GI SPECIAL 4J3: 3/10/06
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“It’s A War, Says Clifton Hicks, Fought For The Filthy Rich Too Cowardly To Do It Themselves”
[Thanks to David McReynolds; Phil G; and Don Bacon, The Smedley Butler Society, who sent this in.]
September 30, 2006 By Peter Laufer, AlterNet [Excerpts]
One of the things that’s surprised me most as I returned from travels around the U.S., up to Canada, and over to Germany talking with soldiers opposed to the Iraq war is how few civilians know about the growing resistance within the military to Bush policy in Iraq.
Over and over, when people asked me what I was working on and I told them of the collected stories of opposition, I heard comments like “There are soldiers against the war? I didn’t know that.”
These soldier’s stories are critical to hear. Their credibility cannot be impugned. They volunteered for the military. They’ve seen it from the inside.
Consider Darrell Anderson. I met with him in Toronto. He deserted after fighting in Iraq rather than face another deployment there.
In addition to taking shrapnel from a roadside bomb — an injury that earned him a Purple Heart — Darrell told me he often found himself in firefights.
Darrel described a Baghdad street battle that scarred him — and scared him about himself.
He was in an armored vehicle. Other soldiers were riding on the outside, when it came under attack from an enemy armed with rocket-propelled grenades. One of the soldiers riding outside was hit and injured severely. Darrell told me the scene still returns to him in the nightmares he suffers every night.
“I look at him and he is bleeding everywhere. He’s spitting up blood.” Someone had to take his place on the outside, Darrell realized. “Me, I’m gung-ho. I go up there. There’re explosions. They tell us if you’re under attack, you open fire on anybody in the streets. They say they’re no longer innocent if they’re there. I take my weapon and I find someone running. I point and I pull my trigger, but my weapon is still on safe.”
By the time Darrell clicked it over to fire, he realized he was about to shoot a kid who was running away from the violence, a kid he was by then sure was not part of the battle.
But what was most traumatic for him were his own emotions. “I’m angry. My buddy is dying. I just want to kill.” He told me he realized then he had become a different man, changed by the pathology of war and the suffering of the innocents. “When I first got there, I was disgusted with my fellow soldiers. But now I’m just the same. I will kill innocent people, because I’m not the person I was when I got there.” The attack ebbed, and Darrell survived it, as did the running boy.
A timely example of how the war is tearing at the conscience of the troops came in an email I received the other day from a conflicted soldier. He is an army reservist, a counterintelligence agent who served in Afghanistan, where he was awarded two Bronze Star medals for his valor.
“My unit may be deploying to Iraq in January, and I am contemplating not going,” he wrote. “This is somewhat complicated by not being a conscientious objector, which limits my options.”
This reservist requested my assistance steering him toward sources that can provide him with credible information about the alternatives open to him and the ramifications of refusing orders.
Meet Joshua Key, combat-hardened from his Iraq time, now a deserter in Canada seeking refugee status.
He misses his family and he blames the Bush administration. “I blame them because they made me do it. You can lie to the world; you can’t lie to a person who’s seen it. They made me have to do things that a man should never have to do, for the purpose of their gain — not the people’s — their financial gain.”
George W. Bush is culpable for crimes in Iraq, according to Joshua Key.
“He’ll pay for it one day. On the day he goes to prison, I’ll go sit in prison with him. I say if he goes to prison — George Bush — I’ll go sit in prison with him. Let’s go. I’ll face it for that music. But that ain’t never going to happen.” And Joshua Key laughed a bitter, bitter laugh in his basement apartment in Toronto.
Meet Steven Casey, still susceptible to recall from the Inactive Ready Reserve after his time fighting in Iraq. He says he’ll never put his uniform back on.
“You’ll see me on the news. I won’t be back. I’ll be a statistic of a guy who doesn’t show up.” His voice is quiet as he says it again, “I’m not coming back.”
Steven Casey says he’s going to college, an education he’ll pay for with the money the Army guaranteed him when he enlisted. “I did get what I was promised,” he says about his benefits package.
“I got everything they said I was going to get,” he says about the tuition money.
“I got a hunk of money for school, and with that I got social anxiety and I got this cool skin rash that I’m never going to get rid of. I’ve got a social disorder. I yell at my wife. I don’t think I won. There are a lot of things that came with this that are irreparable and I’m going to have the rest of my life.”
He talks about anger and anxiety. He wonders if he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, if he’s facing a lifetime of prescription drugs and psychiatrists. “I wish I could make it all go away, to be honest with you. But I can’t. I should have worked at McDonalds and found a way to pay for my tuition.”
Meet Clifton Hicks, who returned from fighting in Iraq to apply for and receive an honorable discharge based on his conscientious objection to war he developed in Iraq.
It’s a war, says Clifton Hicks, fought for the “filthy rich too cowardly to do it themselves” who want more money, fought by “us, the masses of uneducated fools killing each other.”
Soldiers such as these — who have been on the ground in Iraq, awarded medals for their valor, seen and done things unimaginable to most of us — offer us some of the best news reports of this war.
I believe the stories from these soldiers can help us understand what is wrong in Iraq.
More about Spc. Darrell Anderson:
Decorated Iraq Veteran Who Opposes War Returns To U.S. To Face Charges
[Thanks to David Honish, Veteran, who sent this in.]
Anderson, who was wounded and received the Purple Heart while serving in Iraq in 2004 with the 1st Armored Division, fled to Canada in early 2005, hoping to avoid another tour in a war he no longer supported.
October 02, 2006 Associated Press
LEXINGTON, Ky. – A decorated Soldier who deserted from the U.S. Army to avoid a second tour of duty in Iraq has crossed back into the United States after fleeing to Canada almost two years ago.
Army Spc. Darrell Anderson, 24, of Lexington, crossed the U.S. border on Saturday and plans to turn himself in at Fort Knox on Tuesday. Anderson said he is hoping for leniency from the Army but isn’t taking anything for granted.
“You never know what’s going to happen until it happens,” he told the Lexington Herald-Leader before starting for home. “I’m sort of hoping for the best but planning for the worst.”
Anderson’s lawyer, Jim Fennerty, said an officer at Fort Knox told him by phone last week that the Army has decided not to court-martial Anderson, and plans to release him within three to five days. Fennerty said the officer told him that a discharge would be mailed to Anderson within a few days after that.
Fort Knox public affairs officer Connie Schaffery said officers had been in touch with Anderson, his lawyer and his family to “explain the process.” Schaffery said she “cannot speak about what’s going to happen when he gets here until he gets here.”
Anderson, who was wounded and received the Purple Heart while serving in Iraq in 2004 with the 1st Armored Division, fled to Canada in early 2005, hoping to avoid another tour in a war he no longer supported.
He has been living in the Toronto area, becoming a highly visible war critic and spokesman for Canadian peace groups. But when Anderson’s application for Canadian refugee status was filed too late, he could not get a government work permit.
Unsure of his future in Canada, he decided to return to Kentucky and accept whatever punishment the Army imposes.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
Three Marines Killed In Iraq
02 October 2006 Multi National Corps Iraq Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory RELEASE No. 20061002-01
Three Marines were killed Oct. 1 while operating in al Anbar Province.
One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 and one Marine assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group died from injuries sustained due to enemy action.
One Marine assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group died from a non-combat related vehicle accident.
MND Baghdad Soldier Dies From Wounds Following Small-Arms Attack
Oct. 2, 2006 Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO RELEASE No. 20061002-07
BAGHDAD – A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 10:30 a.m. Oct. 2 from wounds he received when his unit was attacked by small-arms fire in central Baghdad.
MND Baghdad Soldier Dies Of Wounds From Roadside Bomb
Oct. 2, 2006 Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO RELEASE No. 20061002-06
BAGHDAD – A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 11:40 p.m. Sunday of wounds after his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb west of Baghdad.
Soldier Killed In Iraq
October 2, 2006 BY SHARON COOLIDGE, ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Army Spc. Robert Weber talked to his aunt two weeks ago from Iraq, telling her how his latest deployment seemed more dangerous than his first 2004 trip.
The 22-year-old Western Hills man was going out on daily missions, attacks were more frequent, the roads were dotted with craters from explosives, he added in an e-mail to his father last Tuesday.
Saturday night his unit’s commander called his family with news of Weber’s death.
Weber, who was stationed near Mosul, died in a Humvee crash.
“I want people to know how brave he was,” said his aunt, Debbie Niehoff, 52, of North College Hill. “I want people to know his heart was huge.”
There’s still a lot about his death his family doesn’t know, but Weber’s commander told his family that the soldier was on the last of five Humvees. As a gunner, he was sitting on top. It hit an embankment and the Humvee flipped over, Niehoff said.
“He took the brunt of the flip,” Niehoff said. “They got him into a helicopter, but he didn’t make it.”
Weber, a Dater High School graduate, signed up for the Army in 2004, thinking about long-term benefits, such as a college degree that would lead him to his dream of being a history teacher. But he also wanted to defend his country, Niehoff said.
“He was very committed to his decision to join,” Niehoff said. “He felt like he was doing the right thing.”
He always was willing to help, Niehoff said. She remembers him coming to her house during the 2004 Christmas storm. Weber shoveled her driveway and then turned to his aunt’s neighbor, who was home with two children, and did the same for her. But he didn’t quit.
“He worked all day helping neighbors,” Niehoff said.
Weber’s body was shipped to the United States Sunday, but his family doesn’t expect to see it for at least a week.
2 From C Company, 133rd Die In Iraq
October 2, 2006 The Courier, Waterloo, IA
WATERLOO --- Two soldiers from C Company, 133rd Battalion, based out of Iowa Falls, reported have been killed in Iraq.
Craig Gingrich, whose sons Garrett and Taylor are serving in Iraq with the 133rd, said today the National Guard sent an e-mail to coordinators of the unit’s family readiness group which said two soldiers from C Company, 133rd Battalion, were killed Saturday.
The e-mail did not identify the soldiers.
C Company is based in Iowa Falls. The 133rd Battalion also has armories in Waterloo, Charles City, Dubuque and Oelwein.
“This is devastating,” Gingrich said. “This is the first time it’s really hit this close to home.”
Elkhart Marine Killed In Iraq
October 02. 2006 By JOSHUA STOWE, Tribune Staff Writer
SOUTH BEND: An Elkhart Marine serving with Engineer Company B in Baghdad was killed Sunday by sniper fire, a Marine official announced this morning.
Aaron Seal, 23, is the company’s only casualty in Iraq, Maj. Celeste Ross said. Seal is a 2001 graduate of Elkhart Memorial High School.
Engineer Company B was last deployed to Iraq in 2003. Then, the company was supporting a combat engineer battalion.
On the current deployment, Company B has been clearing routes for coalition forces. Marine officials told The Tribune in March that the mission would include such tasks as finding and detonating mines, dismantling barricades and patching holes in the road.
Local Marine Dies 9 Days After Arriving In Iraq
September 28, 2006 Local10 & 9.27.06 By Hemmy So, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
MIAMI: A Marine from Cooper City died from wounds he sustained while conducting combat operations in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday.
Pfc. Christopher T. Riviere died Tuesday of wounds he received in Iraq’s Al Anbar province.
Riviere, 21, was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Riviere attended Cooper City High School and joined the Marines about a year ago. At a going away party held during Labor Day weekend, he requested both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners be served because he knew he would not be back before the end of the year, his aunt told Local 10.
“It’s hard to believe it’s true,” Connie Pie said. “He was in Iraq for nine days.”
Riviere is the second Marine from South Florida to die in Iraq in a week. The Department of Defense said Lance Cpl. Rene Martinez was killed in the same region of Iraq.
Martinez, 20, of Miami, was deployed to Iraq about three months ago.
His sister said Martinez graduated from Miami Sunset Senior High School and had wanted to be a Marine since he was young.
‘It never crossed our minds that he wouldn’t come back,’ said Riviere’s aunt, Connie Pie.
She joined several relatives Wednesday who offered their condolences at the rose-colored stucco home Riviere shared with his mother and stepfather, Margaret and James Lomba.
Riviere’s year-old black Silverado truck sat in front of the house.
Riviere had built a reputation for being responsible and hardworking, as shown by the summers he spent helping his stepfather on construction jobs and mowing neighbors’ lawns.
Nicknamed ‘Kiki,’ a moniker that stuck after his younger sister failed to pronounce ‘Chris’ as a small child, Riviere enjoyed swimming and football.
His favorite teams included the University of Miami Hurricanes and Miami Dolphins.
Riviere was known as a friendly but quiet guy, who kept close to his family.
‘When he went out, even if he was late, he’d call and say `Hey Pop, let Mom know I’ll be late,’’ said Riviere’s uncle Joe Leal, who lives in Hollywood.
His mother, stepfather and two younger sisters survive Riviere.
At least 30 service members from South Florida have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.
Morris Marine Killed In Iraq
10/2/06 Daily Record
HANOVER TWP. — A U.S. Marine from Morris County was killed Sunday in Iraq, several sources have confirmed.
Lance Cpl. Christopher Cosgrove, 23, of Cedar Knolls, died while on assignment with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, sources said.
Cosgrove was a 2001 graduate Whippany Park High School, where he was a dedicated member of the football, track and lacrosse teams, Principal John Manning said today. The school will observe a moment of silence in Cosgrove’s memory on Tuesday morning.
“He was a very team-oriented young man and was very fond of Whippany Park High School,” Manning said. “He visited us often.” Manning said Cosgrove stopped by to visit with teachers and staff at the high school before he shipped out for Iraq last spring.
British Soldier Killed In Basra
Oct 2, 2006 LONDON (Reuters) & By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press
One British soldier was killed and another wounded in a mortar attack on the headquarters of the 1st Battalion, Light Infantry Battle Group in the southern city of Basra, British military spokesman Maj. Charlie Burbridge said.
In the attack Sunday on the Shat Al-Arab hotel in Basra, 15 mortar shells were fired at the compound and three landed inside, he said.
A spokeswoman said a “soldier from the Royal Army Medical Corps was killed and another seriously injured following an indirect fire attack on a multinational forces base in Basra city”.
The injured soldier was receiving medical treatment, she said.
Three Soldiers From Fergus Falls Guard Unit Injured In Iraq
Oct. 02, 2006 Associated Press
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – Three soldiers from a Fergus Falls National Guard unit were injured recently in Iraq.
The soldiers were in a Bradley fighting vehicle that was hit by an improvised explosive device near Fallujah last week.
Sharon Casey is with the Fergus Falls Family Readiness Support Group. She says the most seriously injured was Adam Drechsel of Fargo, who suffered a fractured vertebra and finger.
Drechsel is being treated at a hospital in Germany.
Casey says Tony Sellner of Dalton had a minor concussion and Tyler Halvorson of Fergus Falls had bumps and bruises. The two were treated for their injuries and are back at the base in Fallujah.
Spc. Gabe Rookus Not Dead
10/02/06 By CHARLOTTE WEICK, Advance Newspapers
Recent rumors that a bomb in Iraq killed Spc. Gabe Rookus are incorrect, said stepmother Sandi Rookus. Gabe Rookus, son of Wayland police officer Mark Rookus, survived the Sept. 18 bombing in Ramadi, Iraq.
Spc. Rookus, a member of the 300th MP Company, is recuperating at Brooke Medical Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, near San Antonio, where he may remain for up to three months, Sandi Rookus said.
According to The Associated Press, the incident occurred at a police station that was hit by two suicide bombers. The AP reported that at least two Iraqi police were killed, and around 26 wounded. The Rookus family heard that six Iraqi police were killed, and that two other U.S. soldiers were seriously wounded.
At around 11 a.m., in Iraq, Rookus heard gunfire, grabbed his gear, and made his way to a rooftop. After an explosion rocked the building, the building collapsed and Rookus was buried beneath the rubble. Rookus’ lieutenant discovered him, Sandi Rookus said. The lieutenant was injured, but was treated and released, she said.
Rookus suffered second- and third-degree burns on over 30 percent of his body and his right leg has third-degree burns, which will require skin grafts, Sandi Rookus said.
Among the U.S. soldiers who were seriously injured were Scott McDermond and Cpl. David Warrick, Sandi Rookus said.
“Scott McDermond is the driver for Gabe,” she said. “They have been together the last two years. McDermond suffered second-degree burns over 18 percent of his body.
Rookus and McDermond, who are close friends, were placed in the same hospital room, Sandi Rookus said.
At press time, Warrick remains in a drug-induced coma, Sandi Rookus said. Warrick was burned on over 47 percent of his body, and suffered from inhaling fire into his esophagus and lungs.
It was around 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 18, in Michigan, when Rookus’ wife Sarah was notified by military officials. Sarah Rookus arrived at the hospital at Fort Sam Houston on Sept. 24. Mark and Sandi Rookus left Wayland for Fort Sam Houston on Sept. 27.
After rumors circulated that Rookus was killed, the family began receiving condolences by e-mail that read, “Sorry to hear your son as killed,” Sandi Rookus said.
Rookus has been on medication and “going in and out,” but has been able to talk about the incident, Sandi Rookus said.
It may have been Rookus’ weapon that prevented him from being crushed by the collapse of the building. He told his stepmother that his weapon landed in a vertical position and may have helped to prop up some of the debris.
Rookus graduated from Wayland Union High School in 2000, and has been in the service for two years. He and Sarah Rookus have two sons: Clay, 3; and Cole, 1. Rookus has five siblings: Angela, 21; Heather, 21; Lee Anne, 19; Levi, 17; and Mercedes, 12.
Cole is too young to understand what happened to his father, but “Clay is very bothered by it,” Sandi Rookus said. “He can see that mom’s been upset. It’s been a very emotional time. It’s chaotic, and it still is.”
Mark and Sandi Rookus said they greatly appreciated the recent calls, cards, and prayers for their son.
“I’ll be all right, once I can see him and hug him,” Sandi Rookus said.
REALLY BAD PLACE TO BE:
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Three Occupation Troops Wounded In Kabul;
10-02-2006 KABUL (AFP) & Aljazeera.
A blast has hit the Afghan capital, wounding three NATO soldiers and three civilians in the latest in a surge of attacks in Kabul claimed by the extremist Taliban movement.
The bomber blew himself up near a NATO convoy Monday on a busy road that is frequently used by international troops in the east of the heavily secured and increasingly jittery city.
The bomber ran in front of the military convoy, said Ali Shah Paktiawal, a senior police official.
Sayid Rahman, a witness to the scene, said: “I saw an American four-wheel drive entering Kabul and suddenly a guy who was standing next to a pump station ran towards the vehicle and detonated himself.”
The body of the bomber was in pieces scattered across the area, an AFP reporter said. There were blood stains on the road and sidewalk. Afghan police and international troops cordoned off the area.
“The bomber was dropped off by car and continued on foot. Shortly after the explosion, the Kabul city police stopped the car and arrested the driver,” an ISAF statement said.
A purported spokesman for the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Mohammad Hanif also said the strike had killed four soldiers but the Taliban frequently make false claims.
“We use any possible means to attack and harm invading foreign troops until we force them out of the country,” Hanif told AFP in a telephone call from an undisclosed location.
Staff of the United Nations and nongovernmental organisations were urged to restrict their movements for a second day Monday amid fear of further bloodshed.
Finnish Soldier Wounded In Afghanistan
10.2.2006 Virtual Finland
A Finnish soldier was wounded in a shooting incident in northern Afghanistan Sunday night, the Finnish Defence Staff said in a statement Sunday.
The soldier was taken to a Norwegian military hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif and is in stable condition. His next of kin has already been notified by the Finnish military.
According to the Defence Staff six Finnish soldiers were practising night operations in the province of Aybak when two or three people opened fire at them with hand weapons.
The wounded soldier was hit in the chest and leg. However, Lieutenant-Colonel Reima Helminen told the Finnish News Agency (STT) on Sunday that the wounded soldier had been wearing a bulletproof vest.
British Officer Says Afghan Campaign A Goat Fuck
[Thanks to Mark Shapiro, who sent this in.]
Earlier this week Soviet generals, who were forced to retreat from Afghanistan after a decade of bloody struggle in the 1980s, warned British commanders that they will eventually face the same humiliation.
02.10.06 Associated Newspapers Ltd. [Excerpts]
British soldiers in Afghanistan are seen as ‘no better than the Taliban’, according to an officer serving on the frontline.
He says troops are having no effect in trying to win over the hearts and minds of local Afghans.
In an email to family he makes damaging claims that the Afghan national army and police are ‘all corrupt’, and are deliberately passing information to enemy fighters to help them target UK positions.
The infantry officer also complains of supply problems for soldiers in isolated outposts – running short of water and having to wait days for deliveries of sandbags to protect against incoming fire.
The Army officer commanding an infantry unit wrote to family and friends telling them he and his men had seen ‘plenty’ of action against the Taliban – “some good, some bad, but on the whole we are killing more of them than they are of us”.
In the email, seen by the Daily Mail, he adds: “We are not having an effect on the average Afghan. At the moment we are no better than the Taliban in their eyes, as all they can see is us moving into an area, blowing things up and leaving, which is very sad.”
Ominously, the officer voices grave doubts over the loyalty of the Afghan police and army, who are supposed to be key partners in rebuilding the country as a viable state.
He describes one incident where police visited his unit as it dug into a new position, then left and were seen to visit a nearby village.
Within an hour Taliban fighters launched an intense mortar bombardment from the village, raining down shells accurately on the UK troops’ location.
The officer writes: “This just confirms to us that the army and police are all corrupt!” [Dim officer. No doubt some ancient ancestor of his had the same to say about Americans who spied on him and reported back to American soldiers in 1780.]
The officer writing the email claims that what was ‘meant to be a peace support operation’ in Helmand has turned out to be nothing of the sort.
“We are now on a serious war footing having been part of the most sustained period of high intensity fighting in years,” he writes.
Earlier this week Soviet generals, who were forced to retreat from Afghanistan after a decade of bloody struggle in the 1980s, warned British commanders that they will eventually face the same humiliation.
THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
Parents Join Marine At Maryland Hospital
October 2, 2006 The Columbia Daily Tribune
A Columbia Marine has been reunited with his parents after being shot in the head in Iraq.
Lance Cpl. John McClellan can’t speak because of a breathing tube, but he is communicating with his parents, Connie and Carl McClellan, by squeezing their hands at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
The 20-year-old Hickman High School graduate was shot in the head Tuesday by a sniper while manning his post in Haditha, Iraq.
The doctors’ biggest concern, Connie McClellan wrote in an e-mail to the Tribune, is the lack of activity in McClellan’s vocal cords. McClellan is on a respirator because of vocal chord swelling.
“He still has the ventilator in and it’s very obvious that he HATES it, but we’ve explained to him until the vocal chords swelling goes down that he has to have the ventilator in,” Connie McClellan wrote.
600 From Alaska National Guard Off To Bush’s Imperial Slaughterhouse
October 2, 2006 By HOLBROOK MOHR, The Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss.: Camp Shelby will host a send-off bash Tuesday for hundreds of Alaska soldiers bound for Iraq in the state’s largest deployment of National Guard troops since World War II.
Gen. Craig E. Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, said the nearly 600 soldiers in the 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry, from 81 different communities, represent more than a half dozen cultures: Eskimos, Tlingits, Haidas, Tsimshians, Aleuts, Athabascans and others.
“It’s fascinating watching this group come together and get ready to go to war,” Campbell said. [Less fascinating, perhaps, if he were going to Iraq himself. Less a spectacle for him to comment upon, this ghoulish voyeur of war preparation. Perhaps he would care to cease being “a military chief administrative officer” and do some patrols in Ramadi, to show everyone how loyal and brave he is?]
“In Los Angeles, 50 Activists Shut Down The Army Recruitment Center In Hollywood For An Entire Day”
October 02, 2006 UFPJ Action Alerts [Excerpts]
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, nine people commandeered an elevator in a downtown federal building Tuesday in an effort to persuade Republican U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico to sign the Declaration of Peace Congressional Pledge. While inside the elevator, the nine protesters took turns reading the names of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq, as well as the names of Iraqis who have died.
More than 50 antiwar protesters held a candlelight vigil and unfurled a banner reading, “We Mourn The Dead, We Call For Peace,” in front of U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s district office in downtown Batavia, Illinois.
In Eureka, California, activists began a rolling fast on the steps of the Humboldt County Courthouse, in which participants will take a 24-hour shift and maintain a constant presence for peace.
In Los Angeles, 50 activists shut down the Army Recruitment Center in Hollywood for an entire day.
How The Rats In Command Handle PTSD:
October 1, 2006 By Betsy Streisand, U.S. News & World Report [Excerpts]
Army Pvt. Jason Sedotal, 21, a military policeman from Pierre Part, La., had been in Iraq six weeks in 2004 when he drove a humvee over a landmine. His sergeant, seated beside him, lost two legs and an arm in the explosion.
Consumed by guilt and fear, Sedotal, who suffered only minor injuries, was diagnosed with PTSD when he returned from his first tour in early 2005 and given antidepressants and sleeping pills.
Several months later, while stationed at Fort Polk, La., he sought more mental health care and was prescribed a different antidepressant.
Last November, Sedotal was redeployed.
“They told me I had to go back because my problem wasn’t serious enough,” Sedotal said in an interview from Baghdad in mid-September.
Sedotal says he started “seeing things and having flashbacks.” Twice a combat stress unit referred him to a hospital for mental health care.
Twice he was returned to his unit, each time with more medication and the second time without his weapon. “I stopped running missions, and I was shunned by my immediate chain of command and my unit,” says Sedotal, who returned to Fort Polk last week.
Currently, there are more than 200 psychiatrists, therapists, social workers, and other mental health experts working with soldiers “in theater.”
They lend an ear, encourage soldiers to talk about their experiences with each other, and administer whatever short-term remedies they can, including stress-reduction techniques, anger-management strategies, or medications.
However, their mission, first and foremost, is to be “force multipliers” who maintain troop strength.
How The Rats In Congress Handle Troops’ Pay;
[Here it is again. Same old story. The politicians couldn’t care less. To repeat for the 3,464th time, there is no enemy in Iraq. Iraqis and U.S. troops have a common enemy. That common enemy owns and operates the Imperial government in Washington DC for their own profit. That common enemy started this war of conquest on a platform of lies, because they couldn’t tell the truth: this war was about making money for them, and nothing else. Payback is overdue. T]
From: Don Bacon email@example.com
2006 INFLATION RATES:
2006 (TO DATE) AVERAGE INFLATION 3.87%
PAY RAISE GRANTED BY CONGRESS 2.2%
3.87 — 2.2 = 1.67% PAY CUT ON TOP OF ALREADY INADEQUATE PAY
[Data source: inflationdata.com/inflation/Inflation_Rate/AnnualInflation.asp]
IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP
Assorted Resistance Action
Oct. 01, 2006 By Rahim Faiez, Associated Press & 02 October 2006 VOA News & Reuters & Sapa-AFP
A convoy of trucks carrying petrol for the US army was hit by two roadside bombs, killing two drivers and leaving two trucks in flames, according to police in Tikrit.
Guerrillas killed Faris Khalil, a colonel in the Interior Ministry, in central Baghdad.
Four police officers were wounded Saturday when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the southern province of Kandahar, said police official Raz Mohammed. The four were traveling on the main highway connecting Kandahar with the western province of Herat.
Iraqi officials say three soldiers from the Iraqi army’s quick reaction force were killed and three wounded early today in an ambush near Kut, 40 kilometers southeast of the capital.
A roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol, wounding three soldiers in the Yarmouk district of western Baghdad, a source in the Interior Ministry said.
Guerrillas seriously wounded two policemen when they attacked a police checkpoint in Kirkuk and killed a policeman in Mosul.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
“Organized Opposition To The Vietnam War Within U.S. Military Ranks Was The Single Greatest Force That Moved This Country Toward Ending Its Involvement”
April 06, 2006 Josh Appelbaum, Time Off
While history has shed much light on the civilian grass roots protests of the Vietnam War, it has obscured what was arguably the most important anti-war movement that emerged in the late ‘60s.
Organized opposition to the Vietnam War within U.S. military ranks was the single greatest force that moved this country toward ending its involvement in the conflict, according to a new film Sir! No Sir!, to be screened at the New Jersey Film Festival April 7 to 9.
However, stories of American GIs returning from combat in Vietnam, getting spat on by anti-war protesters and called “baby killers,” have dominated in some accounts.
Not only did the anti-war movement flourish within the military, but soldiers who opposed the war were often allied with civilian anti-war protestors, who also aided their efforts.
The movement grew out of Army stockades, Navy Brigs and base towns into elite military colleges like West Point, but the rebellion of thousands of U.S. soldiers has disappeared from the American consciousness, even as our soldiers are once again occupying countries around the world.
One of those civilian organizers, producer-director David Zeiger, aims to uncover the stories of the men and women who led the movement with Sir! No Sir! Mr. Zeiger, perhaps best known for his 2002 PBS documentary series Senior Year (2002), is championing the documentary as a way for young people to understand how distortions by the military and the executive branch in the Vietnam era are being applied today, to discredit those who oppose the conduct of the so-called war on terror.
He is even working with Iraq Veterans Against the War to distribute DVD copies of the film to current U.S. soldiers.
As a civilian organizer based at the Oleo Strut coffee house in Kileen, Texas, near Fort Hood, Mr. Zeiger says he was deeply involved in the GI movement against the war but wasn’t compelled to make this film until recently, and for one reason in particular.
“Iraq,” Mr. Zeiger says.
Working in television and films since 1990, Mr. Zeiger says there was not much interest in making such a film until the 2003 military buildup and invasion of the Mid-East nation.
“In the ‘90s this was old news, something I didn’t think people were going to be interested in,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d get any money for it and I knew how much work would be involved in making it.
“But I was literally dragged into making this film by the so-called war on terror… (the Iraq War) made it absolutely necessary to make this film because the lies about the Vietnam era played a role in allowing this war to happen and are disarming people about how to object to it.”
The film includes testimonials by Donald Duncan, a Green Beret member who resigned from the military in 1966, and Howard Levy, a Green Beret medic who refused to train other medics in protest of the war, and served three years in prison as a result. Keith Mather, one of the “Nine for Peace” who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and took sanctuary in a church in San Francisco and later was court-martialed (and faced the death penalty) as part of the so-called Presidio 27 prison mutiny, is also profiled.
Sir! No Sir! also tells of the more common acts of desertion, refusals of combat orders, as well as the practice of “fragging,” or the killing, by servicemen, of commanding officers with fragmentation grenades.
Mr. Zeiger’s film focuses on the activist efforts of entertainers including Donald Sutherland, Nina Simone, Peter Boyle and Jane Fonda, arguably the most maligned anti-war figure of the Vietnam era. Their F.T.A. (or Fuck the Army) campaign, a play on the military’s “Fun, Travel, Adventure” recruiting slogan, provided an alternative to traditional U.S.O. shows.
“They put their own careers aside to do this traveling show, entertaining the tens of thousands of GIs who were opposed to the war,” Mr. Zeiger says.
Ms. Fonda, he says, visited with servicemen at anti-war coffeehouses that popped up around most every major military base in the country, raised money to support underground newspapers that fomented the GI movement, and attended its demonstrations. “I knew (Ms. Fonda) in this context, and this is what has completely been erased from history and these amazing distortions about her that have become gospel since the war ended.”
The distortion goes deeper than the perception of Ms. Fonda as a traitor, Mr. Zeiger says, and speaks to the common conflation that opposing military policy is equivalent to undermining forces fighting abroad.
“What was massively objected to by not only the anti-war movement but the GIs themselves was the official policy of the (Pentagon) to target Vietnamese civilians,” Mr. Zeiger explains.
He says search-and-destroy missions and the establishment of free-fire zones resulted in the deaths of thousands of children in-country, and gave rise to the infamous chant, “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”
He says this opposition was singularly directed toward the military and the Johnson administration, not the soldiers on the ground.
“It’s fascinating how, in the hands of the far right in this country, the reality was very effectively turned into people accusing GIs of being baby killers,” Mr. Zeiger says.
“The political ramifications of that are if, today, you accuse the American military of targeting civilians, ipso facto, you are accusing foot soldiers of being baby killers, and are condemning the troops. That very bizarre straight line was created by rewriting what happened in Vietnam and this is being used very effectively to silence opposition to the Iraq War.”
Sir! No Sir!:
The Sir! No Sir! DVD is on sale now, exclusively at www.sirnosir.com.
Also available will be a Soundtrack CD (which includes the entire song from the FTA Show, “Soldier We Love You”), theatrical posters, tee shirts, and the DVD of “A Night of Ferocious Joy,” a film about the first hip-hop antiwar concert against the “War on Terror.”
Do you have a friend or relative in the service? Forward GI Special along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly. Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services. Send requests to address up top or write to: The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657
From: Dennis Serdel
By Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade, purple heart, Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against The War, United Auto Workers GM Retiree, in Perry, Michigan
we were inducted in DETROIT in the fall of ‘66,
Here’s The Deal:
From: Don Bacon; firstname.lastname@example.org
News report: About 61 percent [of Iraqis] approved of attacks on US-led forces in Iraq, up from 47 percent in January.
We should have done it earlier, but it’s not too late. We need to take action.
As President Bush said: “The people of my country will remember those who have plotted against us. We are learning their names. We are coming to know their faces. There is no corner of the earth distant or dark enough to protect them. However long it takes, their hour of justice will come. The allies of terror are equally guilty of murder and equally accountable to justice.”
Iraqis who are terrorist supporters need to be identified, arrested and detained (with maybe some waterboarding thrown in).
So I say round up that terroristic sixty-one per cent of the Iraqi people and our problems will be over.
I know, we’re talking fifteen million people here, but imprisoning a majority of Iraqis is necessary to promote Iraqi freedom. And if it works there . . .
What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to email@example.com or write to: The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657. Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
“The Real Surprise Would Be If The Government Predicted An Armistice”
October 1, 2006 By FRANK RICH, NY Times Op-Ed [Excerpt]
Tonight on “60 Minutes,” Bob Woodward will spill another supposedly shocking intelligence finding revealed in his new book: a secret government prediction that the insurgency will grow worse next year.
Who’d have thunk it?
Given that the insurgency is growing worse every day right now – last week suicide bombings hit a record high in Baghdad – the real surprise would be if the government predicted an armistice.
“Soldiers Say Some Police In Shula Will Flash Their Car Lights To Warn The Enemy”
October 2, 2006 ASSOCIATED PRESS [Excerpts]
TACOMA: Fort Lewis soldiers in Baghdad are frustrated with some Iraqi police they say are either unmotivated or are helping the people trying to keep the country divided.
Stryker soldiers in the Baghdad neighborhoods of Ghazaliyah and Shula say Iraqi police have been infiltrated by Shiite militia death squads.
Soldiers say some police in Shula will flash their car lights to warn the enemy when troops enter the area, although police contend it’s to avoid being fired upon.
“The police are bad. They don’t have the trust of the people,” Capt. Matt Pike of Lacey told The News Tribune of Tacoma, which has a reporter embedded with the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment.
THE BATTLE FOR BAGHDAD
From: Don Bacon; firstname.lastname@example.org
GEN. THURMAN (June, 2006): The prime minister has taken on the security of Baghdad as his first priority. We are encouraged by his efforts to bring about unity, security and prosperity to the Iraqi people. . .
The prime minister has initiated a security plan to curb the violence in the city, supported by Multinational Division Baghdad. . . The Iraqis have implemented a comprehensive plan which is named Operation Ma’an ila Al-Amam, “Together Forward.”
This endeavor consists of the implementation of emergency anti-terrorism laws, weapons control laws and combined security operations with Iraqi security forces.
THAT OPERATION FAILED:
GEN. THURMAN (September, 2006): I would like to briefly describe Operation Together Forward Two and discuss some of the challenges and talk about Iraqis in the lead. . . Together Forward was planned with and as an Iraqi-led operation and designed to reduce the sectarian violence in focused areas identified by the Iraqi government. We also knew that we had to stop the terrorist cells and death squads. After a detailed assessment in August by the Iraqi government, we made significant adjustments.
BAGHDAD, Iraq Aug 8, 2006 (AP) Iraq’s prime minister sharply criticized a U.S.-Iraqi attack Monday on a Shiite militia stronghold in Baghdad, breaking with his American partners on security tactics as the United States launches a major operation to secure the capital.
Al-Maliki, a Shiite, said he was “very angered and pained” by the operation, warning that it could undermine his efforts toward national reconciliation.
“Reconciliation cannot go hand in hand with operations that violate the rights of citizens this way,” al-Maliki said in a statement on government television. “This operation used weapons that are unreasonable to detain someone like using planes.” He apologized to the Iraqi people for the operation and said “this won’t happen again.”
Friction between the U.S. military and the Iraqi government emerged as the U.S. military kicks off a military operation to secure Baghdad streets after a surge in Sunni-Shiite violence much of it blamed on al-Sadr’s militia.
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
“Another Interested Military Family Member Who Wants To Contribute To Our Idea Of Reaching Out To The Troops”
[Thanks to Elaine B, who sent this in. Her son is a Marine in Iraq. She writes: This email was sent to me by another interested military family member who wants to contribute to our idea of reaching out to the troops. Thanks, Elaine]
29 Sep 2006
This is addressed to all the fighting men and women in Iraq.
I’m an activist against this war, but I want you to know that out of all the vigils, rallies, marches and meetings I’ve been to I have never even ONCE heard someone voice their disapproval of the troops themselves. There is a tacit understanding amongst us that there is a difference between the WAR and the WARRIOR.
Only a few of us have had to endure the crucible that you are experiencing and will never know what it’s like to truly be under fire.
War is at once a large political endeavor but also a very personal one. There’s a huge difference between starting a war, almost always done by politicians who never saw combat, and the soldier on the ground who must face the stark realities of these vague and abstract decisions made that have put you in the position you are now in.
But just know this, everyone back home in America supports you. Unequivocally. The politician’s war is political, the warrior’s war is personal.
Iraq, like Vietnam, is different than WWII in that in the latter the enemy was known and once we won the war there was no insurgency. WWII was horrible beyond imagination, but at least our men were either in combat against a uniformed army or behind the lines resting. T here is no “front” for you, and hyper awareness is constant as you never know where the danger is coming from. And that is the formula for PTSD, your brain gets hard-wired from constant danger and some of you will never be able to drive down a road, for example, without thinking of the potential danger. Soldiers in war see terrible things they will never be able to erase from their memory, but it’s the unrelenting fear of sudden attack that does the real psychic damage. Re-acquaint yourselves with the non-violent world, in time the synapses in your brain will re-adjust.
Be proud of your personal accomplishment and remember that if some of you feel guilty about anything you did “over there” that if you give ANY human being a weapon and throw them into a chaotic situation, mistakes happen and instant judgement doesn’t have the luxury of time to think about it.
War is by definition a messy business, to put it lightly.
So, on your return home I wish the best for all of you, and if you have a hard time you can reach out. Don’t internalize it.
Join veteran’s groups. Tell your family and friends even though they can’t and will never truly understand what you’ve experienced. Be understanding of them in their lack empathy, accept their sometimes awkward solace. But talk about it. Both the warrior and the non-combatant must appreciate the wall between them and accept it. This is as much a message to you as it is to us back home, comfortable and safe.
We all await your return. I say again, we are all behind you 100%.
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
Telling the truth – about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington – is the first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance – whether it’s in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what you’ve read, we hope that you’ll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers. www.traveling-soldier.org/ And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! www.ivaw.net
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