GI SPECIAL 2#C10
“Debate” Photo: JIM BOURG/REUTERS
“You Want The
Truth? You Can’t Handle The Truth.”
“We have our
little differences, but on one thing we agree 100%. If
Americans have to die in Iraq to keep the Empire going, tough
shit. We got so many unemployed back here they’ll never be
missed. And since somebody has to die for corporate profits
and Empire, it sure won’t be our kids. They have other
priorities. College. Parties. Getting ready to manage the
family fortunes when then get a bit older.
being an American leader means.
it, some people are just more important than others, and
without a rich, privileged, elite ruling class telling you
what to do, how could you common trailer-trash survive? It’s
just a division of labor: some die for the Empire, and our
class has to take on the terrible responsibility for managing
it. That’s us. That’s what we do. And remember, which ever
one of us wins, we win either way.
you already know that, don’t you? And you’ll take it and like
it, won’t you? You chumps just keep on playing our game every
four years, don’t you?
“What are you
going to do, rebel? What a silly idea! You bark when we say
bark, and you bite when we say bite, but you’ll never turn on
“And I’m John
approved this message.”
R: Wealthy Get Richer
NEED SOME TRUTH?
CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
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
And join with
Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring
our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)
The Death Of
Reveals Some Bases Must Be Supplied By Parachute Drops
confirmation in story below about helicopters.]
31 October 2004 By Monte Morin
and Tony Perry, The Los Angeles Times
The American death toll was the
worst in a single incident since Jan. 8, when nine soldiers
were killed as a Black Hawk helicopter crashed west of
source who requested anonymity said the nine were killed when
a suicide car bomber rammed a Marine convoy just southwest of
Fallouja. Insurgents then fired on the convoy, which was
towing a disabled vehicle.
Another source said the attack
was near Abu Ghraib, slightly to the east of Fallouja.
The Marines' deaths Saturday
underscore that moving in convoys is always dangerous and
sometimes deadly. In fact, every time military vehicles move
in Iraq, it's considered a combat mission.
the number of military vehicles on Iraqi roads - which they
share with Iraqi civilian traffic - Marines have begun doing
resupply missions by helicopter. In some cases, they have
dropped supplies by parachute to troops in far-flung
It was unknown whether the
convoy attacked Saturday was on a resupply mission.
Brig. Gen. Richard Kramlich,
commanding officer of the 1st Force Service Support Group,
says his unit moves troops, ammunition and supplies "24/7."
"Marines face danger every time
they leave the perimeter of this camp," Kramlich said.
Word of the deaths swept through
downtown Oceanside [California] on Saturday, casting a pall
over the off-duty Marines from Camp Pendleton who congregate
in the videogame parlors, T-shirt shops, pizza shops and
fast-food restaurants there.
Many of the Marines have served
two tours in Iraq. Others are training for deployment into
the war zone. Some said they knew some of the dead Marines.
Civilians cannot understand how
it affects Marines to learn that nine of their own have been
killed, said Pvt. Kyle Johnson, 18, of Exira, Iowa.
"Civilians don't really know,
they don't," he said. "Unless they've been there and done
that, they can't know. They hear the news and it's a shocker,
but they forget about it quickly.
"We hear about it, and it stays
with us the rest of our lives."
Many of the
Marines are at the infantry school, learning combat techniques
that may soon be applied in Iraq. [Time to study Khe Sanh or
Dien Bien Phu.]
Marine In Ramadi, 4 Wounded
November 01, 2004 WorldNow and
BAGHDAD, Iraq The
military says a U-S Marine was killed Sunday when a bomb
exploded in the central Iraqi city of Ramadi. Four others were
The U-S command says the Marines
were hit with an improvised explosive device. It didn't give
One US Soldier Killed In Ramadi Fighting
Nov 1 (KUNA) & (Reuters)
Six Iraqis were killed and 16
were injured in fresh clashes with the US forces in the Anbar
soldier was killed in these clashes, according to sources
close to the multinational forces in Iraq.
In some of the fiercest fighting
in weeks between U.S. troops and insurgents in the rebel
stronghold of Ramadi the clashes broke out in the east of the
city around 7 a.m. (0400 GMT).
Black smoke could be seen rising
from buildings as groups of gunmen fired rocket-propelled
grenades and mortar rounds amid heavy U.S. shelling.
Iraqi families began to flee
their homes as fighting intensified throughout the morning and
witnesses said they saw a U.S. military vehicle ablaze.
An Iraqi photographer working
for the Reuters News Agency has been killed today too in the
Convoy Hit In
Insurgents attacked a U.S.
military convoy in Qaim, near the Syrian border, using
rocket-propelled grenades on Monday, witnesses said.
THIS IS HOW
BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME
US marines from 2/5 Marine
transport an injured comrade into a Chinook helicopter in
Ramadi 100kms west of Baghdad.(AFP/Patrick Baz)
Family Grieves Over Army Sergeant’s Death;
Back. Don’t Worry”
November 1, 2004 SAN ANTONIO
An Army officer's wife could
hear gunfire in the background when her husband telephoned her
last week from Iraq.
But Sgt. 1st Class Michael
Battles Sr. assured wife Luz that everything was fine and he
just wanted to talk a little longer.
who had telephoned to Fort Hood to tell his wife he had just
mailed a birthday present to son Michael, did not call again
the next morning.
kept waiting for the 9 a.m. call that never came and realized
something was wrong.
officials arrived at her home early the next day, she knew
that Battles was dead.
The Department of Defense said
Battles, 38, was killed Oct. 28 when a bomb was hurled at his
vehicle by a passing motorcycle rider near his Baghdad
checkpoint. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 21st Field
Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood.
Leslie Battles, who at 43 is the
oldest brother, told the
San Antonio Express-News in Monday's online
edition. "He told me, 'It's bad over here, but just keep your
faith and pray."'
Battles phoned home almost every day for reports on his son
Michael Jr., whose fourth birthday is Thursday.
When his son was born at Fort
Stewart, Ga., Battles had been to Korea four times and served
in the first Gulf War. He returned to Korea two months
following his son's birth on Nov. 4, 2000.
After moving to Fort Hood, he
was sent to Iraq. But he planned to retire in 2006.
said, 'I'll be back. Don't worry,"' said the officer's mother,
Hoosier Killed In Iraq
November 1, 2004 Associated
WAVERLY, Ind. -- A soldier who
grew up in Central Indiana was killed during combat in Iraq,
the military said.
Army Pfc. Stephen P. Downing II,
30, died Thursday from small arms fire during combat
operations in Ar Ramadi.
The Pentagon listed his
residence as Burkesville, Ky., but he grew up in Waverly and
graduated from Mooresville High School, said Jessica Prichard,
a friend of his family.
He was divorced with a
9-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.
"His father and stepfather told
him they wished they could go in his place, so he didn't have
to be there," said Downing's mother, Stella Maynard of
Burkesville, Ky. "And he said, 'No. I don't want to be there,
but it's my turn to protect you.'"
Downing's father lives in
Indiana's Brown County and has a sister in Indianapolis,
the 29th person from Indiana to have died after being sent to
the Mideast since the buildup for the invasion of Iraq began
in early 2003.
Force Of 20 Storms Baghdad Corporation Office;
November 1, 2004 By JIM KRANE,
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP)
kidnapped [in war it’s called “captured.”] an American, a
Nepalese and four Iraqi guards in a bloody
assault on their office in the capital Monday when insurgents
stormed the offices of a Saudi company in the upscale Mansour
district of Baghdad, sparking a battle with guards during the
evening iftar meal when Muslims break their daylong fast in
the holy month of Ramadan, police said.
One attacker and one guard were
killed in the fight, before the insurgents made off with their
[now he’s got it],
police said. Police Lt. Col. Maan Khalaf identified the
captives as an American, a Nepalese and the four Iraqis. U.S.
Embassy spokesman Bob Callahan confirmed that one of the
[now he’s back to silly
crime-scene language] was American.
``We heard gunfire. I went
outside to see what's going on when a man pointed a machine
gun at me and said: 'Get in or else I'll shoot at you,''' said
Haidar Karar, who lives in the neighborhood.
house he saw ``at least 20 attackers, some masked and some
not.'' He said some were wearing traditional Arab robes and
all were carrying automatic weapons.
Government Told Stupid Lie;
Nov. 1 Kyodo News
TOKYO, Nov. 1,
Kyodo - A shell that
exploded late Sunday is believed to have hit a facility inside
the camp housing Japanese troops in the southern
Iraqi city of Samawah, a Japanese government source said
government earlier said a large explosion was heard around
10:30 p.m. local time or 4:30 a.m. Monday Japan time
near the camp
of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force troops.
Black Watch Base
1 Nov 2004 By Gavin Cordon,
Whitehall Editor, PA News &
By JIM KRANE (AP)
The Black Watch came under fresh
attack today at their base in the US-controlled sector of
Iraq. Seven rockets landed
in the space of an hour yesterday morning in the
perimeter of Camp Dogwood.
The base, 25 miles south of
Baghdad, was struck by a series of explosions shortly after
9.30am local time, the Ministry of Defence said.
It was reported that four
Chinese-made rockets were fired from positions several miles
An MoD spokesman said there were
no injuries and no
to the base. [Watch those
weasel words. Whether damage is “major” or “minor” is in the
eye of the commanding officers, and commanding officers are
nothing but politicians in funny clothes.]
Has Lost Controls Of Roads,
Move Troops By Helicopter:
Just Like “At
End Of Vietnam War”
Nov 1, 2004 By Jim Krane
Associated Press Writer
tactics here resemble those that emerged
at the end of
the Vietnam war,
when the Viet Cong acquired Soviet-made SA-7 missiles that
were able to pick off high-flying choppers. U.S. pilots
began flying low and fast, skimming the trees and fields in
a technique known as "mapping the earth."
TAJI, Iraq (AP) - The U.S.
military is increasingly turning to attack helicopters to
battle guerrillas in Iraq, using tactics closer to those from
Vietnam or Israel than the Gulf war formations that blasted
The Army is
also pushing its fleets of transport helicopters as hard as it
can, ferrying U.S. troops and Iraqi leaders by air, rather
than letting them drive the country's ambush-prone roads.
fly, soldiers don't die," said Col. Jim McConville, who
commands the 1st Cavalry Division's aviation brigade.
basically flying as much as we can. And we can't fly them
Since February, McConville's 4th
Brigade, headquartered on this dust-blown air base just north
of Baghdad, has flown 50,000 combined hours in its nearly 100
helicopters, the highest airborne rate in division history.
"It's an adrenaline rush, guys
flying 140 miles per hour just above the trees and firing
rockets," said McConville, whose own helicopters have been
rocked by rocket-propelled grenades or punched with bullets.
Hawk, which entered service in 1979, has become a taxi for
soldiers and contractors hopping from the safety of one U.S.
base to another.
everyone had a choice no one would drive," said McConville,
45, of Quincy, Mass. "But there's not enough aircraft to fly
every soldier who wants to fly."
"The Iraqis are afraid of
helicopters," McConville said.
"We think they're pretty
deadly. But they think they're a lot more deadly than they
"They'll come in with holes and
we'll repair them," said Maj. John Agor, 42, striding through
a Taji hangar filled with disassembled Black Hawks and
Apaches. "More likely than not we'll put them back into battle
tactics here resemble those that emerged at the end of the
Vietnam war, when the Viet Cong acquired Soviet-made SA-7
missiles that were able to pick off high-flying choppers.
U.S. pilots began flying low and fast, skimming the trees
and fields in a technique known as "mapping the earth."
The Army trained pilots to hover
behind front lines and blast tanks with long-range missiles.
Apache pilots did just that in the Gulf war.
But Iraqi insurgents have no
front lines or tanks. After rebels with shoulder-fired
missiles took down a pair of helicopters, including a Chinook
transport in November that killed 16 U.S. troops, the Army
stopped flying at high altitudes.
"We used to
hover around. We can't do that now because you get shot down,"
McConville said. "People thought it was safer to come down low
and risk small arms fire and wires."
Kiowas operate in street battles much the same way as in the
Israeli military: rocketing single cars or
buildings sheltering insurgents.
"You try to shoot them in an
alleyway or shoot one car that's moving along a street," said
Capt. Ryan Welch, 29, an Apache pilot with the 4th Brigade.
"It's not something we used to train for."
relies so heavily on its helicopters that some are being flown
at rates beyond military recommendations.
Lt. Col. Mike
Lundy, commander of the 1st Cavalry's Kiowa regiment, said
each of his armed Kiowas flies around 105 hours per month,
well over the recommended 65 hours.
overhauls normally done every two years are now needed every
six months, said Agor, the maintenance chief.
In the case
of the Apache, the interval between complete overhauls been
pushed back from once every 250 hours to once every 500 hours,
Watching Us Right Now. They're Everywhere”
[This is the
classic problem for an occupation army faced with a population
determined to fight to the finish for their liberty. It’s why
the war is lost.]
November 1, 2004 Associated
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - Scouring
turnip patches and dimly lit homes, U.S. Marines on patrol
outside the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah search for guns,
mortar rounds and rockets in villages where the Marines
believe people smile by day
- and launch deadly projectiles by night.
In a fight
without front lines against civilian-clothed enemies,
Marines in central Iraq
can't easily identify enemies called "The Muj" - short for
mujahedeen, or Muslim holy warriors - who boobytrap roads and
fire into U.S. bases from nearby hamlets.
watching us right now. They're everywhere, but you can't
tell who they are," says Sgt. Alexander Munoz as he leads a
1st Marine Division patrol through one town. "They wave and
salute - then they bomb you."
But as the
Marines try to calm the area around Fallujah, they say they
face a foe who mixes with the local population, threatening
unsympathetic civilians into supporting their goals. And
collaborating with the Marines can be deadly.
here are against a wall. They help us and they help the Muj,"
Marines look for roadside bombs - which the troops call
improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
[But as the
British troops try to calm the area around Boston, they face a
foe who mixes with the local population, threatening
unsympathetic civilians into supporting their goals. And
collaborating with the British troops can be deadly.
here are against a wall. They help us and they help the
American rebels,” says Sgt. Williams, as the Fusiliers look
for American ambushes, which the British troops call “fighting
Indian style.” “They’re cowards. They hide behind trees and
stone walls like Indians and shoot at us, like up at Lexington
and Concord, and they won’t come out and fight like men,” he
it has ever been with Imperial arrogance and Imperial
Civilians escaping Fallujah -
with some rebels likely among them - are taking refuge in
abandoned houses and schools shuttered during the fighting.
"There has been a large influx
of refugees fleeing Fallujah. Overnight, we usually go out
and stay in abandoned houses and now we're competing with
refugees," says Lt. John Jacobs.
A Marine attack on Fallujah in
April was called off after widespread Iraqi protest at reports
of civilian casualties, but
not before insurgents sneaked around and attacked the Marines'
rear, touching off a dayslong battle outside the city. [NOW
we hear about that one!]
So the Marines are showing their
force this time before any upcoming attack on Fallujah,
walking through turnip and tomato fields and looking for
weapons buried in irrigation ditches
as rebel rockets crash in the
The Marines are on constant
lookout for the roadside bombs, often connected by wires to a
mobile phone, which when dialed sets off the blast.
Rebel spotters are presumed
to be watching.
The bombs can also be mounted on
telephone poles or put in trash,
and the Marines suspect the
townspeople often know where the bombs lay.
you know of an IED is that the people run away when we pass
by," says Munoz. "Especially the kids."
The Marines quietly enter
families' walled compounds, shining their flashlights in
corners and looking on rooftops.
Adolescent Iraqi boys hold their
empty palms to the Marines, indicating they're hiding no
"Yeah, yeah, I know you don't
have anything," says Lance Corporal Brian Davis.
"A lot of these people are very
respectful, they give you water," the 27-year old from
Kelseyville, Calif. says later.
"But you always have to ask yourself who they really are."
[That’s easy. They’re Iraqis who want their country back,
and the Occupation gone. One thing you can bet on. Iraqis
are indeed “everywhere” in Iraq. It’s one of the things the
place is known for. And they are indeed watching you, and
waiting for a time and place of their choosing to strike for
their freedom. Time to come home, alive.]
Command Tries Silly New Tactic;
Central: Pick Up On This One
11/1/2004 By JIM KRANE
In its latest effort to throttle
the tenacious insurgency plaguing Baghdad, the U.S. Army has
set up a telephone hot line where Iraqis can phone in
In two interviews with Arabic TV
networks on Monday, Brig. Gen. Jeffery Hammond assumed the
role of a big city American police chief, squinting into the
camera and beseeching Iraqis to phone in anything they know
about planned attacks.
"When you see this terrible
insurgent about to do something, pick up your phone and call
me. I'll do something about it," said Hammond, deputy
commander of the 1st Cavalry Division. "We can fight this war
together. You can help me fight — in secret."
"The choice is simple," Hammond
continued. "You can choose the choice of the insurgent, which
is death. Or you can choose the path of the interim
government, which is life." [That one will crack up everybody
in Iraq. Regardless of point of view, everybody knows the
interim “government” is the path of betrayal, corruption,
thievery and, if your are a collaborator, absolutely certain
that you're scared. I'd be scared too," Hammond said.
"But someone in Baghdad sees the insurgent, knows
the insurgent. Tell me what it is you know.
"The division has received as many as 30 calls per day since
setting up the line two weeks ago.
Not all phone callers are
helpful. One bold caller last week declared he was a
terrorist out to get Americans. [Talk about a brainwashed
reporter, we’re supposed to believe the caller says, “Hi,
I’m a terrorist?” Out to get the occupation no doubt true.
The majority of Iraqis are. They, however, consider
themselves patriots fighting a foreign invasion and
occupation. They’re right about that.]
Cavalry has no arrests or operations to report that stemmed
from phoned-in tips. [Now there’s a surprise.]
Hammond said the hot line is part of an Arabic
media blitz the division has organized, calling weekly
Arabic-only news conferences on its base near Baghdad
airport, and appearing on live radio call-in shows in
The more the division reaches out to Iraqi television and
radio stations, "there is a corresponding effort to block
our attempt," he said.
Hammond said he has received a death threat
for serving as a regular guest of a call-in radio program on
a Baghdad radio station, as did the show's host.
"We hit a raw nerve," he said.
"It's my ambition to get
into all the living rooms in Baghdad and tell our story by
putting the commanding
general on Arab TV." [Well, so much for all that
bullshit about Iraqi “sovereignty. All this idiot asshole
does by appearing on TV is prove to any undecided Iraqis the
U.S. is still in control, and they need to join the
resistance. If there are any left that haven’t already done
10/31/2004 By JIM KRANE, The
Even as it builds up its forces
here, the U.S. military has
softened one of its more aggressive symbols.
The Army has
renamed 17 of its bases in and around the Iraqi capital,
dropping cocky names like Camp Steel Dragon for more benign
ones like Camp Honor.
Gone also is
Camp Headhunter, Camp Banzai, Camp Warhorse and Camp
Gunslinger. Since mid-September, those bases have been renamed
camps Independence, Justice, Freedom and Solidarity.
"It's gone from warrior to
helper," was how one soldier, who asked not to be named,
The new names have been given
Arabic translations, which have become the official titles
that now appear on signs and news releases.
Camp Victory North, now renamed Camp Liberty, signs declare
that travelers have entered Camp Al-Tahreer — or Camp
soon: Camp Clusterfuck, Camp Quagmire, Camp Dien Bien Phu,
Camp Sadr, Camp Halliburton, Camp MRE, Camp Stop-Loss, and
that old favorites, Camp FTA, under the general campaign
designation Operation Iraqi Fuckup.]
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
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 in Iraq.
Send requests to address up top.
Armor, Radios, Bullets:
For Traitor Politicians Pork Barrel Projects Instead;
Our Own Young To Support The War”
Oct. 31, 2004 (CBS) 60 Minutes
Every couple of weeks Karen
Preston gets a telephone call from her son Ryan who is serving
in Iraq with the Oregon National Guard.
Preston has been worrying a lot ever since last summer when
Ryan returned home on leave and showed her these photos of the
unarmored vehicles his unit was using for convoy duty in Iraq.
proper steel plating to protect soldiers from enemy mines and
rocket propelled grenades, they had been jerry-rigged with
plywood and sandbags.
called cardboard coffins," Preston says.
There have been more than 9,000
U.S. casualties in Iraq so far – more than 8,100 wounded and
1,100 killed. Nearly half of those casualties are the result
of roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices or
IEDs in military jargon.
Yet the U.S. military still lacks thousands of fully armored
vehicles that could save American lives.
Ronald Pepin, who serves in Baghdad with the New York
National Guard, says, "They have no ground plating. So if
you hit something underneath you, then it's going to kill
the whole crew, you know? And that's just something you
have to live with."
Staff Sgt. Sean Davis from the
Oregon National Guard was critically wounded last June when
his unarmored Humvee hit an IED outside of Baghdad. He
suffered shrapnel wounds, burns, and was unable to walk for
his Humvee was armored with plywood, sandbags, and armor
salvaged from old Iraqi tanks.
He considers himself lucky that
he wasn't killed in the blast. His friend and fellow
guardsman Eric McKinley, who was riding in the same vehicle,
wasn't so fortunate. The 24-year-old Army specialist died of
Tom said his son was supposed to have been discharged from the
Oregon National Guard a few months before his death, but was
held over because of the war.
his son would have stood a lot better chance of surviving had
his vehicle been fully armored.
"Our troops need to be protected
over there to the best ability that we can protect them and
it's not being done," he says.
Department of Defense denied a 60 Minutes request for an
on-camera interview to explain the situation.
But responding to a written question about vehicles traveling
dangerous routes in Iraq being armored with plywood and
sandbags, the Army told us,
"As long as
the Army has a single vehicle without armor,
we expect that our soldiers
will continue to find ways to increase their level
of protection." [So, the fucking government says it’s not
their job to protect the soldiers, the soldiers have to do it
themselves? Fine, begin by tying every fucking member of
Congress & the Secretary and every Deputy-Secretary in the DoD
to the front and back bumper of every fucking truck and humvee
in Iraq. Let them do some dying. That’s long, long overdue.
After all, they’re the real enemy, not the Iraqis. Not
realistic? If the troops take on Congress and the Pentagon,
who, exactly, will stop them? The DC police force? If they
ever decide to clean out the DC rats nest, the whole fucking
country will cheer them on and back them up 100%. Payback is
60 Minutes went to a man more
familiar with the problems facing the Oregon National Guard
than anyone else – its commanding general, Ray Byrne.
General Byrne was somewhat reluctant to talk when 60 Minutes
showed him pictures of his men's Humvees and trucks, armored
with plywood and sandbags.
"If you have
nothing then that's better than nothing.
The question becomes then again when – when are they going to
receive the full up armored Humvees? And I don't have that
answer," says Gen. Byrne.
"It distresses me greatly that
they do not have the equipment.
I don't have control over it.
The soldiers don't have control over it. The
question becomes, 'When is it going to be available? When is
it going to be available? When will they have it?'"
[Time the soldiers
took “control over it,” since the General can’t do
The Army told 60 Minutes they
will have produced 8,100 fully-armored Humvees by March.
However, production is lagging
behind the urgent need, and the Pentagon's interim solution is
shipping so-called "add-on armor" kits to Iraq, where they are
being bolted on to thousands of vehicles.
But most of
those add-ons don't protect the bottom of the vehicle, leaving
them vulnerable to an explosive device.
And it isn't the only equipment
problem facing soldiers in Iraq.
guardsman Sean Davis told us that his unit was short
ammunition and night vision goggles, and lacked radios to
communicate with each other.
guardsman were using walkie-talkies that they or their
families purchased from a sporting goods or similar store.
"And anybody can pick up those signals, you know," he says.
"And we don't have the radios that we need."
says stories about families in Oregon having to go out and buy
for their sons and daughters radio equipment, body armor, GPS
gear, computers and night vision goggles because they weren't
being issued are true.
some Guard units are also using Vietnam era M-16 assault
rifles, which he calls adequate for state duty but not
acceptable for duty in Iraq. There is also a bullet
shortage for training, he says.
It bothers him, but
"there's nothing I can do
about it," he says.
"If I was
making the decisions, I would readjust," he
says. "The soldier on the ground should be a focus. When
that's taken care of you can take care of other stuff."
The Army acknowledged to 60
Minutes that there is a shortage of radios in Iraq and a
shortage of bullets for training, and says both
are in the process of being
bullshit they were handing out a year ago. Put on the
soldiers’ grave, “He Died Of A Process.”]
also been problems with maintenance and replacement parts for
critical equipment like Abrams tanks, Bradley personnel
carriers and Black Hawk helicopters.
Wheeler, a long time Capitol Hill staffer who spent years
writing and reviewing defense appropriations bills, thinks
he knows one reason why those shortages exist, after looking
at the current Defense budget. Army accounts that pay for
training, maintenance and repairs are being raided by
Congress to pay for pork-barrel spending. [There it is,
grounds for rebellion in any sane society.]
Wheeler says $2.8 billion that was earmarked for operations
and maintenance to support U.S. troops has been used to "pay
the pork bill."
Wheeler, who has written a book
called "The Wastrels of Defense," says congressmen routinely
hide billions of dollars in pet projects in the defense bill.
in the back of this one, Wheeler found a biathlon jogging
track in Alaska, a brown tree snake eradication program in
Hawaii, a parade ground maintenance contract for a military
base that closed years ago, and money for the Lewis and
Clark Bicentennial celebration.
these projects can't be cut, so Pentagon bookkeepers will
have to dip into operations and maintenance accounts to pay
"They do all
kinds of things that adds up to: 'We're basically eating our
own young to support the war,'" he says.
to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Armed Services
Committee who speaks out against pork-barrel spending, there
is a total of $8.9 billion of pork in this year's defense
bill, which would go a long way toward upgrading all the
equipment used by the National Guard.
think that this war has truly come home to the Congress of the
United States," McCain says. "This is the first time in
history that we've cut taxes during a war. So I think that a
lot of members of Congress feel that this is just sort of a
business-as-usual situation." [Soldiers in other countries at
other times have found armed demonstrations extremely useful
in focusing the attention of corrupt traitors in political
jobs. Frequently, the politicians have decided to find other
occupations and locations, which usually pleases the citizens
also. Cases in point: Suharto (Indonesia) and Milosevic
(Serbia). The soldiers joined the civilians in getting rid of
It is not a comforting thought
for families with loved ones in Iraq, who lack armored
vehicles, radios or things they need to stay alive. It's on
Karen Preston's mind every time she talks to her son.
Specialist Pepin on the New York
Guard says, "It's kind of like an act of faith. When you get
in your vehicle, you just hope, you know. Say a little prayer
before you go out."
helps those who help themselves.]
There It Is:
In recent interviews,
Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, which took charge
of Ramadi in early September, said guerrillas had killed the
12 Marines in a roadway ambush while they were riding in
unarmored or very lightly armored vehicles.
10/31/2004, Edward Wong, The New York Times
Vehicle Armor Keeps Troops On Edge
Nov. 01, 2004 BY HAL BERNTON,
The Seattle Times
(KRT) - For Sgt. Joseph Bryson, driving an
unarmored 10-ton truck across Iraq was like Russian roulette.
In 15 months of duty, a bomb went off next to his rig and
several bullets narrowly missed as they whizzed in through an
open side window.
"The lack of
armor was a big concern," said Bryson, who
returned home to Okanogan, Wash., in August along with the
rest of the 1161st Transportation Company of the Washington
Army National Guard.
"Multiple trucks had bullet holes, in the seat, in the
windshields and the cabs."
of driving Iraq roads in unarmored trucks have been evident
for more than a year, prompting many units to sandbag the
floors of their cabs and weld on extra steel plating, dubbed
Only in recent months has the U.S. military moved
to systematically upgrade the truck fleet, which ferries food,
fuel and ammunition to 135,000 troops.
troops will get those armor kits is hard to say -
it's going to be determined
on need," said Master Sgt. Jeff Clayton, a
spokesman for the Washington National Guard. [Classic lifer
bullshit double-talk. Who the fuck in Iraq doesn’t have a
“need” to not be dead or have missing body parts? Perhaps the
Master Sgt. would care to answer that question? Perhaps he
would care to explain it personally to the families of the
dead? Simple question, asshole: who, from your elevated
position as “spokesman for the Washington Nation Guard,” does
not have a
“need?” And who the fuck elected you spokesman anyway? Maybe
it’s time the troops chose their own “spokesman” who isn’t a
brass kisser with a mouth full of idiocy and a brain full of
shit. Most Sgts will raise hell and the dead to advocate that
their troops get what they need, right now. Not this one.
He’s making bullshit politician-type excuses.]
called us a week before he was killed and told us that they
were exceedingly vulnerable in these unarmored Humvees, and
were going to get ambushed," said Brian Hart, of Bedford,
Mass., whose 20-year-old son, John, died in an ambush a year
ago this week. [How about it Sgt. Did he have a “need?”]
Bryson said in the months that
followed, the unit's truckers thought about fortifying the
cabs with steel. But,
Bryson said, the unit could not secure metal or welders to
tackle the task. And there were fears the added weight might
increase the chance of mechanical breakdowns in hostile
convoy trucks ventured out each day with unarmored cabs. They
used sandbags to fortify the floor of the cabs, and attempted
to scout for hostile forces with rifles poked out of the side
windows. [And too many died. One was too many.]
10.21.04 Interview of Gene
Bolles by Lakshmi Chaudhry, senior editor Alternet
Gene Bolles has seen more than
his fair share of human suffering.
Two years in Landstuhl
Regional Medical Center – the U.S. military hospital in
Germany that receives all injured soldiers evacuated from Iraq
and Afghanistan – is no doctor's dream job,
especially not if you are a neurosurgeon who specializes in
brain and spinal injuries – the kind that can destroy a
19-year-old kid's life.
these soldiers are not included in the numbers put out by the
Pentagon for soldiers wounded in action in Iraq, which is
right now around 7,500. Is there an important distinction
between combat and non-combat related injuries?
Bolles: Well, you should
probably look up a military manual to get the definitions
exactly right, but here's how I understand it: Say you're on
duty, something blows up or you get shot, that's what they
call a combat injury. But
if you get in a truck accident or a Humvee rolls over you,
that's defined as non-combat. So you can get a Purple Heart
for the former and not for the latter.
And yes, we
don't hear about the non-combat injuries and illnesses. I've
seen figures that are now upwards of 30,000.
I know that at least 20,000
have been air-evacuated into the Landstuhl system.
These are also people who have suffered doing what we as a
country are asking of them.
As to why they're not
recognized, they seem to be of lesser importance in that
they're not mentioned. I don't think that's fair.
So what is
at stake in this undercounting of the casualties in Iraq – in
not making clear what the toll of the war has imposed on our
Bolles: I really don't know why
it's not out there for all of us to see. The question is why
isn't our news media reporting this night after night so the
American people can know about it. If you know about it, then
why isn't CNN or NBC pushing this stuff?
What you see on TV and what you
see in reality, is like night and day.
The embedding of the
journalists seemed to sterilize the war. When I heard them
report, it was like it was a football game. The true effects
of war are just awful.
Do you get
the sense with this administration that even talking about the
costs of the war is equivalent to challenging it?
Bolles: I think wars should be
challenged because they're absolutely devastating. The way
it's made out is that if you're against what's happening in
Iraq, you're against the present government or against the
soldiers. And no, it doesn't have to be that way at all.
Why does the
government make these differentiations? Why do they not talk
about the reality of war? I suspect it's because they don't
want upset all of the people who may then turn against the
war. This is a war that has been debatable from the
My personal feeling is that the
average soldier doesn't go to war because of the country. The
reality is that the reason why they fight is the community
that they've been a part of in the military. They don't look
at the rationale or reason for war with that degree of depth.
It's more about their buddies.
now we're seeing some cracks. Depending on how this ends up
– maybe not if the war ends better than we expect – but I
suspect we're going to see a lot of anger among the GIs and
veterans when they come back.
these very emotional years affected you?
Bolles: I think about it a lot
when I go to bed at night. I can't get it out of my head. It
haunted me then and it haunts me now – the horrific, horrific
injuries that these young people will now have to deal with
for their rest of their lives.
And I don't know if I'll ever
stop thinking about them. I just feel a tremendous sadness –
and that's just the way it is. I just hope everything in the
world can be done to make what they have left for the rest of
their lives as positive as possible.
I sometimes fear that once
they come back – with all the injuries and damage – they'll be
forgotten about very quickly.
Government Tries To Shut Up Soldiers Wives;
“Blair Is A
11.1.04 Ananova Ltd & 10.31.04
By Paul Hutcheon, Scottish Political Editor, Sunday Herald
British troops in Iraq are being
asked to tell their families to stop criticising the
Government, a regiments campaign group said.
Jeff Duncan, spokesman for the
Save Our Scottish Regiments Campaign, said a number of wives
at the regiment's HQ in Warminster, Wiltshire, had received
Mr Duncan said:
"I took a call from one wife
who was very upset because she said her husband, who is a
soldier in the Black Watch in Iraq, had been told to tell her
not to speak to the media.
"And she said many of the other
Black Watch wives had been told the same.
Orders have come from the
said: "The MoD trying to gag the wives is ironic really
considering they are betraying the troops by planning to scrap
there was a time for the Black Watch wives to say pretty much
what they damn well like it is now."
of Defence is thought to be angry that “winning the peace” in
Iraq is being undermined by soldiers’ relatives attacking the
government’s handling of the war, particularly in regard to
It is understood that senior
officers in the Black Watch, acting on suggestions made in
Whitehall, have advised soldiers to silence their wives.
He added that the curb on
talking to the media proved the government wasn’t interested
in revealing the truth about the conflict.
“The fact that the wives are
being bullied says a lot about free speech and the desperation
of the government,” he said. “ They should be ashamed of
themselves. Wives have every right to speak their mind.”
says the soldiers’ spouses believe their husbands are being
mistreated at home and abroad. “Quite
legitimately, they have been voicing their displeasure at the
fact that while the Scottish soldiers are being sent to
trouble-spots in Iraq, their numbers are being cut at home,”
SNP Leader Alex Salmond
described the attempt to gag soldiers’ wives as an “outrage”,
adding that his party would be tabling questions to find out
who authorised the move.
“This is a
disgraceful action by a Labour government under pressure.” he
said. “It shows opposition to Blair’s illegal and ill-thought
out war in Iraq is forcing them to suppress debate. Rather
than scaring the families of soldiers into silence, the
government should be listening to their concerns.”
Yesterday hundreds of
demonstrators, including parents of two British soldiers
killed in Iraq, marched in Glasgow to call for the withdrawal
of troops. Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed in a
roadside blast near Basra while serving with the Royal
Highland Fusilliers, was joined by Reg Keys, father of Royal
Military Police lance corporal Tom Keys, who was killed in
June last year.
blamed the Prime Minister for her son’s death, saying: “Tony
Blair is a murderer, he sent my son to get murdered and I
don’t want him to murder any of the other boys. ”
Controls Al Qaqaa Arms Depot
October 31, 2004 By JAMES GLANZ,
The New York Times
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 30 -
More than a year and a half
after hundreds of tons of powerful explosives vanished at Al
Qaqaa, the former weapons facility, the scene on Saturday was
of a ransacked and largely denuded moonscape, ruled by the
to be in at least temporary control of the sprawling site,
setting up checkpoints, conducting surveillance and even
detaining visitors who did not suit the fighters' inscrutable
purposes. [Hey Wong, be careful about calling Iraqis
On Saturday, two British armored
vehicles patrolled the distant fringes.
It was the men wearing the
filigreed headcloths and nurturing
a hatred of Westerners
[This guy is a real racist
asshole. They hate occupiers, they get along fine with
“Westerners” who also hate Bush and the Occupation]
who were running the place on Saturday.
Two employees of The New York
Times drove over the berms in an all-terrain vehicle, but were
questioned by a mujahedeen scout who suddenly
arrived at the place where they were taking the first known
pictures of the gutted bunkers - their metal doors torn off
and stolen, their dark bellies empty - since soon after the
invasion began early last year.
The scout drove off, but as the
two employees, both Iraqis, left Al Qaqaa, they encountered a
mujahedeen checkpoint at a river crossing. The employees, Q.
Mizher and a companion who asked not to be identified, were
blindfolded, then searched, and driven to a safe house in the
surrounding desert where they were interrogated for more than
two hours. Their captors
wanted to know whether Mr. Mizher was working for the British
troops who had recently entered the area from the south.
If they were
working for the troops, Mr. Mizher was told, they would be
killed. If they were not helping the British, they had nothing
Mr. Mizher repeatedly assured
his captors, truthfully, that he was an Iraqi journalist who
had come to take pictures of the site and see the place where
the explosives had once been secreted away. Eventually, he
persuaded them. Both employees are now safe in Baghdad.
The first sign of trouble came
when the mujahedeen scout pulled up in a truck and asked what
Mr. Mizher was up to.
He decided to leave immediately,
but it was already too late: six or seven mujahedeen were
waiting at a riverbed crossing. All but one of them were
masked, their headcloths wrapped menacingly across their
faces. [They go to classes
to learn how to wrap “menacingly,” as distinct from
“carefully” or “attractively.”]
The British armored vehicles
were nowhere to be found. Mr. Mizher and his companion were
taken, blindfolded, to the safe house and
questioned by what
appeared to be a higher-ranking mujahedeen officer.
[Watch that heavy breathing
This man had served in the Iraqi
Army - fortunately for Mr. Mizher, who had been a captain in
the army himself. He mentioned the names of several former
high-ranking army officers in the area of Al Qaqaa, and the
mujahedeen seemed to soften.
[Only semi-relentless at this
After they had checked his
cameras, phones, identification and vehicle registration and
satisfied themselves with the interrogation, the mujahedeen
drove both employees back to a place near the fjord and let
mujahedeen never said why Al Qaqaa was still so important to
them. They simply melted
away into the desert. [Really? Not just around
the next building in their vehicle? They probably take
“melting” lessons too. The drama is overwhelming.]
Plays Whack-A-Mole With Marines:
"The End Of
America Will Be In Falluja"
NEAR FALLUJA, Iraq, Oct. 18 By
DEXTER FILKINS, NYTimes
Mr. Shawket spoke while sitting
in his car at a temporary American checkpoint the marines
erected on the main highway just outside the city. In recent
days the marines have stepped up their patrolling around the
city and moved in closer, in hopes of disrupting the
guerrillas and drawing them into the open.
To that end,
small teams of marines have been moving along the east-west
highway that connects Falluja to Baghdad, setting up
checkpoints, searching cars and then moving on after 15 or 20
minutes. The aim is to surprise any insurgents who might be
traveling with guns, but it is also a safety precaution, the
"We move so
they don't hit us with mortars," said Sgt. Eugenio Mehjia, a
25-year-old marine who was at one of the posts.
all of the aggressiveness shown by the marines, the
effectiveness of the new tactic seemed uncertain.
Long lines of cars, full of unhappy Iraqis, queued
up before the checkpoints. As the marines checked passing
cars, two large explosions erupted off the scrub nearby.
Whether they were the result of insurgents' mortars or
American jets was unknown.
afternoon sun ebbed toward the horizon, the one clear thing
seemed to be the difficulty of the marines' mission. They
have found neither weapons nor insurgents but have managed
to antagonize a number of Iraqis, whose opinions of the
American military now could hardly be more hostile.
"The end of
America will be in Falluja," said Ghazi Muhammad Ibrahim,
whose car lay idle on the roadside, shot up, he said, by the
marines at the checkpoint. "That small city."
PIPELINE BLOWN UP
November 01, 2004 Sky.news
Saboteurs have blown up an oil
pipeline in northern Iraq, in what officials say was a large
"It was big,"
the official said, adding that the explosion was in Riyad,
southwest of the oil centre of Kirkuk.
The Iraq-Turkey export pipeline
and other domestic pipelines pass in the area.
Deputy Governor Killed
November 01, 2004 By JIM KRANE,
Associated Press Writer
The deputy governor of Baghdad
province, Hatim Kamil, was killed when gunmen opened fire on
his car in the southern Doura neighborhood, Iraqi authorities
said. Two of his bodyguards were also wounded in the attack,
A War They
October 30, 2004 Charley Reese,
"An uptick in airstrikes and
other military moves points to an imminent showdown between
U.S. forces and Sunni Muslim insurgents west of Baghdad – a
decisive battle that could determine whether the campaign to
bring democracy and stability to Iraq can succeed."
quotation is the lead paragraph of an Associated Press
dispatch. Note the last part of that sentence: "a decisive
battle that could determine whether the campaign to bring
democracy and stability to Iraq can succeed."
bull. In counterinsurgency warfare, there is no such thing
as a "decisive battle."
Of course the heavily armed
American forces can win every single stand-up battle they
fight in Iraq. Of course they can take Fallujah or any
other city they wish to take. Americans won every stand-up
battle they fought in Vietnam, but who won the war? The
It would profit us to think
about how the Vietnamese communists managed to win the war
while losing every battle. In sum, they wore out our will to
home and had no place to go. We were foreign invaders
tethered to a 12,000-mile supply line. The people of Vietnam
supported them because they, like most people, resent foreign
The people of America came to
the point where they withdrew their support because they
discovered that they had been lied to by the U.S. government
and because, in the end, they didn't really care whether
Vietnam was communist or corrupt.
the above paragraph applies to Iraq, with one exception. In
Iraq, we are tethered to a supply line that is only about
8,000 miles long. But we are the foreign invaders, and the
insurgents, most of them, are at home and have no place to
go. The people support the insurgents, not us. Furthermore,
the Iraqis want us out more than we want to stay.
Fewer than half of Americans think the war was a good idea,
and as American casualties mount, as they inevitably must,
eventually Americans will decide that they don't care whether
Iraq is a dictatorship or a democracy.
As I said, we
can win the battle of Fallujah. But let me tell you what we
can't do: We can't win the battle of Fallujah without great
destruction and civilian casualties, and that will create more
insurgents than we kill. There is not a finite number of
insurgents whom we can kill and declare victory.
The number of insurgents ebbs and flows depending
on events. When we kill an Iraqi, we place upon his family a
burden to get revenge. The nature of Iraqi society is large,
extended families interconnected with many tribal groups.
There is no way we can kill Uncle Mohammed without his sons,
brothers, nieces and nephews – and, indeed, his tribe – being
obligated to avenge his death.
It is our
presence in Iraq that is the source of the insurgency. As
with Vietnam, the insurgency will end when we leave, and not
before. We are in a war we can't win.
glance, the insurgent might seem to be at a tremendous
disadvantage, but he is not. He has no need to attack us in
strength. All he needs to do is kill an American now and
then; set off a bomb now and then; rain down mortar shells now
and then. It is the persistence of these attacks – mere
pinpricks, from a conventional military point of view – that
gives him victory, for as long as he can keep them up, we
can't claim victory.
Our tactical intelligence in
Iraq is a miserable failure for the same reason it was in
Vietnam. We can't tell the good guys from the bad guys. We
can't know if our translator, our Iraqi spy, or our Iraqi
clerk is really on our side or on the side of the insurgents.
Their country, their language and their culture are alien to
us. For 13 years, our spies failed to penetrate it, and they
are still failing.
I don't want to seem a gloomy
Gus, but we should face the
fact that we are very good at conventional warfare and lousy
at counterinsurgency. There is no light at the end of this
tunnel, and staying the course is stupid and futile.
What do you think? Comments
from service men and women, and veterans, are especially
welcome. Send to email@example.com. Name, I.D.,
withheld on request. Replies confidential.
The World Has
Lost Iraq's Oil
October 5th, 2004 by Youssef M.
Ibrahim, USA Today
DUBAI, United Arab
Emirates — The costs and benefits of America's occupation of
Iraq vary, according to proponents and opponents, except when
it comes to oil exports.
invasion has resulted in the loss of an average of 2 million
barrels a day of Iraqi oil from world markets. That is a
significant number with huge consequences for economies around
Instead of rosy promises by the
neoconservatives of the Bush administration who pushed for the
invasion — partly on the premise that they would turn it into
America's private gasoline-pumping station — the contrary has
The world has
lost Iraq's oil. The impact is slowly taking its toll as the
price of everything related to petroleum rises (from the food
on the supermarket shelves to the gasoline in your car to the
plastic chairs on your lawn).
The reason oil prices have been
hovering around $50 a barrel now is that most of these Iraqi
exports disappeared just as oil consumption began to skyrocket
around the world.
oil terminals from the northern fields near Kirkuk to the
southern export terminals near Basra are being blown up daily
by various groups of insurgents. At last count, the northern
pipeline that carries oil to the Turkish Mediterranean port of
Ceyhan has been blown up 37 times in 12 months. Terminals in
the south have been attacked at least 10 times, in effect
shutting down all exports of crude oil.
THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
Show Up For Registration
November 1, 2004 By JIM KRANE
A handful of Iraqis showed up
for the first day of voter registration in central Baghdad on
Monday. They refused to
allow TV cameras to film them for fear of future retaliation.
out, this newsletter is your personal property and cannot
legally be confiscated from you. “Possession of unauthorized
material may not be prohibited.” DoD Directive 1325.6 Section