04/11/03 GI Special #126: Bush Betrays Again


From: “Thomas F. Barton” <thomasfbarton@earthlink.net>

Bush Betrays Again;

Sick &Wounded Thrown In Kentucky Shithole;

“I Used To Be Patriotic”

By Mark Benjamin – UPI Investigations Editor, 10/29/2003

FORT KNOX, Ky., Oct. 29 (UPI) — More than 400 sick and injured soldiers, including some who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, are stuck at Fort Knox, waiting weeks and sometimes months for medical treatment, a score of soldiers said in interviews.

The delays appear to have demolished morale — many said they had lost faith in the Army and would not serve again — and could jeopardize some soldiers’ health, the soldiers said.

SOLDIER KILLER

The Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers are in what the Army calls “medical hold,” like roughly 600 soldiers under similar circumstances waiting for doctors at Fort Stewart, Ga.

The apparent lack of care at both locations raises the specter that Reserve and Guard soldiers, including many who returned from Iraq, could be languishing at locations across the country, according to Senate investigators.

“I joined to serve my country,” said Cpl. Waymond Boyd, 34.  He served in Iraq with the National Guard’s 1175 Transportation Company.  He has been in medical hold since the end of July.

“It doesn’t make any sense to go over there and risk your life and come back to this,” Boyd said. “It ain’t fair and it ain’t right.  I used to be patriotic.”  He has served the military for 15 years.

Boyd’s knee and wrist injuries were severe enough that he was evacuated to Germany
at the end of July and then sent to Fort Knox.  His medical records show doctor appointments around four weeks apart.  He said it took him almost two months to get a cast for his wrist, which is so weak he can’t lift 5 pounds or play with his two children.  He is taking painkilling drugs and walks with a cane with some difficulty.

Many soldiers at Fort Knox said their injuries and illnesses occurred in Iraq. Some said the rigors of war exacerbated health problems that probably should have prevented
them from going in the first place.

Boyd’s X-rays appear to show the damage to his wrist but also bone spurs in his feet that are noted in his medical record before being deployed, but the records say “no health problems noted” before he left.

“I don’t think I was medically fit to go. But they said ‘go.’ That is my job,” Boyd said.

Fort Knox Public Affairs Officer Connie Shaffery said soldiers see specialists within 28 days, Shaffery said and Fort Knox officials hope to cut that time lag.

“I think that we would like for all the soldiers to get care as soon as possible,” Shaffery said.  (”THINK”? You’re not really sure though, right? Maybe you have to check the statement with a superior officer? Wouldn’t want to go too far?)

Shaffery said of the 422 soldiers on medical hold at Fort Knox, 369 did not deploy to Operation Iraqi Freedom because of their illnesses.  Around two-thirds of the soldiers at Fort Stewart did serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Soldiers at Fort Knox describe strange clusters of heart problems and breathing problems, as did soldiers at Fort Stewart and other locations.

Command Sgt. Major Glen Talley, 57, is in the hospital at Fort Knox for heart problems, clotting blood and Graves’ disease, a thyroid disorder.  All of the problems became apparent after he went to war in April, he says.  He is a reservist.

Talley said he was moved to Fort Knox on Oct. 16 and had not seen a doctor yet,
only a physician’s assistant.  His next appointment with an endocrinologist was Scheduled for Dec. 30.

“I don’t mind serving my country,” Talley said. “I just hate what they are doing to me now.” Talley has served for 30 years. He was awarded two Purple Hearts in Vietnam.

Sgt. Buena Montgomery has breathing problems since serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She said she has been able to get to doctors but worries about many others who have not.

“The Army did not prepare for the proper medical care for the soldiers that they knew were going to come back from this war,” Montgomery said. “Now the Army needs to step up to the plate and fix this problem.”

In nearly two dozen interviews conducted over three days, soldiers also described
substandard living conditions — though they said conditions had improved recently.

A UPI photographer working on this story without first having cleared his presence with base public affairs officials was detained for several hours for questioning Tuesday and then released.  He was told he would need an Army escort for any further visits to the base.  He returned to the base accompanied by an Army escort on Wednesday.

This reporter also was admonished that he had to be accompanied by an Army public affairs escort when on base.  The interviews had been conducted without the presence of an escort.

After returning from Iraq, some soldiers spent about eight weeks in Spartan, dilapidated World War II-era barracks with leaking roofs, animal infestations and no air conditioning in the Kentucky heat.

“I arrived here and was placed in the World War II barracks,” one soldier wrote in an internal Fort Knox survey of the conditions. “On the 28th of August we moved out. On 30 Aug. the roof collapsed. Had we not moved, someone would be dead,” that soldier wrote.  The barracks now stand empty and have been condemned.

Also like Fort Stewart, soldiers at Fort Knox claimed they are getting substandard treatment because they are in the National Guard or Army Reserve as opposed to regular Army.

“They are treating us like second-class citizens,” said Spc. Brian Smith, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom until Aug. 16 and said he is having trouble seeing doctors at Fort Knox. The Army evacuated him through Germany for stomach problems, among other things. “My brother wants to get in (the military).  I am now discouraging him from doing it,” Smith said.

“I have never been so disrespected in my military career,” said Lt. Jullian Goodrum, who has been in the Army Reserve for 16 years. His health problems do not appear to be severe — injured wrists — but he said the medical situation at Fort Knox is bad. He said he waited a month for therapy.  ”I have never been so treated like dirt.”

For more see www.bringthemhomenow.com/

What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Send to the E-mail address up top.  Name, I.D., withheld on request.  Replies confidential.

Military Families Enraged:

Kansas Reserves Stuck In Iraq Until 2005;

“The Iraqi People Don’t Want Us There”

“Bring Our Soldiers Home”

BY JUDITH GRAHAM, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 28, 2003

DENVER – (KRT) – They are angry and disillusioned, frustrated and full of doubt. This war is not going the way they hoped it would.

They are wives and husbands of the 129th Army Reserves Combat Transportation
Company, stationed in Kansas, and they are terrified for spouses who are conducting
missions in Iraq.

A month ago, these family members launched a “bring our soldiers home” petition drive when, with no advance notice, the 129th Company’s tour of duty was extended.

Today, after a string of recent suicide bombings in Iraq, they stand with a growing number of military families who are convinced that the war is going awry and who think the American public isn’t getting a straight story on the conflict.

Cherie Block, 29, could barely contain herself while watching President Bush’s news conference Tuesday from her home in Sac City, Iowa, especially when he insisted the vast majority of Iraqis are with Americans, not against them.

“Look at everything that’s going on there this week,” Block said, “And (Bush) still has this perfect picture in his head that they want us there. To me, they’re already against us.”

“Either he doesn’t really understand what’s going on, or he’s not telling it the way it really is,” said Block, whose husband Wallace is a sergeant with the 129th Company.

Around the country other military families are increasingly voicing concerns over the war, some through organizations such as Military Families Speak Out, a Massachusetts group that claims support from about 1,000 families nationwide.  Some marched in protests against the war in Washington, D.C., last weekend.

THE FUTURE CONFRONTS THE PAST 10.25

While many of these families are adamantly anti-war, others embrace the administration’s rationale for going to war in Iraq, while criticizing its conduct in the post-war period.

Among them is Trisha Leonard, 27, of De Soto, Kan., who declined to name her husband, a captain in the 129th Company Army Reserves.  ”I think taking out Saddam’s regime was a good move. But there is no post-war plan or exit strategy.  It’s a mess.”

Initially, most of the 129th Company reservists believed their tour of duty would be three to six months.  Then they were told it would be a year from the time they arrived in Iraq, not including the three months they spent prior to be deployed.

Finally, last month, they were told the 270-member 129th Company might not come home before 2005.

That’s when Rachel Trueblood, 42, of Lees Summit, Mo., a mother of three whose husband Rony is a staff sergeant with the company, went from “sucking it up,” as she puts it, to getting mad.

Her bottom line: no National Guard or reservist should be deployed for more than 12 months at a time.  After e-mailing other families in the company, Trueblood mounted a petition drive last month that has already gathered almost 13,000 signatures.

“Once-proud Army Reserve families are being disillusioned by the decision to keep reservists beyond their original orders,” the petition reads.  ”We ask for your help in getting our loved ones home by the end of their 12-month tour of active duty.”

As for the war, though her husband supports it, Trueblood has serious doubts.  ”We’ve committed ourselves to something that’s bigger than any of us ever bargained for,” she said.  ”My feeling is, we can’t leave, but this might be a cause we’ll never win.  We’re trying to lead something that should have been led from the inside (of Iraq).”

Every time Bush gets up and says the U.S. won’t back down until it wins the war against terrorism, as he did Tuesday, Trueblood wonders “How?  We’re already stretched to the absolute limit. Where are you going to lead us next, into Iran or Syria?”

For Jodie Holm, 38, faith is the answer to the nagging questions she tries to keep at bay as violence in Iraq escalates.  Every day, she prays her husband Jeff, a sergeant with the 129th Company, will return home safely, and tries not to imagine how she would survive if he didn’t.  Her pride in his service is mingled with anxiety about his welfare and a feeling of constantly being on edge.

“If it wasn’t for God, I’d be a basket case right now—I’m so scared,” said Holm from her home in Council Bluffs, Iowa, breaking into tears over the phone.  ”More and more, it seems the Iraqi people don’t want us there. My husband says don’t worry, but I can’t help myself. It’s the not knowing what is going to happen next that’s killing me.”

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 in Iraq, and information about other social protest movements here in the USA.  Send requests to address up top.  For copies on web site see:www.notinourname.net/gi-special/

Bush Ignores Soldiers’ Burials

By Christopher Scheer, Alternet, October 30, 2003

Increasingly, this proclivity on the part of President Bush to avoid the normal duty of a commander-in-chief to honor dead soldiers is causing rising irritation among some veterans and their families who have noticed what appears to be a historically anomalous slight.

“Bush’s inaction is a national disgrace,” said one Gulf War I vet, speaking off the record. “I’m distressed at the lack of coverage – amounting to government censorship – of the funerals of returning U.S. service members.

“Bush loves to go to military bases near fundraisers,” he continued. “The taxpayers pay for his trip, then he rakes in the cash. Soldiers are ordered to behave and be quiet at Bush events. What a way to get a friendly crowd! The bottom line is that if Bush attended a funeral now, it would highlight a few things: 1) There’s a war going on, stupid; 2) There are bodies flying home in coffins censored by the Pentagon

‘Something’ Killed An M1A1 Abrams Tank In Iraq – But What?

Mystery Behind Aug. 28 Incident Puzzles Army Officials

October 27, 2003, By John Roos, Special to the Army Times

Shortly before dawn on Aug. 28, an M1A1 Abrams tank on routine patrol in Baghdad “was hit by something” that crippled the 69-ton behemoth.

Army officials still are puzzling over what that “something” was.

According to an unclassified Army report, the mystery projectile punched through the vehicle’s skirt and drilled a pencil-sized hole through the hull. The hole was so small that “my little finger will not go into it,” the report’s author noted.

The “something” continued into the crew compartment, where it passed through the gunner’s seatback, grazed the kidney area of the gunner’s flak jacket and finally came to rest after boring a hole 1∏ to 2 inches deep in the hull on the far side of the tank.

As it passed through the interior, it hit enough critical components to knock the tank out of action. That made the tank one of only two Abrams disabled by enemy fire during the Iraq war and one of only a handful of “mobility kills” since they first rumbled onto the scene 20 years ago. The other Abrams knocked out this year in Iraq was hit by an RPG-7, a rocket-propelled grenade.

Experts believe whatever it is that knocked out the tank in August was not an RPG-7 but most likely something new — and that worries tank drivers.

Terry Hughes is a technical representative from Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., who examined the tank in Baghdad and wrote the report.

In the sort of excited language seldom included in official Army documents, he said, “The unit is very anxious to have this ‘SOMETHING’ identified. It seems clear that a penetrator of a yellow molten metal is what caused the damage, but what weapon fires such a round and precisely what sort of round is it? The bad guys are using something unknown and the guys facing it want very much to know what it is and how they can defend themselves.”

The soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Division who were targets of the attack weren’t the only ones wondering what damaged their 69-ton tank.

Hughes also was puzzled. “Can someone tell us?” he wrote. “If not, can we get an expert on foreign munitions over here to examine this vehicle before repairs are begun? Please respond quickly.”

While it’s impossible to determine what caused the damage without actually examining the tank, some conclusions can be drawn from photos that accompanied the incident report. Those photos show a pencil-size penetration hole through the tank body, but very little sign of the distinctive damage — called spalling — that typically occurs on the inside surface after a hollow- or shaped-charge warhead from an anti-tank weapon burns its way through armor.

Spalling results when an armor penetrator pushes a stream of molten metal ahead of it as it bores through an armored vehicle’s protective skin.

“It’s a real strange impact,” said a source who has worked both as a tank designer and as an anti-tank weapons engineer. “This is a new one. … It almost definitely is a hollow-charge warhead of some sort, but probably not an RPG-7" anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade.

The well-known RPG-7 has been the scourge of lightly armored vehicles since its introduction more than 40 years ago. Its hollow-charge warhead easily could punch through an M1’s skirt and the relatively thin armor of its armpit joint, the area above the tracks and beneath the deck on which the turret sits, just where the mystery round hit the tank.

An RPG-7 can penetrate about 12 inches of steel — a thickness far greater than the armor that was penetrated on the tank in Baghdad. But the limited spalling evident in the photos accompanying the incident report all but rules out the RPG-7 as the culprit, experts say.

Limited spalling is a telltale characteristic of Western-manufactured weapons designed to defeat armor with a cohesive jet stream of molten metal. In contrast, RPG-7s typically produce a fragmented jet spray.

The incident is so sensitive that most experts in the field would talk only on the condition that they not be identified.

One armor expert at Fort Knox, Ky., suggested the tank may have been hit by an updated RPG. About 15 years ago, Russian scientists created tandem-warhead anti-tank-grenades designed to defeat reactive armor. The new round, a PG-7VR, can be fired from an RPG-7V launcher and might have left the unusual signature on the tank.

In addition, the Russians have developed an improved weapon, the RPG-22. These and perhaps even newer variants have been used against American forces in Afghanistan. It is believed U.S. troops seized some that have been returned to the United States for testing, but scant details about their effects and “fingerprints” are available.

Still another possibility is a retrofitted warhead for the RPG system being developed by a Swiss manufacturer.

At this time, it appears most likely that an RPG-22 or some other improved variant of the Russian-designed weapon damaged the M1 tank, sources concluded.  The damage certainly was caused by some sort of shaped-charge or hollow-charge warhead, and the cohesive nature of the destructive jet suggests a more effective weapon than a fragmented-jet RPG-7.

In the end, a civilian weapons expert said, “I hope it was a lucky shot and we are not part of someone’s test program. Being a live target is no fun.”

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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.   www.traveling-soldier.org/

Odious Odierno Babbles Again

MAUREEN DOWD, October 30, 2003, NY Times

In a briefing piped into the Pentagon on Monday from Tikrit, Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno called the insurgents “desperate” eight times.  But it is Bush officials who seem desperate when they curtain off reality. They don’t even understand the political utility of truth.

Turkey Pres. Says Troops Issue “Closed;”

No Help Coming

Turkey’s President  Ahmad Necdet Sezer considers the controversial issue of deploying Turkish troops in neighbouring Iraq as “closed.”

It was the first time a Turkish statesman had indicated a serious setback in the deployment plan.

“For me this question is closed,” Sezer said on Wednesday at a reception marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish republic.

Gunnery Range Goes To Pot

Reuters reports that 983 marijuana plants were found growing on an artillery range in Nicolet, Quebec. The base is surrounded by barbed wire, tall fences and warning signs, but none of that kept marijuana farmers away and may have even given them a sense of security about their illegal crop. Military police seized the plants and are trying to determine who is responsible.

Investigators believe the plants were being grown with the idea of selling the marijuana in the United States, where its street value is double what it is in Canada. Police, who once found pot plantations hidden in the wilderness, now are searching semi-rural and urban areas for illegal plants. Presumably, they’ll also look closer at secluded areas of government installations.   (Army Times)

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

Iraqis Celebrate Resistance Victories

“The Americans are pigs. We will hold a celebration because this helicopter went down — a big celebration,” said wheat farmer Saadoun Jaralla near the crash site. “The Americans are enemies of mankind.”

Reuters, November 2, 2003

In Falluja, residents said a roadside bomb had hit a convoy of U.S. soldiers in civilian vehicles.  At least one vehicle was ablaze at the scene, where crowds gathered to celebrate and shout anti-U.S. slogans. Television pictures showed a gleeful youth wearing a U.S. Army helmet. Others danced on wreckage.

Iraqis also celebrated the downing of a US Chinook helicopter by the Iraqi resistance.

Iraqis In Fallujah Stomp Cops

By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer, 10.31.03

In Fallujah, a center of Sunni Muslim resistance 40 miles west of the capital, a strong explosion rocked the center of the city at midday. Heavy, black smoke could be seen billowing from the mayor’s office.

Police said that following the explosion, residents shouted at the authorities that their neighborhood had become a target because the U.S.-appointed mayor and other officials worked there.  Civil defense officer Ahmed Khalil said police shot and killed a resident during the ensuing argument.

Later, residents angered by the police action broke into the smoldering building and looted the mayor’s office. They eventually dispersed when U.S. Humvees arrived with helicopters patrolling overhead.

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no native American criminal class, except Congress.  Mark Twain

No Shit

Wall St. Journal, Oct. 30, 2003, Albert R. Hunt

The Iraq war us going badly and the rationalizations are even worse. First, let’s face up to reality. “We are at war” notes former United Nations ambassador Richard Holbrooke.  ”People are getting killed every day.”  The press should cease referring to this as the post-war stage.

OCCUPATION REPORT

“American Don’t’ Have Real Control Over Iraq”

Wall St. Journal 11.3.03

The Iraqis’ lack of confidence in the coalition’s ability to ensure security was of full display Saturday, when pamphlets warning of a “day of resistance” in Baghdad led thousands of Iraqis to stay home from work and keep their children out of school. The usually bustling city resembled a ghost town, with its roads, restaurants, and markets largely devoid of anyone except security personnel.

Indeed, some coalition officials said privately that the militants’ success in emptying Baghdad despite American assurances the city would be safe shows the guerrillas are beginning to accomplish their primary goal: persuading ordinary Iraqis that the Americans don’t have real control over Iraq.

Cracking Down On A Cleric

David Ignatius (Washington Post, October 31, 2003)

In a high-stakes escalation of U.S. strategy in Iraq, the Bush administration has decided after an intense internal debate to work with Iraqi security forces to crack down on the radical Shiite Muslim leader Moqtada Sadr.

The move could widen the anti-U.S. sentiment in Iraq, but administration officials felt they had no choice.  At a time when Shiite members of the Iraqi Governing Council are facing death threats, the administration concluded it had to impose law and order-even at the risk of alienating some of its Shiite allies.

Iraqi Child Crushed By US Tank

By Nurah Tape, 02 November 2003, Al Jazeera

A six-year-old Iraqi child has been crushed to death by an American tank.

The incident was said to be reminiscent of scenes caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine as the child was crushed underneath the tank’s tracks.

The tragedy occurred during clashes between US troops and Iraqi civilians in the Abu Ghraib area, on the outskirts of Baghdad on Friday.

Locals said skirmishes developed in the market area of the town twice in three days, and by Sunday night military bulldozers had demolished stalls set up near the roadway

Iraqis walk in front of US soldiers in Abu Ghraib during clashes

Reports indicate that up to 1000 civilians were protesting the occupying forces’ imprisonment of Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison, when fighting broke out near the market place and police station on Friday.

The crowd began burning tyres and waved religious banners, including one reading: “Ramadan makes you closer to God”.

However, it is unlikely the American media will report the death of the child since the US military only releases figures of US casualties and rarely keeps records of Iraqi occupation deaths

“We do not provide information on Iraqi casualties”, the spokeswoman told Aljazeera.net.

However the American-based New Trend Magazine quoted a report by the Washington-based NPR about how the child had been killed by the US tank.

“First reports indicated that these were clashes between civilians and US troops somewhat like the Intifada in Palestine.  During the demonstrations a US tank crushed a six-year-old Iraqi child,” reported NTM.

Centcom officer, Sergeant Major Louis Madson, said it was “another terrible tragedy”, but could not confirm whether the child crushed by a tank was amongst the 14 casualties.

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

Amazing Coincidence;

Bush Took $500,000 From Corporations That Got War Contracts Long Before War Began

(New York Times, October 31, 2003)

Executives, employees and political action committees of the 70 companies that received government contracts for work in either Iraq or Afghanistan contributed slightly more than $500,000 to President Bush’s 2000 election campaign, according to a comprehensive study of the contracts.   

DoD Strikes (Out) Again;

Identifies Man Dying Of Leukemia As Leader of Iraq Resistance

(Washington Times, October 31, 2003)

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a top aide to ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, is dying of leukemia and cannot be playing any major role in orchestrating the current wave of attacks, according to sources familiar with the old regime’s functioning.   U.S. defense officials have claimed that al-Douri had been masterminding the strikes.

Arrogance At White House

(Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2003)

Congress is about to hand President Bush a big victory by approving the money he wants for Iraq, but privately many lawmakers are fuming. It is not the first time the administration has been accused of being too arrogant to consult with Congress, too unwilling to share information-and too ham-handed at congressional relations to massage Capitol Hill’s powerful egos.

War Is Good Business;

(Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, October 31, 2003)

By paying civilians to handle military tasks, the Bush administration is freeing up U.S. troops to fight.  But the use of contractors also hides the true costs of war.  Their dead are not added to official body counts.

Their duties-and profits-are hidden by closemouthed executives.  And as their coffers and roles swell, companies are funneling earnings into political campaigns and gaining influence over military policy-even getting paid to recommend themselves for lucrative contracts.

McCain: Air Force Brass Tried To Dupe Congress On Tankers

(Chicago Tribune, October 30, 2003)

Sen. John McCain accused the Air Force of trying to dupe Congress about the threat of corrosion to its refueling planes, a key point in its multibillion-dollar plan to lease replacement aircraft from Boeing. After McCain raised the possibility of a subpoena, the Air Force turned over information that showed significantly lower levels of decay than previously reported.

Memo Confirms Rumsfeld “Utterly Incapable”

Gideon Rose, Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2003

The managing editor of Foreign Affairs writes that Donald Rumsfeld’s leaked memo shows that the defense secretary sees the true dimensions of the problem at hand but appears utterly incapable of understanding how to solve it.

The possibilities the memo floats-a leaner and more agile U.S. military, pressure on the madrasas’ funders, covert operations to “entice” the madrasas “to a more moderate course”-are all essentially negative.

They focus on coercion or manipulation, displaying the cynical worldview captured in the Vietnam-era quip “grab ‘em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow.”

Iraq: Rats Abandoning The Stinking Shit

E. J. Dionne Jr. (Washington Post, October 31, 2003)

President Bush never expected to get a hearing from foreign policy doves, but now he has lost many hawks who might have supported him. They cannot understand why his administration prepared so badly for the occupation of Iraq, why it was so ready to alienate allies and why it did not prepare Americans for how costly its ambitions would prove to be. “This is a political problem for Bush.”

AFGHANISTAN: THE FORGOTTEN WAR

Rebels Capture District Headquarters, Seize Arms In Eastern Province

Agence France-Presse, November 1, 2003

ISLAMABAD, Nov 1 (AFP) – Rebels Saturday seized control of a district headquarters in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province, took government arms and set fire to the building before leaving, private Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported.

The attackers occupied Watapur district headquarters, some 35 kilometers (around 22 miles) northeast of provincial capital Asadabad, for two hours but did not kill or hurt any official, the Pakistan based agency said.

They however warned the local administration officials to leave the area and never come back, AIP said, quoting local sources.

Afghan Leader Told U.S. About Abuses, Aide Says

(Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2003)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told U.S. military commanders more than a year ago that militias working for U.S. troops were committing abuses against villagers and that their actions were undermining the effort to combat terrorism, the president’s spokesman said.  

The militia fighters, who are paid to guide U.S. forces, have continued to assault and rob villagers including during a search operation last week in the village of Dai Chopan, spokesman Jawed Ludin said. (Why not?  Bush is the perfect role model for assaulting and robbing.  Who can blame the stooges for following the masters example?)

OCCUPATION PALESTINE

Top Israeli Officer Says Occupation Won’t Work

(Washington Post, October 31, 2003)

Israel’s senior military commander, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, told columnists for three leading newspapers this week that Israel’s military tactics against the Palestinian population were too repressive and were fomenting explosive levels of “hatred and terrorism” that might become impossible to control.

In remarks that suggested a dramatic split with the approach of the current government, Yaalon said that crackdowns, curfews and roadblocks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were crippling the lives of innocent Palestinians and that the military’s tactics were now threatening Israel’s own interests.

NOT A PARODY

“Last week, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) announced that soldiers from the undercover unit Duvdevan had liquidated Ahmed Bader, describing him as ‘the head of the Hamas military wing in Hebron.’

Seven weeks earlier, on June 22, we were informed that a force of the Border Police and the Shin Bet security service had eliminated ‘the head of the military wing of Hamas in Hebron.’  On that occasion the part was played by Abdullah Qawasmeh.

Three months before that, on March 18, it was reported that the IDF had terminated Ali Alan, who was also ‘the head of the military wing of Hamas in Hebron.’  Seven months prior to that, on August 28, 2002, it was announced that the IDF had arrested “the head of the military wing of Hamas in Hebron,” Abdel Halek Natshe.

Less than a year before that, in November 2001, the IDF reported that a helicopter-launched missile killed Jail Jadallah – ‘the head of the military wing of Hamas in Hebron.’

Yes, within less than two years Israel liquidated and arrested five people all of whom were described as ‘the head of the military wing of Hamas in Hebron.’”

Ran HaCohen 10.27.03

(To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation by a foreign power, go to: www.rafah.vze.com. The foreign army is Israeli; the occupied nation is Palestine.)

CLASS WAR NEWS

CLASS WAR: SCORE ONE FOR OUR SIDE:  An angry South Korean worker holds a riot policeman down at a protest in central Seoul, October 29, 2003. Some 1,000 workers from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions clashed with police on Wednesday as they protested over their ‘unfair’ working conditions as well as the government’s decision to send additional troops to Iraq. (REUTERS)

Capitalism At Work:

Corporate Greed Stopped Cal Firefighters From Getting Military Help

(USA Today, October 31, 2003)

Some California residents-including a congressman whose home burned down-are questioning whether state officials could have controlled the largest and deadliest wildfire during its first days if they had sought help more quickly.  The Pentagon was prepared to send air tankers to San Diego, but a law requires states to hire aircraft from private companies before they can seek help from the military.

If printed out, this newsletter is your personal property and cannot legally be confiscated from you.  ”Possession of unauthorized material may not be prohibited.”  DoD Directive 1325.6 Section 3.5.1.2.

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