15/09/03 GI Special #94: Fallujah Free for a Day
“Thomas F. Barton” <thomasfbarton@earthlink.net>
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003 21:31:07 -0400
Subject: GI Special 94: Fallujah Free For A Day

GI SPECIAL #94

         Fallujah Breaks Its Chains

Armed Resistance Soldiers Openly Take Control At Fallujah Funeral;

Vow To Continue War Against US Occupation;

“We Will Keep Your Blood Warm With The Blood Of The American Killers”

13-Sep-2003, Agence France-Presse

FALLUJAH, Iraq, Sept 13 (AFP) – Angry gunfire crackled through the city of Fallujah on Saturday with heavily-armed tribesmen vowing vengeance on US troops for a “friendly fire” incident that killed nine Iraqi security personnel.

A chorus of Kalashnikovs reverberated around the city as the bodies of the dead were brought to the Hamad al-Mahmud Mosque, opposite police headquarters, for a funeral and burial.

Mourners gathered under tribal banners where they vowed to avenge their lost loved ones — one policeman and eight security guards who were among 12 killed Friday after US troops opened fire on a highspeed police chase.

“We will keep your blood warm with the blood of the American killers,” they chanted.

Many of the scores of gunmen wore masks. A few carried rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers.

An appeal over the mosque loudspeaker to stop firing in order to avoid accidental casualties brought a brief respite.  But as another shrouded body was carried aloft through the streets the firing immediately resumed.

Immediately after the funeral, a group of masked men carrying RPGs and describing themselves as anti-US resistance forces spoke briefly to reporters, reciting verses from the Koran before issuing a chilling warning.

“We will conduct an operation tonight to avenge the martyrs,” one said.

Amid the hails of gunfire, sheikhs and Bedouin tribesmen dressed in black cloaks and white flowing robes paid their respects.

The wooden caskets, covered in the Iraqi flag, were carried out of the Hamad al-Mahmud Mosque after the main afternoon prayers and paraded through the centre of Fallujah as pickups loaded with armed tribesmen cruised the town.

Masked men with RPGs riding pillion on the back of motorbikes followed the cortege.

Onlookers said the men were members of the anti-US resistance in Fallujah, which has seen determined opposition to the US-led occupation virtually since the dictator’s ouster.

The US military apologised earlier Saturday for the shootings.

Three days of mourning have been declared and a “major” strike called for Sunday.

Two US helicopters were briefly visible hovering from a distance but there were no troops on the ground and there was no attempt to enforce the ban on weapons in the street, issued by the coalition in June.  (Suicide is not an effective tactic.)

District patrol chief Lieutenant Colonel Jalal Sabri paid tribute to the independence of his forces and their success in catching criminals.

Asked whether an agreement had been reached to keep US forces out of the area while the mourning ceremonies were underway, he said: “This is what we wished for, this is what we wanted from the beginning from them in Fallujah.”

“So now the police in Fallujah are having to fight a battle on two fronts, one against the criminals and one against the Americans and we just don’t know who to fight.”

Enraged residents said they did not want the Fallujah mayor involved in the ceremony because his office was a symbol of the US occupation of Iraq.

Shortly before the first casket was delivered to the mosque, resident Majid Nasser Jassem al-Mahdidi said locals would escalate their attacks against the Americans until they leave Iraq.

“The Americans came by force, they have stayed by force and they will leave by force,” he said.

(Exactly.  The Iraqis are fighting for their independence.  They are right to do so.)_

Mahdidi said the shootings highlighted how little regard the American troops had for the police in Fallujah because the dead men should have been easily recognised by the vehicles they were driving.

“The reason why they fired shots at the vehicles was because they want the police to fight the resistance, they won’t do that, it’s not their job, their job is to fight the criminals.

“That’s why the Americans fired on our boys.”

Fallujah has been the scene of repeated anti-coalition attacks since US troops shot dead at least 16 demonstrators in late April. This included at least three attacks on Friday.

MORE:

“We Will Continue Our Resistance;”

The Associated Press, 13 September 2003

“We want the Americans to leave our country because they have brought us only death,” said Taleb Hameed, a 30-year-old schoolteacher. “We are fed up with their apologies. We will continue our resistance.”

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) — Gunfire crackled from every corner of Fallujah on Saturday and mourners shouted “America is the enemy of Allah” as angry residents gathered to bury eight Iraqi police killed in a friendly fire incident involving U.S. forces.

As gunfire erupted throughout this city 30 miles west of Baghdad, mosque imam Fawzi Namiq called for an end to the shooting.

“Save your bullets for the chests of the enemy,” he told the crowd through loudspeakers.

In the streets, angry residents roughed up reporters who came to witness the funeral ceremony and burials. A clergyman grabbed one armed man and prevented him from shooting at a departing Associated Press Television News car as it sped from the city. A CNN cameraman was beaten and an Associated Press photographer was hit in the face.

“We want the Americans to leave our country because they have brought us only death,” said Taleb Hameed, a 30-year-old schoolteacher. “We are fed up with their apologies. We will continue our resistance.”

Military spokesman Lt. Col. George Krivo said the Americans only fired after they were “attacked from a truck by unknown forces.”

“Coalition forces,” he said, “immediately returned fire and the subsequent engagement lasted approximately three hours.  (!!!!!)

As the burial ceremony got underway Saturday, some in the crowd shouted, “There is no God but Allah. America is the enemy of Allah.” Tribal leaders and city dignitaries called for a one-day general strike on Sunday and a three-day period of mourning to begin the same day.

A black banner was strung above the one-story Fallujah Protection Force headquarters building and carried the names of the eight dead.  ”The Fallujah Protection Force mourns the martyrdom of its members who have been killed at the hands of American forces,” the banner also read.

U.S. troops directing reconstruction projects from the Fallujah mayor’s office were not there Saturday. Police at the mayor’s office said the Americans’ absence was understandable given Friday’s events.

An Associated Press reporter who saw some of the dead Iraqis said they were in uniform — a blue shirt with insignia. Shell casings left behind and examined by an AP reporter suggested the Iraqis did not fire a shot. None of the AK-47 shell casings used by Iraqi police forces were on the ground. All the casings were those of weapons used by U.S. forces.

Mr Jasim, a non-commissioned police officer, said. “We had our lights flashing and our siren on as we went past the American base. But they put their spotlights on us and then they started shooting us. We shouted at them: ‘We are police. We are police.’ But they just kept on shooting – at our engines, our tires, the glass, the doors.”

Eight policemen in the second car, a pick-up, were killed instantly. Two others in the car were seriously injured. The shooting lasted at least 30 minutes. “This is so very wrong,” Mr Jasim said. “These people are asking us to provide security and then they are killing us.”

IRAQ WAR REPORTS:

Soldier Killed in Iraq Roadside Bombing;

Mosul Ambush Wounds Three, Leg Lost

BAGHDAD, Iraq Sept. 14, 2003 (AP) – A roadside bomb attack on a convoy in the troubled city of Fallujah killed one U.S. soldier and injured three others, the military said.

It gave no further details of the attack

On Saturday night in Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, three soldiers were wounded in an ambush by guerrillas who bombarded them with hand grenades from the top of a building. One soldier had his leg amputated after the attack, two others were less seriously wounded in the legs by shrapnel.

Six US Soldiers Wounded In Two Separate Attacks

13-Sep-2003, Agence France-Presse

BAGHDAD, Sept 13 (AFP) – Six US soldiers have been wounded following two separate attacks involving a hand grenade and an “improvised explosive device” (IED), a spokesman for US-led coalition forces in Iraq said Saturday.

Two soldiers were wounded after a hand grenade attack on a US base in the troubled city of Ramadi, 66 miles west of Baghdad, on Saturday, the spokesman said.

In a separate incident at Hammam al-Alil, near the provincial town of Mosul 246 miles south west of the capital, four soldiers were wounded Friday night in an IED attack on a military convoy.

US Position In Kirkuk Attacked

Dawn (Pakistan), Agence France-Presse, September 12, 2003

An Iraqi civilian was killed and another wounded Friday by US gunfire in the northern oil center of Kirkuk after an American position came under attack by mortar fire and rocket-propelled grenades, medical officials there said.

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

After US Forces Kill Iraqi Cops;

“Everyone Wanting To Take Revenge Against The Americans”

12-Sep-2003, Agence France-Presse

FALLUJAH, Iraq, Sept 12 (AFP) – Anger boiled over in the flashpoint Iraqi town of Fallujah on Friday as residents pressed the US military for both information and the victims’ bodies after the shooting of 10 Iraqi security personnel by US troops.

Relatives and residents staged furious demonstrations outside the governor’s office and police headquarters amid predictions of a new wave of violence against Americans in the town.

A spate of three attacks in barely five hours hit US troops around Fallujah later Friday in what police and relatives warned was an omen of worse to come if the US military failed to trust its Iraqi allies.

“Now we can expect that attacks will increase, because you will have not only what they call the resistance, but also the families of these 10 dead people and everyone else wanting to take revenge against the Americans,” said police First Lieutenant Mahmud Hussein.

He was referring to the strong tribal loyalties which still dominate this deeply conservative Sunni Muslim town and require clansmen to avenge their own.

Ghazwan Khalaf, 19, whose brother Abdul Rahman was one of the 10 police auxiliaries killed in the shooting, gave a similar warning.

“Before, the Americans just had the resistance to worry about, now they have also got the Iraqi police who used to be their allies,” he said.

Lieutenant Hussein said he believed the Americans were aware of the anger they had stoked up in the town which was why they were being so slow to hand over the victims for burial.

“They still haven’t given back the bodies because they are afraid of the reaction,” he said.

Police officers demanded to know how the US-led coalition could expect Iraqis to take responsibility for security when their comrades were gunned down while assisting US troops to stem the armed resistance that has dogged their occupation of the town virtually since Saddam Hussein’s ouster in April.

First Lieutenant Mazen Hamid said the shooting showed that the US military were not serious in living up to the coalition’s rhetoric about handing over security responsibility to Iraqis.

“This shows that the Americans are completely out of control,” he said.

“Maybe they’re trying to prove that the police can’t provide security for the town as a pretext for coming back in and taking control.”

Lieutenant Hamid charged that the US military in Fallujah had never taken the local police seriously, despite US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s repeated insistence on the need for local knowledge and assistance to help root out the opponents of the new Iraq.

“They have refused until now to give us any help. They have not even given us any equipment to protect ourselves,” he complained.

Friday’s friendly-fire shootings were the second here in 48 hours.

On Wednesday, US troops killed one Iraqi policeman and wounded another following a roadside bombing that injured four Americans and triggered a round of gunfire from their comrades, officials and witnesses said.

Following a similar shooting of Iraqi police in Baghdad last month, the coalition’s then interior director, former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, promised a full inquiry to restore the confidence of the force.

But on Friday evening, some 18 hours after the 00:45 am (2045 GMT Thursday) shootings, the US-led coalition had yet to even confirm the deaths in Fallujah.


WINNING MORE HEARTS AND MINDS:  soldier from the 1st Battalion, 22nd infantry regiment, 4th Infantry division in Tikrit, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 15, 2003, stands guard over a suspected resistance fighter during a raid in the early hours of the morning.  (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

TROOP NEWS

Wounded Soldiers Don’t Have Clothes, Can’t Even Call Home;

Red Cross Must Beg For Donations ;

The Bush Gang’s Disgusting Cruelty

Army Times, 9.15.03

The American Red Cross office at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, is seeking donations for patients being treated for injuries received during operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.

The 123 patients have the basic items they need, but could use a few things to make their hospital stays more comfortable, said Barbara Green, Red Cross station manager at Walter Reed.

“We’re especially in need of items like telephone cards so they’re able to call home, luggage that rolls on wheels and comfortable clothing that they can wear “when they’re undergoing physical therapy and other treatment,” she said.

The most-needed clothing items, Green said, are new men’s and women’s T-shirts, shorts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, athletic socks, men’s briefs and boxer underwear and women’s sports bras.

Also on the Red Cross wish list are shower shoes and boxes of note cards with stamps. No food goods are requested.

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.

Nothing To Add

“There wasn’t one scariest moment.  It was the whole war.  I’m definitely not re-enlisting.”

Spc. Paul Melnykowski, Scout, Crazy Horse Troop, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry.  (Army Times 8.25.03)

For the outstanding newspaper front page of the year, so far, see the BRING THEM HOME NOW front page at www.socialistworker.org.

Complaint Filed Against Adjutant General

A former Indiana National Guard spokesman who was transferred for testifying against legislation favored by the Guard’s top officer has filed a complaint with the U.S. Army.

Maj. Rob Palmer, 35, of Indianapolis, said Maj. Gen. George A. Buskirk Jr., 54, transferred him because he spoke against legislation to allow someone without Guard experience to become assistant adjutant general. Palmer was transferred from his job as public affairs officer for the Guard’s 38th Infantry Division.

Buskirk, the state’s adjutant general and top military official, claimed Palmer violated guidelines in his testimony that require public affairs officers to “help Army leaders gain and keep public support.”

At a state senate committee hearing reviewing the law, Palmer told legislators he was speaking as a citizen. He has since resigned from the Guard.

A Funeral At Arlington;

“What they need to do is bring them all home.”

The Times (London), September 10, 2003, From Elaine Monaghan in Washington

In late summer heat, the body of yet another American soldier killed in Iraq is carried into the Arlington National Cemetery. A three-volley, five-rifle salute crackles over the mourners’ heads. A lone bugler play Taps and the family is handed the American flag that covered the coffin.

The funeral on Monday of Darryl Dent, a part-time member of the National Guard, barely registered with the American media and was ignored by the White House. But for President Bush it was a particularly troubling event.

The 21-year-old African-American was the 139th American killed in Iraq since Mr Bush declared major hostilities over on May 1, exceeding the 138 killed in the war itself. Keeping the peace in Iraq had become a deadlier undertaking than winning the war.

Like many Democrats, Vernon Dent blames Mr Bush for his son’s death and thinks the war was a mistake. “I feel like it was wrong, sending young kids out thereto get killed for nothing at all,” he said. “They haven’t found any weapons of mass destruction.”

Other members of Mr Dent’s family from the largely black, overwhelmingly Democratic capital also oppose the war. “You don’t expect your children to get killed in a war we are not even fighting,” his sister, Marion Bruce, said.

The father’s family would have liked to hear from the President, or someone at the White House, a short drive from the spot where Darryl was buried alongside 285,000 American heroes and the likes of President John F. Kennedy.

Mr Dent, 59, who is retired, said that he had tried to talk his son out of joining the National Guard from high school in 1999. He was already a respected member of the Reserve Office Training Corps, an army-funded school programme that introduces students to military life. It launched Colin Powell, the first African-American Secretary of State, on his path.

Darryl loved his training as a “weekend warrior” once or twice a month. He was not afraid to go to war, his father said. Now Mr Dent hates the fact that he was sent to Iraq. “I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it today . . .” He would get no peace until his son’s comrades-in-arms were all back on US soil. “What they need to do is bring them all home.”

Specialist Dent was not an average 21-year-old. Brought up a Baptist, he grew into a model student who beat the odds of Washington’s under funded public school system.

While comforted that Darryl now lies under the flawless grass of Arlington, his parents are left with the knowledge that he had a horrible death in an escort vehicle bringing up the rear of a mail convoy 16 miles northwest of Baghdad.

No one expected him to go to war. But the demands of Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched mainstream forces thin. Weekend warriors and reservists make up nearly 40 per cent of the 110,000 army troops serving in Iraq.

Specialist Dent telephoned his father two weeks before his death. “He told me how hot it was over there and that he loved me, and I told him that I loved him. He said he was going to come home in four months.”

Mr Dent said his son was “no complainer”, that he just wiped the sweat from his brow and kept going. “But I didn’t want him over there. He was my baby boy.”

90 Days Off, Back To War;

At Least 3,000 Face Back-To-Back Tours Under New Rotation Plan

By Jim Tice, Army Times staff writer, 9.15.03

About 3,000 soldiers may be vulnerable to back-to-back deployment as planners prepare the Army for long-term commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan while the service undergoes a radical change to a unit-manning system.

During the transition from the individual replacement system, Army officials say, some troops face possible double tours.

Personnel officials define “back-to-back” either as assignments from an unaccompanied short-tour area, such as Korea; to a deployed unit, such as a brigade in Iraq, Afghanistan or the Balkans; or vice versa. It also describes a soldier moving from one deployed unit to another.

“We are in a new world right now,” said Brig. Gen. Sean J. Byrne, director of military personnel management in the Office of the G-1.

Career managers have identified about 1,000 officers and 2,000 enlisted soldiers who appear to be candidates for back-to-back deployments, according to Byrne.

“These are just people who have been identified, and no action has been taken yet to change their assignments,” he said.

Part of this population includes deployed soldiers such as some in the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq, who have re-enlisted for units that are in the queue for future deployment, such as the 10th Mountain Division.

In other words, they’ll get home from Iraq and head off to their new duty station just in time, in some cases, to head back to Iraq.

Quality of life and personnel tempo will be balanced with operational requirements, and, in most cases, soldiers will be given at least 90 days at home before being reassigned or deployed. (Notice well that “most.” Typical management slithering, meaning who knows how many troops will NOT get 90 days at home.”)

Alabama: Army Linked To Environmental Violations

[New York Times, September 11, 2003]
Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management has cited the Army for violation of its permit to burn chemical weapons at the Anniston Army Depot.

Tricare Troubles

Army Times 8.25.03

Anecdotal reports from Tricare users to military advocacy groups indicate that private-sector doctors are increasingly reluctant to take part in Tricare Standard because of its low reimbursement rates, cumbersome administrative rules and other headaches.

Tricare Standard is widely viewed as the neglected stepchild among the three Tricare options.

Accurate data on the number of Tricare providers in a given area seems important—which makes Pentagon officials’ reluctance to gather such data puzzling.

It’s hared to devise innovative solutions to Tricare Standards’ problems when no one has a firm grip on the basic question of whether sufficient numbers of doctors are working with Tricare, and if not, why not.

Ex-Air Force Academy Officer Says No ‘True Rape’

[Philadelphia Inquirer, September 11, 2003]
Col. Lauri Sue Slavee, formerly in charge of Air Force Academy cadet discipline, told military investigators that she never saw a “true rape” at the institution and that problems were merely a result of a permissive attitude toward drinking and fraternization.

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

General Says Rumsfeld Blindly Lost In Another Vietnam

Criticism Mounts With Costs, Casualties

By Thomas E. Ricks and Vernon Loeb, Washington Post Staff Writers, September 14, 2003

“Robert McNamara for four years of Vietnam going down the toilet was absolutely convinced with a religious zeal that what he was doing was the right thing,” said Thomas E. White, a retired Army general who was fired as Army secretary this year by Rumsfeld. “It wasn’t until 30 years later that it dawned on him that he was dead wrong.  And I think you have the same thing with Don Rumsfeld.”

“He is absolutely convinced that he is right, that his view is correct, so all the rest of this stuff that is floating around is kind of noise, a lot of which he just dismisses out of hand, or he rationalizes somehow as consistent with this plan of his,” White said.

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/

Gunsmoke And Mirrors

By MAUREEN DOWD, New York Times, Sept. 14, 2003

This is how bad things are for George W. Bush: He’s back in a dead heat with Al Gore.

(And this is how bad things are for Al Gore: He’s back in a dead heat with George W. Bush.)

One terrorist attack, two wars, three tax cuts, four months of guerrilla mayhem in Iraq, five silly colors on a terror alert chart, nine nattering Democratic candidates, 10 Iraqi cops killed by Americans, $87 billion in Pentagon illusions, a gazillion boastful Osama tapes, zero Saddam and zilch W.M.D. have left America split evenly between the president and former vice president.

“More than two and a half years after the 2000 election and we are back where we started,” marveled John Zogby, who conducted the poll.

It’s plus ça change all over again. We are learning once more, as we did on 9/11, that all the fantastic technology in the world will not save us. The undigitalized human will is able to frustrate our most elaborate schemes and lofty policies.

What unleashed Shock and Awe and the most extravagant display of American military prowess ever was a bunch of theologically deranged Arabs with box cutters.

The Bush administration thought it could use scientific superiority to impose its will on alien tribal cultures. But we’re spending hundreds of billions subduing two backward countries without subduing them.

After the president celebrated victory in our high-tech war in Iraq, our enemies came back to rattle us with a diabolically ingenious low-tech war, a homemade bomb in a truck obliterating the U.N. offices, and improvised explosive devices hidden in soda cans, plastic bags and dead animals blowing up our soldiers. Afghanistan has mirror chaos, with reconstruction sabotaged by Taliban assaults on American forces, the Afghan police and aid workers.

The Pentagon blithely says that we have 56,000 Iraqi police and security officers and that we will soon have more. But it may be hard to keep and recruit Iraqi cops; the job pays O.K. but it might end very suddenly, given the rate at which Americans and guerrillas are mowing them down.

“This shows the Americans are completely out of control,” First Lt. Mazen Hamid, an Iraqi policeman, said Friday after angry demonstrators gathered in Falluja to demand the victims’ bodies.

Secretary Pangloss at Defense and Wolfie the Naif are terminally enchanted by their own descriptions of the world. They know how to use their minds, but it’s not clear they know how to use their eyes.

“They are like people in Plato’s cave,” observed one military analyst. “They’ve been staring at the shadows on the wall for so long, they think they’re forms.”

Our high-tech impotence is making our low-tech colony sullen.

“It’s 125 degrees there and they have no electricity and no water and it doesn’t make for a very happy population,” said Senator John McCain, who recently toured Iraq. “We’re in a race to provide the services and security for people so the Iraqis will support us rather than turn against us. It’s up for grabs.”

Senator McCain says that “the bad guys” are reminding Iraqis that America “propped up Saddam Hussein in the 80's, sided with Iraq in the Iraq-Iran war, told the people in Basra in ‘91 we’d help them get rid of Saddam and didn’t, and put economic sanctions on them in the 90's.”   (No shit.)

He says we have to woo them, even though we are pouring $87 billion — double the amount designated for homeland security — into the Iraqi infrastructure when our own electrical grid, and port and airport security, need upgrading.

“If anyone thinks the French and Germans are going to help us readily and rapidly,” he says, “they’re smoking something very strong.”

Mocking all our high-priced, know-nothing intelligence, Osama is back in the studio making his rock videos.

The cadaverous caveman has gone more primitive to avoid electronic detection, operating via notes passed by couriers.

Sacrificing Captain Ryan

By Marc Ash,  t r u t h o u t | Essay, 11 September 2003

I’m a surfer. I live in southern California and go surfing to refresh my body and my mind.

A few months back, as I was coming up from the beach, a young man passed me headed the other way. His appearance was noteworthy; he had a shock of red hair and a big smile. We did not speak, nor did we ever become friends. At that moment I did not even know his name. I do now. His name was Ryan Anthony Beaupre. His face appeared in a New York Times montage of U.S. soldiers killed in battle in Iraq. He had been stationed at the nearby Camp Pendleton Marine base. He, too, enjoyed surfing.

The notice read: “Marine Captain Ryan Anthony Beaupre of St. Anne Indiana, age thirty years.”

For American servicemen and women stationed in Iraq, the concept of a quagmire is not a subject for debate. It’s a fact of life, and death. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, Bush Administration officials scoffed at terms like “clearly defined mission” and “exit strategy.” It has not been 150 days, and the original mission, having proven itself to be a scandalous lie, is replaced by public relations banter, and the exit strategy is cancelled until further notice. The mission behind the mission that none dare speak of is: to maintain a plausible military presence in Iraq for as long as the American people are willing to pay billions upon billions of dollars to support it.

If you’re an American soldier serving in Iraq today, the only way out is on a stretcher or in a body bag. Tour of duty assignments have been extended indefinitely for those already in-country, and with the Pentagon and the White House agreeing that no new troops are needed, that means no reinforcements. These men and women are pinned down on an island, in the middle of the desert. They are forfeited, not for freedom or democracy, all of which are sacrificed right along with them. Their lives are discarded for power and for money.

Security Breach Bears Watching

A mother bear and her cub wandered into a top-secret nuclear weapons compound in Russia, raising new concerns about security and fears that terrorists might be able to get their hands on nuclear materials. The Itar-Tass news agency reported the incursion in mid-August and said the incident ended with the bears being chased back into the forest. But the fact they got so close prompted a review of security procedures.

OCCUPATION REPORT

Saddam Bremer

A speaker from Voices in the Wilderness who just returned from Iraq told one story about Iraq today that really sums it all up.

Apparently the only television station in Iraq is run by the provisional authority (the US military.) Every morning Paul Bremer gets on and makes the day’s pronouncements regarding checkpoints, rationing, whatever new rules or laws have been established, etc. Apparently this is exactly what Saddam used to do on Iraqi state run TV. as well.

Iraqis have now taken to referring to their new US appointed leader as Saddam Bremer.

Angry Iraqis Tell Of U.S. Troops Fatal Errors

By KEN DILANIAN and DREW BROWN, Knight Ridder Newspapers, Sep. 10, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Dr. Talib Abdul Jabar Al Sayeed was asleep at home with 11 relatives, he said, when U.S. troops surrounded his house, stormed his gate and began firing.

At least three dozen American soldiers blazed away for more than 60 minutes in the early morning hours of July 31, the British-trained physician recounted recently, pointing to the hundreds of bullet holes that still mark his stately home.

“I shouted at them with all my strength to stop shooting,” said Al Sayeed, 62. “I will open the door. Please give me a chance.”

Eventually, Al Sayeed said, the commanding officer told him he was sorry: They had raided the wrong house. But not before a soldier burst in and struck Al Sayeed with a rifle butt, knocking him down. The soldier kicked him in the ribs – an X-ray later showed they were cracked – and others bound his hands with plastic cuffs as his wife and young nieces cowered in the next room. They also took his three grown sons in for questioning, and they remain in a military jail in the south of Iraq.

Three weeks after they were first asked about it, military spokesmen said they were unable to track down details of the incident.

But his story is one of dozens of tales that angry Iraqis tell of sometimes tragic errors by U.S. troops.  Iraqis and international observers say the American military’s tactics – sometimes directing overwhelming force at houses filled with women and children – have resulted in the detentions of hundreds of innocent people and the deaths of others, although how many is unknown.

They say the military does little to document the raids or the mistakes, and hat the mistaken raids and civilian deaths are creating new enemies as fast as the old ones are eliminated.

Asked about the issue at a recent news conference, L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, said, “The loss of life is a tragedy for anyone involved, but the numbers are really very low.”

When questioned about the basis for that assertion, Bremer acknowledged that he couldn’t say how many civilians coalition troops had killed.

For many Iraqis, it’s a painful irony: As American civilian officials try to teach them about democratic values and respect for human rights, heavily armed U.S. soldiers storm into their homes, arrest people and kill some of them by mistake, all without public accountability or judicial review.

The military says it has imprisoned about 5,500 people, most of whom are held without access to lawyers or relatives.

Among them are Al Sayeed’s sons.  They told their mother during a recent visit that they have never been interrogated and haven’t been told what they are suspected of or when they might be released.  Military officials didn’t respond to questions about them.

An officer of the 3rd Infantry Division, which occupied Baghdad just after fighting some of the major battles of the war, described the soldiers’ burden in a “lessons learned” report for the army in late April.

“(They) have been asked to go from killing the enemy to protecting and interacting, and back to killing again,” he wrote. “The constant shift in mental posture greatly complicates things for the average soldier. The soldiers are blurred and confused about the rules of engagement, which continues to raise questions about force protection while at checkpoints and conducting patrols. How does the soldier know exactly what the rule of engagement is?”

He added: “Soldiers who have just conducted combat against dark skinned personnel wearing civilian clothes have difficulty trusting dark skinned personnel wearing civilian clothes.”

The most common complaints among Iraqis and international observers are that soldiers fire indiscriminately in crowded civilian areas; they frequently mount raids based on faulty information; and they set up poorly marked checkpoints and fire without warning on cars that approach them without stopping.

To those whose homes are raided by mistake, or whose relatives are killed or detained for months without word of their fate, the tactics are indistinguishable from the kind of thing that used to happen under Saddam Hussein.

“I loved the Americans before this happened,” Al Sayeed said. “But now I hate them.  Before, I wanted all of my sons to go to America to finish their studies. But now there is no way I will let them go. This is the freedom they promise us? This is democracy?”

Zahra Khalid Sabry – and hundreds of her relatives, friends and neighbors are asking the same questions.

“They killed him in front of my eyes,” Sabry said, sobbing, on the day her male relatives brought her husband’s body back from the morgue. “I tried to kiss him but they wouldn’t let me.”

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

What Can $87 Billion Buy?

TomPaine.Common Sense, September 13, 2003

On September 7th, President Bush asked Congress for an additional $87 billion for the war in Iraq,

$87b Is More Than The Combined Total Of All State Budget Deficits In The United States

The Bush administration proposed absolutely zero funds to help states deal with these deficits, despite the fact that their tax cuts drove down state revenues.  [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

$87b Is Enough To Pay The 3.3 Million People Who Have Lost Jobs $26,363 Each

The unemployment benefits extension passed by Congress at the beginning of this year provides zero benefits to “workers who exhausted their regular, state unemployment benefits and cannot find work.” All told, two thirds of unemployed workers have exhausted their benefits. [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

$87b Is More Than The Total Cost Of The First 3 Years Of The Medicare Pres. Drug Proposal
[Source: Congressional Budget Office]

Public Rejects Bush Plan For $87 Billion For Iraq;

Democrats Contemptuous Of What Public Thinks;

Will Support Imperial Invasion And War, As Usual

By Richard Morin and Dan Balz, Washington Post Staff Writers, September 14, 2003;

A majority of Americans disapprove of President Bush’s request to Congress for an additional $87 billion to fund military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next year, amid growing doubts about the administration’s policies at home and abroad, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Six in 10 Americans said they do not support the proposal, which the president announced in his nationally televised address last Sunday night. That marks the most significant public rejection of a Bush initiative on national security or terrorism since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In a second rebuff to the administration, more Americans said that, if Congress decides to approve the additional money, lawmakers should roll back the president’s tax cuts to pay for the increased spending, rather than add to the federal budget deficit or cut government spending.

Still, leading congressional Democrats and many of the presidential candidates say they are likely to support the funding.

The public’s judgment of the way Bush is handling international affairs has never been lower, the Post-ABC News poll found. Slightly more than half — 53 percent — approve of the president’s policies abroad, a precipitous fall from 67 percent barely two months ago.

America’s Growing Network Of Bases

[London Daily Telegraph, September 11, 2003]
Some outsiders consider the rapid expansion of American military power across the globe as empire building.   (Imagine that!)

Gee They Figured It Out

Foreign Views Of U.S. Darken  [New York Times, September 11, 2003.]
The world’s sympathy for America following the Sept. 11 attacks has become a vision of the U.S. as an imperial power that defies global opinion through unjustified and unilateral use of military force.

AFGHANISTAN: THE FORGOTTEN WAR

4 Aid Workers In Afghanistan Are Killed In Roadside Execution

[Philadelphia Inquirer, September 11, 2003]
Four aid workers were killed by suspected Resistance fighters in southeastern Afghanistan.  This raises concern about the safety of aid workers trying to accomplish the vital reconstruction work needed for Afghanistan. (No shit.)

Afghan Resistance Embarks On New Strategy:

Small Guerrilla Attacks;

Praying For U.S. Attacks On More Countries

Press Trust of India, New York, September 13

A resurgent Taliban led by the fugitive Mullah Mohammad Omar have embarked on a strategy of small guerrilla attacks intended to frustrate and steadily bleed American forces in Afghanistan and to force the US to spend billions in military costs, two Taliban officials said in an interview.

Hajji Ibrahim, who identified himself as a Taliban commander, told the New York Times in an interview that the group’s goal was to tie down the US in Afghanistan and force it to spend huge sums responding to limited attacks that draw American forces “here to there, here to there.”

He confidently predicted that the US, sapped by a slow, costly and grinding conflict, would abandon Afghanistan after two to three years, the Times said.

“How is it possible that America will continue to do these things for many years?” he asked.

He claimed that American troops were overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan and called for volunteers around the world to aid the Taliban.
Latif said he hoped the US would open new fronts in the campaign against terrorism. “We are offering prayers that they should start in one or two more places,” he said. “When America goes to open one or two more places it will be good for Muslims.”

Afghan Base Fired On

Daily Times (Pakistan), September 13, 2003

Two rounds of small-arms fire were also directed at a guard tower at Bagram on Thursday night but there were no casualties or damage.

CLASS WAR NEWS

Capitalists Shift Health Care Costs To Workers

Health-insurance premiums climbed 13.9% this year, a major study found, marking the third year in a row of double-digit premium increases and the highest jump since 1990.

Moreover, employers are shifting more health-care costs to workers. The average premium an employee pays annually for family coverage is now $2,412, up 49% from three years ago.  For individual coverage, the employee’s average cost has risen 52% from three years ago.

The majority of companies surveyed said they were likely to raise employee premiums against next year.

Employers say they plan to continue to shift more of the cost to employees.  Chad Brown, an eighth-grade science teacher in suburban Denver, found that the premium for family medical coverage at this school district rose 28% this year, just as he added his wife and newborn daughter to the plan.

He now pays about $440 a month toward his coverage.  ”It’s almost like another house payment,” he said.  (Wall St. Journal 9.10.03)

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.

GI Special Index >> Main Index