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GI SPECIAL 4J12: 12/10/06

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[Thanks to David Honish, Veteran, and Phil Gasper, who sent this in.]


ROLL CALL:

Baghdad Soldier Killed By IED

11 October 2006 Multi National Corps Iraq Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory RELEASE No. 20061011-04

BAGHDAD: A Multi-National Division Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 2:15 a.m. today from wounds he received when his patrol was struck by an improvised-explosive device in central Baghdad.


Kentucky Soldier Killed In Tikrit


Timothy Adam Fulkerson, 20, of Utica, Ky., died Oct. 8, 2006, in Tikrit, Iraq. A landmine detonated near his vehicle. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)

Oct. 11, 2006 Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer

OWENSBORO, Ky.: A western Kentucky soldier died Sunday in Iraq when a landmine detonated near his vehicle, the Department of Defense said.

Timothy Adam Fulkerson, 20, of Utica, died in Tikrit, Iraq, during combat operations with the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Fulkerson graduated from Daviess County High School in 2004 and lived with Greg and Anissa “Nikki” Skaggs in Pleasant Ridge from the time he was 13 years old until he entered the Army two years ago.

“He was an awesome child,” Greg Skaggs told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. “He wasn’t mine biologically, but in all reality he was mine in my heart.”

Military personnel arrived at the Skaggs’ home Monday to inform the family of Fulkerson’s death.

Although Fulkerson lived with the Skaggs, he had a good relationship with his parents. His mother is Tammy Brown and stepfather Ben Brown, of Horse Branch, and his father is Tim Fulkerson of Owensboro.

Fulkerson’s body has been returned to the United States, but funeral arrangements have not yet been determined.


Another Northwest Louisiana Marine Dies In Iraq;
Summerfield Resident Was On His Second Deployment


Lance Cpl. Jon Eric Bowman, 21, of Summerfield. (Photo courtesy of rustonleader.com)

October 11, 2006 By John Andrew Prime and Ashley Northington, The Times

Another northwest Louisiana Marine, a combat veteran from Claiborne Parish with only a year or so left in uniform, has died in combat, his family reports.

The death of Lance Cpl. Jon Eric Bowman, 21, on Monday is the second involving an area Marine in Iraq in the past week. John Edward Hale, 20, was killed Friday when an improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol in Anbar Province.

Bowman, a 2004 graduate of Summerfield High School, was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee, his widow, Dawn Farley Bowman, said Tuesday from her home in Summerfield.

“He’d been in the been in the Marines 2 1/2 years,” she said, less than 18 hours after solemn, uniformed Marines from Bossier City-based Bravo Co., 1/23rd Marines arrived at her family’s home to break the dreadful news. “I was in Dallas working, and they told my brother.”

Dawn Bowman returned from Texas and now is preparing to bury her husband of less than two years. Funeral arrangements are just getting under way and are incomplete.

“This was his second deployment,” she said, adding that her husband was soon to be promoted to corporal. His time in Iraq would have gone on many months; he arrived there in early September.

Bowman believes her husband died in Anbar Province. The member of Charlie Company in the 1/6 Marines had been in Ramadi, where many area Marine Reservists served in 2004 and 2005.

Details of her husband’s death are sketchy at this time.

“He died yesterday at 10 something in the morning our time and 6 something in the evening there,” Bowman said Tuesday.

Her husband joined the service just after graduation from Summerfield High as a way to be able to support himself and get benefits for college. “He told me when he was little he thought about it,” said Bowman, who dated her husband about four years before they got married.

“But when 9-11 hit, he thought even harder about going in. As soon as he graduated, they took him in.”

Jon Eric Bowman is the son of Johnny Wayne Bowman of Monroe and Jill Puckett of Lincoln Parish.

Paula Farley said her son-in-law was a good and thoughtful young man who loved her daughter dearly and called Dawn Bowman just before he left for Iraq the first time to propose. They were married in a home service in February 2005 and had a big church wedding the following October, just less than a year ago. They then went on a honeymoon cruise to Veracruz, Mexico.

“They re-did their vows again because they loved each other so much,” Farley said.

Tuesday, relatives and friends of slain Shreveport Marine John Edward Hale recalled how he dreamed of joining the military ever since he could walk and talk.

Hale grew up like other boys his age: hunting, fishing and listening to stories of his father’s time in the Navy, family members say. But unlike other little boys, who often change what they want to become when they get older, Hale never wavered from his decision to join the Marines.

“He said that when he was a little baby. He said that when he was in school. And he stuck with it,” said Hale’s uncle Kevin Powers. “Anybody who ever talked to him knew that he wanted to join the Marines. He followed that dream his whole life. He went through with it and he never let it go.” Those who knew Hale best say that his death Friday wasn’t in vain and that he died doing what he loved.

“It was his passion to serve our country,” said Genae Bato, mother of Josh Bato, one of Hale’s best friends. “He always served and helped everybody, whether it was his friends, family, church or the Boy Scouts. This is what he always wanted to do. This was his destiny.”

Mike Green, head football coach at Huntington High, the Shreveport school from which Hale graduated in 2005, said he, other coaches and football players had the same reaction when they learned of Hale’s death.

“Everybody’s reaction was pretty much the same because we knew that’s how he would go,” Green said. “We all thought he’d become a general in the military. And it is so unfortunate his time got cut short.”

Green described Hale as loyal, dedicated, a good student and a small offensive lineman who got a kick out of knocking “heavyweights” down.

“He was not the best football player. But when it comes to dedication, loyalty and effort, John Hale had all of those qualities. He loved a challenge.

“Every once in a while, there’s a kid that comes along and everybody can tell that they are heads above the rest. And that was John Hale.”

Huntington High plans to dedicate Friday night’s football game against C.E. Byrd High School to Hale. He will be honored with a moment of silence, a prayer will be read to his friends and relatives and the football team will wear matching armbands in his memory, Huntington High principal Jerry Davis said.

“He was just an awesome kid,” Davis said. “We really want to do something special for him.”

Military funeral arrangements are pending the return of his remains to Louisiana, which could take two weeks. He will be buried in Forest Park West Cemetery in Shreveport, his father, Phillip Greg Hale, has said.

Hale was with the 2/8th Marines of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

“The world will not be the same without John,” Bato said through her tears Tuesday morning. “He was so kind and thoughtful. He was precious, and I loved him like a son because he was so good in every way.”


Navy SEAL Dies In Combat

October 3, 2006 By DEEPA BHARATH, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

GARDEN GROVE Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor was supposed to come back home from Iraq in about two weeks, in time for Halloween, his favorite holiday.

Friends were planning a Halloween and “welcome home” bash for the 25-year-old Navy SEAL, said Patrick Barnes, one of Monsoor’s best friends.

Monsoor died Sept. 29 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Ramadi, Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday. He was assigned to a West Coast-based command.

Barnes said his friend was an adventurer who enjoyed traveling in Europe while he was deployed in Italy and loved snowboarding, fast cars and motorcycles.

He was also “honest, straightforward and a great friend.”

“He was selective about the friends he made,” Barnes said, fighting back tears. “But when you became his friend, you became his brother.”

A family member who answered the door at Monsoor’s home in Garden Grove said the family was too distraught to comment and wished to be “left alone.”

Monsoor enlisted in the U.S. Navy in March 2001 and became a SEAL in January 2002, said Lt. Taylor Clark, a spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command.

Debbie Nelson, a neighbor and mother of one of Monsoor’s friends, said Monsoor’s was a “great boy, handsome and very polite.” “He was very proud of what he had achieved in the Navy,” she said.

He grew up in Garden Grove, attending Dr. Walter C. Ralston Intermediate School and graduated from Garden Grove High School in 1999.

Monsoor was a strong, determined person who never gave up, his friend Danny Wright said.

“The first time he tried to become a SEAL, he didn’t make it,” he said.

Monsoor was crushed by his failure, Wright said.

“But he tried again and made it the second time,” he said. “He was very proud of what he had accomplished.”

Monsoor could be profound and serious at times and yet be funny around his friends, Barnes said.

“Last Halloween, he was one of the Super Mario Brothers,” he said. “This year, we were supposed to dress up as sumo wrestlers.”

Wright said Monsoor had sent him an e-mail two days before he died.

“He’d said he was proud of me,” he recalled. “And he told me to continue pursuing my dreams. It was as if he was saying goodbye and wishing me luck with my life.”

Monsoor is survived by his parents, two brothers, a sister, nieces and nephews. Services are pending.


Military Funeral In Osceola Planned For Cpl. Aaron Seal

October 04. 2006 JOSHUA STOWE, Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND: Lance Cpl. Matt Blodgett smiles when he remembers how Cpl. Aaron Seal played a cleaning-day prank on him, leaving clothes strewn everywhere at a time when everything was supposed to be in its place.

But his smile quickly fades when he describes how he will accompany Seal’s body from Dover, Del., to Osceola in preparation for Seal’s military funeral.

Seal, 23, of Elkhart, was killed Sunday in Baghdad, Iraq, by sniper fire while serving with Engineer Company B, a Marine Reserve unit based in South Bend. He is the company’s only casualty in Iraq, and had been in the country only a month.

Now, as they prepare to bury Seal, Marines here are remembering the time they had with him.

“To deal with it, we’ve got plenty of Marines around here who knew him,” Blodgett said Tuesday.

“Everybody’s just talking about him and remembering the good things with him.”

For Blodgett, that includes the prank that Seal pulled on him not so long ago at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where Engineer Company B was training before leaving for Iraq.

When he entered his room after stepping away, Blodgett immediately spotted a big mess. Then he heard Seal’s laugh, and the pounding of his feet as he ran away.

“He was always smiling,” Blodgett said. “He knew when to be serious, but he knew how to goof around, too. It’s just too bad. He was a really good guy.”

Today, Blodgett leaves for Dover, Del., where he will board a plane bearing Seal’s body. The plane will fly from Dover to Chicago, where Marines and a hearse will be waiting to take the body to Osceola for a Friday visitation and a Saturday funeral.


2 Local Guardsmen Killed In Iraq

Oct 10 KMBC

Two soldiers serving with a Missouri National Guard unit from Kansas City have been killed in Iraq, defense officials said.

Sgt. Lawrence Parrish, from Lebanon, Mo., and Spc. John Wood, from Humboldt, Kan., were killed. Both men were serving with the 110th Engineer Battalion out of Kansas City, which has been building roads and bridges in Iraq for more than a year.

Military officials said Parrish and Wood were killed by an improvised explosive device on Oct. 7. The two were in a Humvee along with Eric Sauer of Kansas City.

While doctors were treating Sauer after the attack Saturday morning, he knew he had to call home. Someone gave him a cell phone so he could.

“He finally just had to shout into the phone, ‘It’s Eric, your son,’” mother Heather Sauer told KMBC’s Martin Augustine. “There was obviously lots of chaos in the background, screaming and yelling, you know, things being moved around.”

Sauer’s parents said their son was frantic because he wanted his sisters and parents to know he was alive. Eric said he was concerned the military had already listed him as killed in action, or KIA.

“He said he had to get ahold of me to let me know that if the military did show up, he was not KIA and that he was OK,” father Al Sauer said. Al Sauer spent the next 48 hours trying to confirm what news he could about his son, but it was difficult.

He said his son was upset when they spoke again a few days later.

“He was saying, ‘You know, it should be payback. We’re over here trying to help them, and they kill my best friend and my sergeant,’” Al Sauer said.

He said he hopes his son and the rest of the 110th will be home for Thanksgiving.

Eric Sauer is expected to recover from his injuries. He used to serve in the Navy, but the joined the Missouri National Guard because he thought it would be more exciting.


Sniper In Iraq Kills Montanan

October 11, 2006 By JOHN DORAN, Missoulian

U.S. Marine Jeremy Scott Sandvick Monroe, 20, of Darby died Sunday in Iraq, one of three Marines killed in action in the western province of Anbar.

Monroe, a lance corporal with the 2/3 Echo Company 4th Platoon, was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq. He died when a sniper attacked his vehicle.

He was the son of Monte Monroe of Darby and Mellissa Pike of Chinook.

More than 2,753 U.S. soldiers have died fighting since the Iraq war erupted in March 2003.

Monroe, who grew up in Darby and moved to Chinook at 14 to be with his mother, graduated from Chinook High School.

On Sunday night, the Monroe family received word. Two Marines knocked on the door.

“You knew damn good and well what it meant,” Monte Monroe said.

The Marines relayed that Jeremy Monroe had been caught by a sniper. He was shot in the head and died instantly, Monte said.

“He was such a fine young man,” Monte said. “He’s my hero.”

The elder Monroe described his son as a fun-loving man who loved to play rock music on his guitar.

“He was a wonderful musician. His guitar was like one of his best buddies,” said the father, who also plays guitar. “We talked about him and my other son who also plays guitar getting together.”

Monroe also loved the mountains and camping, his father said.

Enlisting in the Marine Corps right out of high school, Monroe hopped on the bus bound for Butte just hours after his graduation commencement, skipping even his family celebration, the elder Monroe said. He knew he wanted to be a Marine and defend his country, his father said.

On Monroe’s last trip home in August, Monte said, his son laid out his burial plans just in case. But he didn’t want to believe it would happen, he said.

“I knew (Missoula resident) Denny Bedard lost his son (Andrew) and I always kept him in my prayers, but son of a bitch, he (Jeremy) was 20,” Monte said.

Monte and his wife, Dana, Jeremy’s stepmother, have taken the news hard, he said. For Monroe’s younger brother, Logan, 13, it has been especially difficult.

“He’s doing better,” Monte said. “The first night was difficult. We’re all kind of numb, I guess.”

Monroe’s body will be shipped back from Iraq today and will likely arrive in Chinook near the weekend, when final arrangements will be made for his funeral.

The family plans to have a memorial service in Chinook, east of Havre on U.S. Highway 2. He will be buried farther east in Dodson.

“That’s where he wanted to be buried,” Monte said.

Out on the town at a big barbecue get-together in August, lots of people came up and shook Monroe’s hand, telling him how proud of him they were, Monte said.

“He said, ‘Dad, that there means more to me than anything,’ “ Monte said. “I don’t know if people out there know how much it means (to a soldier) to go up to them and show your appreciation.

“I’m proud of all of them.”

The Marine Corps has shown its admiration for Monroe by helping comfort his family, Monte said.

“The Marine Corps has been really good,” he said. “My son’s commander called, who was there at the time, and he said he was a very ferocious warrior, and outstanding Marine and an exceptional young man.

“I’ve been getting calls from all over the world. It’s very comforting.”


Wedding Dreams Burned To Ashes:
Annadale Bride-To-Be Loses Her Marine To A Roadside Bomb In Iraq

[Thanks to George McAnamara, Veterans For Peace, who sent this in.]

October 07, 2006 By TEVAH PLATT, STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE

Jessica Gurdemir of Annadale had bought her wedding gown.

Oct. 25, the tentative date of her fiance’s return from Iraq, was circled on the Gurdemir family calendar.

But cruel fate has intervened: Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Cosgrove III, 23, a few weeks shy of returning to his Staten Island bride-to-be, was killed Sunday by a suicide car bomb detonated at an east Fallujah roadway checkpoint.

“My heart is broken,” Ms. Gurdemir said last night.

She met her late fiance two years ago at a restaurant in Madison, N.J., where she was a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He, a resident of Cedar Knolls, N.J., was celebrating his 21st birthday and his graduation from boot camp.

It was the summer before Cosgrove’s senior year at Monmouth University, where he completed his degree in history in 2005. It was the summer that he enlisted and also fell in love.

A year ago this month, the couple had gone pumpkin-picking together and ended their date by carving their selection. Cosgrove had hidden an engagement ring inside.

But before the wedding they had scheduled for August 2007, the soldier; he’d planned to join the military since he was a teen-ager; was to complete his tour of duty.

The reservist had not been scheduled to go to Iraq with G Company of the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, based at Picatinny Arsenal, but was deployed with another unit, which needed soldiers.

In April, he arrived in Fallujah, in volatile, Sunni-dominated Anbar province with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion. According to reports from fellow Marines, Cosgrove had volunteered to man the roadway checkpoint, where he had developed friendships with Iraqis who passed through regularly.

He was killed during the final week of his seven-month assignment to combat duty, bringing to 172 the number of New York and New Jersey soldiers who have died in Iraq.

Cosgrove was one of roughly 30,000 troops serving in Anbar, where a senior American Marine commander said last month the force was not large enough to defeat the insurgency there, according to The ASSOCIATED PRESS. A classified report submitted to the Pentagon by Marine commanders in Anbar, which was leaked to several news organizations, concluded that conditions in the restive area would continue to deteriorate unless there was a major infusion of aid and troops.

Thursday, the day Cosgrove was to have been transferred to a safe location, a candlelight vigil was held in his memory at Blackbrook Park in Whippany, N.J.

As they ready themselves for his funeral, to be held Wednesday in Madison, N.J., the Gurdemir family is mourning the loss of both Cosgrove’s life and the couple’s future.

Tim Gurdemir spoke last night of his daughter’s excitement as she looked forward to reuniting with her fiance, and said it had been a great love match.

“They were like little kids,” Gurdemir said. “They played games, they wrestled, they built battleships out of Legos. They were like two little kids. And they both have the same generous heart.”

The family has received an outpouring of support from the Marines, Ms. Gurdemir’s girlfriends and Cosgrove’s parents, he said.

More than 100 messages have been written in honor of the young Marine on a Web site — www.christophercosgrove.net — created in Cosgrove’s memory by a relative.

Many were written by former students of Ms. Gurdemir, who taught seventh- and eighth-grade English at St. Teresa’s School in Castleton Corners. Cosgrove had visited her classes to speak about his service with the Marines.

“I will never forget the day that he came to visit our seventh-grade class,” wrote one student in a note like many of its kind. “It was one of the best days that I had all year.”

A blog written by one of Cosgrove’s battalion mates, 1st Sgt. Ben Grainger, provided details about Cosgrove’s enthusiasm. But what he talked about the most, Grainger wrote, was “going home and getting married to his sweetheart.”

“She was the love of his life,” he continued.

“As I packed away his photos last night to send home, I paused at every one to put a face to all the stories he had told me. You could tell she thought the same of him, as they looked so perfect together.

“There are no answers for the pain they all feel today nor the pain we all feel.”


REALLY BAD IDEA:
NO MISSION;
HOPELESS WAR:
BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW


An Iraqi man and a child look at an U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicle moving through their neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, Oct. 2, 2006. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)


British Mercenary Killed

October 11 2006 Johnston Press

Richard Sedgley, 36, of Wolverhampton, West Midlands, was understood to have been killed in a roadside bomb but a spokesman for his employers, The Olive Group, refused to confirm the details of his death.

A statement released by the firm, which provides security for workers rebuilding facilities in Iraq, said: “We confirm that one of our employees, Richard Sedgley, was tragically killed on Sunday in a hostile incident.


AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

Assorted Resistance Action:
Collaborator Governor Blown Up

October 11, 2006 By Noor Khan, Associated Press

In eastern Afghanistan, a bombing killed three people including the governor of Paktia province outside his office on Sunday, and wounded three, police said.

The attacker, with explosives attached to his body, ran into a car carrying Gov. Abdul Hakim Taniwal, his nephew and a bodyguard, killing all of them as they left the office in the Paktia capital of Gardez, U.S. and Afghan officials said. Taniwal died of his wounds in hospital.

Mohammed Hanif, who claims to speak for the Taliban, claimed responsibility in a satellite phone call to an Associated Press reporter in Pakistan. Hanif said the attacker was an Afghan from Paktia province and threatened more attacks.

“Our mujahedeen will conduct similar attacks. We have prepared a group of self-sacrificing attackers,” he said.

Taniwal had been governor of Paktia for about one and half years. Before that he was federal minister of mines and industry in the Cabinet of President Hamid Karzai.

In western province of Farah, more than 100 Taliban fighters raided a government compound, killing two policemen and setting fire to several buildings, said provincial police chief Sayed Agha.

Taliban fighters riding in pickup trucks and firing rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles attacked the compound in the town Kalaigar at about 1 a.m. on Sunday. They also burned two rooms of the compound and a health clinic in the town before fleeing.

Agha said the Taliban raid was the first in Kalaigar.

Separately, Taliban militants killed three Afghan soldiers and wounded eight in an ambush in southern Zabul province’s Shahjoy district Saturday, said Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi.

Afghan authorities also found the body of a district education chief Saturday who was kidnapped by suspected militants in central Ghazni province, said Abdul Ali Faquri, a spokesman for the provincial governor.


TROOP NEWS

“He Says It’s Time To Declare Victory And Bring Everyone Home”

[To protect individuals concerned, names have been removed. T]

October 04, 2006 VFP post

My son returned from Iraq a week or so ago.

This was his fourth time over there.

He says it’s time to declare victory and bring everyone home. [Y]

*****************************************************

Another note from [X] – Balad, Iraq

This will probably be the last note I send out for now. We’ve got 5 days to go. I’m one of 12 guys flying our jets home. It will take ~8 hours to fly from Balad to Moron, Spain. We’ll spend the night and then continue to Montgomery, AL the next day which will take another 9.5 hours. Sounds like a lot of “in the saddle time” but compared to sitting in a cattle car DC-10 for 40+ hours, I’ll take it.

The sights:

The other night I was standing in front of the coffee tent and the “incoming” siren wailed. So I hit the deck, next to a concrete stanchion, and instead of covering my head, I looked up. (the incoming siren means you have less than 3 seconds till mortar impact)

4 mortar shells were inbound and the Phalanx gun system shot one them out of the sky. The other 3 impacted near the gym but didn’t damage anything. The Phalanx system is the same one the Navy uses on board their ships. It’s a gatlin gun and when fired at night, looks like a laser beam of red bullets. That’s what I saw. The tracer rounds were probably 100 feet above our heads and the rounds were airburst. I could see one mortar air explode but could only see the flash of light above the tent from the other 3.

On a side note: 2 nights ago there was another mortar attack. I was lying awake in bed at 0100 when the siren sounded. There were 6 mortars and I could hear each successive impact get closer at 2 second intervals. The last one shook the trailer. The guy walked them in and almost hit a C-17. Time to get out of here!

Other visual images I’ll have of this base are the concrete stanchions. They stand 15 feet tall and are about 5 feet wide at the base. They surround almost every building/tent/structure and are great protection from mortars. They’re kind of like the giant wall in the King Kong movie. At first you wonder why they’re there but after the first siren you understand why.

The Mad Max array of Army vehicles will stick in my head. As will the mountains of bottle water that they produce over here from one of the rivers. (I haven’t gotten sick yet)

The piles of shot up vehicles look like a train wreck of metal.

Helicopters flying over your head at 50 feet make a distinct impression and noise. It’s just like Apocalypse Now. The flames and smoke from the burn pit is perfectly aligned to drift downwind over our living quarters.

Another visual image I have from on base is the dust clouds the C-5's kick up. In pilot training they show you the effect of wingtip vortices from landing/taking off aircraft. Over here you don’t need the smoke generators. You’ve got an endless supply of talcum powder dust that’s not only along the runways but all over the country. When a C-5 takes off, it kicks up enough of the dust with it’s engines and vortices to make the visibility in the tower go to nothing for a couple of minutes. It’s like a giant sandstorm envelopes the tower and we’re temporarily IFR.

The night takeoffs of the fighters are spectacular. A light purple flame from the afterburner stretches the length of the F-16 and tapers off to a point. I never get tired of seeing that.

Airborne, the sights are interesting. There is a surprising amount of water over here. Do you know when you’re in an airliner flying around dusk or dawn and you look out the window and can see the sun reflecting off any kind of standing water? The same thing happens over here and there’s water all over the place. I thought Iraq was a desert. There are a couple of huge lakes and I guess they are the main source. They are beneath a couple of our tanker tracks and are crystal blue.

Even from 20K you can see straight to the bottom. Along the shores of the lakes, however, it looks like a brown version of the moon. No vegetation, no green, no boat docks, just brown. These large lakes help feed the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which bracket Baghdad. Along their banks, for a couple of kilometers, it’s somewhat green but nothing like the states.

In fact, I haven’t seen one golf course. I guess Saddam didn’t hit the links.

He did, however, have big palaces.

Around Baghdad Int’l airport you can see 4 or 5 of them.. I’ve talked to some folks who have visited them and they say they are spectactular. You can definitely see them from the air.

They are a stark contrast to the housing around Baghdad which looks like the suburbs of Detroit, only a lot worse. Mosques stand out and there are some that they take their pilgrammages to that take up blocks. I bet you could see some of them on Google Earth. I’ve even seen the two huge hands that hold up the swords where Saddam would hold some of his appearances.

The best sight, I think, will be the last takeoff heading west.

[X]


Portland, Maine American Legion Shitbags Trying To Ban Veterans For Peace From Veterans Day Parade:
“Let’s Raise Hell For Peace!”

PLEASE PASS THIS E-MAIL MESSAGE ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW IN THE PEACE COMMUNITY!

October 11, 2006 VetPax

Dear Friends

There is a situation developing in Portland, Maine where an American Legion post, The Harold T. Andrews Post#17, is trying to exclude V.F.P. Chapter 001 from marching in the annual veteran’s day parade in Portland, which is that state’s largest veteran’s day parade.

We believe that the reason for this action is purely political and is an attempt to silence any group with an opinion contrary to theirs.

Therefore; as president of Veterans For Peace, Chapter 21, New Jersey, I hope that all of you will e-mail will contact officials in Maine and and the Maine American Legion and express you disgust and indignation over this matter.

You may contact these officials as follows:

The Honorable John Baldacci, Governor of Maine: governor@maine.gov

City Manager of Portland, ME. Joseph E. Gray: webmaster@portlandmaine.gov

American Legion, Dept. of Maine: legion@me.acadia.net

Let’s “Raise Hell” for peace!

Kenneth Dalton
President, Veterans For Peace
Chapter 21, New Jersey
89 Brighton Road
Clifton, New Jersey 07012


THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE


The staff of the 47th Combat Support hospital in Mosul treat a wounded soldier. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey/Handout/Reuters)


Marine General Who Commands NATO Says Iraq War Is A “Debacle” And Rumsfeld Is A Nut-Cutter

October 05, 2006 By Anne Plummer Flaherty, Associated Press

Gen. James L. Jones, once the Marine Corps’ top general, did not deny reports in a new book that he told a colleague Iraq was a debacle and that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had emasculated the service chiefs.

But Jones, NATO’s top commander and headed toward retirement, said Wednesday he will not join the ranks of other retired military officers who say Rumsfeld should be ousted. Rumsfeld has been under fire by critics, including several former generals, who say he has run roughshod over the Pentagon’s uniformed leadership.

In Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial,” Jones is quoted as telling Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a 2005 meeting: “You’re going to face a debacle and be part of the debacle in Iraq.”

Jones also warned Pace that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been “systematically emasculated by Rumsfeld,” according to the book.


Gen. Peter Schoomaker Reports Personal Kamikaze Mission

October 10, 2006 By Matthew Cox, Army Times Staff Writer [Excerpt]

Gen. Peter Schoomaker told hundreds of soldiers and defense-industry executives here at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting that one of his biggest challenges is convincing the American public that the war is being fought for them.


Counterinsurgency Center Commander Calls Troops Bleeding Turnips

October 10, 2006 By Kelly Kennedy, Army Times Staff writer [Excerpt]

Experts at the Association of the United States Army convention say the Army’s new Counterinsurgency Manual techniques work but could be better.

Soldiers on patrol need better communications equipment, and the Army might need to rethink the way it works rotations, said speakers at a Tuesday panel on the manual.

But all of the experts also talked the effects of leaving soldiers in combat too long.

“There’s only so much you can bleed from a turnip,” said Col. Peter Monsoor, director of the Army-Marine Counterinsurgency Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. “How will that affect the troops?”


IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

Assorted Resistance Action


Destroyed patrol car in Baghdad Oct. 11, 2006. A parked car bomb blew up next to a police patrol in southeastern Baghdad wounding four policemen. ( AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

10 Oct 2006 Reuters

Brigadier Qais al-Mamouri, chief of Babil police, escaped an assassination attempt when his convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. His driver and two of his bodyguards were wounded in the attack, they added.

Guerrilla fighters attacked the car of a senior Iraqi army officer, killing a bodyguard, in the town of Balad 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Three roadside bombs in Doura, the western district of Yarmouk, and Morocco Street in north Baghdad killed three policemen and wounded four policemen, a ministry source said.

A bomb in a parked car that exploded next to a police patrol in southeastern Baghdad, just before 10 a.m. in the Ghadeer neighborhood wounded four policemen, Lt. Bilal Ali Majid said.

A second car bomb attack a half-hour later on a police patrol in the capital’s eastern Mustansiriyah Square killed another two passers-by and wounded 16, including three policemen, Majid said.

Guerrilla fighters killed a policeman on Monday near the city of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad.

A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol and killed two policemen in Mussayab, about 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

Guerrilla fighters killed a police captain in Mosul and two policemen on Monday in the oil city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

One insurgent and two policemen were killed and four people were wounded following clashes that erupted after insurgents attacked a police station in the small town of Rasheed, about 30 km (19 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

Guerrillas killed a policeman in front of his house in the western city of Falluja, Falluja police said.


IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
END THE OCCUPATION

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

“I’m Writing To You Today To Say ‘Well Done’ For Publishing That Story From The Vet In Texas”

From: Steve Brown
To: GI Special
Sent: October 11, 2006
Subject: Re: GI Special 4J11: Particularly In Texas

Dear GI Special

I think your ‘publication’ is excellent and a necessary antidote to all the propaganda about what’s going on in the middle east at the moment.

I am particularly impressed by your political angle; eg being for the troops but against Bush; an intelligent way to get past all that “Support our troops Support Bush” lies, but I’m writing to you today to say “Well done” for publishing that story from the vet in Texas. (11 October)

It might sound inconsequential to some, but over here in Europe to hear about Americans fighting for an end to the war (and maybe even war in general) is politically uplifting.

And with all that’s going on, we need all the uplifting we can get at the moment.

Keep up the good work. Perhaps a change is on its way.

My thoughts are with those (Iraqian and American) whose lives have been wrecked by these violent yet cowardly politicians.

Steve Brown, Yorkshire, England


A Quiet Morning In A Small Village

From: Mike Hastie
To: GI Special
Sent: October 11, 2006
Subject: A Quiet Morning In A Small Village

A Quiet Morning In A Small Village

A man walks into an Amish school and kills 5 school girls,
and severely wounds 5 other school girls. This is a barbaric
act of terrorism.

The American people are shocked into
disbelief, as anyone with a sound mind should be.

I have a good friend who walked into four Vietnamese villages and
witnessed the horrifying aftereffects of U.S. jets dropping
napalm on innocent Vietnamese civilians. There were over
600 people killed.

The American people were never told this happened,
because what happens in the field,
stays in the field.

This was a barbaric act of terrorism committed by
the United States Government.

It was not an accident, it was not the wrong coordinates.

It was premeditated murder.

This happened so many times in Vietnam, that we covered
it up with bull shit Geneva Convention Rules.

“When I was a child I thought as a child, but when I became…”

A man walks into a Amish school and kills 5 school girls,
and severely wounds 5 other school girls.

The American people are shocked into disbelief,
as anyone with a sound mind should be.

But, when it comes to war, what happens
in the field, stays in the field.

I have several other friends who served in Vietnam,
who could bring the American people to their knees.

Just like millions of Americans did when they
heard about the Amish school massacre.

What the American people know about war,
you could stick in a thimble.

Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran
October 9, 2006

Photo from the I-R-A-Q (I Remember Another Quagmire) portfolio of Mike Hastie, US Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71. (For more of his outstanding work, contact at: (hastiemike@earthlink.net) T)

Do you have a friend or relative in the service? Forward GI Special along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly. Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services. Send requests to address up top or write to: The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657


OCCUPATION REPORT

U.S. OCCUPATION RECRUITING DRIVE IN HIGH GEAR;
RECRUITING FOR THE ARMED RESISTANCE THAT IS


Foreign U.S. soldiers from Alfa company 1-17 regiment of the 172th brigade with an Iraqi citizen take prisoner after they found weapons and propaganda material in his home in eastern Baghdad, Oct. 3, 2006. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

[The “propaganda material”? “Pictures on the floor of Shiite clerics Muqtada al- Sadr and late Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr” the AP writers says.

[The “weapons”? Every household in Iraq has weapons. Duh.

[By these standards, there are only about 3 million more Iraqis in Baghdad to arrest like these citizens have been.

[Fair is fair. Let’s bring 150,000 Iraqis over here to the USA. They can kill people at checkpoints, bust into their houses with force and violence, butcher their families, overthrow the government, put a new one in office they like better and call it “sovereign,” and “detain” anybody who doesn’t like it in some prison without any charges being filed against them, or any trial.

[Those Iraqis are sure a bunch of backward primitives. They actually resent this help, have the absurd notion that it’s bad their country is occupied by a foreign military dictatorship, and consider it their patriotic duty to fight and kill the soldiers sent to grab their country. What a bunch of silly people. How fortunate they are to live under a military dictatorship run by George Bush. Why, how could anybody not love that? You’d want that in your home town, right?]

What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to contact@militaryproject.org or write to: The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657. Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.


Iraqi Dead May Total 650,000, Study Says

[Thanks to Fernando B, Iraq Veterans Against The War, who sent this in.]

Oct. 10 Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

As many as 654,965 more Iraqis may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003 than would have been expected under pre-war conditions, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad.

The deaths from all causes-violent and non-violent-are over and above the estimated 143,000 deaths per year that occurred from all causes prior to the March 2003 invasion.

[And that says it all, doesn’t it.]



www.ivaw.net


So Much For That Sovereignty Bullshit:
US Troops Rescue Convicted Thieving Collaborator From Iraqi Court;
“I Am Under American Protection”

11 October 2006 Aljazeera

US troops have taken a former Iraqi minister who holds US citizenship from a Baghdad court after he was sentenced to two years in jail for misusing public money on Wednesday, Iraqi officials said.

Ayham al-Samarraie, a Sunni Arab who served in the first post-war interim government of Iyad Allawi, had been in Iraqi custody since his arrest on charges of financial and managerial corruption in August.

A source in the prime minister’s office said US officials had taken him from the courtroom at the central criminal court in Baghdad after sentencing.

“I am under American protection,” al-Samarraie told Reuters by telephone, without explaining how he had managed to leave the court. In an earlier call, he said he was at the US embassy.

If al-Samarraie’s presence is confirmed, it could be politically embarrassing for the Americans, who have repeatedly stressed the independence of the Iraqi judiciary. [Not to worry. Everybody already knows Iraq is controlled by Bush’s Military Dictatorship.]

It would also raise questions about the sovereignty of the Iraqi government, which has sought to show Iraqis it is independent of American influence. [Not to worry. Everybody already knows there is no Iraqi sovereignty.]

“In the absence of a Privacy Act waiver, US federal law prohibits us from providing information on US citizens,” US embassy spokesman Lou Fintor told Reuters.

Sabah al-Saedi, from the powerful Shia Alliance party, protested against what he called “American interference in Iraqi judicial law” and said the government must take steps to prevent al-Samarraie being taken out of the country.

Al-Samarraie however described the guilty verdict in his trial as political and said he had sought American protection because he feared for his life. [Gee, will Saddam Hussein be able to get rescued the same way?]

But a spokesman for Iraqi Commission for Public Integrity, a government body that investigates corruption in Iraq’s ministries, denied any political motive in the case.

“This is not true. The court listened to witnesses and has evidence. He faces six cases of managerial and financial corruption and this was just one of them. He is due back in court in a few days for another case,” spokesman Ali al-Shaboot said.

Corruption is rampant at every level of the government and has cost the state billions of dollars and al-Maliki, the prime minister, has made tackling it a priority.

MORE:

Having Read That, Check This;
[Which Do You Believe?]

October 11, 2006 USA Today

U.S. and Iraqi military forces battling in Baghdad often must seek permission from Iraq’s government before launching even routine missions.

[If you answered that you believe both articles: A) You are probably right and B) If so, it means the chain of command is firmly wrapped around your neck; there is no system, order or consistency in it; and a batch of stupid politicians wearing Generals’ costumes are giving orders that mean, in the real world, on the ground, fighting and dying for absolutely nothing at all, with one exception: their careers.

[The thieving Iraq scumbag is under U.S. government protection. And that’s what you’re there for; protecting thieving scumbag politicians, at home and abroad. And you are under no protection at all.]


OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

OCCUPATION PALESTINE/LEBANON

Just Another Mother Murdered

October 6, 2006 By ALISON WEIR, CounterPunch [Excerpts]

Almost no one bothered to report it. A search of the nation’s largest newspapers turned up nothing in USA Today, the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Chicago Sun-Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Houston Chronicle, Tampa Tribune, etc.

There was nothing on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, NPR, Fox News. Nothing.

The LA Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Associated Press each had one sentence, at most, telling about her. All three left out the details, the LA Times had her age significantly off, and the Washington Post reported that she had been killed by an Israeli tank shell.

It hadn’t been a tank shell that had killer her, according to witnesses. It had been bullets, multiple ones, fired up close.

Neighbors report that Israeli soldiers had been beating her husband because he wasn’t answering their questions. Foolishly or valiantly, how is one to say, the 35-year-old woman had interfered. She tried to explain that her husband was deaf, screamed at the soldiers that her husband couldn’t hear them and attempted to stop them from hitting him. So they shot her. Several times.

Her name was Itemad Ismail Abu Mo’ammar.

She didn’t die, though. That took longer. It required her life to flow out of her in the form of blood for several hours, as Israeli soldiers refused to allow an ambulance to transport her to help. Her husband and children could do nothing to save her.

Finally, after approximately five hours, an ambulance was allowed to take her to a hospital, where physicians were able to render one service: pronounce her dead, a few days before the commencement of Ramadan, a season of family gatherings much like the Christmas season for Americans.

She left 11 children.

None of this was in the Washington Post story, which had reported her death in one half of one sentence.

Her husband’s brother, who lived in the same house, was also killed. He was a 28-year-old farmer.

Why did this all happen? The family lived behind a resistance fighter wanted by Israel. They were simply “collateral damage” in a failed Israeli assassination/kidnapping operation.

All together, five Palestinians were killed that day. The other three were young shepherds killed in another area, two 15 years old and one 14, who seem to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gaza.

None of this was reported in most of America’s news media, and so the American public never learned about a mother bleeding to death in front of her children, or young shepherds being blown to pieces. Apparently, it just wasn’t newsworthy.

The Washington Post at least mentioned these deaths, so perhaps those who care about journalistic standards should laud the Post for its coverage.

And yet, the Post in its short report got so much so wrong.

In addition to misreporting Itemad’s cause of death and omitting critical facts, the Post’s story portrayed the entire context incorrectly, telling readers that these five deaths had broken a period of “relative calm.”

The fact is that while it was true that in the previous six months not a single Israeli child had been killed by Palestinians, during this period Israelis had killed 75 Palestinian young people, including an 8-month-old and several three-year-olds.

And, after all, these were only Palestinians, and it was just another mother dead.

MORE:

“A Jew to Zionist Fighters, 1988"
Do You Really Want To Be The New Gestapo?
The New Wehrmacht?
The New SA And SS?

[Thanks to JM, who sent this in. She writes:]

Something very different: a poem.

Have you heard of Erich Fried who is often referred to as the greatest modern, Jewish, poet?

He was born in Vienna in 1921 and escaped to England, with his mother, after his father was tortured to death by the Gestapo, in 1938.

Because of his experiences with racism and Fascism he became involved in the Palestinian cause.

He was a leader in the fight against both Fascism and Zionism.

I’m sending a copy of his best poem, in my opinion. It was first published in 1988 just before he died.

Please take the time to read it. I think it’s wonderful.

*******************************************************

A Jew to Zionist Fighters, 1988

What do you actually want?
Do you really want to outdo
those who trod you down
a generation ago
into your own blood
and into your own excrement
Do you want to pass on the old torture
to others now
in all its bloody and dirty detail
with all the brutal delight of torturers
as suffered by your fathers?
Do you really want to be the new Gestapo
the new Wehrmacht
the new SA and SS
and turn the Palestinians
into the new Jews?
Well then I too want,
having fifty years ago
myself been tormented for being a Jewboy
by your tormentors,
to be a new Jew with these new Jews
you are making of the Palestinians
And I want to help lead them as a free people
into their own land of Palestine
from whence you have driven them or in which you plague them
you apprentices of the Swastika
you fools and changelings of history
whose Star of David on your flags
turns ever quicker
into that damned symbol with its four feet
that you just do not want to see
but whose path you are following today

[To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation by foreign terrorists, go to: www.rafahtoday.org The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”]


OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER

Telling the truth – about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington – is the first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance – whether it’s in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what you’ve read, we hope that you’ll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers.  www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! www.ivaw.net

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