The Real Pat Tillman Story

Women In Iraq (August 2005)

Taking Arab Grievances Seriously: Clark

All Roads Lead to Baghdad: A Call for Unity in the Anti-War Movement

The Manpower Crisis at the Pentagon June 2005

Howard Zinn's Commencement Address May 2005

Hersch Interviewed by Goodman: May 2005

Vietnam Compared to Iraq: Danny Schecter

"Murderous Thugs" Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star Families for Peace

"Collaterals" A Op Ed piece by Rob Shetterly

Sheehan and Pitt: Bringing the Troops Home

Why Hold an Anti-War Rally in a Military Town?

How Dare Some Say: "Support Our Troops!"

Principi Out Because of DU?

Dan Fahey on The Myths and Truths of Depleted Uranium

Stan Goff: We Will Reclaim our Armed Forces: December, 2004

Best equipped Army: Mark Shields Dec. 21, 2004

Fascism in America: December 8, 2004

CIA Report: We're Losing the War for Hearts and Minds: December 7, 2004

60 Minutes Report on True American Casualties in Iraq: November 22, 2004

The tragedy of Fallujah

An Essay on Arlington West: November 6, 2004 in the LA Times

Marines Prepare for Fallujah: November 4, 2004

Doctorow on Bush: One of our best authors laments the lack of morality in Bush's psyche.  A moving essay.

Bush By The Numbers: A Detailed List of the Bush Government's "Accomplishments"

Comments made at the Vigil for the Fallen: Igor Bobrowski's words on Sept. 2nd speakfor all of us

Informed Consent: Juan Coles' take on the Iraq War

Iraq Stories our Media Won't Print: TomDispatch Stuff

GIs Fight Back Newsletter: Accounts of the Iraq War from guys who are there.

Learning the lessons of Our own History: Craig Barnes compares George Washington's tactics to Iraqis today
Johnny We Hardly Knew You
Is Kerry A Peace president or a War President?
Mourning People: About Arlington West
John Kenneth Galbraith: Corporate Control of U.S. Government
Howard Zinn: Dissent at the World War II Memorial
Michael Uhl: Seymour Hersh on Abu Ghraib: Where's Vietnam?

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Mourning People


April Fitzsimmons

Now is the time for inconvenient courage. I am a Air Force veteran and every Sunday Veterans for Peace and volunteers gather at the Santa Monica Pier at 7:30am to erect Arlington West, a memorial to the fallen US Military of the current Iraq War. One cross for every service person killed. We reckon that if we were to plant a cross for every Iraqi or Allied person who has been killed in this war it would extend all the way to Malibu.

As the group arrives we unload the crosses from Mark Scully's old blue pick-up. Mark is the coordinator for Arlington West and a veteran from the Vietnam War. At times he is still there and then he returns to the present, his old green eyes jaded and sad. He adjusts his long white ponytail takes a step forward and hands me a stack of crosses.

Last week a new group of eight volunteers showed up. Good Morning! I said cheerily as we unpacked the crosses onto the beach. They stared blankly past me. Oh they're not morning people - I thought - People who don't like mornings hate me when I greet them so I dug into the work and so did they. Stan - a vet from World War II was staring out across the ocean. Whatcha thinking about Stan? I ask. Those kids he says - nodding his wise face toward the group of eight - They lost their best friend on Monday - they didn't know what to do so they came here. The group of eight finished planting the 852 crosses with us then they took a flag and a flower and

wrote his name on a piece of paper. They placed it on a cross in the front

row and sat crying and telling stories of 1st Lieutenant Andre Tyson. I was wrong. I guess they were mourning people.

Later that Sunday a Marine came and collapsed in grief. He had been the sole survivor of a mortar attack in Iraq and had lost 16 of his comrades. He was so bereft that he couldn't write the names of the men. So the volunteers helped him and then he gingerly kissed all 16 crosses and sat against the Santa Monica pier completely frozen until he could move again and take a step forward.

Yesterday for the 4th of July we read the names of the 865 fallen. 100 names every hour. I hated reading the names of the dead. When I read them on Memorial Day I couldn't stop crying. Every time I read another 18 or 19 year old I wept and this time as I read Private First Class Sean Horn 19, or Lance Corporal Kyle Codner 19, I felt empty. I hated that I wasn't crying

for them. I think I thought that I wouldn't have to read any more names.

I kept thinking that the body count would stop.

One thing I know is that the feeling of putting up the crosses in the

morning and taking them down at night is completely different. In the

morning the sand is sectioned off just like a land survey. We make a perfect triangle and then a perfect square. Marcus Eriksen, a Marine veteran from the Gulf War has created a diagram that allows us to create perfectly symmetrical rows. Luckily he has a PHD in Science Education and this comes easy for him because I got a D in geometry. Volunteers help us place the crosses and adjust each one so it is straight -- as straight as anything can be when the foundation consists of sand.

As I plant the crosses it feels like I am saying hello to reality. Thank you Private First Class Daniel Unger (19) , Thank you Specialist Christopher Duffy (26), Thank you Private First Class Melissa Hobart (22). The wood of the cross is strong, the sand is newly raked and the sun is dawning across the Pacific Ocean.

The day goes on. People find their friends and circle their names in a red marker. Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom and Mayor Pro Tem Kevin McKeown come by to help us read the names of the dead.

Jose, a developmentally disabled man in a red white and blue baseball hat asks me what to do. You can take a card and write a name and a word of condolence or acknowledgement to fallen soldier. Okay he says and we write out a name - and then he asks me - how do you spell god? "G" - I say - trying to keep it together - "O" - "D" and then how do you spell bless?

Two nineteen year-old girls in bikini tops and tattoos stop by. They are on weekend liberty and enlisted in the Marines last September. They are ready to fight and leave for Iraq in a week. They have no fear, are on a mission and their intention is clear.

A man is upset by the memorial. Do you know how many people Sadaam killed? Another woman comes - Can you help me find my son? Yes - I say and find his name on the board. I'm so sorry I say. Thank you she says and touches my arm. She and her family pick a cross closest to the ocean and sit there until we begin to take the crosses down at 6:00pm.

I don't like taking down the crosses. I can feel the tears in the sand and I can feel the confusion in the beach air mixed with people flying kites and having picnics. I read the cards as I pull them off the crosses and I see the little memorials that people create - the stack of seashells - a group of flat river rocks - a Marine insignia - a hat - a funeral card - a cross made of palm tree. Ed Ellis the coordinator of Veterans for Peace LA and veteran of the Vietnam War has started laminating some of the memorabilia and RV another Vietnam vet places them in the front row every Sunday.

As we tear down the memorial the crosses are stacked and put in the back of Mark Scully's truck and Ed Ellis' van. Somehow this memorial which has grown from the 540 crosses in February to 865 crosses on 4th of July weekend squeezes into these two vehicles both on their last leg.

I turn back and the beach is clean again. The memorial is gone almost like it never happened. The picnics and the kites rush in to fill the empty space. Families and friends of all different colors and beliefs rush onto the sand filled with tears.

I get home and unload the car. I sit down at my desk to eat dinner and look

at the guest book which people have signed throughout the day. At the

memorial the book sits right next to our display of the wounded from Iraq - a number which now exceeds 5000. The fireworks are beginning outside. The distant explosions from around the city echo through my walls. I wonder if this it what it sounds like in Iraq and I read the guest book:

"Let all the troops come home. Humanity has more important challenges to meet."

"Yes it is worth it to keep the world free from the type of people who would destroy all that is worth living for."

"I just completed my military obligation one month ago. I have family and friends who are still fighting and now they must fight for me too. I am proud to say that I served my country as a US Sailor. I am proud of my

shipmates: those that are still with us and those that are not. Thank you shipmates."

"Life is too precious.war is something that will take something precious away. Stop this war and leave people with something precious in life."

"We are all here for a purpose. These men and women died so you could live and enjoy life. What is your purpose?"

"To fallen brothers - rest in peace knowing that we are free - see you soon - Semper Fi."

"I am in tears. Most of these people are still kids. We must stop it."

"We love America and if you live here you should too. Respect our country or get out of it."

"Ya basta a la Guerra."

"On the 4th of July we, as Americans, celebrate our freedom - and at what a

horrible cost. Thank you dear boys and girls."

"The thrill is gone."

"Thank you to the soldiers for the risk you take so that we can come to the beach and have fun."

"I came from Syria to the USA because I am looking for a perfect world and for peace. After this war in Iraq I am just thinking that I hope I am not in the wrong place."

"Please know that despite all of the politics we respect that you have given up your lives which are undeniably precious."

I try to eat my dinner and read. It's impossible. I am blown away. That folks can express such varying points of view standing side-by-side with their tank tops and beach umbrellas and co-exist. Afterall, the intention of the memorial is to honor the fallen and the wounded, to encourage a dialogue among people with different points of view, to address the needs of the US Military returning from war and to provide a place to grieve.

I haven't been to Iraq but I will go in the next year with the Veterans for Peace - Iraq Water Project to help rebuild water treatment plants. Some areas in Iraq have been without running water since the end of the first Gulf War. I have to see what is happening for myself. What I've learned is that this conflict is not real to me when I see it on the TV or in the newspapers. On Sunday's at Arlington West however, I cannot deny the reality of the Iraq War. A few weeks ago a man in his mid 70's approached the tent with tears in his eyes. Hello I said and shook his military handshake hand. His lip quivered - I haven't been on sand in 50 years - I was a Marine in World War II and after five beach assaults in the South Pacific I swore I would never set foot on sand again but -- I had to see this he said.

This man had it. That inconvenient courage. Thank you I said.

April Fitzsimmons

4075 Van Buren Place # B

Culver City, CA 90232

(310) 204-4806



Hi, all,
I've attached and scrolled below a one page leaflet we use at Arlington West Santa Monica to give volunteers some ideas about how to peacefully manage the occasional conflictive visitor to the project.  Some of these ideas are adapted from various presentations known as "Verbal Judo." 
Hope this is useful for others involved with Arlington projects - please feel free to adapt these ideas for your chapter's use.
Joanne Tortorici Luna
VFP Los Angeles



The Arlington West project can evoke varying reactions in the public.  Most commonly, AW evokes reflection, and sometimes sadness or grief.  However, we have also had to deal with some members of the public (military, vet, and/or civilian) who respond with anger.  Some have been verbally abusive and physically threatening. As an organization -- the L.A. chapter of Veterans for Peace -- we are in an ongoing discussion about the best ways to peacefully manage these few disruptive situations. Meanwhile, here are some tips for disarming and defusing aggressive reactions to the project.


Know yourself -- We all have "hot spots" and old wounds.  Know beforehand the kinds of comments/situations that could trigger your own anger. This can help keep you from reacting to provocation.


Don't take it personally -- Just like us, people who visit AW will have histories. Angry reactions to the project most likely have their basis in other experiences and memories.  It's not about you.


Listen -- Listen carefully to what people are saying, even when they're angry. Remember that underneath anger is sometimes pain.  Underneath pain is sometimes anger.


Model calmness -- Let your facial expressions, gestures, words, and tone of voice be at ease and rational.  This in turn stimulates rationality in others.


Exercise self-control -- the basic human inclination is to fight back verbally when challenged or insulted. Instead, try to deflect the aggression to ease the situation. In short, this sometimes means to "take crap with dignity and style."


Project empathy and respect -- Empathy means mentally stepping into another person's shoes to understand their point of view.


Reflect the person's words back to him/her --Take the person's words and paraphrase them respectfully, without sarcasm or anger. This can help a person to feel they have been "heard."


Use phrases that help de-escalate: Examples:  "Here's what I heard you say…"  "I appreciate that."  "I see your point."  "You're entitled to that view."  "I hear ya." "That may well be."  "I understand that."   etc.


Acknowledge that people have different ways of experiencing AW but look for points of agreement:  Example:  "We may have different ways of thinking about what's happening in Iraq. But we seem to agree that we want to honor the dead."


If things get heated, take control of the conversation: Example:  "Whoa!  Hold on. Wait a sec."  Then empathize, and paraphrase. These are deflective techniques.


Ignore those who are non-aggressively disruptive: Turn your attention away from people who are disrupting without being aggressive.  Turn your attention toward people you'd rather talk to. This discourages the disrupter from continuing.


Safety First - if you are attacked physically, get away from the attacker if possible.  Have a code for calling the police when


The Guardian-UK


15 July 2004

A Cloud Over Civilisation
   Corporate power is the driving force behind US foreign policy

   --and the slaughter in Iraq

       John Kenneth Galbraith     

At the end of the second world war, I was the director for overall effects of
the United States strategic bombing survey - Usbus, as it was known. I led a
large professional economic staff in assessment of the industrial and military
effects of the bombing of Germany. The strategic bombing  of German industry,
transportation and cities, was gravely disappointing. Attacks on factories
that made such seemingly crucial components as ball bearings, and even attacks
on aircraft plants, were sadly useless. With plant and machinery relocation and
more determined management, fighter aircraft production actually increased in
early 1944 after major bombing. In the cities, the random cruelty and death
inflicted from the sky had no appreciable effect on war production or the war.
These findings were vigorously resisted by the Allied armed services -
especially, needless to say, the air command, even though they were the work of the
most capable scholars and were supported by German industry officials and
impeccable German statistics, as well as by the director of German arms
production, Albert Speer. All our conclusions were cast aside. The air command's public
and academic allies united to arrest my appointment to a Harvard
professorship and succeeded in doing so for a year.

Nor is this all. The greatest military misadventure in American history
until Iraq was the war in Vietnam. When I was sent there on a fact-finding mission
in the early 60s, I had a full view of the military dominance of foreign
policy, a dominance that has now extended to the replacement of the presumed
civilian authority. In India, where I was ambassador, in Washington, where I had
access to President Kennedy, and in Saigon, I developed a strongly negative view
of the conflict. Later, I encouraged the anti-war campaign of Eugene McCarthy
in 1968. His candidacy was first announced in our house in Cambridge.

At this time the military establishment in Washington was in support of the
war. Indeed, it was taken for granted that both the armed services and the
weapons industries should accept and endorse hostilities - Dwight Eisenhower's
"military-industrial complex".

In 2003, close to half the total US government discretionary expenditure was
used for military purposes. A large part was for weapons procurement or
development. Nuclear-powered submarines run to billions of dollars, individual
planes to tens of millions each.

Such expenditure is not the result of detached analysis. From the relevant
industrial firms come proposed designs for new weapons, and to them are awarded
production and profit. In an impressive flow of influence and command, the
weapons industry accords valued employment, management pay and profit in its
political constituency, and indirectly it is a treasured source of political
funds. The gratitude and the promise of political help go to Washington and to the
defence budget. And to foreign policy or, as in Vietnam and Iraq, to war.
That the private sector moves to a dominant public-sector role is apparent.
None will doubt that the modern corporation is a dominant force in the
present-day economy. Once in the US there were capitalists. Steel by Carnegie, oil
by Rockefeller, tobacco by Duke, railroads variously and often incompetently
controlled by the moneyed few. In its market position and political influence,
modern corporate management, unlike the capitalist, has public acceptance. A
dominant role in the military establishment, in public finance and the
environment is assumed. Other public authority is also taken for granted. Adverse
social flaws and their effect do, however, require attention.

One, as just observed, is the way the corporate power has shaped the public
purpose to its own needs. It ordains that social success is more automobiles,
more television sets, a greater volume of all other consumer goods - and more
lethal weaponry. Negative social effects - pollution, destruction of the
landscape, the unprotected health of the citizenry, the threat of military action
and death - do not count as such.

The corporate appropriation of public initiative and authority is
unpleasantly visible in its effect on the environment, and dangerous as regards military
and foreign policy. Wars are a major threat to civilised existence, and a
corporate commitment to weapons procurement and use nurtures this threat. It
accords legitimacy, and even heroic virtue, to devastation and death.
Power in the modern great corporation belongs to the management. The board
of directors is an amiable entity, meeting with self-approval but fully
subordinate to the real power of the managers. The relationship resembles that of an
honorary degree recipient to a member of a university faculty.

The myths of investor authority, the ritual meetings of directors and the
annual stockholder meeting persist, but no mentally viable observer of the
modern corporation can escape the reality. Corporate power lies with management - a
bureaucracy in control of its task and its compensation. Rewards can verge on
larceny. On frequent recent occasions, it has been referred to as the
corporate scandal.

As the corporate interest moves to power in what was the public sector, it
serves the corporate interest. It is most clearly evident in the largest such
movement, that of nominally private firms into the defence establishment. From
this comes a primary influence on the military budget, on foreign policy,
military commitment and, ultimately, military action. War. Although this is a
normal and expected use of money and its power, the full effect is disguised by
almost all conventional expression.

Given its authority in the modern corporation it was natural that management
would extend its role to politics and to government. Once there was the
public reach of capitalism; now it is that of corporate management. In the US,
corporate managers are in close alliance with the president, the vice-president
and the secretary of defence. Major corporate figures are also in senior
positions elsewhere in the federal government; one came from the bankrupt and
thieving Enron to preside over the army.

Defence and weapons development are motivating forces in foreign policy. For
some years, there has also been recognised corporate control of the Treasury.
And of environmental policy.

We cherish the progress in civilisation since biblical times and long
before. But there is a needed and, indeed, accepted qualification. The US and
Britain are in the bitter aftermath of a war in Iraq. We are accepting programmed
death for the young and random slaughter for men and women of all ages. So it
was in the first and second world wars, and is still so in Iraq. Civilised life,
as it is called, is a great white tower celebrating human achievements, but
at the top there is permanently a large black cloud. Human progress dominated
by unimaginable cruelty and death.

Civilisation has made great strides over the centuries in science,
healthcare, the arts and most, if not all, economic well-being. But it has also given a
privileged position to the development of weapons and the threat and reality
of war. Mass slaughter has become the ultimate civilised achievement.
The facts of war are inescapable - death and random cruelty, suspension of
civilised values, a disordered aftermath. Thus the human condition and prospect
as now supremely evident. The economic and social problems here described
can, with thought and action, be addressed. So they have already been. War
remains the decisive human failure.

This is an edited extract from The Economics of Innocent Fraud: Truth for
Our Time, by JK Galbraith
, published by Allen Lane.

Published in the August, 2004 issue of The Progressive

Dissent at the War Memorial

by Howard Zinn


As I write this, the sounds of the World War II Memorial celebration in Washington, D.C., are still in my head. I was invited by the Smithsonian Institution to be on one of the panels, and the person who called to invite me said that the theme would be "War Stories." I told him that I would come, but not to tell "war stories," rather to talk about World War II and its meaning for us today. Fine, he said.

I made my way into a scene that looked like a movie set for a Cecil B. DeMille extravaganza--huge tents pitched here and there, hawkers with souvenirs, thousands of visitors, many of them clearly World War II veterans, some in old uniforms, sporting military caps, wearing their medals. In the tent designated for my panel, I joined my fellow panelist, an African American woman who had served with the WACS (Women's Army Corps) in World War II, and who would speak about her personal experiences in a racially segregated army.

I was introduced as a veteran of the Army Air Corps, a bombardier who had flown combat missions over Europe in the last months of the war. I wasn't sure how this audience would react to what I had to say about the war, in that atmosphere of celebration, in the honoring of the dead, in the glow of a great victory accompanied by countless acts of military heroism.

This, roughly, is what I said: "I'm here to honor the two guys who were my closest buddies in the Air Corps--Joe Perry and Ed Plotkin, both of whom were killed in the last weeks of the war. And to honor all the others who died in that war. But I'm not here to honor war itself. I'm not here to honor the men in Washington who send the young to war. I'm certainly not here to honor those in authority who are now waging an immoral war in Iraq."

I went on: "World War II is not simply and purely a 'good war.' It was accompanied by too many atrocities on our side--too many bombings of civilian populations. There were too many betrayals of the principles for which the war was supposed to have been fought.

"Yes, World War II had a strong moral aspect to it--the defeat of fascism. But I deeply resent the way the so-called good war has been used to cast its glow over all the immoral wars we have fought in the past fifty years: in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan. I certainly don't want our government to use the triumphal excitement surrounding World War II to cover up the horrors now taking place in Iraq.

"I don't want to honor military heroism--that conceals too much death and suffering. I want to honor those who all these years have opposed the horror of war."

The audience applauded. But I wasn't sure what that meant. I knew I was going against the grain of orthodoxy, the romanticization of the war in movies and television and now in the war memorial celebrations in the nation's capital.

There was a question-and-answer period. The first person to walk up front was a veteran of World War II, wearing parts of his old uniform. He spoke into the microphone: "I was wounded in World War II and have a Purple Heart to show for it. If President Bush were here right now I would throw that medal in his face."

There was a moment of what I think was shock at the force of his statement. Then applause. I wondered if I was seeing a phenomenon that recurs often in society--when one voice speaks out against the conventional wisdom, and is recognized as speaking truth, people are drawn out of their previous silence.

I was encouraged by the thought that it is possible to challenge the standard glorification of the Second World War, and more important, to refuse to allow it to give war a good name. I did not want this celebration to make it easy for the American public to accept whatever monstrous adventure is cooked up by the establishment in Washington.

More and more, I am finding that I am not the only veteran of World War II who refuses to be corralled into justifying the wars of today, drawing on the emotional and moral capital of World War II. There are other veterans who do not want to overlook the moral complexity of World War II: the imperial intentions of the Allies even as they declared it a war against fascism, and for democracy; the deliberate bombing of civilian populations to destroy the morale of the enemy.

Paul Fussell was an infantry lieutenant who was badly wounded while a platoon leader in France in World War II.

"For the past fifty years the Allied war has been sanitized and romanticized almost beyond recognition by the sentimental, the loony patriotic, the ignorant, and the bloodthirsty," he wrote in Wartime.

It was easier, after the end of World War II, to point to its stupidities and cruelties in fiction rather than in a direct onslaught on what was so universally acclaimed as "the good war." Thus, Joseph Heller in Catch-22 captured the idiocy of military life, the crass profiteering, the pointless bombings. And Kurt Vonnegut, in Slaughterhouse-Five, brought to a large readership the awful story of the bombing of Dresden.

My own delayed criticism of the war--I had volunteered and was an enthusiastic bombardier--began with reflecting about my participation in the bombing of Royan. This was a small town on the Atlantic coast of France, where several thousand German soldiers had been overrun and were waiting for the war to end. Twelve hundred heavy bombers flew over the vicinity of Royan and dropped napalm, killing German soldiers and French civilians, destroying what was once a beautiful little resort town.

Recently, a man wrote to me who had heard me speak on the radio about that bombing mission and said he was also on that mission. After the war, he became a fireman, then a carpenter, and is now a strong opponent of war. He told me of a friend of his who was also on that mission, and who has been arrested many times in anti-war actions. I was encouraged to hear that.

World War II veterans get in touch with me from time to time. One is Edward Wood Jr. of Denver, who upon hearing I was going to be at the Washington Memorial, wrote to me: He said, "If I were there, I would say: As a combat veteran of World War II, severely wounded in France in 1944, never the man I might have been because of that wound, I so wish that this memorial to World War II might have been made of more than stone or marble. I mourn my generation's failures since its victory in World War II . . . our legacy of incessant warfare in smaller nations far from our borders."

Another airman, Ken Norwood, was shot down on his tenth mission over Europe, and spent a year as a prisoner of war in Germany. He has written a memoir (unpublished, so far) which he says is "intentionally an anti-war war story." Packed first into a box car, and then forced to march for two weeks through Bavaria in the spring of 1945, Norwood saw the mangled corpses of the victims of Allied bombs, the working class neighborhoods destroyed. All his experiences, he says, "add to the harsh testimony about the futility and obscenity of war."

The glorification of the "good war" persists on our television and movie screens, in the press, in the pretentious speeches by politicians. The more ugly the stories that come out of Iraq--the bombing of civilians, the mutilation of children, the invasion of homes, and now the torture of prisoners--the more urgent it is for our government to try to crowd out all those images with the triumphant stories of D-Day and World War II.

Those who fought in that war are perhaps better able than anyone to insist that whatever moral standing can be attached to that war must not be used to turn our eyes away from Bush's atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Howard Zinn, the author of "A People's History of the United States," is a columnist for The Progressive.

Copyright 2004 The Progressive


              Seymour Hersh on Abu Ghraib: B Minus

                       Where’s Vietnam?

                        by Michael Uhl

    In reading the three articles on Abu Ghraib written by Seymour
Hersh for the New Yorker between May 10-24, what struck me about the
revelation of Iraqi prisoners and detainees subjected to acts of abuse
and torture, was the similarity in detail to what I experienced in
Vietnam thirty-five years ago.  The one major difference has been the
media’s willingness to embrace in 2004 a story that they shunned in 1970,
when returning veterans attempted to inform the American public of
widespread atrocities, including the routine killing and torture of 
prisoners, by American forces in South East Asia.
         Only certain episodes of the widespread Vietnam veteran war
protest throughout 1970 and into1971 are easily accessible in the
historical record, like the April 1971 veteran encampment in Washington,
when scores of former combatants - with John Kerry in a visible position
of leadership - threw their service ribbons and medals of valor over a
barrier in the direction of the Capitol steps.  But one has to dig far
deeper to recover and stitch into a coherent narrative an account of the
precise issue - U.S. war crimes in Indochina - that motivated much of
Vietnam veteran antiwar activism in those times.  With the exception of
the My Lai massacre - made public in the U.S. under Seymour Hersh’s by-
line more than a year and a half (November 1969) after it had occurred
(March 1968)- the Vietnam war crimes issues, which often focused on
incidents of torture, never attained the level of media validation, and
therefore public recognition, afforded to the events at Abu Ghraib. 

    I’ve often wondered why Hersh never demonstrated more interest
during Vietnam in the larger war crimes issue, of which My Lai was only
the most dramatic component.  Perhaps unfairly, I’ve concluded that, for
the investigative reporter, the scoop is at least as important as the
story.  Had Hersh investigated the “systematic” nature of American war
crimes during the Vietnam War as thoroughly as he is investigating
the “systemic” presence of torture during interrogations in Iraq and
Afghanistan, he might have instructed his New Yorker readers, and the
media at-large with whom he enjoys some credibility, that, with American
forces in Iraq, the murder, torture and abuse of prisoners at least, is
military business as usual.

    Some of the parallels between what I witnessed in Vietnam as
leader of a small military intelligence team, and the details reported by
Hersh about Abu Ghraib, reflect, in my view, disturbing patterns of
American military practice over decades that the American public at
large, accommodated by its government and media,  would prefer not to
know about.  As one of Hersh’s informants puts it, “The process is
unpleasant.  It’s like making sausage.  You like the results, but you
don’t want to know how it’s made.”  The more serious of these wartime
parallels have grievous consequences for both victims - typically
civilian non-combatants - and for the instruments of their abuse - in
this case, American soldiers who in time re-enter the U.S. population as
damaged veterans.

    But even certain of Abu Ghraib’s more atmospheric occurrences
are reported by Hersh as if they were without precedent.  In two of his
three New Yorker articles, for example, Hersh, adds a shade of cloak and
dagger intrigue describing military intelligence (MI) personnel at Abu
Ghraib who appeared in “sterile” uniforms, unmarked by rank, or, when
entitled to wear military uniforms, were dressed in mufti.  Some
interrogators, he writes, used “aliases.”

    My first assignment in 1967, fresh from Army counterintelligence
school (preceded by Infantry Officer School), was as titular head of a
Corps level counterintelligence (CI) office at Fort Hood Texas.  Provided
a snub-nosed .38 and a set of “boxtops” (badge and credentials), I was
styled a Special Agent, and wore civilian clothes on duty; even my small
motorcycle with its  green civilian sticker was “undercover.” 

    The man who met me at the airstrip when I arrived at the 11th
Infantry Bde in Duc Pho, South Vietnam to become officer-in-charge of the
1st Military Intelligence Team (1st MIT) wore unmarked jungle fatigues,
a ‘U.S.’ pinned to where the insignia of rank normally appeared, as did
all members of counterintelligence on the MI team, including myself. 
Months later in Quang Ngai City, I ran into a fellow Georgetown
undergrad, also with Army military intelligence, dressed in khakis and a
bright button downed broad cloth shirt, my uniform in college, and his
still in Vietnam.  Like the OSS operatives who preceded us in World War
II, certain members of the active duty military trained as special
agents - or “spooks” in the vernacular -  routinely posed as civilians in
designated contexts, and some had occasion to operate under noms de
guerre.  This practice was SOP, standard operating procedure.  It was not
something exotic or irregular.

    The 11th Bde became infamous as the Calley brigade, a reference
to Lt. William L. Calley, the platoon leader assigned to one of the
brigade’s infantry units who led the mayhem at My Lai, and was later
convicted by court-martial of murder.  The My Lai massacre had taken
place eight months before I arrived at the 11th Bde in November ‘68. 
And, it was my good fortune to never witness anything to compare with
such a horror, though, just over one year later as a veteran activist in
the antiwar movement I would have a hand in exposing massacres which
other Vietnam veterans had seen or participated in.  What I witnessed
personally were many acts of abuse and torture while on patrol, or within
our own team’s IPW (Interrogation Prisoner of War) section located on the
brigade base camp; and, once, following the bizarre hunt for Viet Cong
cadres operating in a nearby hamlet, I stood alone in preventing the
murder of a prisoner captured in the field.

    But, the one obvious parallel between Iraq and Vietnam that is
arguably a clear violation of the conventions of war, bears on the
treatment of civilian populations subjected to omnibus rounds-ups,
arbitrary incarceration under brutal conditions, severe deprivations and
acts of physical abuse, and, in some cases, interrogation under torture. 
In his New Yorker article of May 10th, Hersh writes that a “lack of
proper screening also meant that many innocent Iraqis were wrongly being
detained - indefinitely... in some cases... [with] more than sixty
percent... deemed not to be a threat to society.”  The modus operandi of
rounding-up resistance suspects and dumping them in prisons or otherwise
confining them, no doubt differs widely in Iraq from what occurred in
Vietnam.  But the net effect on that majority considered innocent
civilians would be the same for either context, and it is this practice
of unjustified population removal, followed by a brutalizing period of
unlawful incarceration that may very likely constitute a crime of war in
Iraq, as well as Vietnam.

    The 1st MIT interrogation section in Vietnam was often swamped
with Vietnamese rural villagers who were dragnetted by infantry units on
their sweeps of the countryside, and delivered to the brigade base camp
as “VC suspects.”  Once in our custody, there was enormous pressure from
the intelligence command to classify detainees as ‘civil defendants
(CDs),’ adjudged by American interrogators, despite our obvious lack of
competency, to have broken the laws of South Vietnam.  As a CD, 
the “suspect,” without the slightest evidence of being either a VC cadre
or a criminal, might then be turned over to the local South Vietnamese
police, whose methods of persuasion were even less gentle than ours. 

    The most prized classification aspired to by the IPW section was
that of PW, prisoner of war, but this required that the detainee be
captured with a weapon, an infrequent occurrence.  The category CD,
therefore, became a functional substitute for the more prized PW
designation, in that the number of CDs also counted toward the MI teams’
performance and productivity in the manner of a “body count.”  And,
whereas in Iraq,  males who are indeed apparently of fighting age formed
a large percentage of the Abu Ghraib detainee population, the
demographics in Vietnam, differed greatly.  There we were dealing
primarily with women of child bearing age, seniors, and late teens.  It
was assumed that all the draft age male inhabitants of a given locale
were already fighting on one side or the other, or were off somewhere
hiding whenever American forces were operating in their area. 
Ironically, it was only these latter military-aged males whom the South
Vietnamese government considered “draft dodgers,” and were most likely
local force guerrillas living outside the Saigon government’s control,
that the IPW interrogators might have legitimately designated ‘CDs’ on
strictly legal grounds.  And as I say, this was the one population we
rarely saw.

    There were for Hersh in his writings on Abu Ghraib additional
lost opportunities to have drawn instructive comparisons between Iraq and
Vietnam. One is the defensive manner in which the sitting administration
in Washington responded to the battlefront atrocity.  George W. Bush,
when finally forced to respond to an Abu Ghraib scandal that persisted in
the headlines of world news, said, according to Hersh, that “the action
of a few did not reflect on the conduct of the military as a whole.”  The
media, for the most part, seemed to reject this wan excuse, and one
repeatedly would see or hear news accounts that referred to the ever-
widening exposure of abuse at Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere in the theater of
war, as “systemic.”  At the same time, such expressions of scepticism
have by no means translated into any deeper criticism of the Iraq War
within the media mainstream  For his part, Richard Nixon, following the
revelation of My Lai back in 1969, called the perpetrators “a few bad
apples,” and the massacre itself was termed an “aberration.”  Antiwar
veterans had a different spin: My Lai was just the tip of the iceberg, we
claimed, and the torture of prisoners, “systematic.”  When it came to
Vietnam, it was Nixon’s, not the veterans’ message, that history has

    Hersh writes with justifiable outrage in his May 10th article
that the “wrong doing” at Abu Ghraib reflects a “failure of Army
leadership at the highest levels.”  At the same time, one of his
anonymous sources reminds the reporter that, far from distributing real
responsibility up the chain of command,  the “army is attempting to have
these six soldiers [American MP guards at Abu Ghraib prison] atone for
its sins.”  And in his piece of  May 24th, Hersh quotes another
unnamed “insider” that the operatives from elite intelligence units
are “vaccinated,” and that “the only people left to prosecute are those
who are undefended, the poor kids at the end of the food chain.”  This
action of affixing primary responsibility for atrocities that are
arguably hard wired into modern wars of ‘counterinsurgency’ onto the
shoulders of the lowest ranking soldiers, those tasked with carrying out
the dirty work, while limiting the culpability of the command, is yet
another echo from the My Lai massacre that resonates with Abu Ghraib’s
culture of abuse and torture. 

    Thirty-five years ago, antiwar Vietnam vets demanded that the
Pentagon not scapegoat a few low ranking GIs for atrocities whose
predicable occurrences could be traced to the nature of an aggressive war
conducted against an entire people, designed and carried out at the
highest levels of the American government and its military
establishment.  A similar view was expressed by then Senator George
McGovern when commenting on the conviction of Lt. Calley in March
1971, “I think it’s a mistake to make one man the scapegoat for a mistake
in national policy.  It’s policy that’s wrong.”  To which antiwar vets
amended, “GIs in the field do not make policy.”  As for “command
responsibility, “ then as now, a few senior officers in direct positions
of command had their wrists slapped, ending or sidetracking their
military careers (with full pensions), but without the stigma of
conviction and prison time that their enlisted subordinates will carry
for life. 

    Notwithstanding the intrinsic value of his exposes on Abu Ghraib
in the context of the current war, Hersh provides unchallenged space for
his network of former spooks and military professionals to sanitize the
trail of amoral practices institutionalized in the intelligence community
from the Cold War to the present.  We read that, at Abu
Ghraib, “fundamentally good soldiers - military intelligence guy - [were]
told that no rules apply,” because “since 9-11, we’ve [the government
apparatus responsible for intelligence oversight] changed the rules...
and created conditions where the ends justify the means.”  And so, rather
than alerting us to the fact that the history of Vietnam is being
repeated in the Gulf War, Hersh allows his readers to conclude that
torture and abuse in Iraq are unique in the recent annals of American
warfare, or, as Nixon said  when speaking of My Lai, “an aberration.” 

    Of course, one can’t be certain that Seymour Hersh’s disinterest
in drawing comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam is not deliberate,
perhaps seen as an unnecessary distraction from the urgency and gravity
of the subject at hand; why muddy the waters with historical analogies? 
The reason history matters here, however, is because it is only with the
Iraq War that the valuable lessons of Vietnam, which have deterred the
U.S. from the unilateral application of major force over the past three
decades to achieve its hegemonic foreign policy objectives, have been
severely undermined, if not entirely discarded.  And because it now
appears that Bush II may have succeeded where Bush I could only dream, in
finally putting the country’s Vietnam Syndrome, so intolerable to the war
party, behind us.


(See bibliography below.)


    I’ve included here a hastily assembled selection of news
articles from 1970-71 which document the efforts of antiwar Vietnam
veterans to alert the American public to the ‘atrocity producing’ nature
of the Vietnam War.

    “Ex-Pilot Alleges Civilian Slayings,” Douglas Robinson, The New
York Times, April 7, 1970.

    “U.S. Army Veteran Alleges Vietnamese Civilians Slain,” The
Springfield Union,” April 7, 1970.

    “3 Viet Vets Charge ‘Routine’ Use of Torture by U.S. Troops,”
Timothy Ferris, New York Post, April 13, 1970.

    “They’d Probe Pentagon on ‘Atrocities’, New York Daily News,
April 14, 1970.

    “Ex-GIs Charge Viet Prisoners Were Tortured,” Jim Stingley,  Los
Angeles Times, April 15, 1970.

    “Two ex-GIs say troops  torture Vietnamese prisoners in
Vietnam,” Douglas Crocket, The Boston Globe, May 8, 1970.

    “Ex-GIs Tell of Torturing Prisoners,” William Greider, The
Washington Post, July 19, 1970.

    “LIer Charges U.S. Tortured Vietnamese,” Long Island Press, July
20, 1970.

    “Torture of Viet Cong described by ex-GI,” The Detroit News,
August 19, 1970.

    “Veterans Tell Of War Crimes,” St. Louis Post Dispatch, August
19, 1970.

    “War Atrocities Termed Commonplace,” James Long, Oregon Journal,
October 28, 1970.

    “War Foes Blame U.S. Commanders For Viet Atrocities, Robert C.
Maynard, The Washington Post, November 24, 1970.

    “Vietnam Atrocities Told: Military intelligence involves
systematic use of electric torture and beatings,” Jerry Oppenheimer, The
Washington Daily News, December 1, 1970.

    “Viet Veterans Tell of GI Atrocities: D.C. Forum Trying to ‘Get
Monkey Off Calley’s Back,’ Powell Lindsay, The Pittsburgh Press, December
2, 1970.

    “Yanks tortured Red prisoners, two GIs testify,” Chicago Daily
News, December 3, 1970.

    “Torture was policy, Viet war vets say,” The Cleveland Press,
December 3, 1970.

    “War Veterans at Inquiry Feel ‘Atrocities’ Are Result of
Policy,” The New York Times, December 4, 1970.

    “Veterans Ask Inquiry Into Alleged Atrocities: Meeting Charging
U.S. With War Crimes Ends With Ex-GIs Accounts of Torture,” Jules
Witcover, Los Angeles Times, December 4, 1970.

    “New Vietnam Atrocity Charges Little Noticed,” Jules Witcover,
Los Angeles Times, December 8, 1970.

    “Taylor Says by Nuremberg Rules Westmoreland May Be Guilty,”
Neil Sheehan, The New York Times, January 9, 1971.

    “Five Officers Say They Seek Formal War Crimes Inquiry,” Neil
Sheehan, The New York Times, January 13, 1971.

    “For a War Crimes Inquiry,” Editorial, Newsday, March 22, 1971.

    “My Lai Verdict Is Denounced,” The Providence Journal, March 30,

    “Most Feel Calley Was Scapegoat,” New York Post, March 30, 1971.

    “House Panel To Hear Of Alleged Torture-Murder Policy in Viet,”
The Evening Sun (Baltimore), April 28, 1971.

    “Ex-GI Alleges 30 Slayings Near Mylai,” Richard Halloran, The
New York Times, April 29, 1971.

    “5 S. Viets Back Ex-GI on Atrocity,” Chicago Tribune, May 8,


Johnny We Hardly Knew You

John Kerry: War Hero or Warrior for Peace?
by Sharleen Leahey

This past Sunday night (7/25/04) MSNBC broadcast a phenomenal program entitled John Kerry: Bringing the War Home. It told the story of young Kerry after he returned home from Vietnam, disillusioned and outraged by a war he called criminal. One of the most memorable images from that documentary was John Kerry leading a long line of anti-war veterans through the streets of Washington D.C., raising not a fisted hand, but two fingers for peace. I took a deep breath when I saw that moving image. Imagine . . . a man leading a peace march through the streets of DC is now running for President of the United States! The same man who challenged many of his peers, elders and the hostile, vicious administration of Richard Nixon and bravely, without apologies, and at great personal risk, spoke truth to power is now within reach of becoming our next President. I began to dream that perhaps that same man could just maybe lead us out of a "war without end."  Dare we dream that perhaps that same man could lead us toward peace?

In April 1971 John Kerry became a spokesman for a week-long action by over one thousand Vietnam veterans who were determined to shut down the U.S. war machine which was destroying not only hundreds of thousands of American lives but was committing genocide against a small nation inhabited by millions of peasant farmers who posed no threat to the United States of America. As the Nixon Administration vilified the protesters as being unpatriotic and not representative of the vast majority of the nation's proud veterans, John Kerry's eloquence and passionate defense of their rebellion gained the attention of the national press corps and led to his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Senator Fulbright. On that day John Kerry declared not only his anger and pain but also his love for America . . . he spoke from his heart that somehow we had the power to be a truly great nation if we could muster the courage to face the horrible truth about what we were doing,  not only to the Vietnamese people . . .  but to ourselves. He emphasized the urgent need to change direction to ensure a decent future for our children and for the world. In calm measured tones but with an emotional honesty that was palpable, he explained why our policies and actions in Vietnam were not only a mistake, but constituted a crime against humanity.  He described rapes, tortures, mutilations and the destruction of villages which he compared to the ravages of Ghengis Khan. He also specifically identified the military's use of "free-fire zones" as a violation of the Geneva Convention and a war crime which led to the deaths of innocent noncombatants including women, children and elders.  He talked about U.S. carpet bombing of vast regions of a country which had no chance to defend itself. He also told of the awful cost being paid in the wasted lives of American soldiers who were being killed, maimed and traumatized for "the biggest nothing in history." There is one statement John Kerry made that day which I hope will always be etched in our collective national memory:

"How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?"

As an insane, brutal slaughter of millions of innocent people 10,000 miles overseas was raging John Kerry's willingness to publicly speak the ugly truth about  a war he had not only witnessed, but had participated in, galvanized this nation. Despite being personally attacked by pro-war veterans groups and politicians who accused him of being "ambitious" and "a traitor", John Kerry went on to tour the country, speaking out passionately against the war wherever he could get a hearing. Senator Ted Kennedy, looking back on those days, expressed his sincere conviction that John Kerry's extraordinary anti-war activism in 1971 made a great contribution to convincing Americans that our country must change course and leave Vietnam. Four years later, our country finally did leave Vietnam . . . but dreams of empire die hard.

Our latest imperial misadventure has led us into another quagmire thousands of miles away in a tortured country called Iraq. As a young man still in his early twenties, John Kerry seized a rare opportunity to reach millions with an alternative message for peace and he rose to the occasion brilliantly.  Now over thirty-three years I sit in my living room and watch a vastly different scenario being played out as John Kerry is presented to the American people as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States. But just how is he being presented?

On Monday, July 26, 2004, the first evening of the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts I sit listening to a speech by a middle-aged African American man who served on a swift boat under John Kerry during the Vietnam War. As the eminent Democratic nominee for the highest office in the land, John Kerry's courage and strength are being extolled before a nation hungry for leadership. But wait, it's not about the courage he showed that day in front of Senator Fulbright's Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It's not about the strength he showed under fire from the Nixon White House as he steadfastly spoke out against his government's war policy  despite being continually slandered and smeared in the press. No, the "courage" being referred to on the floor of the Democratic National Convention is his courage as commander of a combat unit fighting the Vietnamese who are described several times as "the enemy." Is this the same war that John Kerry himself turned against with such vehemence over three decades ago? No doubt, it took a great deal of courage and strength to survive the awful firefights and life and death encounters Kerry and his crew endured during those awful four months in Vietnam. But after coming home Kerry spent a great deal more time fighting against the war than fighting in it. Why is his history as a peacemaker and war critic  being downplayed and replaced by the tired, archaic and extremely dangerous rhetoric of war-heroism?  After enduring three years of George Bush's "war without end", why is Kerry's most magnificent shining moments of glory as a warrior for peace not presented to the eyes of a war-weary nation sick of endless lies and violence?

Surely the brutality and blatant disceptions perpetrated by the Bush Administration in its illegal war against Iraq is obvious to the vast majority of Americans as well as to most people in nations throughout the world. Why is the establishment of the Democratic Party losing this great opportunity to declare its commitment to peacemaking and a real change in direction for our beleaguered nation? Why, in the words of young John Kerry, should the Democratic Party follow in the footsteps of the Republican Party in asking a young man or woman to be the last to die for a mistake?

Dreams die hard. I'm still dreaming that whatever was in John Kerry that made him risk all for the chance to end war and make peace is still in him. The Democratic Party does not belong to the corporate  deal makers. It belongs to you and me . . . and the working people who built this country and keep it going each and every day. Millions upon millions of Americans are yearning for peace. Millions upon millions of American citizens who want peace will be voting for president this coming November. Let us take a lesson from young  John Kerry . . . let us raise our voices for peace loudly, clearly and without fear. Hopefully the older John Kerry will take a lesson from the younger and re-connect with the wisdom and depth of character he showed all those years ago. As Dennis Kucinich has repeatedly reminded us, peace is more than a space between wars . . . peace is our birthright and is a necessary component for the secure future we have a responsibility to build for future generations yet to come. Surely too many innocent people have already died for the lies and mistakes of those who have called themselves our leaders.
Sharleen Leahey is a songwriter, performer and peace activist. She is a member of Somerset Voices for Peace and Justice in Central New Jersey. Contact: songs4peace@earthlink.net--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Learning the Lessons of Our Own History

When General Sir William Howe attacked George Washington¹s continental army during the American revolutionary war, Howe had superior numbers and the support of the world¹s most powerful navy. His men were trained, disciplined and courageous, his commanders skilled and experienced. Washington¹s army was smaller, less experienced, less well trained. But Washington had surprise, superior intelligence, greater speed, and the corresponding ability to hit hard against a single weak outpost and then run. On Christmas day in 1776, Washington pulled off a surprise attack at Trenton and a week later another at Princeton, New Jersey. These successes caught the eyes of the world. Public opinion began to turn toward support of the rebels. When, in addition, the Hessians who fought with Howe then conducted a policy of "shrecklichkeiten," or "atrocities," to be intentionally committed against American prisoners, a revolution occurred in the minds of the colonials and independence was only a matter of time.

Similar factors are at play in the current war in Iraq. Today, however, the shoe is on the other foot and Americans are in the awkward position of the English in 1776.

Militarily speaking, the locals in Iraq have the advantage of surprise. They, more than we, are able to move their attackers quickly and silently in the night. They, more than we, are able to approach an American post or an Iraqi police station without being seen. They more than we can attack a convoy and melt into the country side.

They also have the advantage of intelligence. They, more than we, know what their enemy is doing. They have sources in and about the American and Iraqi armies. Their sources can tell them where our troops are, when we are in garrison, when we are on the move. Our army is stronger but it is not quieter or more invisible. Iraqi insurgents know who we are; where we are; how many we are. We know none of these things about them.

They also have the advantage of speed. They can move a few attackers, a d ozen or half a dozen, far quicker than we can move a platoon, or a company of armored infantry. The larger our unit, the longer it takes to get on the road and so the US military is forever slower than the locals. The rebels can also mass significant power against some weak link in the American front, like a car bomb at a police station. Today, neither Americans nor Iraqis have enough troops to adequately protect all these outposts of authority and one car bomb can blow a government stronghold to smithereens.

Surprise, intelligence, speed of movement, the ability to mass overwhelming power at one small location and then to evaporate were all features of George Washington¹s generalship in 1776. Still today they are features of combat that every commander studies at war college. It is no wonder therefore that when, in May, 2002, George W. Bush first proposed to his commanders that they invade Iraq the Joint Chiefs resisted his request. They knew then what the American public is coming to know now; superior force by itself is not enough to quell a local, publicly-supported rebellion.

The president might have foreseen the quagmire had he paid more attention to our own history. He might also have looked to 1588, when the Spanish Armada was defeated by a smaller British fleet acting with speed and surprise and superior intelligence. He might have looked to Napoleon¹s experience when he marched 600,000 men into Russia and left 500,000 behind, in the ground. Not even Napoleon could overcome Russian irregulars who attacked and melted away into the night. Mr. Bush might have remembered Vietnam when the same factors defeated a superior American force only 40 years ago.

In America in 1776, Washington¹s small victories began slowly to leverage public opinion to support the rebellion. The movement spread when these were combined with atrocities committed by British and Hessians against the rebels¹ families and prisoners. It is ironic that in Iraq the small victories of the local insurgents combined with the atrocities at Abu Ghraib have played a similar role, gradually swinging public opinion against the American invaders. Now this week coalition forces have mounted a new campaign, hitting Shiite sections of Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriyah, Najaf, killing civilians and insurgents wherever they go. The flaw in the plan, as it was for General Howe in 1776, is that while we count killed insurgents the locals are counting killed civilians and in the battle for public opinion theirs is the count that matters.

Craig S. Barnes August 4, 2004


 JKNJVETJimFallon; JKNJVETGrgTannenbaum; JKNJVETGordon Sell; JKNJVET-DaveParano; JKNJVETCrgLivingston+; JKNJVET-CongStevBrozak; JKNJVETBarrySussman+
Cc: WinVetPeteBronson; XD-1/5JerryHubert; WinVetMikeGold; VietVetJWebb; VFPMikeHoffman/Iraqvet+; VFPJosephABello; vfp-chaptercontacts@yahoogroups.com; JKNJVET-WinVetJoeAtta; JKNJVET-VFPGene; JKNJVET-ScottKisch; JKNJVETSBillSteimel+; JKNJVET-PrestonTaylorBG; JKNJVETLesLimitles; 'Erik Gustafson'; CAG-4/MT-1IvanFateSuar; CAP/CAG4*:Marciniak; CAP/CUVA-TimDuffie; CAG-4/MT-1:* Frank Fraser; CAP-D1*: THarvey*; Barry, Jan
Subject: [vfp-chaptercontacts] Tnx to one & all for the Vigil/apology for well-intentioned but over-emotional reading//cc-fyi of text:" why we have gathered on this day...September 2nd., 2004"

Dear VFP/Dave Cline-IVAW-MFSO-VVAW-VAIW-VFK, friends & fellow co-conspirators,
First off, just a few post-Vigil words to thank Dave and each and everyone of you for all your hard and righteous individual and collective work to make the Vigil of Sept .2nd happen. It was a truly moving and memorable day, and I feel honored to have been part of it with you. Furthermore and regardless of whatever media coverage the Vigil may have gotten, I think that it touched many hundreds of the people who came by, paused and went on their ways. Hopefully, the went on their ways to think a bit and to speak to others about what they had seen and heard, and to become motivated or re-committed,  to doing anything and everything possible to insure that Bush and his clique of neo-con zealots will be out of our White House in November.
Secondly, I want to apologize to anyone that I may have disconcerted or offended by loosing my cool (not to mention my well-nurtured Marine hard-ass image) during both of the readings that I was allowed to make during the Vigil. Please know that no one was more surprised by my unexpected surge of emotions than I was. I only hope that my thoughts and words were not lost amid my sudden flood of feelings, and that some of these words and thoughts were found to be worth hearing and considering. So, my apologies again - along with my thanks for your indulgence. Who knows, maybe Arnold Schwarznegger's on to something: somewhere inside every ex-Marine, there's a "Girlie-Man" just waiting to come out and ambush him.  
And lastly, since quite a number of people asked me for more copies of my statement than the dozen or so that I had available for possible distribution, I am taking the liberty of attaching the following/below copy of my "Why we have gathered on this day" statement, for people's individual and/or organizational interest and/or use. Sadly, I fear that our Vigil of September 2nd. will not be the last - nor do I think that it should be so long as the current madness in the White House continues to play out in Iraq, and to poison our international affairs virtually everywhere else. Consequently, if anyone finds a need or desire to use any of the thoughts or words of my statement in the context of any Vigils yet to come, please feel free to edit, adapt and use what I've written in whatever way you deem may be fitting and proper.
That said, and with deep regards and sincere respect to one and all, bye until next time & Semper Fi - Igor Bobrowsky-973-571-9671
************text follow below************************************************************************ 

***Why We Have Gathered On This Day -

          in Support, in Sorrow and in Shame.***


Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Today, on September 2nd., 2004, the RNC will re-annoint George W. Bush as its candidate for President. Today, on September 2nd., 2004 in Iraq, a few more of our soldiers and Marines will be killed, or maimed forever. And so, today - on September 2nd. , 2004 we gather here together, in support, in sorrow and in shame for our humble Veterans Vigil For The Fallen.


Web Bug from MailScannerWebBug



In these times of Dire Distress for our people and our nation, when lapel-pin-patriotism and fear are fostered and embraced as expedient substitutes for thoughtfullness and policy, when questioning and dissent are treated with self-serving condescension and contempt and when our nation's wealth, good name and ideals are being needlessly squandered, the daily dead and wounded from this Administration's obsessive crusade in Iraq keep drifting back to our nation's shores, in a growing legion of broken bodies, minds and spirits, mostly unseen and unknown except to their God and those who loved them once, and still and always.


As veterans of our nation's service in its many conflicts, we feel that it is both fitting and proper to honor the service and sacrifice of the brave men and women of our armed forces, and to encourage public reflection on the reasons contrived for sending them on their current thankless mission to Iraq. Consequently, as a sign of truly patriotic public duty, of Support For Our Troops, of shared Sorrow At Their Sacrifices, and of Shame For The Ideological Policies that have so recklessly and needlessly placed them in harm's way and keep them there, we ask that you consider joining us in mourning at this Veterans Vigil For The Fallen.


Yellow ribbons fade, fray and all too soon and easily turn to dust; the ruffles, flourishes and photo-ops of missions declared accomplished all too quickly give way to other news;  new scandals and press-conferences, followed by ever new and breathless revelations and lame explanations, all meld seamlessly into a cacophany of sounds - even as the dead and wounded and their sorrows and their sacrifices remain, to confront us with their silent questions, to ask us for our honest answers and to demand that we provide them with a due accounting.


It is these dead, and wounded and their questions that we ask you to recall and respond to by joining us in this VETERANS VIGIL FOR THE FALLEN, and to remember that these dead and wounded are of our flesh, and of our blood and of our spirit.


Thankyou. Igor Bobrowsky - Purple Heart Veteran/USMarines (Vietnam)



The Independent-UK


3 September 2004

Bush by numbers: Four years of double standards  
   By Graydon Carter

1 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security issued between 20 January 2001 and 10 September 2001 that mentioned al-Qa'ida.

104 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned Iraq or Saddam Hussein.

101 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned missile defence.

65 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned weapons of mass destruction.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden in his three State of the Union addresses.

73 Number of times that Bush mentioned terrorism or terrorists in his three State of the Union addresses.

83 Number of times Bush mentioned Saddam, Iraq, or regime (as in change) in his three State of the Union addresses.

$1m Estimated value of a painting the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, received from Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States and Bush family friend.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Saudi Arabia in his three State of the Union addresses.

1,700 Percentage increase between 2001 and 2002 of Saudi Arabian spending on public relations in the United States.

79 Percentage of the 11 September hijackers who came from Saudi Arabia.

3 Number of 11 September hijackers whose entry visas came through special US-Saudi "Visa Express" programme.

140 Number of Saudis, including members of the Bin Laden family, evacuated from United States almost immediately after 11 September.

14 Number of Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) agents assigned to track down 1,200 known illegal immigrants in the United States from countries where al-Qa'ida is active.

$3m Amount the White House was willing to grant the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 11 September attacks.

$0 Amount approved by George Bush to hire more INS special agents.

$10m Amount Bush cut from the INS's existing terrorism budget.

$50m Amount granted to the commission that looked into the Columbia space shuttle crash.

$5m Amount a 1996 federal commission was given to study legalised gambling.

7 Number of Arabic linguists fired by the US army between mid-August and mid-October 2002 for being gay.

George Bush: Military man

1972 Year that Bush walked away from his pilot duties in the Texas National Guard, Nearly two years before his six-year obligation was up.

$3,500 Reward a group of veterans offered in 2000 for anyone who could confirm Bush's Alabama guard service.

600-700 Number of guardsmen who were in Bush's unit during that period.

0 Number of guardsmen from that period who came forward with information about Bush's guard service.

0 Number of minutes that President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, the assistant Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, the former chairman of the Defence Policy Board, Richard Perle, and the White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove - the main proponents of the war in Iraq -served in combat (combined).

0 Number of principal civilian or Pentagon staff members who planned the war who have immediate family members serving in uniform in Iraq.

8 Number of members of the US Senate and House of Representatives who have a child serving in the military.

10 Number of days that the Pentagon spent investigating a soldier who had called the President "a joke" in a letter to the editor of a Newspaper.

46 Percentage increase in sales between 2001 and 2002 of GI Joe figures (children's toys).

Ambitious warrior

2 Number of Nations that George Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into office.

130 Approximate Number of countries (out of a total of 191 recognised by the United Nations) with a US military presence.

43 Percentage of the entire world's military spending that the US spends on defence. (That was in 2002, the year before the invasion of Iraq.)

$401.3bn Proposed military budget for 2004.

Saviour of Iraq

1983 The year in which Donald Rumsfeld, Ronald Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East, gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs as a gift.

2.5 Number of hours after Rumsfeld learnt that Osama bin Laden was a suspect in the 11 September attacks that he brought up reasons to "hit" Iraq.

237 Minimum number of misleading statements on Iraq made by top Bush administration officials between 2002 and January 2004, according to the California Representative Henry Waxman.

10m Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets on 21 February 2003, in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, the largest simultaneous protest in world history.

$2bn Estimated monthly cost of US military presence in Iraq projected by the White House in April 2003.

$4bn Actual monthly cost of the US military presence in Iraq according to Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld in 2004.

$15m Amount of a contract awarded to an American firm to build a cement factory in Iraq.

$80,000 Amount an Iraqi firm spent (using Saddam's confiscated funds) to build the same factory, after delays prevented the American firm from starting it.

2000 Year that Cheney said his policy as CEO of Halliburton oil services company was "we wouldn't do anything in Iraq".

$4.7bn Total value of contracts awarded to Halliburton in Iraq and Afghanistan.

$680m Estimated value of Iraq reconstruction contracts awarded to Bechtel.

$2.8bnValue of Bechtel Corp contracts in Iraq.

$120bn Amount the war and its aftermath are projected to cost for the 2004 fiscal year.

35 Number of countries to which the United States suspended military assistance after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court.

92 Percentage of Iraq's urban areas with access to potable water in late 2002.

60 Percentage of Iraq's urban areas with access to potable water in late 2003.

55 Percentage of the Iraqi workforce who were unemployed before the war.

80 Percentage of the Iraqi workforce who are unemployed a Year after the war.

0 Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender in May 1945.

37 Death toll of US soldiers in Iraq in May 2003, the month combat operations "officially" ended.

0 Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home that the Bush administration has permitted to be photographed.

0 Number of memorial services for the returned dead that Bush has attended since the beginning of the war.

A soldier's best friend

40,000 Number of soldiers in Iraq seven months after start of the war still without Interceptor vests, designed to stop a round from an AK-47.

$60m Estimated cost of outfitting those 40,000 soldiers with Interceptor vests.

62 Percentage of gas masks that army investigators discovered did Not work properly in autumn 2002.

90 Percentage of detectors which give early warning of a biological weapons attack found to be defective.

87 Percentage of Humvees in Iraq not equipped with armour capable of stopping AK-47 rounds and protecting against roadside bombs and landmines at the end of 2003.

Making the country safer

$3.29 Average amount allocated per person Nationwide in the first round of homeland security grants.

$94.40 Amount allocated per person for homeland security in American Samoa.

$36 Amount allocated per person for homeland security in Wyoming, Vice-President Cheney's home state.

$17 Amount allocated per person in New York state.

$5.87 Amount allocated per person in New York City.

$77.92 Amount allocated per person in New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University, Bush's alma mater.

76 Percentage of 215 cities surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors in early 2004 that had yet to receive a dime in federal homeland security assistance for their first-response units.

5 Number of major US airports at the beginning of 2004 that the Transportation Security Administration admitted were Not fully screening baggage electronically.

22,600 Number of planes carrying unscreened cargo that fly into New York each month.

5 Estimated Percentage of US air cargo that is screened, including cargo transported on passenger planes.

95 Percentage of foreign goods that arrive in the United States by sea.

2 Percentage of those goods subjected to thorough inspection.

$5.5bnEstimated cost to secure fully US ports over the Next decade.

$0 Amount Bush allocated for port security in 2003.

$46m Amount the Bush administration has budgeted for port security in 2005.

15,000 Number of major chemical facilities in the United States.

100 Number of US chemical plants where a terrorist act could endanger the lives of more than one million people.

0 Number of new drugs or vaccines against "priority pathogens" listed by the Centres for Disease Control that have been developed and introduced since 11 September 2001.

Giving a hand up to the advantaged

$10.9m Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-person cabinet.

75 Percentage of Americans unaffected by Bush's sweeping 2003 cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

$42,000 Average savings members of Bush's cabinet received in 2003 as a result of cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

10 Number of fellow members from the Yale secret society Skull and Bones that Bush has named to important positions (including the Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum Jr. and SEC chief Bill Donaldson).

79 Number of Bush's initial 189 appointees who also served in his father's administration.

A man with a lot of friends

$113m Amount of total hard money the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign received, a record.

$11.5m Amount of hard money raised through the Pioneer programme, the controversial fund-raising process created for the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. (Participants pledged to raise at least $100,000 by bundling together cheques of up to $1,000 from friends and family. Pioneers were assigned numbers, which were included on all cheques, enabling the campaign to keep track of who raised how much.)

George Bush: Money manager

4.7m Number of bankruptcies that were declared during Bush's first three years in office.

2002 The worst year for major markets since the recession of the 1970s.

$489bn The US trade deficit in 2003, the worst in history for a single year.

$5.6tr Projected national surplus forecast by the end of the decade when Bush took office in 2001.

$7.22tr US national debt by mid-2004.

George Bush: Tax cutter

87 Percentage of American families in April 2004 who say they have felt no benefit from Bush's tax cuts.

39 Percentage of tax cuts that will go to the top 1 per cent of American families when fully phased in.

49 Percentage of Americans in April 2004 who found that their taxes had actually gone up since Bush took office.

88 Percentage of American families who will save less than $100 on their 2006 federal taxes as a result of 2003 cut in capital gains and dividends taxes.

$30,858 Amount Bush himself saved in taxes in 2003.

Employment tsar

9.3m Number of US unemployed in April 2004.

2.3m Number of Americans who lost their jobs during first three Years of the Bush administration.

22m Number of jobs gained during Clinton's eight years in office.

Friend of the poor

34.6m Number of Americans living below the poverty line (1 in 8 of the population).

6.8m Number of people in the workforce but still classified as poor.

35m Number of Americans that the government defines as "food insecure," in other words, hungry.

$300m Amount cut from the federal programme that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes.

40 Percentage of wealth in the United States held by the richest 1 per cent of the population.

18 Percentage of wealth in Britain held by the richest 1e per cent of the population.

George Bush And his special friend

$60bn Loss to Enron stockholders, following the largest bankruptcy in US history.

$205m Amount Enron CEO Kenneth Lay earned from stock option profits over a four-year period.

$101m Amount Lay made from selling his Enron shares just before the company went bankrupt.

$59,339 Amount the Bush campaign reimbursed Enron for 14 trips on its corporate jet during the 2000 campaign.

30 Length of time in months between Enron's collapse and Lay (whom the President called "Kenny Boy") still not being charged with a crime.

George Bush: Lawman

15 Average number of minutes Bush spent reviewing capital punishment cases while governor of Texas.

46 Percentage of Republican federal judges when Bush came to office.

57 Percentage of Republican federal judges after three years of the Bush administration.

33 Percentage of the $15bn Bush pledged to fight Aids in Africa that must go to abstinence-only programmes.

The Civil libertarian

680 Number of suspected al-Qa'ida members that the United States admits are detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

42 Number of nationalities of those detainees at Guantanamo.

22 Number of hours prisoners were handcuffed, shackled, and made to wear surgical masks, earmuffs, and blindfolds during their flight to Guantanamo.

32 Number of confirmed suicide attempts by Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

24 Number of prisoners in mid-2003 being monitored by psychiatrists in Guantanamo's new mental ward.

A health-conscious president

43.6m Number of Americans without health insurance by the end of 2002 (more than 15 per cent of the population).

2.4m Number of Americans who lost their health insurance during Bush's first year in office.


$44m Amount the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign and the Republican National Committee received in contributions from the fossil fuel, chemical, timber, and mining industries.

200 Number of regulation rollbacks downgrading or weakening environmental laws in Bush's first three years in office.

31 Number of Bush administration appointees who are alumni of the energy industry (includes four cabinet secretaries, the six most powerful White House officials, and more than 20 other high-level appointees).

50 Approximate number of policy changes and regulation rollbacks injurious to the environment that have been announced by the Bush administration on Fridays after 5pm, a time that makes it all but impossible for news organisations to relay the information to the widest possible audience.

50 Percentage decline in Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions against polluters under Bush's watch.

34 Percentage decline in criminal penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.

50 Percentage decline in civil penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.

$6.1m Amount the EPA historically valued each human life when conducting economic analyses of proposed regulations.

$3.7m Amount the EPA valued each human life when conducting analyses of proposed regulations during the Bush administration.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned global warming, clean air, clean water, pollution or environment in his 2004 State of the Union speech. His father was the last president to go through an entire State of the Union address without mentioning the environment.

1 Number of paragraphs devoted to global warming in the EPA's 600-page "Draft Report on the Environment" presented in 2003.

68 Number of days after taking office that Bush decided Not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases by roughly 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. The United States was to cut its level by 7 per cent.

1 The rank of the United States worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

25 Percentage of overall worldwide carbon dioxide emissions the United States is responsible for.

53 Number of days after taking office that Bush reneged on his campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

14 Percentage carbon dioxide emissions will increase over the next 10 years under Bush's own global-warming plan (an increase of 30 per cent above their 1990 levels).

408 Number of species that could be extinct by 2050 if the global-warming trend continues.

5 Number of years the Bush administration said in 2003 that global warming must be further studied before substantive action could be taken.

62 Number of members of Cheney's 63-person Energy Task Force with ties to corporate energy interests.

0 Number of environmentalists asked to attend Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings.

6 Number of months before 11 September that Cheney's Energy Task Force investigated Iraq's oil reserves.

2 Percentage of the world's population that is British.

2 Percentage of the world's oil used by Britain.

5 Percentage of the world's population that is American.

25 Percentage of the world's oil used by America.

63 Percentage of oil the United States imported in 2003, a record high.

24,000 Estimated number of premature deaths that will occur under Bush's Clear Skies initiative.

300 Number of Clean Water Act violations by the mountaintop-mining industry in 2003.

750,000 Tons of toxic waste the US military, the world's biggest polluter, generates around the world each Year.

$3.8bn Amount in the Superfund trust fund for toxic site clean-ups in 1995, the Year "polluter pays" fees expired.

$0m Amount of uncommitted dollars in the Superfund trust fund for toxic site clean-ups in 2003.

270 Estimated number of court decisions citing federal Negligence in endangered-species protection that remained unheeded during the first year of the Bush administration.

100 Percentage of those decisions that Bush then decided to allow the government to ignore indefinitely.

68.4 Average Number of species added to the Endangered and Threatened Species list each year between 1991 and 2000.

0 Number of endangered species voluntarily added by the Bush administration since taking office.

50 Percentage of screened workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from long-term health problems, almost half of whom don't have health insurance.

78 Percentage of workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from lung ailments.

88 Percentage of workers at Ground Zero who Now suffer from ear, nose, or throat problems.

22 Asbestos levels at Ground Zero were 22 times higher than the levels in Libby, Montana, where the W R Grace mine produced one of the worst Superfund disasters in US history.

Image booster for the US

2,500 Number of public-diplomacy officers employed by the State Department to further the image of the US abroad in 1991.

1,200 Number of public-diplomacy officers employed by the State Department to further US image abroad in 2004.

4 Rank of the United States among countries considered to be the greatest threats to world peace according to a 2003 Pew Global Attitudes study (Israel, Iran, and North Korea were considered more dangerous; Iraq was considered less dangerous).

$66bn Amount the United States spent on international aid and diplomacy in 1949.

$23.8bn Amount the United States spent on international aid and diplomacy in 2002.

85 Percentage of Indonesians who had an unfavourable image of the United States in 2003.

Second-party endorsements

90 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 26 September 2001.

67 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 26 September 2002.

54 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 30 September, 2003.

50 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 15 October 2003.

49 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president in May 2004.

More like the French than he would care to admit

28 Number of vacation days Bush took in August 2003, the second-longest vacation of any president in US history. (Record holder Richard Nixon.)

13 Number of vacation days the average American receives each Year.

28 Number of vacation days Bush took in August 2001, the month he received a 6 August Presidential Daily Briefing headed "Osama bin Laden Determined to Strike US Targets."

500 Number of days Bush has spent all or part of his time away from the White House at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, his parents' retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, or Camp David as of 1 April 2004.

No fool when it comes to the press

11 Number of press conferences during his first three Years in office in which Bush referred to questions as being "trick" ones.

Factors in his favour

3 Number of companies that control the US voting technology market.

52 Percentage of votes cast during the 2002 midterm elections that were recorded by Election Systems & Software, the largest voting-technology firm, a big Republican donor.

29 Percentage of votes that will be cast via computer voting machines that don't produce a paper record.

17On 17 November 2001, The Economist printed a correction for having said George Bush was properly elected in 2000.

$113m Amount raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, the most in American electoral history.

$185m Amount raised by the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign, to the end of March 2004.

$200m Amount that the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign expects to raise by November 2004.

268 Number of Bush-Cheney fund-raisers who had earned Pioneer status (by raising $100,000 each) as of March 2004.

187 Number of Bush-Cheney fund-raisers who had earned Ranger status (by raising $200,000 each) as of March 2004.

$64.2mThe Amount Pioneers and Rangers had raised for Bush-Cheney as of March 2004.

85 Percentage of Americans who can't Name the Chief Justice of the United States.

69 Percentage of Americans who believed the White House's claims in September 2003 that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 11 September attacks.

34 Percentage of Americans who believed in June 2003 that Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction" had been found.

22 Percentage of Americans who believed in May 2003 that Saddam had used his WMDs on US forces.

85 Percentage of American young adults who cannot find Afghanistan, Iraq, or Israel on a map.

30 Percentage of American young adults who cannot find the Pacific Ocean on a map.

75 Percentage of American young adults who don't know the population of the United States.

53 Percentage of Canadian young adults who don't know the population of the United States.

11 Percentage of American young adults who cannot find the United States on a map.

30 Percentage of Americans who believe that "politics and government are too complicated to understand."

Another factor in his favour

70m Estimated number of Americans who describe themselves as Evangelicals who accept Jesus Christ as their personal saviour and who interpret the Bible as the direct word of God.

23m Number of Evangelicals who voted for Bush in 2000.

50m Number of voters in total who voted for Bush in 2000.

46 Percentage of voters who describe themselves as born-again Christians.

5 Number of states that do not use the word "evolution" in public school science courses.

The is an edited extract fromWhat We've Lost  by Graydon Carter, published by Little Brown on 9 September.


For a former college drop-out from Ontario and, briefly, a lineman stringing up telegraph wires on the railways of Canada, Graydon Carter, 55, has risen to impressive heights. The editor of Vanity Fair since 1992 - after succeeding Tina Brown - he is one of America's celebrity editors with clout, glamour and a nice line in suits.

It is hard to imagine Carter doing physical work of any kind, beyond exercising his thumb on his silver Zippo lighter. His labour is restricted to rejigging headlines in his magazine - he is a self-confessed failure at delegation of duties - and swanning to Manhattan parties. Martini in hand, he cuts an almost princely and dandyish figure, with billowing shirts and similarly billowing silver hair.

The spotlight on his activities has never burned brighter. In recent months he has transformed the regular editor's letter at the front of the magazine into less of a chat about its coming contents - the spreads of Annie Leibowitz and rants of Christopher Hitchens - and more a full-bore diatribe against the world of George Bush.

© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd------------------------------------------------------





Posted on Thu, Nov. 04, 2004

Marines prepare for Fallujah battle

Knight Ridder Newspapers

The number of dead and wounded from the expected battle to retake insurgent-controlled Fallujah probably will reach levels not seen since Vietnam, a senior surgeon at the Marine camp outside Fallujah said Thursday.

Navy Cmdr. Lach Noyes said the hospital here is preparing to handle 25 severely injured soldiers a day, not counting walking wounded and the dead. The hospital has added two operating rooms, doubled its supplies, added a mortuary and stocked up on blood reserves. Doctors have set up a system of ambulance vehicles that will rush to the camp's gate to receive the dead and wounded so units can return to battle quickly.

The plans underscore the ferocity of the fight the U.S. military expects in Fallujah, a Sunni Muslim city about 35 miles west of Baghdad which has been under insurgent control since April. More than 1,120 U.S. soldiers and Marines have died in Iraq since the war began, more than 860 of those from hostile fire.

The deadliest month was April when fierce fighting killed 126 U.S. troops largely at Fallujah and Ramadi before a cease-fire virtually turned Fallujah over to the insurgents. Even then, the death toll was far below the worst month of Vietnam, April 1969, when the U.S. death toll was 543 at the height of American involvement there.

U.S. forces have been building up outside Fallujah for weeks in preparation for taking the city back, and many here believe the assault is likely to come soon.

Military officials say they expect U.S. troops will encounter not just fighters wielding AK-47s assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, but also heavy concentrations of mines, roadside bombs and possibly car bombs.

"We'll probably just see those in a lot better concentration in the city," said Maj. Jim West, an intelligence officer with 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

West said he thinks there are some 4,000 to 5,000 fighters between Fallujah and nearby Ramadi, and they may try to draw troops into cramped urban areas in Fallujah that have been booby-trapped.

The toll in human suffering has already been grave.

Staff Sgt. Jason Benedict was on a convoy heading to the Fallujah camp last Saturday when a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into the truck Benedict and his platoon mates were traveling on. A few minutes later, mortars and rifle fire rained down on the survivors. As he rolled toward the safety of a ditch, Benedict saw one of his friends crawling on all fours, with blood pouring from his face.

"You've got to expect casualties," said Benedict, 28. The fight for Fallujah, he said, "is overdue."

Eight Marines were killed in the bombing. Benedict is now recuperating in the field hospital with burns to his left hand and the side of his head.

In the six weeks Noyes has worked at the Fallujah camp, his team has operated on Marines with eyes gouged by shrapnel and limbs torn by explosion. A rocket strike outside the hospital killed two staff members and left deep pockmarks across the white concrete walls.

Noyes said some bodies have been so badly mangled that they had to be shipped home for DNA identification.

As Noyes was speaking Thursday, two Marines and a female American photojournalist were rushed into the hospital. A roadside bomb had hit their vehicle. The Marines had shrapnel cuts and burns, and the photographer's teeth had been pushed back into her mouth. The bomb was attached to a tank of gasoline, meant to create a fireball that didn't ignite.

Capt. Melissa Kaime, another Navy surgeon at the hospital, said that seeing trauma wounds in medical school is one thing; seeing them come off the battlefield is something altogether different.

"To treat a patient when (his) brain is coming out ... ," she said, before her voice trailed off. "There are things that I will never understand. It's beyond my comprehension; a higher power will have to explain why these things have happened."









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