GI SPECIAL 2#C17
in Vietnam 1971
one of the deepest wounds inflicted during the Vietnam War, as
American’s betrayal of its own military troops. It is the wound
that is talked about the least, because of the enormous denial
obliterating the truth of that insidious insanity. It undermines
every layer of the veteran’s psyche, and can only be described as a
hemorrhage of the human soul.”
“I Remember Another
and caption from the I-R-A-Q ( I Remember Another Quagmire )
portfolio of Mike Hastie, U.S. Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71.
(Please contact at: (email@example.com)
for more examples of his outstanding work. T)
Succeeds In Capturing A Hospital;
Two Marines Dead;
soldiers battling in Fallujah, Nov. 4, 2004. (Xinhua/Reuters photo)
November 8, 2004 JIM KRANE NEAR
FALLUJAH, The Scotsman & Aljazeera & By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr., NY
Times & (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) & The Globe & Mail &
November 9, 2004 Rory McCarthy in Baghdad, The Guardian
IslamOnline.net that the two bridges and areas surrounding the
hospital were not strategic for resistance fighters.
They said it is
part of a US propaganda to lift up the spirits of the invading
troops, adding that US forces warned hospital staff over
loudspeakers not to leave the building.
FALLUJA, Iraq, Monday, Nov. 8 - The
assault against Falluja began here Sunday night as American Special
Forces and Iraqi troops burst into Falluja General Hospital on the
western edge of the city and seized it within an hour.
At 10 p.m., Iraqi troops clambered off
seven-ton trucks, sprinting with American Special Forces soldiers
around the side of the main building of the hospital
Overall, the main force did not appear to have moved deeply into
Fallujah on Monday, the first full day of the operation. Most U.S.
units appeared to be lined up at the edge of their neighborhoods
with some scouts and perhaps special operators venturing inside.
A National Public
Radio correspondent embedded with the Marines outside Fallujah
reported desertions among the Iraqis. One Iraqi battalion shrunk
from over 500 men down to 170 over the past two week - with 255
members quitting over the weekend, the correspondent said.
Rumsfeld called reports of some Iraqi
recruits not showing up to fight "an isolated problem," and Casey
said the no-shows "did not have a significant impact" on the
A senior aide to
firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged Iraqi forces not to
fight alongside U.S. troops.
``We appeal to the
Iraqi National Guard and Iraqi police not to help the occupation
troops as they want to target the Iraqi people in Fallujah,'' said
Sheikh Abdul-Hadi al-Daraji. The Iraqi troops should not be a tool
in the hands of the occupation troops.''
At 10 p.m., Iraqi troops clambered off
seven-ton trucks, sprinting with American Special Forces soldiers
around the side of the main building of the hospital
Iraqi and US
officials would not say if the move to capture territory marked
the start of an all-out attack on the rebel stronghold. It was
unclear whether the movement signaled the start of a major attack
against insurgent positions, which are believed strongest in
northern parts of the city.
As in April, they plan to take the
city one sector at a time.
fought their way into the western outskirts of the city on Monday
but commanders said the toughest fight was yet to come: when
American forces cross to the east bank of the Euphrates and enter
the main part of Fallujah - including the Jolan neighborhood where
insurgent defenses are believed the strongest.
In the first foray across the river
into Fallujah proper, Marines on Monday morning secured an apartment
building in the city's northwest corner, said Capt. Brian
Heatherman, of the 3rd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment.
A few hundred yards away, an important
strategic as well as symbolic battle was playing out: American
troops, fighting to secure the western end of the two bridges across
the Euphrates River, received intense fire from fortified insurgent
positions on the east side of the river.
The U.S. military
is reporting its first casualties of the Fallujah offensive. It says
two Marines drowned when their bulldozer flipped over into the
Euphrates River. Their bodies were discovered at 8 a.m. in the
river, the U.S. military said.
some damage to the advancing US forces hitting two tanks in the
north western area of Saqlawiya and seven oil tankers in Qarma in
Marine escorts accompanied the
soldiers from Iraq's 36th Commando Battalion in armored vehicles and
secured the area.
They met little
resistance except for a roadside bomb that exploded close to a US
military vehicle wounding a marine.
Flares were dropped over the city to
illuminate targets, and defenders fought back with heavy machine-gun
al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi journalist, told Aljazeera "An unmanned
aircraft was downed in central Falluja and a US military vehicle was
burnt behind the new bridge," said al-Dulaimi.
Masked insurgents roamed Fallujah
streets throughout the day. One group of four fighters, two of them
draped with belts of ammunition, moved through narrow passageways,
firing on U.S. forces with small arms and mortars. Mosque
loudspeakers blared, "God is great, God is great."
Hours after starting the offensive,
U.S. tanks and Humvees from the 1st Infantry Division entered the
northeastern Askari neighborhood.
One key reason to
take Fallujah hospital early was likely to control information:
The facility was the main source of Iraqi death tolls during the
first U.S. siege of Fallujah in April, and U.S. commanders accused
doctors there of exaggerating numbers.
Iraqi soldiers stormed through the
facility, blasting open doors and pulling handcuffed patients into
the halls in search of gunmen.
Ear-splitting bangs rang out as troops
used a gunlike tool called a doorbuster, which uses the force from
firing a blank .22-caliber cartridge to thrust forward a chisel to
break heavy door locks.
Iraqi troops eagerly kicked the doors
in, some not waiting for the locks to break. Patients and hospital
employees were rushed out of rooms by armed soldiers and ordered to
sit or lie on the floor while troops tied their hands behind their
In less than an hour, the compound was
secure. Most of the Iraqis had their cuffs snipped off and were
sitting up along hallways in the hospital's main building. Doctors
were back to attending to the most seriously ill, watched by Iraqi
and American troops. There were broken doors and windows, but little
in the way of more severe damage.
And there was only one injury: an
Iraqi soldier who accidentally discharged his Kalashnikov rifle,
injuring his lower leg.
Dr. Al-Issawi denounced
the U.S. seizure of the hospital. The Americans “thought that they
would halt medical assistance to the resistance,” he said by
telephone to a reporter inside the city. “But they did not realize
that the hospital does not belong to anybody, especially the
The doctor added that US forces had
grounded all ambulances and fired on and disabled the hospital's
only car. Doctors were also running short of medicines.
Al-Dulaimi said Falluja's general
hospital had been undefended as it lay outside the city. "US forces
have entered the hospital as it is not guarded; only doctors and
patients are there," he said.
general hospital, a small, poorly-equipped facility on the western
outskirts of the city, should have been protected under the Geneva
conventions, it was deemed legitimate by US commanders because
they said it had been taken over by insurgents.
Nov 7, 2004:
The main hospital
of Falluja lies on an outskirt, an outlying open area across a
bridge from the city. It thus cannot be held or defended by the
resistance fighters who need and rely on urban landscape shelter.
It was occupied held by the US as a command post at the start of
the previous siege in April too, so it's no new achievement.
Soldier Killed On Patrol In Baghdad
November 8, 2004 JIM KRANE, AP
A U.S. soldier was killed when his
patrol was fired on in Baghdad, the military said.
Dead, Two Wounded Near Camp Dogwood
11.8.04 AP & Ananova
A British soldier
from the Black Watch regiment was killed Monday and two were injured
by a roadside bomb within the battle group's area
of operations and north of the Black Watch's temporary base, Camp
Dogwood, 48 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Baghdad.
An MoD spokesman said in a statement:
"A Warrior armoured vehicle from
the Black Watch Battle Group was hit by a roadside bomb north of
"The Warrior left
the road, its wheels destroyed on one side.” The
damaged Warrior was subsequently recovered to Camp Dogwood.
The incident came
the day after two bomb disposal experts from the Royal Logistic
Corps and the Royal Signals were seriously injured by a suicide car
Car Bomb Wounds
U.S. Soldier In Mosul
2004-11-08 Middle East Online
RAMADI - At least four Iraqis were
killed and over a dozen wounded, including a US soldier, in car bomb
attacks on Monday in Ramadi.
In Mosul a car bomb hit a US convoy
travelling in the central Al-Faislaiyah neighbourhood, wounding one
soldier, said a US military spokesman.
An AFP correspondent at the scene saw
a big hole in the street and shattered glass from nearby buildings
from the impact of the blast. At least three vehicles were also
destroyed in the attack.
Convoy Attacked On Airport Road
November 8, 2004 JIM KRANE NEAR
FALLUJAH, AP & SPA
A bomber blew up a car near a U.S.
convoy on Baghdad's main airport road today, killing at least three
persons, witnesses said.
A Reuters photographer saw American
soldiers taking three bodies from a four-wheel-drive vehicle wrecked
in the blast and loading them on stretchers into a military
Two sports utility vehicles were
caught in the explosion as the convoy traveled through the western
Amiriyah district, spokesman Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman said.
Earlier, a police officer at the scene
said he believed the vehicles were hit by rocket-propelled grenades
rather than a car bomb. One vehicle was overturned by the blast
while the other burst into flames.
The number of casualties was not
Grenade Attacks To Lure Black Watch Into Deadly Trap
05 November 2004 By Kim Sengupta in
Baghdad and Richard Lloyd Parry in Camp Dogwood, Iraq, The Times &
2004-11-07, RICHARD LLOYD PARRY IN CAMP DOGWOOD, the Scotsman
The attack was
carried out with deadly thoroughness, and took planning that
illustrated the depth of the militants' information.
The soldiers from the Black Watch had ventured on to the east
bank of the Euphrates, outside their original area of operation. But
somehow the insurgents knew they were coming, and were waiting.
In the early hours
of the morning two Warrior armoured cars were attacked with
rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. But this appeared to
have been purely intended to draw in other potential victims; the
militants did not press home their attack.
The troops in the Warrior called for
help and more soldiers arrived, setting up a vehicle checkpoint, on
the northern road to Baghdad, and seemingly under the belief that
the worst of it was over. The soldiers were now on foot,
unprotected by armoured vehicles.
Then the final move
was executed. A car packed with explosives drove up to the
checkpoint. As one of the soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter leant
inside the window, the car exploded. Three soldiers and the
interpreter were killed. It had hardly been a secret in Baghdad and
Fallujah that the insurgents had been carrying out detailed
surveillance of the area where the British battle group was to
deploy. This is after all a place where militants do traffic duty
on roads guiding locals away from the places where they had planted
attack showed how flexible and adaptable the rebels are and does not
augur well for the British forces in their new home. It would be
hard to imagine many places that are bleaker, more miserable, and
more dangerous than the Black Watch's new base at Camp Dogwood.
The featureless desert base is a
wilderness of sand and mud.
Mortar shells and rockets fired by insurgents arc daily into the
rubble-strewn ground but seldom has the mood been grimmer than it
was last night.
The Chief of the
Defence Staff, General Sir Michael Walker, who had flown in for
consultations with senior officers, left abruptly in a flight of
US Black Hawk helicopters, cancelling a scheduled press conference
after learning of the deaths. Commanders ran in and out of
meetings as the details of the ambush emerged.
As the sun was setting, two rockets
whooshed overhead to land in the sandy mud of the base. Although
they failed to explode they served as a reminder that, even inside
Dogwood, British troops are at constant risk.
It started out as a
busy and optimistic day for the 800-strong Black Watch battle group.
After weeks of negotiations with the US Marines, who have overall
control of this area, the regiment moved across the river Euphrates
to expand its mission to rebel-dominated villages to the east.
Forty Black Watch soldiers accompanied
a group of Royal Engineers who erected a metal reinforcement over a
crumbling bridge across a tributary of the Euphrates. The bridge
was intended to give armoured vehicles easier access to their new
area of operation. It was put together at feverish speed, as the
tense infantrymen crouched along the river bank with their guns
"This is an easy target ... so it's
important that you get in and out quickly and disperse," said
Captain Jono Kelmanson. Within 21 minutes of attaching the first
bolts, the Engineers were finished.
They handed out flyers bearing
Scottish flags, and a photograph of a smiling Black Watch officer
and two young Iraqi children. "Please allow me to introduce
myself," read the Arabic message on the reverse. "I am a Scottish
soldier of the Black Watch regiment. We ask you to ignore those who
would reject our presence. What have they ever done for you but
take away your sons and bring sadness and despair to your area?"
The flyers bore the
cross of St Andrew, but conspicuously lacked the Union flag.
"When people see the Union Jack,
they think of it as English, and we want to emphasise that we're
Scottish," said one Black Watch officer.
But to local people the main source of
danger was the British soldiers themselves. Black Watch officers
found themselves facing a crowd of more than a hundred distraught
and excited schoolchildren and a furious teacher from a nearby
school whose way home was blocked by the soldiers.
"The teacher is very angry because
we're bringing danger to the children," said Captain Kelmanson. "By
us being here, we attract the terrorists into the area.
"She's quite right, and if we knew it
was a school we would have got the timing better."
After yesterday's attack it is clear
that local anxieties have been dramatically vindicated.
A senior Black Watch officer described
the new area of responsibility as being the Iraqi equivalent of
"Berkshire or Surrey with guns" - a region inhabited by former
loyalists of Saddam Hussein who became wealthy and powerful under
Saddam's regime. "This is an area of bright, well-educated people,"
he said before news of yesterday's deaths. "They can lay on
deliberate, well thought-out attacks.
IN THE early hours
of yesterday, guided only by the night vision goggles strapped to
their helmets, a company of Black Watch soldiers walked silently
through the desert hoping for a small success story at the end of a
Their objective was a group of houses
on the west side of the Euphrates where, according to intelligence
reports, heavy guns and other weapons were being stored.
The soldiers surrounded it, knocked on
the door, and politely but forcefully made their entry.
Two hours later, they climbed back
into their Warrior armoured vehicles as dawn was breaking - with
If the next seven days are as bad as
the past week has been, the fate of the Black Watch will be as much
of a political problem as a military one.
deployment 11 days ago, the Black Watch had been set three tasks: to
block off 'rat runs' for guerrilla fighters escaping the imminent
attack on Fallujah; to combat banditry; and to gather intelligence
on the key resistance groups in the area.
As far as can be
gathered from briefings given to the small British press pool in
Camp Dogwood, there has been no palpable progress in any of these
No prisoners have
been taken, no significant weapons caches have been uncovered, and
if the dawn raid yesterday is anything to go by, no reliable sources
of intelligence have so far been tapped.
But in the past
week, these tasks have been eclipsed by a more pressing need: that
of simply protecting the battle group itself.
Rockets have whizzed into Dogwood on most days, although most have
landed in empty areas of the vast camp, and at least half have
failed to explode.
Some of these
missiles have a range of as far as eight miles, and early last week
the British battle group's radar revealed that some of them were
being fired from the far, east bank of the Euphrates, formerly under
the control of the US marines.
A Crop Of Memorials
For Dead Troops
Nov. 07, 2004 CHELSEA J. CARTER,
Gregg Garvey sat on
his porch, clutching a photograph of his son and trying to come to
terms with the news the 23-year-old soldier was killed in an ambush
The father sat for
hours, his cheeks wet with tears, staring at a flagpole in the yard
of his Keystone Heights, Fla., home. He wondered how he would
survive the overwhelming grief, and how many other parents had the
same empty feeling.
Slowly, an image
began to come to him, the image of a monument at the base of the
flag pole. Then it became clearer: It was a statue of a field cross
-- a soldier's helmet atop a downturned M-16. He could see his
son's name, Army Sgt. Justin "Hobie" Garvey, on it. Then he could
see more monuments with more names.
"I just looked at
the picture of Hobie," recalls the 50-year-old father, "and said,
`Hobie, we've got a lot of work to do.' "
As the country honors its military men
and women this Veterans Day, for many it will be a time to recall
the ultimate sacrifice of the more than 1,100 troops killed in Iraq.
Across the country, communities,
friends and family members like Gregg Garvey are creating scores of
There are streets,
buildings, even a ship and a mountain peak renamed for fallen
In honor of his son, killed July 20,
2003, near Tal Afar, Iraq, Gregg Garvey has pledged to erect a
bronze field cross statue in the hometown of every soldier killed in
Iraq. To date, Garvey's project has raised enough money through
donations and the sales of flags for seven statues, at $7,500 each.
"I'm not going to dwell on what could
have been. My son would not have wanted me to feel sorry for
myself," Garvey said. "It's going to work. I just hit 50 years old.
My grandfather just turned 100 this year. I have another 50 years to
get this done."
Across the country,
other new memorials appear in varied types, but all stir deep
In Dartmouth, Mass., outside the town
hall, officials dedicated a black granite bench inscribed with the
name of Army Sgt. Peter Enos, who was killed in April 2003 in Bayji
when his patrol vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
Deborah Enos, 59, and her husband,
Gerald, attended the dedication of the bench.
"I've been back
once or twice," the mother said. "It just brings sadness right now.
I know the town did it with the best of intentions ... But it's too
much for us right now.
"We don't know how
to go through it. We do a moment at a time."
Thousands of miles away in Katy,
Texas, the parents of Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Rozier regularly drive
by a building bearing their son's name: the American Legion Post.
It was renamed for Rozier, who was killed July 19, 2003, when his
unit was attacked while providing security at a municipal building
That's not the only memorial to him.
Tidewater Inc. of New Orleans, where his late grandmother worked for
more than 20 years, also christened one of its supply ships the M/V
Jonathan Rozier, and a dining hall in Baghdad bears the soldier's
"It allows his name and his memory to
go on," said his mother, Barbara Rozier. "Someday somebody's gonna
ask, `Who is Jonathan Rozier?' The story can be told about who he
was and what he did."
The memorials are not limited to
streets and buildings. In Phoenix, a mountaintop -- a popular
climbing spot -- was renamed Piestewa Peak for 23-year-old Army Spc.
Lori Piestewa, the first American servicewoman killed in combat in
In Tampa, Fla., Lance Cpl. Andrew J.
Aviles used to jog with his unit along an access road outside a
Marine base; now a portion of the road is named for him. Aviles,
just 18, was killed on April 7, 2003, when his amphibious vehicle
was hit by enemy fire outside of Baghdad.
Ray Cottrell, 71,
doesn't bear the personal loss of a son or daughter in Iraq. But he
knows what it has done to his community in Brandenburg, Ky., near
Outside his Ford
dealership, he and his staff have been erecting small white crosses
bearing the name of every service member killed since the war began
in Iraq. Nearby, the sign tallies the numerical toll.
Cottrell has vowed
to maintain the Normandy-style tribute until U.S. soldiers stop
dying in Iraq.
"The happiest thing
would be that we wouldn't have to put any more of them up."
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
DC Politicians Put
U.S. Troops At Serious Risk Of Torture & Beheading
November 05, 2004 By Conn Hallinan,
Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the
civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and
military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations
only against military objectives"
Article 48, 1977
addition to the Geneva Conventions, Part IV
The above "Basic Rule" is at the heart
of the Geneva Conventions
It is not something
the Bush Administration has paid much attention to as it goes about
the "pacification" of Iraqi cities where local insurgents are
resisting the American occupation.
Consider the following.
On Oct. 8, U.S. fighter bombers
carried out what the Pentagon called a "precision strike" against
"terrorist leaders" in Falluja, a sprawling city of 300,000 west of
Baghdad. For the past two months Falluja has been the target of a
bombing campaign. According to the New York Times, the attack
wounded 17 people, nine of whom were women and children. The
victims were apparently from a wedding party that had just
The Times went on
to quote a "senior Pentagon official" who said, "We know what the
strike was supposed to hit and we hit it. If a wedding party was
going on, well, it was in concert with a meeting of a top Zarqawi
lieutenant." Zarqawi is a Jordanian who has
claimed credit for numerous roadside bombings and assassinations in
But according to
Article 50 of the Conventions, "The presence within the civilian
population of individuals who do not come within the definition of
civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian
In short, the
attack violated the Conventions, and the "Pentagon official"---most
likely Assistant Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz--- should be
arrested and tried for violating international law. Since the
attack constituted a "grave breach" of the Conventions, the official
could also be charged under the 1996 U.S. War Crimes Act.
In the same
article, the Times also quoted a "senior Bush Administration
official" as saying that the bombing was helpful for exploiting
"fault lines" in Falluja, and that it would push the "citizenry" of
Falluja to deny sanctuary and assistance to the insurgents, "adding
"that's a good thing."
might, indeed, think it was "a good thing," but it also violated
Article 51, which states: "The civilian population as such, as
well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack."
official" also told the Times: "If there are civilians dying in
connection with these attacks, and with the destruction, the locals
at some point have to make a decision. Do they want to harbor the
insurgents and suffer the consequences that come with that?"
In other words,
terrify the civilian population into cooperating, a strategy that
Article 51 explicitly forbids: "Acts or threats of violence, the
primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian
population, are prohibited."
It is not only a record Americans should be ashamed of, it is one
that should make us afraid.
The Geneva Conventions and other
international laws were not drawn up by bleeding heart liberals, nor
were they designed to protect weaker nations. They were a response
to the enormous numbers of civilian casualties inflicted by World
War II, and as a practical way to
shield everyone's armed forces from humiliation, torture and death
at the hands of an adversary.
If we are
cavalier or dismissive about international law, it will encourage
others to be so as well. The most likely victims of that policy
will be we civilians, as well
as our own uniformed forces.
If we torture
prisoners and hide them from the eyes of organizations like the Red
Cross, why shouldn't others do the same to our soldiers and
Slip Slidin’ Away
November 4, 2004 By JUDY DEMPSEY,
International Herald Tribune
is withdrawing its 60 engineers and Thailand said it wanted to bring
home its 450 troops. Singapore has reduced its contingent to 33,
from 191; Moldova has trimmed its force to 12, from 42. On
Wednesday Bulgaria's Defense Ministry said it would reduce its 483
troops to 430 next month, Reuters reported.
Vets Group Asks Why
Is Pentagon Breaking Law,
10/15/2004 Veterans for Common Sense
VCS has these questions for both the
Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, as well as for
Veterans want to know if the lessons
of the first Gulf War are being applied to Iraq War and Afghanistan
Why did the
Pentagon fail to follow the law, according to the Government
Accountability Office, and fail to give pre-and post-deployment
physical examinations to tens of thousands of soldiers deployed to
the Iraq War.
What steps will the
Pentagon and VA take to ensure that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans do
not have to wait years, or even decades, for their problems to be
recognized and addressed.
In a year where every politician waves
the flag of "supporting the troops,"
why did Congress have time to pass a massive corporate tax-relief
bill, but adjourned without voting on a budget for the VA or
extended benefits for the troops.
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.
Iraq Troops Undersupplied;
Admits Soldiers Had
No Body Armor
10.18.04 United Press International &
By Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post Staff Writer
The top U.S. commander in Iraq
complained to the Pentagon last winter that his supply situation
was so poor that it threatened Army troops' ability to fight,
according to an official document that has surfaced only now.
The former U.S.
commander in Iraq issued an urgent plea to the Pentagon last winter
for supplies, saying he was unable to sustain readiness.
In a memo obtained by the Washington
Post, Army Lt.-Gen. Ricardo Sanchez wrote: "I cannot continue to
support sustained combat operations with (supply) rates this low."
Sanchez, who was the senior commander
on the ground in Iraq from the summer of 2003 until this summer,
said in his letter that Army
units in Iraq were struggling just to maintain "... relatively low
readiness rates on combat systems, such as M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley
Fighting Vehicles, anti-mortar radars and Black Hawk helicopters."
The lack of key spare parts for gear
vital to combat operations, such as tanks and helicopters, was
causing problems so severe, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez wrote
in a letter to top Army officials, that
"I cannot continue to support
sustained combat operations with rates this low."
In some Army supply
depots in Iraq, 40 percent of critical parts were at "zero balance,"
meaning they were absent from depot shelves, he said.
He also protested
in his letter, sent Dec. 4 to the number two officer in the Army,
with copies to other senior officials, that his soldiers still
needed protective inserts to upgrade 36,000 sets of body armor but
that their delivery had been postponed twice in the month before
he was writing. There were 131,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the
also generally dipped last spring when insurgents destroyed seven
bridges along the main supply route from Kuwait to Baghdad,
Christianson said. In some cases, he said, supplies were cut off for
Recruits Joining The Armed Forces
(Oct. 7) By CHRISTOPHER COOPER Staff
Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. Army's
ability to attract African-American soldiers has plummeted recently,
a trend that threatens to place further strains on a military
already stretched by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Blacks attracted to
the force numbered 12,103, or 15.6% of the total enlistment pool, in
the year ended Sept. 30, down from a peak of 16,695, or 21% of
recruits, in fiscal 2002, statistics gathered by the Army's
recruiting command show.
The timing of the drop in the share
of black recruits roughly corresponds with the mass movement of
troops to the Middle East and the outbreak of the Iraq war.
Figures for the
Army Reserve show a similar, albeit more dramatic, drop -- of about
27% for the same period.
The current decline comes at an
awkward time for the Army, which is being pressed by the Pentagon to
provide more combat-ready soldiers. In August, the Army began
offering $10,000 bonuses to recruits. Yesterday, it sweetened the
offer, tacking on a $3,000 "quick ship" bonus for recruits who are
ready to enter immediately. Also in August, it bumped up the cash
awarded for college to $70,000 from $50,000. Such incentives,
Pentagon officials and others say, often appeal to potential
recruits from less wealthy families. The Army has traditionally
used cash bonuses to nudge up enlistments in peacetime.
Black recruits have
historically been overrepresented in "behind-the-line" support
roles. Indeed, Pentagon statistics from fiscal
2003 show that 67% of all black soldiers were in combat service or
At the time that
the Iraq war began, only 16% of black soldiers were in combat arms
units. This gravitation toward support roles reflects what some
potential black enlistees hope to receive from a career in the Army:
stable employment with good benefits and the ability to develop
skills that can be easily transferred to the civilian sector.
Front-line positions, such as those in the infantry, don't provide
much in the way of marketable job skills.
But the war in Iraq
has turned such distinctions on their head.
Almost from the outset, enemy fighters concentrated their attacks on
rear-guard soldiers, and soldiers in support functions make up many
of the more than 1,000 Americans that have been killed there.
"There's really no front line/rear echelon any more," says Charlie
Moskos, a Northwestern University sociologist who specializes in
military organizations. "Obviously, the war is one major factor" in
the sharp decline in black recruitment, he says.
In a recent discussion with reporters,
Gen. Rochelle of the Army's recruiting command says that while a
variety of conditions have an effect on enlistment -- such as the
economy -- combat also can have a powerful influence on overall
induction rates. "Obviously,
there's a war going on and, for some of our prospects, that is a
drawback and it will deter them," he says.
Moskos says one of the main reasons that black recruits stick with
the Army is the perception that African-Americans have of it as a
relatively color-blind institution that allows minorities
opportunities for advancement. Rare is the American institution, Mr.
Moskos says, "where whites are routinely bossed around by blacks."
Some say, however,
that the perception of the Army as an egalitarian institution may be
eroding, again because of the Iraq war. David Segal, a University of
Maryland sociology professor, says two recent events connected to
the war may have resonated among potential black recruits in a way
that wasn't reflected among white enlistees.
The first was a recent bill submitted
by Rep. Charles Rangel, a black congressman from New York, which
called for a resumption of a universal military draft. Though the
bill was killed this week by Congress, it drew extensive attention,
as did Mr. Rangel's justification for submitting it.
Mr. Rangel says he wanted a draft,
in part, because he wanted to ensure that the offspring of wealthy
citizens shared equally in the burden of war. And though Mr. Rangel
couched his argument in terms of class, many black Americans equated
it to race, Mr. Segal says.
A second event occurred at the
beginning of the Iraq war, when Pvt. Jessica Lynch, a white female
soldier in an Army maintenance company, was taken hostage by
marauding Iraqis. The story of Pvt. Lynch and her eventual rescue
by special-forces soldiers was extensively chronicled by the
Pentagon and the U.S. media.
Less noticed was
the story of Spc. Shoshona Johnson, a black woman, who was in the
same maintenance unit as Pvt. Lynch and was also taken hostage and
later rescued. Her story got far less attention, and Mr. Segal says
he has heard anecdotally that this has fostered resentment in the
Whether the Pentagon was fair in its
treatment of the two women is beside the point, Mr. Segal says; the
perception is all that matters.
"The Department of Defense needed a hero, and it was nice to have
one who was pretty and blond," he says. "I've heard a great deal
An Open Letter To
British Soldiers In Iraq:
Dear British service person in Iraq.
I met some of you in Basra this year,
guarding the Republican Palace/Occupation HQ. You were told not to
speak to me but you did so anyway. You were open and frank about
your conditions, how you felt local people were interacting with
you; you felt frustrated by the hostility some were feeling towards
you. But you also felt pride about having helped remove a dictator
I spent almost nine months living in
Iraq, working with and supporting workers, trade unionists, womens
groups, Palestinian refugees, human rights organisations and
family, and from my experience, albeit limited, I want you to know
that that dictatorship is creeping back.
The Iraqi Prime Minister our
government and that of the US has imposed is a former Baathist who
used to be in charge of the youth wing of the Baath party
intelligence apparatus. He was responsible for the torture of
students and young people struggling for freedom and direct
In July, the Sydney Morning Herald
reported that he had killed up to six suspects in a Baghdad police
station at close-range with his own gun, just weeks into his term.
The Minister of Defence, Security Minister and Interior Minister,
are all former Baathists. The dreaded secret police are back on the
payroll with thousands of former torturers being given back their
old jobs. History is repeating itself.
Bosses, the same bosses who would
write reports on any workers organising for their rights, and get
them tortured or killed, are still in power and still intimidating
workers. Our government, along with the US has decided to keep
Saddam Hussein's old anti-union laws on the statute books. Life for
ordinary working class people in Iraq, ordinary working class
people like you, with families and girlfriends, who want a vocation,
education, achievement, security and decent living standards, is
Millions are still living in poverty,
fear and a re-cycled oppression. The kind of people who terrorised
and abused ordinary people in Iraq, are doing it again. With the
help of our government and with the help of your presence in Iraq.
I know this because I lived with and worked with ordinary working
people in Iraq, who now cannot even barely speak to me over the
phone, without having to lie, to twist their talk, grown men afraid
of their own voices, because they know they are being listened to,
they know the old psychosis they had to live through, is seeping
back into their lives, poisoning their families.
The only reconstruction of any impact
on Iraqi peoples lives right now is that of the old regime, which
you thought you'd dismantled, revived with bigger guns, more
soldiers, and old corruption oiled with new bloodshed.
There are plans to have you replace US
troops in Iskanderia, Mahmoudia, and Latifiya. Resistance
flashpoints. I lost a close friend who I thought was invincible, on
the road through Iskanderia. He was shot in the chest three times
and once in the head and left face-down in on Burning August
asphalt for over a day. You may also be asked to serve in Sadr City
- a sprawling ghetto and not a 'suburb' as the media frequently
reports it - where you will encounter Shia and Northern Kurdish
communities evicted by the Baath from their land during the Iran
war. People there have lived and died in suffering. You will be
facing an 'enemy' the current government and last government
considered an enemy.
You are adding your courage, your
conscience and your blood, to replacing the same oppression you
fought to remove. Working class people, trying to taste the freedom
they had scorched out of their lives through massacre and
home-demolition, land razing and murder will be your designated
'enemy'. Ask yourself, who made you their enemy?
Atrocities will be perpetrated in
Fallujah, at the hands of and against US troops. People all over
Iraq and all over the world will know that what is happening to
people in Fallujah has been made directly possible by your filling
in for US troops. You will be complicit. You will be accessories to
crimes against humanity; a carnage which will have a boomerang
affect on the centres of the planning and funding of those crime,
both in Britain and the US.
You will kill people who for years
planned, dreamed, and tried to take control of their own lives and
communities, finally, out of the hands of tyrants and murderers only
to be faced with more of the same.
The war was illegal. The occupation is
illegal. And you will be asked to commit illegal acts, which in the
future you could be tried for.
According to the Manual of Law of
Armed Conflict for the British Military, 'Orders to commit crimes
against humanity are considered to be manifestly unlawful. Orders
from a superior, in this context, include orders from a government
or superior military or civilian law or national regulation. The
serviceman is under duty to Not obey a manifestly unlawful order'.
You are within your rights to refuse
orders which are in breach of international humanitarian law.
Our own tidal wave of refusal here, to
the war and occupation, is massive. Refuse your orders, the whole
world is watching. Refuse your orders. I will, along many others
here in the UK, support you. Refuse your orders, in the name of
humanity, your own and that of those you have been hired to deny.
You will be supported. Refuse.
Puerto Rican Soldiers Were Not
Allowed To Vote In US Presidential Election
October 15, 2004 By Shelley Murphy,
Boston Globe Staff
Over the stern
objections of a judge from Puerto Rico, a federal appeals court in
Boston ruled yesterday that US citizens living in Puerto Rico do not
have the right to vote in presidential elections.
In a two-page opinion, the US Court of
Appeals for the First Circuit, relying on two prior rulings,
concluded that the US Constitution does not confer voting rights on
Puerto Rico, an American
territory whose residents were granted US citizenship in 1917.
But in a sharply worded dissent, Judge
Juan R. Torruella of Puerto Rico wrote, ''What we have in this case
is without question the creation and perpetuation of substandard,
second-class citizens, with less rights than those enjoyed by the
main class of US citizens."
Close to 3,500 US
soldiers from Puerto Rico have been dispatched to Iraq and
Afghanistan, and 20 were killed in Iraq as of Sept. 28, the judge
Webmasters At War
On The Digital Battlefield
[Thanks to Dennis
O’Neil, who sent this one in.]
(An article in the November 2004
number of *Technology Review* reports on how successful in the Iraq
war has been "force transformation" -- whose basic idea is that
"information technologies allow you to substitute information for
mass," in the words of Stuart Johnson, research professor at the
National Defense University, and of which the Stryker brigades--two
out of three are based at Fort Lewis--- are now the emblem.
(The answer is: at
the divisional level and above, it worked well. But for the
soldiers on the ground and in the field, it failed:
quickly became the norm," writes David Talbot, a senior editor of
*TR*. In practice, convoys were moving too fast and too far for the
antenna relays, which need to be stationary to function. Stopping
to receive intelligence data often exposed units to attack. "'A lot
of the guys said, "Enough of this shit," and turned it off.'
(In many cases,
text-only e-mail, meant to be a back-up, became the principal means
(In this war, it didn't matter much:
"Fortunately for U.S. forces, they faced little resistance during
the Iraq War."
(Advocates of "force transformation"
are not discouraged. They point to Afghanistan, where "alpha geeks"
coordinated special forces teams by means of webmaster who
maintained a tactical web page, as an example of the horizontally
flowing information and decision-making that will characterize the
warfare of the future.
FAILED IN IRAQ
By David Talbot
The Iraq War was supposed to be a
preview of the new U.S. military: a light, swift force that relies
as much on sensors and communications networks as on heavy armor and
huge numbers. But once the
shooting started, technology fell far short of expectations.
November 2004 Full article at:
Military Cop Sgt.
Gets 12 Years:
October 20, 2004 Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — An Army sergeant at
Fort Jackson, S.C., has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for
knowingly infecting other people with HIV, base officials said
Sgt. Justin K. Kinlock, 26, was
court-martialed Monday after he pleaded guilty to 10 charges of
aggravated assault and one charge of disobeying a superior
commissioned officer, according to a news release. Kinlock has been
Fort Jackson soldier tested positive for the virus during a routine
pregnancy screening and told medical officials Kinlock was the
father, officials said. A total of 10 soldiers since have come
Kinlock had been
assigned to the 17th Military Police Detachment.
He was diagnosed with HIV while stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. in
Says “All We Want Is The Americans To Leave”
November 9, 2004 Rory McCarthy in
Baghdad, The Guardian
I asked one of them, a young teacher
from Saudi Arabia, why he was there. He started reading the verses
in the Qur'an that urge Muslims to commit jihad. He read about the
importance of martyrdom. After 20 minutes, he directed me to another
fighter, an older man with a beard and a soft voice who said his
name was Abu Ossama from Tunisia.
"The most important thing is our religion, not Falluja and not the
occupation. If the American solders came to me and converted to
Islam, I won't fight them.”
Abu Yassir, a short, heavy-built,
middle-aged Iraqi with a grey beard, was the "amir", or commander,
of this group. He was a more experienced fighter and looked after
He was a retired
military officer and ran a business making electric generators. He
was happy to see the back of Saddam Hussein and to get rid of the
But, he said, "as
the time passed by and as the occupation became more visible, more
patriotic feelings grew bigger and bigger. Every time I saw the
Americans patrolling our streets I became more humiliated."
He described how locals from Falluja
and other places started to organise themselves into small cells and
to attack the Americans.
"We just wanted them to leave our
cities. In the beginning I had a 'job' every month, setting IEDs
[improvised explosive devices] or firing mortars, and would go back
to my work most of the time. But
then I realised I can't do any thing but jihad as long as the
Americans occupied my country."
He closed his workshop, sold his
business and used the money to sponsor the group of fighters.
"The world is
convinced that we people of Falluja are happy to kill the innocents,
that's not true, even when we execute collaborators and people
working for the Americans, I feel sad for them and sometimes cry,
but this is a war."
There they took their final fighting
positions and designated one of them, a young Iraqi, as the unit's
martyr - a fighter whose task is to explode himself next to the
The amir told me:
"All we want is the Americans to
leave, and then everything will be fine, the Kurds will
stop talking about seceding from Iraq, the Shias will stop talking
about settling scores with Sunnis and each province will elect a
council and these councils will elect a president.
"That is the
election we see democratic, not an American one."
But, he said: "We
are besieged here now. It is a great emotional victory, but bad
strategy. It is very easy now for the Americans to come and kill us
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Three Occupation Cops
Policeman Adnan Jassim Mohammed said
two mortar rounds were fired at police cars parked outside of the
Yarmouk Hospital in western Baghdad
killing at least three policemen.
He said there may be more casualties
to come, adding: "They are still transferring the wounded.”
“They targeted the police,” he said of
Terror & Democracy
Thomas Wheeler, Beyond the Mainstream
When 3,000 people were killed on 9/11
in the United States of America, it was called a barbaric act of
terrorism. When 100,000 Iraqis are killed, it is called an act of
liberation and “bringing democracy to Iraq.”
To get a handle of
how devastating the carnage has been, we should extrapolate those
numbers and apply them to the United States. The
US has a population of approximately 290 million. Iraq’s population
is around 24 million. The US population is more than 12 times that
Imagine an invasion
and occupation of the US that killed between 1.2 and 2.4 million
Americans, most of them women and children, through precision air
strikes, bombings, and large scale assaults on urban and suburban
neighborhoods. Imagine routine house-to-house invasions where your
fellow Americans were kidnapped and taken from their homes by the
hundreds of thousands.
Here’s another way of looking at it.
The 100,000 killed in Iraq relative to its population is the
equivalent of perpetrating four hundred 9/11-style attacks on
America. That comes out to five 9/11 attacks per week, every week,
for 18 months. That’s 15,000
Americans being killed every week.
The Iraqi population has little
tolerance for this level of terror and mass murder while under
That is why they
are engaged in legitimate resistance. Would Americans react any
differently if they were forced to live under similar conditions?
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.
17 October 2004 By Rajiv
Chandrasekaran, The Washington Post
Late last month, as I was packing my
possessions and preparing to return to Washington after 18 months as
The Post's bureau chief in Baghdad….
it became clear how much my life as a journalist in
Iraq had changed over those months, and how much things had changed
My folding road
map, dog-eared from repeated excursions last year, had grown dusty
on my bookshelf. By this summer, every road leading out of Baghdad
had become too dangerous to travel. North to Mosul, west to Ramadi,
northeast to Baqubah, southeast to Kut, south to Hilla, Karbala,
Najaf and Basra - all had turned into "red routes" in the parlance
of security specialists, meaning too dangerous to travel.
The capital itself
was a patchwork of red (no-go) and yellow (proceed with extreme
caution) zones, surrounding the American-controlled Green Zone.
where I had visited Iraqi friends for lunch were now too insecure to
enter. And even if I was willing to chance it, my Iraqi friends
didn't want to risk being seen allowing a foreigner into their
Iraqis On U.S.
Same Old Shit
Nov 4 & Nov. 3, By Lin Noueihed,
BAGHDAD (Reuters) & AFP
"Bush talks about
freedom and democracy but all the Americans have brought is death
and destruction. Where's our electricity? Where's our oil money?"
asked Abu Ghazwan, a greengrocer in southwestern
"They call Saddam a
criminal, but Bush is the biggest criminal and terrorist in the
world. I only expect crimes and killings and occupation of Muslim
countries from him," said Waad Mohammed Ali, a
butcher in Baghdad's central Karrada area.
"Not that Kerry would have been much better. They're all determined
to suck our blood."
"Choosing Bush for
a new term is a crisis for Iraqis, especially people in Falluja,
because it will prompt him to continue his policy of killing and
destruction against Arabs and Muslims," said
Mohammed Ali, a student from the rebel-held Sunni Muslim city that
faces daily U.S. bombardment.
would have continued even if Kerry won, so I'm not happy either
way," said Ismael Saleh from the northern city of Kirkuk. "I'll
only be happy when the occupation ends."
"Even if Kerry had won it would have
been the same for Arabs," said Meqdad Qais al-Hakim, a Shi'ite
Muslim grocer in Baghdad. "But since Bush won I hope he will pull
the American forces out of Iraq and hold elections on time."
"U.S. policy will
not change, whether Bush or Kerry is in the White House, so it's all
the same to us," said Raad Fadel, sitting in a
shop selling musical instruments in Baghdad.
"We have realized
from experience that U.S. policy does not change with presidents,"
said Hashem Yousef, a beekeeper from Basra. "What I care about is
elections in my own country."
Ibrahim Khalil, who
dropped in from his own carpet shop next door disagreed: "They are
all the same but I'd prefer Kerry because it's good to vary the
"They are fighting for the presidency
of America but all I care about is what the winner will do for my
country," said Mustafa Nouri, 50, a merchant from Basra in the far
south. "I support whoever will
pull the American troops out of Iraq."
compared Bush to Mongol invader Hulagu, grandson of Ghengis Khan,
who plundered Baghdad in 1258 and killed close to one million
"Hulagu flooded the
Tigris with blood and Bush is washing the streets of Iraq with blood
every day," says Qusaiy Wali, 29, an engineer.
"He destroyed us!" says Umm Marwan, a
30-year-old school teacher.
"God help our people in Fallujah," he
adds, referring to the Sunni Muslim insurgency bastion, west of
Baghdad, where US troops are poised for an all-out assault against
have increased terror all over the world," says Sheikh Mizher
al-Asi, 55, a leader of the powerful Sunni Obeid tribe in northern
"We hope the American president will
change his policy toward Iraq ... because Iraq is oppressed and
can't remain occupied," Salem Shummari told Reuters Television.
Soldiers, Citizens Fight French Imperial Occupation Troops:
“Everybody Get Your
French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle
11.6.04 AP, ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast
French troops clashed with soldiers
and angry mobs Saturday after government warplanes killed at least
nine French soldiers and an American civilian in an airstrike mayhem
that threatened to draw foreign troops deeper into Ivory Coast's
escalating civil war.
Violence broke out
in Ivory Coast's largest city after France retaliated for the
airstrike by destroying two government warplanes at an airport
outside the capital.
pro-government youths, some armed with machetes, axes or chunks of
wood, took to the streets of the country's commercial capital,
Abidjan. Crowds went door to door looking for French citizens and
set fire to a French school, sending a pall of smoke over the city.
"Everybody get your
Frenchman!" young men in the mob shouted to each others.
French diplomats preparing a sharp
warning to Ivory Coast's government.
France quickly sent three Mirage fighter jets to West Africa and
ordered more troops to Ivory Coast in response to the violence.
France has about
4,000 troops in Ivory Coast, and a separate U.N.
occupation force numbers around 6,000.
Saturday's violence began when
government warplanes struck French positions at Brobo, near the
northern rebel-held town of Bouake, in the afternoon, U.N. military
spokesman Philippe Moreux said.
Eight French soldiers were killed and
23 others wounded, said Defense Ministry spokesman Jean-Francois
Bureau in Paris. An American citizen was also killed in the raid,
the French presidency said, without providing details.
A ninth French soldier died of his
sent three Mirage fighter jets, due to arrive in nearby Gabon. and
French President Jacques Chirac said he ordered the deployment of
two more military companies to Ivory Coast.
In the violence in
Abidjan, townspeople tried to overrun a French military base near
the airport. French troops fired in the air and lobbed tear gas at
"French go home!"
people chanted as they marched through the city. They went house to
house, seeking out French civilians, French military spokesman Henry
At the same time,
Ivory Coast soldiers tried to destroy French aircraft at the airport
itself, sparking clashes with French forces, a
French spokesman, Jacques Combarieu, said. Combarieu said a French
soldier was lightly injured and an airplane was lightly damaged
before the fighting ended.
Ivory Coast, the world's
top cocoa producer, had been the pride of France's former colonial
empire. [And obviously the
French Empire has not intention of changing that state of affairs.]
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