|GI Special C/o email@example.com 8.24.2003 Print it out (color best). Pass it on.
GI SPECIAL #79
Another Hunvee Down (REUTERS/Mohammed Abud)
Army Can’t Keep Up With Need for Parts in Iraq;
Broke Down Vehicles Easy Targets For Resistance Attacks
August 22, 2003, By Robert Burns, Associated Press and By RICHARD SISK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU, August 23rd, 2003
The Army overcame enormous logistics obstacles in the successful march to Baghdad last spring, but sustaining the force has become a problem, a senior Army general said Friday.
Humvees are running on bald tires, and tank treads are falling off armored vehicles.
Gen. Paul Kern, chief of the Army Materiel Command, cited as an example the Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, which he said has sustained so much wear and tear in Iraq that the Army is months’ short of replacements for the steel tracks on which they travel.
Kern said the Army also is in short supply of replacement tracks for Abrams tanks, Paladin howitzers and other vehicles.
Similarly, the Army has had trouble supplying enough tires for Humvees and generators for electrical power, Kern said in an interview with a group of reporters at the Pentagon.
Kern and three sergeant majors on duty in Iraq said the Army has a two-month backlog for Humvee tires and a three-month wait for treads on Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.
“We haven’t closed down Afghanistan, we’ve still got people operating in the Balkans, and I’ve got my eye on Korea,” he said. “So we can’t take all the resources of the U.S. Army and send them all to Iraq.”
He acknowledged that the military underestimated what it would take to sustain the force in Iraq.
Sgt. Maj. Michael Bush, the top enlisted soldier in the 1st Armored Division, speaking separately Friday in a video teleconference from Baghdad, said his Humvee put on more than 5,000 miles in three months in Baghdad.
Speaking in the same video teleconference, V Corps Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth O. Preston said that over the past few months, Army tanks in Iraq have been driven as much as they normally would in two or three years.
Kern said the demand for replacement track for tanks and other vehicles is so great that the Army has begun shipping it by air rather than the cheaper but slower way of sending it by sea.
Much of what has been supplied also can't be used because of mismatches in the logistics chain, said Sgt. Maj. Bush "I've got air conditioners stacked up all over the place" to give troops relief from the 120-plus-degree heat.
But "there's a problem with getting the electricity and power generation in the quantity and size that we need to power everything," Bush said.
Sgt. Maj. Charles Fuss of the 4th Infantry Division said his troops lack generators for the air conditioners. With generators at a premium in Iraq, "We're having to go outside this country to try to purchase them because the commercial power is undependable," Fuss said.
Morale is high for troops who "walk with death every day out on patrols," said Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Prescott of the Army's V Corps. "What the enemy doesn't understand is, the more they attack us, the more fight we'll take to them," Prescott said.
(Instead of standing up for the troops by condemning the incompetents in the Pentagon, starting with Incompetent-in-Chief Rumsfeld, these Sgt. Majors have been kissing ass so long they forgot how to raise hell and fight for what their troops need to stay alive. Disgusting.
James, Veterans For Peace, writes:
"What the enemy doesn't understand is, the more they attack us, the more fight we'll take to them," Prescott said.
That statement is as Idiotic as bush's "Bring Them On', when will these jokers who don't fight the battles realize how Stupid they are and what they are doing because of this Taunting!! Every action brings a reaction, and every Stupid Remark doesn't bring another stupid remark, from an enemy, but Destructive Actions!!!!!!!”)
Do you have a friend or relative in the service? Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly. Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and in Iraq, and information about other social protest movements here in the USA. Send requests to address up top. For copies on web site see:http://www.notinourname.net/gi-special/
Abizaid Now Says Troops May Never Come Home;
Staying In Iraq “Indefinitely”
Financial Times, August 21, 2003, By Peter Spiegel in Washington
The US commander in charge of all forces in Iraq said on Thursday American troops might not be brought home once international peacekeepers are deployed to the war-torn country, a reversal that means 150,000 US soldiers may stay in Iraq indefinitely.
General John Abizaid, the new head of US central command, said foreign troops and indigenous Iraqi forces would gradually take over internal security duties from American soldiers, but added US troops would then be redeployed for a "more aggressive posture on external duties", such as securing borders.
"It depends on the security situation," Gen Abizaid said of the role of foreign peacekeepers. "It doesn’t necessarily mean that additional foreign troops would cause a corresponding draw down of American forces."
The Cencom chief's comments are a clear break from previous Pentagon statements on the status of American deployments. General John Keane, the acting chief of staff of the US army, told a congressional hearing last month that a Polish-led division in southern Iraq would replace 9,000 US marines this fall, and that once another foreign division arrived - the US has contacted India, Pakistan and Turkey about a division-sized force - four brigades, or approximately 20,000 troops, from the US army would be replaced.
What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to the E-mail address up top. Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential
Military Families Organize to Bring Troops Home Now
“Let Bechtel and Halliburton Do The Fighting”
Katrin Dauenhauer, Interpress Service,
WASHINGTON, Aug 20 (IPS) -- With U.S. soldiers in Iraq for more than 150 days, further deployment more likely than withdrawal, and the death toll rising, the U.S. public is increasingly wary of supporting a war whose legitimacy is coming under attack from Washington itself.
Leading the renewed wave of opposition, launched months ago by millions of peace activists worldwide, are families of soldiers stationed in Iraq.
Founded last November to oppose war in Iraq, Military Families Speak Out now includes more than 600 military families.
Galvanized by President George W. Bush's ”Bring 'em on” challenge to armed Iraqi's resisting occupation, the group, along with Veterans for Peace, Citizen Soldier and others, launched 'Bring Them Home Now,' a campaign aimed at ending the U.S. military presence in Iraq.
More than 5,000 people reacted to the campaign's kick-off last week. The vast majority supported the project, said Nancy Lessin, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out, in an interview Wednesday.
We need to bring our troops home to have appropriate discussions about what has to be done,” Lessin told IPS.
”As military veterans and families, we understand that hardship is sometimes part of the job. But there has to be an honest and compelling reason to impose these hardships and risks on our troops, our families, and our communities. The reasons given for the occupation of Iraq do not rise to this standard,” she continued.
According to Vietnam War veteran Stan Goff, ”our family members, including my son, are now exposed to 120-degree heat, daily multiple attacks, a toxic environment, and the probability of post-traumatic mental illness, in a war that was undertaken on false pretenses to advance the interests of an economic elite.”
”Rich men decide on war, but rich people don't fight them,” he told IPS on Wednesday.
”If Bechtel and Halliburton (companies awarded multi-million-dollar contracts to rebuild Iraq) want Iraq, let their executives and managers strap on the body armour, pick up an M-4, and head right on down to Fallujah or Baghdad.”
”We'll even let them use our helicopters and Hummers. But not our children, our spouses, and our siblings. This is not our war,” he added.
A growing number of Americans appear to believe the country's forces do not belong in Iraq.
According to a survey conducted by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University, released last week, public confidence in U.S. military involvement in Iraq has eroded recently, with some 42 percent of adults describing themselves as ”not certain” that committing troops was the right thing to do.
In a May survey, 41 percent of respondents said they were still ”absolutely certain” about the troop commitment.
Congress has also grown doubtful about the invasion, with officials like Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz coming under strong attacks in recent committee appearances over what the administration really knew about alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
According to Iraqi Coalition Casualty Count, a website documenting deaths in that country, since Mar. 20, 269 U.S. and 47 British soldiers have been killed in Iraq, on average about two a day.
”We are trying to encourage military families to speak out against the war and to bring pressure on the military command. I think by Christmas there will be a very deep opposition in this country against this war,” Tod Ensign, director of Citizen Soldier told IPS.
”During Vietnam, the GIs (rank-and-file soldiers) actually led movements against the war, and I think we will see some of that again.”
According to Woody Powell, executive director of Veterans for Peace: ”We were led into this war under dubious circumstances. We should not have gone in there in the first place and the reasons--in retrospect--have turned out to be specious.”
(On August 13, Military Families Speak Out and Veterans For Peace launched a campaign in Washington DC to bring the troops home now (http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/). There was immediate response to C-Span
coverage, and e-mails supporting the campaign have been flowing into MFSO
and VFP headquarters in St. Louis ever since.)
Bush Administration Loves War And Hates Our Troops
Nathan Newman, The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2003
Why are our troops suffering in such filth and discomfort over in Iraq?
That's been an odd puzzle, since where killing of troops by guerillas may be somewhat beyond the control of the military, you would think that delivering decent facilities for daily living wouldn't be such a challenge for this high-tech army.
Wrong Time, Wrong Place,
Wrong War (REUTERS
The problem is that it's not the high-tech army taking care of those living conditions, but private industry on contract. For over a decade, the military has been shifting its supply and support personnel into combat jobs and hiring defense contractors to do the rest. And the process has accelerated under Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.
And despite the alleged wonders of private enterprise, those companies have left soldiers in filth, heat, and garbage.
Why Private Contractors Fail Soldiers:
While soldiers can be ordered into combat zones, civilians cannot. So U.S. troops in Iraq have had to suffer through months of unnecessarily poor living conditions because contractors hired by the Army for logistics support plain failed to show up. Even mail delivery – turned over to management by civilian contractors -- fell weeks behind.
"We thought we could depend on industry to perform these kinds of functions," Lt. Gen. Charles S. Mahan, the Army's logistics chief, said in one interview.
Soldiers have progressed from living in mud, then the summer heat and dust. One group of mothers organized a drive to buy and ship air conditioners to their sons. An Army captain ended up turning to a reporter to have him send a box of nails and screws to repair his living quarters and latrines.
For almost a decade, the military has been shifting support jobs over to the private sector. And the result in Iraq has been a disaster for the troops. Not surprisingly, when the going gets tough, the civilian business folks take a hike.
Enron Accounting on Contracts:
And apparently, the chaos of cost-plus contracts with overlapping deals is a big reason the White House has no idea how much the Iraq Occupation is costing American taxpayers: Thanks to all these overlapping contracts with multiple contracting offices, the Pentagon can’t keep track of which contractors are responsible for which jobs -- or how much it all costs. That's one reason the Bush administration can only estimate that it is spending about $4 billion a month on troops in Iraq.
Rumsfeld has already proposed handing 300,000 additional military logistics jobs over to private contractors, further endangering our troops in any future conflicts. But heck, at least Dick Cheney's buddies at Halliburton are making lots of money. So who cares if the soldiers have to suffer for it? Or that the budget numbers on the war resemble an Enron accounting sheet
Grunt Soldiers Take a Budget Hit:
And the indifference to front-line soldiers’ needs isn’t restricted to hiring substandard contractors in Iraq. Soldiers and their families have been targeted for nasty budget cuts to help pay for all the goodies handed to Halliburton etc. al. These budget cuts effecting military families back home just adds to the general low morale of troops in the Iraqi deployment.
Army Times, has been scathing in its criticism of the cuts and budgeting enacted by Congress.
Canceling a "modest proposal" to increase the benefit from $6,000 to $12,000 to families of soldiers who die on active duty;
Refusing to consider military tax relief to help military homeowners, reservists who travel long distances for training, or parents deployed to combat zones;
Passing pay raises for some higher ranks, but capping raises for the lowest ranks at 2 percent, well below the average raise of 4.1 percent;
Enacting a $1.5 billion cut in the military construction request for 2004
All of this makes for the most deadly combination for a solider: an administration that loves war and hates the troops.
First Homeless Veteran of Bush’s’ War;
By David Abel, Globe Staff, 8/21/2003
Three months ago, Vannessa Turner was in charge of a small unit, drove a 5-ton truck through ambushes, and wherever she went in Iraq, the Army sergeant held her M-16 at the ready.
The single mom's war ended in May, when she collapsed in 130-degree heat, fell into a coma, and nearly died of heart failure.
Now, after more than a month recovering in Germany and Washington, D.C., the muscular Roxbury native spends her days riding city buses to ward off boredom, roaming area malls looking at things she can't afford, and brooding over how she and her 15-year-old daughter are suddenly homeless, sleeping on friends' couches and considering moving into a shelter.
"I almost lost my life in Iraq -- and I can't get a place to live?" said Turner, 41, who Army officials say is the first known homeless veteran of the war in Iraq. "Yeah, I'm a little angry. Right now, not having home for my daughter is the greatest burden in my life."
Though Army officials said they're trying to help, Turner, still wearing a leg brace and limping from nerve damage in her right leg, blames the service for not doing more.
When she went to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in West Roxbury after coming home last month, officials there told her she had to wait until mid-October to see a doctor. When she asked the Army to ship her possessions from her unit's base in Germany, where she lived with her daughter for more than a year, they told her she had to fly back at her own expense to get them herself.
The Army acknowledges "mistakes were made."
Unfortunately, Turner is unlikely to be the last soldier serving in Iraq to return without a home.
Although veterans make up just 9 percent of the US population, they account for about 23 percent of the nation's homeless, according to the Washington-based National Coalition of Homeless Veterans. In a given year, of the 2.5 million people who become homeless in the United States, about 550,000 are vets, many of whom served in Vietnam and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
But many are also like Turner -- physically disabled, unemployed, and unable to afford their own place.
"In a country as wealthy as ours, with the best military in the world, it's outrageous veterans become homeless," said Linda Boone, the coalition's executive director. Raised by her mother and grandmother in Roxbury,
Turner earned a scholarship to study at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Calif., where she graduated in 1984. She enlisted in 1997 and served in Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Germany, before the Army sent her to Kuwait in February.
A cook and driver who thrived on the discipline of military life, Turner remained close to the front lines after her unit crossed into Iraq in April.
Not long after dawn on May 18, Turner stood in a long line, waiting to buy food. Perhaps it was the heat, the 70 pounds of equipment she wore, or an ointment she used to protect herself from all the sand fleas, she said, but she started to feel dizzy. The last thing she remembers, she couldn’t breathe. She collapsed, medics forced a breathing tube in her mouth, and she was taken away in a helicopter.
A few days later, she awoke in Germany with her mother next to her. The military flew her to Washington, where she stayed under close observation until doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center released her July 10.
Discharged from the Army, a friend drove her back to Boston. Since then, she and her daughter have gone from the couch in her mother's cramped one-bedroom apartment, to a friend's couch, to her sister's friend’s friend’s couch, she said. She has little money -- she sent much of her combat pay to help her brother and sister, who's also homeless -- and feels uncomfortable about imposing on relatives and friends, most of whom have little space to provide.
So now, she and her daughter's clothes and possessions are scattered around town and the two aren't sure what to do.
"It's aggravating -- I like having my own stuff and I don't like invading other people's space," said Brittany, who this week slept in a cramped Roxbury apartment, on an air mattress with two cousins. "It shouldn’t be this way."
Not sure whether her case is a fluke, Turner wonders whether other veterans should expect the same treatment.
Wearing a bandanna around her head to cover bald patches caused by trauma from her collapse, and refusing to cut off her hospital wristband, Turner hopes things improve before her daughter starts school next month. As angry as she is about the military's treatment, she hasn’t given up on the possibility of reenlisting when her medical condition is reviewed next year.
"I think I like being a soldier better than being a veteran," she said.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS:
Three Brit Troops Killed In Center Of Basra
Aug. 23, 2003, (CBS/AP)
The death toll among coalition forces shot up Saturday when three British soldiers were killed in a guerrilla attack in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra.
The British military in Basra said a two-vehicle convoy was attacked by a group of gunmen in a pickup truck as the soldiers were traveling through the center of Basra on a routine patrol at 8:30 a.m.
IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP
Interview With A Resistance Warrior
Newsweek Magazine Aug. 18 carries an interview with a resistance organizer, Kadim Baghdadi, 34 years old.
“Baghdadi says the organization initially was a gathering of tribal fighters, many of whom had served previously in the Iraqi armed forces and had been using firearms since childhood. ‘Most of our youth are trained to carry weapons,’ he added.
The fighters were angry with U.S. forces for the deaths of 13 Iraqis after an anti-occupation protest turned violent in Fallujah. ‘Through key figures of the tribes, we contacted each other,’ says Baghdadi. ‘We met in small cells at first, far from the cities, in farms, and we started talking. We took the decision that we must liberate the country.’
The fighters….live in the civilian population, depending on its support and using it for protection. It’s a strategy that severely complicates U.S. efforts to wipe them out.
The three who met with Newsweek claimed no wish for Saddam.s return. “We don’t’ want to bring Saddam back,’ said one.
A much bigger consideration is the group’s hatred of American Al-Rawi was carrying a prepared statement, which he read aloud: ‘The Americans have occupied our land under a false pretext, and without any international authorization. They kill our women and children and old men. They want to bring the Jews to our holy land in order to control Iraq, to achieve the Jewish dream.’ The document ended with a pledge of vengeance against the Americans. ‘We promise we will burn their tanks. They will die.’
The fighters say they’re doing all they can to bring that day faster. They and others associated with the group describe a rapidly evolving support network.”
Last week three other members of al-Rawi's cell traveled to the southern town of Al Kut to stock up on arms and ammo.
The Mukhabarat officer says he and his traveling companions were ushered into house after house. At each stop they were offered tea and then were shown a variety of weapons for sale at bargain prices. The sellers were asking as little as $70 for a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher. Hand grenades were going for $1.50 apiece.
The travelers paid for their purchases with crisp, newly minted bundles of Iraqi currency. They bought at least seven plastic boxes of RPG rounds, several tin boxes of ammunition, several used and damaged RPGs for spare parts and a few pistols.
They hid everything under the ice cream, turned up the freezer and headed home, the officer says. The driver followed a circuitous route home to Fallujah, steering clear of Baghdad and its omnipresent U.S. checkpoints. The fighters told the officer that their gunrunning trucks often travel with escort cars in front and behind to watch out for Americans and create a distraction if anyone tries to search the truck.
The group's ambushes require a steady supply of ammunition, al-Rawiand his comrades said. A week before the interview, they launched a 60 mm mortar attack on a convoy just 10 minutes down the road from the safe house. They fired the rounds from a thickly overgrown field dotted with houses. The attack set a Humvee on fire, according to the men. Four big craters mark the roadside where the ambush took place.
Several attacks have used explosives detonated by remote control, they said, and all have taken place in the early morning or right after nightfall.
The fighters seemed able to move openly in Amriyah, without fear that anyone might report them to the Americans.
The fighters claim their group has no need of recruiters; they say their neighbors are ‘begging for weapons’ to fight the Americans.
The U.S. military is counting on ordinary Iraqis to help stamp out the insurgency. Whoever wins this battle for hearts and minds will ultimately win the war. The results so far have been mixed.
U.S. troops recently withdrew completely from the city of Fallujah after attacks became too frequent and costly. Now the fighters want to repeat that success elsewhere. They have learned to hit Coalition targets with explosives and get away before the Americans can start shooting in all directions.
Besides the steady attrition in U.S. lives, every counterattack deepens the people’s resentment against the foreigners. And the dislike is mutual. "Too many of our soldiers out there are beginning to hate the Iraqis," says a senior Defense Department civilian.
‘The Americans will go to their funerals here,’ al-Rawi said.”
Now Turkomen Fighters Fire On U.S. Forces;
As Iraq Spins Out Of (U.S.) Control
Aug. 23, 2003
American forces reported killing two Iraqi Turkomen who opened fire when the U.S. soldiers arrived to put down a bloody ethnic clash that killed at least 10 people in two northern cities.
Rocket-propelled grenades were fired at statues of two Turkomen heroes in the northern city of Kirkuk late Saturday as gunfire punctuated the night at the end of a second day of ethnic violence in which at least 10 people died here and in a city to the south.
There was no indication of who was shooting, but Turkomen and Kurds had fought for two days running after the Kurds reportedly damaged a newly reopened Turkomen Muslim shrine in Tuz Kharmato on Friday.
The ethnic violence began Friday night in Tuz Kharmato, 110 miles north of Baghdad.
U.S. forces responded and killed the two Turkomen tribesmen and wounded two others after the Americans were fired on when they arrived to put down the outbreak of ethnic fighting, said Maj. Josslyn Aberle, 4th Infantry Division spokeswoman. She said it was the first resumption of ethnic conflict in the tense region since May.
Capt. David L. Swenson of the 173 Airborne Brigade in Tuz Kharmato told The Associated Press Saturday that several hundred Turkomen protesters had taken to the streets. Swenson said three Turks and five Kurds were killed and 13 people were wounded in the Friday melee.
On Saturday, the violence spread to neighboring Kirkuk, 140 miles north of Baghdad. Kirkuk Mayor Abdul Rahman Mustafa, a Kurd, told the AP two people were killed and several were wounded. He did not identify the victims' by ethnicity.
According to both CNN-Turk television and private NTV television in Ankara, Turkey, hundreds of Turkomen, carrying blue Turkomen flags, marched on the governor's office. Turkey's Anatolia news agency reported two Turkomen were shot and killed and 11 wounded by Patriotic Union of Kurdistan forces.
Kurds and Turks have been embroiled in ethnic hatred for centuries and have killed each other in the thousands.
"We're worried about the situation, but we are working with city leaders and officials to resolve it," said Lieutenant Jonathan Hopkins of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade.
"Democracy is coming to them, but they are still in the process of absorbing it. You can compare it to what the United States was like in the 1850s." (Say what?)
Baghdad Attack On UN Building A Strategic Victory “Right Out Of Clausewitz”
The Atlantic, August 21, 2003, Politics & Prose | by Jack Beatty
The UN attack was right out of Clausewitz: the goal of war is to break the enemy's "national will," his stomach for the fight.
In the wake of the UN attack, more U.S. soldiers will be diverted from mopping up guerrilla resistance to the protection of buildings, UN civilians, and aid workers. The attack will drive the Coalition Provisional Authority deeper behind the massive cement wall it has constructed around its Baghdad compound.
An Iraqi journalist told On Point “The U.S. occupation is too weak to restore order or maintain basic services, he says, yet oppressive enough to kill, injure, and inflame Iraqi civilians.”
U.S. OCCUPATION NOW THE IRAQ EXTREMISTS;
The UN Killed A Million
Daily Mirror, August 22, 2003, John Pilger
According to the Bush and Blair governments, those responsible for the UN outrage are "extremists from outside":
As for the "extremists from outside", simply turn the meaning around and you have a succinct description of the current occupiers who, unprovoked, attacked a defenceless sovereign country, defying the opposition of most of humanity.
AT their moment of "victory", these extremists from outside - having already destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure with a 12-year bombing campaign and embargo - murdered journalists, toppled statues and encouraged wholesale looting while refusing to make the most basic humanitarian repairs to the damage they had caused to the supply of power and clean water.
When Iraqis have protested about this, the extremists from outside have shot them dead.
They have shot them in crowds, or individually,
The killings in the UN compound in Baghdad this week, like the killing of thousands of others in Iraq, forma trail of blood that leads to Bush and Blair and their courtiers.
The brutality of the occupation of Iraq - in which children are shot or arrested by the Americans, and countless people have "disappeared" in concentration camps - is an open invitation to those who now see Iraq as part of a holy war.
For more than 12 years, the UN Security Council allowed itself to be manipulated so that Washington and London could impose on the people of Iraq, under a UN flag, an embargo that resembled a mediaeval siege.
The other day I sat with Dennis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, and the UN in New York. Halliday was the senior UN official in Iraq in the mid-1990s, who resigned rather than administer the blockade.
"These sanctions," he said, "represented ongoing warfare against the people of Iraq. They became, in my view, genocidal in their impact over the years, and the Security Council maintained them, despite its full knowledge of their impact, particularly on the children of Iraq.
"We disregarded our own charter, international law, and we probably killed over a million people.
"It's a tragedy that will not be forgotten... I’m confident that the Iraqis will throw out the occupying forces. I don't know how long it will take, but they’ll throw them out based on a nationalistic drive.
"They will not tolerate any foreign troops' presence in their country, dictating their lifestyle, their culture, their future, their politics.
"This is a very proud people, very conscious of a great history.
Occupation Succeeding In Uniting Iraq---
Against The Occupation
The Age (Australia), August 22, 2003, By Scott Burchill
The self-delusion that the US in Iraq is only facing resistance from Saddamite remnants and "dead enders" is a major strategic miscalculation.
It is a tempting view because it implies that the overwhelming number of Iraqis actually support the US-led occupation and that only pockets of resistance from renegade Baathists remain.
The saboteurs, grenade-launchers and bombers may, infact, locate themselves in the long-standing Iraqi tradition of anti-colonial struggle.
Both Sunni and Shiite groups are consolidating their opposition to what they increasingly see as the re-colonization of Iraq. Many will be captured in the days ahead but they will probably keep coming until Western troops and the puppet government they plan to install in Baghdad are removed.
Opposition to what may ultimately be years of military occupation could even become the glue that binds post-Saddam Iraqi society together.
Finally, it is possible - even likely - that this attack was designed to stop what the UN was planning to do in Iraq, not as retribution for what it has done in the past.
The bombing thwarts plans by Washington to use the UN as a fig leaf for its occupation.
War In Iraq Could Cost $60 BILLION More
Boston Globe, August 22, 2003, by Stephen J. Glain
WASHINGTON -- The US government will need to spend as much as $60 billion to support its military role in Iraq next year, according to government officials as well as analysts and economists.
The funding would come on top of $62.6 billion that Congress approved in March. That installment, which analysts say should last until October, was intended to cover the cost of deploying and supplying about 140,000 troops in Iraq, as well as supporting a much smaller US force in Afghanistan. Included in those costs were all the expenses of waging war to topple Saddam Hussein's regime.
At an estimated billion dollars a week, all but a trickle of which is earmarked for the occupation, the Pentagon is spending as much each month in Iraq as it did waging the entire Gulf War in 1991, if inflation is not taken into account.
Lael Brainard, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has written about the postwar price tag, calculates the burden at $1,000 per American household.
(The U.S. Empire is bankrupt, the dollar failing, education and health care funds being cut, state and local governments on the edge of bankruptcy, and Bush’s dreams of victory in the toilet. Never mind, drive on.
The defense contractors, Halliburton, Bechtel and the rest of the thieving scum that put Bush in office have to get their money. That’s the whole point of the exercise. Soldiers are dying so the corporate elite can get their pay, and that’s all they’re dying for. Everything else was and is a lie. This is what is called “dying in vain.”)
U.S. Plans to Restore Iraq's Electricity--Someday
BAGHDAD, Iraq, August 23, 2003-AP
The Iraqi Governing Council has voiced frustration about the U.S.-led coalition's inability to restore electricity to prewar levels, and the Americans have set a deadline for doing that, the U.S. administrator for Iraq said Saturday.
"They share our frustration with not being able to restore essential services to prewar levels," L. Paul Bremer said. He added that the Americans planned to get electricity fully restored by the end of September.
(THANKS TO B WHO E-MAILED THIS IN:
B WRITES: OK it took them 5 months to PLAN to restore the electricity? I guess because Bremer has the AC cranked up he forgot that no one else in Iraq has it. What an asshole.)
Spanish Gov’t Under Pressure To Withdraw Forces After First Casualty In Iraq
MADRID (AFP) Aug 20, 2003
The Spanish government came under pressure Wednesday to withdraw its troops from Iraq as it mourned the first Spanish fatality in the international reconstruction effort to rebuild the war-shattered country.
Navy captain Manuel Martin Oar was one of at least 24 people killed in Tuesday's attack against the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad,
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a staunch US and British ally in the war on Iraq, has pledged a 1,300-strong troop contingent despite growing public concern.
Spain already has 744 soldiers there, but the death of one of their own number has shocked the population and opposition parties demanded a parliamentary debate in the belief that Spanish forces should be brought home.
Socialist Party president Manuel Chaves called for a parliamentary debate "leading to the exit" of Spanish forces. "Many Spaniards are concerned at what the armed forces are doing as an occupation force in Iraq," said Chaves.
The leader of the far left United Left grouping, Gaspar Llamazares, was more succinct in demanding "the abandonment of Spanish engagement in the occupation of Iraq and the return of the soldiers."
Aznar's administration is increasingly out of step with public opinion, with editorials in the El Pais and El Mundo newspapers predicting that the blast would bring the whole enterprise of using foreign troops into question.
Spanish popular opinion was strongly opposed to the Iraq conflict in the first place and Aznar's government faced huge anti-war street demonstrations.
Spanish Base In Iraq Under Mortar Fire
22-Aug-2003, Agence France-Presse
MADRID, Aug 22 (AFP) - A Spanish military base in southern Iraq came under mortar fire two days ago without causing any injuries or damage, the defence ministry said Friday.
It said 19 mortar shells were fired Wednesday towards the command post at Ad-Diwaniyah, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Baghdad, where the Spanish are based as part of the multinational Spanish-speaking Plus Ultra brigade.
The defence ministry said the weapons and munitions could have come from a batch of arms once held by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's army that were stolen from the base about three weeks ago.
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
White House Ordered EPA Public Lies About Toxic Air After 9/11;
How Many Will Die Not Announced
By John Heilpri, Associated Press, 23 August 2003
WASHINGTON -- At the White House's direction, the Environmental Protection Agency gave New Yorkers misleading assurances that there was no health risk from the debris-laden air after the World Trade Center collapse, according to an internal inquiry.
President Bush's senior environmental adviser on Friday defended the White House involvement, saying it was justified by national security.
The White House "convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones" by having the National Security Council control EPA communications in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to a report issued late Thursday by EPA Inspector General Nikki L. Tinsley.
"When EPA made a Sept. 18 announcement that the air was 'safe' to breathe, the agency did not have sufficient data and analyses to make the statement," the report says, adding that the EPA had yet to adequately monitor air quality for contaminants such as PCBs, soot and dioxin.
For example, the inspector general found, EPA was convinced to omit guidance for cleaning indoor spaces and tips on potential health effects from airborne dust containing asbestos, lead, glass fibers and concrete.
(If they lie about this, there are no lies they will not tell members of the armed forces, whether it kills them or not. It’s “national security,” meaning it’s in Bush’s interest, and fuck everything and everybody else. This isn’t a government in Washington, it’s a collection of homicidal thieves. And the best of our soldiers are stuck half a world away in Iraq while these predators feed on us, and them. We need our troops home to protect us.)
AFGHANISTAN: THE FORGOTTEN WAR
US-Troops Attacked In Southeast Afghanistan
Friday, 22-Aug-2003, Agence France-Presse
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Aug 22 (AFP) - A US-led coalition base was attacked with rockets in insurgency-hit southeast Afghanistan a day after a US soldier was fatally shot, a US military spokesman said Friday.
Two rockets were fired at a base late Thursday in Zormat in restive Paktia, bordering Paktika province where the US Special Operations soldier was hit by "hostile fire" on Wednesday.
The soldier had been on combat operations in Paktika's Urgon district, the US military said without elaborating.
A bloody upswing in violence has seen around 100 people killed in the war-ravaged country since last week. Aid workers, soldiers and government offices have all been targeted.
The death of the US Special Forces soldier brings to 65 the number of coalition troops killed since US-led forces smashed the Taliban regime in late 2001.
Of those, 31 were killed in combat and 34 died in accidents, US Colonel Rodney Davis told reporters at the US-led coalition's Bagram Air Base headquarters miles north of Kabul.
Another 162 soldiers have been wounded in hostile fire and other attacks.
The US military said this week that rebels appeared to be aiming for "softer targets," noting a rise in attacks on Afghan forces in the country's south and southeast.
There were no casualties from Thursday's rocket attack, Davis said.
Zormat base, some 130 kilometres (82 miles) south of Kabul, has been attacked several times since an anti-Taliban operation conducted by Afghan, US and Italian troops in the nearby Shahikot mountains last month.
Another Resistance Mass Attack
Two Afghan soldiers and four resistance fighters were killed in a clash in the central province of Uruzgan. A group of “up to 300” resistance troops fought government forces in the Khas Uruzgan district for about three hours before escaping. (NY Times 8.23.03)
SECURITY COMMANDER FOR AN AFGHAN DISTRICT REPORTEDLY KILLED
RFE/RL Newsline, Aug. 22, 2003
According to unconfirmed reports, security commander of Khas Oruzgan District of Oruzgan Province Asadullah and a number of bodyguards were killed in a terrorist attack on 21 August, Hindukosh news agency reported. Coalition troops have launched a mop-up operation in Khas Oruzgan. The report did not specify if the operation was launched after Asadullah was killed or before. AT
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