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GI Special 4F7: Pentagon Scumbags At It Again - June 9, 2006

Thomas F. Barton

GI Special:



Print it out: color best. Pass it on.





[Thanks to David Honish, Veterans For Peace]



Pentagon Scumbags At It Again:

Another Cover-Up In Progress;

Another Stupid Lie About Why:

Shit Brained Rat J. Cavazos Says Scientists And Health Officials Are Traitors For Reporting On Brain Injured Troops


[Thanks to Phil G, who sent this in.]


6/7/2006 By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY [Excerpts


The Pentagon is refusing to release data on how many soldiers have suffered brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.


It says disclosing the results would put the lives of those fighting at risk.


The data come from screenings of 1,587 soldiers at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and 9,000 at Fort Carson in Colorado.


Army Medical Command spokesman Jaime Cavazos said Wednesday that the results of the tests represent "information the enemy could use to potentially make soldiers more vulnerable to harm." He declined to elaborate.


Pentagon scientists and other health officials have already made public similar data from other installations.


[So, if Cavazos is right, these people who have “already” made the information public are traitors giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and helping kill U.S. troops. Therefore, they merit immediate arrest, trail, and, if guilty, the death penalty.


[And if Cavazos is lying, and trying to hide how many U.S. troops have traumatic brain injury, which costs the government a lot of money to treat, then Cavazos is betraying the injured troops. People who betray are called traitors. In that case, shouldn’t Cavazos experience the appropriate punishment for treason?


[And what is the appropriate punishment for those responsible for the many reported failures to diagnose and treat Iraq combat veterans with traumatic brain injuries? Some were accused by review board officers of “faking” their injuries. Failure to treat can kill. Repeat: What is the appropriate punishment for that? T]


Those results show that about 10% of combat troops, and 20% in front-line infantry units, suffered concussions during their tours.


The injuries frequently go undiagnosed; multiple concussions can lead to permanent brain damage.


The screening is done with a questionnaire prepared by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, a research arm of the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments.


The questionnaire is used at four military bases, and center director Deborah Warden has urged that it be used throughout the military.


So far, the Pentagon has declined to do so because it questions whether troops can accurately answer the questions in the screening. [This is about as weak an excuse as the Pentagon traitors have come up with yet for refusing to help injured troops. It’s so lame it’s beneath contempt.]


Naval Medical Center San Diego, which has been screening Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton for two years, and, more recently, soldiers from the Army's Fort Irwin, released data this week.


Those data show that 10% of 7,909 Marines with the 1st Marine Division suffered brain injuries. Researchers tried to follow up with 500 Marines who suffered concussions. They reached 161 of them and found that 83% were still suffering symptoms on average 10 months after the injury.


At Fort Irwin, 1,490 soldiers were screened, and almost 12% suffered concussions during their combat tours.







Indiana Soldier Killed

Staff Sgt. Richard A. Blakley, 34, was killed June 6, 2006, near Al Khalidiyah, Iraq. Blakley was from Company E, 38th Main Support Battalion, Indianapolis, but was deployed with the 738th Area Support Medical Company out of Monticello. (AP Photo/Indiana National Guard)



Fort Wainwright Soldier Dies In Iraq


June 8, 2006 (AP)




An Alaska-based soldier has been killed in Iraq, Army officials said Thursday.


The soldier, assigned to the 172nd Stryker Brigade combat team based at Fort Wainwright, was killed Wednesday by small-arms fire while conducting a dismounted patrol in Mosul, Iraq, spokesman Maj. Kirk Gohlke said in a prepared statement.



First Iowan Female Service Member Killed In Iraq

(AP Photo/U.S. Navy)


06/08/06 Des Moins Register & AP


Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaime S. Jaenke was killed June 5, 2006. Jaenke, 30, of Bay City, Wis., a native of Iowa Falls, Iowa, was killed when her Humvee was hit by the roadside bomb in the Al Anbar province, according to the Department of Defense.


Seabee Reservist Jaenke is among 41 other Iowans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since March 2003.



Lexington Marine Injured


Jun 8 Bennett Haeberle, Action News 36


A Lexington marine has been injured in Iraq after a roadside bomb exploded near the humvee he was driving.


His mother tells Action News 36 that 20-year old Corporal Kris Freeman suffered a broken leg and dislocated elbow in the blast that occurred Tuesday.


Another marine was killed in that same explosion.



Local Sailor Wounded in Iraq


Jun 7, 2006 wow


A sailor from Rock Falls is about to be reunited with his family after being injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq on Monday.

Dean Berlin has four cracked vertebrate and a broken shoulder blade. Two other sailors were killed by the bomb.


When he first tried to call his family, Berlin had to leave a message. His wife was at the bus stop meeting their daughters.


"I did not have a lot of details. I knew that he had been injured and had broken some bones, but I didn't know the extent of the injuries," says Amy Berlin. Since then, she has spoken with her husband twice and says he seems to be doing well.





U.S. Army Spc. John Alden, center, with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment lands to extract them from a field outside Upper Dugmat, Iraq, May 23, 2006. (AP Photo/Department of Defense, Journalist 1st Class Jeremy L. Wood, U.S. Navy)



Australian Killed In Iraq Bombing


09jun06 Herald and Weekly Times


AN Australian has been killed in a roadside bombing in Iraq.


The civilian from Queensland was killed by a roadside blast 300km north of the capital Baghdad yesterday.


"We can confirm a 34-year-old Australian civilian from Queensland was tragically killed in a roadside bomb blast in Iraq on June 8," a DFAT spokeswoman said.







“We Don't Want These Foreigners, They Should Go Home”


May 30 By EDWARD HARRIS Associated Press Writer


KABUL, Afghanistan


Western aid workers drive past Afghan beggars cradling naked, dirty children. U.S. military vehicles race through trash-strewn streets with their guns pointed into traffic.


To many Afghans, foreigners are a privileged elite, earning hefty salaries and given to drinking alcohol while this shattered Islamic nation remains mired in violence and poverty.


"We don't want these foreigners, they should go home. They're damaging our society, the economy is terrible and we're so poor. And they're looting Afghanistan. Why aren't they building factories?" asked Faisal Agha, who was injured in the riots that left at least 11 dead and scores wounded.


Foreign intervention has been a thread running through the past quarter-century of strife in Afghanistan.


Soviet forces invaded in 1979, and Arab fighters helped drive them out a decade later.


Unemployment for Afghans is about 40 percent, while foreigners live in spacious compounds and maneuver expensive four-wheel-drive vehicles past blue-shrouded women holding unclothed children and begging for money.


Rents in some areas have risen by 1,000 percent since the Taliban's ouster as international organizations have moved in, pricing most Afghans out of the market.


Prices of mutton quadrupled as comparatively expensive restaurants with largely foreign clientele blossomed around Kabul.


While the economy grew by 8 percent last year, spurred by the influx of aid and illicit revenues from the drug industry, many Afghans now feel worse off because inflation reached 16 percent.


During the past four years, at least 180 civilians have died as a result of coalition action, according to a count based on Associated Press reports.



Anatomy Of A Lost War Of Imperial Occupation:

“They (Afghans) Have Realized That They Can Take On The Police And Take On The Americans, They Could Easily Do It Again”

“The Regime That Rules Our Country Stands Against The Wishes Of The Entire Nation”


But the riots in Kabul are a reminder that Afghanistan is a country that is deceptively easy to invade but almost impossible to occupy. The unseemly haste with which all fair-skinned Westerners had to run for cover on Monday showed that discretion would be the better part of valor.


Jun 3, 2006 By M K Bhadrakumar, Asia Times


M K Bhadrakumar served as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for more than 29 years, with postings including ambassador to Uzbekistan (1995-98) and to Turkey (1998-2001).


The eruption of anti-government, anti-American rioting on Monday in Kabul has inevitably led to post-mortems about what happened. This in turn has led to the drawing up of checklists of failures on the part of the "international community" (read the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - NATO) and the Afghan government in their inability to provide troops, security and funds for reconstruction and nation-building to the Pashtun tribes in southern Afghanistan.


A few additional details have also been thrown in as regards Afghanistan's drug economy, the nexus between drug traffickers, "warlords" and corrupt bureaucrats, the pompous lifestyle of the expatriate community singularly unmindful of the extreme poverty surrounding their sequestered life, and of course the venality that comes in the wake of any invading army.


The story is complete. It is utterly familiar. This was how Saigon used to be in the 1960s.


But these accounts meticulously count the trees - leaving one to wonder how dark and deep the woods might be.


Therefore, when Tim Albone, correspondent for The Times of London in Kabul, wrote that he believed the riots could mark a turning point in the Afghan situation, it caught attention as a unique description.


Albone wrote:


“I've been in Kabul for nine months and there has never been anything like this before.


“There is a real feeling in the air that today Kabul changed.


“There has been a lot of fighting in the south but this has been mainly between the militias and the American forces ...


“I've spoken to friends who work in Iraq and they say that there was one day when it all changed. That could be the case here ...


“They (Afghans) have realized that they can take on the police and take on the Americans, they could easily do it again.”


What distinguishes Monday's rioting is that Kabul is a largely Tajik city.


It seems the agitators carried posters of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the legendary "Lion of Panjshir" who led the Northern Alliance during the anti-Taliban resistance and was assassinated by al-Qaeda on the eve of the September 11, 2001, attacks in the US and eliminated from the political equations with clinical precision, just as Afghanistan's need of his leadership would have become most pressing.


The agitators in Kabul burned banners of President Hamid Karzai.


The violent incidents had heavy anti-Karzai and anti-American overtones.


It is a very bad sign indeed that the Tajiks, who constitute about 30% of Afghanistan's population, are openly turning against Karzai, caricaturing him as an American puppet.


Yet the groundswell of Tajik alienation should not have come as a surprise. Anger was building up at the systematic neglect that the Afghan government meted out to Panjshir (Massoud's power base) over the recent period.


Any serious observer of the Afghan scene would have noted as far back as March that something fundamental was changing in Afghan political alignments. Former president Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, the politically astute Tajik leader who founded Jamiat-i-Islami as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1960s, and played a key role in the Afghan jihad, refused point-blank to put blame on Pakistan for the growing instability in Afghanistan.


Instead, he went on to exonerate Pakistani officials - this at the end of March, when Karzai was mounting a virulent campaign that Pakistan was supportive of the Taliban's resurgence.


More important, Rabbani did this in the course of an interview with the Pakistani media. He was evidently carrying his message across to the Pakistani audience - conveying in subtle terms his antipathy toward the dispensation in Kabul and at the same time renewing his old links with Peshawar and Islamabad.


The twin pillars of Jamiat-i-Islami ideology, Islam and Afghan nationalism, are also, curiously, the driving force behind today's Afghan resistance spearheaded by the Taliban. Herein lies the "terrible beauty" (to borrow the words of W B Yeats) of what happened in Kabul on Monday.


Rabbani recently spelled out his political platform in some detail during an interview with a publication from Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Some extracts from the interview hold the key to the shape of things to come in the Afghan political landscape. Rabbani said:


“Westerners, because of their corrupted culture, want to prevent things that are beneficial to the Muslims. Besides, they entice us toward things that are harmful to our society. For example, why shouldn't an Islamic country such as Iran use nuclear technology? It does not want to make any nuclear bomb, but wants to use nuclear technology.


“The goal of Westerners is that an Islamic country should not develop. Thus, all these cries of conspiracy and uproar are because Islamic countries should be denied the fruits of development, they should rather serve as markets for those countries so that they get raw materials, produce goods and sell them back to Islamic countries.


“Now, Americans have shown their attitude to human rights in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. It is surprising that they disallow girls from going to schools wearing a headscarf. But they will not get away with this in Afghanistan ...


“We consider this a conspiracy against our religion, our freedom and security. They talk about women's issues, while thousands of women die, and nobody cares for them. But that does not stop them from talking about "moral corruption". They haven't come here for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, but they have come here to corrupt us ...


“The regime that rules our country stands against the wishes of the entire nation ...


“In Afghanistan, our policies should be defined by our nation, not by any foreign country. The current Afghan government's policies are not acceptable to the Afghan people.


“We must protect our freedom. If a foreign country gives aid, that should be without any strings attached. If the donors put conditions, we should not accept such aid.


It does not require much ingenuity to see that Rabbani's platform can easily converge with that of the Taliban-led Afghan resistance, or of Hekmatyar.


In fact, the Canadian daily Toronto Star reported recently that clerics in Kabul mosques had been urging worshippers to join the resistance against Karzai's government and the occupation troops.


The report said, "Some imams here (Kabul) believe the time is ripe to call for holy war." There have been reports of weapons from the northern regions in the possession of erstwhile Northern Alliance elements finding their way to the Taliban in the south. Political divides are getting blurred.


Much of the Tajik alienation has arisen out of the easing out of two important Tajik leaders, Mohammed Fahim and Yunus Qanooni, from Karzai's government. These leaders enjoy grassroots support among Tajiks. The summary fashion in which Karzai removed them from office humiliated the "Panjshiris" as a whole.


In fact, it was in the most bizarre way conceivable that Karzai chose to sack the charismatic former foreign minister, Abdullah (another close aide of Massoud), from his post in March. According to Abdullah, he was intimated about his removal by telephone while he was on an official visit to Washington. Abdullah said he had met with Karzai just before leaving Kabul for Washington but the latter assured him that his portfolio wouldn't be affected in any cabinet changes.


"It did come out of the blue because no one had talked to me or consulted me about it beforehand," Abdullah claimed.


Yet another factor of disaffection among the Tajiks is the deliberate attempt by the Karzai government to limit the Tajik presence in the Afghan National Army. To add to Tajik resentment, Karzai has subjected Panjshir to "benign neglect" by not allocating any substantial development funds for the region's reconstruction.


Karzai's political intention would have been to bring the cradle of Tajik nationalism to its knees, while at the same time pandering to Pashtun chauvinism with a view to consolidating a power base in the Pashtun regions in the south and southwest.


But the tactic has not worked, as the Taliban's resurgence shows. Meanwhile, Karzai's ties with the Tajiks (who were his erstwhile allies and supporters in the 2002-05 period) soured.


Karzai may be unwittingly preparing the ground for a consolidation of pan-Afghan nationalism.


The indications are that Karzai has also alienated other Northern Alliance groups. It is intriguing as to where exactly Rashid Dostum, the Uzbek leader from the northern Amu Darya region, currently stands in political equations.


Karzai appointed Dostum as chief of staff in March in a smart move aimed at removing him from his power base in the north and bringing him to live and work in Kabul. It soon began to dawn on Dostum that his job carried more rank than responsibility.


Feeling belittled, he stormed out of Kabul and returned to his native Shibirghan. The relatively placid northern provinces have since become volatile.


The paradox is that Karzai is winning all the petty political skirmishes. He choreographed the entire spectacle in April leading to the resounding endorsement of his cabinet appointees by parliament. He deftly manipulated the internal divisions in the newly elected parliament and capitalized on its inexperience. The Brussels-based think-tank International Crisis Group, which was supportive of Karzai, criticized him for preventing the Afghan parliament from becoming a viable working body.


No matter the post-mortem reports regarding the eruption of violence in Kabul on Monday, the shift in political templates is the central issue.


It seems a critical mass is developing around which an Afghan resistance transcending ethnic divides may take shape. Against this background, NATO is not helping matters by posing as a lone ranger.


Almost all Afghan ethnic groups enjoy kinship with neighboring countries. Therefore, in any enduring Afghan settlement, Afghanistan's neighbors must be made stakeholders. NATO, on the other hand, is wasting precious time, lost in the thought of making 2006 a "pivotal year" in its history.


True, NATO has come into physical possession of a country far away from Europe, where it is at liberty to act without the prying eyes of international law. NATO is understandably keen to prove its grit in safeguarding Western interests in tough conditions - and indeed to claim a raison d'etre for itself.


But the riots in Kabul are a reminder that Afghanistan is a country that is deceptively easy to invade but almost impossible to occupy.


The unseemly haste with which all fair-skinned Westerners had to run for cover on Monday showed that discretion would be the better part of valor.







Numbers Of Americans Who Say Iraq War A Mistake At New High:

Support For Bush War Policies Drops To New Low


[Thanks to PB, who sent this in.]


6.8.06 The Associated Press


More Americans than ever thought the war in Iraq was a mistake, according to AP-Ipsos polling.


59 percent of adults say the United States made a mistake in going to war in Iraq: the highest level yet in AP-Ipsos polling.


Approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq dipped to 33 percent, a new low.


Those most likely to disapprove are Democrats (89 percent), women (70 percent), minorities (84 percent), city dwellers (72 percent), those with household incomes under $25,000 (71 percent), and unmarried men (70 percent).


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 top.



“I Want To Say That I Am Fighting For My Men Still”

“But The Conscionable Way To Support Them Is To Oppose This War And Help End It So All Soldiers Can Come Home”


Watada: My commander asked me, if everybody like you refused to go to Iraq, what would that leave us with? And I guess he was trying to say we wouldn't have an army anymore, and that would be bad.


But I wanted to tell him if that happened the war would stop, because nobody would be there to fight it.


07 June 2006 By Sarah Olson, Truthout Interview [Excerpts]


Ehren Watada is a 27-year-old first lieutenant in the United States Army. He joined the Army in 2003, during the run-up to the Iraq war, and turned in his resignation to protest that same war in January of 2006. He expects to receive orders in late June.


He is poised to become the first lieutenant to refuse to deploy to Iraq, setting the stage for what could be the biggest movement of GI resistance since the Vietnam War.


He faces a court-martial, up to two years in prison for missing movement by design, a dishonorable discharge, and other possible charges.


He says speaking against an illegal and immoral war is worth all of this and more. Journalist Sarah Olson spoke with Watada in late May about his reasons for joining the military, and why he wants out.




Sarah Olson: When you joined the Army in 2003, what were your goals?


Ehren Watada: 2003 was a couple of years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I had the idea that my country needed me and that I needed to serve my country. I still strongly believe that. I strongly believe in service and duty. That's one of the reasons I joined: because of patriotism.


I took an oath to the US Constitution, and to the values and the principles it represents. It makes us strongly unique. We don't allow tyranny; we believe in accountability and checks and balances, and a government that's by and for the people.


The military must safeguard those freedoms and those principles and the democracy that makes us unique.


A lot of people, like myself, join the military because they love their country, and they love what it stands for.


SO: You joined the Army during the run-up to the Iraq war, but you had misgivings about the war. How did that happen?


Watada: Like everybody in America and around the world, I heard what they were saying on television about the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and the ties to al-Qaeda and 9/11. I also saw the millions of people around the world protesting, and listened to the people resigning from the government in protest. I realized that the war probably wasn't justified until we found proof of these accusations the president and his deputies were making against Iraq.


But I also believed we should give the president the benefit of the doubt. At that time, I never believed ... I could never conceive of our leader betraying the trust we had in him.


I realized that to go to war, I needed to educate myself in every way possible. Why were we going to this particular war? What were the effects of war? What were the consequences for soldiers coming home? I began reading everything I could.


One of many books I read was James Bamford's Pretext for War. As I read about the level of deception the Bush administration used to initiate and process this war, I was shocked. I became ashamed of wearing the uniform.


How can we wear something with such a time-honored tradition, knowing we waged war based on a misrepresentation and lies? It was a betrayal of the trust of the American people. And these lies were a betrayal of the trust of the military and the soldiers.


My mind was in turmoil. Do I follow orders and participate in something that I believed to be wrong? When you join the Army you learn to follow orders without question. Soldiers are apolitical, and you don't voice your opinion out loud.


I started asking, why are we dying? Why are we losing limbs? For what? I listened to the president and his deputies say we were fighting for democracy; we were fighting for a better Iraq. I just started to think about those things. Are those things the real reasons why we are there, the real reasons we were dying? But I felt there was nothing to be done, and this administration was just continually violating the law to serve their purpose, and there was nothing to stop them.


The deciding moment for me was in January of 2006. I had watched clips of military funerals. I saw the photos of these families. The children. The mothers and the fathers as they sat by the grave, or as they came out of the funerals.


One really hard picture for me was a little boy leaving his father's funeral. He couldn't face the camera so he is covering his eyes. I felt like I couldn't watch that anymore. I couldn't be silent any more and condone something that I felt was deeply wrong.


SO: You made decision to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq. What happened next?


Watada: I alerted my commander this January, and told him I would refuse the order to go to Iraq. He asked me to think it over. After about a week, I said OK, I've made my decision. I've come to believe this is an illegal and an immoral war, and the order to have us deploy to Iraq is unlawful. I won't follow this order and I won't participate in something I believe is wrong.


My commanders told me that I could go to Iraq in a different capacity. I wouldn't have to fire a weapon and I wouldn't be in harm's way. But that's not what this is about. Even in my resignation letter I said that I would rather go to prison than do something that I felt was deeply wrong. I believe the whole war is illegal.


I'm not just against bearing arms or fighting people. I am against an unjustified war.


SO: You've had about six months to think about this. It's a pretty heavy revelation that you're quite possibly facing prison time. How are you feeling now?


Watada: A lot of people including my parents tried to talk me out of it. And I had to tell them, and I had to convince myself first, that it's not about just trying to survive. It's not about just trying to make sure you're safe. When you are looking your children in the eye in the future, or when you are at the end of your life, you want to look back on your life and know that at a very important moment, when I had the opportunity to make the right decisions, I did so, even knowing there were negative consequences.


SO: What is your intellectual and moral opposition to the Iraq war? What is that based on?


Watada: First, the war was based on false pretenses. If the president tells us we are there to destroy Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and there are none, why are we there? Then the president said Saddam had ties to al-Qaeda and 9/11. That allegation has been proven to be false too. So why are we going there? The president says we're there to promote democracy, and to liberate the Iraqi people. That isn't happening either.


Second, the Iraq war is not legal according to domestic and international law. It violates the Constitution and the War Powers Act, which limits the president in his role as commander in chief from using the armed forces in any way he sees fit. The UN Charter, the Geneva Convention, and the Nuremberg principles all bar wars of aggression.


Finally, the occupation itself is illegal. If you look at the Army Field Manual, 27-10, which governs the laws of land warfare, it states certain responsibilities for the occupying power. As the occupying power, we have failed to follow a lot of those regulations. There is no justification for why we are there or what we are doing.


SO: One of the common criticisms of military resisters is that you have abandoned your colleagues, and that you are letting others fight a war in your place. What's you're response to this?


Watada: My commander asked me, if everybody like you refused to go to Iraq, what would that leave us with? And I guess he was trying to say we wouldn't have an army anymore, and that would be bad.


But I wanted to tell him if that happened the war would stop, because nobody would be there to fight it.


When people say, you're not being a team player or you are letting your buddies down, I want to say that I am fighting for my men still, and I am supporting them.


But the conscionable way to support them is not to drop artillery and cause more destruction.


It is to oppose this war and help end it so all soldiers can come home. It is my duty not to follow unlawful orders and not participate in things I find morally reprehensible.


SO: Are your feelings common among people in the military?


Watada: The general sentiment of people within the military is that they're getting a little sick and tired of this war. You can tell with the recent Zogby poll that said more than 70% of people in the military want to withdraw the end of this year. That's a powerful statement from people within the military who aren't really given the chance to speak out publicly.


SO: What do you think the US should do in Iraq now?


Watada: I think the US should pull out all troops immediately. The outbreak of the civil war is something that we caused with our invasion and our war. I don't think it's at a point right now where we can fix it.


SO: You've mentioned your sense of betrayal. Can you explain this?


Watada: The president is the commander in chief, and although he is our leader, there must be a strong relationship of trust. Anybody who's been in the military knows that in order to have a cohesive and effective fighting force, you need to have a certain level of trust between leaders and soldiers. And when you don't, things start to break down.


I signed a contract saying I will follow orders, and do what I'm told to do. There are times when I won't be able to question it and evaluate the legality of these orders, so I have to have the ultimate trust in my leader. I have to trust the president's word, and trust him to do what's right. I have to trust him to sacrifice our lives only for justified and moral reasons.


Realizing the president is taking us into a war that he misled us about has broken that bond of trust that we had.


If the president can betray my trust, it's time for me to evaluate what he's telling me to do.


I've realized that going to this war is the wrong thing to do.


SO: Now that you've submitted your resignation, what's next for you?


Watada: I submitted a resignation packet, which was disapproved. My commander has asked me again if I am still going to go along with this. And I said yes of course. I still believe the same things that I did six months ago. And he said he couldn't charge me until I violate an order.


So I've been given an order to deploy in late June. When I refuse, the chain of command will charge me and court-martial me.



“A Struggle Practically Forgotten Today, Eerily Relevant Though It Still May Be”


Sir! No Sir!

Film Review


2006 by Rachel Gordon, Filmcritic.com


The war in Vietnam is perhaps the least popular involvement overseas the United States has ever had. It’s also the most widely publicized in terms of societal grief, some three-decades later. The pictures of innocents dying so brutally never quite escapes you, even if you’ve only glanced them in a history class, much less as an actual soldier on the frontlines.


While there are plenty of films, and literature, that profile domestic civilian resistance to the war in Vietnam, there is little material that exhibits the actual military fighting to leave that campaign.


Several fiction films depict how deeply disturbed returning veterans were, and place the blame on the nature of combat itself alone. Some go so far as to suggest that the homes they came back to slandered them for their work, suggesting that all Americans unpatriotically offended those that fought for democracy, pointing responsibility for veteran discontent at loved ones instead of the actions that led to them becoming veterans.


What David Zeiger’s film, Sir! No Sir! seeks to rectify is an abyss of information as to how involved and widespread military insurrection was, and its impact on the conclusion of fighting in that country.


Through eloquent interviews from a variety of angles comes the true story of a G.I. movement that built itself up from a few to literally thousands, as more became convinced that they were killing for the wrong reasons.


From marches to underground papers, to outright refusal that resulted in lengthy prison terms, Sir! combines impressive archival footage with individual narratives to capture a struggle practically forgotten today, eerily relevant though it still may be.


The material and subjects are important and engaging, though Sir! unfortunately falls into the repetitive pasting together of narration, and the historical footage that backs it up, as any film made about a previous era is forced to do. This type of editing will probably help with a television broadcast containing commercials for easy breaks, but it also engenders possibly losing attention because you feel you got the point well before he’s moved on to the next idea. It can be quite difficult to maintain a creative, dynamic structure when everything you are outlining has passed some time ago. Zeiger makes up for some of this lag in a well-written narration that strings along his various discoveries with intelligence.


Though there has certainly been plenty of civilian commentary to mentally link our current war tactics in Iraq to that we promoted in Vietnam a generation ago, watching Sir! does make one wonder if we’re possibly not hearing an entirely honest story from the troops and government officials placed in front of the cameras with prepared statements to discuss our progress.


It’s a film well worth seeing for the new view it provides on militaristic organization and its concentration on single, personal efforts making enormous contributions.


Sir! No Sir!:

At A Theatre Near You!

To find it: http://www.sirnosir.com/



Concern Growing Over U.S. Troops’ Ineffective Ammo:

“The Lack Of The Lethality Of That Bullet Has Caused United States Soldiers To Die”


Jun 7, 2006 CBS News [Excerpts]


As American troop casualties in Iraq continue to mount, concern is growing they may be outgunned. That includes new questions about the stopping power of the ammunition that is used by the standard-issue M-16 rifle.


Shortly after the U.N. headquarters was bombed in Baghdad in August 2003, a Special Forces unit went to Ramadi to capture those responsible.


In a fierce exchange of gunfire, one insurgent was hit seven times by 5.56 mm bullets, reports CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian. It took a shot to the head with a pistol to finally bring him down. But before he died, he killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded seven more.


"The lack of the lethality of that bullet has caused United States soldiers to die," says Maj. Anthony Milavic.


Milavic is a retired Marine major who saw three tours of duty in Vietnam. He says the small-caliber 5.56, essentially a .22-caliber civilian bullet, is far better suited for shooting squirrels than the enemy, and contends that urban warfare in Iraq demands a bigger bullet. "A bullet that knocks the man down with one shot," he says. "And keeps him down."


Milavic is not alone. In a confidential report to Congress last year, active Marine commanders complained that: "5.56 was the most worthless round," "we were shooting them five times or so," and "torso shots were not lethal."


In last week's Marine Corps Times, a squad leader said his Marines carried and used "found" enemy AK-47s because that weapon's 7.62 mm bullets packed "more stopping power."


Bruce Jones is a mechanical engineer who helped design artillery, rifles and pistols for the Marines.


"I saw the tests that clearly showed how miserable the bullets really were in performance," he says. "But that's what we're arming our troops with. It's horrible, you know, it's unconscionable."


To demonstrate to CBS News, Jones fired the larger-caliber 7.62 bullet fired by AK-47s used by insurgents in Iraq into a block of glycerin. The hole cavity is 50 percent or more larger than that of the 5.56.


Here at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, the government's own engineers have done the most extensive testing on the 5.56 since 1990 and issued two draft reports.


In the first, dated 2004, the 5.56 ranked last in lethality out of three bullets tested.


A second draft, dated last month, confirmed that rating, ranking the 5.56 dead last in close-quarter combat.


[T]here's no questions that if the Pentagon did have any questions about this bullet, it would face some very expensive modifications to the M-16.







Assorted Resistance Action


6.8.06 Gulf Daily News & The Associated Press


A police major and a colonel were killed in the capital when a roadside bomb went off against their vehicle. Two other policemen were also wounded.


In Mosul, a policeman was shot dead in front of his house.


In the centre of Tikrit city, two policemen were shot dead when guerrillas opened fire on their car.


A police captain was killed and eight others, including five civilians, were wounded in a roadside bombing targeting a police patrol south of the oil hub of Kirkuk.


In a similar bombing an Iraqi soldier was killed and two others wounded in Bohruz

An explosion targeted a police patrol in the New Baghdad area in eastern Baghdad, killing two policemen and four civilians and wounding 11 people, police Lt. Ali Abbas said.









“Supporting The Troops” Bullshit A Subterfuge To Shut Up Bush Critics


Jun 7, 2006 By Brian Settles, vvawnet [Excerpt]


Brian Settles flew F4Cs in Vietnam, has piloted passenger planes for Continental Airlines and is currently a university professor. He was moved to pen these words by Memorial Day, 2006.


Those citizens who feel it is unpatriotic to question, or worse yet not support, the President of the United States in his world view, even if it degenerates into contrived military engagements, would use the subterfuge of Supporting The Troops to silence the challenge to U. S. government leadership.


Naturally, as a veteran currently embroiled in a daily struggle for survival, the routine challenge of living through combat is further burdened by the awareness that the military objectives are ill-conceived or worse, ill-advised.


Our combat infantrymen (a lot of them reservists or National Guard) endure the hourly horror of suicide bombers, RPGs and sniper bullets, suffering through back-to-back tours in the stink, the sand and the sweat. Those of us who are veterans of previous wars feel their pain, feel their desperation and pray that they return home to their families safe and sane.


But those of us who have been there, in combat, and survived the madness of war have an obligation to our combat brothers and sisters beyond blind obeisance.




“The Space For Struggle From Below Is Opening Up Month By Month”


10 June 2006 By Jonathan Neale, Socialist Worker (Britain) 2004 [Excerpts]


We are reaching a turning point in history. The US is caught in a military stalemate in Iraq and most Americans have turned against the war.


The prospect is now opening up that the US may be forced to leave Iraq. And such a political humiliation would have enormous consequences across the world.


But most Europeans, even those on the left, can’t see what is happening.


They believe the US empire is too strong to be broken. They also think Americans are naturally right wing and unable to change their government’s policy.


All these beliefs are mistaken.


This article tries to explain what is really happening and what it will probably mean.


Politics in the US is changing rapidly. For some years the country has been deeply polarised between right and left. The attacks of 11 September 2001 made the right stronger, but that advantage has now been frittered away on the sands of Iraq.


In Britain, the main lie to justify the invasion was weapons of mass destruction. In the US it was that its troops would be welcomed by Iraqis with open arms.


Americans are kept ignorant, but they are not stupid. They now know they were lied to.


In the 2004 presidential election, aides to the Democratic candidate John Kerry kept telling him their polls said he would win, providing he came out against the Iraq war. Kerry refused, loyal to his class, the rich, and lost.


Now a large majority of people in the US think the war was a mistake. They do not all support immediate withdrawal, but they want it and expect it in the next two years.


In response, George Bush’s administration says it will reduce the number of troops in Iraq this year. But such a move would send a signal to every Iraqi politician that the US was weakening and the resistance getting stronger.


Remaining US troops would be reluctant to risk their lives for a lost cause. And the danger of a real defeat would increase. So Bush has talked of reductions, but not delivered them.


This political climate has made the military crisis worse for the US in Iraq. Half the US troops there come from the National Guard and National Reserves. These men and women did not expect to go to war. They are older, and have families, and when they return to the US they leave the army.


Recruitment to the Guard and the Reserves has largely dried up. Regular recruitment is falling too, partly because parents are dead set against it. The Pentagon is relaxing the entrance requirements to include people with mild learning difficulties. But with a deeply unpopular war, they cannot bring back conscription.


The generals can see all this. It is clear from their private briefings to the press that senior US and British officers want out. So do the soldiers and their families.


Now the discontent in the US is spilling out more broadly. In April I marched against the war with 350,000 people in New York. One carried a home-made placard that read, “Name one single government policy that benefits most Americans”. Of course, there isn’t one.


People are fed up with government by and for the rich. The disaster in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina last year was the moment when most people understood Bush’s attitude to his people.


Then there is the movement for immigrant rights. The same weekend I marched in New York, a million marched in Los Angeles, and many more across the country. Two weeks before that, half a million people marched in Dallas – the most right wing city in Texas.


This movement began with Hispanics, but now includes immigrants of all nationalities. Hispanics are now a larger proportion of the population than African-Americans were in the heyday of the 1960s civil rights movement.


Their movement talks of strikes, unions and class. They are the first group of immigrants to speak their own language in the second generation, and the first to bring a hatred of the US empire from home.


This does not mean everything has changed.


But the ruling elites can feel the ground moving beneath them.


In the last 100 years, US mass movements; the unions, civil rights, the anti-Vietnam protests and women’s liberation; have won major victories. They have not done this by winning elections, but by forcing politicians to give them what they want.


This happens when movements reach the point where the elites are afraid they will lose control of the minds and behaviour of ordinary people. At that point, they concede.


The same could well happen over Iraq. The US ruling class is deeply split about what to do. They can’t win in Iraq, but the consequences of a public defeat will be terrible for them.


If the US leaves Iraq, it will lose control of Iraqi oil. The dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and Egypt are widely hated by their own people, who are seen as creatures of the US. With a US defeat, Saudis and Egyptians could well rise up and bring Islamist opposition movements to power. The US would then lose control of all Middle East oil.


It would be many years before the US government could make ordinary Americans tolerate another serious invasion in the Middle East or anywhere else. All this would mean a serious weakening of US power. That, in turn, would threaten US dominance of the world economy.


But the effects of humiliation in Iraq would go beyond the US economy. Israel is dependent on US military backing and financial support. New governments in Arab lands would threaten Israel and the US military could not come to the rescue.


That is why the Israeli government is desperate to break the Palestinians right now, building new borders and pushing for the US to bomb Iran. They are desperate and willing to risk all.


That’s just Israel. More importantly, the economics of neo-liberalism has come to dominate the world.


Neo-liberalism has meant privatisation all over the world, the contract culture, fees for public services, pension cuts, unions broken and working lives made harder.


Neo-liberalism is not a frill for the corporations and governments. During the late 1960s and 1970s profit rates for the global elite declined. Neo-liberalism is the strategy of the world’s rich to get those profits back up.


This is a matter of corporate survival. The fact that most ordinary people cannot envisage an alternative to the market is a key weapon in the hands of the rich.


But defeat in Iraq will raise that possibility. In most people’s minds, the power of the market and the power of the US have become closely related. If the empire cracks, the domination of the market inside our minds will crack too.


Moreover these effects will be amplified precisely because most people don’t believe it can happen. If the Iraqis can win, people will say, then we can take on our government – or our supervisor, or the head teacher. Every manager in the world will lose some confidence.


A defeat in Iraq will open the floodgates, and the US ruling class knows this.


But they cannot talk that way in public.


Many of them cannot imagine intellectually what defeat would be like, or even allow themselves to think about it. But they can sense it. Inside themselves, they know.


The rich and powerful in other countries are also worried. They don’t like US power and would like to compete with it. But a global weakening of neo-liberalism would be an attack on them too. In Italy, Greece, India and many other places you can see them beginning to rally to the US’s side.


I am not saying that the US is sure to be defeated and then the global social movements will triumph. Our side is strong in passion, but weak in understanding. Their side may well react with terrifying savagery. We can easily lose.


But I am sure that the US empire is facing crisis, and that neo-liberalism is therefore under threat.


The rich and powerful know this, and are having an agonised debate about how to react.


And the space for struggle from below is opening up month by month.


What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to thomasfbarton@earthlink.net. Name, I.D., address withheld unless publication requested. Replies confidential.



[Thanks to Phil G, who sent this in.]







Artist Says Painting Captures U.S. Arrogance:

Iraq Exhibit To Show Work Depicting Rumsfeld;

Boots Deliver Message ‘America Rules The World’


[Thanks to Phil G, who sent this in.]


June 8, 2006 by Hamza Hendawi, Toronto Star Newspapers


BAGHDAD: The photo both enraged and inspired Muayad Muhsin: U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sitting back in an airplane seat, his feet, in heavy army boots, stretched out in front of him.


"It symbolized America's soulless might and arrogance," said Muhsin, whose painting of Rumsfeld in a similar pose is to be unveiled in an exhibition opening in Baghdad on Monday.


That painting and the rest of the exhibit illustrate the simmering anger of Iraqis with the United States as the country continues to endure violence, sectarian tensions and crime three years after Saddam Hussein's ouster.


After President George W. Bush, most Iraqis see Rumsfeld as the man behind the invasion of their oil-rich country and the chief architect of U.S. military actions in Iraq.


Those who closely follow Rumsfeld remember his infamous comment, "Stuff happens," when asked why U.S. troops did not actively seek to stop the lawlessness in the Iraqi capital in the weeks that followed the city's capture in April 2003.


Another memorable Rumsfeld comment, also made in 2003, was his suggestion that Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction were deeply hidden in Iraq. "It's a big country," he said.


The oil-on-canvas work shows Rumsfeld in a blue jacket, tie, khaki pants and army boots reading from briefing papers. His boots are resting on what appears to be an ancient stone.


He sits next to a partially damaged statue of a lion standing over a human, a traditional image of strength in ancient Babylon. The statue's stone base is ripped open, revealing shelves from which white pieces of papers are flying away, later turning into birds.


Muhsin said the symbolism has to do with Washington's repeated assertions before the U.S.-led invasion that Saddam's regime had weapons of mass destruction, the cornerstone of the Bush's argument for going to war.


No such weapons turned up, but the Bush administration maintained that removing Saddam's regime alone justified the decision to invade Iraq.


"Rumsfeld's boots deliver a message from America: ‘We rule the world,'" Muhsin, 41, said in an interview. "It speaks of America's total indifference to what the rest of the world thinks."


Muhsin's opposition to the U.S. military presence in Iraq is matched by his resentment of Saddam's regime. A veteran of Iraq's ruinous 1980-1988 war against neighboring Iran, he was discharged for just a day in 1990 before he was called back for duty when Iraq occupied Kuwait.


"Saddam took the best years of my life," he lamented, speaking outside a storeroom where he keeps four of the 15 paintings scheduled for display.


The departure of Saddam's regime did not improve things, he said.


Muhsin said he signed the painting in the middle, instead of the customary bottom corner, to avoid having it under Rumsfeld's boots.


"The Americans brought us rosy dreams but left us with nightmares. They came with a broad smile but gave us beheaded bodies and booby-trapped cars."






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)






The Traitor Cheney Says Fuck The Government Regulations:

He Will Do What He Wants


07 June 2006 By Michelle Chen, The New Standard


Thickening the haze of secrecy surrounding the executive branch, the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney has declared itself exempt from a yearly requirement to report how it uses its power to classify secret information.


In its 2005 report to the president released last month, the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), a branch of the National Archives, provides a quantitative overview of hundreds of thousands of pages of classified and declassified documents. But the vice president’s input consists of a single footnote explaining that his office failed to meet its reporting requirements for the third year in a row.


“It’s part of a larger assertiveness by the Office of the Vice President and a resistance to oversight,” said Steve Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy, a division of the public-interest association American Federation of Scientists. “It’s as if they’re saying, ‘What we do is nobody’s business.’”


Though not the only government entity to shrug off the reporting duties, Cheney’s office is unique in that it has actually issued a public justification for its non-compliance.


Cheney’s office argued on Monday that its dual role in the federal government places it above the reporting mandate.



(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)



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