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GI Special 4H12: " Why Am I Here?" - August 12, 2006

Thomas F. Barton

www.albasrah.net
 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

8.12.06

Print it out: color best.  Pass it on.

 

GI SPECIAL 4H12:

 

 

[Thanks to Mark Shapiro][peacevigils.com]

 

 

People Are Wondering, "Why Am I Here?  I Mean, I Was Sent Here For A Reason"

And People Still, Soldiers In Particular, They Definitely Feel This Question Of "What Is Really Going On?"

 

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

 

August 11th, 2006 Democracy Now! [Excerpts]

 

Today, we are joined by an Army sergeant, who chose to serve in Iraq as an army interrogator with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg.  But he became a war resister after witnessing how the war was being fought.

 

His name is Sgt. Ricky Clousing. He is a 24-year-old from Sumner, Washington. He served in Iraq from December 2004 until April 2005.  Within months after returning home, he went AWOL.

 

He left behind a quote from Martin Luther King. It read, "Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?"

 

But conscience asks the question, "Is it right?"  And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right."

 

Today Sgt. Ricky Clousing plans to go to Fort Lewis to turn himself in to military officials.  But first he joins us live from Seattle.

 

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

 

AMY GOODMAN: Itís very good to have you with us.  Why did you go AWOL?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I chose to leave after experiencing the brutalities of war in this war in Iraq, and it was a process that I considered long and hard upon my return to Fort Bragg.  

 

Those two-and-a-half months of my integration back into the military and back into society really questioned and really forced me to reevaluate my beliefs and my own personal feelings and convictions, politically and spiritually, about my involvement in the war in Iraq and also the organization of the military in general.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: Could you talk to us about some of your specific experiences while you were there?  My understanding is you actually witnessed some killings of innocent civilians that really affected you deeply?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: Yes, I was assigned to a tactical infantry unit, which meant basically that I was out on patrols with infantry units.  

 

The particular incident youíre referring to, I was in Mosul on a convoy en route, and we stopped to assist another convoy that had been struck by an IED. And during that time, I was ordered to pull rear security on the convoy, where I proceeded to go behind the rear Humvee and guard the road, basically to ensure that nobody turned down and posed a threat to U.S. forces assisting soldiers in their personal crisis, what was going on with the IED.

 

As I was doing that, I had seen a vehicle turn down our road going approximately 15 miles an hour.  I saw directly in the window.  It was a young boy, or a young man, I should say, and as soon as he saw U.S. troops, he was terrified, took his hands off the wheel.  It was evident that he was scared that U.S. troops were there, weapons drawn. He didn't know what was going on.  

 

He was making an effort to brake the vehicle and to turn around immediately, when a soldier in the turret of the Humvee behind me proceeded to open up fire and fired four to five rounds inside of the vehicle.

 

I went over to the vehicle with a medic and broke the window out and dragged the civilian into the road, which is common to provide first aid upon injured civilians, and even insurgents, but I look downed at him as the medic was performing first aid.

 

And the situation, obviously, was really -- I was in shock. I didn't know what was going on.  It was really fast.  But as I looked down in the eyes of the boy, I could tell that he was just scared.  He was frightened.  And I don't speak Arabic, and obviously there was no words exchanged, but I could look into his eyes and see that he was confused and hurt and didn't know what was going on.  You know, I could sense that from the soul he was crying out, you know, "Why is this happening to me?  Whatís going on?  What did I do?  I was turning my car around."

 

I spoke with the leaders afterwards and told them that basically they needed to instruct their soldiers to assess and analyze a situation properly, as the proper procedures were neglected.  

 

The escalation of force by waving of the arms and firing a warning shot and then proceeding to try to disengage the vehicle by shooting the tires, and then actually if the vehicle doesn't stop and it poses a threat still, you're authorized to engage into the vehicle and engage the civilian.  

 

All of those procedures were ignored, and it was directly -- basically the civilian was fired on immediately.

 

And I thought that this Iraqi died innocently, and I was really disturbed by it, really shook my foundation of why I thought we were there.  And I had skepticism before, but that particular incident, along with some other ones, really just made me second guess what we were doing there and what really is happening.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Did you raise it with your superiors?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I did raise it to the superiors that were in charge of the convoy. I did.

 

AMY GOODMAN: And what did they say?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I brought it up to them. And it was hard for me to do that, because I was never deployed before, because I wasn't an infantry soldier. I was a military intelligence soldier attached to these infantry guys.

 

But when I did, I spoke what I felt I needed to say and bring up issues that needed to be questioned and concern.

 

And when I did, I was really shot down by the superiors, basically that I didn't know how convoy operations worked, and I had never been deployed before and I didnít understand that this happens and that thatís just something thatís a reality of war, and that I apparently didn't know what I was talking about.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: And how prevalent, in your experience, were these kinds of incidents of innocent civilians being needlessly killed?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I, myself, only witnessed this particular incident where an innocent civilian was killed, although because I was an interrogator, my security clearance granted me access to the S-2 room, which is the intelligence briefing room. Itís where they have all the intelligence updates.

 

There is a board called the daily intelligence summary, and that holds information on how many times in our area of operation that soldiers have received small arms fire, how many IEDs have gone off and also the number of local nationals or noncombatant Iraqi civilians that are killed.

 

And as I said, I only saw this personally one time, but the number of innocent Iraqis killed on the bleeder board, or on the intelligence board, definitely climbed the whole time I was in Iraq.

 

The number never -- it gradually increased day by day that we were there in the sector.  Itís an intelligence summary board, basically of all the updates in the area of operation that we conduct in, all of the significant events.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Sgt. Ricky Clousing, can you go back to the beginning and tell us when and why you joined the military, the Army?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING:  I joined in 2002.  I was actually taking some time off school, and I was doing some mission work in Thailand in an orphanage.  And I ended up coming back from that trip and not knowing whether to pursue school or not.  So I moved to Europe to live with my father for a little while, and I was there for about four months, backpacking around. I was traveling, and I encountered soldiers coming back from Afghanistan, which was fairly after 9/11, fairly short after that.

 

And I really just started considering the possibility of serving in the military in this new era of these all new ideas that had been thrown out there.  So I started contemplating.  I went and spoke with a recruiter, and the job title that seemed appealing to me was an interrogator, partly because of the nature of the job and also because of the possibility to learn a foreign language and just the new experiences that I would have.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: And when you decided to go AWOL, could you take us through some of your thoughts then, and why you decided you had to do this?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: Well, as I said, the particular incident that I saw definitely disturbed me.  Thereís a number of other incidents that happened that really added to my confusion and my conflict of conscience, you could say.

 

And it really -- although some might call these incidents isolated, and even in the media, you watch on the news the events that happened in Haditha, you read about the 14-year-old girl that was raped and killed by soldiers or even the abuses of Abu Ghraib. Every month or every couple months, there is always a headline issue, it seems to be, that thereís some sort of abuse of power thatís going on in Iraq.

 

But whatís not really covered by the media and what really isnít spoken about are the daily injustices that happened.  

 

And my experiences over there were daily injustices, which included that innocent civilian that was killed, but as I said, there was also a number of other incidents where I -- to sum it up, I really saw the physical, psychological and emotional harassment of civilians.   The abuse of power that goes on in Iraq each day really was just not -- I believe should not be tolerated.  And these events arenít covered by the media.

 

So those events that I witnessed and I was exposed to really forced me to second guess my ability to perform daily functions as a soldier, to train my soldiers that I was in charge of and to be trained.  I was basically kind of -- I felt stuck in my situation, where I really felt like -- as I got home, I really dug into information leading up to the war in Iraq and also through foreign policy in general, and I just really was -- I felt stuck, that Iím in an organization right now that Iím discovering, based on my experiences and the knowledge that Iím reading, that I really do not believe that I can honorably serve and be a part of at this time, so --

 

AMY GOODMAN:  Ricky Clousing, what did you do the night you left Fort Bragg, and did others there know that you were leaving, placing that quote of Dr. Martin Luther King, leaving it behind you and walking out of the base?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: Well, I didn't actually plan a day that I was going to depart from my unit.  Like I mentioned a little bit before, it was a process of when I integrated back home of my feelings really intensifying over time, and it intensified to the point in June, where I really felt like the only decision that I had in obeying my conscience and living honorably was to separate myself from the military in that way.

 

So nobody else in my unit knew that I was going to be leaving. It wasn't -- I didn't talk to anybody about it. I basically -- I knew this was a time I had to move and I had to separate myself.

 

So, as you mentioned, I left a note on my door explaining my feelings, which my unit was well aware of. My superiors already understood my conflict, and I left a quote by Martin Luther King, which you read earlier, which I feel kind of explained in a summary of how I felt in the whole matter.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: What about your fellow soldiers?  Did any of them share your frustration and your disillusionment with what was going on there, or were you pretty much a loner on this issue?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: When I was in Iraq, I was primarily attached to infantry units, so I was around a different mentality of soldiers.  When I returned home and spoke to some of the people that I had trained with and stuff in my intelligence unit, there's definitely, even among the infantry soldiers, there was absolutely a feeling of confusion, a feeling of questioning whether or not we're actually in Iraq for the reasons we were told, because men and women are dying each day, you know.

 

Even these infantry guys are losing their friends each day in roadside bombs, losing their friends in gunfire attacks, and absolutely, the -- I mean, people are wondering, "Why am I here?  I mean, I was sent here for a reason."

 

And people still, soldiers in particular, they definitely feel this question of "What is really going on?"

 

Itís not so much spoken about on a big platform, because itís kind of like this inner question that I had before I went to Iraq, as well.  Itís just that the experiences that I had really kind of forced me to deal with these questions on the forefront, kind of like compelled me to answer them.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: Sergeant, next Thursday U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada is going to face a pretrial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq. Two months ago, he became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment.

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I think that there is definitely a wide amount of people that feel the same feelings I have, the same questions that Lieutenant Watada had, as many -- just like a lot of other war resisters that are standing up.

 

Going public is something that is basically an individual choice that has to be made that -- I know other soldiers who have left AWOL and other soldiers who even would like to leave AWOL.  

 

But I would definitely say that there is a progressive idea of involvement and of collective consciousness here about questioning politics and questioning whatís going on in Iraq, which really needs to involve our whole society. I think that that's the kind of the lack of civil responsibility, I maybe could say, that people in this nation have kind of stepped back from and not understood that not only are soldiers really responsible for, you know, certain situations they find themselves in in Iraq, I think as a whole our society really needs to step back and realize what's going on in Iraq and that we are directly and indirectly responsible for the injustices happening over there, whether you're military or not.

 

If you're a civilian and you don't speak out against whatís going on and don't make an attempt to understand it and then do something about it, I think we all share that same responsibility.  So, like I say, going public is one way I chose that I felt like I wanted to share my experiences in Iraq and shed light on a window of reality that I think has kind of been absent from the media, which is, like I said, the daily abuse of power that goes without accountability.

 

Iíve been very grateful that my family has been very supportive of me.  They've loved on me this whole time I've been gone.  They've been really supportive of me.  My friends, as well.  Iíve had friends in different parts of the country that are standing by me.  Even friends that don't necessarily agree with my politics of my decision, they still know that Iím a person of conviction and they still support my decision.

 

The last year has been obviously an interesting year, where I was really trying to piece together a lot of ideas, where as a 24 year-old man trying to recalculate my world view and my perception of not only the military, but of our government and my association in it and my involvement and my responsibilities -- these are all questions that I've pondered and thought about the last year -- I spent a lot of the year in reflection and a lot of it really trying to just be centered and, yeah, like I said, come to grips with a lot of these questions and answers.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Sgt. Clousing, today you're going to hold a news conference. And then, well, tell us how the day will proceed.  You're turning yourself in after a year.  And what will happen to you then?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: Itís basically dependent upon the military's reaction of what will happen. I can't -- I don't know what to expect, or I can't make speculations at this time. I have no idea.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Haditha, Mahmoudiya, did these surprise you?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: They actually didn't.

 

I mean, my experience, especially working with infantry soldiers and seeing their reaction in circumstances that they're put in, it didn't surprise me, because I think that these events that you're talking about and the experiences that I saw are basically a larger picture of the daily devastation in Iraq and a symptom of the dehumanization of the Iraqi people and the dehumanization that happens as a soldier, naturally, of being able to take another person's life for whatever reason.

 

It's just these are just symptoms of the larger problem that really America has neglected to face in the last three years and that need to be talked about.

 

They need to be brought up in the media, these daily -- like you mentioned, the hundred people that are dying a day in Iraq, these issues need to be brought up. The mistreatment of prisoners, the mistreatment of civilians, whether or not they are detained or not, these are all --

 

AMY GOODMAN: Sgt. Clousing, we just have ten seconds, but you are now turning yourself in.  Are you willing to go to jail for going AWOL, absent without leave?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING:  I knew when I made my decision that there would be consequences, and I felt like I needed to be true to my conscience, so whatever the result is, I feel at peace, and I feel calm and collected that this is destiny and that I am standing up for what I really believe in.

 

MORE:

 

"Her Son Had Joined The Army, Excited And Proud To Fight For American Liberties"

 

11 August 2006 By David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org [Excerpts]

 

Clousing said he did not apply for conscientious objector status because he is not certain he would oppose every possible war, such as one fought in self-defense.

 

Clousing described US vehicles smashing into Iraqi cars, bashing windows, and opening fire on livestock for fun. He described these acts as not isolated incidents, but "the daily devastation of occupation ... daily incidents where innocent Iraqis are being killed, and it's not reported in the media."

 

 Clousing's mother, Sharon Pankalla, joined him at the podium in support of his decision to refuse to fight.   She said that her son had joined the Army, excited and proud to fight for American liberties, but that after he returned from Iraq he was depressed and confused.

 

When he sought help he was told, in that common military phrase, to "suck it up."

 

Do you have a friend or relative in the service?  Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and weíll 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.

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

 

 

Baghdad IED Kills Two U.S. Troops

 

12 Aug 2006 AP

 

Two U.S. soldiers were killed Saturday when their foot patrol was hit by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad, the military said.

 

The deaths brought to 23 the number of Americans killed in Iraq this month.  At least 2,600 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

 

 

Nevada Marine Killed In Anbar

 

August 11, 2006 U.S. Department of Defense News Release No. 768-06

 

Lance Cpl. Jeremy Z. Long, 18, of Sun Valley, Nev., died Aug. 10, while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

 

 

REALLY BAD PLACE TO BE:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW

U.S. troops at the site of multiple bomb explosions July 22, 2006, in east Baghdad.  (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

 

 

Camden High School Grad Jagger Killed

 

08/12/06 Chad Dally, The Hillsdale Daily News

 

A graduate of Camden High School became the second soldier with a connection to Hillsdale County to die in Iraq.

 

First Sgt. Aaron Jagger, 43, died Tuesday west of Baghdad along with two other soldiers of the Armyís 1st Armored Division when a roadside bomb was detonated near their vehicle.

 

Jagger finished high school in Camden in 1980 and joined the Army soon after graduating.

 

He was serving his second tour of duty in this conflict after completing tours in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm in 1992 and Bosnia earlier in his military career. He was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment.

 

He leaves behind a wife and five daughters.  Jagger will be buried in Michigan, though arrangements are still pending.

 

 

Baji IED Wounds U.S. Soldier

 

10 Aug 2006 Reuters

 

A U.S. soldier was wounded when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb near Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement.

 

 

"As Iraqis Stand Up, Weíll Kill Them"

[Especially Ones In Ambulances Who Canít Fight Back]

Resistance Attack Wounds Occupation Cop;

U.S. Helicopter Attack On Ambulance Finishes Him Off

 

Aug 12, 2006 By DPA

 

An Iraqi policeman was killed after being wounded in one of three bomb attacks in and around Baghdad on Saturday.

 

Eyewitnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that an explosive device planted near an Iraqi police checkpoint on a Baghdad highway injured four policemen and two civilians.

 

Then, while an ambulance was carrying one of the wounded policemen, it was fired on by a US helicopter, resulting in the death of the injured policeman and the wounding of the ambulance's driver and doctor, said the eyewitnesses.

 

[Not to worry.  Probably a press error.  No doubt this confuses something that happened in Lebanon with Iraq.  Itís the Israeli armed forces that make a specialty of targeting ambulances and butchering medical personnel and the helpless wounded.]

 

 

 

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

 

 

Resistance Ambush Kills 3 U.S. Soldiers

 

8/12/2006 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP)

 

Three U.S. soldiers were killed and three wounded in a firefight in northeastern Afghanistan after militants attacked an American patrol with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, a military spokesman said Saturday.

 

U.S. troops used artillery to repel the attack in Nuristan province Friday, and helicopters rushed the wounded soldiers to medical care, said Col. Tom Collins.  A civilian was also injured.

 

 

Canadian Soldier Killed

 

11 Aug 2006 CBC News & Reuters

 

A Canadian soldier was killed Friday in a bombing in southern Afghanistan.

 

The soldier, whose name has not yet been released by the military, was travelling in a NATO convoy when a white Toyota Corolla packed with explosives detonated.

 

The incident occurred near the town of Spin Boldak, approximately 100 km southeast of Kandahar, on the main road linking Pakistan with the southern province of Kandahar, according to a Department of National Defence statement.  The attack occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. Kandahar time.

 

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

The soldier is the sixth Canadian killed in attacks in Afghanistan in the past nine days.

 

 

Assorted Resistance Action

 

8/12/2006 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP)

 

An explosion occurred outside a NATO base in Kabul early Saturday. No one was injured in the blast, said Maj. Toby Jackman, spokesman for the NATO-led force. It was unclear if it was a bombing or rocket attack by insurgents.

 

A highway police commander was killed by a blast on his way to work in eastern Lagman province, said Interior Ministry spokesman Yousef Stanezai.

 

The commander patrolled a major road between Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, which hug the Pakistan border, the spokesman said, offering no further details.

 

 

Stupid Body Counts Donít Meant Shit

 

8/12/2006 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP)

 

In a two-month offensive in the south that ended at the start of August, the coalition claimed to have killed, wounded or captured some 1,100 militants.

 

Tom Koenigs, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, told the German news weekly Der Spiegel that the numbers do not reflect success.

 

"The Taliban fighters' reservoir is practically limitless," Koenigs told the magazine in an interview.  "The movement will not be overcome by high casualty figures."

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

Rumsfeld:

Soldier-Killing Rat At Work

 

8.11.06 Philadelphia Inquirer

 

The soldier who triggered the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal by sending incriminating photos to military investigators says he feared deadly retribution by other GIs and was shocked when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mentioned his name at a Senate hearing. 

 

Within days, the soldier, Joe Darby, was spirited out of Iraq at his own request, his family was besieged by reporters and photographers, and close relatives called him a traitor.  Ultimately he was forced to move away from his western Maryland hometown.

 

 

THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE

The casket of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kurt Dechen, in Springfield, Vt. Aug. 11, 2006.  Dechen was killed on Aug. 3, his 24th birthday, in Fallujah, Iraq.  (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

"Things Will Continue To Deteriorate As Long As The Occupier Exists On Our Land"

 

Aug. 12, 2006 By Jeffrey Fleishman, LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

Speaking at the largest Shiite mosque here, Imam Sayed Nail Musawi said: "These adversities that you are seeing every day is like training for us. God is testing our patience. ... The incident in Najaf, who was killed?  Poor people in the market.  More than 30 were martyred.  Najaf's sacredness was violated by this attack."

 

Musawi said: "When the government is able to protect the country and its people, then we will have no need for the militias.  The government is not able to protect its own officials, that is why they are staying in the Green Zone. They should let us protect ourselves."

 

Imam Mohammed Ahmad Falluji told his followers at the Sunni Raqeeb mosque in Fallujah: "These sectarian acts bring nothing to the country but disaster and bloodshed. Such acts serve but the American and foreign plans that aim to render Iraq into a weak and divided country suffering from hostilities. Things will continue to deteriorate as long as the occupier exists on our land."

 

OCCUPATION ISNíT LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

Assorted Resistance Action

 

8.10.06 Reuters & (KUNA) & By Qais Al-Bashir, The Associated Press & 12 Aug 2006 Reuters

 

Four policemen were killed and seven wounded in a mortar attack and roadside bomb in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north Baghdad, the regional Diyala police command centre said.

 

Three police commandos were killed, including a brigade captain, and three wounded in clashes with militants in the Um al-Maalif district of southern Baghdad, a police source said. Al-Maalif is near Darweesh intersection.

 

A policeman was shot dead in Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, police said.

 

A roadside bomb aimed at a police patrol exploded in Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, killing two policemen and critically wounding two others, police said.

 

A policeman was killed in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, said police captain Eidan al- Jubouri of Mosul police.

 

In Baghdad, four policemen died in a gunfight with insurgents

 

An Iraqi security source told KUNA guerrillas clashed with Iraqi police in Ighilsidiya area in Western Baghdad. Three Iraqi policemen including a police colonel were killed in the clash, he added.

 

A sniper attacked a police patrol, killing one officer and wounding another in Mosul, police said.

 

Guerrillas assassinated a member of Iraqi intelligence in front of his home in Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

 

Militants killed Police Captain Nuri Juad in the al-Mualemin district of Baquba, a town 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

 

Seven policemen were wounded in a roadside bomb targeting their patrol in Baquba, police said.

 

A policeman was shot dead in Falluja, west of Baghdad, police said.

 

A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in central Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, killing two policemen and critically wounding two others, police said.

 

In Baghdad, four policemen died in a gunfight with insurgents

 

An Iraqi security source told KUNA guerrillas clashed with Iraqi police in Ighilsidiya area in Western Baghdad. Three Iraqi policemen including a police colonel were killed in the clash, he added.

 

A roadside bomb targeting Iraqi soldiers killed three soldiers in western Ghazaliya district, police said.

 

IF YOU DONíT LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

WAR IS FAILURE

 

From: Dennis Serdel

To: GI Special

Sent: August 11, 2006

Subject: WAR IS FAILURE by Arny Stieber

 

Written by Arny Stieber, Vietnam Infantry 1970, Vietnam Veterans Against The War Washtenaw, Michigan Veterans For Peace 93.

 

Letter published in the New York Times 1-13-2005. made into poem form by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade, purple heart, Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against The War, United Auto Workers GM Retiree, in Perry, Michigan

 

WAR IS FAILURE

 

I wrote a letter

to the editor

of the New York Times.

To the Editor

I am a Vietnam veteran

I recently woke up

to the reality

of being a pawn.

War is not glorious

if it were

the children of our leaders

would be there.

War does not bring peace.

If it did

after all these thousands

of years

we would live

in a peaceful world.

At best,

war is the failure

of our leaders

to solve problems.

At worst,

war is a vast

money-generating machine

that has no regard

for life.

The military does

what it is told

to do by politicians.

The only protection

it has is

"We The People."

Let's protect our troops.

Our politicians

have failed.

 

 

A Brief History Of Zionism

 

From: C

To: GI Special

Sent: August 11, 2006

Subject: a brief history of zionism

 

Shlomo was feeling blue one day, when he spotted lovely Fatima and instantly brightened up. "Aha!  A woman without a man for a man without a woman!"

 

Overjoyed, Shlomo sprang upon her and began to consummate his dream.  Fatima, who was happily married, promptly boxed his ears, yanked his hair, and smacked him upside the head.

 

"So, this savage hussy repays love with terror!" roared the outraged Shlomo.  "I shall thrash her thoroughly to show her who's the boss!"

 

And Shlomo began to rain blows upon Fatima who gave as good as she got.

 

A group of five neighbors witnessed their struggle.

 

The first scratched his head, perplexed by its complexity.

 

The second shook his head, shocked by its violence.

 

The third (a very large fellow) tossed Shlomo a pair of brass knuckles.

 

The fourth slipped Fatima a knitting needle.

 

And the fifth, old Sofia, cried out: "Pull out, Shlomo, and make peace before it's too late!"

 

 

Sometimes Good Dreams Come True

 

The crowning achievement of this hope is in the day that Palestinians and Israelis will come together and unite, in one free and democratic state, neither Jewish, nor Islamic, nor Christian, nor divided along any tribal tenacity that pits brothers and sisters against each other.

 

3 - 9 August 2006 Hamid Dabashi, AL-AHRAM (Cairo) [Excerpts]

 

"Hizbullah stronghold," the genocidal bombers and their mouthpiece in the United States and Europe call the Dahiya neighbourhood.

 

"They warn the civilians to go away before they bomb them," Wolf Blitzer and his Company say.  To go where, exactly?

 

Where exactly were these people supposed to go? 

 

The architectural labyrinth that links ordinary people's lives, their marketplace of goods, hopes and aspirations, fears and trembling, places they hold sacred, the politics that sustains their dignity and pride, placed right next to the bakeries they grab a bite from, the shops at which they buy a toy for their kids, the political convictions they just shared with a greengrocer, the broken radio they just dropped for repair, the ablution they just performed to feel cleansed and worthy of presence in front of their Maker, so that they can stand erect and say their mid-day prayers -- they are all there, interwoven, connected, miasmatic.

 

Warn them to run away exactly where?

 

Wolf Blitzer and other ghastly and shameless propagandists use the propaganda language that the Saudis and the Khalijis in Beirut, and above all the suburban mendacity of New Jersey and Connecticut understand best.

 

"We give them warning." Say Alan Dershowitz and the Israeli Ministry of Deceit and Disinformation, "So they can flee."

 

Flee to where exactly?  To the suburbs of Tel Aviv?

 

Just for a split second dare the elements and imagine what would have happened if the shoes were in the other foot -- if Lebanon was capable and doing to Israel what Israel is capable and now doing to Lebanon!

 

Imagine if Lebanon had moved its navy, air force, and army, surrounded Israel, and started bombing the living daylight out of its inhabitants -- destroyed every bridge, bombed every motorway, and shelled every square inch of populated area in sight; then blew up Ben Gurion Airport runways and destroyed its terminals; then flew myriads of jetfighters over Tel Aviv and bombed it to kingdom come; then blockaded all its ports; bombarded its beaches and destroyed all its buildings; then went ahead and bombed every highway before ordering civilians to leave, and just as they started doing what they were told to do the Lebanese started shooting the Israelis and tearing them to pieces.

 

Just imagine the US and European outrage; imagine the moral outcry of Michael Ignatieff if these were Jewish children being slaughtered; imagine the legalese uproar of Alan Dershowitz; imagine the editorials of The New York Times, the headlines of The New York Sun, the graphics of The New York Post, the waving colours and background music of CNN and Fox News, the columns of Thomas Friedman; imagine the face of Wolf Blitzer, the words of Elie Wiesel, the ads that ADL would have purchased in newspapers, the messages Nathan Sharansky would have sent to President Bush. Imagine the number of times that Fouad Ajami were asked to explain to CBS audiences the deranged Arab mind.

 

Imagine!  Just imagine!

 

The current savagery of the genocidal bombers will not destroy Hamas in Palestine or Hizbullah in Lebanon.

 

Precisely the opposite will happen.

 

Both Hamas and Hizbullah becoming even more integral to the Palestinian and Lebanese national liberation movements, will one day succeed in helping establish a free, democratic, and cosmopolitan republic in their respective countries, and should the insidious designs of the neocons for Iraq fail and the Iraqis succeed in doing the same, three model nation-states -- Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq -- will emerge as the shining stars of a new horizon in Western Asia (what the Orientalists and colonialists call "the Middle East").

 

These democratic models will import their institutional democracies to Iran and Syria and the rest of the Arab and Islamic world will follow.

 

The crowning achievement of this hope is in the day that Palestinians and Israelis will come together and unite, in one free and democratic state, neither Jewish, nor Islamic, nor Christian, nor divided along any tribal tenacity that pits brothers and sisters against each other.

 

These are not the false dreams of an anguished and angry mind.

 

This is the promise of history to a world no neocon chicanery can fool, no propaganda machinery can deny.

 

 

"By Any Rational Reckoning, We Have Lost The War In Iraq"

 

As I watched the glittering generals hem and haw, bob and weave and make excuses for themselves I remembered my enlisted days, when we grumbled that officers were nothing but politicians.

 

August 06, 2006 By Captain Eric H. May, MI/PAO, USA, CO, Ghost Troop, 3/7 Cybercav + Mission of Conscience / Patriots in Action, via Anti-Allawi Group [Excerpts]

 

He who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past

controls the future: George Orwell, 1984

 

By any rational reckoning, we have lost the war in Iraq, unless there is some plan to escalate it to World War Three, mobilizing the US economy and returning to the draft.

 

In 1984 Orwell pointed out that Big Brother, through its Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), never admitted failure in reporting war, and neither have those who were supposed to be reporting our Iraq fiasco.

 

We haven't had any Congressional oversight, media scrutiny or military correction for the worst war results in American history.  In Orwellian terms, the Bush League is a Big Brother imitation, and our current corporate-run US media is a rental Minitrue.

 

They have told us every lie necessary to bring us to the Middle East in the first place, and now telling us every lie necessary to keep us there.

 

We have an Army with broken down equipment and burned out soldiers, and we no longer have a US strategic reserve for ready deployment.  Civil war is erupting in Iraq.

 

We have lost Baghdad , the city whose capture we boasted about as our Cheerleader-in-Chief, George Bush, urged Iraqi Resistance to "bring it on" back on July 4th, 2003.

 

Thousands of US troops are being drawn from other places in Iraq, many of them embattled, to retake the capital. In short, we're back to square one, and we're worn out.

 

As I watched the glittering generals hem and haw, bob and weave and make excuses for themselves I remembered my enlisted days, when we grumbled that officers were nothing but politicians.

 

Rumsfeld, who never pretended to be anything other than a politician, sat between his puppet generals, and from time to time put in a forceful word of distortion.  Brazenly, he admitted no problems at all, and argued tirelessly that two plus two really do make five.

 

All you have to do, he assures us, is understand that we're in a global war, Iraq is the central front in that global war and Baghdad is the key to Iraq.

 

To the Bush League this is called geopolitics, but to me it still seems like quicksand.

 

What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Send to contact@militaryproject.org.  Name, I.D., withheld on request.  Replies confidential.

 

 

OCCUPATION PALESTINE/LEBANON

 

 

Ground Rules Relevant To The Middle East

 

August 5, 2006 Monabaker.com/

 

The Ground Rules

 

Rule # 1: In the Middle East, it is always the Arabs that attack first, and it's always Israel who defends itself.  This is called "retaliation".

 

Rule # 2: The Arabs, whether Palestinians or Lebanese, are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called "terrorism".

 

Rule # 3: Israel has the right to kill Arab civilians; this is called "self-defense", or these days "collateral damage".

 

Rule # 4: When Israel kills too many civilians, the Western world calls for restraint.  This is called the "reaction of the international community".

 

Rule # 5: Palestinians and Lebanese do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even a limited number, not even 1 or 2.

 

Rule # 6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (Palestinians: around 10000 to date, 300 of which are children, Lebanese: 1000s to date, being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial.  All that is needed is the magic word: "terrorism".

 

Rule # 7: When you say "Hezbollah", always be sure to add "supported by Syria and Iran".

 

Rule # 8: When you say "Israel", never say "supported by the USA, the UK and other European countries", for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

 

Rule # 9: When it comes to Israel, don't mention the words "occupied territories", "UN resolutions", "Geneva conventions". This could distress the audience of Fox.

 

Rule # 10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs.  This is why we let them speak out as much as possible, so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. This is called "neutral journalism".

 

Rule # 11: If you don't agree with these rules or if you favor the Arab side over the Israeli side, you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite.  You may even have to make a public apology if you express your honest opinion (isn't democracy wonderful?).

 

 

"The Yoke Of Zion Turns Us Into Impoverished Cannon Fodder"

 

August 5, 2006 By Israel Shamir, www.uruknet.info [Excerpts]

 

A small band of determined warriors takes on and fights off the mightiest army of the region: this is the stuff history is made of.  Thermopylae, move over, Bint Jbeil is coming in!

 

Bishop Philip of Antioch compared the levelling of this small Lebanese town with the destruction of Stalingrad, but these cities are also comparable by courage of their defenders. 

 

Seldom is a generation able to witness such a shining example of valour: for three long weeks a handful of Hezbollah warriors Ė two thousand by the most optimistic count Ė fought to standstill ten, twenty, thirty times more numerous Israeli troops.

 

Forty years ago, Israelis defeated three armies in one week, but now the invaderís charm has worn off, or it has passed over to the vanquished.

 

In todayís somewhat feminine victim-centred narrative, suffering attracts more attention than masculine gallantry.  Thus Qana massacre has overshadowed a greater going-on, and that is the steadfast resistance of the Lebanese fighters.  But Andromacheís sorrow should not obscure Hectorís courage: Hezbollahís deeds deserve to be immortalised by poets.

 

This was most unexpected. The Israelis were used to killing Ė or dispersing - weaponless untrained Palestinians.  Instead, the fighters of Sayyed Nasrallah dug their heels into the bare hills of Bint Jbeil and gave battle.

 

A religious Bible-thumping American may remember the prophecy of Ezekiel, 22 who said to the leaders of Israel in the name of the Lord: "You have become guilty in your blood that you have shed; everyone among you, putting out his full force to shed blood" Ė that is the blood of innocent Palestinians and Lebanese; Ezekiel also prophesied the Zionist Gathering of Jews, and that it will lead to a major disaster to Zionists: "the house of Israel has become dross to me; therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst, and you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out my fury upon you."

 

"The Israelis have used oppression, and committed robbery, and have wronged the poor and needy; indeed, they have oppressed the gentiles wrongfully, and therefore I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; their own way have I rewarded upon their heads, said the Lord God."

 

Moreover, an American or a European who today calls himself "a Jew" may wonder whether he has much in common with the people whose poets call upon their soldiers to: "Storm on Lebanon and Gaza, and plow it and sow it with salt, raze it down, let no human being remain alive/ Turn them into a desert, rubble, a valley of mess, unpopulated/ Save your nation and drop bombs / On villages and cities, their collapsing houses do shell / Kill them, shed their blood, turn their lives into living hell /".

 

Israelis, i.e. dwellers of Palestine who consider themselves Jewish, may also contemplate whether they want to fight and support the ideological Yoke of Zion which brings them only hatred outside and poverty within.

 

Instead of living in economic prosperity and in harmony with our neighbours, the Yoke of Zion turns us into impoverished cannon fodder.

 

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

 

 

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

 

 

"Stay The Course" Republicans And "Phased Withdrawal" Democrats?

Theyíre Nothing But A Pack Of Soldier-Killing Rats

 

[And now, hereís a message for every politician and fake "anti-war" leader pushing this "timetable" bullshit, which does not mean bringing the troops home now:  Since you think troops should stay in Iraq and keep on dying, according to your "phased timetable," why are you still here?  Shut up and ship out.  Sitting safely at home, babbling about a "phased withdrawal," is nothing but hypocrisy, betrayal, and cowardice.  T]

 

06 August 2006 The New York Times, Editorial [Excerpts]

 

As America's military experience in Iraq grows ever more nightmarish, it is becoming clear that President Bush's strategy comes down to this: Keep holding to a failing course for the next 29 months and leave it to the next administration to clean up the mess.

 

That abdication of responsibility cannot be allowed to continue at the expense of American lives, military readiness and international influence.  With the Republican majority in Congress moving in perpetual lock step behind the White House, the job of pressing the issue has been dumped in the laps of the Democrats.

 

Unfortunately, they have their own version of reality avoidance.  It involves pretending that the nightmare can be ended by adopting a timetable for a phased withdrawal of American troops.

 

Mr. Bush's cheerleading encourages the illusion that it is just a matter of time and American support before Iraq evolves into a stable democracy.

 

The Democratic timetable spins a different fantasy: that if the Iraqis are told that American troops will be leaving in stages, at specific dates, their government will rise to the occasion and create its own security forces to maintain order.

 

A phased withdrawal by itself would simply leave the American soldiers who remain behind in graver dangerÖ..

 

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)

 

 

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

 

 

One In 3 Americans Say Homicidal Traitors Control The Government

 

8.3.06 New York Post

 

More than one-third of Americans suspect federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East, according to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll. 

 

[And no better example of treason can be found.  Although not necessarily true, the poll result is a powerful indication of what American citizens think of the rats in Washington DC.  T]

 

MORE:

 

Theyíre Right:

White House Spokesman Says The Traitor Bush Will Go On With The War Regardless Of What The American People Want

 

August 7, 2006 by Jim Rutenberg, New York Times [Excerpt]

 

Dan Bartlett, the White House counselor, said Mr. Bush's hands would not be tied in Iraq by domestic politics.

 

"You want to have as many people as supportive of this effort as possible," he said in an interview.

 

"But at the end of the day the commander in chief is going to make the decisions, and at the end of the day he's going to defer to commanders on the ground -

not the swings of public opinion."

 

LIAR

TRAITOR

SOLDIER-KILLER

DOMESTIC ENEMY

UNFIT FOR COMMAND

(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

 

 

Blair Tells Bush They Should Start Seeing Other People

British Prime Minister Signals End To Exclusive Relationship

 

August 9, 2006 The Borowitz Report

 

British Prime Minister Tony Blair stunned diplomatic circles today by telling President George W. Bush that the time had come for the two men to start "seeing other people."

 

The announcement came as a shock to many observers of the international scene because the British prime minister and the U.S. president had been virtually inseparable since Mr. Bush took power in 2001.

 

But in telling the president that he wanted to see other people, Mr. Blair seemed to be leaving little doubt that the exclusive relationship between the two men was, for all intents and purposes, over.

 

"I was absolutely blindsided by the news," said Russian President Vladimir Putin. "I saw them together at the G-8 summit, and they seemed so happy -- I had no idea they were having problems."

 

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, however, seemed less surprised by the news: "Everyone knows how hard it is to keep a long-distance relationship going."

 

It was, perhaps, at the G-8 summit that the cracks in the Blair-Bush relationship first began to show, as the U.S. president was seen massaging the shoulders of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

 

Hours later, perhaps in retaliation, Mr. Blair was seen caressing the inner thigh of French President Jacques Chirac.

 

At a joint appearance at the White House today, Mr. Bush made one last appeal to Mr. Blair to see if the two men could work things out, but Mr. Blair's response appeared to leave little hope: "It's not you, Mr. President -- it's me."

 

Elsewhere, Lindsay Lohan announced that she would entertain troops in Iraq, igniting calls for an immediate withdrawal.

 

 

 

CLASS WAR REPORTS

 

 

While Troops Die In Iraq:

Exxon Profits Hit $10 Billion In Second Quarter;

Retired CEO Got A $400 Million Going Away Package

 

7.28.06 By JEFFREY BALL And BENOIT FAUCON Wall St. Journal & July 29, 2006 by Ralph Nader, CommonDreams

 

Exxon Mobil Corp. reported its second-highest quarterly profit ever, a result likely to intensify political anger at the oil industry at a time when many U.S. consumers are paying more than $3 a gallon for gasoline.

 

Also buoyed by surging global oil prices, Royal Dutch Shell PLC reported a 40% profit jump.

 

Exxon, the worldís biggest publicly traded oil company by market value, said its second-quarter net income was $10.36 billion, up 36% from $7.64 billion a year earlier. The Irving, Texas, oil companyís profit increase was even higher on a per-share basis; up 43%, to $1.72 a share from $1.20 a year earlier, largely because of share buybacks.

 

The second-quarter result was among the highest quarterly profits for any publicly traded U.S. company ever.  It was slightly less than Exxonís best ever profit of $10.71 billion in last yearís fourth quarter.  Revenue for the latest quarter rose 12% to $99.03 billion.

 

Where are the profits going?

 

One flow is into the huge executive salaries and retirement packages.

 

ExxonMobil's retired CEO, Lee Raymond, got his rubber-stamp board to give him - one man - a $400 million going away package.

 

But the big use of Exxon's profits is buying back its own stock. Check these brazen figures. 

 

In the first quarter of this year, Exxon reported spending $5 billion buying back its own shares.  This is more than the $4.1 billion it said it would spend on exploration and production.

 

There's more. The oil giant said it would spend $18 billion repurchasing its own shares in the next three quarters of 2006.  This is great news for Exxon executives with stock options.  Greed at its highest, to heck with the energy needs of the country and stopping the gouging of American motorists.

 

Let's break down the figure of one year's stock buyback by ExxonMobil totaling $23 billion which obviously the company does not need for its regular business of finding, refining and marketing gasoline and heating oil.

 

That sum of money alone would reduce the price of gasoline by about 15 cents per gallon if spread nationwide.

 

 

GI Special distributes and posts to our website copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.  We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law since it is being distributed without charge or profit for educational purposes to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for educational purposes, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  GI Special has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor is GI Special endorsed or sponsored by the originators.  This attributed work is provided a non-profit basis to facilitate understanding, research, education, and the advancement of human rights and social justice Go to: www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml for more information.  If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

 

If printed out, this newsletter is your personal property and cannot legally be confiscated from you.  "Possession of unauthorized material may not be prohibited."  DoD Directive 1325.6 Section 3.5.1.2 GI SPECIAL 4H12:

 

 

[Thanks to Mark Shapiro][peacevigils.com]

 

 

People Are Wondering, "Why Am I Here?  I Mean, I Was Sent Here For A Reason"

And People Still, Soldiers In Particular, They Definitely Feel This Question Of "What Is Really Going On?"

 

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

 

August 11th, 2006 Democracy Now! [Excerpts]

 

Today, we are joined by an Army sergeant, who chose to serve in Iraq as an army interrogator with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg.  But he became a war resister after witnessing how the war was being fought.

 

His name is Sgt. Ricky Clousing. He is a 24-year-old from Sumner, Washington. He served in Iraq from December 2004 until April 2005.  Within months after returning home, he went AWOL.

 

He left behind a quote from Martin Luther King. It read, "Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?"

 

But conscience asks the question, "Is it right?"  And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right."

 

Today Sgt. Ricky Clousing plans to go to Fort Lewis to turn himself in to military officials.  But first he joins us live from Seattle.

 

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

 

AMY GOODMAN: Itís very good to have you with us.  Why did you go AWOL?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I chose to leave after experiencing the brutalities of war in this war in Iraq, and it was a process that I considered long and hard upon my return to Fort Bragg.  

 

Those two-and-a-half months of my integration back into the military and back into society really questioned and really forced me to reevaluate my beliefs and my own personal feelings and convictions, politically and spiritually, about my involvement in the war in Iraq and also the organization of the military in general.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: Could you talk to us about some of your specific experiences while you were there?  My understanding is you actually witnessed some killings of innocent civilians that really affected you deeply?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: Yes, I was assigned to a tactical infantry unit, which meant basically that I was out on patrols with infantry units.  

 

The particular incident youíre referring to, I was in Mosul on a convoy en route, and we stopped to assist another convoy that had been struck by an IED. And during that time, I was ordered to pull rear security on the convoy, where I proceeded to go behind the rear Humvee and guard the road, basically to ensure that nobody turned down and posed a threat to U.S. forces assisting soldiers in their personal crisis, what was going on with the IED.

 

As I was doing that, I had seen a vehicle turn down our road going approximately 15 miles an hour.  I saw directly in the window.  It was a young boy, or a young man, I should say, and as soon as he saw U.S. troops, he was terrified, took his hands off the wheel.  It was evident that he was scared that U.S. troops were there, weapons drawn. He didn't know what was going on.  

 

He was making an effort to brake the vehicle and to turn around immediately, when a soldier in the turret of the Humvee behind me proceeded to open up fire and fired four to five rounds inside of the vehicle.

 

I went over to the vehicle with a medic and broke the window out and dragged the civilian into the road, which is common to provide first aid upon injured civilians, and even insurgents, but I look downed at him as the medic was performing first aid.

 

And the situation, obviously, was really -- I was in shock. I didn't know what was going on.  It was really fast.  But as I looked down in the eyes of the boy, I could tell that he was just scared.  He was frightened.  And I don't speak Arabic, and obviously there was no words exchanged, but I could look into his eyes and see that he was confused and hurt and didn't know what was going on.  You know, I could sense that from the soul he was crying out, you know, "Why is this happening to me?  Whatís going on?  What did I do?  I was turning my car around."

 

I spoke with the leaders afterwards and told them that basically they needed to instruct their soldiers to assess and analyze a situation properly, as the proper procedures were neglected.  

 

The escalation of force by waving of the arms and firing a warning shot and then proceeding to try to disengage the vehicle by shooting the tires, and then actually if the vehicle doesn't stop and it poses a threat still, you're authorized to engage into the vehicle and engage the civilian.  

 

All of those procedures were ignored, and it was directly -- basically the civilian was fired on immediately.

 

And I thought that this Iraqi died innocently, and I was really disturbed by it, really shook my foundation of why I thought we were there.  And I had skepticism before, but that particular incident, along with some other ones, really just made me second guess what we were doing there and what really is happening.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Did you raise it with your superiors?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I did raise it to the superiors that were in charge of the convoy. I did.

 

AMY GOODMAN: And what did they say?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I brought it up to them. And it was hard for me to do that, because I was never deployed before, because I wasn't an infantry soldier. I was a military intelligence soldier attached to these infantry guys.

 

But when I did, I spoke what I felt I needed to say and bring up issues that needed to be questioned and concern.

 

And when I did, I was really shot down by the superiors, basically that I didn't know how convoy operations worked, and I had never been deployed before and I didnít understand that this happens and that thatís just something thatís a reality of war, and that I apparently didn't know what I was talking about.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: And how prevalent, in your experience, were these kinds of incidents of innocent civilians being needlessly killed?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I, myself, only witnessed this particular incident where an innocent civilian was killed, although because I was an interrogator, my security clearance granted me access to the S-2 room, which is the intelligence briefing room. Itís where they have all the intelligence updates.

 

There is a board called the daily intelligence summary, and that holds information on how many times in our area of operation that soldiers have received small arms fire, how many IEDs have gone off and also the number of local nationals or noncombatant Iraqi civilians that are killed.

 

And as I said, I only saw this personally one time, but the number of innocent Iraqis killed on the bleeder board, or on the intelligence board, definitely climbed the whole time I was in Iraq.

 

The number never -- it gradually increased day by day that we were there in the sector.  Itís an intelligence summary board, basically of all the updates in the area of operation that we conduct in, all of the significant events.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Sgt. Ricky Clousing, can you go back to the beginning and tell us when and why you joined the military, the Army?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING:  I joined in 2002.  I was actually taking some time off school, and I was doing some mission work in Thailand in an orphanage.  And I ended up coming back from that trip and not knowing whether to pursue school or not.  So I moved to Europe to live with my father for a little while, and I was there for about four months, backpacking around. I was traveling, and I encountered soldiers coming back from Afghanistan, which was fairly after 9/11, fairly short after that.

 

And I really just started considering the possibility of serving in the military in this new era of these all new ideas that had been thrown out there.  So I started contemplating.  I went and spoke with a recruiter, and the job title that seemed appealing to me was an interrogator, partly because of the nature of the job and also because of the possibility to learn a foreign language and just the new experiences that I would have.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: And when you decided to go AWOL, could you take us through some of your thoughts then, and why you decided you had to do this?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: Well, as I said, the particular incident that I saw definitely disturbed me.  Thereís a number of other incidents that happened that really added to my confusion and my conflict of conscience, you could say.

 

And it really -- although some might call these incidents isolated, and even in the media, you watch on the news the events that happened in Haditha, you read about the 14-year-old girl that was raped and killed by soldiers or even the abuses of Abu Ghraib. Every month or every couple months, there is always a headline issue, it seems to be, that thereís some sort of abuse of power thatís going on in Iraq.

 

But whatís not really covered by the media and what really isnít spoken about are the daily injustices that happened.  

 

And my experiences over there were daily injustices, which included that innocent civilian that was killed, but as I said, there was also a number of other incidents where I -- to sum it up, I really saw the physical, psychological and emotional harassment of civilians.   The abuse of power that goes on in Iraq each day really was just not -- I believe should not be tolerated.  And these events arenít covered by the media.

 

So those events that I witnessed and I was exposed to really forced me to second guess my ability to perform daily functions as a soldier, to train my soldiers that I was in charge of and to be trained.  I was basically kind of -- I felt stuck in my situation, where I really felt like -- as I got home, I really dug into information leading up to the war in Iraq and also through foreign policy in general, and I just really was -- I felt stuck, that Iím in an organization right now that Iím discovering, based on my experiences and the knowledge that Iím reading, that I really do not believe that I can honorably serve and be a part of at this time, so --

 

AMY GOODMAN:  Ricky Clousing, what did you do the night you left Fort Bragg, and did others there know that you were leaving, placing that quote of Dr. Martin Luther King, leaving it behind you and walking out of the base?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: Well, I didn't actually plan a day that I was going to depart from my unit.  Like I mentioned a little bit before, it was a process of when I integrated back home of my feelings really intensifying over time, and it intensified to the point in June, where I really felt like the only decision that I had in obeying my conscience and living honorably was to separate myself from the military in that way.

 

So nobody else in my unit knew that I was going to be leaving. It wasn't -- I didn't talk to anybody about it. I basically -- I knew this was a time I had to move and I had to separate myself.

 

So, as you mentioned, I left a note on my door explaining my feelings, which my unit was well aware of. My superiors already understood my conflict, and I left a quote by Martin Luther King, which you read earlier, which I feel kind of explained in a summary of how I felt in the whole matter.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: What about your fellow soldiers?  Did any of them share your frustration and your disillusionment with what was going on there, or were you pretty much a loner on this issue?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: When I was in Iraq, I was primarily attached to infantry units, so I was around a different mentality of soldiers.  When I returned home and spoke to some of the people that I had trained with and stuff in my intelligence unit, there's definitely, even among the infantry soldiers, there was absolutely a feeling of confusion, a feeling of questioning whether or not we're actually in Iraq for the reasons we were told, because men and women are dying each day, you know.

 

Even these infantry guys are losing their friends each day in roadside bombs, losing their friends in gunfire attacks, and absolutely, the -- I mean, people are wondering, "Why am I here?  I mean, I was sent here for a reason."

 

And people still, soldiers in particular, they definitely feel this question of "What is really going on?"

 

Itís not so much spoken about on a big platform, because itís kind of like this inner question that I had before I went to Iraq, as well.  Itís just that the experiences that I had really kind of forced me to deal with these questions on the forefront, kind of like compelled me to answer them.

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: Sergeant, next Thursday U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada is going to face a pretrial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq. Two months ago, he became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment.

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: I think that there is definitely a wide amount of people that feel the same feelings I have, the same questions that Lieutenant Watada had, as many -- just like a lot of other war resisters that are standing up.

 

Going public is something that is basically an individual choice that has to be made that -- I know other soldiers who have left AWOL and other soldiers who even would like to leave AWOL.  

 

But I would definitely say that there is a progressive idea of involvement and of collective consciousness here about questioning politics and questioning whatís going on in Iraq, which really needs to involve our whole society. I think that that's the kind of the lack of civil responsibility, I maybe could say, that people in this nation have kind of stepped back from and not understood that not only are soldiers really responsible for, you know, certain situations they find themselves in in Iraq, I think as a whole our society really needs to step back and realize what's going on in Iraq and that we are directly and indirectly responsible for the injustices happening over there, whether you're military or not.

 

If you're a civilian and you don't speak out against whatís going on and don't make an attempt to understand it and then do something about it, I think we all share that same responsibility.  So, like I say, going public is one way I chose that I felt like I wanted to share my experiences in Iraq and shed light on a window of reality that I think has kind of been absent from the media, which is, like I said, the daily abuse of power that goes without accountability.

 

Iíve been very grateful that my family has been very supportive of me.  They've loved on me this whole time I've been gone.  They've been really supportive of me.  My friends, as well.  Iíve had friends in different parts of the country that are standing by me.  Even friends that don't necessarily agree with my politics of my decision, they still know that Iím a person of conviction and they still support my decision.

 

The last year has been obviously an interesting year, where I was really trying to piece together a lot of ideas, where as a 24 year-old man trying to recalculate my world view and my perception of not only the military, but of our government and my association in it and my involvement and my responsibilities -- these are all questions that I've pondered and thought about the last year -- I spent a lot of the year in reflection and a lot of it really trying to just be centered and, yeah, like I said, come to grips with a lot of these questions and answers.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Sgt. Clousing, today you're going to hold a news conference. And then, well, tell us how the day will proceed.  You're turning yourself in after a year.  And what will happen to you then?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: Itís basically dependent upon the military's reaction of what will happen. I can't -- I don't know what to expect, or I can't make speculations at this time. I have no idea.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Haditha, Mahmoudiya, did these surprise you?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING: They actually didn't.

 

I mean, my experience, especially working with infantry soldiers and seeing their reaction in circumstances that they're put in, it didn't surprise me, because I think that these events that you're talking about and the experiences that I saw are basically a larger picture of the daily devastation in Iraq and a symptom of the dehumanization of the Iraqi people and the dehumanization that happens as a soldier, naturally, of being able to take another person's life for whatever reason.

 

It's just these are just symptoms of the larger problem that really America has neglected to face in the last three years and that need to be talked about.

 

They need to be brought up in the media, these daily -- like you mentioned, the hundred people that are dying a day in Iraq, these issues need to be brought up. The mistreatment of prisoners, the mistreatment of civilians, whether or not they are detained or not, these are all --

 

AMY GOODMAN: Sgt. Clousing, we just have ten seconds, but you are now turning yourself in.  Are you willing to go to jail for going AWOL, absent without leave?

 

SGT. RICKY CLOUSING:  I knew when I made my decision that there would be consequences, and I felt like I needed to be true to my conscience, so whatever the result is, I feel at peace, and I feel calm and collected that this is destiny and that I am standing up for what I really believe in.

 

MORE:

 

"Her Son Had Joined The Army, Excited And Proud To Fight For American Liberties"

 

11 August 2006 By David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org [Excerpts]

 

Clousing said he did not apply for conscientious objector status because he is not certain he would oppose every possible war, such as one fought in self-defense.

 

Clousing described US vehicles smashing into Iraqi cars, bashing windows, and opening fire on livestock for fun. He described these acts as not isolated incidents, but "the daily devastation of occupation ... daily incidents where innocent Iraqis are being killed, and it's not reported in the media."

 

 Clousing's mother, Sharon Pankalla, joined him at the podium in support of his decision to refuse to fight.   She said that her son had joined the Army, excited and proud to fight for American liberties, but that after he returned from Iraq he was depressed and confused.

 

When he sought help he was told, in that common military phrase, to "suck it up."

 

Do you have a friend or relative in the service?  Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and weíll 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.

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

 

 

Baghdad IED Kills Two U.S. Troops

 

12 Aug 2006 AP

 

Two U.S. soldiers were killed Saturday when their foot patrol was hit by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad, the military said.

 

The deaths brought to 23 the number of Americans killed in Iraq this month.  At least 2,600 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

 

 

Nevada Marine Killed In Anbar

 

August 11, 2006 U.S. Department of Defense News Release No. 768-06

 

Lance Cpl. Jeremy Z. Long, 18, of Sun Valley, Nev., died Aug. 10, while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

 

 

REALLY BAD PLACE TO BE:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW

U.S. troops at the site of multiple bomb explosions July 22, 2006, in east Baghdad.  (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

 

 

Camden High School Grad Jagger Killed

 

08/12/06 Chad Dally, The Hillsdale Daily News

 

A graduate of Camden High School became the second soldier with a connection to Hillsdale County to die in Iraq.

 

First Sgt. Aaron Jagger, 43, died Tuesday west of Baghdad along with two other soldiers of the Armyís 1st Armored Division when a roadside bomb was detonated near their vehicle.

 

Jagger finished high school in Camden in 1980 and joined the Army soon after graduating.

 

He was serving his second tour of duty in this conflict after completing tours in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm in 1992 and Bosnia earlier in his military career. He was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment.

 

He leaves behind a wife and five daughters.  Jagger will be buried in Michigan, though arrangements are still pending.

 

 

Baji IED Wounds U.S. Soldier

 

10 Aug 2006 Reuters

 

A U.S. soldier was wounded when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb near Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement.

 

 

"As Iraqis Stand Up, Weíll Kill Them"

[Especially Ones In Ambulances Who Canít Fight Back]

Resistance Attack Wounds Occupation Cop;

U.S. Helicopter Attack On Ambulance Finishes Him Off

 

Aug 12, 2006 By DPA

 

An Iraqi policeman was killed after being wounded in one of three bomb attacks in and around Baghdad on Saturday.

 

Eyewitnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that an explosive device planted near an Iraqi police checkpoint on a Baghdad highway injured four policemen and two civilians.

 

Then, while an ambulance was carrying one of the wounded policemen, it was fired on by a US helicopter, resulting in the death of the injured policeman and the wounding of the ambulance's driver and doctor, said the eyewitnesses.

 

[Not to worry.  Probably a press error.  No doubt this confuses something that happened in Lebanon with Iraq.  Itís the Israeli armed forces that make a specialty of targeting ambulances and butchering medical personnel and the helpless wounded.]

 

 

 

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

 

 

Resistance Ambush Kills 3 U.S. Soldiers

 

8/12/2006 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP)

 

Three U.S. soldiers were killed and three wounded in a firefight in northeastern Afghanistan after militants attacked an American patrol with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, a military spokesman said Saturday.

 

U.S. troops used artillery to repel the attack in Nuristan province Friday, and helicopters rushed the wounded soldiers to medical care, said Col. Tom Collins.  A civilian was also injured.

 

 

Canadian Soldier Killed

 

11 Aug 2006 CBC News & Reuters

 

A Canadian soldier was killed Friday in a bombing in southern Afghanistan.

 

The soldier, whose name has not yet been released by the military, was travelling in a NATO convoy when a white Toyota Corolla packed with explosives detonated.

 

The incident occurred near the town of Spin Boldak, approximately 100 km southeast of Kandahar, on the main road linking Pakistan with the southern province of Kandahar, according to a Department of National Defence statement.  The attack occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. Kandahar time.

 

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

The soldier is the sixth Canadian killed in attacks in Afghanistan in the past nine days.

 

 

Assorted Resistance Action

 

8/12/2006 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP)

 

An explosion occurred outside a NATO base in Kabul early Saturday. No one was injured in the blast, said Maj. Toby Jackman, spokesman for the NATO-led force. It was unclear if it was a bombing or rocket attack by insurgents.

 

A highway police commander was killed by a blast on his way to work in eastern Lagman province, said Interior Ministry spokesman Yousef Stanezai.

 

The commander patrolled a major road between Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, which hug the Pakistan border, the spokesman said, offering no further details.

 

 

Stupid Body Counts Donít Meant Shit

 

8/12/2006 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP)

 

In a two-month offensive in the south that ended at the start of August, the coalition claimed to have killed, wounded or captured some 1,100 militants.

 

Tom Koenigs, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, told the German news weekly Der Spiegel that the numbers do not reflect success.

 

"The Taliban fighters' reservoir is practically limitless," Koenigs told the magazine in an interview.  "The movement will not be overcome by high casualty figures."

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

Rumsfeld:

Soldier-Killing Rat At Work

 

8.11.06 Philadelphia Inquirer

 

The soldier who triggered the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal by sending incriminating photos to military investigators says he feared deadly retribution by other GIs and was shocked when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mentioned his name at a Senate hearing. 

 

Within days, the soldier, Joe Darby, was spirited out of Iraq at his own request, his family was besieged by reporters and photographers, and close relatives called him a traitor.  Ultimately he was forced to move away from his western Maryland hometown.

 

 

THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE

The casket of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kurt Dechen, in Springfield, Vt. Aug. 11, 2006.  Dechen was killed on Aug. 3, his 24th birthday, in Fallujah, Iraq.  (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

"Things Will Continue To Deteriorate As Long As The Occupier Exists On Our Land"

 

Aug. 12, 2006 By Jeffrey Fleishman, LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

Speaking at the largest Shiite mosque here, Imam Sayed Nail Musawi said: "These adversities that you are seeing every day is like training for us. God is testing our patience. ... The incident in Najaf, who was killed?  Poor people in the market.  More than 30 were martyred.  Najaf's sacredness was violated by this attack."

 

Musawi said: "When the government is able to protect the country and its people, then we will have no need for the militias.  The government is not able to protect its own officials, that is why they are staying in the Green Zone. They should let us protect ourselves."

 

Imam Mohammed Ahmad Falluji told his followers at the Sunni Raqeeb mosque in Fallujah: "These sectarian acts bring nothing to the country but disaster and bloodshed. Such acts serve but the American and foreign plans that aim to render Iraq into a weak and divided country suffering from hostilities. Things will continue to deteriorate as long as the occupier exists on our land."

 

OCCUPATION ISNíT LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

Assorted Resistance Action

 

8.10.06 Reuters & (KUNA) & By Qais Al-Bashir, The Associated Press & 12 Aug 2006 Reuters

 

Four policemen were killed and seven wounded in a mortar attack and roadside bomb in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north Baghdad, the regional Diyala police command centre said.

 

Three police commandos were killed, including a brigade captain, and three wounded in clashes with militants in the Um al-Maalif district of southern Baghdad, a police source said. Al-Maalif is near Darweesh intersection.

 

A policeman was shot dead in Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, police said.

 

A roadside bomb aimed at a police patrol exploded in Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, killing two policemen and critically wounding two others, police said.

 

A policeman was killed in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, said police captain Eidan al- Jubouri of Mosul police.

 

In Baghdad, four policemen died in a gunfight with insurgents

 

An Iraqi security source told KUNA guerrillas clashed with Iraqi police in Ighilsidiya area in Western Baghdad. Three Iraqi policemen including a police colonel were killed in the clash, he added.

 

A sniper attacked a police patrol, killing one officer and wounding another in Mosul, police said.

 

Guerrillas assassinated a member of Iraqi intelligence in front of his home in Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

 

Militants killed Police Captain Nuri Juad in the al-Mualemin district of Baquba, a town 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

 

Seven policemen were wounded in a roadside bomb targeting their patrol in Baquba, police said.

 

A policeman was shot dead in Falluja, west of Baghdad, police said.

 

A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in central Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, killing two policemen and critically wounding two others, police said.

 

In Baghdad, four policemen died in a gunfight with insurgents

 

An Iraqi security source told KUNA guerrillas clashed with Iraqi police in Ighilsidiya area in Western Baghdad. Three Iraqi policemen including a police colonel were killed in the clash, he added.

 

A roadside bomb targeting Iraqi soldiers killed three soldiers in western Ghazaliya district, police said.

 

IF YOU DONíT LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

WAR IS FAILURE

 

From: Dennis Serdel

To: GI Special

Sent: August 11, 2006

Subject: WAR IS FAILURE by Arny Stieber

 

Written by Arny Stieber, Vietnam Infantry 1970, Vietnam Veterans Against The War Washtenaw, Michigan Veterans For Peace 93.

 

Letter published in the New York Times 1-13-2005. made into poem form by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade, purple heart, Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against The War, United Auto Workers GM Retiree, in Perry, Michigan

 

WAR IS FAILURE

 

I wrote a letter

to the editor

of the New York Times.

To the Editor

I am a Vietnam veteran

I recently woke up

to the reality

of being a pawn.

War is not glorious

if it were

the children of our leaders

would be there.

War does not bring peace.

If it did

after all these thousands

of years

we would live

in a peaceful world.

At best,

war is the failure

of our leaders

to solve problems.

At worst,

war is a vast

money-generating machine

that has no regard

for life.

The military does

what it is told

to do by politicians.

The only protection

it has is

"We The People."

Let's protect our troops.

Our politicians

have failed.

 

 

A Brief History Of Zionism

 

From: C

To: GI Special

Sent: August 11, 2006

Subject: a brief history of zionism

 

Shlomo was feeling blue one day, when he spotted lovely Fatima and instantly brightened up. "Aha!  A woman without a man for a man without a woman!"

 

Overjoyed, Shlomo sprang upon her and began to consummate his dream.  Fatima, who was happily married, promptly boxed his ears, yanked his hair, and smacked him upside the head.

 

"So, this savage hussy repays love with terror!" roared the outraged Shlomo.  "I shall thrash her thoroughly to show her who's the boss!"

 

And Shlomo began to rain blows upon Fatima who gave as good as she got.

 

A group of five neighbors witnessed their struggle.

 

The first scratched his head, perplexed by its complexity.

 

The second shook his head, shocked by its violence.

 

The third (a very large fellow) tossed Shlomo a pair of brass knuckles.

 

The fourth slipped Fatima a knitting needle.

 

And the fifth, old Sofia, cried out: "Pull out, Shlomo, and make peace before it's too late!"

 

 

Sometimes Good Dreams Come True

 

The crowning achievement of this hope is in the day that Palestinians and Israelis will come together and unite, in one free and democratic state, neither Jewish, nor Islamic, nor Christian, nor divided along any tribal tenacity that pits brothers and sisters against each other.

 

3 - 9 August 2006 Hamid Dabashi, AL-AHRAM (Cairo) [Excerpts]

 

"Hizbullah stronghold," the genocidal bombers and their mouthpiece in the United States and Europe call the Dahiya neighbourhood.

 

"They warn the civilians to go away before they bomb them," Wolf Blitzer and his Company say.  To go where, exactly?

 

Where exactly were these people supposed to go? 

 

The architectural labyrinth that links ordinary people's lives, their marketplace of goods, hopes and aspirations, fears and trembling, places they hold sacred, the politics that sustains their dignity and pride, placed right next to the bakeries they grab a bite from, the shops at which they buy a toy for their kids, the political convictions they just shared with a greengrocer, the broken radio they just dropped for repair, the ablution they just performed to feel cleansed and worthy of presence in front of their Maker, so that they can stand erect and say their mid-day prayers -- they are all there, interwoven, connected, miasmatic.

 

Warn them to run away exactly where?

 

Wolf Blitzer and other ghastly and shameless propagandists use the propaganda language that the Saudis and the Khalijis in Beirut, and above all the suburban mendacity of New Jersey and Connecticut understand best.

 

"We give them warning." Say Alan Dershowitz and the Israeli Ministry of Deceit and Disinformation, "So they can flee."

 

Flee to where exactly?  To the suburbs of Tel Aviv?

 

Just for a split second dare the elements and imagine what would have happened if the shoes were in the other foot -- if Lebanon was capable and doing to Israel what Israel is capable and now doing to Lebanon!

 

Imagine if Lebanon had moved its navy, air force, and army, surrounded Israel, and started bombing the living daylight out of its inhabitants -- destroyed every bridge, bombed every motorway, and shelled every square inch of populated area in sight; then blew up Ben Gurion Airport runways and destroyed its terminals; then flew myriads of jetfighters over Tel Aviv and bombed it to kingdom come; then blockaded all its ports; bombarded its beaches and destroyed all its buildings; then went ahead and bombed every highway before ordering civilians to leave, and just as they started doing what they were told to do the Lebanese started shooting the Israelis and tearing them to pieces.

 

Just imagine the US and European outrage; imagine the moral outcry of Michael Ignatieff if these were Jewish children being slaughtered; imagine the legalese uproar of Alan Dershowitz; imagine the editorials of The New York Times, the headlines of The New York Sun, the graphics of The New York Post, the waving colours and background music of CNN and Fox News, the columns of Thomas Friedman; imagine the face of Wolf Blitzer, the words of Elie Wiesel, the ads that ADL would have purchased in newspapers, the messages Nathan Sharansky would have sent to President Bush. Imagine the number of times that Fouad Ajami were asked to explain to CBS audiences the deranged Arab mind.

 

Imagine!  Just imagine!

 

The current savagery of the genocidal bombers will not destroy Hamas in Palestine or Hizbullah in Lebanon.

 

Precisely the opposite will happen.

 

Both Hamas and Hizbullah becoming even more integral to the Palestinian and Lebanese national liberation movements, will one day succeed in helping establish a free, democratic, and cosmopolitan republic in their respective countries, and should the insidious designs of the neocons for Iraq fail and the Iraqis succeed in doing the same, three model nation-states -- Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq -- will emerge as the shining stars of a new horizon in Western Asia (what the Orientalists and colonialists call "the Middle East").

 

These democratic models will import their institutional democracies to Iran and Syria and the rest of the Arab and Islamic world will follow.

 

The crowning achievement of this hope is in the day that Palestinians and Israelis will come together and unite, in one free and democratic state, neither Jewish, nor Islamic, nor Christian, nor divided along any tribal tenacity that pits brothers and sisters against each other.

 

These are not the false dreams of an anguished and angry mind.

 

This is the promise of history to a world no neocon chicanery can fool, no propaganda machinery can deny.

 

 

"By Any Rational Reckoning, We Have Lost The War In Iraq"

 

As I watched the glittering generals hem and haw, bob and weave and make excuses for themselves I remembered my enlisted days, when we grumbled that officers were nothing but politicians.

 

August 06, 2006 By Captain Eric H. May, MI/PAO, USA, CO, Ghost Troop, 3/7 Cybercav + Mission of Conscience / Patriots in Action, via Anti-Allawi Group [Excerpts]

 

He who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past

controls the future: George Orwell, 1984

 

By any rational reckoning, we have lost the war in Iraq, unless there is some plan to escalate it to World War Three, mobilizing the US economy and returning to the draft.

 

In 1984 Orwell pointed out that Big Brother, through its Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), never admitted failure in reporting war, and neither have those who were supposed to be reporting our Iraq fiasco.

 

We haven't had any Congressional oversight, media scrutiny or military correction for the worst war results in American history.  In Orwellian terms, the Bush League is a Big Brother imitation, and our current corporate-run US media is a rental Minitrue.

 

They have told us every lie necessary to bring us to the Middle East in the first place, and now telling us every lie necessary to keep us there.

 

We have an Army with broken down equipment and burned out soldiers, and we no longer have a US strategic reserve for ready deployment.  Civil war is erupting in Iraq.

 

We have lost Baghdad , the city whose capture we boasted about as our Cheerleader-in-Chief, George Bush, urged Iraqi Resistance to "bring it on" back on July 4th, 2003.

 

Thousands of US troops are being drawn from other places in Iraq, many of them embattled, to retake the capital. In short, we're back to square one, and we're worn out.

 

As I watched the glittering generals hem and haw, bob and weave and make excuses for themselves I remembered my enlisted days, when we grumbled that officers were nothing but politicians.

 

Rumsfeld, who never pretended to be anything other than a politician, sat between his puppet generals, and from time to time put in a forceful word of distortion.  Brazenly, he admitted no problems at all, and argued tirelessly that two plus two really do make five.

 

All you have to do, he assures us, is understand that we're in a global war, Iraq is the central front in that global war and Baghdad is the key to Iraq.

 

To the Bush League this is called geopolitics, but to me it still seems like quicksand.

 

What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Send to contact@militaryproject.org.  Name, I.D., withheld on request.  Replies confidential.

 

 

OCCUPATION PALESTINE/LEBANON

 

 

Ground Rules Relevant To The Middle East

 

August 5, 2006 Monabaker.com/

 

The Ground Rules

 

Rule # 1: In the Middle East, it is always the Arabs that attack first, and it's always Israel who defends itself.  This is called "retaliation".

 

Rule # 2: The Arabs, whether Palestinians or Lebanese, are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called "terrorism".

 

Rule # 3: Israel has the right to kill Arab civilians; this is called "self-defense", or these days "collateral damage".

 

Rule # 4: When Israel kills too many civilians, the Western world calls for restraint.  This is called the "reaction of the international community".

 

Rule # 5: Palestinians and Lebanese do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even a limited number, not even 1 or 2.

 

Rule # 6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (Palestinians: around 10000 to date, 300 of which are children, Lebanese: 1000s to date, being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial.  All that is needed is the magic word: "terrorism".

 

Rule # 7: When you say "Hezbollah", always be sure to add "supported by Syria and Iran".

 

Rule # 8: When you say "Israel", never say "supported by the USA, the UK and other European countries", for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

 

Rule # 9: When it comes to Israel, don't mention the words "occupied territories", "UN resolutions", "Geneva conventions". This could distress the audience of Fox.

 

Rule # 10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs.  This is why we let them speak out as much as possible, so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. This is called "neutral journalism".

 

Rule # 11: If you don't agree with these rules or if you favor the Arab side over the Israeli side, you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite.  You may even have to make a public apology if you express your honest opinion (isn't democracy wonderful?).

 

 

"The Yoke Of Zion Turns Us Into Impoverished Cannon Fodder"

 

August 5, 2006 By Israel Shamir, www.uruknet.info [Excerpts]

 

A small band of determined warriors takes on and fights off the mightiest army of the region: this is the stuff history is made of.  Thermopylae, move over, Bint Jbeil is coming in!

 

Bishop Philip of Antioch compared the levelling of this small Lebanese town with the destruction of Stalingrad, but these cities are also comparable by courage of their defenders. 

 

Seldom is a generation able to witness such a shining example of valour: for three long weeks a handful of Hezbollah warriors Ė two thousand by the most optimistic count Ė fought to standstill ten, twenty, thirty times more numerous Israeli troops.

 

Forty years ago, Israelis defeated three armies in one week, but now the invaderís charm has worn off, or it has passed over to the vanquished.

 

In todayís somewhat feminine victim-centred narrative, suffering attracts more attention than masculine gallantry.  Thus Qana massacre has overshadowed a greater going-on, and that is the steadfast resistance of the Lebanese fighters.  But Andromacheís sorrow should not obscure Hectorís courage: Hezbollahís deeds deserve to be immortalised by poets.

 

This was most unexpected. The Israelis were used to killing Ė or dispersing - weaponless untrained Palestinians.  Instead, the fighters of Sayyed Nasrallah dug their heels into the bare hills of Bint Jbeil and gave battle.

 

A religious Bible-thumping American may remember the prophecy of Ezekiel, 22 who said to the leaders of Israel in the name of the Lord: "You have become guilty in your blood that you have shed; everyone among you, putting out his full force to shed blood" Ė that is the blood of innocent Palestinians and Lebanese; Ezekiel also prophesied the Zionist Gathering of Jews, and that it will lead to a major disaster to Zionists: "the house of Israel has become dross to me; therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst, and you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out my fury upon you."

 

"The Israelis have used oppression, and committed robbery, and have wronged the poor and needy; indeed, they have oppressed the gentiles wrongfully, and therefore I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; their own way have I rewarded upon their heads, said the Lord God."

 

Moreover, an American or a European who today calls himself "a Jew" may wonder whether he has much in common with the people whose poets call upon their soldiers to: "Storm on Lebanon and Gaza, and plow it and sow it with salt, raze it down, let no human being remain alive/ Turn them into a desert, rubble, a valley of mess, unpopulated/ Save your nation and drop bombs / On villages and cities, their collapsing houses do shell / Kill them, shed their blood, turn their lives into living hell /".

 

Israelis, i.e. dwellers of Palestine who consider themselves Jewish, may also contemplate whether they want to fight and support the ideological Yoke of Zion which brings them only hatred outside and poverty within.

 

Instead of living in economic prosperity and in harmony with our neighbours, the Yoke of Zion turns us into impoverished cannon fodder.

 

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

 

 

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

 

 

"Stay The Course" Republicans And "Phased Withdrawal" Democrats?

Theyíre Nothing But A Pack Of Soldier-Killing Rats

 

[And now, hereís a message for every politician and fake "anti-war" leader pushing this "timetable" bullshit, which does not mean bringing the troops home now:  Since you think troops should stay in Iraq and keep on dying, according to your "phased timetable," why are you still here?  Shut up and ship out.  Sitting safely at home, babbling about a "phased withdrawal," is nothing but hypocrisy, betrayal, and cowardice.  T]

 

06 August 2006 The New York Times, Editorial [Excerpts]

 

As America's military experience in Iraq grows ever more nightmarish, it is becoming clear that President Bush's strategy comes down to this: Keep holding to a failing course for the next 29 months and leave it to the next administration to clean up the mess.

 

That abdication of responsibility cannot be allowed to continue at the expense of American lives, military readiness and international influence.  With the Republican majority in Congress moving in perpetual lock step behind the White House, the job of pressing the issue has been dumped in the laps of the Democrats.

 

Unfortunately, they have their own version of reality avoidance.  It involves pretending that the nightmare can be ended by adopting a timetable for a phased withdrawal of American troops.

 

Mr. Bush's cheerleading encourages the illusion that it is just a matter of time and American support before Iraq evolves into a stable democracy.

 

The Democratic timetable spins a different fantasy: that if the Iraqis are told that American troops will be leaving in stages, at specific dates, their government will rise to the occasion and create its own security forces to maintain order.

 

A phased withdrawal by itself would simply leave the American soldiers who remain behind in graver dangerÖ..

 

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)

 

 

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

 

 

One In 3 Americans Say Homicidal Traitors Control The Government

 

8.3.06 New York Post

 

More than one-third of Americans suspect federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East, according to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll. 

 

[And no better example of treason can be found.  Although not necessarily true, the poll result is a powerful indication of what American citizens think of the rats in Washington DC.  T]

 

MORE:

 

Theyíre Right:

White House Spokesman Says The Traitor Bush Will Go On With The War Regardless Of What The American People Want

 

August 7, 2006 by Jim Rutenberg, New York Times [Excerpt]

 

Dan Bartlett, the White House counselor, said Mr. Bush's hands would not be tied in Iraq by domestic politics.

 

"You want to have as many people as supportive of this effort as possible," he said in an interview.

 

"But at the end of the day the commander in chief is going to make the decisions, and at the end of the day he's going to defer to commanders on the ground -

not the swings of public opinion."

 

LIAR

TRAITOR

SOLDIER-KILLER

DOMESTIC ENEMY

UNFIT FOR COMMAND

(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

 

 

Blair Tells Bush They Should Start Seeing Other People

British Prime Minister Signals End To Exclusive Relationship

 

August 9, 2006 The Borowitz Report

 

British Prime Minister Tony Blair stunned diplomatic circles today by telling President George W. Bush that the time had come for the two men to start "seeing other people."

 

The announcement came as a shock to many observers of the international scene because the British prime minister and the U.S. president had been virtually inseparable since Mr. Bush took power in 2001.

 

But in telling the president that he wanted to see other people, Mr. Blair seemed to be leaving little doubt that the exclusive relationship between the two men was, for all intents and purposes, over.

 

"I was absolutely blindsided by the news," said Russian President Vladimir Putin. "I saw them together at the G-8 summit, and they seemed so happy -- I had no idea they were having problems."

 

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, however, seemed less surprised by the news: "Everyone knows how hard it is to keep a long-distance relationship going."

 

It was, perhaps, at the G-8 summit that the cracks in the Blair-Bush relationship first began to show, as the U.S. president was seen massaging the shoulders of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

 

Hours later, perhaps in retaliation, Mr. Blair was seen caressing the inner thigh of French President Jacques Chirac.

 

At a joint appearance at the White House today, Mr. Bush made one last appeal to Mr. Blair to see if the two men could work things out, but Mr. Blair's response appeared to leave little hope: "It's not you, Mr. President -- it's me."

 

Elsewhere, Lindsay Lohan announced that she would entertain troops in Iraq, igniting calls for an immediate withdrawal.

 

 

 

CLASS WAR REPORTS

 

 

While Troops Die In Iraq:

Exxon Profits Hit $10 Billion In Second Quarter;

Retired CEO Got A $400 Million Going Away Package

 

7.28.06 By JEFFREY BALL And BENOIT FAUCON Wall St. Journal & July 29, 2006 by Ralph Nader, CommonDreams

 

Exxon Mobil Corp. reported its second-highest quarterly profit ever, a result likely to intensify political anger at the oil industry at a time when many U.S. consumers are paying more than $3 a gallon for gasoline.

 

Also buoyed by surging global oil prices, Royal Dutch Shell PLC reported a 40% profit jump.

 

Exxon, the worldís biggest publicly traded oil company by market value, said its second-quarter net income was $10.36 billion, up 36% from $7.64 billion a year earlier. The Irving, Texas, oil companyís profit increase was even higher on a per-share basis; up 43%, to $1.72 a share from $1.20 a year earlier, largely because of share buybacks.

 

The second-quarter result was among the highest quarterly profits for any publicly traded U.S. company ever.  It was slightly less than Exxonís best ever profit of $10.71 billion in last yearís fourth quarter.  Revenue for the latest quarter rose 12% to $99.03 billion.

 

Where are the profits going?

 

One flow is into the huge executive salaries and retirement packages.

 

ExxonMobil's retired CEO, Lee Raymond, got his rubber-stamp board to give him - one man - a $400 million going away package.

 

But the big use of Exxon's profits is buying back its own stock. Check these brazen figures. 

 

In the first quarter of this year, Exxon reported spending $5 billion buying back its own shares.  This is more than the $4.1 billion it said it would spend on exploration and production.

 

There's more. The oil giant said it would spend $18 billion repurchasing its own shares in the next three quarters of 2006.  This is great news for Exxon executives with stock options.  Greed at its highest, to heck with the energy needs of the country and stopping the gouging of American motorists.

 

Let's break down the figure of one year's stock buyback by ExxonMobil totaling $23 billion which obviously the company does not need for its regular business of finding, refining and marketing gasoline and heating oil.

 

That sum of money alone would reduce the price of gasoline by about 15 cents per gallon if spread nationwide.

 

 

GI Special distributes and posts to our website copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.  We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law since it is being distributed without charge or profit for educational purposes to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for educational purposes, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  GI Special has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor is GI Special endorsed or sponsored by the originators.  This attributed work is provided a non-profit basis to facilitate understanding, research, education, and the advancement of human rights and social justice Go to: www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml for more information.  If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

 

If printed out, this newsletter is your personal property and cannot legally be confiscated from you.  "Possession of unauthorized material may not be prohibited."  DoD Directive 1325.6 Section 3.5.1.2


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