GI SPECIAL 3D37:
Torture Is An American Value:
Reality Vs. The Rhetoric
Fall 2005, By S. Brian Willson, The Veteran, Vietnam
Veterans Against The War
S. Brian Willson was head of a USAF combat security unit
in Vietnam. A lawyer by training, and a writer (www.brianwillson.com), he
is a member of Humboldt Bay Veterans for Peace, a Northern California contact
for VVAW, and a member of the Arcata Nuclear Free Zone and Peace Commission.
I became aware of torture as a U.S. policy in 1969 when I
was serving as a USAF combat security officer working near Can Tho City in
Vietnam's Mekong Delta. I was informed about the CIA's Phong Dinh Province
Interrogation Center (PIC) at the Can Tho Army airfield where supposedly
"significant members" of the VCI (Viet Cong infrastructure) were
taken for torture as part of the Phoenix Pacification Program. A huge
French-built prison nearby was also apparently utilized for torture of suspects
from the Delta region. Many were routinely murdered.
Naive, I was shocked!
The Agency for International Development (AID) working
with Southern Illinois University, for example, trained Vietnamese police and
prison officials in the art of torture ("interrogations") under cover
of "public safety." American officials believed they were teaching
"better methods," often making suggestions during torture sessions
conducted by Vietnamese police.
Instead of the recent euphemism "illegal
combatants," the United State in Vietnam claimed prisoners were
"criminal" and therefore exempt from Geneva Convention protections.
The use of torture as a function of terror, or its
equivalent in sadistic behavior, has been historic de facto U.S. policy.
Our European ancestors' shameful, sadistic treatment of the
indigenous inhabitants based on an ethos of arrogance and violence has become
ingrained in our values. "Manifest destiny" has rationalized as a
religion the elimination or assimilation of those perceived to be blocking
American progressat home or abroada belief that expansion of the nation,
including subjugation of natives and others, is divinely ordained, that our
"superior race" is obligated to "civilize" those who stand
in the way.
When examining my roots in New York and New England, I
discovered that Indian captives were skinned alive and dragged through the
streets of New Amsterdam (New York City) in the 1640s. Scalping enabled Indian
bounty hunters to be paid.
Captains Underhill and Endicott, in the Massachusetts Bay
Colony governed by John Winthrop, spent their time "burning and spoiling
the country" of Indians in Rhode Island and Connecticut in 163637, while
sparing the children and women as slaves.
My hometown of Geneva in the Finger Lakes region of New
York State was once home to the Seneca Nation with its flourishing farms,
orchards, and sturdy houses. In one two-week period in September 1779, General
George Washington's orders "to lay waste...that the
country...be...destroyed," instilling "terror" among the Indians,
were dutifully carried out by General Sullivan, who promised that "the
Indians shall see that there is malice enough in our hearts to destroy
everything that contributes to their support."
Sullivan's campaign has been described as a ruthless policy
of scorched earth, bearing comparison with Sherman's march to the sea or the
search-and-destroy missions of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam.
In northern California, where I now live, the same
grueling history exists. Bret Harte wrote in 1860 that little children and old
women were mercilessly stabbed and their skulls crushed by axes: "Old
women...lay weltering in blood, their brains dashed out...while infants...with their
faces cloven with hatchets and their bodies ghastly wounds" lay nearby.
In 1920, the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People (NAACP) investigated the conduct of U.S. troops who had occupied
Haiti since 1915. More than 3,000 Haitians were killed by U.S. Marines, many
having been tortured.
When indigenous Nicaraguan resistance fought against the
occupying U.S. forces in the late 1920s, the Marines launched counterinsurgency
war. U.S. policymakers insisted on "stabilizing" the country to
enforce loan repayments to U.S. banks.
They defined the resistance forces as
"bandits," an earlier equivalent to the "criminal
prisoners" in Vietnam and "illegal combatants" in Iraq. Since
the United States claimed not to be fighting a legitimate military force, any
Nicaraguan perceived as interfering with the occupiers was commonly subjected
to beatings, tortures, and beheadings.
When the Somoza dictatorship (installed by the United
States) was overthrown in 1979, the Somoza torture centers were immediately
In 1946, the U.S. Army institutionalized teaching torture
techniques to Latin American militaries with the opening of its School of the
Americas (SOA), which continues today as the Western Hemisphere Institute for
Security Cooperation (WHISC).
Torture has been a historical U.S. practice in police
stations and prisonsand via countless vigilante crimes of sadistic torture and
mutilation against black Americans.
The Wickersham Commission's 1931 Report on Lawlessness in
Law Enforcement concluded that "the third degree is the employment of
methods which inflict suffering, physical or mental, upon a person, in order to
obtain from that person information about a crime... The third degree is
widespread. The third degree is a secret and illegal practice."
Seventy years later, the 2002 Human Rights Watch World
Report documented systematic use of torture by U.S. police: "thousands of
allegations of police abuse, including excessive use of force, such as unjustified
shootings, beatings, fatal chokings, and rough treatment."
My studies of brutality
in Massachusetts prisons in 1981 concluded (in "Walpole State Prison,
Massachusetts: An Exercise in Torture") by noting "a clear pattern
and history of systematic torture including withholding water, heat, bedding,
medical care, and showers; imposition of hazards such as flooding cells,
placing foreign matter in food, igniting clothes and bedding, spraying with
mace and tear gas; regular physical assaults and beatings; and forcing
prisoners to lie face down, naked and handcuffed to one another...on
freezing...outdoor ground while being kicked and beaten." This was two
decades before the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo revelations.
Terry Kupers, a psychiatrist, has testified about human
rights abuses in U.S. prisons. "The plight of prisoners in the USA is
strikingly similar to the plight of the Iraqis who were abused by American GIs.
Prisoners are maced, raped, beaten, starved, left naked in freezing cold cells
and otherwise abused in too many American prisons, as substantiated by findings
in many courts..."
It would behoove us to attempt to understand the underlying
psychological defenses that seem to have afflicted us like a cultural mental
illness since our origins.
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
Telling the truth - about
the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington - is the
first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more than tell the
truth; we want to report on the resistance - whether it's in the streets of
Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling
Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed
services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize
resistance within the armed forces. If you like what you've read, we hope that
you'll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers. http://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)
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
TASK FORCE BAGHDAD SOLDIER KILLED BY IED
December 6, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-12-09C
BAGHDAD, Iraq A Task Force Baghdad Soldier was killed
when a patrol struck an improvised explosive device in east Baghdad Dec. 4.
Two South Dakota National Guard Soldiers Killed
South Dakota National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Richard Schild,
40, of Tabor, S.D., was killed in Iraq Dec. 4, 2005, when two roadside bombs
went off near a Humvee he was in. (AP Photo/South Dakota National Guard)
YANKTON, S.D. (AP) -- Two South Dakota National Guard
soldiers from the Yankton area were killed and three others were injured Sunday
after roadside bombs exploded near their vehicles in Iraq, Gov. Mike Rounds
Sgt. 1st Class Richard Schild, 40, of Tabor, and Staff Sgt.
Daniel M. Cuka, 27, of Yankton, were killed in Baghdad after two improvised
explosive devices (IEDs) went off near their Humvees as they headed to an Iraqi
police station, Rounds said.
Schild was the 1st Platoon's sergeant and Cuka was a team
leader for Battery C.
South Dakota National Guard Staff Sgt. Daniel M. Cuka, 27,
of Yankton, S.D., was killed in Iraq, Dec. 4, 2005, when two roadside bombs
went off near a Humvee he was in. (AP Photo/South Dakota National Guard)
Spc. Michael J. Idanan, 21, Killed
November 28, 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHULA VISTA After getting in trouble as a teenager in the
San Francisco area, Michael J. Idanan decided to follow his older cousin into
Idanan, 21, of Chula Vista, joined the Army and reenlisted
for a second tour after his cousin left the military following a three-year
Spc. Idanan died Nov. 19 when a roadside bomb exploded near
his Humvee in Beiji, Iraq.
Idanan was born in the Philippines but raised in California
after his mother, Nenita Manalese, looked to make a fresh start after her
marriage broke up.
They settled in Daly City, but Idanan was sent to live with
his uncle, Nelson Riley, near San Diego after Idanan was expelled from school
for bringing Asian fighting sticks on campus.
Riley's son, Brian, also was a difficult teenager so both
were sent to a federal Job Corps training camp in Utah. The boys shared a dorm
and got their high school equivalency diploma.
After coming home, however, both seemed aimless and were so
messy that Riley made them live in the garage.
"I called it uncle's boot camp," said Riley, a
Navy veteran. "I told them, 'If you guys don't get it together go to
college or go in the military this will be better than the street corner
you'll be living on.'"
Brian Riley enlisted first and Idanan who called his
cousin "kuya," which is Tagalog for "older brother"
followed a few months later.
Brian Riley said that the last time he saw his cousin was by
chance. Both were assigned to separate divisions, but in 2003 were at Camp
Victory, Kuwait, waiting to go into Iraq. Riley said he heard a voice from a
nearby convoy yelling, "Kuya! Kuya!"
Idanan's uncle said that he noticed positive changes in his
nephew when he came home for a visit and was impressed that he had been pinned
with a Meritorious Service Medal with valor.
"He got a room with a bed," Nelson Riley said.
"He was a hero when he came back."
Idanan at the time of his death was assigned to the 1st
Squadron, 33rd Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Ft.
Updated On The Deaths Of 10 Marines
[Thanks to Dennis O'Neil, who sent this in.]
The U.S. Marines updated their report Tuesday on the deaths
of 10 Marines on Dec. 1.
The statement said that the Marines from Company F, 2nd
Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment were not on a foot patrol, as previously
reported, and were instead inside an abandoned flour mill. The troops used the
mill as a temporary patrol base.
"The platoon swept the area for explosives and
established security around the factory," the statement said. "On
that day, the company commander traveled to the patrol base to promote three
Marines. A promotion ceremony involving a group of Marines was conducted
inside the patrol base."
After the ceremony, the men dispersed, it said.
"It is suspected that one of the Marines triggered a
hidden pressure plate initiation device, causing the explosion," the
statement explained. "Explosive experts believe four artillery shells
were buried in two separate locations."
U.S. Mercenary Wounded As 115 Occupation Cops Blown Up;
6 December 2005 (AFP) & By ROBERT H. REID, AP
Two men strapped with explosives detonated themselves at
Baghdad's police academy on Tuesday, killing at least 43 people and wounding 73
A U.S. contractor was among those wounded.
"Two females, each wearing a suicide vest, walked into a
classroom at the academy and detonated in the midst of students," the statement
It was unclear how they managed to breach the massive
security in place around the Baghdad police academy in a zone controlled by the
US military in the volatile Iraqi capital.
"We were sitting in the yard when we heard an
explosion," said police Maj. Wisam al-Heyali. "Seconds later, we were
hit by another explosion as we were running. I saw some of my colleagues
falling down and I felt my hand hit, but I kept on running."
"One of the suicide bombers detonated near a group of
students outside a classroom," the Task Force Baghdad said.
"Thinking the explosion was an indirect-fire attack, (Iraqi police) and
students fled to a bunker for shelter where the second bomber detonated his
Iraqi police also said the attackers may have been
policemen or students, fresh evidence that insurgents have infiltrated the
country's security forces.
U.S. Mercenary Captured
Al-Jazeera via AFP -
6 December 2005 (AFP)
The Islamic Army in Iraq claimed the kidnapping of an
American who they said they would kill in 48 hours unless all prisoners are
released in Iraq, Al Jazeera television said.
In a mid-afternoon broadcast, Al-Jazeera television on
Tuesday broadcast an Iraqi insurgent video that purported to show a kidnapped
U.S. security consultant.
The Qatar-based satellite television showed a videotape of a
blond man with his arms behind his back seated on a white plastic chair, and
the cover of a US passport and a bank account card with the name Ronald Schulz.
They threatened to kill him with 48 hours unless all
prisoners are released and unless compensation is paid to the restive western province
of Al Anbar that has been the scene of several US offensives against
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO COMPREHENSIBLE REASON TO BE IN
THIS 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.
That is not a good enough reason.
A US soldier south of
Baquba 27 November during a joint US and Iraqi forces raid. (AFP/File/Ali
A Col. Who Understands Reality:
"For Most The Insurgency Is About Removing The Occupiers"
Col. Gronski said the
local nature of the insurgency meant that even the few civic leaders prepared
to work with the Americans view the fighters as legitimate. "They see
them as resistance. They don't view these local guys placing IEDs and firing mortars
at us as insurgents."
04/12/2005 By Toby Harnden in Ramadi, Telegraph.co.uk
Of 1,300 suspected insurgents arrested over the past five
months in and around Ramadi, none has been a foreigner. Col John Gronski,
senior officer in the town, Anbar's provincial capital, said that almost all
insurgent fighting there was by Iraqis. Foreigners provided only money and
The insurgents have the support of most locals.
"They have the ability to move freely around the city," said Capt
Twain Hickman, the commander of India Company of the 3/7 US Marines battalion. "That
means they can attack at a time of their choosing."
Col Gronski said the local nature of the insurgency meant
that even the few civic leaders prepared to work with the Americans view the
fighters as legitimate. "They see them as resistance. They don't view
these local guys placing IEDs and firing mortars at us as insurgents."
Some Iraqis in Ramadi now adhere to Zarqawi's radical
Islamist philosophy, but for most the insurgency is about removing the
occupiers, Col Herbert said.
"Their family and tribal honour has been impugned if
we're on their ground. They're almost duty bound to fight."
Iraqi officials who deal with the Americans are routinely
killed. Ma'amoun Salmi Rasheed, the governor of Anbar, has survived a dozen
assassination attempts. His predecessor and deputy were murdered. Little
reconstruction is being done, said Col Roggeman. "Here, it's security
The Pentagon plan for the country is to hand over "battle
space" to Iraqi forces once they are capable of combating the insurgency
so that American forces can withdraw. But this scheme has been beset by
problems in Ramadi.
A year ago the local police force was disbanded because many
of its members were insurgents. In October, the provincial police chief was
arrested on suspicion of diverting salaries to fund the insurgency.
There are three Iraqi army battalions in the town, comprised
mainly of Shia troops from outside Ramadi, where the population is Sunni.
But the commander of one of the Iraqi battalions, who
asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said it would be "at least
two or three years" before his men were ready to fight alone.
"The terrorists control Ramadi and the mosques assist
them," he said. "We are getting better but the Iraqi army is still
weak and we need equipment. We always rely on the Americans to do the hardest
jobs for us."
"These insurgents have a great deal of tactical and
operational patience," said Col Gronski. "They will continue to look
for the time and the place because time is on their side."
[Col. Gronski better watch his ass. Rumsfeld doesn't
like officers who see the real world for what it is.]
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
06 December 2005 Agence France-Presse
Three Afghan troops were wounded by a remote-controlled
Another improvised bomb exploded between a patrol of Dutch
peacekeepers in the northern province of Baghland but none was hurt while a
civilian mine clearer was killed removing an explosive at the military airport
in Kabul, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said.
The bomb that wounded the three Afghan soldiers was
detonated in volatile southern Zabul province as their patrol passed on the way
to investigate a tip-off about a hideout of Taliban militants, provincial
spokesman Gulab Shaha Alikhil said.
New "Back From Iraq" Documentary Features Eyewitness
Accounts From U.S. Soldiers Who Served On The Front Lines
Beverly Hills, CA (PRWEB) December 5, 2005
"Back From Iraq: The U.S. Soldier Speaks" is a
documentary featuring candid interviews with four soldiers who have returned
from the front lines of the War in Iraq. Soldiers interviewed include Jimmy
Massey, Patrick Resta, Jeff Key and Joseph Mahfouz.
Topics covered include civilian deaths in Iraq, threats
to the security of personnel on US military bases, the equipment and training
given to the Iraqi National Guard, the use of radioactive munitions by U.S.
soldiers, Geneva Convention violations, and soldiers' concerns regarding the
long term impact of the Iraq war on U.S. National Security.
The film premieres Friday December 9 at 8PM in Beverly
Hills. For complete details on how to reserve your seat, visit
Are you tired of wondering what's going on in Iraq? More
than two thousand U.S. soldiers have been killed, more than fifteen thousand
have been wounded, tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died and more than
two hundred billion dollars have been spent. And yet, every month, the number
and severity of insurgent attacks increases.
Is the U.S. losing the war in Iraq?
The "Back From Iraq: The U.S. Soldier Speaks"
documentary features interviews with four soldiers who tell you what you
haven't heard from cable news networks or the mainstream media.
Jimmy Massey, a U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant and trained
infantry man, who served as both Parris Island Trainer and Marine Recruiter,
tells you what he saw that made him decide to abandon a twelve year career in
the US Marine Corp to become a pro-soldier/anti-war activist.
Jeff Key, a U.S. Marine with deep religious convictions,
discusses the impact of the war on U.S. Soldiers and the tremendous price he
fears the people of the U.S. may have to pay for becoming the "the most
hated and feared nation in the world."
Patrick Resta, who served in Iraq with the North Carolina
Army National Guard as a Medic, describes his experiences with the Iraqi
National Guard, how children are being injured and killed as a result of US
Military action, and how the U.S. government and mainstream media have misled
the people of the United States about the course of the war.
Joseph Mahfouz, a U.S. Army solider who served in Tikrit,
describes his experiences working alongside members of the Iraqi National Guard,
reasons behind the rise of the Iraqi insurgency and the security of U.S.
military bases in Iraq.
Each of these men served for months in Iraq. They have a
first person understanding of the Iraqi people living under occupation. They
reveal the enormous toll this war is taking on the U.S. military.
Watching this documentary will help you understand why
the efforts of the U.S. military to secure Iraq have not succeeded, and why the
war in Iraq will have a significant impact on U.S. national security in the
months and years to come.
This film is a "must see" for anyone who has
had a family member serving in Iraq, or for those who want to secure the United
States against all enemies both foreign and domestic.
To attend the "Back from Iraq: The U.S. Soldier
Speaks" premiere, RSVP by following the instructions at
For those who cannot attend, learn how you can purchase
DVD's and host house parties for your community at www.metropolefilmworx.com.
Lying Pentagon Generals Caught Hiding 19,900 Troops
Sickened By Anthrax Shots
December 4, 2005 Newport News Daily Press
The Pentagon never told Congress about more than 20,000
hospitalizations involving troops who had taken the anthrax vaccine, despite
repeated promises that such cases would be publicly disclosed, records obtained
by the Daily Press show.
Instead, a parade of generals and Defense Department
officials told Congress and the public that fewer than 100 persons were
hospitalized or became seriously ill after receiving the shot from 1998 through
[The filth in human form responsible for this are the
enemy, not Iraqis fighting the occupation. The Iraqis understand reality.
These people are the menace.]
IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP
Assorted Resistance Action:
6 December 2005 (AFP) & By ROBERT H. REID, AP &
AL-RASHAD - Shahla Hasan, the head of Baiji city council,
and a finance official from Tikrit were killed by resistance fighters in the
town of al-Rashad, 45km west of Kirkuk, police Colonel Sarhat Qadir said on
Tuesday. He said one of Hasan's two aides was kidnapped.
Shahla Al Marie, the head of planning in Tikrit, was
gunned down together with Tahseen Wali, the head of the accounting department.
Ihsan Wali, an engineer traveling with them, was kidnapped, while the driver
Also in the north, three members of the northern Iraqi
oil company's security force were killed as they patrolled a pipeline near
In the village of Khalas, one of Prime Minister Ibrahim
Jaafari's bodyguards was killed in a drive-by shooting.
With his boss on an official visit to Tokyo, the bodyguard
had been on his way to visit his family.
An Iraqi army colonel and his driver were found shot dead
on the road between Baghdad and Baquba, said police.
The officer and driver, who were not in uniform and
travelling in a private car, were killed in a drive by shooting at around 10:00
am (0700 GMT).
In Baghdad, the interior ministry said that police
General Hamza Hussein Fadel and a passenger in his car had been shot dead by
unknown attackers in the capital's southern Dura district.
A policewoman was shot dead in Baghdad's western Amriyah
district, according to the same source.
Unknown assailants have fired a rocket at the Najaf
offices of the party of former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi, only two
days after the man himself was assaulted in the same southern Iraqi town.
Late Tuesday, a bomber blew himself up in a cafe
frequented by police in a Shiite neighborhood, killing one. Three of the
wounded were policemen, officials said.
IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
END THE OCCUPATION
"The Troops Themselves Will Initiate The Withdrawal"
From: Alycia A. Barr
To: GI Special
Sent: December 05, 2005
Gotta tell ya, 3D35 was geared to represent the truth of
the matter to all who read it, from the powerful standpoint of the soldier. It
From start to finish, it's message was clear.
It's not just the grunt or their families anymore who
want us out, but a consciousness in the futility of "winning" is
crawling up the ranks.
Finally, we who knew all along this was a sham, and those
who were forced to serve at this administration's whim, can now claim to be a
majority voice, as more and more senior members of the military speak out,
lending credence to the legitimacy of TOTAL, IMMEDIATE, and COMPLETE WITHDRAWAL
and NOTHING LESS!
It's become evident that the longer se stay, the more,
whatever credibility the US has left, will be undermined by the growing global
opinion that the Iraqi resistance has far more legitimacy for their actions
than we do ours.
We've been defeated and we don't even know it!
The heated debate about "cutting and running"
is therefore absurd.
Guys on the ground knew that a long time ago.
Now all we have to do it get it across to our loved ones
still there, and preparing to go, that "good soldiers DON'T do bad
things" then claim to do it for God and country (not necessarily in that
Once that's accomplished, the troops themselves will
initiate the withdrawal.
It'll be quick, but it won't be pretty.
In Peace and Humanity,
Alycia A. Barr
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 inside the armed services. Send requests to address up
The Avian Flu of the Antiwar Movement:
"Like All The Shrapnel And Bullets Flying Through The
Air In Iraq -- The Democratic Party Is A Killer"
[Thanks to PB, who sent this in.]
November 21, 2005 By JOSHUA FRANK, Online Journal
Contributing Writer [Excerpts]
They won't pull out troops from Iraq and they won't vote
for any strategy that calls for immediate removal of United States occupation
Of course it took a Republican to put forth an "out-now"
resolution, which was supposedly intended to split the Democrats. But the vote
in the House late Friday didn't slice a wedge in the Democrat Party -- on the
contrary, it united them behind a bloody and illegal occupation in Iraq. Of
course this could well have been the Republican strategy all along.
Only three Democrats voted in support of the
Republicans' Iraq withdraw proposal: Representatives Wexler, Serrano and
McKinney. And their point was well made.
They want the troops home now and they don't care who
wrote up the legislation or the reasons why they did it. It was the right move
to make. If US troops were pulled out tomorrow, Iraq would be a safer place for
all of us.
A handful of House Democrats did take the podium to express
their seething disgust over the Republicans' political feat. Talk is cheap, however.
Votes are what count. If there ever was a subject that should gash the
thin-skinned Democratic Party, it'd be the Iraq war.
But as the House vote verified, the Democrats don't want
US troops home now, let alone in six months as Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.)
proposed last Thursday.
Recent polls indicate that the majority of Americans agree
with Murtha's call to pull out US forces, which wasn't even close to an
"out-now" proposition. Regardless, the Democrats took cover as Rep. Murtha
began making headlines with his remarks.
"I don't support immediate withdrawal," Senate
Minority Leader Harry Reid released in a statement following Murtha's call to
The Democrats, however, are proving to be the AVIAN FLU
of the antiwar movement. They are willing to divvy out just enough fodder in
hopes of luring in the antiwar crowd, and then they strike.
First it was the Senate lock out, which ended up being
nothing more than a charade masked as opposition. After all, debating pre-war
intel is a non-issue -- what we need to be worried about is how to bring our
troops home now. But as we well know, the Democrats have neither a plan nor
the desire to bring them home anytime soon.
Senator John Kerry and even Donald Rumsfeld are calling for
a reduction of US troops after December.
But the troops they both want to bring home are the ones
they sent over to monitor Iraq's elections in the first place. Pulling them
out afterward was the plan all along. The Democrats, like the Republicans,
still believe there is a mission to be accomplished there. What this mission
is nobody knows.
Surely it can't be democracy the Democrats and
Republicans want. If that were the case they'd have yanked out troops months
ago as Iraqis have overwhelmingly declared that's what they desire.
No, this ongoing mission is only about one thing: smug
American pride. President Bush and his Democratic enablers can't admit that
this war was waged for no reason whatsoever. They can't admit that all the
lives lost have been for nothing.
The Democrats in Washington, despite sporadic glimmers of
hope, are a feckless lot. So don't take their bait.
Like all the shrapnel and bullets flying through the air
in Iraq -- the Democratic Party is a killer.
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.
"Real Freedom Will Come When Soldiers In Iraq Turn
Their Guns On Their Superiors"
12.5.05 Army Times
A New Jersey community college professor resigned after
an e-mail he wrote led him to being characterized as the "fragging professor."
The conservative Young America's Foundation made the
e-mail public and demanded that Warren Community College respond to adjunct
professor of English John Daly's statement, "Real freedom will come when
soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors."
The comment was part of an e-mail Daly wrote in response to
a student's announcement about a Nov. 17 campus visit by Lt. Col. Scott Rutter,
organized in part by the foundation. Daly said he would ask his students and
others to boycott the event.
The college was "inundated with local and national opinions
from the public," according to a press release, and school officials were about
to meet Nov. 22 to discuss the issue when they received Daly's resignation.
In an interview with online news source WorldNetDaily.com,
Daly said his e-mail was taken out of context.
"If Someone Asks Me If I'm Sunni Or Shi'i Again, I Swear
I'll Choke Them To Death"
December 2, 2005 Dayez, Iraqi Rebel
You know, all this fuss made in the media about Sunnis
and Shia has really been getting to me lately. Iraqis are almost always
categorized as one or the other. For example, Fulan al Fulani, the Shi'i
politician; Fulan al Fulani, the Sunni cleric.
The same can happen with geographic areas, towns and
provinces, e.g. Basra, the largely Shi'i city; Ramadi, the Sunni Arab
stronghold; Salah al Din, a province with Sunni majority; Sadr City, the Shi'i
district; Amiriya, the largely Sunni district of Baghdad, etc.
The media is so obsessed with these distinctions that I am
sure they will soon start to come up with new ideas just to show off they know
all about Iraq, like say:
"the Iraqi family was at the Fulani restaurant having
Kabab for restaurant. Kabab is a largely Shi'i dish."
"Kadhim al Sahir, the Sunni singer raised in a Shi'i
district of Baghdad, held a concert in Cairo."
"Malayeen, the Shi'i belly dancer, opened a dancing
school in Beirut."
"Sunni peasants have tishreeb with rice in it. Shi'is
"Nissan pickup trucks are generally purchased by Sunni
Arab farmers. Shi'i farmers prefer Toyota pickups."
"Abd al Aziz al Hakim's great grandmother was a Sunni
Turkomen from Tuz Khormatu."
"Harith al Dhari's cleaning lady is a Shi'i from the
Shu'la district of Baghdad. His grandson's best buddy at school is also
"At the Jadriya club, a duet composed of a Sunni and a
Shi'i sang for a largely elite Sunni audience. The majority of the band
members were Shi'i from various Shi'i districts of Baghdad. One of them is a
Fayli Kurd from Khanaqin who are also Shi'i. The waiters were mostly Assyrian
Orthodox Christians from Batnaya and Ainkawa. However, the club manager is a
Shi'i from Hilla. The district of Jadriya itself is a mixed one but leaning
towards a Shi'i majority."
So you get the point.
I am not saying that Iraqis never noticed these
differences, it's just that recent events have somehow accentuated them. In
the past, we just used to joke about the differences. And since most Iraqi
families and tribes are mixed, there is no point in creating imaginary
For most of my life, I rarely knew which of my friends was
Sunni and which was Shi'i. It might have been easier to notice which was
Kurdish or Christian because of language differences. Sometimes, Shi'is from
the south, say Basra or Amara, can be recognized from their accent, but then
even Sunnis and Christians in Basra share the same accent. Most of the time
it's a regional difference rather than a sectarian one.
My mother told me once that she asked her father when she
was very young if they were Shi'i or Sunni after she had heard the terms in
school. Her father slapped her hard in the face. That was how far Iraqis were
willing to go in order to supress their perceived differences.
It's also considered rude to ask if one is Shi'i or Sunni. If
you ask, most people would respond saying "I'm Muslim," or "I'm
Some nosy people get around it by asking "Where are you
from?" If you say "Baghdad," he would ask "Which area of
Baghdad?" If your answer is a mixed district, he would squirm and ask
"Ok then, from what tribe?" If you reply with a mixed tribe like
Jubur, he would really start to get uncomfortable because he can't find out
whether you are Sunni or Shi'i and he might start asking from which clan or
which family you belong to. Some are really good at finding out though if they
try hard and they are obsessed with it.
There were areas however in Iraq which used to be considered
purely Sunni or Shi'i. I heard an old relative of mine once saying that he
visited a village near Amara and the people there asked him what a Sunni looked
like. When he explained to them that Sunnis look just like them or anyone
else, their jaws fell to the ground in disbelief and they said "You mean
they don't have little tails in their behinds??"
The "tail" story is a known one.
People who lived in isolated Shi'i villages would refer to a
Sunni as Abu Dhuwail (the one with the tail). Similar beliefs exist in
isolated Sunni communities, also in Arab countries with no Shia communities.
I was chatting once with a taxi driver in Amman and we
discussed politics and other stuff. He then cautiously asked me what I thought
about the Shia, and if they are how people describe them. When I told him that
he was talking to one, he was really embarrassed. He kept apologizing and
saying that he was wrong because he thought Shia were Persians. He seemed to
have thought that Shia looked like strange creatures from outer space.
Iraqis now have no problem with their differences. They
intermarry all the time and they publicly make jokes about it. Times have
changed, there are rarely any pure communities in Iraq now. There are Shia in
Mosul and Ramadi, just like there are Sunnis in Najaf and Amara.
It bugs me continuously to see bloggers like say Juan
Cole to stress those differences so much and to philosophize about them to the
extent that he almost writes stuff like the list I mentioned above.
The media also imagines that one's political opinion is
decided by what sect he belongs to.
If a Shi'i says he is
against the constitution or the occupation or the current government, the media
and political pundits start scratching their heads trying to figure out what's
wrong. The same if a Sunni says he is glad that Saddam is gone and that the
country is fine the way it is now. It just doesn't fit in with their ready
made equation and it confuses them.
I have been so annoyed with this recently that I made up a
list of all my friends from primary school to the present day and wrote down
who was Sunni and who was Shi'i. I didn't get anywhere and couldn't prove
anything. Here is what the list looked like (names slightly changed for
Ali Ahmed, Shi'i
Sinan Mohammed, Sunni
Harith Ghassan, Shi'i
Rafi Bassam, Christian, Armenian Orthodox
secondary and high school:
Dana Nazar, Sunni Kurd
Zaid Riyadh, Christian, Assyrian Orthodox
Saad Ameer, Christian, Chaldean Catholic
Sadiq Abd Allah, Saba'i
Ali Mohammed, Shi'i
Hayder Radhi, Fayli Kurd, Shi'i
Ahmed Raad, Sunni
Hani Latif, Sunni
Osama Mahdi, Shi'i
Ahmed Abd al Zahra, Shi'i
Ahmed Sideeq, Sunni
Omar Mohammed, Shi'i
Saddam Mohammed, Shi'i
Meer Jabir, Sunni Kurd
Ahmed Ali, Sunni
Uday Faruq, Christian, Chaldean Catholic
Muhsin Abd Allah, Shi'i
Sami Sadiq, Shi'i
Zaid Ameer, Shi'i
Sarmad Bakr, Shi'i
Omar Ali, Sunni
And the point is what? There is none.
Iraqis have been living together for centuries and they
will not allow some foreigners to come now and start making differences between
them or to try and pit brother against brother.
And if someone asks me if I'm Sunni or Shi'i again, I
swear I'll choke them to death.
Reality Vs. Bush Lies
05 December 2005 By Dieter Bednarz, Erich Follath, Georg
Mascolo and Bernhard Zand; Der Spiegel
According to an American study just released, Iraq sees
more than a hundred attacks a day - twice as many as last year. Forty-six major
bomb attacks, each claiming several lives, were committed in September, making
it the deadliest month since the beginning of the Iraq war.
About 400 people died in November 2005, more than four
times as many as in November 2004.
The Interior Ministry has established a department
dedicated to tackling the kidnapping epidemic, but few believe it can solve the
problem, especially now that its agents' propensity for torture has been
Even Iraqi police officers have little regard for the new
"That would be the last place I would go if someone
in my family had been kidnapped," says one police officer. His comment
reflects the widespread suspicion that Interior Ministry officials have their
own fingers in the pot when it comes to the flourishing trade in human lives.