17/02/04 GI Special #2.28: Some Home Truth
GI Special: thomasfbarton@earthlink.net 2.17.04 Print it out (color best). Pass it on.

GI SPECIAL 2#28

IMPOSSIBLE MISSION—HOPELESS SITUATION BRING
THEM ALL HOME NOW!


US forces patrol Baghdad in sandstorm Feb. 15, 2004. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

SOME HOME TRUTH

From: P****@aol.com

To: GI Special

Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2004 11:05 AM

Subject: Re: new reader

No, R**** isn’t home yet [from Iraq] sometime in April from what I read BUT you know how that goes. I passed your E-mail [GI Special] on to my sister who lives in Gonzales, Louisiana yesterday, she loved it. She hates this whole damn Iraq deal worse than me I think. She does not hide the fact that she hates Bush & thinks he is an idiot. I think people are starting to realize this now better late than never…….. Anywho, Thanks a million & have a good day.

P*****

From: P****@aol.com

To: GI Special

Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2004 5:26 PM

Subject: Re: new reader

Thomas just to add a note to that other E-mail, What is VERY discouraging is when I get an E-mail from my son, thinking he is okay & glad to know he is okay & NOT EVEN 3 hours later I hear on the news or on my AOL Alert that a soldier was just killed from his unit so then I am back to square one wondering & waiting for that damn dreaded phone call that all of us who has a son or daughter in the service hates to get.

When we hear it is not them we breathe a sigh of relief but then our heart breaks for the other families of the deceased. I live & breathe the Internet for the truth as to what is REALLY going on & not believing what Bush is TRYING TO MAKE US believe that is NOT Going on in Iraq…….. A Soldier’s Mom for the 1/37th Armored Division

Word it anyway you like Thomas!!!!!!!!!!!

(Comment: Changing one word would be a desecration. There is more home truth here than in all the speeches George Bush has given his entire life. T) Time For Action: What Military Families Can Do To Help Stop This War: You’re Invited To Help Make History At Ft. Bragg

From: www.traveling-soldier.org/1.04.march20.php

There was near unanimous consent for holding the demo in Fayetteville, near Ft. Bragg, because of the importance of reaching out to members of the armed services.

The largest anti-war demonstration at a military base since the war started is coming to Fayetteville, North Carolina. Below is a report about on the organizing done by the North Carolina Peace Coalition by veteran and anti-war activist Lou Plummer. We have a chance to make a little history here. Would you be willing to help us in Fayetteville with this?

Peace groups from across North Carolina met on Saturday to plan for an action on March 20.

There was near unanimous consent for holding the demo in Fayetteville, near Ft. Bragg, because of the importance of reaching out to members of the armed services.

Groups represented included local grassroots peace coalitions, campus antiwar groups, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Quaker House and the International Socialist Organization.

I’ll be visiting New Bern and Chapel Hill to encourage members of those groups to come to Fayetteville on the 20th.

The message for the event, arrived at by committee, is Support the Troops for Real; Money for Jobs, HealthCare and Education, Not for Wars and Occupations.

The “s” at the end of occupation is because there were several groups there who advocated for more attention for the occupation of Palestine.

Most present agreed that security and discipline are of paramount importance among our folks at the demo in order to have a safe and successful event.

There was wide support for the speakers from the platform being primarily vets and members of military families, although there will be some time for others as well. We will have folks who wear two hats (like vets who are also trade unionists) to present a dual message.

Activists from across the state are working on this in a spirit of unity wherever possible.

We need your help and participation.

Lou Plummer Fayetteville Peace With Justice Military Families Speak Out Bring Them Home Now! Feel free to give me an email with questions at: lou.plummer@mac.com

(For more see the article “Military Families and Veterans Say Bring Them Home Now” at www.socialistworker.org.)

Fallen Soldier’s Mother Says Her Son ‘Died For Absolutely Nothing’

By John Tredrea , Staff Writer, 02/12/04: (Hopewell Valley News, New Jersey) Generous, compassionate, warm, piercingly intelligent and insightful, frank and open about his feelings, and fun loving.

That is how Army 1st Lt. Seth Dvorin, 24, who was killed in Iskandariyah, Iraq on Feb. 3, is remembered by his grieving family. But their tumultuous emotional mix is replete with stinging anger and frustration, as well as overwhelming sorrow.

“My son died for absolutely nothing,” Lt. Dvorin’s mother, Sue Niederer, declared with quiet, forceful bluntness in her Hopewell Township home on Lake Baldwin Drive Friday. Ms. Niederer blames President George W. Bush personally for her son’s death.

“Seth died for President Bush’s personal vendetta,” she said. “Bush put us where we should never have been. We’re not even in a declared war.”

Ms. Niederer says the growing national controversy over the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq proves that “we have a very big problem in this country. If the intelligence on which this war was based is as inefficient as it now appears to have been, there is something is seriously wrong here.”


Shown from left are Seth Dvorin’
s sister, Rebekah Dvorin; his mother, Sue Niederer; his stepfather, Greg Niederer; his stepgrandmother, Florence Sapir; and his grandfather, Jack Sapir. Photo by John Tredrea

Ms. Niederer and other members of Lt. Dvorin’s family also are upset that he may have been trying to diffuse an unexploded bomb when he was killed. He had no training in defusing bombs, they said.

“We’re getting mixed stories from the Army, to say the least,” Ms. Niederer said sardonically. “You won’t get anything from them. They’ll just tell you it’s all under investigation. One officer I spoke to told me Seth was handling the bomb, attempting to deactivate it, when it went off, killing him. It took off a piece of his skull. Another officer told me that there is no way, absolutely no way, he was touching the bomb.”

Ms. Niederer’s admiration of her son was profound. “It’s a great loss,” she said. “What can I tell you? He was a great guy. Friendly. Warm. Kind-hearted. Very intelligent – that boy was smart as a whip. He was fun loving. He loved life and he enjoyed it. He liked to be with people and do things for them. He loved skiing and snowboarding, they were really big with him. And he loved his Mustang. I’ll tell you the kind of son he was to me: He was the kind to tell you he loved you, then cry after he said it.”

Lt. Dvorin was married less than six months. He and his wife, Kelly Harris Dvorin, were married at Fort Drum, his stateside base near Watertown, N.Y. Ms. Dvorin lives in Watertown.

“Their wedding was Aug. 26, five days before he shipped out to Iraq,” Ms. Niederer said. “Kelly is a widow at age 25.”

Both Ms. Niederer and her 27-year-old daughter Rebekah Dvorin used the same phrase in describing Lt. Dvorin. “He put himself before other people.”

“How he died certainly proves that,” his mother said. “He died a hero – he saved his men’s lives – but he died in vain.”

She said that, as she understands what happened from the confusing, sometimes contradictory, stories she has heard from the Army, her son was in the lead truck of a convoy that had been sent out to look for undetonated bombs and to disable any it found.

“There was a suspicious object lying in the middle of the road and they stopped the convoy,” Ms. Niederer said. “Seth and the driver got out to see what it was. When Seth realized it was probably a bomb, he sent the driver back to the truck and waved everyone away. Then the bomb, which obviously was a booby trap, was remotely detonated, killing him.”

Ms. Niederer is outraged that her son was put in the position of dealing with the bomb in the first place.

“His training was in air defense artillery,” she said. “He had no training in defusing bombs. Why wasn’t an expert handling this? What’s particularly amazing to me is that this was a mission to defuse bombs and there apparently was no expert in that area in the lead vehicle. Since there wasn’t, why weren’t they rerouted around that bomb? I want answers. I’m not going to just be quiet. If I speak up, maybe someone else’s son won’t die for nothing the way my son did. If I don’t speak up, then he will really have died completely in vain.”

Weeping profusely, Rebekah Dvorin said, “My brother? He was the best friend I ever could ask for. I’ll treasure his memory the rest of my life. You could talk to him about anything. He was always there for me. I believe he died in vain, to settle President Bush’s vendetta. I love and truly miss him.”

Greg Niederer, Lt. Dvorin’s stepfather, choked hard on his tears and only was able to say, “Seth was one of the best you could ask for. I watched him grow up. It’s such a shame, to see what’s happened to such a nice young man.”

“It is indeed,” agreed Lt. Dvorin’s stepgrandmother, Florence Sapir. “War used to be an honorable thing. This one is as far from that as you can get. Seth died in vain. So did the more than 500 other soldiers who died over there. They died for nothing.”

Seth Dvorin was a 1998 graduate of South Brunswick High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Rutgers University (Livingston College) in 2002 and enlisted in the Army right after graduating from college. He graduated from Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Ga., and received his commission on Jan. 17, 2003. He also graduated from Airborne and Air Defense Artillery Schools, and was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., as part of the 10th Mountain Division, Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

Sue Niederer said her son talked about going into the Army right after high school, but his family told him he had to go to college first. She said her son dreamed of a career in the FBI or CIA and was persuaded by an Army recruiter that he would have a better chance of reaching that goal if he were a military veteran.

“He also was promised that he would never go to combat,” she said. “If he was in a war area, they told him, he would not be up front. My reaction to his going to Iraq was negative, to say the least. Seth’s superior officer at Watertown also was against it. He told his superiors that Seth was still too wet behind the ears for that. He begged them not to send Seth. But they told him he was needed over there, and he went.”

Ms. Niederer said that, since learning of her son’s death, she asked U.S. Congressman Rush Holt, D-N.J., how many wives, husbands and children of U.S. congressmen and senators actually are in a war zone in Iraq.

“You know what he told me? Not one. Somebody tell me how fair that is,” she said.

She put her head in her hands. “He was my son,” she said. “I want his helmet. Why didn’t he have a better helmet? I want his helmet.”

AT HOPEWELL VALLEY CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, where Sue Niederer is a substitute teacher, students and teachers sent Lt. Dvorin messages of support and care packages this year.

“One day in early December, Ms. Niederer was covering my classes as a substitute teacher while I attended a workshop. Several of my students asked her why she looked so down and depressed,” said teacher Alan Sattler on Tuesday. “Sue proceeded to tell them that her son was in Iraq and that his Army unit had been attacked twice since he had been there.

“The students volunteered to write letters to his unit. One student in particular, Eren Akyar, brought in a large American flag that he had hanging from his ceiling. Eren asked me if the class or classes could sign it and send it over to Seth. I said ‘no problem’ and I left the flag and some markers out so the remainder of my classes could sign it if they wished.

“It turned out that many of the students felt connected to Seth and his unit and wrote some really wonderful messages. The general sentiment from my classes was that ‘we really appreciate what you’re doing over there.’

“When Eren and his classmates presented Sue with the flag she was really touched and gave several of the students a big hug.

“Apparently Seth and his unit really appreciated the flag and he hung it in his tent. Sue brought in a picture of Seth and his unit wearing Santa hats in appreciation for the flag. “As it turns out, we were just getting ready to have the classes send another batch of letters when he was killed. Sue came to school that day and said she would give the kids another name for them to write to. The letters really boosted their morale, so we will try to write as soon as we can.”

Mr. Sattler said other teachers have sent care packages (Linda Towner and Ellen Davila). Some have sent letters with a message similar to that of the students – “We appreciate what you’re doing, be safe, and come home soon.”

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/

IRAQ WAR REPORTS:

TIGRIS IRAQ 2004? DELTA VIETNAM 1968? SAME OLD SAME OLD: BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW


A U.S. army gunner in a helicopter convoy transporting U.S. top administrator Paul Bremer to Baghdad from Karbala Feb. 16. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Roadside Bomb Kills U.S. Soldier In Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq February 16, 2004, The International Herald Tribune A roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier Monday in central Baghdad and gunmen ambushed a car carrying American civilians south of the capital, killing one and wounding three others, the U.S. military said.

Another American soldier was wounded in the Baghdad attack, which occurred about 9:20 a.m. The victims were part of a three-vehicle military police patrol from the 1st Armored Division, which is due to leave Iraq in the coming weeks and be replaced by the 1st Cavalry Division.

IED In Downtown Baquaba: One U.S. Soldier Lost

2.16.03 By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

A roadside bomb exploded at about 9:40 a.m. in the center of Baqouba, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, killing an American soldier from Task Force Iron Horse, the 4th Infantry Division said. One of the wounded was critically injured and the other three were in guarded condition, the military said.

Two Iraqis were arrested, including one who had a cell phone that may have been used to detonate the bomb, according to Master Sgt. Robert Cargie, a division spokesman in Tikrit.

The latest deaths bring to 540 the number of U.S. service members have died since the United States launched the Iraq war in March. Most have died since President Bush declared an end to active combat May 1.

Resistance Launches Coordinated Attack On Two U.S. Convoys In Baghdad

February 15, 2004, AP

BAGHDAD, Iraq Two U.S. convoys were attacked less than a mile apart in Baghdad on Sunday, and U.S. soldiers in one of the attacks opened fire, killing an Iraqi driving nearby and wounding six others, witnesses and hospital officials said.

One U.S. Military Police officer was among those wounded in Saturday’s assault, said Col. William Darley, a military spokesman.

A roadside bomb went off as a U.S. military patrol passed in western Baghdad, causing no injuries. The American soldiers opened fire in response, shooting three vehicles, witnesses said. One Iraqi was killed and six wounded, hospital officials said.

``I was driving near the U.S. convoy when I heard an explosion. Then the U.S. soldiers randomly opened fire,’’ said Kadhum Salih, a teacher who was wounded in the left hand. About half-mile away, gunmen attacked a U.S. convoy on a highway at about the same time, setting one of the vehicles ablaze. Witnesses said American soldiers pulled three foreigners from an SUV.

The convoy was made up of a military Humvee and two sport utility vehicles, the sort used by American civilians and officials in Iraq. The SUV was burned, its hood pockmarked with bullet holes.

TIME’S RUNNING OUT: BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE


U.S. soldier in front of damaged cars after bomb exploded in Iskandariya south of Baghdad, February 10. (REUTERS/Faleh Kheiber)

Vehicle Crash Kills U.S. Soldier Near Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq 2.15.04 (AP): An 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper died of injuries suffered when his vehicle overturned near Baghdad, the U.S. military said Sunday. The soldier, whose name was not released, died Saturday night at the 31st Combat Support Hospital where he was taken after the accident, the statement added.

U.S. Christian Missionary Preachers Ambushed

2.16.04 By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

The U.S. military said Monday that gunmen killed an American Baptist minister from Rhode Island and wounded three other pastors in a weekend ambush south of the capital.

In the ambush Saturday, gunmen in a sedan opened fire on a taxi carrying Americans from a Baptist religious group from the site of the ancient city of Babylon to Baghdad, the U.S. command said.

The Rev. John Kelley, 48, of Rhode Island, was killed and three Baptist ministers – from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York – were wounded, according to a spokesman for Kelley’s family.

The spokesman, Roland Vukic, said Kelley and about 10 other pastors from the New England area left Feb. 6 to help start a church in Baghdad.

TROOP NEWS

Calling Maj. Ritter Ritter Had It Right; WMDs Bullshit

(The real news here is the turn by Hackworth. Bush is toast.)

By David H. Hackworth 02-09-2004

Like it or not, Maj. Scott Ritter had it right all along.

Most of the rest of us, from the president to his key advisers, such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Wolfowitz and Tenet, to the majority of Congress and to most of the talking heads – including the pre-Iraq War NBC analyst David Kay, who reported WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) behind every Iraqi sand dune – blew it big-time when it came down to the awesome arsenal that Saddam had supposedly squirreled away.

Ritter, the United Nations’ chief weapons inspector in Iraq until 1998, took us all on – virtually alone, against incredible odds – stating, “Iraq is not a threat to the U.S.,” and begging the American people to take charge and not “sit back and allow your government to go to war against Iraq … (without all) the facts on the table to back this war up.”

As per his reputation on training fields and battlefields, this granite-jawed former Marine stood his ground and never flinched. He reminds me of another two-fisted, tell-it-like-it-is Marine, Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, the recipient of two Medals of Honor, who was almost drummed out of the Marine Corps twice: Once in the 1930s for calling Benito Mussolini a “fascist,” and once again a few years later when he rattled the military-industrial complex by daring to declare that “War is a racket.”

Ritter, too, took serious punishment from his critics – and instead of doing proper due diligence or asking hard questions, the media quickly piled on. It was not Fox’s finest hour when that network gleefully painted him as a 21st-century Benedict Arnold – not that he had many prime-time advocates anywhere else. Even CNN’s usually evenhanded Paula Zahn said to Ritter six months before America unleashed its miscalculated military solution on Iraq, “People out there are accusing you of drinking Saddam Hussein’s Kool-Aid.”

Eighteen months later, Ritter has not only survived the relentless ridicule and all the scurrilous attempts at character assassination, he’s clearly been vindicated. And by one David Kay, who dismissed Ritter’s prewar analysis with: “Either he lied to you then or he’s lying to you now. … He’s gone completely the other way. I cannot explain it on the basis of known facts.”

Ritter doesn’t come close to buying Kay’s present-day convenient conclusion – now spun into a pre 2004-election pass-the-buck revisionist chant – that our $30 billion-a-year spook op goofed. Ritter says, “It’s the old story of people goingalong- to-get-along who put their careers ahead of their country.”

Ritter doesn’t let President Bush off the hook, either: “He should rightly be held accountable for what increasingly appears to be deliberately misleading statements made by him and members of his administration regarding the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD.”

I asked Ritter if he felt totally exonerated. “I would feel a lot better if there were a way to reverse the hands of time,” he told me, “so that people would have paid more attention to what I said in the past, and we didn’t find ourselves caught up in this ongoing tragedy.”

What a shame that the president and his platoon of let’s-get-Saddam neocons, Congress and the CIA’s Tenet didn’t listen to the man-in-the-know when he cautioned: “U.S. and Iraqi casualties will be significant. … We can’t go to war based on ignorance.” But go to war we did. And now we’ve filled more than 530 body bags, medevaced thousands of soldiers, caused thousands more to be psychologically scarred, created tens of thousands of Iraqi casualties and stuck ourselves dead center in an everdeepening tar pit.

For sure, people in high places need truth-tellers like Ritter to keep them straight. Had Bush talked to Ritter before opting for pre-emptive war, Bush might have been convinced to rearrange his options, and we might not be in this mess. (Digression into fantasy here. Decision for war made first, reasons for war invented afterwards.) Evaluating intelligence calls for an open mind and sound judgment. Both were AWOL in our political leadership because of a preconceived agenda or an attack of yellow bellyitis that interfered with standing tall.

In either case, it’s time for a reckoning.

My recommendation: Put Ritter on the WMD intelligence probe. We can count on him to tell us the straight skinny, just as he tried to during the fevered, frenzied days of the dance to war.

The address of David Hackworth’s home page is Hackworth.com

GET 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. www.traveling-soldier.org/

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

“The Occupation Authorities Are Trapped”

Tariq Ali, February 14, 2004, The Guardian

The whole world knows that Bush and Blair lied to justify the war, but do they know the price being paid on the ground in Iraq? First, the blood price – paid by civilians and others this week as every week. More than 50 people died on Tuesday when a car bomb ripped through Iraqis queuing to join the police force. The US military blamed al- Qaida loyalists and foreign militants for this and other suicide bombings. But occupations are usually ugly. How then can resistance be pretty?

Second, the price of internal conflict. Religion is the politics of the unarmed opposition to the occupation. What we are witnessing on the streets of Baghdad and Basra is a struggle for power within the Shia community. What should be the character of the new Iraqi state? And, as the UN continues to dither over the timing of elections, when will this come about?

Third, and related to this most pressing question of elections, is the price of confusion. An intricate web of pacts and pay-offs is being constructed between the American occupiers and their assorted interest groups, but how long this will last is an open question.

As the events of this last week have shown, the key issue now is the one of direct elections. Kofi Annan is ready to go into action. The United Nations security council has recognised the puppet government in Iraq. Two weeks ago a gathering in Munich brought France and Germany back on board. The occupation of an Arab country is now backed by most of the northern hemisphere. All that is needed is an official UN umbrella to pretend that it isn’t an imperial occupation and try to effect a compromise with the Shia religious leaders.

Their position is awkward because the armed resistance has forced them to organise mass mobilisations and put forward their own alternative to the occupation. They have demanded immediate elections to a constituent assembly whose members will frame a new constitution. So what might be the result of such elections?

In the past secular politics cut across sectarian and ethnic divisions. The Baath party itself was founded in Basra and its pre-Saddam leadership consisted of many people of Shia origin. It was the combination of Saddam’s repression, the post-1989 turn to religion in north and south and US opportunism (in the shape of money and weapons to the anti- Saddam religious groups) after the first Gulf war that led to the total dominance of the religious leaders in the south.

The two principal leaders of the unarmed opposition, Ali al-Sistani and Moqtada al-Sadr, are vying for popular support. Al-Sadr is hostile both to the occupation and plans to federate Iraq, which he sees as the first step towards Balkanisation and western control of Iraqi oil.

Sistani, who represents the interests of Teheran and is friendly with the Foreign Office in London, has been collaborative but, fearing that he might lose support to his rival, he has demanded an immediate general election. It is he who wants to talk to Kofi Annan so that he is not seen as talking to the despised occupiers. If Annan tells him that elections should be delayed, he might be more willing to fall into line. But if elections are held and result in a Shia majority, might not Iraq go the way of Iran in the late-70s? In terms of religious laws it undoubtedly will. Both Sistani and al- Sadr have demanded the imposition of the sharia.

But it’s not just about politics and religion. Power leads to money and clientelism. There are members of families and tribes linked to the main clerical groups in the south and they are impatient. A great deal will depend on two key issues: who controls Iraq’s oil and how long US/UN troops should remain in the country. As a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the clerical regime in Iran has become a key player. Once part of the “axis of evil”, its close ties with Sistani necessitate a Washington-Teheran rapprochement.

And how better to facilitate this than by dredging up the bogey of the Wahhabite al-Qaida? The US may have sought to blame it for this week’s car bomb attacks. But this ignores the fact that “if you collaborate, then be prepared to pay the price” has been the message of virtually every national struggle over the last century.

In Vichy France and occupied Yugoslavia and later in Vietnam, Algeria, Guinea and Angola, collaborators were regularly targeted. Then, as in Iraq today, the resistance was denounced by politicians and the tame press as “terrorists”. When the occupying armies withdrew and the violence ceased, many of the “terrorists” became “statesmen”.

Some of us who were opposed to the war argued that while US military occupation of Iraq would be easy they would face a resistance on different levels. And, as becomes plainer every day, the achilles tendon of the occupation is its incapacity to control a hostile population. Hence the need for collaborators.

Destroying states by overwhelming military power is one thing. State building is a more complex operation and requires, at the very least, a friendly if not a docile population. Can US primacy be maintained indefinitely in the face of overwhelming hostility? Obviously not, but neither can the US, regardless of which party is in power, afford a setback in Iraq. That would be a major blow against the “empire” and weaken its ability to control other parts of the world. Add to this a small irony: under Saddam, al- Qaida was not present in Iraq. If a few of its members are there now it is because of the Anglo-American occupation.

The occupation authorities are trapped. The occupation is costing $3.9bn a month. Politically, if they permit a democratic election they could get a government whose legitimacy is unchallengeable and which wants them out of the country. If they go for a rigged, Florida-style vote, it would be impossible to contain Shia anger and an armed resistance would commence in the south, raising the spectre of a civil war.

Militarily, the capture of Saddam has not affected the US casualty rate, and the number of nervous breakdowns and suicides in the US army occupying Iraq has reached unprecedented levels. Sooner than anyone could have predicted the occupation has become untenable. Regime changes in Washington and London would be small punishment compared to what is being inflicted on Iraq.

Tariq Ali’s latest book, Bush in Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq, is published by Verso

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.

OCCUPATION REPORT

Liberation Bush Style: Bremer Hints He Personally May Ban Islamic Law

(THANKS TO B WHO E-MAILED THIS IN: B WRITES: Bossman Bremer says: It can’t be law until I sign it. In other words, it’s not a democracy unless I’m dictator!)

2.16.04 By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

Bremer was asked what would happen if Iraqi leaders wrote into the interim charter that Islamic sharia law is the principal basis of legislation. “Our position is clear,” Bremer replied. “It can’t be law until I sign it.”

Bremer must sign all measures passed by the 25-member council before they can become law.

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

Bremer Caught In Stupid, Silly Lie: Says “Outside” Forces Likely In Saturday Attack

February 15, 2004 (AP)

The U.S. administrator for Iraq says he believes fighters from outside the country took part in Saturday’s deadly attack on a police station in Fallujah.

Paul Bremer tells ABC that foreigners were apparently involved. Bremer calls it “sophisticated” and “well-organized.”

Lie Nailed By “Military Officer”

February 15, 2004, AP

Iraqi security officials investigated who was behind one of the most sophisticated guerrilla attacks yet in Iraq — a bold daylight assault by dozens of fighters on a police station in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, in which 25 people were killed, most of them policemen.

A U.S. military officer in Baghdad said the attack’s sophistication pointed to former members of Saddam Hussein’s military.

``This was something put together by people with knowledge of small unit tactics,’’ he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. ``It was a complex, well coordinated attack. This would not be the same tactics that al-Qaida would employ. These are military tactics.’’

MORE:

2.16.04 By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

On Monday, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations chief, said it appeared all the attackers wounded or killed in Fallujah were Iraqis, despite initial reports that foreigners, including Lebanese and Iranians, were involved.

The general said there were indications the attack may have been staged to free four Iraqis held for firing at an Iraqi civil defense bus.

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK


President Bush speaks at the Nu-Air Manufacturing Company as employees Noemi Gonzalez, center, and Steve Martin, right, look on Feb. 16, 2004, in Tampa, Fla. Workers Gonzalez and Martin were placed under arrest on orders of Attorney General John Ashcroft shortly after the meeting ended on charges of giving the President “evil looks.” (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Kerry Says Vietnam Veterans Against The War Wrong On Vietnam, U.S. “Not The Villain”

By Mark Hand. February 09, 2004 Pressaction.com

In Kerry’s campaign book, A Call to Service: My Vision for A Better America, Kerry discusses the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement. On page 42, Kerry writes: “I could never agree with those in the antiwar movement who dismissed our troops as war criminals or our country as the villain in the drama. That’s one reason, in fact, that I eventually parted ways with the VVAW [Vietnam Veterans Against the War] organizations and instead helped found the Vietnam Veterans of America.”

If the United States was not a villain in the “drama” of the Vietnam war, then who is to blame for the million-plus Vietnamese who were killed during the 20-year period of naked U.S. aggression that ended in 1975?

On the next page, Kerry informs his reader that it’s time we stop questioning U.S. foreign policy intentions:

“As a veteran of both the Vietnam War and the Vietnam protest movement, I say to both conservative and liberal misinterpretations of that war that it’s time to get over it and recognize it as an exception, not as a ruling example, of the U.S. military engagements of the twentieth century. If those of us who carried the physical and emotional burdens of that conflict can regain perspective and move on, so can those whose involvement was vicarious or who knew nothing of the war other than ideology and legend.”

This last passage is probably the most unsettling part of Kerry’s book and one that every advocate of the Anyone-But-Bush 2004 election strategy should read before heading to the polling station in November.

In this one passage, Kerry seeks to justify the millions of people slaughtered by the U.S. military and its surrogates during the twentieth century, suggests that concern about U.S. war crimes in Vietnam is no longer necessary, and dismisses the antiwar movement as the work of know-nothings.

Kerry and his comrades in the progressive internationalist movement are as gung-ho about U.S. military action as their counterparts in the White House. The only noteworthy difference between the two groups battling for power in Washington is that the neocons are willing to pursue their imperial ambitions in full view of the international community, while the progressive internationalists prefer to keep their imperial agenda hidden behind the cloak of multilateralism.

www.lfod.com/PIbuttons.htm Warning: Some of their other stuff is really disgusting.

Kerry Doesn’t Regret Vote For War

(THANKS TO B WHO E-MAILED THIS IN: B WRITES: Soldier-killer-in-Chief- Wannabe: “My regret is not the vote,” Kerry said. “My regret is this president choosing the wrong way, rushing to war.”

(Anybody but Bush means anyone whose last name is not Bush, no matter what they stand for, no matter what the contradictions between their words and their actions are. You might as well vote for Cheney – his name isn’t Bush.)

2.15.04 By RON FOURNIER, AP Political Writer

Edwards made light of the front-runner’s long-winded style. “That’s the longest answer I’ve ever heard to a yes-or-no question,” he said after Kerry’s remarks on Iraq.

“My regret is not the vote,” Kerry said. “My regret is this president choosing the wrong way, rushing to war.” (So, slower would have been just fine.)

OCCUPATION PALESTINE

Israeli army armored personnel carrier in action defending freedom and protecting democracy from evil animalistic fanatical Palestinian terrorist die-hard remnants. Cleverly disguised as mother and children, the better to do their fiendish deeds, some are seen here walking near a brave, heroic army checkpoint in the outskirts of the northern West Bank city of Nablus and the nearby villages of Salem and Deir Al Hatab, Feb. 16, 2004.

After the establishment of the new state of Israel on uninhabited land in the Middle East in 1948, millions of so-called “Palestinian” conspirators like these moved into Israel and nearby territory from a secret unknown location where they had been hiding, so they could live under Israeli occupation, menace the new nation, show off for the media, whine endlessly, and cause trouble any way they could think of. The courageous Israeli “Defense” Forces are busy reducing their numbers every day. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

(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

TIRED OF BEING FUCKED WITH #1


Indigenous women with sticks on their hands march by the Panamerican road in Latacunga, Ecuador, some 90 kilometers south of Quito on Monday, Feb. 16, 2004. Indigenous organizations started a nationwide protest, demanding increased spending on public works and a rollback of conservative economic policies designed to meet loan conditions from the International Monetary Fund. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

TIRED OF BEING FUCKED WITH #2


Mexican workers hold portraits of Lenin, Engels and Marx during a protest against the privatization of the energy industry in Mexico City Monday Feb. 16, 2004. Thousands of workers marched through the city’s main streets protesting against the government proposal to privatize the energy industry. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Received:

BW writes:

In the words of Kucinich: “Senator Kerry voted for the war. Senator Kerry supports the occupation. Senator Kerry supports sending another 40,000 troops to Iraq,” Kucinich said. “I’m wondering if the people of this country are ready to trade a Republican war for a Democratic war, because that’s exactly where we’re headed right now.” Those words sound nice but the problem with Kucinich is that he will likely abandon such rhetoric once the nomination matter is settled.

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