"The Army Is Worn Out"
"We Should Just Be Allowed To Tell The Media What
Is Happening Here"
"Why Don’t You Tell The Truth? Why Don’t You Journalists Write That This
Army Is Exhausted?"
"Let Them Know That People Are Worn Out. So That Their Families Know Back Home. But It’s Like We’ve Become No More Than
"An Officer Talks Privately. 'We’re Plodding
Through This,’ He Says After Another Patrol And Another Ambush. 'I Don’t Know How Much More Plodding We’ve
Got Left In Us"
A U.S. Army soldier from Alpha Company, 1st
Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division during an
operation in the Amariyah neighborhood of west Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Thanks to Elaine Brower, The Military
Project; Dennis Serdel, Vietnam Veteran; Phil G & Clancy Sigal, who sent
August 12, 2007 Peter Beaumont in Baghdad, The
Lieutenant Clay Hanna looks sick and white.
Like his colleagues he does not seem to
Hanna says he catches up by napping on a cot
between operations in the command centre, amid the noise of radio. He is up at 6am and tries to go to sleep by
2am or 3am. But there are operations to go on, planning to be done and
after-action reports that need to be written. And war interposes its own deadly agenda that
requires his attention and wakes him up.
When he emerges from his naps there is
something old and paper-thin about his skin, something sketchy about his
movements as the days go by.
The Americans he commands, like the other men
at Sullivan - a combat outpost in Zafraniya, south east Baghdad - hit their
cots when they get in from operations.
But even when they wake up there is something
tired and groggy about them.
They are on duty for five days at a time and
off for two days. When they get back to the forward operating base, they do
their laundry and sleep and count the days until they will get home.
It is an exhaustion that accumulates over the
patrols and the rotations, over the multiple deployments, until it all joins
up, wiping out any memory of leave or time at home.
Until life is nothing but Iraq.
Hanna and his men are not alone in being
tired most of the time.
A whole army is exhausted and
You see the young soldiers
washed up like driftwood at Baghdad’s international airport, waiting to go on
leave or returning to their units, sleeping on their body armour on floors and
in the dust.
Where once the war in Iraq was defined in
conversations with these men by untenable ideas - bringing democracy or
defeating al-Qaeda - these days the war in Iraq is defined by different ways of
expressing the idea of being weary.
It is a theme that is endlessly reiterated as
you travel around Iraq.
'The army is worn out. We are just keeping people in theatre who are
exhausted,’ says a soldier working for the US army public affairs office who is
supposed to be telling me how well things have been going since the 'surge’ in
They are not supposed to talk
We are driving and another of
the public affairs team adds bitterly: 'We should just be allowed to tell the
media what is happening here.
"Let them know that people are
worn out. So that their families know
back home. But it’s like we’ve become no more than numbers now."
The first soldier starts in again. 'My husband
was injured here. He hit an improvised
explosive device. He already had a
spinal injury. The blast shook out the
plates. He’s home now and has serious issues adapting. But I’m not allowed to go back home to see
him. If I wanted to see him I’d have to
take leave time (two weeks). And the
army counts it.’
A week later, in the northern
city of Mosul, an officer talks privately. 'We’re plodding through this,’ he
says after another patrol and another ambush in the city centre.
'I don’t know how much more
plodding we’ve got left in us.’
When the soldiers talk like this there is
There is a corrosive anger,
too, that bubbles out, like the words pouring unbidden from a chaplain’s
assistant who has come to bless a patrol.
'Why don’t you tell the
truth? Why don’t you journalists write
that this army is exhausted?’
It is a weariness that has created its own
culture of superstition. There are vehicle commanders who will not let the
infantrymen in the back fall asleep on long operations - not because they want
the men alert, but because, they say, bad things happen when people fall
asleep. So the soldiers drink multiple
cans of Rip It and Red Bull to stay alert and wired.
But the exhaustion of the US army emerges
most powerfully in the details of these soldiers’ frayed and worn-out
lives. Everywhere you go you hear the
same complaints: soldiers talk about divorces, or problems with the girlfriends
that they don’t see, or about the children who have been born and who are
growing up largely without them.
'I counted it the other day,’ says a major
whose partner is also a soldier. 'We have been married for five years. We added
up the days. Because of Iraq and Afghanistan we have been together for just
seven months. Seven months ... We are in
a bad place. I don’t know whether this marriage can survive it.’
And it is not only the soldiers that are worn
out. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the destruction, or wearing
out, of 40 per cent of the US army’s equipment, totalling at a recent count
'Modern war is exhausting,’ says Major Stacie
Caswell, an occupational therapist with a combat stress unit attached to the
military hospital in Mosul.
'This is a different kind of war,’ says
Caswell. 'In World War II it was clear who the good guys and the bad guys were.
You knew what you would go through on
the battlefield.’ Now she says the threat is all around. And soldiering has changed. 'Now we have so
many things to do...’
'Not only that,’ says Caswell, 'but
because of the nature of what we do now, the number of tasks in comparison with
previous generations - even as you are finishing your 15 months here you are
immediately planning and training for your next tour.’ Valentine adds: 'There
is no decompression.’
What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and
veterans, are especially welcome. Write
to Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or send email email@example.com:. Name, I.D., withheld unless you request
publication. Replies confidential. Same address to
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
Texas Soldier Killed In Arab Jabour
Pfc. William L. Edwards, 23, of Houston, died
Aug. 11, 2007, in Arab Jabour, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces
attacked his unit with small arms fire. Edwards was assigned to the 1st
Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry
Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga. He had joined the Army in February 2006 and
was deployed to Iraq in May 2007. (AP Photo/U.S. Army photo released by the Edwards
CH-47 Down Near Taqaddum;
5 U.S. Troops Killed
8.14.07 By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer
In western Iraq, a U.S. transport helicopter
crashed near an air base, killing five troopers, the military said. The CH-47 Chinook helicopter was conducting a
routine post-maintenance test flight when it went down near Taqaddum air base,
the U.S. military said.
The air base is about 70 kilometers (45
miles) west of Baghdad in Anbar province,
Five U.S. Soldiers Killed, Four More Wounded In
Carefully Planned, Complex Ambush
Aug. 13 2007 Associated Press
Five American soldiers were killed Saturday
in Arab Jabour, a district just south of Baghdad
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the task force
commander, said a sniper killed one soldier, then lured his comrades to a
booby-trapped house where four died in an explosion when one of them stepped on
a hidden bomb.
Four others were wounded in the blast, Lynch
told the AP.
Three U.S. Soldiers Killed, One Wounded By Ninewah
August 14, 2007 Public Affairs Office, Camp
Victory RELEASE No. 20070814-05
TIKRIT, Iraq – Three Task Force Lightning
Soldiers died as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion near their
vehicle while conducting operations in Ninewah Province, Monday.
One other Soldier was injured during the
incident and was transported to a Coalition medical facility for treatment.
U.S. Soldier Killed In Baghdad;
August 14, 2007 Public Affairs Office, Camp
Victory RELEASE No. 20070814-17
BAGHDAD — One Multi-National Division-Baghdad
Soldier was killed and three others wounded during combat operations in a
western section of the Iraqi capital Aug. 14.
Another U.S. Soldier Killed In Baghdad
BAGHDAD — A Multi-National Division-Baghdad
Soldier was killed dead during combat operations in a western section of the
Iraqi capital Aug. 13.
Soldier Was Almost Home
Aug. 7, 2007 By DANE SCHILLER, Houston
A Houston soldier who was killed by a
roadside bomb in Baghdad was to return to a welcome-home celebration next
The plan was for Spc. Eric D. Salinas, 25, to
catch up with his friends and family, including his 4-year-old son, Anthony,
whom he liked to take out for pizza and trips to the park.
Salinas and two other soldiers died Thursday
afternoon after a homemade bomb detonated near their eight-wheeled Stryker
vehicle, the Army said Monday.
Wanting to make his family proud and perhaps
find a career, Salinas enlisted in 2004, two days before his September
Prior to joining the service, Salinas
attended Northbrook High School and worked at a home-appliance warehouse.
Salinas was last home in March, when he was
given temporary leave from combat duty, where he’d already earned recognition,
including the Army Commendation Medal.
"I am watching my back, and I am coming
back," longtime friend Oscar Ordonez recalled Salinas saying at the time.
"He said he would be fine and that they
are always thinking of what they are doing and trying their best to keep
themselves safe," said Ordonez, who grew up with Salinas, who he
considered a brother.
In anticipation of coming home, Salinas
recently shipped a box of personal items to his mother.
The box has not yet been opened, said
Ordonez, who spoke on behalf of the family.
Aside from his expected vacation in Houston,
Salinas was to be discharged from active duty in January.
"He was coming back. Everybody was happy
— his mom was excited," Ordonez said.
Salinas knew well the danger he faced.
A Washington state newspaper photographed
Salinas last October in Iraq as he shed a tear during the memorial service for
Cpl. Carl Johnson II, who was also killed when a homemade bomb struck his
Ordonez said he’ll make sure young Anthony
knows what his father was like. "I
guess with time, I will tell him the kind of father he was; he died for his
country and serving us," Ordonez said.
In addition to his mother and son, Salinas
has a half sister in Houston and a half brother who is a Marine expected to
deploy to Iraq soon.
Although a wake will be held in Houston,
Salinas’ funeral and burial will be in the Rio Grande Valley, where he was born
and still has relatives.
Killed in the same attack as Salinas were
Staff Sgt. Fernando Santos, 29, of San Antonio and Spc. Cristian Rojas-Gallego,
24, of Loganville, Ga.
The men’s unit, which is based at Fort Lewis,
Wash., was deployed in June 2006.
Fort Lewis is home to about 28,000 soldiers,
of which about 10,000 are currently in Iraq, said Joe Hitt, a civilian
spokesman for the base.
Explosion Kills Danville Native In Iraq
August 14, 2007 BY BARBARA GREENBERG,
DANVILLE — Justin Penrod, a 24-year-old
Danville native serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq, died Saturday doing what he
believed was his duty as an American. He
died in an explosion from an improvised explosive device.
Some might think Army Spec. Penrod fulfilled
his obligation to his country after his first tour of duty in the war zone, but
that wasn’t enough to satisfy this patriot.
Penrod enlisted in the full-time Army a year
after he completed the first tour, which he served with the Illinois Army
"Justin loved what he did," Christina, his
24-year-old widow, said during a telephone interview Monday from Fort Stewart,
Ga. "Once he came back from Iraq, he
knew he wanted to go back there again."
After a year of civilian life, Penrod joined
the full-time Army. During that brief
year, he made a different kind of contribution by working as a drill instructor
for Lincoln’s Challenge.
Diane Penrod, Justin’s stepmother, recalled
Justin’s decision to go to the military school instead of continuing at
Danville High School.
"The classroom wasn’t a good fit for him,"
she said. "But Lincoln’s Challenge was tough for him at first. I encouraged him
to stick it out. I told him he’d be a better person for making it through the
program, and he was. Out of his class of
40, he was one of two who graduated from there with a diploma.
"After Justin finished his National Guard
service, he got a job with Lincoln’s Challenge. He understood what the kids
were going through. He made it, and it
made him stronger.
"He believed in giving back. He didn’t just
say that — he lived it.
"That boy was something else," she said.
Tina Tuttle, Justin’s mother, said she’s
always been proud of her youngest child. "I’m proud of all my kids, Jimmy and
Listia, as well as Justin. I’m proud of them for who they are, not just for
what they’ve done. The glory is to God
for giving me these children."
Listia Lyons, Justin’s sister, described her
younger brother as "a loving person and my best friend. I talked to him just
before he went to Iraq this last time. I started crying, and he said, 'I’ve
done this before. I can do it again.’
"I know he’s in a better place. He doesn’t have to worry now," she said.
Christina and the couple’s 8-month-old son
Colin joined Justin in early June at Fort Stewart. The couple felt blessed to
have their son, born three months premature.
"Colin’s birth was a great ordeal for us,"
she said. "It’s where I’m getting my strength now. That and from my folks, who
surprised me by coming here Saturday. That was an incredible coincidence."
She described her husband as a proud husband
"He was full of life," she said. "He made
anybody he met smile."
But Justin took his military duty seriously.
"He was part of a task force that cleared out
houses. He was doing dangerous work. All he could say about it when I asked him
was, "I make sure that things are safe,’" his wife said.
Plans for Penrod’s funeral are still
tentative, according to his wife. A visitation in Champaign and a funeral
service followed by burial at Danville’s National Cemetery are being considered
Big Spring Family Mourns Soldier’s Death 08/10/07
August 10, 2007 Catherine Collins, CBS 7 News
Big Spring, TX - The fight for freedom hits
home for yet another family from the Permian Basin and one Big Spring family is
coping with the devastating news.
He was scheduled to return home to Texas
tomorrow... but now his wife Teresa, and her parents Robert and marry Ford aren’t
preparing for a celebration. Instead,
they remember his legacy... and morn the loss of the man they call their hero.
Teresa Long, Braden’s husband said "He
impacted a lot of people in a good way, anybody that ever met him, they loved
US Army Specialist Braden Long joined the
army after high school to pursue a lifelong dream, and a duty he felt called to
Long’s wife told us "After 911 he wanted to
go even more to support his county, he wanted to do what was right."
And Long, a few days shy of his twentieth
birthday, did more than that. He gave his life.
Long’s wife said, "It’s still kinda hard to
The Sherman native was killed Saturday in
Long’s wife said "His humvee came under
attack by enemy grenades, and that’s all they told me."
And like many army wives, she dreaded the
knock at the door... but it came at her home in Big Spring.
Long’s wife told us, "They came in and they’re
like, we have to tell you something, as soon as I knew what was going on I said
A tragic and heartbreaking price, her parents
say, to lose someone so young.
Mary Ford, Teresa Long’s mother said "It
breaks for my daughter, it breaks for Braden and his family, just so much life
ahead of them."
Funeral services for Long will be held in
Sherman, Texas on August nineteenth.
Mother Gets Dreaded
GI Killed In Iraq
August 8, 2007 By David Montero, Rocky Mountain
She thought it was the 5- year-old neighbor
coming to play with the cat, so Kei Torres didn’t think much of the doorbell
Her friend had flown up from Houston to
Torres’ home in Washington state and they were going to see the Seattle Mariners
game that night. Torres had one shoe on and was holding the other.
"I was looking down, expecting to see
this young boy. When I opened the door,
I was still looking down and I saw four knees in green pants," Torres
said. "And it’s like you know immediately something is wrong.
"I brought my eyes up and the two
soldiers are standing there and I know they’re only there to tell me he’s gone,
but you can’t wrap your hands or your mind around it. It just seemed surreal. I kept telling myself, 'I know I’m going to
hear from him.’ "
But she wasn’t. Instead, she was told her son, Cpl. Jason
LeFleur, 28, had been killed Saturday by a roadside bomb near Hawr Rajab in
Iraq, according to Army officials at his home base of Fort Richardson in Alaska.
Torres said LeFleur, who enlisted in the Army
in 2005 while living in Colorado, decided to join a year before signing up. She
said he wanted to get in shape first.
"He made a decision, spent a whole year
in pursuit of that dream and then he acted on it," Torres said. "I
was very proud of that."
LeFleur was born in Houston and was reared in
Lockhart in central Texas. He showed an aptitude for math and picked up playing
the drums while in high school.
Torres said he eventually decided to go to
college at Ole Miss and studied math there for two years before moving to
Durango in 2000 - drawn there mostly for the skiing, his mother said. His
father, Chuck LeFleur, already was living there.
He worked for the city of Durango in the
recycling department and also held a job at Home Depot before deciding in 2004
to join the Army.
She said her son would have liked to have
stayed in Durango, but between the desire to join the Army and the high cost of
living there, five years would be all he could do.
Torres said she figured he eventually would
work his way back to Texas. "We’re all proud Texans," she said.
And proud Longhorns fans, too. She said
LeFleur was fanatical about the University of Texas teams - which fed -into his
love of sports. He also liked bluegrass
music, Cajun food and could dominate trivia games involving sports and music.
But Torres said he was also a very private
and serious person.
"I always used to say he was born a
40-year-old Republican," Torres said. "He wasn’t afraid to tell you
what he thought. And if you asked him
what he thought, you’d have to prepare for the answer because he would tell you
exactly what he thought, not what you wanted to hear."
LeFleur is survived by his parents and sister
Megan LeFleur of Austin, Texas.
In lieu of flowers the family requests
donations be made in his name to Operation Homefront, or to the Spartan Heroes.
Operation Homefront is a nonprofit that
supports families of deployed troops - operationhome front.net/donate.htm.
Spartan Heroes is part of the Spartan Memorial Foundation honoring fallen
soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division at Fort Richardson: spartanhe roes.org.
Mercenary Killed In Convoy Ambush;
August 13, 2007 Fiji Times Limited
Update: 2.26pm A FIJIAN national working as a
security guard in Iraq is believed to be dead and three of his colleagues are
seriously injured following an attack on the convoy they were escorting from
Baghdad to Mosul at the weekend.
One of the three injured is an American
national. The guards are all employees
of the American security firm, CSS Global Iraq.
According to a Fijian guard with the same
company, the deceased is from Namuka in Lau while one of the injured is from
Kadavu and the other from Koro, Lomaiviti.
Two U.S. Convoys Attacked;
Casualties Not Reported
August 13, 2007 Hussein Kadhim, McClatchy Newspapers
Around 4 p.m., a roadside bomb targeted an
American convoy on Qanat street
at Rusafa bank (east Baghdad) . No casualties reported.
Around 5 p.m., a roadside bomb targeted an
American convoy at Saidiyah neighborhood ( south Baghdad) . No casualties
MILLION MORE TO GO:
COME ON HOME NOW!
soldier from the 2nd battalion, 32nd Field Artillery brigade during a chase for
a "high priority target" in Baghdad August 11, 2007. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
U.S. Lt. Colonel Says Dead 5 Year Old Girl Was
Firing On U.S. Troops
[German SS Officer Says Jews Attacked His Soldiers
With Gas Ovens]
August 14, 2007 The Sydney Morning Herald
Imam Ali Hospital in Sadr City said it had
received three bodies, including a five-year-old girl and her father, shot dead
during the US raid in the Shi’ite stronghold.
Angry mourners marched through the slum with flag-draped coffins.
Blood stained the mattress where the family
said the girl was killed as they slept on the roof of the house to keep cool.
US military spokesman
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver said troops fired only "at people
who fired at them".
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Roadside Bomb In Afghanistan Kills Soldier >From K’zoo
8.13.07 COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press
DETROIT — A soldier from Kalamazoo was killed
over the weekend in Afghanistan after a roadside bomb exploded beneath the
truck he was driving, his mother said today.
Pfc. Jordan Goode, 21, a member of the 82nd
Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C., was in the first of a five-truck convoy
when the explosion occurred Saturday, his mother told The Associated Press.
"He was a great kid and he loved his family,"
Sheri Goode said. "He believed in what he was doing and he was doing the right
Jordan Goode graduated in 2004 from Kalamazoo’s
New City High School. He enlisted in the
U.S. Army shortly after graduating and was shipped to Afghanistan in January.
He and his family spoke often through a Web
cam they bought him, his mother said.
"I talked to him (last) today for about 15
minutes online," Sheri Goode said. "I
asked if he was ready to come home and he said, 'Yeah.’
"He wanted to be out of his boots. Jordan said he was so tired of being in his
His passion was extreme sports like
skateboarding and snowboarding, his mother said.
"He loved the thrill. That’s why he went Airborne," she said. "Once
when Jordan snowboarded, he went down the end of a slope and there was no snow
at the bottom. He had a concussion."
He was due to come home on leave in October
and was planning to take his wife, Aubrey, to Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Sheri Goode said her son was concerned after
his unit in Afghanistan recently was moved to a new camp.
"This past week, he said something to his
wife that he might not come back. That
was something he had never said before," Sheri Goode said.
Jordan Goode and Aubrey met in junior high
school and were married nearly two years ago when she was expecting their
He joined the Army to support his new family.
"He decided to step up to the plate, do he
right thing and provide for his family," Sheri Goode said.
No funeral services have been planned.
Survivors also include his father, Tony, and
Roanoke County Soldier Killed In Afghanistan
Aug 13, 2007 By Lindsey Henley, WSLS
Another local soldier makes the ultimate
sacrifice fighting for freedom in the War on Terror.
The sister of Jesse Clowers Jr. tells us the
Army notified the family Sunday, that Jesse was killed in Afghanistan. He was 27 years old.
Clowers served in the Army Special Forces,
and was based out of North Carolina. He
had recently told his family that he would be home by the end of September or
the beginning of October.
He leaves behind a wife, Kaytie, and two
children. The couple’s son is named
after his father and is just 2 1/2 years old.
The couple also had a daughter born in May. Jesse had not met her yet.
Clowers Jr. graduated from Cave Spring High
School back in 1998 and played football for the Knights. He then went on to Virginia Tech, where he
was a member of the cheer squad, and graduated in 2003.
1st Polish Soldier Killed In Afghanistan
August 14, 2007 The Associated Press
WARSAW, Poland: A Polish officer was killed
during an attack on a military convoy in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, making
him the first soldier from Poland to be killed in the Afghan mission, the
defense minister said.
2nd Lt. Lukasz Kurowski, 28, was killed in an
exchange of fire some 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of a base in the city
of Gardez, Aleksander Szczyglo said on TVN24 television.
Kurowski was immediately taken to a hospital,
but died on the way, Szczyglo said.
He is the first fatality among the 1,200
troops that Poland has stationed in Afghanistan as part of a NATO mission. In
Iraq, Poland has reported the deaths of 21 soldiers.
Four British Soldiers Wounded In Well-Planned
[Finally, A War Correspondent Who Knows How To
Write A Battle Report]
[And The Newspaper Didn’t Give Him Credit By Name]
14/08/2007 Echo Publications
British forces were caught up in a ferocious
gun battle in southern Afghanistan today after a Taliban ambush in a cornfield.
Two soldiers were helicoptered to hospital
for emergency surgery – one with very serious injuries – when insurgents opened
fire with machine guns and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) just metres away.
Minutes beforehand, the troops from the 1st
Battalion the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (1WFR) had been
standing in a suspected Taliban compound in no-man’s-land deep inside Helmand
Province’s notorious "Green Zone".
Its occupants had apparently left, leaving
behind only a few daily provisions, a cache of rocket flares and a framed
photograph of a Jihadist fighter posing with an AK47.
But as a platoon from the regiment’s B
Company made their way into the adjoining field – creeping along a perimeter
ditch, out of sight behind ripening corn, the Taliban were lying in wait.
It was to be their 28th "contact" and fourth
ambush in four months.
They were among British forces taking part in
a fresh push against the Taliban front line codenamed Operation "Naiza" –
meaning spike – inside the Green Zone, a lush streak of land cutting through
the desert where the insurgents have taken refuge. The operation began late
last night with scores of soldiers patrolling across the Green Zone in darkness
to a fortress-like outpost held by 1WFR troops throughout the summer.
Setting out after first light today, the
troops had stormed a maze of mud-walled compounds suspected of harbouring Taliban
before entering the field to search for a better vantage point.
Suddenly pinned down in a ditch as gunfire
cracked overhead, the soldiers’ training immediately kicked in, coolly
returning fire with the first of hundreds of rounds before taking cover from
Troops behind the ditch immediately began
shouting out each other’s names to account for their comrades but within less
than a minute the call was repeated down the line: "We’ve got one casualty, we’ve
got one casualty."
Crawling on their stomachs, they escaped
along the shallow ditch towards a deeper trench as others returned fire.
But as they entered the second ditch Taliban
fighters had made their way along behind a hedge into the first compound,
threatening to outflank and surround them.
Mortar specialists put down a smoke blanket
as an RPG smashed into a tree just feet away from one of them.
Meanwhile the infantrymen crawled down a
thorn-filled trench, taking refuge behind a mud wall 100m from the Taliban and
opened fire with machine guns.
With reinforcements from another platoon
providing covering fire the casualties were safely evacuated.
Worst hit was a private who had been at the
front of a line moving through the field when he was shot by a Taliban fighter
in a brown "dish-dash" trouser suit and turban.
Corporal Clint Buchanan, 25, from Ilkeston,
Derbyshire, was next to him in the line.
He said afterwards: "The guy was in the
corner as he attacked him, he was in cover, he waited for him to get all the
"My friend got hit, the bloke went back from
there towards the others and obviously heard him moaning in pain because he had
"Then a couple of minutes later he just came
back, casual as fuck and went to finish him off."
But the insurgent was shot by the British
troops before he could get any further. The private is described as in a
serious but stable condition in hospital. Another soldier was airlifted with
him to Camp Bastion with a shrapnel wound to his arm and is expected to make a
The Platoon’s acting Second in Command,
Corporal Andy Geering, 36, was hit by a small piece of shrapnel in his arm but
did not need hospital treatment and was able to fight on.
He had been due to go home on leave within
hours when the battle broke out.
HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE
The body of Marine Cpl. Matthew Zindars after
his funeral service Aug. 3, 2007 at the Lutheran Preparatory School in
Watertown Wis. Zindars was killed by a
roadside bomb July 24, 2007, during his second tour of duty in Iraq. (AP
Soldiers And Families Confront General Over
He "Sought To Reassure" Them But Says No End In
Sight To 15 Month Tours
Jr. Aug. 14, 2007. (AP Photo/Susan
[When a general has to
"reassure" the troops, you know the pressure is building. The explosion will come. T]
Aug. 14, 2007 By MICHELLE ROBERTS Associated
FORT HOOD, Texas — Soldiers
deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan will be facing the extended 15-month
deployments until at least next June, even under a best-case scenario, a top
Army commander said Tuesday.
Commanders are assessing the situation on the
ground now, but Gen. Richard Cody, the Army Vice Chief of Staff, said it will
take until at least June to shrink average deployments back to a year while
maintaining the 158,000 troops deployed in Iraq now.
"It’s going to take a while to get off
the 15 months," he said in an interview with The Associated Press on
A decision on when to begin scaling back the
longer deployments will depend on when President Bush and military commanders
believe they can begin to pull back troops, he said. But once a decision is
made, he cautioned, "We cannot automatically revert to 12 months. This is
a river that’s flowing."
During a day of meetings with
troops, commanders and Army spouses at Fort Hood, he faced questions at every
rank about the extended deployments and sought to reassure soldiers that the
extension was a temporary measure designed to get enough soldiers in Iraq while
giving them at least a year to rest and train between deployments.
"We will not extend you
past 15 months.
"I guarantee you that —
unless something really bad happens in the
world," Cody told a group of 4th Infantry Division soldiers
getting ready to deploy.
IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP
Resistance Destroys Another Key Bridge
14 August 2007 By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press
A truck bomber struck a strategic bridge
outside Baghdad on Tuesday, sending cars plunging into the river and killing at
least 10 people in the second attack on the span in three months, police said.
The Thiraa Dijla bridge in Taji, a town near
a U.S. air base some 12 miles north of the capital, came under attack around
noon, police said, giving the casualty toll.
The bridge, which stretched
across a canal on the main highway that links Baghdad with the northern city of
Mosul, was bombed three months ago and only one lane had reopened, according to
the police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not
authorized to release the information.
The attacker detonated his payload after
going through an Iraqi army checkpoint about 40 yards away from the span, which
was devastated, according to the officials.
A number of cars plunged into the canal,
which links the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, and rescue efforts were under
way, the officials said.
U.S. and Iraqi troops cordoned off the area
to evacuate the wounded, the military said, without providing a casualty toll.
Sweden Suspends Iraq Flights After Rocket Attack
Aug 14 By LOUISE NORDSTROM, Associated Press
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Sweden has suspended
commercial flights to and from Iraq after an apparent rocket attack against a
passenger jet as it took off from the northern city of Sulaimaniyah, the Nordic
country’s aviation authority said Tuesday.
In the incident last Wednesday, pilots of the
Nordic Airways plane carrying 130 passengers noticed a trail of light arching
over the aircraft just after takeoff, Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Anders
The McDonnell Douglas MD83 plane was not hit,
and arrived safely in Stockholm.
How’s That Surge Going?
50 Insurgents Invade Oil Ministry Building And
Dozens of guerillas wearing security force
uniforms stormed the compound and captured a deputy oil minister and four other
officials who were spirited away in a convoy using 17 official vehicles.
The commando-like raid captured Abdel-Jabar
al-Wagaa, a senior assistant to Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, said Assem
Jihad, the oil ministry spokesman.
Al-Wagaa and four other officials with the
State Oil Marketing Organization were taken away by more than 50 fighters in
military-style vehicles, said an Interior Minister official, speaking
anonymously because he was not authorized to release the information.
The official said five bodyguards were
wounded in the raid on the State Oil Marketing Organization complex on Palestine Street in
Jihad said attackers took the deputy minister
from his home in the compound. He said they stole a number of cars from the
compound, most of them belonging to the marketing organization.
Assorted Resistance Action
13 Aug 2007 Reuters & AP & Hussein
Kadhim, McClatchy Newspapers & 14 Aug 2007 Reuters
Sunday night, a roadside bomb targeted a
border guards convoy at Nafit Khana (south of Khanaqeen, north east Baqouba)
killing a major and four of his soldiers.
All of them were former members of Peshmerga (Kurds fighters) .
Insurgents killed one Iraqi soldier in
central Hilla 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad, police said and captured the
mayor of the town of Dijla, near Tikrit.
Judge Abdul Sattar Bayrkdar, the spokesman
for the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council, said 31 judges have been killed.
Around 1.10 p.m., Insurgents captured a truck
driver on Gargcha bridge near Mamsha village of Laylan (south east
Kirkuk). The attackers were riding two
cars (white Toyota sedan and white pick up). The police has informed all check
points of this incident to get them.
Insurgents stormed the house of police
officer Aqil Radhi Idan, killing his family, in the town of Suwayra, 40 km (25
miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
Insurgents killed a guard and wounded two
others in a drive-by attack on a police patrol in Hilla, 100 km (60 miles)
south of Baghdad, police said.
Insurgents killed a policeman near his house
in a drive-by shooting in Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police
4 policemen were wounded in an IED explosion
that targeted a police patrol in Al Tayaran square downtown Kirkuk city around
4 policemen from one of the patrols of the
emergencies battalion of Kirkuk police were wounded in an IED explosion in
Wahid Huzairan neighborhood downtown Kirkuk city around 9,45 am.
DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK OUT
Telling the truth - about the occupation or
the criminals running the government in Washington - is the first reason for
Traveling Soldier. But we want to do
more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance - whether it’s in
the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become
the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together.
We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within
the armed forces. If you like what you’ve
read, we hope that you’ll join with us in building a network of active duty
organizers. http://www.traveling-soldier.org/ And join with
Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now!
60% Of Iraqis Want U.S. Troops Dead:
A terrified Iraqi child covers his face as
foreign occupation soldiers from the U.S. 2nd battalion, 32nd Field Artillery
brigade search his house during an armed home invasion in Baghdad August 11,
2007. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
An Iraqi woman is forced to sit in the dirt
so she can be body-searched by foreign occupation troops from the U.S. Army
Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry
Division at a checkpoint in the Amariyah neighborhood in west Baghdad, Iraq on
Aug. 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
[61% of Iraqis say they approve
of attacks on U.S.-led forces in their country, up from 47 percent in
January. A solid majority of Shiite and
Sunni Arabs approved of the attacks, according to the poll. 9/27/2006 By BARRY
SCHWEID, AP & Program on International Policy Attitudes
Iraqis feel about U.S. troops
trampling them in the dirt the same way Americans felt about British troops
trampling them in the dirt in 1776. They
are right to resist. T]
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
"A Foreshadowing Of What’s In Store Big-Time This
Fall When The Propaganda Machinery Of The Warfare State Goes Into High Gear"
echo chamber will reverberate with endless claims that the military situation
is improving, American casualties will be dropping and Iraqi forces will be
shouldering more of the burden.
August 2, 2007 by Norman Solomon,
CommonDreams. The new documentary film
War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death is based on
Norman Solomon’s book of the same title.
This week the U.S. media establishment is
mainlining another fix for the Iraq war: It isn’t so bad after all, American
military power could turn wrong into right, chronic misleaders now serve as
The hit is that the war must go on.
When the White House chief of staff Andrew
Card said five years ago that "you don’t introduce new products in August," he
was explaining the need to defer an all-out PR campaign for invading Iraq until
But this year, August isn’t a bad month to
launch a sales pitch for a new and improved Iraq war. Bad products must be re-marketed to
counteract buyers’ remorse.
"War critics" who have concentrated on
decrying the lack of U.S. military progress in Iraq are now feeling the hoist
from their own petards. But that’s to be
Those who complain that the war machine is
ineffective are asking for more effective warfare even when they think they’re
If Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack didn’t
exist, they’d have to be invented. The duo’s op-ed piece Monday in the New York
Times, under the headline "A War We Just Might Win," was boilerplate work from
elite foreign-policy technicians packaging themselves as "two analysts who have
harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq."
A recent eight-day officially guided tour led
them to conclude that "we are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in
Both men have always been basic supporters of
the Iraq war.
O’Hanlon is a prolific writer at the
Brookings Institution. Pollack’s credits
include working at the CIA and authoring the 2002 bestseller The Threatening
Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq.
In the years since the candy and flowers
failed to materialize, their critiques of the Iraq war have been merely
The media maneuvers of recent days are eerily
similar to scams that worked so well for the Bush administration during the
agenda-setting for the invasion.
Vice President Cheney and his top underlings
kept leaking disinformation about purported Iraqi weapons of mass destruction
and links to Al Qaeda — while the New York Times and other key media outlets
breathlessly reported the falsehoods as virtual facts.
Then Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza
Rice and other practitioners of warcraft quickly went in front of TV cameras
and microphones to cite the "reporting" in the Times and elsewhere that they
had rigged in the first place.
Last Monday, the ink was scarcely dry on the
piece by O’Hanlon and Pollack before the savants were making the rounds of TV
studios and other media outlets — doing their best to perpetuate a war that
they’d helped to deceive the country into in the first place.
The next day, Cheney picked up the tag-team
baton. Tuesday night, on CNN’s "Larry King Live," he declared that the U.S.
military "made significant progress now into the course of the summer. …
Don’t take it from me. Look at the piece that
appeared yesterday in the New York Times, not exactly a friendly publication —
but a piece by Mr. O’Hanlon and Mr. Pollack on the situation in Iraq. They’re just back from visiting over
there. They both have been strong
critics of the war."
On Wednesday, the U.S. News & World
Report website noted: "The news that the U.S. death toll in Iraq for July, at
73, is the lowest in eight months spurred several news organizations to present
a somewhat optimistic view of the situation in Iraq.
The consensus in the coverage appears to be
that things are improving militarily, even as the political side of the
equation remains troubling."
Such media coverage is a
foreshadowing of what’s in store big-time this fall when the propaganda
machinery of the warfare state goes into high gear.
The media echo chamber will
reverberate with endless claims that the military situation is improving,
American casualties will be dropping and Iraqi forces will be shouldering more
of the burden.
Arguments over whether U.S. forces can
prevail in Iraq bypass a truth that no amount of media spin can change: The
U.S. war effort in Iraq has always been illegitimate and fundamentally
wrong. Whatever the prospects for
America’s war there, it shouldn’t be fought.
During the Vietnam War, the
U.S. news media were fond of disputes about whether light really existed at the
end of the tunnel. Framed that way, the debate could — and did — go on for many
The most important point to be
made was that the United States had no right to be in the tunnel in the first
For years now, many opponents
of the Iraq war have assumed that the tides of history were shifting and would
soon carry American troops home.
"President Bush may be the last
person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in
Iraq is over," New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote in August 2005.
He concluded that the United
States as a country "has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We’re outta
As I wrote at the time, Rich’s
storyline was "a complacent message that stands in sharp contrast to the real
situation we now face: a U.S. war on Iraq that may persist for a terribly long
"For the Americans still in
Iraq, and for the Iraqis still caught in the crossfire of the occupation, the
experiences ahead will hardly be compatible with reassuring forecasts made by
pundits in the summer of 2005."
Or in the summer of 2007.
Unfortunately, what I wrote two Augusts ago
is still true: "We’re not 'outta there’ — until an antiwar movement in the
United States can grow strong enough to make the demand stick."
The American media establishment continues to
behave like a leviathan with a monkey on its back — hooked on militarism and
largely hostile to the creative intervention that democracy requires.
CLASS WAR REPORTS
Welcome To The Occupied USA:
Chicago Terrorists Execute Another Black Teen;
"A Newspaper Photographer’s Cameras Were Broken By
"The Boy Was Running Away From Them"
justice, no peace! No racist police!"
guard the police station at 3100 W. Harrison against protesters Monday night. (Tom Cruze/Sun-Times)
August 7, 2007 BY NORM PARISH AND CINDY LOZA
Staff Reporters, Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Police on Monday evening shot and
killed a teen on the West Side who police say pointed a gun at an officer.
The fatal shooting triggered a near-riot by
neighborhood residents disputing the police version of the incident, which
brought several hundred officers to the scene from police districts citywide.
Ericka Hale, 18, one of a crowd of hundreds
who later marched to the Harrison and Kedzie police station for a protest and
prayer vigil, had a different version of the shooting.
"The boy was running away from them. By the time he got to the garbage can, the
police shot him," Hale said.
Relatives identified the teen as Aaron
According to police, the incident occurred
about 8 p.m., when Special Operations Section officers on patrol saw a group of
young men standing in front of a grocery store.
Witnesses said Harrison and five friends were
in front of the store when police pulled up, and they ran. Jason Hunley, 25,
said police followed Harrison a block away, and one allegedly fired shots as
This is the second time in a
week a man has died at the hands of police.
Gefrey Johnson, 42, died after police shot him with a Taser on Saturday.
As a crowd of hundreds gathered
afterward and swelled, Lashunna Carter, 16, the teen’s girlfriend, was
hysterical, repeating: "The police just shot him! They just shot him!"
Some in the crowd said Harrison
wasn’t involved with gangs or drugs but belonged to a hip-hop dance group. "He was just a hip-hop kid. He wasn’t doing anything wrong," said Brenda
The crowd grew increasingly volatile, as more
police were summoned to line a four-block area.
Bottles were thrown at police, and police
confirmed a newspaper photographer’s cameras were broken by police, but
reported no arrests.
At the station, the crowd
chanted: "No justice, no peace! No
Police cordoned them away from
the building, and reporters observed some officers physically pushing some
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