|7/10/04||GI Special #2b84: Some Home Truth|
GI Special: mailto:email@example.com 10.7.04 Print it out (color best). Pass it on.
198 Troops Wounded Last Week
Oct. 5, 2004 The Associated Press
The number of U.S. troops wounded in Iraq increased by 198 over the past week, raising the total since the war began in March 2003 to 7,730, the Pentagon said Tuesday. [That works out to over 10,000 per year.]
That is within the range of weekly increases reported over the past two months, which have varied from about 110 to 226 in one of the most intense periods of insurgent violence this year.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS:
Belmont County Soldier Killed
October 6, 2004 Rick Terry, NEWS 9
The phone call every military family dreads came into the Morgan family home in Maynard early Tuesday morning.
From a Department of Defense spokesman, Diana learned her husband, Sgt. Richard Morgan, of the 660th Transportation Unit of Cadiz, was killed by a land mine in Iraq. Within hours, more than a dozen family members had joined Diana to offer grief and comfort.
Sgt. Rick Morgan was 38 years old. He met Diana while he was stationed in Germany almost 20 years ago. They married there and celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary, as well as Diana's birthday, while he was home two weeks ago.
It's a visit the family now views as a mixed blessing.
In an exclusive interview, Morgan's sisters, Bonita Girty and Anita Gillespie tell NEWS 9 their heartache is profound, but their pride in their brother equally overwhelming.
Morgan was essentially retired as a reservist when the war in Iraq began, and he re-enlisted with a promotion to Sergeant. He was their friend and family stalwart. While stationed overseas, Morgan would frequently keep several internet channels open at once, to stay in touch with as many relatives as possible. If he was scared, Bonita says he never told his sisters or anyone else. Morgan could never discuss the secret nature of his missions, but believed thoroughly in the war and in what he was doing.
Says Bonita, “You really don't think about it until it happens to you. You don't understand until it hits home, and when it hits it hits hard.” Anita agrees, “You can't ever get over a loss like this… We thank God we had him as long as we did, because we just saw him, and we hadn't seen him since last Christmas.”
Fighting In Babil Province
06-10-2004 Al Bawaba & By Alexandra Zavis, Associated Press
“The Americans want to stop the resistance which they call terrorism and this is wrong. In fact is it is legitimate reaction to the occupation”
Resistance fighters blew up two bridges in a bid to hinder troop movement as U.S. and Iraqi forces sealed off roads to an area south of Baghdad.
More than 3,000 U.S. and Iraqi forces on Tuesday launched a major operation to retake control of Babil province.
On Wednesday, U.S. soldiers and Iraqi National Guardsmen were sealing off the roads leading to Qasir town in the Youssifiyah area, preventing anybody from going in or out.
Residents said two explosions one a car bomb another a roadside bomb hit two bridges in the area Wednesday.
“The U.S. military operation is unjustified and most of the arrests are random and it will increase the hostilities in the area,” Mohammed Fadhil, the 20-year-old owner of a Youssifiyah grocery shop said. “The Americans want to stop the resistance which they call terrorism and this is wrong. In fact is it is legitimate reaction to the occupation”
Against Countrywide Rebellion, Capture of Samarra A Bloody, But Useless, Gesture
October 6, 2004 By PATRICK COCKBURN, CounterPunch
Capturing cities like Samarra might be a sign of progress if the US were combating isolated bands of insurgents, but against a countrywide rebellion it is a bloody, but largely useless, gesture.
American generals in Iraq triumphantly announced at the weekend that they had successfully taken over Samarra and killed 125 insurgents. They failed to mention that this is the third time they have captured this particular city on the Tigris river north of Baghdad in the past 18 months.
The campaign to eliminate the no-go areas under rebel control in Iraq is getting into full swing. Fallujah is being bombed every night and may soon be subjected to ground assault. Najaf was recaptured from Shia militiamen in August and much of the city is in ruins.
The current US military campaign is very much geared to getting President George Bush reelected to the White House in November. The aim of the bombing is to prove to American voters that their army is on the offensive, but without substantially increasing US casualties.
The situation on the ground in Iraq is far worse than what is portrayed by the media. Ironically, this is because it is now so dangerous for journalists and television crews to leave their heavily guarded hotels in Baghdad that they cannot refute claims by the American and British governments that much of Iraq is safe.
Nothing could be more untrue. I have spent most of the past year-and-a-half travelling in Iraq, and I have never known it so bad. The roads all around Baghdad are cut by insurgents. At Mahmoudiyah, just south of the capital, rebels in black masks felt confident enough last week to establish a checkpoint on the main road to Najaf.
In Baghdad, US planes regularly bomb Sadr City, home to two million out of the capital's five million people. Haifa Street, a resistance bastion 400 yards from the Green Zone where American generals give relentlessly upbeat briefings, can only be entered by US heavy armour supported by helicopters.
The creation of the no-go zones around Baghdad was largely the consequence of the way in which US strategy is dictated by the electoral needs of President Bush. The US marine commander in charge of western Iraq in April says it was against his advice that Fallujah was first besieged on orders from above. The siege enraged the Sunni Arab community in Iraq. The marine attack was then called off after a few days, again apparently on orders from the White House because it did not want Iraq leading the television news night after night.
The conquest of cities like Fallujah, Ramadi, Samarra and Baquba will not end the insurrection. In recent months, there have been more attacks on US troops and Iraqi security forces elsewhere in Iraq than in the original centres of the rebellion.
In Mosul, the northern capital, the Iraqi police even contribute part of their salary to the resistance.
The upsurge in rebel attacks is being portrayed in London and Washington as an attempt to sabotage the Iraqi elections in January. There is no reason to think that the impending polls in Iraq have any connection with the increasing violence. The insurrection is spreading each month under its own momentum. It does so because the dominant fact in Iraqi politics is the overwhelming unpopularity of the US occupation.
One of the last opinion polls taken by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority this summer showed that just 2 per cent of Iraqi Arabs (Kurds were not included) supported the occupation. There is nothing surprising in this. How many foreign occupations are popular?
The Iraqi Sunni and Shia communities may have their differences, as do the Islamic militants and nationalists, but they hate the US army more than they hate each other. One Shia leader told me how in his city, Kerbala, the Shia radical Muqtada Sadr is deeply unpopular. But when a US helicopter dropped leaflets in Arabic denouncing him, local people rushed out and burned them. They would not be told by a foreign invader what to think about one of their own.
If an election is held in January, it will not end the fighting. If the Sunni Muslims do not take part, but the Shia and Kurds do, then Iraq will be even more divided. A great number of Iraqis also believes that you simply cannot have a free and fair election with 138,000 US troops in the country.
The system of voting has also been skewed towards producing a photocopy of the interim government and the parties of former exiles which compose it. A voter will cast his ballot for a central list of parties. The parties will then be allocated seats in a legislative assembly proportionate to their percentage of the overall vote.
The problem is that the Iraqi political parties are imported and are generally unpopular. Only the Kurdish parties have real roots. The Shia parties will come together—possibly including Muqtada Sadr—and Iyad Allawi, the prime minister, will ally himself with the Kurds. Many local leaders will not stand.
Any Iraqi politician who wants a long-term future in his country will have to demonstrate that he is playing a role in ending the US occupation. Those who do not will end up in exile or worse.
Capturing cities like Samarra might be a sign of progress if the US were combating isolated bands of insurgents, but against a countrywide rebellion it is a bloody, but largely useless, gesture.
MORE ON SAMARRA
Batiste Boasts And Babbles Bullshit; Clueless As To What The War Is About
October 06, 2004, Matthew Cox, Army Times staff writer
Insurgents occupied “hundreds” of private homes and religious sites, said Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste, commander of the 1st Infantry Division. ”It was a violent engagement.”
“They were no match for U.S. and Iraqi forces. The bulk of the fighting was over in eight hours.
[The bad news for this blowhards’ troops is that the bulk of the fighting is just getting started. He knows nothing about guerrilla war, a deadly failing in a commander in the middle of one. The resistance just fades away rather than stand and fight overwhelming force, and comes back later, twice as strong, at a time and place of their choosing. Batiste is clueless. As the article above points out, this is the third time Samarra has been “taken”, and every time the resistance grows stronger.]
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
Telling the truth – about the occupation, the cuts to veterans’ benefits, or the dangers of depleted uranium – is the first reason Traveling Soldier is necessary. But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance – whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers. www.traveling-soldier.org/ And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)
Amateur Hour In Latifiyah; Silly Reserve Captain Says “We’re Here To Stay”
Oct. 06, 2004 BY RICK JERVIS, KRT Information Services
LATIFIYAH, Iraq – (KRT) – There is no traffic in Latifiyah.
No cars, chickens, pigs, people or roadside cigarette stands – a staple in most Iraqi towns. Shops are shuttered, homes are closed and quiet, and, most disturbing to at least one Marine charged with patrolling this rural town 20 miles south of Baghdad, there are no signs of children.
“They play inside,” said Sgt. Yousif Almoosawi, a platoon sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, as he pointed his M-16 assault rifle down another empty alley. ”Not a good sign.”
The streets around Latifiyah have become so laced with roadside bombs – known in military parlance as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs – that military officials here call it the “IED capital of Iraq.”
To stress that point, insurgents blew up the police station two weeks ago.
“Right now, Latifiyah is more dangerous than Fallujah,” said Sgt. Devon Hawkins, another platoon sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines. ”Every day we have an IED. Everyday someone who is seen working with Americans gets killed here. It's complete lawlessness.” [Right. Just like Boston was completely lawless in 1776, from the British point of view.]
Since the U.S. military closed nearby Highway 1, Highway 8 has become the main thoroughfare between Baghdad and the southern cities of Najaf, Nasiriyah and Basra. The Iraqi National Guard has permanent stations in Mahmoudiya and Iskandariyah. But in between, towns on Highway 8 like Latifiyah have been overrun by insurgents, military officials said.
Their weapon of choice: IEDs. The homemade devices incorporate 81 mm mortar shells, 130 mm or 155 mm artillery rounds or 100-pound aerial bombs, many times daisy-chained together and wired to a stand by the side of the road, where a triggerman waits for passing convoys, officials said.
One recent Saturday night, a Marine Mobile Strike Team discovered an IED made of 15 130 mm artillery shells daisy-chained by the side of Highway 8, officials said.
Later that night, a six-vehicle convoy was returning from a mission in central Latifiyah when an IED exploded under one of the armored Humvees. The bomb disintegrated the Humvee's front end. Its transmission and engine parts rained down on the vehicles behind it, and the grenade launcher mounted on its roof was found in a field 30 feet away, according to a witness.
All five passengers survived, saved by the Humvee's armor. With two weeks in Iraq, three members from the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines have been recommended for Purple Hearts.
Sgt. Eliasard Alcauter, a vehicle commander, was in the back seat.
“I saw a bright flash but didn't even hear the bang,” said Alcauter, who suffered a mild back sprain. “Next thing I know, it was like I was riding a rodeo horse. The vehicle was bouncing up and down. It was crazy.”
The insurgents probably are using weapons and ammunition looted from the nearby Qa-Qaa complex, a 3-mile by 3-mile weapons-storage facility about 25 miles southwest of Baghdad, said Maj. Brian Neil, operations officer for the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, which initially patrolled the area.
The facility was bombed during last year's invasion and then left unguarded, Neil said. “There's definitely no shortage of weapons around here,” he said.
The task to secure Latifiyah had belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which went after insurgents with large offensives and tactical cordon-and-search missions. Earlier this month that responsibility was handed to the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines, a unit with headquarters in Chicago comprising mainly reservists from Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa (slogan: “Mayhem from the Heartland”).
The battalion of Chicago police officers, Milwaukee students, mortgage brokers, defense lawyers, sales representatives, nurses and engineers – totaling more than 1,000 – could be useful as U.S.-led coalition forces continue their shift from a military role to security and reconstruction duties, military officials said. [It’s going to be mayhem all right, when these weekend warriors go up against an armed nation determined to be free. Only not like the brain-dead “military officials” think. And when were “military officials” ever known to think?]
The handover of a hostile area to a new battalion, made up of many inexperienced combatants, has its growing pains.
On Sept. 27, three platoons took off from the base in Mahmoudiya with a predawn mission to sweep through Latifiyah on foot patrols. But on the way there, a Humvee ran off the road and into a ditch, a 7-ton truck nose-dived into a canal and another Humvee lost a tire, said Capt. Tom Wotka, the daytime battle captain. As four injured Marines were evacuated, insurgents lobbed mortars at the truck accident site, Wotka said. No one else was seriously injured, he said.
“Operating as a battalion is something we haven't done much of,” Wotka said. “The tactics of this are really simple. It's the actions that make this complex.” [We got our very own General Patton here, full of deep wisdom.]
The day before, the battalion's Fox Company launched a mission to look for IEDs along Highway 8. The Marines motored down Highway 8, passing the charred carcasses of more than 20 vehicles destroyed by IEDS – including an Opel car, a Mercedes-Benz minivan and an 18-wheel truck – on a 2-mile stretch through Latifiyah named “IED Highway” by Marines.
The convoy of vehicles stopped, 100 yards apart, diverting midday traffic to a dirt side road. Marines jumped out and began searching the sides of the highway for discolored mounds of dirt, ill-placed boxes or other signs of roadside bombs.
After an hour without finding any bombs, they were radioed instructions to find a spare M-16 barrel lost by another unit in a residential section of southern Latifiyah. [Promise: this is not satire.]
On their way there, trying to alternate their routes to confuse the enemy, the convoy sped on dirt roads along canals on the outskirts of the town – and got lost. Then a Humvee got stuck in a ditch and needed help getting out.
When they arrived, the Marines created a defense cordon around the southern stretch of town while a team of three Marines, led by Capt. Joel Northey, a platoon commander, walked through Latifiyah's desolate streets, kicking through trash piles, peering down alleys and asking the rare resident on the street, through a translator, whether they had seen any military equipment. They hadn't. [Promise: this is not satire.]
The Marines, with their M-16s ready, moved slowly and deliberately, securing corners before crossing streets, scanning rooftops and peering over the fences of homes.
The spare barrel was never found. But the stroll through town had another mission, Northey said. Marines from the previous unit often had been shot at by snipers in the same section of town.
“This is a way to show them they're not going to chase us out with sporadic gunfire,” Northey said. “We're here to stay.” [How silly can you get? No, you’re not “here to stay.” The Iraqis are “here to stay,” so far for about 5,000 years. They’re going to kick your ass out, along with all the rest of Bush’s occupation officers. It’s their country. This is such a perfect example of the Imperial arrogance and stupidity that has already lost the war.]
Resistance Shifts Combat Tactics Against Occupation Forces; Moving To Extended Small Unit Attacks
3 October 2004: This is Iraqi Resistance Point Of View: Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member editorial board The Free Arab Voice.
Assessment: Qualitative leap under way in Iraqi Resistance operations, as US aggressor troops are harried by over 90 Resistance attacks per day.
Correspondents for Mafkarat al-Islam in Iraq believe that coming days will witness a qualitative change in the operations being carried out by the Iraqi Resistance against the occupation. The correspondents observed Resistance activity in more than 50 regions of the country over the last week and noted a marked escalation in Resistance attacks, bringing the total number of operations up to about 87 per day.
The correspondents reported that the operations that they personally witnessed, obtained accounts of from eyewitnesses or otherwise learned of in the previous week were as follows:
Saturday, 25 September 2004. 87 Resistance operations.
Sunday, 26 September 2004. 75 Resistance operations.
Monday, 27 September 2004. 81 Resistance operations.
Tuesday, 28 September 2004. 89 Resistance operations.
Wednesday, 29 September 2004. 90 Resistance operations.
Thursday, 30 September 2004. 92 Resistance operations.
Friday, 1 October 2004. 95 Resistance operations.
The correspondents also observed a clear strategic shift by the Resistance from hit and run tactics to the tactics of relatively quick blows.
The new tactics involve attacks that last from two to six hours each.
Car bombs are again being used as a powerful and intimidating tactic. The bombing in al-Karmah west of Baghdad was one good recent example of the Resistance’s new use of that tactic with deadly and targeted effect. In that operation two car bombs exploded on Sunday, 26 September at the headquarters of the puppet so-called civil defense force when American occupation forces were changing their guard and thus had a large number of their forces exposed and in the open. Thirty-five US troops were killed in that attack and eight Humvees, two troop transport vehicles, and one Bradley armored vehicle destroyed.
In addition to the new and more sophisticated tactics, the observers note greater coordination between Resistance groups with different ideological outlooks.
This can be seen in the way that they time their attacks and in the issuance of joint communiqué’s. The correspondents noted obvious coordination during the week among the Resistance fighters operating in Baghdad’s Hayfa Street, in ar-Ramadi, Samarraâ, Tal-afar, and Mosul. Just in ar-Ramadi, for example, the correspondents noted, six totally different organizations are in full cooperation, each one defending the other.
In al-Anbar, the Resistance pursues the tactic of wiping out the enemy, concentrating their forces to totally annihilate small American or puppet patrols. They attack small columns by breaking them apart and then focusing on the smaller part to totally wipe it out.
The correspondents have noted that in the last 40 days there has been a major change in the military strategy of the Resistance.
Observers attribute this to the Resistance being able to draw on the expertise of a number of specialists from the Army of the Republic of Iraq who have been able to make adjustments to existing ordnance left over from before the US occupation to make it more usable and more lethal in dealing with the Americans in the type of warfare being waged in the country.
A number of middle-range and short-range rockets have been upgraded with the help of these specialists. The C5K, for example, has been modified from an air to ground rocket for use on the ground or for anti-aircraft purposes.
The correspondents believe that in coming days there will be a qualitative leap in the Iraqi Resistance operations as they escalate to a higher level of destructive capacity.
In al-Qa’Tim on the border with Syria, Iraqi Resistance forces fired a C5K rocket shot and down a US Chinook Helicopter, killing five US troops in the ar-Rabt area at 12:25pm Sunday afternoon local time.
Resistance forces used bombs and an SBG9 to disable a Bradley armored vehicle and a Humvee at kilometer 160 in the al-Qa’Tim area at 9:30am Sunday morning. Two Humvees were disabled in the cemetery area of al-Qa’Tim Sunday afternoon.
A massive Resistance car bomb attack (with a blue Chevrolet Caprice) 15km from al-Qa’Tim left 15 US troops dead and destroyed five Humves. An Iraqi man, woman, and child who happened to be in the area were unfortunately also killed.
Resistance forces set fire to five US military trucks carrying tanks in al-Qa’Tim in a raid on a column of 45 US vehicles on its way from Baghdad to al-Qa’Tim at 11Pm. Each of the five trucks was carrying an Abrams tank. The Resistance fighters returned safely to base.
Monday, 4 October 2004.
Car bomber strikes CIA headquarters in Baghdad.
The local correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam reported from Baghdad Monday morning that at 10am local time an Iraqi Resistance martyrdom fighter attacked one of the largest headquarters of the US Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA) in Baghdad. The massive explosion occurred near Sa’dun Street, very close to the ar-Rashid Hotel.
At least 3,000 US security employees work out of the massive headquarters – a scale of operations that strongly suggests that it is the main headquarters for the US state intelligence agency in occupied Iraq.
US forces immediately closed off all approaches to the scene of the attack, preventing the Mafkarat al-Islam correspondent from assessing the extent of damage or obtaining information on casualties directly. US aircraft, however, could be seen landing and taking off from the street where the attack took place, loading dead and wounded CIA personnel.
The American Associated Press (AP) reported that the blast occurred at 9:45 and that it targeted “a convoy of 4-wheel drive vehicles leaving a complex of major hotels where foreign contractors and journalists reside.”
In a later dispatch posted at 1:40pm Mecca time, the Mafkarat al-Islam correspondent presented the version of the incident that he had pieced together from his sources. He wrote that a Resistance fighter driving a 2-ton booby trapped Kia loaded with fruits and vegetables blew up the vehicle at 10am local time. The correspondent estimates that the truck must have been loaded with 1.5 to 2 tons of explosive material.
The target building, an old structure formerly used by Iraqi military industry, has been taken over by the CIA and surrounded by a huge concrete wall. Deployed around it are watch points and numerous inspection stations. Large numbers of American snipers are perched atop the building.
The Resistance driver had to break through as much of that security cordon as possible. The driver headed for the main gate at the moment that a number of CIA-owned GMC vehicles were awaiting confirmation of their identity and authorization to enter the facility. The Resistance attacker drove in right after the US vehicles.
The attack totally destroyed the facade of the building, causing parts of it to collapse. The number of casualties inside is unknown, but the correspondent saw seven Iraqi ambulances rushing to the scene from the direction of the as-Sa’dun statue, as well as six American ambulances heading in from the road to the Meridian Hotel. In addition two US Black Hawk helicopters emblazoned with the Red Cross rushed to the scene of the attack as well, in order to take away the dead and injured.
The correspondent also saw five demolished civilian cars and the obvious damage that the powerful explosion inflicted also on the walls of neighboring buildings.
After the attack, US snipers deployed atop nearby buildings, the number of checkpoints increased and many more US and Iraqi puppet forces were deployed in the area.
Nevertheless, at 10:25am two powerful Tariq rockets slammed into the ar-Rashid Hotel in the same vicinity, according to the local correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam.
In a dispatch posted at 11:58pm Mecca time the correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam provided more details on the attack. He reported that the car bomb attack on the CIA headquarters killed 12 CIA agents. The correspondent reported local eyewitnesses as saying that the 12 were killed in three cars – two of them GMC Suburbans and the third a Blazer. In addition, five members of the Iraqi puppet so-called “National guard” perished in the explosion. They had been stationed at the first checkpoint. (The correspondent explains that the US forces typically have a series of check points outside their facilities, the first one being manned by local Iraqi puppet forces, who are therefore the most exposed to Resistance attack.)
The Resistance car bomb burst through the first gate, following US cars, and then exploded at the inner gate. The correspondent reported that the number of casualties at the inner gate was unknown, but that the large number of ambulances that showed up at the scene indicates a sizeable casualty figure.
Telephone communications in Iraq shut down – both land lines and portable telephones, according to Mafkarat al-Islam, which quoted an informed source working in the field of telecommunications in the country.
The source told Mafkarat al-Islam that later in the day, the order closing down all telephone communications was rescinded for the northern regions of the country, but that the shut-down was still in force in the southern part of the country – which was known for having the worst cell phone network in the country anyway, according to the correspondent.
As a result of these and other orders by the US occupation forces which are in the midst of a campaign against Resistance strongholds, al-Fallujah, and the districts of al-Karakh and Madinat as-Sadr in Baghdad are without all telephone communication – landed or cellular – for the third straight day.
The correspondent notes that even though the lines have officially been again turned on, users are still encountering severe difficulties in the use of all telephones in the country.
The Grief of Baghdad
05 October 2004 By Evan Derkacz, AlterNet
The painful stories and pictures of some of the 16,000 American soldiers – like Cpl. Tyson Johnson – wounded in Iraq might move Americans to action. Maybe that's why we don't see them in the mainstream media.
After having seen a couple of his buddies turn up dead in a ditch during high school, Tyson Johnson decided to leave his Prichard, Alabama home and make something of himself “because I knew where my life was headed.”
So he joined the National Guard first, and then, for a bonus of $2999, he joined the army.
Now 22, he's back in Prichard, his life in ruins.
Tyson Johnson (Big Picture)
Johnson's story is just one of many from Nina Berman's powerful new book, “www.purpleheartsbook.com PurpleHearts: Back from Iraq'' (Trolley Ltd.).
It contains short testimonials and a photo essay illuminating one of the dark corners of the war in Iraq: the stories and pictures of the permanently wounded men and women home from the war. If the pumped-up “Army of One” recruiting campaign is the “before” photo, “Purple Hearts” is the “after.”
Cpl. Johnson's photo in the book is subtly disturbing; it creeps up on you. On a sunny Southern day, he leans gently against a chain-link fence, eyes downcast. Baggy basketball shorts sit low, Hanes underwear defiantly above the waistline. His trim torso is a collection of scars, the largest of which snakes from the bottom of the breastbone, diving into his navel, disappearing finally into that exposed Hanes waistband. Others emerge from his back; there's a patch covering something over his heart; what appears to be the work of sprayed shrapnel across his left side.
Despite the message written on his body, it's his words that will haunt you: “Well, uh, shrapnel down the back, shrapnel that came in and hit my head, punctured my lungs. I broke both of my arms. I lost a kidney. My intestines was messed up. They took an artery out of my left leg and put it into this right arm. They pretty much took my life. Pretty much.”
He has trouble teaching his son how to count on his hands because, “You can see my fingers is messed up.” Cpl. Tyson Johnson is 100 percent disabled, cannot support his family – and the National Guard wants its bonus back.
“Purple Hearts'” succinct introduction by Verlyn Klinkenborg, a meditation on the concept of the “hero” since 9/11, paraphrases the stories within (though it serves as an adequate surrogate for the silenced stories of all the American boys and girls injured as a result of the war):
“Three of them were wounded in firefights. One was delivering ice. Another walked off into the desert on a bathroom break and stepped on a mine…The youngest of them all was wounded by a suicide bomber. Two of the solders who look the least damaged are blind, far more damaged than the camera can record. One soldier whose limbs are intact and who appears nearly normal is brain-damaged. A metal chunk from a bomb pierced his brain and left him a stranger to his family.”
On the same day that the “Purple Hearts” exhibit opened at the Redux Gallery in New York City in early September, a family in Geauga County, Ohio (perhaps the mother of all battleground states), sent a huge message to President Bush – literally.
Ken and Betty Landrus, the parents of Staff Sgt. Sean Landrus, who was killed in January, made an enormous sign which they held up from their front yard for passersby – and eventually news cameras – to see. The sign read: “Thanks Mr. Bush for the death of our son.” The story was reported by the local NBC affiliate, WKYC-TV.
Interesting that during all its coverage of the war, the station hadn't bothered to contact the family of a local casualty of the war, to report on what it was like to have a child die in the war – to report on the consequences of our nation's policies. They never asked Staff Sgt. Landrus' widow and three kids what it was like either, though his youngest child, having been born shortly before Landrus left for Iraq, admittedly wouldn't have given a good interview.
That's the lesson that the Pentagon and the State Department took from Vietnam: The way to maintain support for a war is to keep the pictures and stories of the dead and the wounded from the American people.
William Saletan, writing for Slate, believes that this is ultimately a failure of leadership. Referring to last week's debate, he pointed out just where Bush, despite himself, comes clean:
“Tonight he scoffed, 'If I were to ever say, “This is the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place,” the troops would wonder, “How can I follow this guy?”'
Exactly, Mr. President. If you were ever to give them the correct assessment, they would ask the correct question.”
Boot-Camp Virus Kills After Army Discontinued Prevention As “Too Expensive” “Top Priority” Means 2 Year Wait For Vaccine
(Seattle Times, October 6, 2004, Pg. 1) A deadly virus is striking 1 in 10 recruits. Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, responding to a Seattle Times story detailing how a vaccine had been abandoned in 1996 by the army because it was considered too expensive, said he will push to distribute a new oral vaccine by 2006, calling the program his “top priority.” [Fine. And every winter and spring between now and then, sit this Winkenwerder, Jr. asshole down in a chair, tie on some restrains, and inject his ass with a batch of the real live virus, until he sees if he can move a little faster to stop killing green troops in boot camp. We’ll find out then what his priorities are.]
Do you have a friend or relative in the service? Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly. Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and in Iraq, and information about other social protest movements here in the USA. Send requests to address up top.
Greek Anti-War Sailor Set Free
On behalf of Stop the War Coalition and Campaign Genoa 2001 we want to thank everybody for their amazing and quick response to express solidarity and demand the immediate release of Giorgos Monastiriotis, the sailor who denied to go to The Gulf with Greek frigate NAVARINO during the starting of bombing of Iraq by Bush and his allies.
He was captured before two weeks and put by Navel court in prison for 3 years and 4 months!
Today, we managed to challenge this imprisonment in the Naval court and we demanded his immediate release. The Naval court decided to release him until a final court will decide in future-no date was announced!
This is a great victory of our strong international and Greek antiwar movement.
The international campaign just in few days got an amazing response and in Greece a strong broad alliance was builded with the participation of trade unions, artists, intellectuals, academics, left parties etc.
We are now more confident that we are winning. The neoliberal government of Kostas Karamanlis and his hawks tried to revenge our strong antiwar movement that cancelled on 27th of August the visit of Colin Powel. They are now again defeated.
We dedicate our common victory to the forces of Iraqi resistance to occupation of Iraq and the international antiwar movement!
We don not stop to build this campaign since we don’t trust them.
So, please spread the good news and keep on the solidarity!
Petros Constantinou, Campaign GENOA 2001-Greece Yiannis Sifakakis, Stop the War Coalition-Greece
Mobilized Guard, Reserves Up 3,000 In Week
October 6, 2004 U.S. Department of Defense News Release No. 997-04
This week, the Army and Marine Corps announced an increase in the number of reservists on active duty in support of the partial mobilization, while the Air Force and Navy had a decrease. The net collective result is 3,269 more reservists mobilized than last week.
6 Months Home, Carson Troops Back To Bush’s Slaughterhouse Again
October 6, 2004 By Associated Press
FORT CARSON — Standing in a cold drizzle, 250 soldiers wearing desert camouflage said farewell Tuesday as they prepared to return to the war zone in Iraq.
They will be among the first of 7,000 troops from Fort Carson going back to Iraq over the coming months. The post near Colorado Springs sent 12,000 troops there last year; more than 40 were killed and more than 500 were wounded.
“I really have no issues about going back,” said 1st Lt. Clee Ceasar. But Ceasar said his wife and his family were shocked that he was returning so soon after coming home last spring.
“Mentally you have to be sharp. There are things you have to look out for. My biggest concern is roadside bombs,” he said.
U.S. Expands Probe Of Crooks Who Ran Air Force
(Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2004) The Justice Department has begun reviewing e-mail exchanges of three high-ranking government officials in more fallout from the controversial $23-billion Air Force plan to acquire aerial refueling tankers from Boeing, sources said. Federal investigators are looking at the possibility of conflict-of-interest violations by Air Force Secretary James Roche, Air Force acquisition chief Marvin Sambur and Robin Cleveland, associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, according to the sources.
Spain Cuts U.S. Troops From National Day Parade
(International Herald Tribune, October 6, 2004) U.S. troops are no longer welcome in Spain's national holiday parade now that Washington and Madrid have fallen out over Iraq. Instead, French soldiers have been invited to march in the Spanish capital on the big day.
IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP
Attack On Occupation Guards Base Kills 16 In Anah
Oct. 6, 2004 Reuters News Service & By Alexandra Zavis, Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq — A car bomber killed 16 people at a National Guard center in western Iraq today.
An Interior Ministry official said the bomber targeted recruits for the paramilitary force in the town of Anah, 260 km (163 miles) northwest of Baghdad, on the main highway to Syria.
Local doctors said 16 people had been killed and 24 wounded. Witnesses said they saw a car hurtling towards the National Guard center on the edge of town just before the explosion.
Al-Jazeera television said the bomber exploded in front of a National Guard garrison where people were lined up to volunteer for the force.
Four Occupation Cops Wounded In Basra IED
Oct. 6, 2004 Reuters News Service
A roadside bomb killed a civilian and wounded four policemen in the southern city of Basra.
No Oil For Blood; How Iraq War Feeds The Oil Crisis
10.4.05 Youssef M. Ibrahim. Youssef M. Ibrahim, a former senior Middle East correspondent for The New York Times and energy editor of The Wall Street Journal, is managing director of a political risk-assessment group.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, October 6, 2004 — The costs and benefits of America's occupation of Iraq vary, according to proponents and opponents, except when it comes to oil exports. The U.S.-led invasion has resulted in the loss of an average of 2 million barrels a day of Iraqi oil from world markets. That is a significant number with huge consequences for economies around the globe.
Instead of rosy promises by the neoconservatives of the Bush administration who pushed for the invasion — partly on the premise that they would turn it into America's private gasoline-pumping station — the contrary has occurred.
The impact is slowly taking its toll as the price of everything related to petroleum rises (from the food on the supermarket shelves to the gasoline in your car to the plastic chairs on your lawn).
The consequences have been evident in the past few months. Oil prices stand at 20-year-high records with no relief in sight. Indeed, should the ongoing disruption of Iraqi oil exports be compounded with an interruption of production elsewhere — Russia, Africa, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela or any member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — we could be looking at prices far above $50 a barrel, perhaps $60 or more. Indeed, the sky is the limit.
Iraq used to produce close to 3.5 million barrels of oil per day under the rule of Saddam Hussein.
It exported about 2.5 million barrels daily within the now-defunct, United Nations-guided oil-for-food program.
It produced another half a million barrels for its own internal consumption to feed its now-looted and destroyed refineries.
And it managed to “smuggle” about 300,000-500,000 barrels a day to Iran, Jordan, Syria and Turkey, with the money going into Saddam's treasury.
The reason oil prices have been hovering around $50 a barrel now is that most of these Iraqi exports disappeared just as oil consumption began to skyrocket around the world.
The International Energy Agency reported that the global use of oil — about 81 million barrels every 24 hours — rose at least 1.3% and perhaps as much as 3% in the past year. Consumption is being driven by new, voracious appetites in the huge industrial machineries of China and India as well as in various other economies on a fast-growth track.
Meanwhile, two huge Western oil lakes — the North Sea shared by the United Kingdom and Norway, and Alaska's oil fields — are beginning to run dry. And unrest in Nigeria has threatened the considerable output there. Hence, the decline in Iraqi oil production could not have come at a worse time.
In his most recent comments, Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that the insurgency in Iraq is “getting worse.”
The most immediate impact is on Iraq's oil industry, which insurgents have targeted as a way of opposing the U.S.-led occupation and hobbling the interim government ahead of planned elections.
Rightly or wrongly, the tactic is working.
Pipelines and oil terminals from the northern fields near Kirkuk to the southern export terminals near Basra are being blown up daily by various groups of insurgents. At last count, the northern pipeline that carries oil to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan has been blown up 37 times in 12 months. Terminals in the south have been attacked at least 10 times, in effect shutting down all exports of crude oil.
Iraq, a country that sits on the world's second-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, finds itself in the humiliating position of importing oil products such as gasoline, diesel and fuel oil. It is only able to export an average of about 1 million to 1.3 million barrels of crude oil per day. And that is on good days, when something is not ablaze.
What's worse is that a large chunk of the oil revenues is not accounted for because of graft, theft, mayhem and the near-total absence of transparency within the transitional government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, according to aid agencies, which say they cannot see where the money is going.
Oil traders go further. They say large amounts of oil are being stolen and smuggled onto ships, with Iraqi officials and traders splitting the returns. The Iraqi people and economy see no “trickle down” effect.
As for the country's oil industry, once a proud mighty machinery of some 55,000 well-trained and highly disciplined technocrats, the situation is catastrophic. Oil fields are deteriorating for lack of maintenance, fires, accidents and lack of funds. Oil refineries that were looted in the first week of the war have yet to be repaired.
To date, of the $18 billion in so-called reconstruction money allocated for Iraq by the U.S. Congress, less than $1 billion has been disbursed for that exact purpose, according to congressional-oversight reports and the United Nations.
Oil and politics are a flammable cocktail. That is exactly where we are in Iraq. The real worry is that the virus may very well be moving next door to other oil-producing countries at a time when, basically, the world is running on empty .
6,000 Prisoners Held Without Trial In Two Iraqi Jails
BAGHDAD, Oct. 6 (Xinhuanet)
About 6,000 Iraqis and other Arab nationalities were being held without trial in both Abu Ghoraib prison, west of Baghdad, and Pokka prison in Basra, 600 km south of Baghdad, local newspaper Al Mashriq reported Wednesday.
The health committee of the Iraqi National Council and the legal committee of the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights visited the two prisons and found that all the detainees there were not tried or even charged with any allegation and most of them were arrested illegally, according to the report.
“Among the detainees are teenagers less than 14 years old as well as elders over 60,” Ryadh Al Adhadh, head of the health and environment committee of the council, was quoted as saying. ”Fathers together with their sons were arrested and the handicapped including the blind were also imprisoned with no charge,” Adhadh added.
He also noted that 56 detainees held in the two prisons were from other Arab countries, including Syria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan and Iran.
Pokka prison in Basra is located in a heavily-polluted area surrounded by petrochemical and manure factories which caused diseases among the detainees, said Adhadh. End item
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
Thanks To Butchers Running U.S. Occupation, Zarqawi Gains Support In Iraq
(Philadelphia Inquirer, October 6, 2004) Once reviled as the man who brought beheadings to Iraq, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is gaining support among Iraqis who are outraged over the trail of razed neighborhoods and dead civilians left by the U.S. military's anti-insurgent offensives this month.
House Panel Will Investigate Bush Regime Iraq Oil Corruption
(New York Times, October 6, 2004) A House subcommittee investigating the United Nations oil-for-food program expanded its inquiry to the Bush administration's postwar stewardship of Iraq's oil money. The move came after subcommittee Democrats staged a surprise revolt at a hearing on accusations of corruption and mismanagement in the $67 billion program.
Occupation Haiti; Report Of Resistance Action
Wall St. Journal 10.6.04
Aristide backers have turned to beheading Haitian policemen they capture to demoralize the force. [Why are there no serious press reports of resistance to the occupation of Haiti?]
UN Employees Demand Immediate Withdrawal Of Themselves
10.6.04 Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS Two associations of United Nations workers are urging Secretary-General Kofi Annan to withdraw all U-N staffers from Iraq. The groups, representing 60-thousand U-N employees, say the country is too dangerous for staffers.
In a letter to Annan, they cite a rising level of kidnappings, killings and bombings in Iraq. And they say the U-N is becoming a target.
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
“Hi! I’m George Bush, your Commander-In-Chief. I’m happy to meet you, as long as you’re still alive that is. I don’t ever do funerals, but hell, after you’re dead what do you care?” (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Secretary of State Colin Powell watching the debate between Dickless Cheney and Little Johnny Edwards. Shortly after this photograph was taken during the Vice-presidents opening remarks, Powell vomited copiously. However, he denied this represented any continuation of his well publicized conflicts with Cheney. (Larry Downing/Reuters)
Christian Fundamentalist Jihadists Execute Helpless Prisoner Despite Pleas From Police Chief
Wall St. Journal, 10.6.04
Texas executed Edward Green, convicted of murder, despite pleas by Houston’s police chief for a moratorium because of suspect work by the city’s crime lab.
Murderous Idiot Kerry Says Win The War With Mexico
October 5, 2004 Stan Moore, www.dissidentvoice.org
In his recent debate with President George W. Bush, John Kerry used a very good analogy, and then promptly either forgot or ignored its ramifications.
Kerry said that invading Iraq after 9/11 could be compared to invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor. Yet, somehow, after drawing the analogy, which was a good one, he seemed to indicate that had we invaded Mexico after Pearl Harbor, and had the Mexicans resisted our invasion by force of arms, we should have called in Canada and other allies to subdue the Mexicans and stop their “terroristic” resistance.
How is it that Kerry could draw this analogy and then refuse to consider immediate withdrawal from Iraq should he be elected?
How could Kerry call for an international summit to draw other nations into the “colossal error of judgment” that he described Bush' war with Iraq as being? What legitimate purpose could possibly be served by enlarging a coalition of foreign participants in the illegal invasion and occupation of an innocent sovereign nation we had invaded on false pretenses?
Kerry wants to be the hero of a war he once condemned! And now he condemns President Bush for going to war, but declares that if elected, he will win it!
Poor Iraqis! They must be listening to these matters via Arabic media and wondering which is bad and which is worse — Bush or Kerry!
The Iraqi resistance movement must understand clearly that their battle will not be over and their fight will not be won based on the upcoming U.S. elections, no matter who wins. Patriotic Iraqis know that they must defy both political parties in the U.S. and that neither is their friend.
And the American people must understand that Democrats and Republicans are more alike than different and that Bush and Kerry are connected like skulls and bones.
The American public may only resolve this situation when they sufficiently tire of the spilling of American blood, just like happened in the Vietnam War. Presidents of both political parties sent American boys to die in Vietnam, and the same may occur in Iraq. If Kerry continues the assault on Iraq, his name will be reviled in the world just as the name of George W. Bush already is.
What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
CIA Man Slams Afghanistan Happy Talk
Excerpts from THE CONSEQUENCES OF BELIEVING YOUR OWN PROPAGANDA
Mamadou Chinyelu, The Black Commentator
And don’t forget Afghanistan. It’s also pure fantasy to declare that conflict has ended. For example, a retired CIA officer in a position to know recently drew a parallel between the Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan.
“Now in the second year of America’s Afghan enterprise, there is less talk of things being easy.
“The accounts of Operation Enduring Freedom and [the] analysis of Soviet operations in the Panjshir in 1984 have begun to sound hauntingly familiar: crisp military briefers giving cheerily optimistic but unconvincing accounts of a beaten enemy, of high body counts, but again without the bodies,” wrote Milt Bearden in his new book (co-authored by James Risen), The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB.
BUSH'S AFGHANISTAN: Women Still Beaten, Enslaved; Drug Lords Rule
Beaten Afghan Brides Nicholas D. Kristof (New York Times, October 6, 2004) It has been two years since President Bush declared that in Afghanistan, “Today, women are free.” But that's news to the inmates of the women's detention center in Kabul. The entire jail is a kaleidoscope of woe. Many inmates are women who refused arranged marriages and now face beatings or even death at the hands of their own families.
Afghanistan's Drug Boom Michele Alliot-Marie (Washington Post, October 6, 2004, Pg. 27) Afghanistan is responsible for three-quarters of the world's production of opium, impeding the country's stabilization as the profits help fund activities by warlords and the Taliban.
Puppet Kharzai Campaigns Again, Protected By U.S. “Security”
Wall St. Journal 10.6.04
Afghanistan’s Kharzai made a second campaign trip out of Kabul since last month’s failed assassination. The Ghazni event had heavy U.S. security.
From: CS To: GI Special Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2004 4:29 PM Subject: Re: GI Special 2#B83: Casualties Of War
I liked your comment in 2#B83 Forward Observations. I guess the right to bear arms as explicitly enshrined in the American Constitution, was included for a good reason. The outcome of the war/conflict in Iraq might determine whether such right is in fact a useful tool for the self-defence of not just individuals but a sovereign nation as a whole. CS
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