Friday, September 17, 2004
::: The Grim Toll of Iraq :::
One thousand names, one thousand faces, one thousand folded American flags.
Regardless of the opinions held for or against the war in Iraq, nothing can diminish the service and sacrifice of these brave men.
The Faces of 1,000 Soldiers
The editors and staff of t r u t h o u t offer our deepest and most profound condolences to the families of the men and women who have fallen in Iraq. We offer to our readers the names and faces of these men and women, with deepest respect, so that all within the reach of our arm know who they were, how they smiled, and what they did in the service of our country.
We believe George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell and the members of this administration have much to answer for. Defenders of this invasion point to the casualty rate of Operation Iraqi Freedom and compare it to the casualty rates in other wars. "1,000 deaths is nothing" compared to Normandy, we hear.
To be sure, this is true. But the invasion of Normandy, for one example, was undertaken to destroy a regime that had ravaged much of Europe, slaughtered millions of innocent people, and was determined to spread its darkness across as much of the globe as they could reach. The threat was as real as the bricks that formed the gas chambers at Dachau and the steel of the tanks that had roared into Poland. The men who died putting and end to that gave their lives in a cause that guaranteed the liberty of millions.
Iraq was not a threat to the United States, or to any of their neighbors. The sanctions put into effect after the first Gulf War had turned that regime's conventional military into a large collection of paperweights. There are no weapons of mass destruction of any kind in Iraq. There were no connections whatsoever between Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and the attacks of September 11.
The men and women whose faces fill the page below were not told this. They were, in fact, told the exact opposite. They raised their hands and took the oath, they donned their uniform and picked up their weapon, they boarded a plane and flew far from home, and they died. They were doing their duty, and they believed their President.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell and the members of this administration have much to answer for.
My sincerest condolences and sympathy goes out to the families and friends of these brave soldiers who gave themselves in the name of security and freedom.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
::: Real Stories from Real Americans: A Plea for Help :::
You just cannot make this stuff up:
Perhaps I have mentioned this before, but in view of the ridiculous claims made by Bush in Nashville at the Vets Convention, it bears repeating. At that same time Bush and his cronies were attacking Kerry for voting against the ARMOR for the troops ... the $87 Billion.
Excuse me, although I don't know how Kerry voted, I watch almost all hearings on CSpan and I remember the fights over the $87 Billion. I seem to remember many were not happy about the $87 Billion ... wasn't that because appx $50 Billion was slated for the care, housing and feeding of the troops (logistical support, I think they call it ... provided, by the way by KBR, subsidiary of Halliburton) there were objections to the extra $20+ Billion slated for contracts to rebuild Iraq.
Two of the women I work with are sending loved ones to Iraq. One is sending her son and the other is sending both her husband and her son. All are Tennessee National Guard. Both have spent $1400.00 per soldier for the armor that is supposed to be provided by the military, the armor argued about in various hearings all last year, hearings I personally watched on CSpan.
At each and every hearing, military personnel were called on the carpet by Congress, dressed down and promises were made to deliver both the correct armor and the Up-Armored Humvees.
Needless to say, the armor is not or was not in place when these national guardsmen left for Mississippi a few months ago. Now the latest outrage I find as unbelievable as the fact that upon departing Walter Reed Hospital, each wounded soldier was charged $8.10 per day for the food they consumed. (This practice has been discontinued -- probably due to the mortification of elected officials in Congress.)
No, this takes the proverbial cake ... according to the ladies I work with, the fine military in Mississippi feels these National Guard Troops, preparing to go to Iraq and fight for the United States, are not worthy of being provided TOILET PAPER. That's right!! They have to buy their own toilet paper.
Please read the article below as the people in charge of Iraq (who ... Bush, Rumsfeld, exactly WHO?) have now reached an all time low!
And a side note since this concerns Halliburton and KBR. I just read this past week KBR has filed for Chapter 11 protection ... wonder why ... perhaps over the Pentagon's repeated warnings about serving food to our troops prepared in unsanitary conditions ... where they found dried blood and rotting meat. Gee thanks, Mr. Cheney!
By Spiros D - Baghdad
Stop Halliburton From Hurting Us Grunts
For those of you not aware, the US military is not the only US organization that is functioning over here in Iraq. A large US contractor called KBR (Kellogg, Brown, and Root), a daughter company of Halliburton (once run by VP Dick Cheney), is operating on every US base in Iraq.
KBR manages many of the soldier services that we have here on the base; things like running the food service, waste disposal, pumping the latrines, laundry services, movement and control, and the central distribution center. KBR is also scheduled to take over all fuel hauling and freight hauling in general. When things started to heat up earlier this year KBR put a hold on taking over hauling operations. Now that things are seeming to come back under some control KBR is looking at taking over again.
Uh ... wasn't this supposed to be part of the $87 Billion voted for to support the troops in Iraq? Yes, No?? Maybe we should ask Bush or Cheney since they are really on top of the Iraq thing.
Let me explain... KBR is now requesting, and the army is allowing, US soldiers to ride "shot gun" in KBR convoys hauling KBR goods all over Iraq. KBR is afraid to be out on the roads alone and want our US soldiers to risk their lives riding shot gun for their missions.
KBR is currently staffed by mainly non US international personnel along with a growing number of Iraqis. Most do not speak English, none have had military training on defensive driving, proper convoy operations, avoiding ambushes, navigating around IED's [hidden roadside bombs], proper procedure for calling in support or medivac or fire support, procedures to follow after taking enemy fire, the list goes on. These drivers are simply paid drivers that are making roughly 5 -8 times our wages and get paid whether the freight arrives or not.
KBR is requesting that US soldiers risk their lives at the hands of inexperienced and improperly trained individuals to provide them with security. Now there is no doubt that we need to protect KBR's missions but we have suggested and to date have been denied the opportunity to run the convoys with properly modified and equipped military vehicles.
A plea from soldiers in Iraq .... Please Help!
Our hope is that each of our friends and loved ones back home will take a few minutes and send out emails to any local, state, and US congressman and senators and demand that they require the US military to stop this practice of allowing US troops in KBR vehicles.
The only ones who have the power to force the military to honor the wishes of the people are the lawmakers and politicians. So please take a moment and send a letter or email to one of your senators or congressman and ask or demand that they inquire into this matter and demand that it cease.
Well, that's it. None infuriate me more than the deceptive group of politicians who just left New York City, after putting on a parade of moderate Republicans before the world and the press while leaving the true leaders ... Cabinet members, Condi Rice, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, Doug Feith and all the rest of the hawks, behind to figure out how to NOT provide the troops with anything that might cost a dime.
So ... Granny is pissed .... Not even sorry.