GI SPECIAL 2#C11
Bring Them Home Now.
Check it out at:
Soldier Gets Medal
For Initiative That Saved Lives:
Sent To Prison
For Initiative That Saved Lives
November 1, 2004 TRIBUNE-REVIEW
First the Army gave
Chief Warrant Officer Darrell E. Birt a medal.
Then they handed
the former Hempfield Township man six months behind bars.
Birt said the
Bronze Star and prison sentence he received while serving in Iraq
were his reward -- and punishment -- for plugging holes in a faulty
supply network that even the military has painted as flawed.
"The supply system was broke," Birt
said. "From the time we left Kuwait until the time we got into Iraq,
it took two months to get the computer codes loaded for supply. So
for two months, we couldn't get new supplies."
Short of vehicles
and spare parts critical to his unit's ability to haul fuel to
infantrymen and helicopter pilots, Birt said he and other
high-ranking soldiers agreed to procure the needed equipment
tractor-trailers that belonged to other units, and they scavenged
repair parts off abandoned vehicles.
Star citation commends the officer for demonstrating "initiative
and courage" during the first four months of the war. His
actions, according to the citation, "proved vital to successful
combat operations in Iraq."
But the medal was
authorized before a sergeant in Birt's unit reported the thefts,
initiating an investigation that ended with the Army filing
criminal charges against Birt and five others, including his company
commander, Maj. Catherine Kaus.
Birt's 23-year military career was
about to end:
Birt, 45, joined the U.S. Marines in
1978, a year after graduating from Hempfield Area High School.
He served 12 years on active duty
before leaving the Corps in 1990 to spend more time with his wife,
Janet, also a Hempfield Area grad, and their son, Jacob, then 9
Birt enlisted in the Army Reserve
before moving to Springfield, Ohio, with his wife and child. He
took a civilian mechanic's job and was reassigned to the 656th
Transportation Company, a fuel-support reserve unit based in
Birt was called to war in January
2003, when he and the 656th were ordered to prepare to deploy to
Iraq. Just two months later, the
unit was at Camp New York, in Kuwait, awaiting the go-ahead to haul
its initial load of 300,000 gallons of fuel to Tikrit, Iraq.
The 656th was eager
to proceed, Birt said, but supply problems were immediately evident:
For starters, he said, the unit was missing eight ring mounts needed
to attach machine guns and grenade launchers to 10 of its 70
Then, just days
before they were to make the "jump" into Iraq, higher-ups told the
soldiers they would have to go without most of their tools, spare
parts, machine guns, chemical protective gear, night-vision
goggles, tents, computers and personal belongings.
The reason: None
of the vehicles belonging to the unit were capable of towing
shipping containers that held their gear.
"So you have a dilemma," Birt said,
during a recent visit with his parents and in-laws in Hempfield
"You have to make a
choice," he said. "You either go forward without your stuff and not
be able to support yourself, or you refuse to go until you get
support. The third is to find something to move your stuff."
[Obviously, after what happened to Birt, combat refusal is the
preferable choice. Lesson learned.]
Birt said equipment
the reservists needed was readily available at the camp. Trucks
belonging to active duty units that had already pushed into Iraq sat
idle, but the 656th lacked authorization to use them.
With the unit
poised to move into Iraq, Birt said, he and the others took
possession of four unclaimed vehicles and loaded them with their
Birt said he wasn't entirely
comfortable with his actions, but with orders in hand to enter the
fight, he felt he had no other choice.
"I don't know how
else we would have moved all those night-vision goggles and
crew-served weapons," Birt said, referring to the machine guns.
"It all belonged to the Army. As far as borrowing,
we didn't like it, but we figured when we were done we would bring
it back and drop it off."
The Army, in paperwork supporting
criminal charges of conspiracy, larceny and destruction and
abandonment of government property, laid out a far more
According to a stipulation-of-fact
document introduced at Birt's court-martial, Birt admitted to
conspiring with Kaus and other high-ranking members of his unit to
acquire trucks and equipment by any means.
When another warrant officer told Kaus
he knew where to obtain vehicles, Kaus, according to the document,
allegedly replied, "Do what you've got to do to make it happen. I
don't want to know about it."
According to the document, Birt took
Kaus' comment "to mean that if he or anyone else at this meeting had
to steal a vehicle/transportation to facilitate the move, then he
should do it."
Kaus, who was court-martialed and sentenced to six to nine months in
prison and dismissal from the Army, could not be reached for
In all, according to a criminal charge
sheet, Birt and the others stole two tractors, two trailers, a
five-ton truck and a parts van. The soldiers kept some of the
vehicles for nearly a year, despite repeated admonitions from a
"nervous" Kaus to "get rid of these vehicles/equipment."
Most of the vehicles eventually were
abandoned at military bases in Iraq and Kuwait. On some, bumper
numbers used to identify the units owning the vehicles had been
sanded off and repainted.
The frame of another -- stripped bare
for its parts -- was buried.
Birt doesn't deny
"I did what they
said," he said. "I'm not denying that. "But it wasn't for me to have
my own truck. It was not for personal gain.
"It was to put us
in the fight, to complete the mission at all costs." [Next time,
fuck the “fight.” Lesson learned.]
On the advice of
his military attorney, Capt. John A. Heath, Birt said he pleaded
guilty to the charges. In exchange, he said, the maximum amount of
time he faced in jail was reduced to 16 months.
"I didn't want to,"
Birt said. "But (the attorney) insinuated that they had a lot of
evidence on me, and that they would convict me. At that point, it
was damage control. It was, how best can I support my family?"
Birt said he also
felt he stood little chance of proving his innocence at trial,
because many of the soldiers he believed would testify on his behalf
had been returned stateside.
Birt was sentenced
to six months of confinement and forfeiture of all pay and
allowances, including retirement benefits. He
also was dismissed from the service.
When asked for comment on the case
from the Army, Maj. Richard W. Spiegel, a public affairs officer,
said he could speak only on behalf of the 13th Corps Support
Command, a combat-support unit in Balad, Iraq. He
pointed out that Birt entered a guilty plea at his court-martial and
signed a document acknowledging he violated several provisions of
the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
His time served, he now is awaiting
word from the Army on a request for clemency.
Birt said he feels
clemency is warranted because his actions were a direct result of
the Army's faulty supply channels. He helped to take the trucks, he
said, only because he wanted to ensure that everyone in his unit had
the weapons and tools they needed to survive.
A 500-page study
of the war commissioned by the Army, "On Point: The United States
Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom," lends credence to Birt's
assertions. The report, on several occasions, notes delays in
delivery of equipment to soldiers in the field.
"More than enough
parts reached the theater and were duly processed, but almost none
reached the intended customers during the fighting," the report
states. "Forward, the troops made do by cannibalizing broken-down
equipment and towing what they could not repair."
If his clemency request is granted,
Birt said, his career still will be over, but his retirement
benefits will be reinstated.
If not, he said, "They won't bury me.
I won't get a flag. I won't get VA benefits."
But the veterans
benefits, Janet Birt said, aren't her husband's greatest loss.
"It's a shame, all
the years he was in the service," she said. "That's the worst part.
He gave up his life for the service."
[He took some shit
to use in fighting. He saved lives. He goes to prison. These
assholes below have stolen millions, and not one has gone to
prison. But hey, they stole for themselves. That makes a real
difference. The free enterprise system is sacred.]
While Birt Goes To
Jail, Big Thieves Run Wild:
Report Cites Fraud,
Abuse Cases In Iraq Rebuilding
Nov 1, By Sue Pleming WASHINGTON
(Reuters) & 2nd November, 2004, Big News Network.com
investigators this year opened more than 100 cases involving alleged
abuse of some of the billions of dollars in U.S. and
Iraqi funds to rebuild Iraq, U.S. Inspector General Stuart Bowen
said on Monday.
In his latest quarterly report, Bowen
said allegations have surfaced of large-scale embezzlement,
robberies perpetrated by Iraqi police
and even payoffs to U.S. military
personnel who aided in theft, the Washington Post
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
Car Bomb Hits
Baghdad Patrol, One U.S. Soldier Wounded
November 2, 2004 (CNN)
The U.S. military reports that a Task
Force Baghdad soldier was wounded Tuesday "when a vehicle-borne
improvised explosive device detonated" on a patrol in western
The soldier was treated at the scene
for wounds, and a truck was damaged in the explosion.
BRING THEM ALL HOME
A U.S. soldier secures the scene of a
car bomb attack in Baghdad, November 2, 2004. (Ali Jasim/Reuters)
The Last Outpost
Oct. 31 By Jackie Spinner, Washington
Post staff writer
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq -- The road,
sticky with mud from an overnight downpour, passed through a narrow
alley of blast walls and into a heavily guarded U.S. military
compound. Inside, a battle-worn
Marine staff sergeant pruned the miniature roses that ringed a small
grassy courtyard, where a fountain burbled in the middle.
This is the last
military outpost on the violent frontier that surrounds
insurgent-held Fallujah, a city about 35 miles
west of Baghdad that the U.S. Marines last entered six months ago. Since
pulling back, the military has approached only to within about a
mile of the city limits, to this secure zone. It feels
like a small oasis -- until a mortar round explodes outside, as it
did on Saturday morning, sending everyone running for their battle
gear and, once it is donned, raising their eyebrows in that
universal sign of relief: Whew.
It was the second
close call of the day. A mortar shell whizzed
between two military vehicles on the ride to the outpost earlier
that morning, landing in a cloud of sand and dust a short distance
"It's our only window into the city,"
said Lt. Col. Leonard Defrancisci, a civil affairs officer assigned
to Regimental Combat Team 1 of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
"It's our glimpse of what's going on."
Carlson, a Marine reservist from the 4th Civil Affairs Group, based
in Washington, a bartender at Portner's in Old Town Alexandria,
stood at the front gate, nicknamed the lemonade stand, when a rocket
recently was launched from a truck stop next door.
It narrowly missed the compound.
"We've got suicide
bombers, snipers driving by, mortars," he said. "But we still have
to be smiling. They know this is the place you're supposed to come
if you have a problem or you know someone who has disappeared."
The Occupiers Rule
Rules By Night
Nov 1 By Julian E. Barnes, BAQUBAH,
For now, the city
remains divided by day and night, between the sun-drenched days,
when the beginnings of local control [translation: Occupation
control] have taken root, and the nights, where the Americans
continue the fight.
At night, the
tension in this city is reflected in the glares that shoot back and
forth between the American soldiers on patrol and the Iraqis on the
side of the road. After dark, 1st Lt. T. J.
Grider patrols the streets. The mission is what the military calls
"movement to contact."
Grider puts it more
bluntly: "We are trying to get attacked so we can
find the enemy and kill him."
[Old Vietnam idea; it really worked too: take a look at the Vietnam
Memorial in DC for proof of that. It worked about 55,000 times.]
Nearly every night,
Grider's platoon, Punisher, goes out looking to get shot at.
The most recent fight was October 22 in Buhriz, a suburb
of Baqubah. Teenagers, and even a kid as young as 12, were firing
rocket-propelled grenades at him. Grider has been in 15 firefights
since he came to Iraq last March. And that doesn't count the little
stuff. Like two nights ago, when he was driving through the Tahrir
neighborhood and someone started firing rocket-propelled grenades
and AK-47s at him. Grider's
rule: If a fight doesn't last 30 minutes it, doesn't count.
[Very nice boast for an
officers say they have never lost control here.
This night, Grider is back in Tahrir.
Ostensibly, his mission is to collect information about who was
behind the attack in Buhriz.
But when he stops
his humvee and gets out to talk to residents, Grider's questions
seem a bit halfhearted--he knows the response before the
translator starts. "Same answers as always: 'The attackers are
from out of town,' " he says as he walks back to his humvee. "They
are always from out of town."
officers say they have never lost control here.
As dawn breaks, another patrol, the
Ghost platoon, heads out on the streets of Baqubah, this one looking
for improvised explosive devices, the dreaded roadside bombs.
"Come on," says Staff Sgt. Richard
Strum, "I am ready to find some bombs." "Or," answers Staff Sgt. Tim
Funston, "have the bombs find us."
So far in its eight months in Iraq,
the Ghost platoon has been hit 18 times with roadside bombs.
Indeed, to the soldiers who conduct
the IED sweeps, it seems as if their job is to set off the roadside
bombs so they don't hit a supply convoy. [No way, no commanding
officer would have anything like that in mind, human mine
detectors. Would he?]
While night patrols frequently crawl
around the city slowly, the bomb sweeps move quickly, looking less
to spot the bombs than to prevent an inviting, yet hopefully
"Every time we used
to drive real slow and scan, we got hit," says Spc. Stephen Cordial.
Cordial's humvee bears the scars from being struck in October:
several gashes along the hood and an armored window cracked like
thick ice on a lake. Cordial's gunner, Spc.
Daniel Hoffman, says when a humvee hits an improvised bomb the cabin
fills with pressure, ripping equipment from the ceiling and slamming
the troops around. "You can taste the gunpowder in the air," he
officers say they have never lost control here.
The sweeps for roadside bombs are
often quick; by breakfast, Baqubah's streets are the responsibility
of Maj. Gen. Waleed Khalid Abu Salam, the city's chief of police.
Many of the American soldiers here
do not think much of the Iraqi police. Some suspect they aid the
insurgents; others complain they mostly stand around.
On this day, Salam has gathered the
local representatives of the various Iraqi government agencies in
his office. He stands before the seated officials, juggling two
cellphones and two desk phones, as he conducts the meeting.
Two council members
were assassinated recently, after his police force had been drawn
south by the report of a roadside bomb. The assassinations prompted
calls for Salam's removal, and today he is trying to outmaneuver
those on the council who want him ousted.
officers say they have never lost control here.
"The resistance is different than the
insurgents, the terrorists," says Salam. "Before, the coalition
forces called everyone terrorists."
For now, the city
remains divided by day and night, between the sun-drenched days,
when the beginnings of local control have taken root, and the
nights, where the Americans continue the fight.
officers say they have never lost control here.
Marines Slated To
Attack Fallujah Have No Urban Warfighting Experience
(San Diego Union-Tribune, November 1,
Marine Corps tank
crews face an unfamiliar urban battleground of tight alleyways and
cramped neighborhoods in their expected assault on an estimated
2,000 guerrillas and foreign militants in Fallujah. The Marines
who previously fought in the city have since rotated out, and the
crews that replaced them have only engaged in light battles in
surrounding desert areas where guerrillas firing rocket-propelled
grenades can be spotted easily.
Expertise Earns Praise From U.S. Side
11.1.04 James Janega, Chicago Tribune
Nov 01, 2004 -
A battle is being fought with high
explosives and wits on the outskirts of Ramadi.
On one side is an
American artillery platoon and light infantry, with all the latest
technology the U.S. Army can bring to bear. On the other is a team
or teams of Iraqi mortar men--probably working from the back of a
There were no casualties in sporadic
exchanges of mortars and howitzer fire Sunday at Camp Ramadi, the
sprawling Army and Marine compound just west of this capital of Al
The fight involved scores of American
troops, disrupting meals as multiple explosions silenced
conversations and drew heated responses from an Army field artillery
unit on base.
didn't lose, but it isn't known whether they won.
"What we've learned
about the mortar men is they're very good. In fact, they're
experts," said Army Capt. Andre Takacs, 29, who at
3 a.m. Sunday was briefing a dozen members of Alpha Company of the
1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment about trying to catch the Iraqi
mortar men. The mission would last from before sunup until after
sunset. It is next to impossible to catch them, he said.
exactly when to fire," and move quickly afterward, Takacs said.
They have accomplices who spot American troops and sometimes delay
them, "to prevent us from intercepting the mortar teams, which
makes the quick-response team ineffective in getting the mortar
Attacks on U.S.
supply routes and installations in the area have been relentless.
Nearly every day--often several times a day--that
has meant mortar attacks on Camp Ramadi.
For only the second time ever, Takacs
on Sunday led a quick-response team from the base into the farmland
and urban sprawl outside city limits.
The mortar teams have been firing
from grassy areas or among crops, at least 150 yards from buildings,
so that counterfire from the Americans doesn't destroy civilian
"So they don't lose the local
support," Takacs explained. "Just like we are, they're trying to win
the hearts and minds of Iraqis."
[Takacs doesn’t get it. They
are the Iraqis.]
A recent high
school graduate from this suburban Denver city has been identified
as one of eight Marines killed when a car bomb
exploded in Iraq, Pentagon officials have confirmed.
Pfc. Andrew G. Riedel, 19, died over
Riedel was a 2003 graduate of
Northglenn High School.
''Three years ago he's sitting in my
science class as a junior, and a couple of years later he's over in
Iraq, fighting for his country,'' said Ryan Fox, a science teacher
at the school.
''Just goes to show
you how fast kids are growing up,'' Fox said.
Riedel was assigned to the 1st
Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III
Expeditionary Force at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay in
The unit had
arrived in Iraq only last month. The deaths of Riedel and the seven
other Marines came just six days after the unit suffered its first
Funeral services for Riedel were
“He Knew That He
Was Going To Die"
11/1/2004 MACON, Ga. (AP)
A Marine from Georgia who was among
eight Marines killed in Iraq outside the city of Fallujah The Macon
"Don't tell Mom,
but I'm scared," Sgt. Kelley Courtney said in his last e-mail to his
older brother, Joey Fernandez, in Macon. "We are about to stir up a
hornets nest here shortly and I'm going to be right in the middle of
for any past disagreements with his brother, the newspaper reported
in its Tuesday editions.
"I thought he was
homesick," Fernandez told The Telegraph. "But he knew that he was
going to die."
Courtney, 28, and
his wife, Cindy, had been sweethearts since fourth grade. They were
married in 1999 and had two children, Kellie Marie, 4, and Logan, 1.
They all joined him in March when he was
stationed in Japan. She will return to Macon this week after a
memorial service in Okinawa.
out of high school and completed his GED. He worked as a tire
retreader and attended Central Georgia Technical College before
enlisting in 1998.
Brother Donny Courtney, 26, joined the
Marines days later, their mother, Gena Courtney, said.
Donny is stationed in Maryland and
does not expect to serve abroad, said his father, Bob
not count on that.]
Gena and Cindy Courtney e-mailed each
other Saturday night after learning that Marines had been killed in
"I said, 'We just have to pray,' but I
started crying and I could not stop," Gena Courtney said.
Fernandez said he never believed his
brother would be among those killed.
"We think: This is
our turf. That is theirs. Like it's so different," he said. "But
it's really just a walk across the railroad tracks."
95 Guards Leave
“They Should Just
Bring Our Troops Home.”
November 2, 2004 By STAN MADDUX,
Especially from the children, it was raining tears as they exchanged
hugs and kisses with their fathers Monday.
Other loved ones
threw up a shield, but their broken hearts showed through faces
racked with worry and pain.
The 95 soldiers assigned to the
LaPorte National Guard Armory kept more poker-faced as they bravely
waved goodbye en route to Camp Atterbury near Indianapolis to
prepare for 15 months of active duty in Iraq.
"Taking care of the mission and the
soldiers comes first. But, at night, I know that I'll talk to the
Lord and think about my family and hope for the best," said 1st Sgt.
Daniel Ronay, a resident of Westville and one of leaders of the
squadron deployed from the LaPorte National Guard Armory.
He'll join his
wife, Lisa, who's already in Camp Atterbury getting ready for
Operation Iraqi Freedom. The couple's 16-year-old
son is living with a best friend of Ronay's until he and his wife
"My biggest fear is that I don't see a
military car come into my driveway because then I know they're OK,"
said Kathleen Proffitt, a Michigan City native with two sons on
active duty in the war.
Her 41-year-old son, Sgt. James
Swanson of Michigan City, often held his 10-year-old daughter,
Kristin, in the moments leading up to his departure.
And, several times, he comforted her
in private when tears uncontrollably poured from her big blue eyes.
"That's her daddy. She's very close to her dad," said Proffitt.
Her other son,
Ronald, has been in Baghdad, Iraq, the past several months.
Louis Warner, of
Valparaiso, Ind., was adamant in his desire for the troops to be
pulled out of Iraq.
Michael Klenk, 31, of Chesterton, Ind., won't get to see the birth
of his twins.
be happening. They should just bring our troops home. There's
just too many lives being lost," said Warner.
Army At The
November 2, 2004)
Experts say the service cannot keep so
many people deployed without harming itself.
Questions remain about whether the
Army is at the breaking point.
Army At The
Airmen Heading To
Iraq Brush Up On Shooting Skills
(Colorado Springs Gazette, November 1,
2004, Pg. 1)
Hundreds of airmen
and sailors are learning how to counter an Iraqi ambush—like their
comrades in green uniforms—under a new program
that teaches soldiering skills at Fort Carson, Colo. A group of Air
Force civil engineers, who completed the three-week course on
Sunday, felt they had earned another job title: Air Force infantry.
Piss On What The
Billions On Useless Weapons System
November 2, 2004, Pg. 15)
The Pentagon is set
to declare operational a multibillion-dollar system intended to
defend the United States from attack by ballistic missiles, but
which critics say will not work. The Pentagon has
conducted no tests on the system since December 2002, and the eight
earlier tests all were under contrived conditions, the critics
A Soldier Speaks:
11/01/2004 Lakshmi Chaudhry , AlterNet
"Be it Operation
Truth or Iraq Veterans Against The War, we're not lone voices.
We're part of a gathering storm."
This is the last in a series of
profiles of some of the tens of thousands of Iraq War veterans who
have come home bearing the scars of battle – emotional and physical
wounds that may never heal unless the nation pays them the attention
and care that they deserve. We at AlterNet believe that in an
election defined by a deep and bitter partisan divide, it is the one
issue that can and must bring us all together as Americans.
Sean Huze was once a true believer.
The day after the Sept. 11 attacks, the actor walked into the
nearest recruiter's office in Los Angeles and enlisted himself in
the United States Marine Corps. Sixteen months later, he was headed
for Iraq as part of the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion,
leaving behind his wife and young son.
The same idealism and belief in
President Bush's war on terror that prompted Sean to enlist
sustained him through a long and dangerous tour of duty. His first
taste of battle: a 12-hour fire-fight just outside Al Nassiriyah.
His unit – which was involved in battles from Al Kut to Baghdad and
Tikrit – was recognized over and again for its tenacity and courage.
Sean's own list of combat achievements were just as long: a
Certificate of Commendation citing his “courage and self sacrifice
throughout sustained combat operations”; the Combat Action Ribbon;
Meritorious Promotion for Corporal; the Presidential Unit Citation,
the National Defense Service Medal, and on and on.
Sean Huze was one tough, committed
His first months back at home were
blissful, spent reveling in the warmth of a hero's welcome. But
then there was the discovery of internal nerve damage that had gone
undetected in Iraq. His terrible
headaches were diagnosed as a post-concussive condition caused by
injuries suffered during a truck accident.
The pain of
betrayal, however, would be far harder to bear. When he discovered
that none of the reasons offered by his commander in-chief to
justify the Iraq war were true, Sean found himself falling into
despair. He started pouring his heart out in a journal, which would
eventually become the basis for a play, "The
Sandstorm." The Los Angeles Times praised "The Sandstorm" for
its "shocking force and awesome honesty" in capturing the stark,
terrible reality of war.
Sean sees the play as an affirmation
of other veterans questioning the the war – be it the reasons for
war or the way it's being fought. He says, "Be it Operation Truth or
Iraq Veterans Against The War, we're not lone voices. We're part of
a gathering storm."
As for making
peace with his inner pain, Sean says the wounds may never heal.
But that, he says, is a good thing: "When you're part of
something that's wrong, I don't know if you should feel okay about
it. I don't know if it should heal. I hope it always hurts."
Sean spoke to AlterNet via phone from
Is there one
memory from the war that still stays with you?
There was a little Iraqi girl –
probably four or five years old. I remember her giving me a peace
sign. It was probably 10 or 15 miles south of Baghdad [during the
invasion] when the kids would all come running out. She was just a
beautiful little girl. What stays with me is her innocence.
I gave her the peace sign right back,
of course. And her little face just lit up. But the difference was
my lack of innocence. When I gave her the peace sign, well, it was
just bad, I guess. It was not the road we were on – not the road
we're on now. You could say my job as a soldier was the direct
opposite of that – peace.
When you look
back, how has this war changed you?
I can never be the man I was before I
left for Iraq. I had a lot of faith.
I was a true believer in the administration's justification for the
war – about the weapons of mass destruction and Iraq being an
imminent threat. I believed in what we were doing when we were over
That belief I had in the
administration allowed me to balance what I was seeing, what I was
experiencing, what I was a part of. With all that death and
destruction – the deaths of soldiers and Iraqi civilians who were
caught in the crossfire – it helped that I believed that it was all
for a greater good.
Coming home, at first it was about
being back with my family – y'know, the yellow ribbon around the
tree, the flags, and the "Welcome Home" signs.
For a few months, I couldn't allow
myself to believe that it was all for a lie.
I know the real
transition in me happened when my eyes were opened – when I realized
that there were no weapons of mass destruction. I realized that
Saddam Hussein was not a threat to not just the United States but to
any of the countries on his borders. That there was no tie to Sept.
11. And these were what I now believe were intentional
misrepresentations and manipulation.
When you realize this, then you don't
have anything to balance everything you've seen and been through.
You're just stuck with it. And it hurts. You have to deal with
what you've already been through – the death and destruction that's
But now you're
also dealing with a sense of betrayal that you'd trusted most.
That's what I was left with – what I'm still left with.
So in terms of change, I now don't
have any faith in the policymakers of this administration. We all
collectively as a nation allowed ourselves – and I was part of that
– to fall for this "You're either with us or against us" and
therefore "You're either a patriot or with the terrorists" thinking.
And if those are the only two choices, then of course I'm a
So one of the
things that has changed for the positive is that it helped me
realize that true patriotism is questioning our leaders. That's
what our country is founded on. That's what men like me put our
lives on the line to defend. So protesting the war does not
equate with protesting those of us in uniform. It's not
unpatriotic to want to get our guys home from the war zone.
Navy Wife Says Her
Husband Against War Based On Lies
October 18, 2004
From: Bring Them Home Now.
Check it out at:
My husband currently is serving in the
USN. He is one of a few who speak out about how this war was not
justified, and based on lies. Furthermore, I am enraged beyond
words that we have men running this country who couldn’t‚t serve,
yet demand that our men and women die for oil.
Today I found out that a very good
friend of mine's son, a Ranger in the United States Army passed
away. Bring our troops home now!!!! No more blood for oil. When
Clinton lied, no one died!
posted 22 October 2004
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.
Mission Takes Precedence Over Election
November 01, 2004 By Edward Harris,
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq — As Americans
head to the polls, Marines squaring off against Iraqi insurgents say
they expect trouble in Iraq for years no matter who wins the White
House. What they want is better
equipment, more pay and a clear exit strategy from their next
commander in chief.
Many Marines fighting in Iraq’s Sunni
Triangle don’t talk much about the race between President Bush and
Sen. John Kerry.
But what really concerns them is the
prospect of an open-ended mission lacking a final benchmark for
Said Navy Hospital Corpsman Quinton
Brown, a 24-year-old Chicagoan attached to the 1st Marine Division,
“Regardless, I want to see the
next president give us an idea how we’re going to end the
occupation,” he added. “What are we doing while we’re
here? What’s next? Bush has done that to some degree. But we need
Marine officers caution that even if
U.S. forces overrun the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, they don’t
expect the insurgency to evaporate. And
troops on the ground say they’ve heard nothing from either Bush or
Kerry indicating Marines will soon leave Iraq.
Marines say they need better
equipment, particularly well-armored Humvees.
“I hope the Marine Corps gets more
funding, for better weapons, better gear and better Humvees,” said
Lance Cpl. Jonathan Sandoval.
“You see those
Humvees out there?” he added, gesturing at vehicles jerry-rigged
with armor plating so heavy it bows the vehicles’ axles. One of the
Humvees, its top open to the elements, has been peppered by shrapnel
from roadside bombs.
The Marines see their Army
counterparts driving professionally armored, closed-back Humvees —
provoking an old rivalry. “We work with the worst, but we do the
best,” said Sandoval, a 20-year-old from Los Angeles.
Marines say they
would like a boost in danger pay, an increase in base salaries and
better health benefits for their families back home.
“Pay should be
better, that’s for sure. It’s a pride thing,” said Sgt. Israel
Sanchez, 27, also from Los Angeles.
Attack Of War Closes The System Down:
Stop North Oil Flow
following an explosion along a pipeline close to Kirkuk.
November 2 By
Khaled Yacoub Oweis, BAGHDAD (Reuters)
mounted the most massive attacks yet on Iraq's oil system,
blowing up three oil pipelines in the north and halting exports to
Turkey. The attacks, which were hours apart, sharply reduced crude
oil supplies to Iraq's biggest refinery at Baiji.
oil facilities in north and central Iraq has intensified in the past
few weeks as U.S. forces attacked Sunni Muslim cities where
insurgents have support. Imports of refined products have been also
The first pipeline
attack on Monday night destroyed a section of the Iraq-Turkey export
pipeline in the Riyadh area, 65 kilometres
southwest of the oil centre of Kirkuk, officials at the state North
Oil Company said.
It was followed by
two further attacks, including one in the Qoshqaya region northwest
of the city on a pipeline connected to the Bai Hassam oilfield
and feeding the main export
pipeline, officials said.
Reuters Television footage showed big
fires in the pipelines with no
fire crews to be seen.
"We cut off all
flows for now. The Qoshqaya fire is covering around one square
kilometre. The export pipeline fire is also big," one official
system was shut down."
The Iraq-Turkey pipeline carried
300,000 barrels per day (bpd) before the attacks compared to 800,000
bpd before last year's Iraq war.
Roadside Bomb Hits
02nov04 From correspondents in
ROADSIDE bomb exploded near an Iraqi
National Guard patrol in Baghdad, the Interior Ministry said.
The attack on the outskirts of the
capital near Abu Ghraib wounded two National Guardsmen, spokesman
Colonel Adnan Abdul-Rahman of the Interior Ministry said.
November 2, 2004 (CNN)
for a pro-government Shiite group -- abducted over the weekend --
have been killed, the government said.
The Interior Ministry Tuesday
identified two representatives of the Supreme Council for Islamic
Revolution in Iraq abducted Sunday and killed Monday.
They are Ahmed Juan and Kadhim Radhi
Col. Adnan Abdul Rahman, the Interior
Ministry spokesman, told CNN that the two SCIRI representatives had
been working in the Al-Alam district of the capital.
SCIRI -- which is a
Shiite political movement -- is a supporter of the interim
Bomb Strikes Government Building
November 2, 2004 (CNN) & By Mariam
Fam, Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A
car bomb near a government building in Baghdad Tuesday killed at
least 8 people.
29 others were wounded, the interim
Interior Ministry said. The incident took place near the Ministry
of Education building, the ministry said.
The blast in Baghdad's mainly Sunni
Adhamiya district badly damaged the ministry building and destroyed
half a dozen cars. The body of an elderly man lay on the ground on
fire after the explosion, which scattered body parts across the
A car plowed into concrete blast walls
and protective barriers surrounding the Education Ministry.
Members of the Iraqi National Guards
force inspect the scene of a car bomb explosion outside a ministry
in the capital Baghdad that killed at least five people, two of them
women. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz
Abu G. Car Bomb: “A
November 2 By Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters)
A roadside bomb
exploded near a convoy of Iraqi National Guard vehicles near Abu
Ghraib, in Baghdad's western outskirts, wounding two Guards,
an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Witnesses said a
car bomb exploded near a patrol of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi National
Guards on Monday night in Haditha, 200 km (125 miles) northwest of
A National Guard
who was in the convoy but was not hurt said U.S. helicopters had
taken away a dozen casualties.
There was no immediate comment from
the U.S. military.
6 Occupation Guards
Dead In Baghdad Blast
November 2, 2004 (AP) A suspected IED
(Improvised Explosive Device) ripped through an Iraqi National Guard
truck in Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon, killing six Iraqi soldiers
and wounding four others, according to an eyewitness.
Occupation Guards Killed In Mosul
A member of Iraq's rapid reaction
force patrols the site of a car bomb attack in Mosul. REUTERS/Namir
November 2, Reuters & Middle East
Online & & By Mariam Fam, Associated
Press & Aljazeera.Net
MOSUL, Iraq -
At least two members of Iraq's specially trained rapid
reaction force were killed and 11 others wounded in double car
bomb attacks Tuesday in the northern city of Mosul.
One car exploded in the path of a
national guard patrol in a southern district of the city, killing
two members of the Iraqi national guard and wounding four others, an
Iraqi police officer said.
A second car bomb blew up a few hours
later in the path of a convoy of General Rashid Falih, a national
guard commander, wounding seven of his companions, the officer
Feleih had arrived
in the city several days ago to assist Iraqi police and was
apparently on his way to a press conference to talk about the role
of the task force, according to police and media reports.
A doctor at Mosul's main hospital said four of the
wounded were in critical condition.
Basra, a roadside bomb exploded in the path of a convoy carrying the
southern city's police chief General Muhammad Kadhim al-Ali. He
of his companions were wounded in the attack in the central Kut
Say They Have “Multinational Forces” Too
November 2, 2004 FREE PRESS FOREIGN
Suhail al-Abdali, a
Fallujah fighter in his 30s who would not identify the militant cell
he joined, said there were "absolutely" foreign Muslim extremists
joining the fight. However, he emphasized, most
Fallujah militants are Iraqis who are wary of the foreign extremist
elements, but bound by custom to accept offers of battlefield help
from men they consider brothers in Islam.
Americans bring with them the British and the Italians? Well, we
have multinational forces, too," al-Abdali said with a laugh.
Al-Abdali, sporting the de facto
guerrilla uniform of a bushy beard and long traditional gown, sat
with other rebels in a mosque in north Fallujah. Many of the men
said they started attending the mosque this week based on rumors
that U.S. forces would invade from the northern city limits. They
said they wanted to be in place, to be prepared.
"They might enter
the city, but that would be just one battle, not the end of the
war," al-Abdali said. "They will pay the price with the blood of
American sons who came to occupy Iraq. They won't take Fallujah
unless they fight street to street, house to house."
“I Want The U.S. To
Lose In Iraq.”
11.1.04 Veterans For Peace Discussion
Group, A Reply From M
[S D wrote about a
the previous posting from Michelle. He starts with a one paragraph
quote from her posting:[
“John Kerry says
he wants to win in Iraq, send 40,000 more troops to Iraq, and double
the number of special operations forces. Kerry says, he has "a
better plan." I think he just might, as he defines it, and I won't
support him for that reason alone.
I want the US to lose in Iraq and
leave and the sooner, the better.”
This is the one point that really bothers me, I have many friends
that I left behind when I got out of the army in the beginning of
2002 who are in Iraq.
To me as a soldier fighting is
something that is done to save your friends and not really about the
issues at hand. That is the coping mechanism I guess. My point is
that I want everyone to come home as soon as possible and I fear
that the outcome could be bad in Iraq.
I never wish for them to lose, because
if it came to that situation the number of soldiers and Iraqis dying
would increase. People would call for ridiculously drastic measures
and we would end up with a bunch of veterans that no one wants to
talk to or cares about for twenty years. At least that is what I
think would happen in a situation like that.
As a former member of the 2/325th
Infantry I know where my friends have been going and I have been
tracking them from Afghanistan to Iraq and now home for a while, I
never want them to lose because I want them to come home alive. And
yes I am aware that everyone else on this list is a veteran and I
hope to not offend anyone.
M: Stephen, I try
to choose my words carefully and that is why I wrote, "I want the US
to lose in Iraq and leave and the sooner, the better."
I do not want
American troops in Iraq to be killed and maimed. I want the US--the
nation-state, the government--to lose.
That is, I do not want it to achieve
its political and economic aims in Iraq; I do not want it to reap
the fruits of its illegal and immoral invasion.
Frankly, I think
the US defeat in Iraq is only a matter of time. The question is
when does the senseless carnage stop? The easiest way to
safeguard the lives of American troops in Iraq is for them to
leave Iraq and that is what they ought to do--with or with orders.
You wrote, "I never wish for them to
lose, because if it came to that situation the number of soldiers
and Iraqis dying would increase."
What do you wish for, then? American
victory? Why? What does that mean?
I do not believe an American defeat
would result in more dead and maimed Iraqis than the current (or
Kerry's) policy. Should you or I esteem the value of American
lives as greater than that of Iraqi lives? I think not.
Americans have now killed between
10,000 and 100,000 Iraqis--most of them civilians--since last year's
invasion. This does not include the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis
who died as a result of twelve years of sanctions enforced by the US
and UK. There ought to be a moral--at least--reckoning for that.
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.
A mother stands at the foot of her
flag-draped coffin ...
with a vision of his tiny feet
as she put on
his first pair of shoes
not knowing where they might lead,
never imagining they would lead to
double-knotting the laces
to keep him from falling.
Russell Cameron Perry
Ridicules Proposed Attack On Falluja
Nov 1 By Alistair Lyon BAGHDAD
(Reuters) & (AFP)
U.S. forces battled
rebels in Ramadi and pounded Falluja on Monday, but there was no
sign that an all-out American-led offensive to retake the
insurgent-held cities had begun.
Iraqi President Ghazi Yawar declared
his opposition to a threatened assault on the rebel hotbed of
Fallujah. "I totally differ with those who believe there is a need
for a military solution to the (Fallujah) issue.”
Yawar said he
opposed any military solution to the situation in
the rebel-held Fallujah city.
handling of this crisis is wrong. It's like someone who fired
bullets at his horse's head just because a fly landed on it; the
horse died and the fly went away," Yawar said.
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
“No matter who wins
Mr. President, our troops will continue to die for oil. So you can
get a good nights sleep tonight sir.
Well let you know in the morning if we threw out enough black votes
to win again.” [Thanks to PB
for the caption.] (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez
Not Much Choice
In Plans For Iraq
(Los Angeles Times, May 14, 2004, Pg.
No single campaign issue has defined
the presidential candidates' differences more clearly than the war
in Iraq. Yet it seems that
whoever wins Tuesday's election will steer a remarkably similar
course in the troubled country.
HE Bush Lost Have
(In Car Bombs)
(New York Daily News, November 2,
Explosives used in
some of Iraq's major terror bombings were the same type as those
missing from a dump monitored by the United Nations, according to a
U.S. government source. Forensic
tests by a joint task force at the Quantico, Va., Marine base show
the bombers who leveled the U.N. and Jordanian missions in Iraq, and
who staged other big attacks, used RDX and HMX military-grade high
Kills U.S. Soldier
Inquirer, November 2, 2004)
Taliban rebels attacked U.S. troops
patrolling in southeastern Afghanistan, killing one American soldier
and wounding two with gunfire and rockets, the military said.
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