remind some people of
the Vietnam era.
New York Times reported
last week that roughly half of the 4,000 IRR call-ups are trying to
avoid their service either through official channels or by simply
not showing up.
Among the larger
pool of National Guard call-ups - the category that Pellegrini
belongs to -- there are some looking to win conscientious objector
status, and several have gone to court seeking legal protection.
An ad hoc network of military families
and anti-war activists has been working closely with soldiers
looking for ways to contest their recent call-ups. Officials here
say they're getting increasing calls for aid as the situation on the
ground in Iraq seems to deteriorate.
"We get calls every
day from people who are in the military reserves who are getting
orders to go and who are saying, 'This is something that I don't
want to do,' " said Bill Galvin, of the Center for Conscience and
War, based in Washington, D.C.
Galvin said some of the most dire
calls are from reservists who have already served one tour in Iraq
and are getting orders to go back.
"Some of them have
said, 'I'd go to jail before I'd go back there,' " he said.
"They say they've witnessed things or
participated in things that have caused them terrible trouble
sleeping at night, and they don't want to put themselves back in the
middle of it."
Meanwhile, many soldiers who could be
called up - and their families - wait and worry that they'll get a
"It's just like a
back-door draft," said Ben Sears, a just-retired
West Philadelphia High history teacher whose 28-year-old son is
finishing a five-year Army enlistment in San Antonio. He said that
Zachary Sears, a graduate of Philly's Masterman High and of American
University, will be placed on the IRR if he doesn't re-enlist.
"Last week when he
was home, he said he's not going to Iraq," Sears said. "He really
hates the war - he's always been against it."
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK
OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
Telling the truth
- about the occupation, the cuts to veterans’ benefits, or the
dangers of depleted uranium - is the first reason Traveling
Soldier is necessary. 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.
And join with Iraq War
vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home
Or 82nd At Risk;
Nov. 22, 2004 By Bradley Graham, MSNBC
Senior U.S. military commanders in
Iraq say it is increasingly likely they will need a further increase
in combat forces to put down remaining areas of resistance in the
Over the past week,
a closer assessment of the forces needed for the Fallujah recovery
effort and future offensive operations revealed a gap in desired
troop strength, at least over the next two or three months,
according to several officers familiar with the issue.
The officers said the exact number of
extra troops needed is still being reviewed but estimated it at the
equivalent of several battalions, or about 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers.
The number of U.S. troops in Iraq fell to nearly 100,000 last spring
before rising to 138,000, where it has stayed since the summer.
To boost the
current level, military commanders have considered extending the
stay of more troops due to rotate out shortly,
or accelerating the deployment of
the 3rd Infantry Division, which is scheduled to start
But a third option - drawing all or part of a brigade of the 82nd
Airborne Division on emergency standby in the
United States - has emerged as increasingly likely.
Rifles Sent To Die In Iraq:
Makes Stunning Discovery
November 29, 2004 By Rick Maze, Army
Times staff writer
Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the
armed services committee’s ranking Democrat, said
he is worried that some units being
deployed to Iraq are missing basic pieces of equipment, including
“The needs of our service men and
women are not being met,” Skelton said.
“We have units preparing to deploy
into combat without weapons and equipment they will need. I know of
one active-duty Army brigade currently training to deploy that lacks
542 of the rifles needed to meet its troop requirements.”
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael
Hagee said Iraq deployments have run up a bill of $8 billion to $10
billion for operations, maintenance and sustainability. He said
Marines in virtually all operational units find themselves either
deployed or preparing to deploy, a situation they and their families
seem to be tolerating.
But there is
probably a limit to what Marines and their families will take, Hagee
added. [No shit? That’s why they made him a general, figuring that
Marines Fucked Over
Law, Screws Up Their Health Assessments
November 29, 2004 By Rick Maze, Army
Times staff writer
The services have made progress in
keeping better track of the health of service members who have
deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, but
there are still gaps in medical
records that make it difficult to assess the risk of service in a
combat zone, congressional investigators say.
In a report released Nov. 15, the
Government Accountability Office said fewer than 10 percent of Army
and Air Force records of people who had returned from deployment
were missing key documents.
However, the GAO
found that 24 percent of Navy records and, at one base, 63 percent
of Marine Corps records that were reviewed lacked either the pre-
or post-deployment health assessments required under a 1997 law.
Congress ordered the services to keep
records of pre- and post-deployment medical exams, blood samples,
mental health assessments and immunization and treatment records
linked to deployments as a way of avoiding some of the difficulties
U.S. military officials have faced in investigating health
complaints of veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
keeping better records would make it easier to determine what health
care problems could be related to deployment. Long-term plans also
call for the services to keep track of the movement of individuals
within a combat zone so it will be possible to reconstruct who may
have been exposed to a specific health threat.
The 1997 law requires a pre-deployment
medical examination, no more than 12 months old, to be part of the
medical records of all deploying service members and for a
post-deployment medical assessment to be made within 30 days of
return. In most cases, the GAO found that records were available,
but noted continued problems with some pre-deployment exams being
more than a year old and post-deployment exams not being made within
records are missing from the medical files of some troops, and the
required blood samples also are missing in some cases, the report
61% Of Japanese
Want Troops Home From Iraq Now:
Dictatorship Doesn’t Care
25 November 2004 Aljazeera
Most people in Japan want their troops
to leave Iraq, according to a poll carried out by a leading business
The Nihon Keizai
Shimbun poll found on Thursday that some 61% of Japanese want troops
The majority of those who took part
voiced growing opposition to Japan's first deployment to an active
combat zone since the second world war.
The business daily also revealed that
nearly three-quarters of ruling Liberal Democratic Party supporters
were extremely concerned about the growing instability in Iraq.
The same paper carried out a poll last
April in which only 42% called on the government to withdraw forces
is meant to end on 14 December unless Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi extends it, as he has indicated he will.
25% of those who took part favoured extending the deployment
– with some of those voters not
stressing the necessity to rebuild Iraq but to maintain Japan's
close alliance with the US.
Board Says U.S. Policies Seen As “Self-Serving Hypocrisy”
25 November, 2004 BBC
The US is losing
"the war of ideas" in the Islamic world, a Pentagon advisory panel
A report by the
Defence Science Board says official US talk of bringing democracy to
Muslim nations is seen as "self-serving hypocrisy".
It says if the US wants Muslims to
move towards its understanding of tolerance, it must reassure them
this does not mean submitting to "the American way".
The report urges Washington to change
its approach urgently.
"Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our
policies," the report says.
majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided
support in favour of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the
long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims
collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia,
Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states.
American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to
Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving
hypocrisy," the report says.
It adds that the
US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has actually raised the stature
of radical enemies of America.
"US actions appear... to be motivated
by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best
serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim
self-determination," the report says.
The Defence Science Board is made of
civilian experts appointed by the Pentagon, and offers the
department advice on scientific, technical and other issues.
Rashad Cop Station
26 November 2004 Aljazeera.Net & (AFX)
Armed fighters attacked a police
station near the northern city of Kirkuk, killing one policeman and
injuring three, police said on Friday.
Fighters used machine-guns and
rocket-propelled grenades in their assault on a police station in
Rashad, 50km southwest of Kirkuk on Thursday night, according to
police Brigadier Sarhat Qadir.
The attackers also torched three
police positions in the area, which has been plagued by relentless
attacks and ambushes against police forces.
Collaborator Politician Killed
26 November 2004 Aljazeera.Net & (AFX)
In Samarra, which was recently
occupied by US forces after remaining a no-go zone for months, a
member of a political party accused of ties to the US military was
killed in Samara, police said.
"Nabil Said Darwish, a member of the
National Salvation Movement, was assassinated this morning by armed
men in Samarra," police Lieutenant-Colonel Mahmud Muhammad said on
The party is led by Wafiq al-Samarrai,
a former general under Saddam Hussein who broke away from the regime
shortly before the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
"Darwish had survived several
assassination attempts over the past two months, which had left two
of his bodyguards dead," the police officer said.
Samarra, some 128km north of Baghdad, accuse the party of having
links to the US military.
Two Oil Wells
Energy Security November 25
Attack on two oil wells near the
Himreen Mountains, 75 miles (120 km) south of Kirkuk.
Fall 2004, The Veteran, Vol. 34. #2
The election is now
over and the Bush regime has been given four more years to carry out
its openly antidemocratic and pro-imperialist policies. People are
looking to see how we in Vietnam Veterans Against The War are going
to respond to the situation that results from this quadrennial
event. But there should be no surprises for anyone who has followed
VVAW was first established in 1967, in
the midst of “our” war and during the Democratic administration of
Lyndon Johnson. We have continued our struggle for peace, social
justice and better treatment for veterans of all eras during every
political administration since then.
No political party gets a free pass
from us, Democrat or Republican. A Republican win does not
demoralize us, and a Democratic win would not have lulled us into
We fought our way
through the repressive years of the Nixon administration, and we
survived. We have continued our struggles through every successive
administration, no matter what they threw at us. Our victories in
helping to end the Vietnam war and in bringing about the recognition
of Agent Orange effects and PTSD cannot be denied.
VVAW was at the forefront in all of
these efforts, when the so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth”
were doing nothing
whatsoever to help veterans. And
remember, Nixon won by a landslide in 1972 and was out of office in
With every new war, VVAW is joined by
new generations of veterans who have decided to work for an end to
the injustices that produce war.
We have made a conscious decision to
stick around and continue the fight for you, the veterans of all
eras. With this in mind, we actively support the newly-formed Iraq
Veterans Against the War (IVAW).
We in VVAW have
always taken the long view. We recognize that the fight for peace
and real social justice does not end with this or that political
All you need to do is take a trip
through Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States” and
you will see veterans and GIs from every era, Revolutionary War to
the present, in the forefront of struggle.
This is our tradition, and politicians
of whatever stripe in whatever office should be on notice that we
are not going to fade away.
The end of the
election is only the beginning of the next stage in this continuing
struggle. Join us!
Every Victory A
Powell Says U.S.
11.27.04 Alex Callinicos, Socialist
FALLUJAH FINALLY fell to US Marines
last week. Few can have doubted that, with its overwhelming
firepower and highly trained and mobile troops, the Pentagon would
be able to capture the city if it so chose.
The real question
is whether the fall of Fallujah represents a decisive tilt of the
balance in favour of the US and its puppet regime. A television
interview from Fallujah with Michael Ware, Time magazine’s bureau
chief in Baghdad, suggests not.
Ware calls the
capture of Fallujah “a sweeping victory” for the US but says, “I
wouldn’t say that we’re losing this war at this stage, but I’m
certainly not of the view that we’re winning…
“As a journalist, I was free until
March this year to travel the breadth of this country. Then, after
[the first Fallujah crisis in] April, I was much more restricted to
the confines of the metropolis of Baghdad. Well, we’ve lost Baghdad.
“Sitting in my own
compound in the city, I’m prone to mortar fire. They have kidnap
teams circling our block. A journalist was kidnapped 300 metres
outside our gate. “Zarqawi controls central nodes of the city,
including the most infamous Haifa Street, the scene of bloody
engagements for months now.”
“I try to shy away from analogies or comparisons to Vietnam. But
sometimes it can be chilling. It was once said that the only
ground the US soldier could control is that beneath his feet.
Well, in many regards, so it is in Iraq. We do not control this
“Something that resonates with me to
this day is interviews I’ve done with senior insurgent leaders, the
upper echelons. And they talk to me about reading Vo Nguyen Giap,
the Vietnamese general. They talk to me about reading Che Guevara,
As in Vietnam, the US is trying to
deny the insurgents support by winning the “hearts and minds” of the
Iraqi people. But, according to Ware, “We’re not winning them. Day
by day, there’s a steady drip feed of hearts and minds slipping away
The result is that
when the US forces try to break through on one front, a new front
opens up elsewhere. As the Marines began to storm Fallujah,
fighting broke out in Samarra and Mosul.
Samarra was the target
of a carefully prepared operation by US and Iraqi puppet forces back
in the summer that was intended as a model for the assault on
Mosul is even more
significant. Capital of the northern oil industry, the city is on
the edge of the Kurdish region—the only part of Iraq where the US
can count on local allies with a real political base.
But on 10-11 November insurgents
overran nine police stations in Mosul. More than three quarters of
the 4,000 Iraqi police in the city deserted.
A remarkable report
in last Saturday’s Financial Times described how the same offensive
“swept away all vestiges of government in the smaller towns in the
Tigris valley to the south, forcing the US military to go in and
rebuild Iraq interim government control virtually from scratch”.
Most US troops had
been pulled out of the area to concentrate on Fallujah. Now new
task forces have had to be assembled to retake lost ground.
The FT headline says it all: “Iraq’s
Hit And Run Insurgents Outsmart Under-Strength Troops”. The US
lacks the troops to deny the insurgents territory.
Before he was
effectively sacked last week as US Secretary of State, Colin
Powell privately told friends that they are losing in Iraq. His
military career began with one great defeat for US imperialism in
Vietnam. It looks like, in his last government job, Powell has
helped to engineer another.
ONE MORE BETRAYAL;
No End For A War
With No Mission
November 21, 2004 By MARK DANNER, New
officers knew the war was going badly. Yet they bowed to
groupthink pressure and kept up pretenses. ...Many of my
generation, the career captains, majors, and lieutenant colonels
seasoned in that war, vowed that when our turn came to call the
shots, we would not quietly acquiesce in halfhearted warfare for
half-baked reasons that the American people could not
understand." Colin Powell
When I arrived in Iraq 13 months ago,
the insurgents were mounting 17 attacks a day; last week there were
150 a day.
If the old rule of
thumb about counterinsurgency warfare holds true - that the
guerrilla wins by not losing and the government loses by not winning
- then America is losing the Iraq war.
Begun as an
ideological crusade, the war has now settled into something bloody,
murderous and crude, with no "exit strategy" in sight.
beginning, built on the threat of weapons that did not exist, and
its ending, which flickered to life so temptingly on the flight deck
of the aircraft carrier Lincoln 18 months ago, have disappeared,
leaving American troops fighting and dying in a kind of lost,
existential desert of the present.
"Who To Trust?" Ask
U.S. Officers After Resistance Takes Mosul;
A Years Work Gone
In One Day
22 Nov 2004 By Luke Baker, (Reuters)
Besides destroying police stations and
killing Iraqi soldiers, insurgents in Mosul have also managed to
strike at a more intangible target in the last 10 days -- the
hard-earned trust between U.S.
troops and Iraqis.
After 19 months of trying to build
relationships in Iraq's third-largest city, two days of violent
unrest and their aftermath have left U.S.
troops wondering who
their allies really are and many Iraqis warier than ever of the
Americans. [Lie #1: Reporter
says “troops” but quotes nobody but officers.]
"It's impossible to
tell who's on our side, particularly when it comes to the police,"
said Captain Robert Lackey, a company commander
with the U.S. Stryker Brigade, which patrols Mosul and a large
portion of northern Iraq.
Many Iraqi police dropped their
weapons and ran when hundreds of insurgents stormed Mosul police
stations and then burned or blew them up in a two-day rampage on
Nov. 10-11. [Lie #2: “rampage”
In war, it’s called an offensive. If this reporter wrote about the
U.S. “rampage” in Falluja, he’d be fired in a heartbeat. So what we
have here is not a reporter, but a propagandist for the occupation.
Nevertheless, some truth keeps leaking through.]
In the past two
weeks, more than 50 Iraqis employed at one U.S. base in the centre
of Mosul, where they do everything from cleaning and washing to
running a shop and translating, have quit, too intimidated by
insurgent threats to return to work.
another U.S. base are still on the job, but privately say they will
have to quit if the threats continue.
"I like the Americans, but there's
only so much they can do to protect me," said a translator who calls
himself Steve to hide his Iraqi name and wears mirrored sunglasses
to conceal his face. "I'm
worried. It's got much worse in recent days."
military commanders say it could take months, and perhaps much
longer, to rebuild Mosul's police force. That is time U.S. and
Iraqi authorities don't have.
U.S. forces have pledged
to retake all insurgent areas by the end of the year and hand more
security over to the Iraqi police and National Guard for elections,
due at the end of January.
rubble of six demolished police stations on
Monday, one U.S. officer said it would probably be months before any
new police stations were standing, let alone filled with reliable,
competent police officers. [Lie
#3: by omission. Where is the reporters’ comment on the U.S.
generals who spent last week proclaiming that no police stations in
Mosul had been destroyed?]
"We're just hoping that the next bunch
of guys are better than the last, otherwise we really are wasting
our time," said Lieutenant Noel Rodriguez, a Stryker Brigade platoon
leader. [Right, he’s almost got
it. Invading and occupying somebody else’s country is indeed a
waste of time, and human life, since the resistance will continue,
and grow, until all Bush’s foreign fighters go home.]
spent millions of dollars and many man hours setting up, training
and supplying Mosul's 4,000-strong police force over the past year,
only to have 80 percent of it desert the moment insurgents
A multi-million-dollar police academy
full of computers, weapons, first aid equipment and other supplies
was attacked and looted during the rampage and is now smashed up and
deserted. [Lie #4: “looted”:
In war, it’s called captured. If this reporter wrote that U.S.
troops in Falluja “looted” resistance arms supply depots, he’ll not
only be fired, he’d probably end up on the no-fly list for
A few days before
it was attacked, several of the U.S. military's top generals in Iraq
had visited the centre to praise the effectiveness of the recruiting
and training. [Of course. Generals have nothing to do with
reality, in any form.]
The U.S. suspicion
of the Iraqi police is now so deep that even those that remain on
the job are considered a risk.
Before driving past
the one station in his area that is still occupied by police, one
U.S. officer explained that if police were not wearing flak jackets
and did not wave when he waved, then they were probably on the side
of the insurgents.
Not wearing flak
jackets shows they are on the rebel side because they evidently know
they are not going to get shot or attacked by guerrillas, the
None of them had
flak jackets and none of them waved.
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Blast Kills 2
Soldiers, Injures 1 On Patrol In Afghanistan
November 25, 2004]
A bomb exploded near a U.S. patrol in
southern Afghanistan, killing two U.S. soldiers and wounding
CLASS WAR NEWS
The Bankrupt Empire Lurches Towards
11/23/04 By Brett Arends, Boston
Stephen Roach, the
chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley, has a
public reputation for being bearish.
But you should hear what he's saying
Roach met select groups of fund
managers downtown last week, including a group at Fidelity.
America has no better than a 10 percent chance of avoiding economic
Press were not
allowed into the meetings. But the Herald has
obtained a copy of Roach's presentation.
A stunned source who was at one meeting said, ``it struck me how
extreme he was - much more, it seemed to me, than in public.''
Roach sees a 30 percent chance of a
slump soon and a 60 percent chance that ``we'll muddle through for a
while and delay the eventual armageddon.'' The chance we'll get
through OK: one in 10. Maybe.
In a nutshell,
Roach's argument is that America's record trade deficit means the
dollar will keep falling. To keep foreigners buying T-bills and
prevent a resulting rise in inflation, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan will be forced to raise interest rates further and faster
than he wants.
The result: U.S.
consumers, who are in debt up to their eyeballs, will get pounded.
Less a case of ``Armageddon,'' maybe, than of a
Roach marshaled alarming facts to
support his argument.
To finance its
current account deficit with the rest of the world, he said,
America has to import $2.6 billion in cash. Every working day.
That is an
amazing 80 percent of the entire world's net savings.
Meanwhile, he notes that household
debt is at record levels.
Twenty years ago the total debt of
U.S. households was equal to half the size of the economy. Today
the figure is 85 percent.
Nearly half of new mortgage borrowing
is at flexible interest rates, leaving borrowers much more
vulnerable to rate hikes.
already spending a record share of disposable income paying their
interest bills. And interest rates haven't even risen much yet.
You don't have to ask a Wall Street
economist to know this, of course. Watch people wielding their
credit cards this Christmas.
Roach's analysis isn't entirely new.
But recent events give it extra force.
The dollar is
hitting fresh lows against currencies from the yen to the euro.
failed to open over the weekend, when a meeting of the world's top
finance ministers produced no promise of concerted intervention.
It has farther to
fall, especially against Asian currencies, analysts agree.
The Fed chairman was drawn to warn on
the dollar, and interest rates, on Friday.
Roach could not
be reached for comment yesterday. A source who heard the
presentation concluded that a ``spectacular wave of bankruptcies''
Comment from networker Rick Jahnkow to
all on VVAWNET
Subject: Re: Government Looking at
Military Draft Lists
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2004 22:58:17 EST
This draft list matter is a non-issue.
The story headline is nonsensical (SSS
looking at military draft lists--what does that mean? SSS is the
agency that KEEPS the list, so what's so special about it looking at
its own list?)
And as the text explains in the last
half, SSS has been almost continuously looking at Dept. of Ed.
records and it has no new sinister meaning.
The real issue that
people should be focusing on is the militarization of schools and
the poverty draft. It's not a speculative threat--it's a real one
that exists right now.
Committee Opposed to Militarism and
Friday, November 26, 2004
Broken Finger Pointers
If you are in contact with the soldier
who wrote this please tell him his letter is terrific.
I also believe the electorate is
responsible for the actions of their government. Too much
ignorance, apathy, and gullibility, cannot be excused by blaming
others. As an Australian voter I feel great shame, at the actions
of my government, but although many people think like me, and are
very active, we are in the minority. The same applies in the U.S.,
the UK, and Israel. I know of, at least, one U.S. group telling its
members to withhold tax payments. Some Americans have already gone
to prison, or are awaiting trial, for being too actively opposed to
the government policy. These are the strong ones. The world needs
more like them.
do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans,
are especially welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
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