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News and opinions on situation in Iraq
    
24/3/06 
Letters From Iraq Part 1
  

Suicide, PTSD, Mental Breakdowns and Unending Violence
Part one in an ongoing series of letters from soldiers in Iraq or on deployment orders to go to Iraq.
 
Horror stories of suicide, untreated PTSD and medical conditions, and troops on the edge of a complete breakdown
 
Published by Jay Shaft: Editor-In-Chief/Executive Investigative Editor-Coalition For Free Thought In Media
 
3/22/05
groups.google.com/group/Coalitionforfreethoughtinmedia/msg/bb83f47ef2f2195d
 
These letters have been vetted and verified by over 200 individual vets and over 20 VSOs (Veterans Service Organizations) and veteran’s rights groups, as well as numerous VA service provider groups and support agencies. I have been in contact with members of the DAV, VFW, VFP, VVA, VVAW, IWVO, IVAW, IAVA (formerly Operation Truth), VFCS, VAIW, Am Vets and many other groups.

In no way am I implying an official endorsement of any group or individual. I am merely stating that it has thoroughly made it around to the people who have been of great help and assistance with this work in progress.
 
I have spent over 275 hours on the phone in the last month getting background and verification from every veteran and soldier I was able to contact. I have been preparing many other letters for release, and researching and verifying details in a number of off-record interviews I am conducting. An overwhelming weight of evidence and direct eye-witness reports and experiences will reveal just exactly what is going on in Iraq.
 
There are soldiers in Iraq who are in no way capable of performing their daily duties or any other additional duty details.  The rate of suicides and non-combat gunshot wounds and other “non-combat” accidents is rising alarmingly. This is the raw truth from soldiers in Iraq.  
 
The Nashville, Tennessee Veteran’s Tribune newspaper just published the letters I released from before the deployment in the current (March 2006) issue.  Many other veteran’s websites and newspapers have also published the letters and interviews I am making available.
 
I have been working on this as part of my major production project since July of last year. I went to two different VA Hospitals in my local area and it changed me. I never knew how much pain and agony was occurring every day behind the walls.
 
I was of the opinion that I knew how bad it was at the VA. I thought I knew what I would see. I could not have been more mistaken and uninformed. I saw men and women with their limbs missing, deaf, blind, paralyzed, burned, shot, and even more serious injuries. Who could find anything more serious? Well, I hadn’t gone into the spinal trauma and brain injury wards.
 
I challenge every American to make it their duty to visit for a few hours. Just do it one time if you to really want to see the price of this war. You can’t know what’s going on unless it has really affected you on a personal level.
This war needs to become a personal issue for every American, not just the soldiers, their families, and those who have lives have been touched by a soldier. Everyone must own a part of it before the average people will understand it.

One moreIraq wakeup call for the readers to ponder:
I just read a very revealing article as I was getting my final draft edited. If you don’t believe the Army, Reserves, and National Guard are at the breaking point then this should open your eyes.
Ill-equipped Guard units alarm states
www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0603190409mar19,1,7950508.story?coll=chi-news-hed
Units nationwide have just 8 percent of the flatbed semi-trailers they are authorized to have and 10 percent of the Humvees. Overall, the Guard has only 34 percent of the equipment it is supposed to have, according to Guard officials and the GAO numbers.

The Great and All Knowing Chinese Fortune Cookie of Wisdom says: People are not persuaded by what we say, but by what they understand.
 
I got the fortune last year on my birthday and it still gets a laugh when I read it to soldiers and vets. I wish I could sum things up as neatly and effectively. Read the letters for yourselves and you’ll see Iraq through the eyes of soldiers.
 
Part Two of this ongoing series of Letters from Iraq will include a letter from a combat medic and two letters from truck drivers working the most dangerous supply routes and facing attack and violence every day. They are revealing new details on the facts that they do not have enough trucks and Humvees to go on convoys, or even carry on normal mission critical operations and conduct even simple patrols and security details.
 
Stay tuned for Letters From Iraq Part 2: Playing the Proud Soldier On The Outside While You Are Slowly Dying Inside
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GET ME THE F..K OUT OF HERE
 Letter from SSGT. CRAZY 1OH1
 
Heads up Brother Jay,
 
Hey man, I know I said I’d write before this but it wasn’t on my mind to take that much extra stress on with all the other sh.t going on here. I just didn’t want to have to worry about getting in the sh.t again after all that stuff in the first two months. I really wish I hadn’t put that sh.t out on the message board like I did.
 
Damn if they didn’t get up my wife’s ass after she posted it for me. I sent it to her and I really didn’t think anyone would notice it there on that place hidden in all the other bitching and moaning. Not too surprising that they found out, but it still makes me think I live in a police state or a communist country. Sh.t, I’m not even in the states and I can feel that shit every day over here. 
 
(Editor’s note: He is referring to a letter his wife posted on a discussion board for families with soldiers in Iraq. While I did not see the post, I did receive a partial copy of the letter. The message was mysteriously removed from the board after it had been up for less than five hours. According to his wife, an officer from his unit harassed her by phone about revealing information that might encourage more terrorist attacks.  She says he was threatened and punished with extra duty and longer work hours in retaliation for his honesty about how bad the unit deaths and injuries were.
 
I have independently verified at least two acts of harassment and have been told of several other incidents of a very similar nature in that same unit or command structure. This is something that is becoming a more commonly related story as soldiers start to document their experiences and frustrations on various blogs, discussion boards, with letters of outrage to Congress and Bush, and in interviews with journalists.
 
I am in the process of interviewing 11 different family members who report harassment and vindictive or retaliatory punishment in at least eight different Army Brigades or Divisions. Many families have written letters to Congress or President Bush about the harassment, or threatening and abusive treatment of their loved ones.
 
As far as I know this is not being addressed and dealt with by the Congressional members who are supposed to look out for and defend our soldiers rights. I will not say this is true about every member of Congress, just those not helping the soldiers who need them most.

If you know of a similar incident please e-mail and I will make it a priority to document and expose any type of harassment or abuse of our soldiers.)
 
I know of a few guys who were blogging but it came to a stop. Unless you have your own laptop with a sat card or some way of getting online without the MPS (Editor’s note- I have verified that this means Military Phone System) lines. Anything going out over the KBR lines is really cleaned up so we don’t slip and get our asses fried.
 
Well I got my own laptop now and f..k ‘em if they don’t like it. I needed it to keep in touch with my wife and kids, because we ain’t going near a phone for days at a time now. I need to be able to write her and see the kids’ pictures and videos or else I will go f..king crazy. Hah! I mean crazier than I already am. No sh.t but I am f..ked and plucked, just call me Chuck.
 
Okay, so we do have phones and hot showers, laundry, PXs, good hot food when we are on base, and all those nice cushy things that make war so much fun. The funny thing is that with all the modern conveniences of home, we are still dying and going f..king crazy! It is no comfort to have starched shirts when your buddy’s blood is still under your nails from yesterday.
 
To be real for a minute, I am really going nuts. I feel myself slipping deeper and deeper into this weird kinda numb to it all insanity. I think most of us are really f..ked up now, if we weren’t already when we came back over here. I mean we were in our own private hell just being on a second or third deployment and we knew this was gonna be sh.tty and real bloody.
 
Wow, did I ever call it right before we left. My bros said I was f..king nuts and just paranoid and scared to go back again. I kept telling ‘em that I had a real nasty feeling that a lot of us wouldn’t be coming back alive. I kept saying I really felt like we were going to take a bunch of serious KIAs (killed in action) and WIAs (wounded in action) that would take out some real good men.
 
Man, did they ever scream at me and tell me I was crazy and just trying to get out of the deployment. F..k that, if I had wanted out like that I could have pulled it off, but I would have lost my career and all my years and bonuses. I need that money and deployment pay to make sure my family has a home and my kids get a shot at college.
 
Yeah, that’s why I am over here again. Not because I am proud or happy to serve or any of that other bullshit. I’m here because I can’t fail my family. I have kept them living on a soldiers pay for too long to lose it now and have to go out on the streets. The hard thing is this is all I know. From high school on this is my only job.
 
I wouldn’t even know how to work a civilian job or deal with a boss who wasn’t military. After all this shit I just can’t trust someone who don’t know sh.t about war or serving their country. I would probably kill a boss man that tired to order me around.
 
Damn, am I running off in circles? My point is that this whole thing has made me different than the average man. My life will never be the same and I can never separate my mind from the Army and this God awful f..king war! What the f..k have I become? I just don’t know anymore.
 
F..k this must sound like a bunch of mindless sh.t but I can’t get my words to come out any other way. That should show you how much this sh.t really f..ked up my thinking and thought process. F..k man I gotta get this back on track. Edit this if it sounds too f..ked up, please.
 
Well, to get to the real point I have to make this a big deal. We have lost over 20 guys in my brigade. Please, you have to make sure this gets to all the people back home. WE ARE GETTING OUR ASSES F..KED UP AND WE WANT TO COME HOME AND STOP F..KING DYING!
 
The 101st has lost over 50 soldiers so far. I think that our WIAs are well over 500. I know they sent at least 100 out to Landstuhl (the Military Hospital in Germany that initially handles all the medical evacuations from Iraq). From what I have figured out we have had over 100 evaced because of combat stress and ongoing PTSD that is not being properly addressed.
(Ed- There have been at least 97 soldiers attached to the 101st AD command [this includes soldiers assigned to the 101st operational details from other units] that were killed during this deployment. I have had this verified by several soldiers on mid-tour leave. The death and injury rate is already almost twice as high as the last deployment, and the 101st still has over six months to go.)
 
You should see how some of these guys look after a few days of steady round the clock combat operations. Man, it’s like watching a bunch of walking ghosts. Everybody walks around on high alert, but there’s something missing in their eyes if you take a close look. I know I was looking in the mirror the other morning and it scared the sh.t out of me.
 
I didn’t even recognize myself at first. It scared the f..k out of me because I thought someone else was it the sh.tter with me. When I realized I was seeing my own face I had to sit down on the floor for a few minutes. That’s the same look I keep seeing on other guys faces and thinking that I’m glad I don’t look like that.
 
A bunch of us have started to get really crazy and stupid. Our whole unit is just about to break and not even give a flying f..k about anything. I’m scared we’re just going to get so sick of being attacked that we will become mindless killing machines. It’s pretty bad now, but it just keeps getting worse week after week. I have a dull feeling now when we get in to the sh.t. I used to have a twinge when we shot at people or into buildings and down blind alleys.
 
Now I just get a tired, aching throb in my gut and head and it takes me a while to get back to reality. I stay in a mindless, vacant mode most of the time when I’m out past the wire. I just function and deal with stuff and then keep pushing through it all. That’s really gonna f..k everything up when I try to get back home and go back to a supposedly normal life. I think that I will have a long hard road that might take more work than it’s worth.
 
Oh yeah, I am talking about suicide if you ain’t got the clear picture yet. One of our fellow soldiers with ------ shot himself and there have been four or five others that I know were suicides. Look at the stats and you will see several non-combat gunshot fatalities. Just for those who ain’t sure, it means suicide in most cases. Not all the time, but a good part of them are and the Army hates to officially put that sh.t down on paper. Check out the full U.S. casualty list and see how many things like that you can find.
 
I have constant thoughts of being one of those guys who just hits that wall and stops. I keep my kids and my wife in the front of my mind, but I’m not really sure if going home like this is really better than just stopping all this bullsh.t before it ever touches them again. I just don’t know how I am going to deal with that when it comes down to it. I might not have to worry about it the way things are going and it is constantly there and eating at my mind.
 
Okay, not gonna do that sh.t anymore. I just really freaked myself out and it is pretty scary that I don’t feel anything besides a little twinge in my gut when I think about it. I will keep going till I have to come home, and that’s gonna end that sh.t before you freak and try to have me evaced out.
 
Now reading that sh.t should put a new light on some of this mess they are trying to hide and cover up. Another thing is all the times a soldier loses it and locks and loads his weapon on another soldier. It’s something that happens almost every day and it doesn’t really get reported like it should. Ask some of the medics or Doctors and they can tell you a whole lot that the Army keeps locked down and zipped up.
 
The IEDs are the biggest killer we face next to the snipers and mortar and rocket attacks. It just don’t ever f..king let up for more than a few hours. Every time it starts to calm down there is another car bombing or roadside ambush or explosion. Our patrols and convoys are getting the sh.t blown out of them. I have seen at least 25 serious IED attacks with my own eyes and rolled up on the scene afterwards about 15-20 times.
 
How the hell can we make it through the next six months if this shit gets any worse? Right now it’s really going to hell and I didn’t think it could get any worse. Now we are seeing all these signs that an uncontrolled civil war or factional conflict is heating up. It has always been close to civil war, but they were directing a lot of the violence our way and kind of working together in some ways to kill us and make us leave.
 
I’m starting to get scared that we are going to be caught in the middle of something like Somalia or Bosnia and Kosovo. I was involved in both of those piss pot conflicts and the one thing I noticed was that everyone was trying to kill as many people as they could. Iraq is really looking like that kind of sh.t. They are starting to blow the sh.t out of the mosques and churches.
 
I think we are about to see all hell break loose. All hell already broke loose, but it ain’t sh.t to what is about to come down. I think that in the next few months we’ll be taking so many casualties that it will look like a cakewalk to have only 2300 dead. I said it before we deployed and it was even worse than I could have put in my paranoid mind.
 
We need to get the f..k out of here in the next two or three months. The brass keep saying if we pull out that the country will fall into civil unrest and factional violence. I don’t know if they are watching the news, but for God’s sake what do you call this sh.t right now? Get us the f..k out of here and let them kill each other.
 
There is no way in hell you can convince me that it’s okay to let more of our soldiers die if a civil war does break out in full force. What good is it gonna do us if we die and they have a civil war anyway? How much f..king sense does it make to sacrifice our soldiers to try and keep some kinda peace? F..k that dying in Iraq stuff. Not for this soldier!
 
It’s one thing to die to defend my own people, but I did what I needed to do to give the Iraqis a chance at real democracy. If they want to screw that up then get us all the f..k out of here and let ‘em figure it out. They are going to kill each other if they decide to do it, no way we are gonna stop them. Sh.t we can’t do it now with the soldier’s we got over here. I heard a general say that we were doing a pretty good job of keeping the lid on over here. What war is he tuning in to watch? No a f..king thing could be more off target.
 
They are killing each other by the dozens now. It’s over 100 on a normal weekend if they keep to the regular pattern. How could you not see that this is a civil war and a guerilla insurgency at the same time? One day they might be trying to kill each other, but they are ALWAYS trying to kill us. We don’t ever get a break to try to stop the real problems. We got all we can do to just stay alive and do our jobs.
 
It’s not doing jacksh.t to bring them freedom or stability but that is what we’re here for according to big daddy Bushman. It just ain’t gonna happen, but try telling Commander-in-Grief Butthead that! Everybody cheer for General George, what a great job he’s doing keeping us from having too many dead and wound soldiers.
 
Just think how good it could be if we pull out now. We might save hundreds or thousands of soldiers’ lives and keep any more from getting PTSD or getting their ass shot or blown off! Good thing we are all ready to “Stay the f..king course! No matter what the cost!”
 
 Sh.t man, I couldn’t believe that f..king horsesh.t when I saw him doing the speeches at Ft. Campbell and at Ft. Knox. Imagine giving up more lives to make all of us feel better about our buddies who already died. I think it will make me fell much better after I se another 100 soldiers die! Yeah, that’s the kind of therapy we need to help us get over all the others.
 
We are sitting over here dying and he goes and jollies up our families and tells them how he is willing to kill more of us just to keep us over here! F..k you W! How the f..k can you come to our hometown and throw that sh.t in our families faces. Yeah, I saw everyone cheering, which really kicked my nuts. Damn are we ever f..ked up in this country, I just don’t know what the f..k to think anymore.
 
I know that no matter what I do or any one of the generals do, they are going to keep putting each other in the ground. They attack each other whenever they feel like it, and no amount of trained Iraqi police or militias are gonna stop it either.
 
Fine, let them kill each other; they seem to be happy doing it. I just don’t want to give them a chance to kill me.
 
Well that’s all I can really think of to say right now. I really went all over the place with this, but maybe it has to be that way. I just looked it over and man does it sound crazy as f..k. Well this sh.t is enough to make anyone crazy, and after a second trip to this place it gets really f..ked up.
 
Got to get up in 3 hours for a raid on an insurgent hideout. Who knows, we might actually catch a real insurgent this time. It ain’t gonna matter cause for every one we get there are 100 more waiting to step up and take their shot at killing us.
 
As long as we’re still here we’ll still keep dying, that’s the bottom line. It’s just a matter of how many more dead troops the American people can take before they decide to tell the political f..kers to get us out. I think it’s gonna be a matter of how many more families are gonna keep quiet before they just break down and start to scream.
 
Check out the news every day and see how many funerals go on around the country. I know Kentucky and Tennessee have buried about 100 soldiers in the last few months, counting the Reserves, National Guard and the soldiers with other units outside our area. How much more grief can our families live with? Think about the price the parents and wives and kids are paying for us to stay in Iraq.
 
I can bet you there was a funeral within an hour’s drive of you in the last week. I am talking to the average civilian Dick or Jane (or Pete, Bob, Mike, Susan, Lisa, Frank, Roger, Jill, Karen, or whatever your name is) sitting there reading this. Why not take the time and go to a soldier’s funeral. I know if you have any feelings that it will change you, and you’ll never turn the page again when you see a death notice for a soldier.
 
Just go to the VA hospital and look at all the OIF and OEF vets that are all f..ked up. Have you ever even thought about visiting some of the soldiers who lost part of their lives and bodies for you? That is what you should all do.

Do it if you really ‘Support the Troops!’ Really do it if you have one of those stupid f..king stickers or magnets on your car. If you paid good money just to put one of those nice yellow feel good things on vehicle then take that same vehicle and drive to a funeral or go visit one of the poor soldiers suffering through months of rehab in the hospital.
 
That’s how you say thank you to all of us who can hear you and to the ones who will never be able to hear you say it. You need to say it to the soldier in the hospital who lays there in pain and agony that will never really heal up or go away.
 
Go to a funeral and then go see the guys who paid a lifelong price for this war. Do that for me and all my soldiers and friends over here. Who knows, maybe you might go to a funeral for one of my Airborne bros; there have been enough of them in the last few months.

If you do give them my final salute and an OHHHHHRRRRAAAAAHHHH HERO! Hell give any soldier who died the same respect and tell ‘em it’s from me and the rest of us that are still fighting and hoping to live!
 
Well that’s gonna be the end of this soldier’s letter. Hope I can write another one in a few weeks. Pray that I can keep alive and stay out of the sh.t. Remember the soldiers who fell in Iraq and Afghanistan for all the world to be safe. Does it matter to you?
 
Does it matter to you if we come home now and or we stay over here and die or get f..ked up? I hope you will help us come home, because we all want it now! No long wait for us, just do that and we’ll forget about everything else for a while. Remember, every day we stay here at least 2 more soldiers die and 5-10 get wounded. How long till you say it’s been long enough?
 
This is no longer a matter of right or wrong, it’s a matter of life or death. The only thing that anyone needs to worry about at this point is how many lives they can save by stopping this and stopping it right now. Just listen to all of us who are over here and don’t want to stay another miserable day.
 
We are all telling you people how it really is, and I’ve done it once before just like this. Did you pay attention last time I wrote a letter? Are you paying any attention now, or will you just throw this away like the lives of so many people who have died for this insanity? I ain’t gonna try to say anything more.
 
That’s all folks!
 
PLEASE????? BRING US HOME NOW AND SAVE OUR ASSES AND OUR SANITY! PLEASE, CAN YOU DO IT FOR OUR FAMILIES IF NOT FOR US?
 
GET ME THE F..K OUTTA HERE!
SSGT. CRAZY 1OH1-ONE (OH SHIT MAN!) ONE
 
The current casualty figures for the 101st Airborne Division can be found at www.campbell.army.mil/divpao/pao/
 
The current casualty figures for all US and Coalition Forces in Iraq and also Afghanistan can be found at the Iraq Coalition Casualties website icasualties.org/oif/ and the OEF Casualties website icasualties.org/oef/
 
CFTM EDITOR’S EMERGENCY ALERT (BREAKING UPDATE- 3/23/06- 03:34 EST)
THE SITUATION OF LISTING THE NON-COMBAT GUN-SHOT WOUNDS HAS JUST BEEN STEPPED ON BY THE ARMY. THEY ARE NOW REMOVING CONFIRMED INCIDENTS FROM THE VARIOUS DIVISION AND BRIGADE WEBSITES! I AM WATCHING NOTICES DISAPPEAR AS I FINISH MY FINAL EDITTING , BUT THERE ARE STILL SOME LISTED.
 
HERE IS ONE GOOD EXAMPLE- (I removed the soldiers name out of respect to his family but you can find it on the 101st AD PIO page unless they pulled it along with some of the others. I did just see it about five minutes ago, but I can make no promises.)
6 December 2005 – Pfc. ------- ------ --------, 20, A Company, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, died from a Self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. ---------- entered the U.S. Army in February 2005 and arrived at Fort Campbell in June 2005. He is survived by his mother, ------- of ------. And his father, -------- of —. His home record was -------------.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We are slaughtering the Iraqis! Would you like to have my job so I can come back home?
Letter from a Civilian Affairs Officer in Iraq
 
Editor’s Note: This is one complete letter, excerpts from one to his friends, and some journals he kept. I have interviewed this person back in August of 2005 about PTSD. I have done three interviews with Civil Affairs personnel and had responses to a questionnaire from five others. Two of the respondents to the questionnaires have been deployed back to Iraq for six-month or one year tours.
 
I have conducted a very detailed interview with another Civil Affairs officer that will reveal how badly the rebuilding effort is going. I am in the final few days of getting it transcribed and it will be published by the end of the month.
 
I am also interviewing a US Army translator assigned to the Iraqi Army who was an eyewitness incidents of torture, murder of civilians and enormous atrocities that are being covered up by the CJTF7 (Combined Joint Task Forces-Iraq) chain of command.
 
 Jay,
 
I’ve got to be brief with this. I don’t have the time or way to send you anything more detailed. I have to give you some barebones facts and let you dig up the dirt. I am also using you as a bitching post and whipping boy. You asked for it when you told me it was okay if I couldn’t find any other way to vent.
 
I am really going to dump the sh.t pan on you this time. I never told you I was going back when they called me up. I was afraid you would publish that interview I had decided not to finish. I know you have a few hours of tape, but please do not give anyone a copy of my voice.
 
If I get back and work out how I am going to leave the Army then we’ll talk about it. I need time to get my family used to what I will do before you make it impossible to back out of. I haven’t told my wife or my parents what I am thinking. I don’t know if they will disown me or hate me after that.
 
Just so you know what it really was about when I stopped talking to you. I’m sorry, but I was scared and not thinking right.
 
For the people reading this, I am a Civilian Affairs liaison in Iraq. I was put into this assignment in 2003 and again in 2004 against my very strong and repeated objections. I even have a written statement from the second time, which mysteriously disappeared.
 
I have been talking about this on message boards and other places. At one point I was prepared to put it all on the line and not care if they came after me.  Then I really got sacred and decided this would be a better way. I want to make people understand that I AM A REAL SOLDIER!
 
Jay, I told you I was not going back to Iraq even if they arrested me. I am here after I was backed into a corner. I did not have time to file the paperwork to be deferred from deployment.
 
Why?  Because they never told me I was on immediate deployment orders. I didn’t find out until a week before I had to ship out. If I had refused the orders I would be in the brig right now waiting on court marital or UCMJ proceedings. I couldn’t let that happen, but sometimes I wish I had so I wouldn’t be here.
 
I did not want to be stuck with this job again. I did not want to live in the private hell that goes with it. I will have even more problems with my PTSD after this. It might be what makes it to hard to come back from. I was almost dead from the abuse of my medication last year.
 
I stopped taking most of it, but they do not know that. It was all just crap. It was not doing anything but making it harder for me. I take one of the trancs when I get really wired or can’t sleep, but that other sh.t is worthless.
 
Never say that they will not deploy you because you are nuts. If there are soldiers out there who think it can’t happen then you will have quite the wake up. I am supposed to be kept off of the deployment orders because of my medication (which I have not been taking over here). It is being over looked because I am in a “safe” non-combat job.
 
Another thing is that I AM NOT telling them if I do have some problems. I don’t want to get locked up in one of the wards. I am crazy or nuts or just f..ked up in the head, but not stupid. I don’t know how bad I really am, but I am not letting them play with my brain.
 
Jay, you need to check the pre-deployment medical screening to see what I mean.  Look up AR 40-501 MSSMF.
 
Please do that because it is real important to prove it to the press. Make sure the media gets this and follows up on it. I hope they really do work it, but I don’t have much faith that they will.
 
If it wasn’t for you and some other people, I don’t think anyone would really know the real sit-rep over here. I want to tell you that it has made a difference to me just knowing if I needed to, I could write and bitch to you.
 
(Editors note: Here it is for everyone to see, written in the Army’s own Regulations.)
Army Regulation 40–501 Medical Services Standards of Medical Fitness (pdf)
www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/r40_501.pdf
(Updated 11-9-05)
5–14. Medical fitness standards for deployment and certain geographical areas
a. All soldiers considered medically qualified for continued military status and medically qualified to serve in all or certain areas of the continental United States (CONUS) are medically qualified to serve in similar or corresponding areas outside the continental United States (OCONUS).
b. Some soldiers, because of certain medical conditions, may require administrative consideration when assignment to combat areas or certain geographic areas is contemplated to ensure that they are used within their medical capabilities without undue hazard to their health and well-being.
(8) Psychiatric. Any disorder that has the potential to prevent performance of duty, even if controlled by medication, should not deploy.
(Ed: The underlined part is there in the original Regulation as published by the Army. I think that would mean that this guy should not have deployed under any circumstances. If he should not have deployed, than neither should anyone else on any type of medication that is life sustaining or affects the mental processes.
 
This shows just how desperate the Army is for soldiers to send into Iraq. This paints a clear picture of a military at the breaking point.
 
Will the mainstream, freelance, and independent press please look into this? Do you believe in reporting the truth, or just what is acceptable to the US government? I have every form and regulation you will ever need to write this up. I have a huge list of links to research and other news articles and documents that will expose a huge hidden factor behind many non-combat and combat deaths in Iraq.)
 Also see:
Any Soldier Will do For the Pentagon
By Gene Gerard
Published by The Modern Tribune, November 9, 2005
www.themoderntribune.com/pentagon_recruiting_sick_soldiers.htm
 
They feel it is a loophole they can use to get around the very strict deployment guidelines. It will not be discovered on the part of the soldiers till it’s too late to stop. I know that three other CA people have been f..ked  around the exact same way. I know that everyone of us had no idea we were still deployable.
 
I think they found the worst place they could have put me in. I might not be out there getting shot at, but this is the worst type of hell I could think of. I am not the one under fire but I deal with the people who are.
 
I am certified as a ------------ ------ -------- because it is a requirement of my employer agency. It does not mean that I want to see dead or wounded people in Iraq. It does not ever say in my records that I am the expert on how much to pay for civilian damage claims.
 
I am not ever going to let them do this to me again. I am not ever signing another contract no matter how big a bonus they offer me. I will not help them to pay out blood money. I will not be the one who puts a price on a child or innocent victim’s life! Well, I am stuck doing it now, but I will not do it again! EVER!
 
I am resigning my commission when I get through this deployment. I am one of the “lucky ones” with the plush six-month tours. If I am lucky than I want to meet someone else who has a worse job.
 
I am the person who interviews the Iraqis when they come in with a claim for damages due to U.S. or Coalition Forces actions or mistakes. That means when someone’s child dies I am the one deciding the amount of money we pay out.
 
That means I determine if there is cause for a claim and look into the details of the incident. This exposes me to dead and wounded children, grieving parents and even worse, children who have lost their parents and are orphaned and abandoned.
 
I see kids with their limbs missing, blinded, burnt and scarred from explosions and bullets. They are suffering in unrelieved agony from all sorts of grievous wounds. I make the final decision on if we pay, and what the amount will be.
 
I can’t live with myself most nights, especially after a day of seeing wounded kids. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, and I can’t even watch TV or read a book.  I am not able to cope, because I had no training or background for this.
 
They never even gave me an official Army briefing or any idea of how to get this done. I had to watch the rest of the people and learn as I went.
 
I tried to explain that I do a completely different form of counseling and work back at home. I do not have training to deal with grief and that kind of situation. I know how to do it, but I never focused on that aspect at home. 
 
So if I am not in that kind of employment or even cross-trained, what am I here for? Why are they making me deal with the very thing I hate the most?
 
By the time the Iraqis get to me it is far beyond my limited help or counseling training. They don’t want my condolences or words of compassion. Why would they even believe I cared after they had another American kill or maim their children?
 
I cannot do anything to help the parents or children. I just throw my blood money at them and turn to the next person whose life has been destroyed. I am going to get shot for saying blood money, but I feel it’s true.  I dare anyone to come here and do my work for a week and then say it is not true.
 
It’s not the type of thing that can really help when a kid is missing an eye or an arm. You look at them and know you are only going to give them several thousand dollars (at the most). It is always very evident they will never recover from what we did or caused.
 
How can you tell a parent that their child will never walk or play again? You are forced to tell them the child only gets $3000 for their missing legs!
 
Why are we doing this? Why? WHY?
 
I just can’t see any real reason for the troops to stay here. That’s because I keep processing hundreds of people through our little office. Even if we are only responsible for about 25% of the cases then we need to get the hell out right now.
 
That is about the average for the claims that I see. About 75% of the deaths are from them (Iraqi insurgents, civilian resistance, Arabs from outside Iraq, and other internal factional fighting) and 25% our soldiers or other C-Forces and the Iraqi police and army.
 
If they kill each other I can’t stop it. They will figure it out when we take our asses back home. We need to pull out let them see that about 75% of this is their fault.
 
Why are we still getting this many direct cause incidents after three years? Why are all the action reports not telling the truth and deliberately leaving out the incidents when the news even verifies it?
 
I want to know why we as a country would hide the fact that innocents die every day. It is well documented for three years and we still don’t really do anything to prevent it.
 
We are not close to a bigger city so I am amazed by how many people are coming in here every day. When I first got here there was about 10-20 a week making claims for damages. Now it is at least 20-30 a day!
 
Last month we paid out claims on over 300 children who had been injured and over 70 that were killed. There have been over ----- civilian claims paid out for our over-all AO in the time I have been keeping notes and records.
 
One of the most disturbing things was what a little girl told me the other day. She said that when American soldiers smile it’s like seeing a skull looking at you. She said that every time they see a smiling American someone dies in their village.
 
They are right on a major MSR (Military Supply Route) so when we come by with convoys they end up caught in the crossfire. The insurgents pick spots near their village to set off IEDS and do ambushes. Right after the convoys gets through the attacks they come rolling into this small little crossroads village.
 
Anyone that moves the wrong way usually gets killed because the soldiers are still pumped up and ready to “get some back”. I know that most of those recent casualties in that village have not been hostiles. They were just in the wrong spot after the troops got their clocks cleaned.
 
You know we don’t kill innocent people though. It is not happening from what our official statements and records reveal. How many 5 year olds do you know of that are carrying an AK-47? When is the last time you saw a 10-year-old girl running around with an RPG?
 
That is my take on things. I might be wrong, but I see the people and know the truth. I have a child in my office area right now that has no foot and half her face blown off. The after-action reports on ---- ----- and when ------ ------ ----- ----- says there were no civilians killed in that village.
 
--- -------- ------- had already said that if they got attacked anywhere within a few miles of the village that they would go back in and light the whole place up.  It just made the insurgents even angrier and the next convoy through there lost four soldiers.
 
---- ------ ------ said that he took out someone in a window a few days later and when they fell in the street that it was a little girl. He says she had an RPG! ------- -------------- and exact way a few days later. They said the kid had an AK-47. NO! NO! NO! Why did they do that!
 
I told them that all it would do was make every able-bodied man in that village want to kill more of us. I told them it would make the insurgents focus more on the village and the outskirts. I repeatedly said this from the viewpoint of someone who was/is hearing it directly from the villagers.
(Ed- He puts in some names and more specific details, but I will not release it without secondary confirmation.)
 
The next few weeks proved what I mean about that. In that area around the village there were 12 US KIAs and about 15 WIAs. It HAD been an average of about 5-10 a month around this area with a lot of them getting killed down the MSR about 15 miles.
 
THE REPORT:  (Ed-I do not know if this is part of an official report or if he was paraphrasing it.) NO CIVILAINS KILLED. ONLY THREE INSURGENTS- RE: ------- ------ incident where the ----- --- patrol took sniper fire and one MAN was observed to be holding an RPG. (Repeated) I again state that there were no civilian casualties observed or reported. This is despite the claims of several civilians that a large amount of fire was deliberated directed towards some civilians and an unknown and unnamed junk peddler.
 
The villagers I talked to said the patrol just opened fire on a hajji stand. The child was clearly visible to be standing approximately 12 feet from any cover. She had a red and blue scarf over her head with a green and blue dress on. There were also three other children in a twenty-foot radius of the injured child and a crowd of women was within that area as well.
 
So I guess our guys can’t see a kid with a red scarf, or see the colors blue and green? Well, no, not in the middle of having your ass blown off. I know because I have been in the same situation and will live with that forever. What upsets me is that they had been on the road at least ten minutes after the attack.
 
 It still makes me wonder if they didn’t give a damn and just opened up on everyone out of anger or retaliation. The next few weeks were really the things that I can’t ever forgive them for. I can excuse the first time, but not the rest of the cases. I paid claims on some, so the details were not made up.
(Ed-I have removed several complete paragraphs of other examples that he wrote about. I think what I left in enough to make the point he wanted.)
 
I can understand it happening, but the lies and deliberate cover up is not right. I see a majority of the after action reports that are completely fabricated and it has to be a deliberate thing.
 
I know it is bad that we would kill a child or injure one by mistake. I know it is also against our official policy to count the dead or admit it. Check the news. The media does cover it even when we try to shine it on.
 
It might make us more human if we start to admit what this war is making us do. It is a way to keep this from killing the soldiers after they get the guilt that won’t go away. I know how many guys live with the thoughts and agonizing turmoil of doing what it takes to stay alive.
 
If we were not still over here then we would have to kill people who were innocent. That might be too simple a conclusion but it is all I can think of.  It is a conclusion that I have been unable to override with any official propaganda.
 
To sum it up for everyone to understand, the child is here and has no foot (a villager without any formal medical training cut the mangled foot off and cauterized the stump with a piece of red hot tin). She has a severe case of gangrene starting to rot up into her leg.
 
It looks like she will not live more than a day or two. I think that even if we get here to a hospital that can take care of her, it will not help. It has been a week and I am pretty good at recognizing this when it comes in. I try to help children who will die no matter what I do.  Not being able to save them makes you want to curl up in a ball under your desk and die.
 
I am waiting on the medical people right now. I will probably pay out a death claim from the looks of it. I don’t think there is anything else I could say that gives a better sit-rep (situation report.) Well, that should give you something to think about. I didn’t make it up or polish it up to sound better. IT HAPPENED!
 
I saw the video you put out with all the kids. I can’t watch it, but I saw that it was probably one of the most powerful videos anyone has put out.
 
OMT (Ed: One more thing)
To the people of America:
If you want to see what I have clean up then watch it. What’s five minutes of your time when these children will never have the same comfort or luxury? Take a look at it!
 
If you people don’t believe that this is true or coming from soldier then take a look at the video Jay Shaft has sent out to us. If you think that it is not going on then why not take a little time for education. It can’t hurt you can it?
 
I was able to forward it to some of the guys on the crap end of the stick. I saw a salty old E-7 with tears running down his face after he looked at if for less than a minute.
 
(Editor’s note of record- I did not know he had even seen the video. It came as a real surprise that it is making it over to Iraq. I sent a copy of the video without the captions or credits to several Vets who served in Iraq, and have contacts in their old unit.  
I have received letters from a few soldiers who are outraged that I could make something so
offensive and graphic.
I will say the same thing now as I did in letters written back to them.
It is only the truth and reality o f day-to-day life in Iraq that I put in that video. The pictures all came from the AP, Reuters, AFP, Yahoo and several other open news feeds. The total picture of this war is one where both sides are represented with the true nature and number of casualties this ongoing conflict has caused.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS VERY GRAPHIC AND BLOODY SCENES OF WOUNDED AND DEAD CHILDREN! PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS BEFORE YOU SEE IT.
www.indybay.org/uploads/3_years_in_iraq-_over_100_000_kids_killed.wmv
I have also put this video out again to mark the 2325+ US soldiers killed and the 17,700+ wounded and to observe the three years of occupation and carnage in Iraq.
Victory In Iraq? Winning Hurts! 2320+ Dead, 17700+ Wounded
stpeteforpeace.org/victory.in.iraq.wmv
 
All you people out there in HA! HA! Land need to see that THIS IS NO JOKE!
 
If you don’t believe me, then isn’t a picture worth a 1000 words? I think that there are about 200 pictures in that video. I still can’t get through to the end, but maybe you can.
 
“SCREW YOU GUYS I’M GOING HOME!”
See ya in hell, because I got here first. 
 FTP! FTA! FTG! (Editors Note: This is an acronym for F..k The Pentagon, F..k The Army!, F..k The Generals)
Mr. Blood Money
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here are the links to some of my previous articles, interviews, and some letters released over the past few years.
 
This Country Has Failed Me In Every Way: Spc. William Wooldridge OIF Vet With PTSD
This is an audio interview and can also be downloaded and pod cast or forwarded as a wav file.
www.indybay.org/news/2006/01/1798467_comment.php
A Soldier For Truth Has Fallen: In Memory of Specialist Doug Barber
In Memory and Mourning of the Tragic Death of Douglas Barber
www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0601/S00146.htm 
Spc. Doug Barber: PTSD – A Soldier’s Personal War
This is the last article Doug ever wrote
www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0601/S00079.htm
‘Iraq Took Away Our Innocence!’ SPC. Doug Barber
Original full length interview that was Doug’s first public statements
www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00055.htm
To listen to a follow-up to the first Doug Barber interview go to
sf.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/1722502.php
The Truth From Our Soldiers About Iraq: Letters From Pre-Deployment www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0511/S00367.htm
PTSD Hit my family! A LETTER FROM A SOLDIER’S WIFE
groups.yahoo.com/group/CFTMArchive/message/84  
For Families of Some Killed in Iraq: Grief, Outrage and Protest 
newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/705
LETTER FROM A SOLDIER IN IRAQ: THE MEN WERE IN CHUNKS!
groups.yahoo.com/group/CFTMArchive/message/57

ABOUT THE WRITER/EDITOR
Jay Shaft is a freelance investigative writer, and the Editor-In- Chief/Managing Investigative Editor/Co-Owner of the independent news group Coalition For Free Thought In Media.
groups.google.com/group/Coalitionforfreethoughtinmedia 

He has conducted many interviews with soldiers who have served in Iraq, in which service members exposed the issues of the military’s failure to provide proper equipment and training to US troops, and he has been on the forefront of investigating the price that soldiers are paying as a result.
 
He is currently involved in interviewing soldiers who have returned from war with PTSD or traumatic injuries. An ongoing expose and series of troops/vet interviews and articles highlighting the failure of the VA system to adequately take care of the soldiers and vets is in current publication at this time.
 
He has also published many letters and interviews from parents speaking out against the death or injury of their children serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
Contact Jay at coalitionforfreethoughtinmedia@yahoo.com  or cftmeditor@gmail

 
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