to David Honish, Veteran, who sent this in.]
“I Feel That As GIs Start Coming Out,
That’s What’s Going To Stop This War, And That’s The Only
Thing That’s Going To Stop This War”
One Day After
Surrender, AWOL Iraq War Resister Flees Again As Military Breaks Deal
November 3rd, 2006 Democracy Now
An Iraq war resister who fled
to Canada rather than return to the battlefield has gone into hiding again, a
day after turning himself in to the military.
Army Private Kyle Snyder says
he had a deal with the military that he would be discharged once he turned
himself in. Instead, military officials ordered him back to his original unit
where his outcome would be decided.
Kyle Snyder. Fled to Canada in April 2005 while on leave
from the war in Iraq. He recently returned to the US to turn himself in to the
Attorney for Kyle Snyder. He is based in Chicago and is a member of the
National lawyers Guild.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about
this journey that you have taken over the last two years? But let's start at the end. When you came across the Canadian border this
weekend, right at the time of the mass protest across Canada, of calling for
Canadian soldiers to pull out of Afghanistan, what was your understanding?
KYLE SNYDER: Well, my
understanding was through a Major Brian Patterson on Fort Knox post, is that I
would receive the same treatment that Darrell Anderson had received, who is
another Iraq war veteran, who was discharged with an other than honorable
My lawyer, Jim Fennerty, had contacted this
man on several occasions, and it was verbally promised to both him and -- so,
my understanding was that I would have the same treatment as Darrell Anderson.
However, that all changed when
I arrived at Fort Knox about an hour and a half after turning myself in. I wouldn’t have come back to the United
States if I had known that the Army would back down on its word.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And what exactly
happened when you did turn yourself in?
KYLE SNYDER: Well, at first,
they were okay with me. A lieutenant had
come in, and I was in holding at the time.
And he said, “Okay, we’re just going to out process you.
Everything’s going to be alright. It will take about four or five
days. Don't worry. It’s going to be okay. Just don't talk to anybody about your
experiences.” And I was like,
“Well,, that’s fine. I don't plan on talking to anybody about my
experiences on this post anyway.”
And after that conversation,
another lieutenant had come in and had found out that he could send me back to
my original unit in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, which had just moved from
Germany, actually, about six months ago.
After they had found that out, the whole climate had changed within the
holding facility. And I just knew
something was wrong after that.
And I requested on several
occasions to contact my lawyer before signing any documents. I refused to sign
the documents, because I did not fully understand it, so I wanted, you know, my
lawyer's professional help.
And they refused phone access
to call my lawyer, and then they put me in holding again.
And about twenty minutes later,
they gave me a Greyhound ticket, said, “You’re going to Fort
Leonard Wood anyway.” They dropped
me off, and I refused to go back to Fort Leonard Wood, because that was not the
reason that I came down from Canada.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And the time
you’ve been spending in Canada, what’s life been like there, because,
obviously, during the Vietnam War,
Canada became a huge area that took many war resisters from the United
States, both those refusing to be drafted, as well as AWOL soldiers? What has life been like there?
KYLE SNYDER: Actually, life in Canada was
fairly well. It’s still a
struggle. It’s still hard.
It’s not like I was relaxing while soldiers were being killed. It was, I was struggling to get them back
home. I was involved in the antiwar
movement in Canada.
I was generally accepted by the Canadian
population. I just wanted to get on with
a normal life, and that’s what I kept telling people in Canada. And after they saw that I was making those
steps to have a normal life, I think that they understood.
And I was actually attending college courses
-- sitting in on college courses while I was there. I worked at a massage and wellness center for
disabled children. I wanted to get on
with a normal life. And I think
that’s what I was doing, and I gave all of that up on a chance that I can
have the military off of my back. I
figured this would work.
And, you know, I would have
stayed in Canada working with disabled children, if I knew this was going to
AMY GOODMAN: Our guest in
Louisville, Kentucky, is Kyle Snyder. He
has just refused to go to his base, has gone AWOL a second time, having been in
Iraq, returned, went up to Canada, came back with the understanding that --
well, let’s first turn to Jim Fennerty, attorney for Kyle Snyder. What exactly did the military tell you? Was it you who negotiated directly with the
JIM FENNERTY: Yes, I did. I had worked out a deal, as you know, with
Darrell Anderson first, and when we worked this out with Darrell, when I spoke
to the military at Fort Knox, they said that since Darrell did not have a bad
record in the military -- means he never got in trouble or never got arrested
-- that when he came back, he would most likely be discharged within three to
five days and be other than honorable discharge.
Since that worked, I was contacted by Kyle.
I contacted the same major, and he then
checked out Kyle's records and got back to me, and he said, “Well, it
appears that he doesn’t have any problems on his record, that he should
be able to get the same arrangement that we had with Darrell.” They don’t guarantee anything and say,
you know, we’re putting anything in writing, but we felt confident that
after everything had worked out with Darrell, that Kyle was in the same position,
that this should be, you know, given and worked out, and he would have been
What their position is now is that since
Kyle’s unit, which originally was in Germany, is now in Fort Leonard
Wood, that he would have to go to Fort Leonard Wood, and we’d have to
start this whole process over.
I’ve tried to contact Fort Leonard Wood, haven’t been able
to get through to anybody. Either the
phones are busy, or they just keep ringing.
And I’ve been also in contact with a major from the judge
advocate's program in Fort Knox to see if he could get this thing done.
I think it’s important to get people
like Kyle back here from Canada, because -- two reasons.
One is, all the young soldiers I’ve
dealt with all need some help. They all
are suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, and they need to get some
medical help here.
The other reason I think is important is
obviously because these people have been outspoken, they made conscious
decisions to go to Canada, because they felt the war was wrong and
they’ve been lied to. And we need
to get their voices and their messages out around the country as much as
JUAN GONZALEZ: And you were
never contacted about the change of plans, in terms of the deal or his new
assignment to return to his unit?
JIM FENNERTY: No, I called before we went
down there. I called back this major,
and I spoke to him. And I said,
“Well, when we come down there, I’d like to meet with you, because
I just hear you on the phone. I’d like to just say hello.”
And he never said that Kyle would be sent to
Fort Leonard Wood.
If you ask the Army, they are going to say,
“Well, you did the right thing.
Everybody’s supposed to come here, and then we ship them out to
their units, if their unit’s not overseas.” If we knew that, we never would have went to
Fort Knox, and we would have tried to negotiate something or speak to people at
Fort Leonard Wood.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you say to
soldiers that are still in Iraq? And
then, what do you say to soldiers who have gone to Canada, given your
experience? But start with those in Iraq
KYLE SNYDER: To the soldiers that are in
Iraq, for the third or fourth time: just, you know -- a lot of them are scared
to make decisions about moral and conscious choices; they are told by their
commanders that they can’t make these choices -- just follow your heart.
If you feel that you need to be in Iraq and
that you’re doing the right thing, that’s fine, I understand that.
But if you feel that
you’re doing the wrong thing, please speak out. And the GI resistance is very important in
changing the politics of this country right now.
And I feel that as GIs start
coming out, that’s what’s going to stop this war, and that’s
the only thing that’s going to stop this war.
As far as the soldiers that are in Canada
right now, I love every single one of you, and just know that whatever happens
here, just keep that in mind. And
I’ll be keeping in contact with them.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And what do you
plan to do now?
KYLE SNYDER: Well, first off, I hope that
this deal works out. I hope that the Army can understand that they had reneged
on a deal, and right now we’re trying to get a hold of them.
And, ironically, I’m on,
you know, every paper in the country. I’m on your show. And, ironically, the people that we’re
talking about right now aren’t available. That’s just really,
really funny to me.
And they’re having coffee
or lunch, you know, like a United States soldier just comes down from Canada
every single day, and they could avoid this subject.
I just want to get this over with. I want out.
I’m not asking for a million dollars.
I’m simply saying, leave me alone, and I’ll leave you
alone. And I’m hoping that this
deal works out.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you afraid of
KYLE SNYDER: You know, I mean, I don't think
that the military is actively pursuing AWOLs right now. Whatever happens happens. But I still feel that I made the right
choice, and I need to stick to my conscience, and that’s what I’m
doing. I’ve done that my whole entire life.
Even when joining the military, I stuck to my
conscience and thought that it was right to join the military. But people's minds change, and we evolve, and
they need to take that into consideration, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: Kyle, you’re
KYLE SNYDER: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Kyle Snyder, I want
to thank you very much for being with us from Louisville.
KYLE SNYDER: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Thank you. I
wanted to end with your lawyer, Jim Fennerty. We asked Kyle about what will
happen to soldiers that remain in Canada, but you continue to represent
them. Among them, a man named Ivan
Brobeck. What are these soldiers in
Canada who want to come home, what is their response right now?
JIM FENNERTY: Well, basically I’ve been
told that some of the people, after they saw what happened to Kyle, said
they’re not planning on coming back.
I think if the deal would have worked through with Kyle, I think that
more people would have been coming back.
Now, we have to realize, too, though, that there’s a difference
between the Army, I’m finding out, and the Marines.
In terms of Ivan's case, Ivan wants to come
back, and he wants to come back even if we can’t work something out ahead
of time. But the Marines have told me, though, that Ivan will be, when he comes
back, Ivan will be taken into custody in Virginia, when he comes back from
Canada, and that he’ll be placed in the brig. In his situation, the Marines are planning to
either court-martial him or work out an arrangement that he would spend some
time in jail, probably in Quantico, Virginia.
So the Marines seem to be much tougher, in terms of trying to work
something out, than the Army has been.
AMY GOODMAN: Jim Fennerty, I
want to thank you very much for being with us, attorney for Kyle Snyder. He is
based in Chicago, member of the National Lawyers Guild. We’ll continue to follow Kyle's case
and see what happens to him next. Again, he was speaking to us from Louisville,
Kentucky. He had turned himself in at
Fort Knox and then went AWOL.
Chappaqua Soldier Killed In Afghanistan
Sgt. Kyu H. Chay, 34. (Photo Courtesy of The
Nov 3, 2006 Tony Aiello Reporting, (CBS)
CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. A New Yorker killed while helping to fight
the war on terror is being remembered as a wonderful son, brother, husband, and
Sgt. Kyu H. Chay, 34, who survived a tour in
Iraq, died Tuesday in Afghanistan, when a roadside bomb exploded near a convoy
in which he was riding.
"He was such a kind, generous
person," said Kyu T. Chay, Sgt. Chay's brother. The men shared the same
first name, a tradition in some Korean families.
Kyu T. Chay said their parents are
devastated. Sam and Soon Chays are well
known and highly regarded in Chappaqua, where the family operates a dry
The brothers were born in South Korea, and
moved with their parents to New York in the 1980s. Both graduated from the
Bronx High School of the Sciences and attended SUNY-Albany
Sgt. Chay, an Arabic linguist with the
Special Forces, joined the Army in 2001, a few months before the 9/11 terror
attacks. His brother said Sgt. Chay was
motivated by gratitude to America for the opportunities his parents found here. "He always appreciated coming to this country,"
said Chay. "He loved being American, loved being here, appreciated
everything this country offered to him, and he wanted to give back in some
Sgt. Chay was married to Cathy, his college
sweetheart at SUNY-Albany. Before joining the army, Chay studied law at
Brooklyn Law School.
The Chays lived in North Carolina with their
two children, five-year old Jason and 10-month old Kelly.
"My sister-in-law is a strong
woman," said Chay. "She's
being strong for her children, but of course she's suffered great trauma."
Cathy Chay told the Associated Press "he
was just a wonderful father and husband to me."
Kyu T. Chay said no man could have been a
"He loved me a great deal, and I loved
him," Chay said. "He was my best friend, and I just have good
memories of how we grew up together."
Sgt. Kyu H. Chay will be honored at several
ceremonies in the days ahead. His Army family will salute him at Fort Bragg
next week. He will be buried at
Arlington National Cemetery on November 13. His family will hold a memorial
service for him in Westchester County on November 19.
Killed By Sniper Fire In Iraq
11.12.06 Associated Press
CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich.: A 35-year-old Marine sergeant was killed
after being struck by a sniper's bullet while serving in Iraq, his family said.
Sgt. Bryan Burgess, of Wayne County's Canton
Township, was shot in the cheek in Fallujah Thursday and died instantly, his
family said. He was serving with the 1st Battalion of the 24th Marines, a
reserve unit headquartered at Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mount
"He loved his country," Burgess'
mother, Evelyn, told the Detroit Free Press. "He felt that it was worth
sacrificing his life for."
Burgess attended Livonia Public Schools, went
to Franklin High and later worked as a framer building houses. He was an avid
skier and motorcyclist.
Burgess is also survived by his father, Rex
Burgess, of Fair Haven.
Funeral arrangements are pending, and family
members said they'll ask the Marine Corps to depart from standard procedure and
allow Marines who Burgess served with to carry his body off the plane when it
arrives in Michigan.
"Bryan's wish was to be carried by his
friends, his Marine friends and family," said Rich Cormier, Burgess'
Marine, 24, From
Eaton Rapids Dies In Combat In Iraq
Marine Lance Cpl. Troy Nealey "had a big
heart and a big smile," his mom says. He liked farm work and wanted to
November 01. 2006 BY JOE SWICKARD, FREE PRESS
On the drive from Eaton Rapids to Detroit to
rejoin his unit, the conversation between Marine Lance Cpl. Troy Nealey and his
mother took that "what-if" turn.
"He said he wanted a memorial to benefit
the 4-H kids who won the livestock showman awards," Annette Nealey
recalled Tuesday night. "He'd been in 4-H for 10 or 11 years, and he'd
shown livestock. Troy wanted the money to go the kids."
Nealey, 24, was killed Sunday in action in
Anbar province in Iraq. A Reserve Marine
assigned to the Charlie Company in the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment of the 4th
Marine Division, Nealey and the other men of the Michigan-based outfit shipped
out last month in one of the largest Michigan deployments to the war in Iraq.
The unit recently completed training at
Twentynine Palms, Calif., and is expected to be in Iraq for a seven-month tour
of duty. The Defense Department
announced Nealey's death Tuesday afternoon.
"He joined the Marines, he didn't go to
college," his mother said. "He felt the Marines would give him the
opportunity to grow. He joined the
Reserve Marines, and he realized the war was on and he might be involved. He was proud to be a Marine."
Nealey had hoped to be an electrician -- his
father Norman Nealey is a builder -- but his mother said his heart was really
on a farm.
"He loved agriculture," she said.
"He was exposed to farm life, and he loved the cattle and crops. If he'd
been born on a farm, I think that would have made him the happiest."
His last civilian job before going on active
duty was milking cows on a dairy farm, she said.
Nealey's pickup truck showed his colors. "The truck had two stickers," his mother
said. "One was 'Cowboy Up,' and the other was the Marines.
A graduate of Eaton Rapids High School, he
played sweeper on the soccer squad and anchored relay teams.
"He was 5 feet 6, but he had a big heart
and a big smile," she said. In his
first e-mail home, Nealey asked his mother to send hard candy that he could
hand out to Iraqi kids.
Annette Nealey said she and others had
started gathering Jolly Ranchers and Beanie Babies when she got the news of his
She said her son was a realist.
"He told me he was scared, and I told
him, 'But, Troy, I want you to be scared. Be smart, be brave, but don't be a
hero,'" his mother said.
"And he told me he wouldn't be a
Nealey's funeral will be held Nov. 11 at 1
p.m. at Eaton Rapids High School.
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO COMPREHENSIBLE REASON TO BE
IN THIS EXTREMELY HIGH RISK LOCATION AT THIS TIME, EXCEPT THAT A CROOKED
POLITICIAN WHO LIVES IN THE WHITE HOUSE WANTS YOU THERE, SO HE WILL LOOK GOOD
not a good enough reason.
soldiers at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad October 23, 2006.
(Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud/Reuters)
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK OUT
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. http://www.traveling-soldier.org/ And join with
Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now!
Veterans At The Crime Scene
From: Ward Reilly, Veterans For
To: GI Special
Sent: November 11, 2006
Subject: Reilly, Sheehan, & Friends wrap
White House in Crime-Scene Tape
On election day, we protested in Washington
D.C. I brought a roll of "crime scene" tape to the White House, where
I, Bill Perry, Dennis Kyne, Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Pat McCann, Jesse Dyen,
and many others, proceeded to wrap the yellow tape around the building...it was
originally Nick Przybyla's (of Iraq Veterans Against The War) and my idea, and
it worked out perfectly...only after I tied a piece directly to the fence did
the piggies get upset and make me take it down, but EVERYONE loved the action
and idea. It was a GREAT visual effect.
The election day Sit-In (2 days long) at the
(very) White House, was a really fine demonstration, and we got some seriously
Cindy and 3 other peace-mom's got arrested
for blocking the main front gate, and the rest of us surrounded them until the
"third warning" was issued by the police to disperse, which we did,
[W]e'll be at the School Of The Assassins
next week at Ft Benning, Ga.
Peace from Ward
HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE
A U.S. military doctor treats a wounded U.S.
soldier in a U.S. military hospital in the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad
October 30, 2006. REUTERS/Thaier
“‘Who’d Have Thought We’d
Still Be Here?’ He Asked”
November 10, 2006 By Steve Chawkins, L.A.
Times Staff Writer
SANTA BARBARA: It looks like an engineer's dream: Forty-nine
rows and 52 columns of white, wooden crosses a foot-and-a-half high, each
exactly 36 inches from its neighbor, each row exactly 60 inches from the next,
a precise reckoning of combat death gleaming on the beach beside Stearns Wharf.
Each cross in the display mounted every
Sunday represents an American fatality in Iraq.
At its start three years ago, the project had
340 of them. Last Sunday, there were
In a telling comment on the
war's unexpected duration, organizers of the memorial called Arlington West now
are talking about picking a number, perhaps 3,000, and building no more crosses
after it's reached.
"It's strictly a matter of logistics
— there's just a limit to how much room we can take up and how many
crosses we can handle," said Dan Seidenberg, president of the local chapter
of a group called Veterans for Peace.
"I mean: How long will this war drag on?"
About a dozen volunteers have shown up week
after week since the start. They're joined by up to 30 others who appear now
and again. Some started coming only in
recent months, prompted by rumors that the project would cease for lack of
On a recent Sunday, Rod Edwards, an engineer
for the Goleta Water District, walked briskly down the rows, hunching over to
secure laminated, handwritten nameplates, using two rubber bands per cross.
"You almost feel you know them after a
while," said Edwards, who volunteers for the task each week. "It just tears your heart out."
Here he draped a string of rosary beads that
a soldier's parents had left for their son's marker; there he propped up a
plastic-encased obituary for Sgt. Mark A. Maida, who "deployed to Iraq and
adopted a puppy there named Maxine."
He was 22.
On this day, Edwards made quick work of
installing more than 1,200 nametags.
Marine Cpl. Jorge A. Gonzalez, 20, of Los
Angeles: "Graduate of El Monte High School and father of a newborn."
Marine Lance Cpl. Jesus Suarez del Solar, 20,
of Escondido: "RIP: Our Hero and Aztec warrior."
When there were fewer crosses, each name was
displayed. Now, the names of all fatalities
are dutifully recorded on nameplates, but volunteers put up only those whose
friends or families have visited.
Not long ago, Edwards said, he comforted a
sailor who had dropped by to seek out the name of his buddy.
"He seemed fine at first," Edwards
said. "But when he saw the name, he
just lost it. He threw himself on the sand and cried."
When the crosses are taken down about eight
hours later, the nameplates are filed away just so, allowing Edwards and other
volunteers to honor requests that troops who died together be grouped side by
side. One such grouping has 17
crosses. One family asked for a Star of
David instead of a cross, and that request also was honored.
Arlington West has inspired about a dozen
similar installations around the United States, including one on the beach at
Santa Monica. Except for a few rainouts,
the Santa Barbara display has been erected every Sunday since Nov. 2, 2003.
"We sent up an SOS this summer, and that
brought a spate of new volunteers," said Bob Potter, a retired drama
professor and an officer of Veterans for Peace. "But people get
The ideal, Potter said, would be to continue
to place a marker for each battlefield death — but the sheer size of the
task might make that impossible.
A committee is grappling with the question of
limiting the crosses, which now span nearly an acre of prime beachfront. Although the city has given its blessing to
the project, some volunteers grimly anticipate that it might one day crowd
sunbathers and spill over into areas reserved for beach volleyball.
That was never the plan. The group never envisioned a permanent or
even a full-time memorial because that would have taken more money, more
manpower and sturdier crosses.
Last Sunday, volunteers started arriving
about 7:30 a.m. Most were of a certain
age, but members of the Santa Barbara High School Peace Club, just a bit
younger than the troops they were memorializing, also pitched in. Joggers ran nearby, and a few kayakers
paddled just offshore as people started hauling crosses lashed together in
bundles of 16 from a donated truck.
Using methods developed by Ron Dexter, a
retired TV commercial producer known in the group as a logistical whiz, the
volunteers conducted the operation with military precision. Hundred-foot
measuring tapes were stretched taut across the sand. People hurried down the
rows, dropping each cross at a spot marked in red on the tapes.
Behind them came others to plant the crosses
firmly, still others to straighten them and yet others to stick miniature U.S.
flags beside each marker.
A man in a straw hat raked the sand between
the crosses with a gizmo consisting of three yoked-together mop handles and
dozens of dowels. He likened it to grooming a Zen garden.
As the day wore on, mourners came by,
kneeling amid the crosses. Volunteers offered kind words and flowers, sometimes
sitting beside them on the sand.
A Vietnam-era veteran, Dinah Mason comes
weekly to help. With a daughter who just
returned from Iraq, she said she has a particular feeling for mothers who
weren't so fortunate.
"One lady from Simi Valley started
talking about the favorite thing she used to bake for her son, and then she
started crying," Mason said. "We were crying with her."
On the wharf, tourists leaned on a railing
and peered down at the scene. A recorded bugle played taps over and over.
Joel and Yazmin Leal, who had come from
Fullerton to Santa Barbara for their anniversary, found the name of their
friend Douglas J. Marenco Reyes, a Marine who was among the first 200 troops to
die in Iraq. For a while, they gazed in
silence around the beach.
"This is amazing," said Yazmin, who
last saw her friend at her husband's birthday party two months before Reyes'
death. "There's a person to each one of these crosses."
At day's end, volunteers fanned out among the
crosses, pulling them up as meticulously as they had put them down that
morning. At precise intervals, they tied
them together using identical lengths of rope, looped in identical spots
— another of Dexter's innovations for making the work go more quickly.
The display has angered some.
A debate over its propriety recently flared
in the letters columns of the Santa Barbara News-Press, with some writers
saying it exploits fallen heroes for political gain. Last year, a Lompoc
mother, Debbie Argel Bastian, demanded that the name of her son, Air Force
Capt. Derek Argel, be removed because he wouldn't want to be associated with an
The organizers complied.
Although articles critical of the war are
displayed at Arlington West each week, volunteers said the tone used to be far
"One old World War II veteran would come
down with 'Impeach Bush' signs, and we took to asking him not to have those
around," said Potter of Veterans for Peace. "We moved to a position
where we were trying to open the memorial to as wide a public as possible
rather than trying to provoke people."
Even the crosses themselves have become
Stephen Sherrill, a Santa Barbara carpenter,
started Arlington West with half a dozen friends as a protest.
He still checks a website each week for
fatalities, still buys the lumber with donated funds, still glues and screws
the appropriate number of crosses.
"I plane the wood and curve the edges
now," he said. "People were getting too many cuts and splinters.
"And whatever I can do to make the
crosses a little lighter helps," Sherrill said. "We're looking at a
ton-and-a-half of wood out there."
Sherrill will be making more crosses for this
weekend's display. As a tribute to Veterans Day, Arlington West will be up
Saturday as well as Sunday. Candles will
be lighted and volunteers will stand vigil through the night.
From a patch of shade under a tarp, Sherrill
recalled similar candlelight observances over the last three years.
"But who'd have thought we'd still be
here?" he asked.
“It Was Soldiers, Not Hippies, Who
Spearheaded Protest Of The Vietnam War”
May. 23, 2006 By Gregory Epps, Portfolio Weekly
To my surprise, it was
soldiers, not hippies, who spearheaded protest of the Vietnam War.
And before it was over, America would witness
her own veterans tearing off their medals and throwing them on the capitol
Long before the troops began to refuse night
patrols and protest rallies at home revealed the division in our ranks, a few
soldiers unintentionally planted the roots of a movement by following their
conscience and saying Sir! No Sir!
Director David Zeiger’s documentary
reveals how the soldiers who initially protested acted alone, fully aware that
court-martial and prison awaited them.
Like their fathers and grandfathers, they
went to war "gung ho," assured they were doing the right thing. But it soon became clear that, along with the
American people, the soldiers were being lied to.
Dr. Howard Levy was sent to Vietnam to help
"win hearts and minds" by providing free dermatology to villagers,
curing common skin problems. But he
became aware that our bombers were attacking villagers with a new napalm that
was specially formulated to stick better to human skin.
Levy’s tale is one of many in which
horrific irony and bitter disappointment in their leadership play a role in a
man or woman’s transformation from soldier to protestor. In the words of
Special Forces veteran, Donald Duncan, "It was personal. There was no movement."
Army medic Randy Rowland rebelled only after
experiencing gravely wounded American soldiers begging for death on a daily
basis, none of whom thought that their sacrifice was justifiable.
Director Zeiger does a fine job tracing the
military roots of the peace movement, starting with these early incidents and
taking us through the organized growth of protest within the ranks.
By the time Navy nurse, Susan Schnall made
headlines by getting arrested for protesting in uniform, an "Underground
G.I. Press" was already filtering newspapers through our bases. Men were organizing in coffeehouses, and even
within the walls of the Presidio, where detained soldiers were outraged by the
killing of 19-year-old Michael Bunch, shot dead while trying to escape a work
In Sir! No Sir!, Zeiger goes on
to provide a fascinating timeline of events (in combat and at home), which
paint a fairly thorough picture of how we lost the war in Vietnam, why there
were over 550,000 incidents of desertion, why some soldiers killed their own
officers, and others refused to fight.
We also see how talk of peace was portrayed
as unpatriotic, and how Nixon responded to his protesting troops by shifting to
a vicious air war that attempted to bomb Vietnam "Back to the Stone
Critics of this film could point out that not
all veterans are represented by Sir! No Sir!. Many who proudly stood by their
oath to "support and defend" the orders of the president will never
forgive those who dodged the draft or mutinied in the field. Nor will they ever forgive public figures like
Jane Fonda, whose attempt to side with "the people" was interpreted
as giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
But Zeiger’s film patriotically stands
behind the equally brave soldiers on both sides of this divide, containing
elements with disturbing relevance to the Iraq War, the death toll of which
currently stands at 2,437 military and 35-40,000 civilians killed.
Sir, No Sir! shatters myths
about the origins of war protest, and the way memory of the Vietnam war has
It also reveals how protest
begins on the front lines, with men whose moral outrage is stronger than their
willingness to march in step.•
Sir! No Sir!:
At A Theatre Near You!
To find it: http://www.sirnosir.com/
No Sir! DVD is on sale now, exclusively at www.sirnosir.com.
available will be a Soundtrack CD (which includes the entire song from the FTA
Show, "Soldier We Love You"), theatrical posters, tee shirts, and the
DVD of "A Night of Ferocious Joy," a film about the first hip-hop
antiwar concert against the "War on Terror."
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.
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
caption 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: (firstname.lastname@example.org) T)
Criticism And Reply
[#1: The Article And That Led To The Criticism:]
Sorry You Chumps,
Fooled You Again;
Conyers Says No Impeachment, Ha Ha Ha
November 10th 2006 Kurtnimmo.com [Excerpts]
John Conyers, Ranking Democrat
on the House Judiciary Committee, didn’t mean it.
“The incoming speaker has
said that impeachment is off the table. I am in total agreement with her on
this issue: Impeachment is off the table,” Conyers declared after the
Democrats stormed the House and Senate.
But wait a minute. Didn’t Conyers seek to create a select
committee to investigate Bush crimes and make recommendations regarding grounds
Last December, Conyers, along with Senator
Barbara Boxer and Congressmen John Lewis, said Bush committed impeachable
offenses by illegally ordering the National Security Agency to eavesdrop inside
the country without a court warrant.
“In this campaign, there was an
orchestrated right-wing effort to distort my position on impeachment,”
Conyers declared. “To be sure, I
have substantial concerns about the way this administration has abused its
authority, but impeachment would not be good for the American people. The country does not want or need any more
paralyzed partisan government—it wants a check and balance and real
progress on the issues that matter to their lives.”
Regrettably, it now appears
Conyers’ mock Judiciary Committee hearing last June was little more than
theater. If you thought Conyers was a
principled man, think again; he is looking at the chairmanship of the House
Judiciary Committee, after all, and he certainly does not want to jeopardize
this by doing the right thing.
[Wrong. He’s doing the right thing, from his
Party’s point of view, and there is nothing whatsoever new about
that. The Democratic Party is as
committed to maintaining the U.S. Empire as the Republican Party. It always has been. Enough delusional bullshit about that. Quit smacking Conyers around. He’s just doing his job, sucking in the
chumps until the election is over.
It’s the pathetic big name anti-war leaders who betrayed us, kissing
his ass and pissing their pants with delight and acting oh-so-important at his
fake hearings. Meanwhile, they
don’t have the first minute to reach out to the troops who can stop the
war. They have other priorities, like
getting quoted in the media. T]
[#2: The Criticism]
[NOTE: Since what is important here are the views on
offer, not the individual identity, names and identifying information removed,
as is customary GI Special..]
To: GI Special
Much as you
and I would be happy to volunteer to provide the rope and pull the drop door
for Bush and Cheney, the fact is that the American public is not there
yet. I think we can clearly see what can
happen when a political party becomes dead-set on impeachment without popular
support in looking at the Republicans and Clinton. Come 1998, after they'd been hunting him
down, the Democrats won seats, Gingrich lost his position, and the Republicans
were thrown into uproar.
after 12 years of their crap, we cannot afford that. Not if we are looking to consolidate in 2008
what happened this week.
That's not to
say - and I am sure John Conyers would agree with this - that things won't
change as more information comes out through hearings and investigations, that
change public opinion. But impeachment
is too important to be turned into a circus, as the Republicans did with
Clinton. You and I are old enough to
remember Watergate. Remember how long it
took the public to come around on that?
But once they did, it was unstoppable, and only didn't proceed because
Nixon resigned. And look at all the
energized righties from back then who we are dealing with now, from Rove and
Cheney on down.
There's an old
saying that when you strike at the king, you have to kill him, that anything
less will get you killed. And I think
the past 30 years proves that - we ended up energizing them without organizing
ourselves, until just now, and we only saved things just barely at the very
I gotta tell
you, we aren't going to have a socialist revolution in our lifetime, and
arguing for one is only going to leave you isolated and depressed with people
thinking poorly of you. Working with the
troops and doing what you and the rest of us are trying to do doesn't work if
they see us as whackos. This is
something I remember well from the [Vietnam era GI Coffeehouse].
frustrated as you are, you need to dial back the shrillness - at least in
public - in the name of success now.
this criticism as disagreement. Things are
awful. But right now, we need a
"popular front" against fascism.
communists called the Social Democrats "social fascists" in 1933 and
the rest of the Communists called the non-commie left "social
fascists" through the 1930s until when they did try a popular front they
had managed to piss off their potential allies to the point of achieving
nothing when it was more necessary to succeed than ever. The result was World War II. We don't need to repeat that history now.
dislikes Bush and the Republican movement for whatever reason is a member in
good standing in our anti-fascist movement.
We can't be
suprised when smart people like Nancy Pelosi (trust me on this, I knew her 30
years ago in San Francisco and she is very damn good at what she is doing) and
John Conyers take something off the table that is only going to explode in our
faces if we light the fuse now.
everything, and you cannot throw that bomb until the majority of people are
ready to see an execution. We aren't
The point is
not that the work for impeachment offers the most effective way forward, which
it does not.
working on promoting that appeal to the Imperial politicians in Washington to
save us takes time away from reaching out to the activists in the armed
services organizing to stop this war and end the Imperial system that produces
one war after another.
The point is
that stopping an Imperial war requires mass resistance in the streets and, above
all, in the armed forces, which is what stopped Vietnam. The Vietnam War was terminated when there was
no longer an armed force no longer willing to fight it, and refusing to do so.
that objective requires not only reaching out to build alliances with anti-war
troops, but exposing those who breed passivity by encouraging citizens, or
troops, to look for their salvation from politicians who love the Empire too
much to part with it.
above merely substitutes begging the Democratic Party to save us in 2008 by
election for begging the Democratic Party to save us in 2007 by impeachment:
two sides of the same coin, while the war goes on.
writers’ message is not about impeachment. It has one objective: defending Democratic
Party politicians who have no intention whatever of stopping the war and
bringing the troops home now.
believe the war should continue one more day are encouraged to go to Iraq and
fight in it. Those on the opposing side,
fighting the occupation, are of all ages, including what we are pleased to call
“senior citizens,” and it is not necessary to enroll in the armed
forces to go to Iraq and take up arms.
As one Iraq veteran put it: “If you are opposed to bringing all
the troops home now, why are you still here?
Shut up and ship out.”
analogies to Germany, the tactical success of the National Socialist Party in
Germany came because the opposition prioritized resisting through electoral
means, while the Nazis took their movement into the streets, practicing mass
violence. This writer above also
prioritizes resisting through electoral means.
gains of the National Socialist Party came as neither the Stalinized Communist
Party nor the Social Democrats offered more than the same old electoral
Parliamentary politics, while Nazi propaganda focused on a condemnation of the
status quo, offering radical, fundamental upheaval. This writer above also offers nothing more
than the same old electoral politics.
that “fascists” are in power in the United States, and that
therefore some “anti-fascist” coalition is necessary, is stupid and
silly. If it were so, the writer of the
email above would be dead with a bullet in his head, the active duty troops who
just launched their appeal to get out of Iraq would have been executed as well,
and Cindy Sheehan would be hanging from a meat hook.
As for GI
Special, the response from active duty troops, military family members, and
veterans to GI Special is increasingly firm, and growing, especially in the
past few months. They view DC
politicians are corrupt, lying, scheming murderous rats, as do increasing
numbers of ordinary Americans, who are not stupid and see though the bullshit. And it is their opinion that matters.
This more than
sustains the people who contribute to and help with GI Special, and nothing
could be less frustrating. It’s
marvelous for morale when a soldier writes in that seeing the newsletter is
what helped keep him sane in Iraq.
It is those
who oppose bringing all the troops home immediately and who thereby support the
war, in one form or another, offering one excuse or another, who will become
isolated and depressed.
result is useful, in that remaining illusions about the Democratic Party will
dissipate rather quickly outside the chattering class, which prefers illusions
troops to wait until 2008 for the war to end doesn’t cut it.
No. No alliance with whoever just because they
don’t like Bush.
Aryan Nation doesn’t like Bush.
Democrats who want to use the U.S. armed forces to control this or that part of
the world, not least those parts that have oil, don’t like Bush, because
he’s screwing up.
is not for or against Bush. The bright
line now is for or against the war continuing one more day, and for or against
the Empire, which requires the projection of armed power to sustain its holdings.
GI Special has
not argued for a “socialist revolution,” so far, but given the
alternative – the people on top grabbing everything for themselves and
killing us in the process -- maybe that’s not such a bad idea.
It does appear
that most revolutions occur when people believe there is no other recourse
within existing political frameworks, and that no other course of action can
end their torments. When elections just
exchange one set of corrupt, murderous thugs for another set of corrupt
murderous thugs, maybe it’s time to revive the Spirit of 1776.
characteristics of particular politicians like Pelosi who are opposed to
stopping the war now are of no consequence.
It is said that Hitler loved dogs and little children, and that Stalin
was a smart person who knew what he was doing.
They were both
perfectly content to kill as many as necessary to accomplish their objectives:
the extension of their national Imperial power, and the subjugation of whatever
nation stood in their way. In those
objectives, if not their precise methodology, the Democratic Party leadership
That Party is
not without a clear history as far as Imperial war goes.
it was Clinton who, until the present Bush stole his laurels, was unexcelled at
butchering Iraqis, though his undeviating support of the sanctions regime that
killed them wholesale by hunger and disease.
And should the Democratic Party believe wholesale slaughter is necessary
to defend the Empire, they will conduct it again without hesitation, if they
think they can get away with it, and if the troops will engage in it, which
becomes less likely each day.
material in the message above about killing, hanging, throwing bombs, and
conducting executions: The Military
Project, the membership organization with which GI Special is associated, is
for mass resistance from below, not removing individuals as described, which
accomplishes no basic change. There is
always another next in line. Individual
terrorism is an act of despair.
any possible confusion about what the Military Project is for, see the next. T
MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY PROJECT
- Do not “support the troops” in the abstract. We focus on support for Armed Forces
resistance, giving aid and comfort to those who are against the war.
- Are for the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all occupation
troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Believe that oppressed peoples and nations have the right to
self-determination and the right to resist Imperial invasion and
- Do not require others to be in complete agreement to work together
with them towards common objectives.
- Reject the idea that organizations working together on a common
project must not debate differences about the best way forward for the
movement. On the contrary, we
encourage debate and discussion as the most useful method to arrive at the
best course of action.
- May choose to support candidates for elective office who are for
immediate withdrawal from Iraq, but do not support candidates opposed to
bringing our troops home now.
- Are committed to organizational democracy. This means control of
our organization by the membership, through freely elected delegates to
any coordinating bodies that may be formed, whether at local, regional, or
national levels. Any member in good
standing may run for any position, with or without a slate. Coordinating bodies must report their
actions, decisions and votes to the membership who elected them for
approval or rejection.
- Are committed to putting in time taking action in an organized way
to reach out to members of the armed forces, including local community
Reserve and National Guard units.
- Are not present commissioned officers in the armed forces, members
of the military police, or any law enforcement agency.
and am in agreement with the above statement, and pledge to defend my brothers
and sisters against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
THE MILITARY PROJECT: Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y.
[#4: Another Point Of View]
To: GI Special
I am a 62 year
old semi-retired engineer in Australia who has been reading your GI Special for
over a year - and sending clips to my friends. Max Watts here put me on to
This is just a
spontaneous note to congratulate yourself - and all those fine Americans with
whom you are associated - for what appears to be a major win with the results
of the mid term elections.
started out as "radical and subversive" - and have ended up almost
mainstream because the truth you have always told is entering the public
consciousness at last. Keep up the good
I don't know
where you get your energy from. How many
people are on your staff?
reader in Sydney, Australia
members of the Military Project, active duty troops, veterans, military family
members, and too many activists to count make GI Special possible. Without that flow of information, nothing
would be possible. T]
Ye beat my people to pieces,
and grind the faces of the poor,
Ye have eaten up the vineyard;
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
Thy prices loveth gifts, and
followeth after rewards, they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause
of the widow come unto them.
the faithful city become a harlot,
It was full of judgment;
righteousness lodged in it,
But now murderers.
Prophet Isaiah to the ruling politicians of his day.]
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
to David Honish, Veteran, who sent this in.]
Bush Shocks Democrats With
“Staggering” Demand For War Money After Pelosi Pledges To Keep On
Killing U.S. Troops
09 November 2006 By Jessica Holzer and Matthew Swibel, Forbes
The U.S. armed services have requested a $160
billion supplemental appropriation to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in
the remainder of fiscal year 2007; a staggering amount that, if approved by the
Defense Department, may hasten the showdown between resurgent congressional
Democrats and the Bush administration over the budget-busting War on Terror.
The request, which will likely include all
costs related to the war on terrorism, far surpasses the $94 billion
supplemental authorized earlier this year to fund the ongoing wars as well as
hurricane recovery in the Gulf and is nearly double the $82 billion Iraq war supplemental
outlay of 2005
While House Speaker-to-be Nancy
Pelosi, D-Calif., has vowed not to undercut the troops in the field, defense
experts said that she and other Democratic leaders probably hadn't anticipated
the massive request.
[Right. In the lying world of the Imperial Democrats,
killing more U.S. troops by paying to keep the war going is called “not
undercutting” them. What a pack of
stand-short rubber-muscled dipshits. And
least Bush never pretended to be anything but a straight ahead troop-killer.]
"I'm not sure they've
grasped the potential size of this forthcoming supplemental request. We'll just have to see whether they can choke
down that amount of dough," said Tom Donnelly, a defense expert at the
Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
[Why not? They have no intention of stopping the war
money, and thereby stopping the war.
Duh. What changed on Election Day
is that now they can’t blame Bush for the war dead, American or
Iraqi. It’s their war now.
[Let’s get something
straight. Every single member of
Congress who votes the money to keep this war going is a traitor and a
premeditated troop-killing murderer, and those devoting their political time
and energies to defending them and apologizing for them are accomplices in
treason and premeditated murder. Someday
there will be trails. It’s time to
choose sides. T]
This Is Not A Satire:
The Lying Rat Harry Reid,
Incoming Senate Majority Leader, Pretends He
Doesn’t Know “What’s Going On With The War In Iraq”
11 November 2006 By Carl Hulse and Thom Shanker, The
New York Times
After meeting with Mr. Bush at the White House,
Senator Harry Reid, the incoming Senate majority leader, said "the first
order of business" when Democrats formally take over in January will be to
reinvigorate Congressional scrutiny of the executive branch, with a focus on
"Let's find out what's going on with the
war in Iraq, the different large federal agencies that we have," said Mr.
Reid, Democrat of Nevada.
While Democrats made criticism of the war a central
element of their successful midterm election campaign, translating that into
policy once they take charge on Capitol Hill is more problematic.
The president, as commander in chief, directs
the military and Democrats have consistently said they would not take steps
like cutting off money for operations in Iraq.
[Hey, get it yet? They’re for the war and the Empire. They just don’t like how the war has
been managed. U.S. troops should be dead
in a more effective way. Doesn’t
that cheer you up?]
What do you
think? Comments from service men and
women, and veterans, are especially welcome.
Write to The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y.
10025-5657 or send to email@example.com:. Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential. Same to unsubscribe.
CLASS WAR REPORTS
Dhaka Political Gatherings Banned Ahead Of Mass
[Thanks to J, who sent this in.]
11/12/2006 AP Gulf News
Dhaka: Police banned all political gatherings until
further notice in Bangladesh's capital, ahead of national strikes starting
today by a political alliance demanding polls reforms.
The statement released yesterday by the Dhaka
Metropolitan Police said it has banned "processions, rallies,
demonstrations, sieges, sit-ins and blockades" starting today.
The Bangladesh opposition, however, said it
would go ahead with today's transport blockade of the capital after its
deadline expired for the sacking of an election chief accused of seeking to rig
planned elections in favour of the outgoing government, a report said
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