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Iraqi Civilian Deaths ... caused by Bush's unprovoked war

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Household Survey Sees 100,000 Iraqi Deaths
(Emma Ross, Associated Press, October 29, 2004)
Researchers have estimated that as many as 100,000 more Iraqis - many of them women and children - died since the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq than would have been expected otherwise, based on the death rate before the war. . . . Writing in the British-based medical journal The Lancet, the American and Iraqi researchers concluded that violence accounted for most of the extra deaths and that airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition were a major factor. . . . Designed and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, the study was published Thursday on The Lancet's Web site. . . . The survey attributed most of the extra deaths to violence and said airstrikes by coalition forces caused most of the violent deaths. . . . "Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children," the researchers wrote. . . . Richard Peto, an expert on study methods who was not involved with the research, said the approach the scientists took is a reasonable one to investigate the Iraq death toll. . . . To conduct the survey, investigators visited 33 neighborhoods spread evenly across the country in September, randomly selecting clusters of 30 households to sample. Of the 988 households visited, 808, consisting of 7,868 people, agreed to participate. Each household was asked how many people lived in the home and how many births and deaths there had been since January 2002. . . . The scientists then compared death rates in the 15 months before the invasion with those that occurred during the 18 months after the attack and adjusted those numbers to account for the different time periods. . . . Even though the sample size appears small, this type of survey is considered accurate and acceptable by scientists and was used to calculate war deaths in Kosovo in the late 1990s. . . . The investigators worked in teams of three. Five of the six Iraqi interviewers were doctors and all six were fluent in English and Arabic. . . . In the households reporting deaths, the person who died had to be living there at the time of the death and for more than two months before to be counted. In an attempt at firmer confirmation, the interviewers asked for death certificates in 78 households and were provided them 63 times. . . . There were 46 deaths in the surveyed households before the war. After the invasion, there were 142 deaths. That is an increase from 5 deaths per 1,000 people per year to 12.3 per 1,000 people per year - more than double. . . . Even with Fallujah factored out, the survey "indicates that the death toll associated with the invasion and occupation of Iraq is more likely than not about 100,000 people, and may be much higher," the report said. . . . The most common causes of death before the invasion of Iraq were heart attacks, strokes and other chronic diseases. However, after the invasion, violence was recorded as the primary cause of death and was mainly attributed to coalition forces - with about 95 percent of those deaths caused by bombs or fire from helicopter gunships. . . . "This isn't about individual soldiers doing bad things. This appears to be a problem with the approach to occupation in Iraq," Roberts said.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 3:33 PM

Falluja's fighters dig in for the final onslaught
(Peter Beaumont, The Observer, October 24, 2004)
Early yesterday it was US Marine vehicles that were heading into Shuhada, turning out of their forward operating base - a walled former resort of low bungalows round a lake known to Iraqis as 'Dreamland' - for a house raid that US military sources say netted a 'senior leader' in the network run by Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, along with five others. He was named as Abdel-Hamid Fiyadh, 50, who was arrested along with his two sons, Walid, 18, and Majid, 25, and three relatives. . . . For a year and more, this is how the war in Falluja has been conducted: at night, raids by American troops seen largely through the green shimmer of their night-vision goggles; by day, block searches and vehicle checkpoints. . . . On the insurgents' side, it has been prosecuted with an equal, if covert, vigour among the back lanes and along the quiet lanes to the south that act as supply routes between other centres for the rebellion. . . . After a year and a half of gun battles, artillery and tank fire and bombing raids, many of the houses of Shuhada are scarred. But Shuhada is on the brink of even greater violence as US and Iraqi forces mass for what they hope will be the definitive battle of the Sunni Triangle. . . . How that battle unfolds will not only hold the key to Iraq's elections in January, and to a joint US-British military strategy, but to the life of Margaret Hassan and perhaps to how history will judge the actions of both George Bush and Tony Blair. . . . It is a battle that will be fought among the metal shops off Highway 10, where it carves into the city of 300,000. It will be fought along the highway itself that neatly bisects Falluja and, eventually, it will be fought in the warren of narrow, filthy lanes of the slums that sit by the Euphrates, where fighters, at first largely from the al-Buesa tribe, first began their rebellion. . . . Even when journalists could still visit the fighters in Falluja, this was a threatening place, where lookouts would stand on the street corners to warn of American troops and other 'spies'. . . . Now the state of the insurgency in Falluja is largely unknown, save that it has taken deep root in the 'City of Mosques' and its surrounding villages, despite claims by the US military that they have waged a bloody campaign of attrition that has bitten deeply into the leadership of both the insurgents and their allies in Zarqawi's militia network. . . . What is equally uncertain is whether US Marines are capable of bringing Falluja back under control without the massive loss of civilian life that accompanied their last major excursion into the city in April, or without large loss of American lives. . . . It is for this fight that British troops of the Black Watch are being brought north into Babil province to release more US Marines for the fight. . . . According to military sources, this time the battle will be different - although there is no evidence of that so far from the bombing raids that have been levelled against districts like Shuhada in the past few weeks which, say the city's doctors, have already claimed many lives. . . . This time military planners say the US Marine assaults will be led by special forces, who will pinpoint insurgent positions as they move through the city block by block, pushing the fighters back until they are stopped by the river and trapped by a cordon around the city. . . . That is the theory. Iraq has a nasty habit of turning the theories on their heads. Nowhere more so than here. . . . Across Iraq, US military intelligence officials conceded to the New York Times on Friday, the estimated numbers of fighters now stand at between 8,000 and 12,000, perhaps 20,000 when active sympathisers are included. . . . They are assessments that contrast sharply with earlier intelligence reports, in which the number of insurgents has varied from as few as 2,000 to a maximum of 7,000, with 400 in Falluja. . . . What US military planners now recognise is that the fighters in Falluja could number many more. And, as The Observer reported last weekend, the insurgents have access to huge sums of money from an underground financial network run by former Baath Party leaders and Saddam Hussein's relatives operating from Syria and elsewhere. . . . All of which raises serious new questions over the nature of the insurgency: has it grown out of plans laid down in advance for Iraqis loyal to the old regime to continue the fight? Was the battle for Falluja, in many respects, always destined to happen? . . . 'My guess is that, as soon as the US election count - or recount - starts, you will see an awful lot of action.' . . . But in some respects a campaign has long been under way. Since mid-October the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force has been operating checkpoints around the city, while US jets have launched almost daily raids. . . . The events in Falluja over the next few weeks will shape the future of Iraq.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 8:15 AM

Missing Explosives: Pentagon Makes Another BIG MISTAKE
(Jim Dwyer and David E. Sanger, New York Times, October 27, 2004)
White House officials reasserted yesterday that 380 tons of powerful explosives may have disappeared from a vast Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers did not find the explosives when they visited the complex on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell. . . . But the unit's commander said in an interview yesterday that his troops had not searched the site and had merely stopped there overnight. . . . The commander, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, said he did not learn until this week that the site, Al Qaqaa, was considered sensitive, or that international inspectors had visited it before the war began in 2003 to inspect explosives that they had tagged during a decade of monitoring. . . . "We happened to stumble on it,'' he said. "I didn't know what the place was supposed to be. We did not get involved in any of the bunkers. It was not our mission. It was not our focus. We were just stopping there on our way to Baghdad. The plan was to leave that very same day. The plan was not to go in there and start searching. It looked like all the other ammunition supply points we had seen already." . . . What had been, for the colonel and his troops, an unremarkable moment during the sweep to Baghdad took on new significance this week, after The New York Times, working with the CBS News program "60 Minutes," reported that the explosives at Al Qaqaa, mainly HMX and RDX, had disappeared since the invasion. . . . Earlier this month, officials of the interim Iraqi government informed the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency that the explosives disappeared sometime after the fall of Mr. Hussein on April 9, 2003. Al Qaqaa, which has been unguarded since the American invasion, was looted in the spring of 2003, and looters were seen there as recently as Sunday. . . . President Bush's aides told reporters that because the soldiers had found no trace of the missing explosives on April 10, they could have been removed before the invasion. . . . By yesterday afternoon Mr. Bush's aides had moderated their view, saying it was a "mystery" when the explosives disappeared and that Mr. Bush did not want to comment on the matter until the facts were known. . . . On Sunday, administration officials said that the Iraq Survey Group, the C.I.A. taskforce that hunted for unconventional weapons, had been ordered to look into the disappearance of the explosives. On Tuesday night, CBS News reported that Charles A. Duelfer, the head of the taskforce, denied receiving such an order. . . . At the Pentagon, a senior official, who asked not to be identified, acknowledged that the timing of the disappearance remained uncertain. "The bottom line is that there is still a lot that is not known," the official said.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 2:26 PM

C.I.A. Report Says Close Rumsfeld Aid Intentionally Lied about Al Qaeda/Iraq Tie
(Douglas Jehl, New York Times, October 22, 2004)
As recently as January 2004, a top Defense Department official misrepresented to Congress the view of American intelligence agencies about the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, according to a new report by a Senate Democrat. . . . The report said a classified document prepared by Douglas J. Feith [an Israeli citizen], the under secretary of defense for policy, not only asserted that there were ties between the Baghdad government and the terrorist network, but also did not reflect accurately the intelligence agencies' assessment - even while claiming that it did. . . . Carl M. Levin, the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said he would ask the panel to take "appropriate action'' against Mr. Feith. Senator Levin said Mr. Feith had repeatedly described the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda as far more significant and extensive than the intelligence agencies had. . . . The view, a staple of the Bush administration's public statements before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, has since been discredited by the Sept. 11 commission, which concluded that Iraq and Al Qaeda had "no close collaborative relationship.'' . . . The 46-page report by Senator Levin and the Democratic staff of the Armed Services Committee is the first to focus narrowly on the role played by Mr. Feith's office. Democrats had sought to include that line of inquiry in a report completed in June by the Senate Intelligence Committee, but Republicans on the panel postponed that phase of the study until after the presidential election. . . . In an interview, Mr. Levin said he had concluded that Mr. Feith had practiced "continuing deception of Congress.'' . . . A classified annex sent by Mr. Feith to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Oct. 27, 2003, which was disclosed two weeks later by The Weekly Standard, asserted that "Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990's to 2003,'' and concluded, "There can no longer be any serious argument about whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq worked with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda to plot against Americans.'' . . . The Levin report also disclosed for the first time that the C.I.A., in December 2003, sent Mr. Feith a letter pointing out corrections he should make to the document before providing it to Senator Levin, who had requested the document as part of his investigation. . . . Perhaps most critically, the report says, Mr. Feith repeated a questionable assertion concerning a Jordanian, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Qaeda ally whose presence in Iraq was cited by the Bush administration before the war as crucial evidence of Mr. Hussein's support for terrorism. . . . In his Oct. 27 letter, Mr. Feith told Congress that the Iraqi intelligence service knew of Mr. Zarqawi's entry into Iraq. In recommending a correction, the C.I.A. said that claim had not been supported by the intelligence report that Mr. Feith had cited, the Levin report says. Nevertheless, the report says, Mr. Feith reiterated the assertion in his addendum, attributing it to a different intelligence report - one that likewise did not state that Iraq knew Mr. Zarqawi was in the country. . . . A reassessment completed by American intelligence agencies in September concluded that it is not clear whether Mr. Hussein's government harbored Mr. Zarqawi during his time in Iraq before the war, intelligence officials have said.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:01 PM

Falluja, the coming bloodbath
(Patrick Graham, The Guardian, October 21, 2004)
As the British government prepares to send its soldiers north to free up the US army to attack Falluja, it is necessary to focus on what this coming onslaught will mean for the city and its people. Falluja is already now being bombed daily, as it is softened up for the long-awaited siege. It has been a gruelling year for its people. First, they were occupied by the US army's 82nd Airborne, an incompetent group of louts whose idea of cultural sensitivity was kicking a door down instead of blowing it up. Within eight months of the invasion, the 82nd had killed about 100 civilians in the area and lost control of Falluja, leaving it to the US marines to try and retake the city last April. After killing about 600 civilians, the marines retreated, leaving the city in the hands of 18 armed groups, including tribesmen, Islamists, Ba'athists, former criminals and an assortment of non-Iraqi Arab fighters said to be led by the Jordanian, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. . . . Fallujans have now been offered a choice: hand over the outsiders they dislike (mostly Arabs) who are protecting them from the outsiders they really hate (the Americans), or get blown apart by the world's most lethal killing machine, the US marines. . . . Recently, a Bush administration official told the New York Times the bombing was driving a wedge between the citizenry and the non-Iraqi fighters. If, indeed, the civilian population is being bombed for this end, this is a grave war crime. . . . The Americans have more than enough troops to attack Falluja, but as soon as they do the area will once more erupt, and it will take everything the Americans have to control the surrounding villages of Habbaniya, Khaldiya and Al Kharma. According to the Iraqi president, Ghazi al-Yawar, there is a good chance that when the marines hit Falluja again, even Mosul, home to three million Sunnis, will explode. Unlike the US army, Mr Yawar knows what he is talking about and understands the way the tribes are grouped in northern Iraq, an intricate web of families that runs through the Sunni triangle. If Mosul is pushed over the edge, holding the north will be like trying to keep the lid on a pressure cooker by hand. . . . I have spent time with both resistance fighters and the US army, and there is no question the marines can take the city. But the US has a developed a habit of winning engagements while losing the war - while breaking the laws of war in the process. This is what Britain's redeployment will help to unleash.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 5:28 PM

Bush and Cheney's Friends Looting Iraq Oil Fund
(Larry Margasak, Associated Press, October 15, 2004)
U.S. and Iraqi officials doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in oil proceeds and other moneys for Iraqi projects earlier this year, but there was little effort to monitor or justify the expenditures, according to an audit released Thursday. . . . Files that could explain many of the payments are missing or nonexistent, and contracting rules were ignored, according to auditors working for an agency created by the United Nations. . . . "We found one case where a payment ($2.6 million) was authorized by the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) senior adviser to the Ministry of Oil," the report said. "We were unable to obtain an underlying contract" or even "evidence of services being rendered." . . . In a program to allow U.S. military commanders to pay for small reconstruction projects, auditors questioned 128 projects totaling $31.6 million. They could find no evidence of bidding for the projects or, alternatively, explanations of why they were awarded without competition. . . . "The Bush Administration cannot account for how billions of dollars of Iraqi oil proceeds were spent," Waxman said. "The mismanagement, lack of transparency, and potential corruption will seriously undermine our efforts in Iraq. A thorough congressional investigation is urgently needed." . . . The audit was performed by the accounting firm KMPG for the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, created by the United Nations to monitor the stewardship of Iraqi funds. . . . The report monitored spending by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S.-run governing agency which went out of existence in June; Iraqi ministries; the Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi provisional governments. It covered the period from January to June this year. . . . In the CPA programs, "We found 37 cases where contracting files could not be located," the auditors said. The cost of the contracts: $185 million. In another 52 cases, there was no record of the goods received for $87.9 million in expenditures. . . . In a military commanders' program to buy back weapons, $1.4 million was spent from a fund that specifically prohibited such expenditures, auditors said. . . . Auditors questioned why checks were made payable to a U.S. official - a senior adviser to the Iraqi ministry of health - rather than to suppliers. . . . Other questions were raised about funds provided by the U.S.-run governing authority to Kurdish officials in northern Iraq. In one instance, auditors were given a deposit slip that showed the transfer of $1.4 billion to a Kurdish bank. Auditors said they were denied access to accounting records and were unable to verify how - or if - the money was spent.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 11:47 AM

Can America Bring Peace to the World? by Harry Browne

History repeats....

World War I

Objective: Bring democracy to all the countries of the world, self-determination for everyone, and a new world order that would end wars forever.

Result: American entry into the war prevented the two sides from negotiating a just end to the war. Instead, the Allies saw American entry as decisive, and so they rejected all peace overtures, fought the war to a bitter end, won the war, and imposed devastating, humiliating peace terms on Germany.

The result was an expansion of the British and French empires, subjecting millions more people worldwide to foreign rule. In addition, millions of Europeans were herded into foreign countries.

The U.S. entry into the European war prompted the Germans to finance and facilitate Lenin's takeover of Russia — creating the Soviet Union. And the oppressive peace terms imposed on the German people caused them to accept a thug named Adolf Hitler as their avenging angel. Thus U.S. entry into the war was responsible for what many call the two worst regimes in world history — and the cause of 52 years of wars from 1939 to 1991.

World War II

Objective: Liberate Europe and China, and impose peace upon the world.

Result: Half of Europe was controlled by the Soviet Union, and China was quickly taken over by the Communists.

The Cold War

Objective: Free subjugated countries.

Result: In the process of "fighting" the Cold War, Iran's democracy was overthrown with the help of the CIA — leaving the Iranians subjugated by the oppressive Shah. That's just one example, however. The U.S. government imposed or assisted dictators in Panama, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, China, South Korea, South Vietnam, the Philippines, and numerous countries in Africa.

The Korean War

Objective: Save South Korea from being taken over by an oppressive dictatorship.

Result: South Korea was left in the hands of an oppressive dictator, Syngman Rhee, who was just as oppressive as the communist North Korean dictator, Kim Il Sung.

The Vietnam War

Objective: Save Indochina from Communism, and prevent dominos from falling all over the world.

Result: Indochina was overrun by communists. (Surprisingly, the world didn't come to an end.)

The Panamanian War

Objective: Stop Panama from being a conduit for drug-running.

Result: The Panamanian army was destroyed, leaving the country more vulnerable to drug-running.

The First Iraq War

Objective: Free Kuwait and stop Saddam Hussein from taking over the world. (Seriously, George H.W. Bush called him a modern-day Hitler, who had to be stopped the way Hitler should have been stopped at Munich.) At the end of the war, George H.W. Bush called on the Iraqis to overthrow Hussein.

Result: Kuwait is still run by a family dynasty that has no interest in democracy or in providing rights for the people. Apparently, Saddam Hussein wasn't stopped from his diabolical plans of world domination — at least according to George H.W. Bush's son 11 years later. And Bush Sr. helped put down the postwar rebellion that would have overthrown Hussein.

The Bombing of Serbia
Objective: End the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo, perpetrated by the Serbs.

Result: Once the Serbs had been defeated, the Albanians ethnic-cleansed all the Serbs and gypsies out of Kosovo, and began terrorizing the Macedonians in Macedonia.

The War in Afghanistan

Objective: Stop the country from harboring terrorists, get rid of the Taliban, create human rights for women, and establish a free Afghanistan.

Result: Al-Qaeda operatives continue to function there, and Osama Bin Laden himself may be safely hiding in Afghanistan. Women are still treated as tools, rather than people. And as for freedom, the Afghan people are subjugated by brutal warlords, and the Taliban have been invited back in to help restore order.

The War in Iraq

Objective: "Disarm" Saddam Hussein and liberate the Iraqi people.

Result: Turns out that there was nothing to "disarm." (Surprisingly, George Bush is still justifying the war by saying that "Saddam Hussein had no intention of disarming." Disarming what???) And over 10,000 Iraqi deaths later, Iraq is not only not liberated, it's being occupied by a foreign power that's being fought by a determined resistance movement.

. . . Read more!

posted by Hal 10:26 AM

We're losing guys left and right
(Fisnik Abrashi, Associated Press, October 19, 2004)
At this Marine base, at the far west of the restless Anbar province only miles from the Syrian border, the news spreads quickly. . . . "We are losing guys left and right," says Cpl. Cody King, 20, of Phoenix, not hiding his anger. "All we are doing around here is getting blown up." . . . Most of the incidents these days, in this land of endless desert, dried-up river beds and winding dirt roads, include 155 mm artillery shells, mines and other sorts of crude homemade bombs. They make the Marines' enemy faceless and only heighten the feeling of vulnerability. The armor at their disposal is in short supply. . . . King and his fellow Marines from the weapons company of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, spoke between patrols, huddled together and sifting through their log book, venting their anger and frustration. They never talked of fear. . . . Among other things their green leather bound book lists are the number of times their company has been hit by homemade bombs since they arrived in the country two months ago. Also listed in book, in fine, careful print, are the names of those who were killed or wounded during those incidents. . . . On Sept. 3, a thunderous blast from a homemade bomb ripped through a group of Marines providing security for engineers repairing a bridge over the Euphrates River, near the town of Ubayd. . . . Four were killed and three were wounded. King escaped unscathed. . . . In recent months, Marine fatalities have exceeded Army deaths -- even though the Army has at least three times as many troops in Iraq. . . . "After you lose so many Marines, you just keep fighting to stay alive," says King, the son of a Vietnam veteran. . . . But for some of the Marines, lack of armor, few vehicles and too restrictive rules of engagement are partly to blame. . . . "We need more armor, more vehicles and more bodies," says King. . . . "All we are doing is getting Americans killed and we cannot do much about it," says King. The other marines in the room nod in approval. . . . Sgt. Ryan Hall, 27, says that a "50-50" chance of getting hurt or killed on patrol is a good bet among his troops. As he walks outside the compound, the Abilene, Texas, resident points to the damage that company vehicles have suffered. There are cracks in the armored windshield of their Humvees from flying shrapnel. There are also holes on the back and damage to its side. . . . Shortly after darkness fell in this distant base, another sound of the helicopter signaled what they all knew. . . . "You do not know whether he will survive," King says. . . . That night, only one made it. A suicide car bomber had rammed into their patrol near the town of Qaim. Two soldiers and one Marine died.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 11:38 AM

General Sanchez Reported Severe Shortages In Iraq (washingtonpost.com)
(Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, October 18, 2004)
The top U.S. commander in Iraq complained to the Pentagon last winter that his supply situation was so poor that it threatened Army troops' ability to fight, according to an official document that has surfaced only now. . . . The lack of key spare parts for gear vital to combat operations, such as tanks and helicopters, was causing problems so severe, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez wrote in a letter to top Army officials, that "I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates this low." . . . Sanchez, who was the senior commander on the ground in Iraq from the summer of 2003 until the summer of 2004, said in his letter that Army units in Iraq were "struggling just to maintain . . . relatively low readiness rates" on key combat systems, such as M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, anti-mortar radars and Black Hawk helicopters. . . . He also said units were waiting an average of 40 days for critical spare parts, which he noted was almost three times the Army's average. In some Army supply depots in Iraq, 40 percent of critical parts were at "zero balance," meaning they were absent from depot shelves, he said. . . . He also protested in his letter, sent Dec. 4 to the number two officer in the Army, with copies to other senior officials, that his soldiers still needed protective inserts to upgrade 36,000 sets of body armor but that their delivery had been postponed twice in the month before he was writing. There were 131,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the time. . . . In what appears to be a plea to top officials to spur the bureaucracy to respond more quickly, Sanchez concluded, "I cannot sustain readiness without Army-level intervention." . . . His letter of concern has surfaced after repeated statements by President Bush that he is determined to ensure that U.S. troops fighting in Iraq have all that they need to execute their missions. "I have pledged, as has the secretary of defense, to give our troops everything that is necessary to complete their mission with the utmost safety," he said in May. Earlier this month in Manchester, N.H., he said, "When America puts our troops in combat, I believe they deserve the best training, the best equipment, the full support of our government." . . . A copy of Sanchez's letter was given to The Washington Post by a person familiar with the situation who was dismayed that front-line troops had not been adequately supplied. That person also disagrees with the Bush administration's handling of Iraq, but said that was not part of the motivation in providing the document. . . . The disclosure of Sanchez's concerns also follows recent comments by former ambassador L. Paul Bremer, Sanchez's civilian counterpart in running the U.S. occupation of Iraq, that he believed more troops were needed in Iraq and had asked the Bush administration to send them. . . . Lt. Gen. Claude V. Christianson, the senior logistics officer on the Army staff at the Pentagon, said the readiness problems in Iraq peaked last fall but largely have been addressed. He said they were caused by a combination of problems in the supply pipeline and an unexpectedly high pace of combat operations as the Iraqi insurgency flared last year. . . . "All of a sudden, at the end of July [2003], the insurgency started to do that IED business all over Iraq," he noted, using the acronym for "improvised explosive device," the military's term for roadside bombs. In response, the pace, or "operating tempo," for U.S. troops jumped, causing them to use their tanks and other armored vehicles at much higher rates than had been expected. . . . "The tanks are operating at 3,000 to 4,000 miles a year," Christianson said, which he noted is about five times the rate they are driven while being used for training at their home bases. The readiness rate for M-1 Abrams tanks fell to 78 percent last October, he said, compared with an Army standard of 90 percent. Because of the intensity of recent operations, said Motsek of the Army Materiel Command, the readiness rate for the tanks recently dropped from 95 percent to 83 percent. . . . Readiness rates also generally dipped last spring when insurgents destroyed seven bridges along the main supply route from Kuwait to Baghdad, Christianson said. In some cases, he said, supplies were cut off for "several days." . . . Sanchez's letter was sent after the most intense insurgent offensive the U.S.-led occupation force had seen up to that point. In a series of attacks that coincided with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan near the end of October last year, 87 U.S. service members were killed. Under Islam's lunar calendar, Ramadan this year began a few days ago.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 3:50 PM

Bush jokes and laughs while people die
[Click on the link above for an audio/video look at the heartlessness of Bush II.]
"Bush's Big Joke" -- A Video of Atrocities
Video by Rob Hill
BuzzFlash Note: This video is heart-wrenching, but it is a glaring example of everything that is wrong with George W. Bush's presidency and the Bush administration's policies. The original video is from an event in March 2004. During Bush's speech, he thought it would be funny to show pictures of himself (e.g., looking under a desk) while he joked about not finding WMDs in Iraq. If Bush had an ounce of compassion or the tiniest bit of empathy, he would understand that his lies are killing people. The victims of his war won't find his jokes very funny. Bush lied to the America people and the American people deserve better.

1.63 Mb Quicktime Movie.

. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 2:16 PM

U.S. Platoon Mutiny in Iraq, Refuses 'Suicide Mission'
(Jeremy Hudson, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson MS, 15 October 2004)
A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from Jackson, Miss., and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a “suicide mission” to deliver fuel, the troops’ relatives said Thursday. . . . The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq — north of Baghdad — because their vehicles were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe, said Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O. McCook. . . . Sgt. McCook, a deputy at the Hinds County, Miss., Detention Center, and the 16 other members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C., were read their rights and moved from the military barracks into tents, Patricia McCook said her husband told her during a panicked phone call about 5 a.m. Thursday. . . . The platoon could be charged with the willful disobeying of orders, punishable by dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay and up to five years confinement, said military law expert Mark Stevens, an associate professor of justice studies at Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C. . . . On Friday, the Army confirmed that the unit’s actions were under scrutiny. . . . The investigating team is currently in Tallil taking statements and interviewing those involved. . . . Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said he plans to submit a congressional inquiry today on behalf of the Mississippi soldiers to launch an investigation into whether they are being treated improperly. . . . "I would not want any member of the military to be put in a dangerous situation ill-equipped," said Thompson, who was contacted by families. "I have had similar complaints from military families about vehicles that weren’t armor-plated, or bullet-proof vests that are outdated. It concerns me because we made over $150 billion in funds available to equip our forces in Iraq." . . . "President Bush takes the position that the troops are well-armed, but if this situation is true, it calls into question how honest he has been with the country," Thompson said. . . . "I got a call from an officer in another unit early (Thursday) morning who told me that my husband and his platoon had been arrested on a bogus charge because they refused to go on a suicide mission," said Jackie Butler of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Michael Butler, a 24-year reservist. "When my husband refuses to follow an order, it has to be something major." . . . The platoon being held has troops from Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi and South Carolina, said Teresa Hill of Dothan, Ala., whose daughter Amber McClenny is among those being detained. . . . McClenny, 21, pleaded for help in a message left on her mother's answering machine early Thursday morning. . . . "They are holding us against our will," McClenny said. "We are now prisoners." . . . McClenny told her mother her unit tried to deliver fuel to another base in Iraq Wednesday, but was sent back because the fuel had been contaminated with water. The platoon returned to its base, where it was told to take the fuel to another base, McClenny told her mother. . . . The platoon is normally escorted by armed Humvees and helicopters, but did not have that support Wednesday, McClenny told her mother. . . . The convoy trucks the platoon was driving had experienced problems in the past and were not being properly maintained, Hill said her daughter told her. . . . The situation mirrors other tales of troops being sent on missions without proper equipment. . . . Aviation regiments have complained of being forced to fly dangerous missions over Iraq with outdated night-vision goggles and old missile-avoidance systems. Stories of troops' families purchasing body armor because the military didn’t provide them with adequate equipment have been included in recent presidential debates. . . . Patricia McCook said her husband, a staff sergeant, understands well the severity of disobeying orders. But he did not feel comfortable taking his soldiers on another trip. . . . "He told me that three of the vehicles they were to use were deadlines ... not safe to go in a hotbed like that," Patricia McCook said. . . . Hill said the trucks her daughter’s unit was driving could not top 40 mph. . . . "They knew there was a 99 percent chance they were going to get ambushed or fired at," Hill said her daughter told her. "They would have had no way to fight back." . . . Harris said conditions for the platoon have been difficult of late. Her son e-mailed her earlier this week to ask what the penalty would be if he became physical with a commanding officer, she said.
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posted by Lorenzo 2:51 PM

Iraqi Rebels Hit Green-Zone, 7 Killed
(The Guardian, 14 October 2004)
Insurgents killed seven people today and wounded at least 15 others after breaching the heavy fortifications of Baghdad's green zone, setting off bombs they had carried into a market and a cafe. . . . It is believed to be the first time that insurgents have struck from within the heavily guarded compound. A group loyal to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement on a website. . . . US military spokesman Capt Brian Lucas said that six people had been killed and 10 wounded in the first explosion at an outdoor bazaar. Two of those killed were US citizens. The second blast took place at the popular Green Zone Cafe, where one civilian was killed and five others wounded. . . . The blasts sent a large plume of thick, black smoke rising from the zone, home to about 10,000 Iraqis alongside US troops and international officials and contractors. . . . The explosions come on the eve of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The beginning of the holy month last year was marked by a major upsurge in insurgent attacks. . . . The green zone is a regular target for insurgents, who have frequently fired mortar rounds at the compound. There have been a number of deadly car bombings at its gates. Last week, officials said an improvised bomb was found in front of the Green Zone Cafe but was defused. . . . Late last night, the foreign office issued a warning advising British nationals to stay away from the cafe in light of the attempted bombing. . . . US forces sealed off the compound after today's blasts. . . . Earlier today, an improvised bomb exploded in eastern Baghdad, killing one US soldier and wounding two others, the US command said. No further details were disclosed. . . . Elsewhere, two bombs exploded today in the northern city of Mosul, targeting an Iraqi national guard patrol and an US military convoy, witnesses and US officials said. At least two people were killed and seven others wounded. . . . In Ramadi, city hospital officials said eight people were killed and 17 wounded in 24 hours of clashes. . . . US troops swept into the city west of Baghdad early yesterday, sealing off key streets, taking positions on the rooftops and searching buildings, residents said. Warplanes and helicopters hovered overhead. . . . Rebels fought back with gunfire and mortar blasts. Three mortars, apparently aimed at the headquarters of the local administration, hit a nearby house, killing two people and wounding four, including women and children, said Dr Alaa al-Aani of Ramadi general hospital. . . . Similar raids in Baqouba yesterday resulted in the capture of 10 suspects, including two people believed to be insurgent leaders in the area, said Capt Marshall Jackson, spokesman for the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. The detainees were being held for questioning. . . . The pre-Ramadan push was intensified yesterday when Iraq's prime minister, Ayad Allawi, warned Falluja residents to hand over Zarqawi or face attack. . . . But a Falluja negotiator, Hatem Karim, challenged claims that Zarqawi is in the city. . . . "We want to know what evidence there is of Zarqawi's presence in Falluja," Mr Karim said in an interview with al-Jazeera television. "Al-Zarqawi has become like Iraqi WMD ... we hear this name, but it doesn't exist. More than 15 to 20 houses were destroyed in Falluja because they were accused of harbouring al-Zarqawi or al-Zarqawi's followers."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 10:30 AM

A Clear-eyed Look at the War on Iraq
[NOTE: Farnaz Fassihi is the Wall Street Journal's correspondent in Baghdad. A few days ago she wrote a private e-mail to friends and family describing both her life as a reporter. Her email made it to the Internet, and so the Wall Street Journal is now recalling Fassihi for a "long-planned vacation" that will extend until past November 2nd. Which means that she's barred from writing about Iraq until after the US election.]
Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days is like being under virtual house arrest. . . . I am house bound. I leave when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled interview. I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories, can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of breaking news stories, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak English outside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing, feeling. . . . So now my most pressing concern every day is not to write a kick-ass story but to stay alive and make sure our Iraqi employees stay alive. . . . It's hard to pinpoint when the 'turning point' exactly began. Was it April when the Fallujah fell out of the grasp of the Americans? Was it when Moqtada and Jish Mahdi declared war on the U.S. military? Was it when Sadr City, home to ten percent of Iraq's population, became a nightly battlefield for the Americans? Or was it when the insurgency began spreading from isolated pockets in the Sunni triangle to include most of Iraq? Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. . . . a foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come. . . . Iraqis like to call this mess 'the situation.' When asked 'how are thing?' they reply: 'the situation is very bad." . . . What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi government doesn't control most Iraqi cities, there are several car bombs going off each day around the country killing and injuring scores of innocent people, the country's roads are becoming impassable and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of health -- which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing the numbers -- has now stopped disclosing them. . . . Insurgents now attack Americans 87 times a day. . . . A friend drove thru the Shiite slum of Sadr City yesterday. He said young men were openly placing improvised explosive devices into the ground. They melt a shallow hole into the asphalt, dig the explosive, cover it with dirt and put an old tire or plastic can over it to signal to the locals this is booby-trapped. He said on the main roads of Sadr City, there were a dozen landmines per every ten yards. His car snaked and swirled to avoid driving over them. Behind the walls sits an angry Iraqi ready to detonate them as soon as an American convoy gets near. This is in Shiite land, the population that was supposed to love America for liberating Iraq. . . . For journalists the significant turning point came with the wave of abduction and kidnappings. Only two weeks ago we felt safe around Baghdad because foreigners were being abducted on the roads and highways between towns. . . . The insurgency, we are told, is rampant with no signs of calming down. If any thing, it is growing stronger, organized and more sophisticated every day. The various elements within it-baathists, criminals, nationalists and Al Qaeda-are cooperating and coordinating. . . . I went to an emergency meeting for foreign correspondents with the military and embassy to discuss the kidnappings. We were somberly told our fate would largely depend on where we were in the kidnapping chain once it was determined we were missing. Here is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you and sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in turn sell you to Al Qaeda. In turn, cash and weapons flow the other way from Al Qaeda to the Baathisst to the criminals. . . . America's last hope for a quick exit? The Iraqi police and National Guard units we are spending billions of dollars to train. The cops are being murdered by the dozens every day-over 700 to date -- and the insurgents are infiltrating their ranks. The problem is so serious that the U.S. military has allocated $6 million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just trained to get rid of them quietly. . . . As for reconstruction: firstly it's so unsafe for foreigners to operate that almost all projects have come to a halt. After two years, of the $18 billion Congress appropriated for Iraq reconstruction only about $1 billion or so has been spent and a chuck has now been reallocated for improving security, a sign of just how bad things are going here. . . . Oil dreams? Insurgents disrupt oil flow routinely as a result of sabotage and oil prices have hit record high of $49 a barrel. Who did this war exactly benefit? Was it worth it? Are we safer because Saddam is holed up and Al Qaeda is running around in Iraq? . . . Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in exchange for insecurity. Guess what? They say they'd take security over freedom any day, even if it means having a dictator ruler. . . . I heard an educated Iraqi say today that if Saddam Hussein were allowed to run for elections he would get the majority of the vote. This is truly sad. . . . One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if any thing could salvage it from its violent downward spiral. The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle. . . . The Iraqi government is talking about having elections in three months while half of the country remains a 'no go zone'-out of the hands of the government and the Americans and out of reach of journalists. In the other half, the disenchanted population is too terrified to show up at polling stations. The Sunnis have already said they'd boycott elections, leaving the stage open for polarized government of Kurds and Shiites that will not be deemed as legitimate and will most certainly lead to civil war. . . . I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to some degree elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 10:59 AM

The Suicide of an Iraq War Veteran
(Mark Clinton and Tony Udell, Counterpunch, October 5, 2004)
Lucey, a Marine veteran of the Iraq war and a student at the college, committed suicide on June 22. He was 23. . . . As his father Kevin said at the memorial, Jeff's death, while not officially listed as such, is another casualty showing the human costs of the war. . . . One day after he celebrated his 22nd birthday, the invasion of Iraq began. Trained as a clerical specialist, he was reassigned to serve as a driver. . . . On April 18, 2003, Jeff wrote to Julianne Proulx, his girlfriend since 1997, that he had done "immoral things." On his return to his parents' home in July, however, he had seemed normal, and everyone was too happy to see him to suspect that something was terribly wrong. With those who knew him less intimately, Jeff maintained the façade of the good Marine until the very end. . . . Things really began to fall apart on Christmas Eve. While drunk, Lucey took two handmade Iraqi dog tags from around his neck, threw them at his younger sister, and told her that he felt like a murderer. . . . He never did tell his family the whole story of his experience in Iraq, only bits and pieces. It was horrific enough. He spoke of elderly people killed as they tried to run from Marines rolling into Nasariya. . . . He spoke of a small Iraqi boy, bloody and prone in the dusty street, shot in the head and the chest and still holding a small, bloodstained American flag in his hands. He spoke of his horror as an American tank lumbered down the street, how he had bolted from his own vehicle and, as gunfire rippled the sand around him, moved the tiny corpse to the sad sanctuary of a nearby alley. . . . He spoke of how he had been ordered to shoot two Iraqi prisoners. He remembered how he had looked into their eyes and hesitated, watching as they shook in terror, and thinking of their families. He remembered that an officer had shouted, "Pull the fucking trigger, Lucey!" He remembered shooting the soldiers and watching them die. He told his father that there were "other things" he did not want the family to know about. . . . As Jeff spiraled toward self-destruction, he began to drink more and more. In early June, his desperate parents were able to arrange an involuntary commitment to a local veterans' hospital, where Lucey complained that he was treated like "a prisoner." . . . He was diagnosed as suffering from depression with secondary alcohol dependency--and was released after four days because, the hospital said, he was not a danger to himself or others. On the ride home, he told his parents that he had met with psychiatrists twice, both times briefly, and on the second occasion, the psychiatrist had seem preoccupied with other matters. . . . After Jeff's death, his parents learned from the medical records kept during his involuntary confinement that he had told nurses of three different plans to kill himself--a drug overdose, suffocation or hanging. On June 22, he chose the last of these three methods, hanging himself with a hose in the basement of his parents' home. . . . In one of the notes Jeff left behind, he begged his parents not to blame themselves "because I lived a happy childhood and a great life thanks to you. Unfortunately, I am weak and cannot deal with the pain. It feels as if I lost the most important part of my life that will ever exist." . . . Lamory also quoted a New Yorker article noting that the suicide rate "among soldiers in Iraq is one-third higher than the Army's historical average." . . . Perhaps, he speculated, the rate is so high because "there's somewhere around 15,000 Iraqi civilians dead, and our troops are having trouble finding the justice in that."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 11:16 AM

Marines in Iraq Question How and Why War Is Being Waged
(Steve Fainaru, Washington Post, October 10, 2004)
Now, two months into a seven-month combat tour in Iraq, Perez said he sees little connection between the events of Sept. 11 and the war he is fighting. Instead, he said, he is increasingly disillusioned by a conflict whose origins remain unclear and frustrated by the timidity of U.S. forces against a mostly faceless enemy. . . . "Sometimes I see no reason why we're here," Perez said. "First of all, you cannot engage as many times as we want to. Second of all, we're looking for an enemy that's not there. The only way to do it is go house to house until we get out of here." . . . The Marines' opinions have been shaped by their participation in hundreds of hours of operations over the past two months. Their assessments differ sharply from those of the interim Iraqi government and the Bush administration, which have said that Iraq is on a certain -- if bumpy -- course toward peaceful democracy. . . . "I feel we're going to be here for years and years and years," said Lance Cpl. Edward Elston, 22, of Hackettstown, N.J. "I don't think anything is going to get better; I think it's going to get a lot worse. It's going to be like a Palestinian-type deal. We're going to stop being a policing presence and then start being an occupying presence. . . . We're always going to be here. We're never going to leave." . . . Although not as highly publicized as attacks in such hot spots as Fallujah, Samarra and Baghdad's Sadr City, the violence in Babil province, south of the capital, is also intense. Since July 28, when the Marines took over operational responsibility for the region, 102 of the unit's 1,100 troops have been wounded, 85 in combat, according to battalion records. Four have been killed, two in combat. . . . As of last week, the Marines had come upon 61 roadside bombs, nearly one a day. Forty-nine had detonated. Camp Iskandariyah was hit by mortar shells or rockets on 12 occasions; 21 other times, insurgents tried to hit the base and missed. . . . Several members of the platoon said they were struck by the difference between the way the war was being portrayed in the United States and the reality of their daily lives. . . . "Every day you read the articles in the States where it's like, 'Oh, it's getting better and better,' " said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Snyder, 22, of Gettysburg, Pa. "But when you're here, you know it's worse every day." . . . Pfc. Kyle Maio, 19, of Bucks County, Pa., said he thought government officials were reticent to speak candidly because of the upcoming U.S. elections. "Stuff's going on here but they won't flat-out say it," he said. "They can't get into it."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 10:05 AM

Letters from Iraq to Michael Moore
(The Guardian U.K., 05 September 2004)
Civilian contractors are fleecing taxpayers; US troops don't have proper equipment; and supposedly liberated Iraqis hate them. After the release of Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore received a flood of letters and emails from disillusioned and angry American soldiers serving in Iraq. Here, in an exclusive extract from his new book, we print a selection.

Dear Mr Moore,
I went to Iraq with thoughts of killing people who I thought were horrible. I was like, "Fuck Iraq, fuck these people, I hope we kill thousands." I believed my president. He was taking care of business and wasn't going to let al Qaeda push us around. I was with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 3rd Infantry division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia. My unit was one of the first to Baghdad. I was so scared. Didn't know what to think. Seeing dead bodies for the first time. People blown in half. Little kids with no legs. It was overwhelming, the sights, sounds, fear. I was over there from Jan'03 to Aug'03. I hated every minute. It was a daily battle to keep my spirits up. I hate the army and my job. I am supposed to get out next February but will now be unable to because the asshole in the White House decided that now would be a great time to put a stop-loss in effect for the army. So I get to do a second tour in Iraq and be away from those I love again because some guy has the audacity to put others' lives on the line for his personal war. I thought we were the good guys.

. . .

In the few short months my unit has been in Iraq, we have already lost one man and have had many injured (including me) in combat operations. And for what? At the very least, the government could have made sure that each of our vehicles had the proper armament to protect us soldiers. . . . In the early morning hours of May 10, one month to the day from my 30th birthday, I and 12 other men were attacked in a well-executed roadside ambush in south-east Baghdad. We were attacked with small-arms fire, a rocket-propelled grenade, and two well-placed roadside bombs. These roadside bombs nearly destroyed one of our Hummers and riddled my friends with shrapnel, almost killing them. They would not have had a scratch if they had the "Up Armour" kits on them. So where was [George] W [Bush] on that one? . . . It's just so ridiculous, which leads me to my next point. A Blackwater contractor makes $15,000 [£8,400] a month for doing the same job as my pals and me. I make about $4,000 [£2,240] a month over here. What's up with that? . . . Beyond that, the government is calling up more and more troops from the reserves. For what? Man, there is a huge fucking scam going on here! There are civilian contractors crawling all over this country. Blackwater, Kellogg Brown & Root, Halliburton, on and on. These contractors are doing everything you can think of from security to catering lunch! . . . We are spending money out the ass for this shit, and very few of the projects are going to the Iraqi people. Someone's back is getting scratched here, and it ain't the Iraqis'! . . . My life is left to chance at this point. I just hope I come home alive.

. . .

It's hard listening to my platoon sergeant saying, "If you decide you want to kill a civilian that looks threatening, shoot him. I'd rather fill out paperwork than get one of my soldiers killed by some raghead." We are taught that if someone even looks threatening we should do something before they do something to us. I wasn't brought up in fear like that, and it's going to take some getting used to. . . . It's also very hard talking to people here about this war. They don't like to hear that the reason they are being torn away from their families is bullshit, or that their "president" doesn't care about them. A few people here have become quite upset with me, and at one point I was going to be discharged for constantly inciting arguments and disrespect to my commander-in-chief (Dubya). It's very hard to be silenced about this when I see the same 150 people every day just going through the motions, not sure why they are doing it. . . . People's perceptions of this war have done a complete 180 since we got here. We had someone die in a mortar attack the first week, and ever since then, things have changed completely. Soldiers are calling their families urging them to support John Kerry. If this is happening elsewhere, it looks as if the overseas military vote that Bush is used to won't be there this time around.

. . .

The illiteracy rate in this country is phenomenal. There were some farmers who didn't even know there was an Operation Iraqi Freedom. This was when I realised that this war was initiated by the few who would profit from it and not for its people. We, as the coalition forces, did not liberate these people; we drove them even deeper into poverty. I don't foresee any economic relief coming soon to these people by the way Bush has already diverted its oil revenues to make sure there will be enough oil for our SUVs. . . . We are here trying to keep peace when all we have been trained for is to destroy. How are 200,000 soldiers supposed to take control of this country? Why didn't we have an effective plan to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure? Why aren't the American people more aware of these atrocities? . . . My fiancee and I have seriously looked into moving to Canada as political refugees.

. . .

I'm not some pussy when it comes to war. However, the position we were put in - fighting an enemy that used women, children, and other civilians as shields; forcing us to choose between firing at "area targets" (nice way of saying firing into crowds) or being killed by the bastards using the crowds for cover - is indescribably horrible. . . . I saw more than a few dead children littering the streets in Nasiriyah, along with countless other civilians. And through all this, I held on to the belief that it had to be for some greater good. . . . Months have passed since I've been back home and the unfortunate conclusion I've come to is that Bush is a lying, manipulative motherfucker who cares nothing for the lives of those of us who serve in uniform. Hell, other than playing dress-up on aircraft carriers, what would he know about serving this nation in uniform? . . . His silence and refusal to speak under oath to the 9/11 Commission further mocks our country. The Patriot Act violates every principle we fight and die for. And all of this has been during his first term. Can you imagine his policies when he doesn't have to worry about re-election? We can't allow that to happen, and there are so many like me in the military who feel this way. We were lied to and used. And there aren't words to describe the sense of betrayal I feel as a result.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 4:44 PM

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