[Thanks to Mark Shapiro, Military Project,
who sent this in.]
Indonesian Soldiers In Revolt:
“Soldiers Went After Senior Officers On Wednesday”
“They Accused The Commander Of Swindling
“When The Protest Began To Escalate Into
Violence, The Commander Fled”
[Thanks to Max Watters, Australia, who sent
this in. Watts co-author of LEFT FACE, Soldier Unions and Resistance Movements in Modern Armies, By DAVID
CORTRIGHT AND MAX WATTS; Contributions in Military Studies, Number 107;
GREENWOOD PRESS, New York • Westport, Connecticut • London
April 30, 2009 Christian Motte & Markus
Junianto Sihaloho, The Jakarta Globe & April 29, 2009 The Jakarta Post
Jayapura: Hundreds of [Indonesian]
soldiers went after senior officers on Wednesday and damaged their battalion
headquarters in Papua after the family of a deceased soldier was told to pay
half the cost of flying his body home.
The Jayapura, Papua army base
erupted with rage Wednesday as Battalion 751 Sentani soldiers violently
protested what they called the theft of their money.
The rioting broke out during the
commemoration of West Papua ‘s integration into Indonesia. The soldiers were demanding that the battalion’s
commander, Lieutenant Colonel Labok Sihotang, be held responsible for his
Various media reports have said that there were
between 100 and 1,000 soldiers involved.
Members of the 751 Battalion, in the first
such incident in the decade since the fall of former President Suharto, also
fired shots into the air and beat journalists trying to cover the mutiny.
The soldiers threw stones and other objects
at the office of the battalion’s headquarters, and blocked the road with
pieces of wood.
Army spokesman Brig. Gen.
Christian Zebua said that the mutiny had been spurred by the soldiers’
anger toward their commander following the death of a fellow soldier.
It took five days for the body of the
soldier, who died after falling ill, to be returned to his family in Nabire,
also in Papua, about 380 kilometers southwest of Jayapura.
Zebua said it may have taken time to charter
He said that the commander had
charged other soldiers for the sending home and burial fee of the deceased
Private Joko to Nabire, Papua. The cost
was around Rp 90 million (US$8,370).
“It took the soldiers a
couple of days to work themselves up over the commander’s decision to
make them pay.
“The commander had
thought that every one was okay with the decision, but apparently the soldiers
questioned it afterwards. They accused
the commander of swindling their money,” Brigadier General Christian Zebua
He added that the soldiers had
started to protest after a morning ceremony. When the protest began to escalate into
violence, the commander fled. His deputy, who failed to get away, suffered head
Papua, a sprawling, underdeveloped province,
relies heavily on air transportation and residents said that the cost of
chartering a plane to fly the body to Nabire would have been Rp 90 million
“And this morning, feeling
discontented, the soldiers demanded to know why the commander only paid 50
percent of the cost, and why low-ranking soldiers still had to pay,”
He denied soldiers had stolen guns stored at
The guns used by the soldiers during the riot
were not taken from battalion, Zebua said, “but every soldier does have a
weapon because they are all equipped with a gun to secure the area.”
He added that the responsibilities of the
battalion, including security along the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border, had
not been compromised by the incident.
Witnesses said that by Wednesday evening the
situation had calmed.
The incident followed brawls
between soldiers and police in the Tolikara district of Papua on Monday and
Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen.
Bagus Eko Danto said that some shots had been fired during the brawls,
understood to have been triggered by an incident involving a drunk police
HAVE A FRIEND OR RELATIVE IN THE MILITARY?
Forward GI Special along, or send us the address
if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.
Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important
for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of
growing resistance to the wars, inside the armed services and at home.
Send email requests to address up top or write to: The Military Project,
2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
Port St. Lucie Resident Killed In Iraq
April 14, 2009 WENDY VICTORA, Northwest
Florida Daily News
DOVER, Del. — The body of a former Port
St. Lucie resident killed in Iraq on Sunday was flown here early Tuesday
afternoon, where his parents and siblings waited for him.
Army Spc. Michael Anaya, 23, died in Bayji,
northwest of Baghdad, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his
His parents, Carmelo Sr. and Cheryl, and his
older siblings, Carmelo Jr. and Trista Moffett, watched as the flag-draped box
carrying his body was saluted and led across the tarmac by an honor guard.
“They did a very professional job. It was like they were handling their own
family,” his sister said. “They
were wonderful to him and to us.”
After the box was placed in a medical
examiner’s van, Moffett and other family members returned to their
vehicle and watched through the windows as Michael disappeared from sight.
“We sat until we couldn’t see him
anymore,” she said. “We watched the honor guard walk away.
“It still feels so unreal,” she
The media was allowed to photograph the
transfer of the soldier from the airplane to the van waiting to take him to the
medical examiner’s office.
Moffett said her family had a choice whether
to allow the media to be present.
President Barack Obama recently lifted an
18-year ban on photographing the arrival of military members killed overseas.
Moffett said they based their decision on
what they thought Mike would like.
“My brother would have thought it was
cool that he was on TV,” she said, adding that when an elementary school
class adopted his unit in Honolulu, Michael called home to tell her and his mom
that he’d made the evening news.
“‘Check this out,’ ”
she said, in the tone her brother used. “‘I’m on TV, dude.’”
Michael joined the Army in 2006 and had been
stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii since January 2008. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th
Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
He was born and raised in the Port St. Lucie
area. His family moved to Crestview when Moffett, who was in the Air Force, was
stationed here several years ago.
His family said Michael loved his job.
“Ever since he was a little boy, he was
a soldier,” said his sister. “We have a picture of him when he was
about 5 years old Christmas morning. He got Army stuff and he was dressed up in
She said her brother didn’t want to be
in Iraq, but he believed in his job and in the Army.
“They have a job to do and they know
that we depend on them,” she said.
Moffett said she and her mother will fly back
to Crestview today.
Her father and her brother will wait for the
medical examiner to release Michael’s body and then fly home with him. They have been told it could take as long as
Services could be Saturday at Niceville
Assembly of God, with burial in Heritage Garden Cemetery. He wanted to be
buried near his family.
Fenton Soldier’s Remains Returns To U.S.
04/13/2009 By Paul Hampel, ST. LOUIS
A soldier who grew up in Fenton and four
other soldiers killed by a bomb in Iraq were returned to the United States on
The arrival of the five soldiers was the
fourth dignified transfer ceremony to be open to the media since the Pentagon
ended an 18-year ban on press coverage of the events. Corporal Jason Pautsch’s
father and two brothers were the first family members of a fallen soldier to
speak with media afterward.
White-gloved soldiers and airmen meticulously
carried the five flag-draped transfer cases from the jet to a truck, which took
them to the military’s largest mortuary. The silence was broken only by
the cries of children, the hum of the aircraft and the cameras of photographers
who were allowed to attend.
The Fenton soldier died Friday in a suicide
truck bombing in the northern Iraq city of Mosul.
Sgt. Edward Forrest Jr., 25, was one of five
soldiers killed in the deadliest attack against U.S. troops in more than a
Forrest was based at Fort Carson in Colorado
and lived near the base with his wife and two sons, ages 2 and one month.
Forrest was a 2003 graduate of Rockwood
Summit High School. He was on his third tour of duty in Iraq.
"I asked him not to re-enlist,"
said his only sibling, Melissa Forrest-Pliner, 30, of Florissant. "I told him
I didn’t want him to be a hero. I just wanted him to be my brother.
"But he said he owed it to his brothers
— that’s what he called the soldiers in his unit — to go back
and help them finish up the job."
At Rockwood Summit, Forrest was a
long-distance runner on the track team. He enlisted straight out of high
Forrest-Pliner said her brother "would
tell my husband particular things about Iraq, but he would never tell me
because he knew I’d worry.
"We’ve always been close, all of
our lives. He and I had a bond that we didn’t even have with our parents.
I confided in him and he confided in me. And now half my heart’s
gone," she said.
U.S. military officials said the suicide
bomber detonated a ton of explosives hidden beneath grain on a truck. The blast, near a police headquarters, also
killed two Iraqi policemen and wounded 62 people.
Forrest’s mother, Tina Hessler, lives
in High Ridge. His father, Edward Forrest Sr., lives in Overland.
April 27 (Reuters) & April 29 (Reuters) & April 30 (Reuters)
Major General Adel Dahaam, police chief of the southern city of Basra,
was unharmed in a roadside bomb attack in Salman Pak, 30 km (20 miles)
southeast of Baghdad. Police said Dahaam was off-duty at the time.
A roadside bomb wounded two Iraqi soldiers and one civilian in northern
Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
Three Iraqi soldiers were killed on patrol and two others wounded when
two roadside bombs went off in Himreen area of northeastern Diyala province,
A roadside bomb in the south of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of
Baghdad, targeted a police patrol, wounding two policemen, police said.
DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
UNREMITTING HELL ON
ALL HOME NOW
US soldier with the 1st Amoured Division carries an artillery shell found in a
weapons cache in the area of Owessat, southwest of Baghdad. (AFP/File/Ali al-Saadi)
For The Third Consecutive Month More Bombs Dropped In Iraq, Afghanistan
5.4.09 Army Times
For the third consecutive month the number of bombs dropped by Air
Force, Navy and other coalition warplanes increased in Afghanistan and Iraq,
according to Air Forces Central.
During March, fighters and bombers on 2,236 sorties released 335 bombs
over Afghanistan, more munitions than the total for January and February, and
the largest monthly count since August 2008.
Over Iraq, fighters on 782 sorties dropped 41 bombs, compared to 34 in
February. It was the highest monthly total since August 2008, when 52 munitions
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
German Soldier Killed, Nine Wounded In Kunduz
April 30 By Brett Neely, Bloomberg
A German soldier was killed and nine injured
in two separate attacks in northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, where
the army is suffering more frequent insurgent assaults.
One soldier died and four were injured in a
roadside ambush yesterday, while five more were injured in a bombing, Defense
Minister Franz Josef Jung told reporters in Berlin today. The attacks happened as Foreign Minister
Frank-Walter Steinmeier was in the Afghan capital, Kabul, where he met with
President Hamid Karzai.
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
ALL TROOPS HOME NOW!
NOT ANOTHER DAY
NOT ANOTHER DOLLAR
NOT ANOTHER LIFE
Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers, of Hopewell, Va., is carried by an
honor guard on April 5, 2009 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Myers was killed Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“If You Deal With The Active Army, We’re On A More Severe
Combat And Return-To-Combat Cycle Than We Have Been In The History Of The
American Troops Have Completed Almost 3 Million Combat Tours In Iraq
140,000 Soldiers Over The Past Six Years Stomped By Stop-Loss
5.4.09 By Michelle Tan, Army Times [Excerpts]
After eight years of relentless combat, American troops have completed
almost 3 million combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, with E-4s, the largest
population in the military, representing 25 percent of all those who have
More than 1.35 million of those tours have been shouldered by the Army,
most often white males in the infantry ages 20 to 24 with a high school diploma
or its equivalent.
Since the beginning of operations Enduring Freedom, in October 2001,
and Iraqi Freedom, in March 2003, 926,620 soldiers have been deployed.
Of those, 305,578 soldiers have deployed more than once. However, the Defense Department data does
not take into account how much time service members have spent overseas, only
the number of times they have deployed.
Through stop-loss, the Army has bolstered the ranks of deployable
soldiers by involuntarily holding about 140,000 soldiers over the past six
years beyond their separation and retirement dates.
“The real stress on the force are soldiers who go over for a
12-month or more tour and then come back home to the United States and find
themselves returning within the next 12 to 18 months,” said retired Lt.
Gen. Theodore Stroup, a former Army G-1 who is now a vice president for the
Association of the United States Army.
“If you deal with the active Army, we’re on a more severe
combat and return-to-combat cycle than we have been in the history of the
“At a time like this,
scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the
nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule,
blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.
“For it is not light that
is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.
“We need the storm, the
whirlwind, and the earthquake.”
Frederick Douglass, 1852
for change doesn’t cut it when you’re still losing buddies.”
Englehart, Iraq Veterans Against The War
“While there is a
lower class I am in it; while there is a criminal element I am of it; while
there is a soul in prison, I am not free”
-- Eugene V. Debs
country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to
time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith,
mighty are only mighty because we are on our knees. Let us rise!"
someone says my son died fighting for his country, I say, "No, the suicide
bomber who killed my son died fighting for his country."
of American Soldier Chase Beattie, KIA in Iraq
while I was in a bunker in Vietnam, a sniper round went over my head. The person who fired that weapon was not a
terrorist, a rebel, an extremist, or a so-called insurgent. The Vietnamese individual who tried to kill
me was a citizen of Vietnam, who did not want me in his country. This truth escapes millions.
Medic, Vietnam 1970-71
are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’
Be Careful What You Say
From: Mike Hastie
To: GI Special
Sent: April 29, 2009
Subject: Be Careful What You Say
Careful What You Say
When it comes to war, I’ll tell
you what I think is real hell.
A day before an American
soldier leaves the war zone,
he packs his duffel bag with
the things he wants to take home.
He falls asleep with the duffel bag
packed at the foot of his bunk.
By some mysterious way,
an enemy soldier sneaks into
his room and places a bomb in
his duffel bag.
Somehow, that bag gets all the
way back to his home, without
being opened or detected by
an airport x-ray scanner.
After he is home for a couple
of hours, he tells his wife and
four children that he has presents
for them in his duffel bag.
When he attempts to open the bag,
with his entire family anxiously waiting
around him, the bomb goes off killing
They are all literally blown to pieces.
Now, this is the hell that American
soldiers never experienced.
But, this is the kind of hell that
happened everyday during the
Vietnam War by the Vietnamese
So, I have to be careful when I say,
war is hell.
U.S. Army Medic
April 29, 2009
caption from the I-R-A-Q (I
Remember Another Quagmire) portfolio of Mike Hastie, US Army
Medic, Vietnam 1970-71. (For more of his
outstanding work, contact at: (firstname.lastname@example.org) T)
By Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal
Div. 11th Brigade, purple heart, Veterans For Peace 50 Michigan, Vietnam
Veterans Against The War, United Auto Workers GM Retiree, in Perry, Michigan
From Peace Speaks From The Mirror
Mary is a wife and mother
with a hole in her life
that the sun won’t shine through
since her husband was killed in Iraq
a vacuum like a coffin
that holds him away from her
Her Donnie looked so handsome
in his uniform when he came home
when he came home all the other times
Mary prayed to God to watch over him
but she has sandpaper feelings
Their baby will never know his father
a part of him is all that lasts
Mary is so lonesome now
as she remembers dancing with Donnie
she can still smell him when they slow
She cries and tears drop on Jason’s
as she changes his diaper again
she vows he will not fight in any war
that the government comes up with all the
her tears stop as she gets angry now
war does not care about babies
war does not care about husbands
and war does not care about her.
Mary wipes the tears off of Jason’s
she picks him up in her arms
and dances a slow dance with him
across the baby’s room floor.
“They Hauled Ammo Up There And Set Up Machine Guns And Dared The
MPs To Come Up”
“It Was Planned. It Was
Well Planned And Well Organized”
SHADOWS: VETERANS’ PATHS TO PEACE.
Edited by David Giffey; Atwood Publishing, Madison, Wisconsin, 2006
By Will Williams, Vietnam Veteran [Excerpts]
In the first speech that I made on the square, I said I could see why
we were called unpatriotic and these different names.
I explained how I had put in a 1049 request to go back to Vietnam
because of the protesters, not because they were wrong, but I didn’t
understand at the time why they were doing what they were doing.
I felt they were wrong.
Once I learned, I knew they were right, and I looked at them as being
the heroes and I still do.
It doesn’t bother me that people say I’m unpatriotic.
It used to. But, it doesn’t
I know who I am, I like who I am, and there’s no way you can make
me think I’m anything other than who I am.
It’s really hard to talk about Vietnam.
A lot of it is really hard when I think of some of the battles. It’s hard.
Not just talking about it but after just thinking about it.
It doesn’t go away right then.
One of the things that is hard was, a friend of mine, Ellsworth, who
died, who I was trying to save.
We had been out on a search and destroy mission. We used to monitor each other. All of us did a lot of patrols. We would monitor each other. When one would go on patrol the others would
go up to the FDC shack and listen to the reports coming.
This one night Sergeant Womack went out.
We were listening in the FDC shack and they called for indirect fire
because they were being followed. They
were denied indirect fire because there was a friendly village in the area. They weren’t that far from our camp. You could actually see the tracers. Then it stopped.
Next morning we went out and found everybody dead and mutilated except
We found out later he had been captured, and we started tracking him
along the river. We knew they were
taking him to the north from intelligence from the villages.
So while we were tracking him we got hit. Ellsworth had gotten hit, and every time
somebody tried to go to him they were wounded or killed because
“Charlie” had a fire lane right to where Ellsworth was.
I told my grenadier, the M-79 guy, I told him to cover fire for me
because I was going to get Ellsworth. So I started out in a low crawl. I came to
15 feet from Ellsworth and he pulled his weapon on me.
He said he knew that he was going to die and he would kill me before he
would give “Charlie” a chance. So, I stopped. I started crawling back.
Since then I wondered if I hadn’t hesitated, could I have saved
Did I put too much value on my life when he told me he would take it
when trying to save his? Could I have
got him to medical help, and would he have survived or would he have pulled the
trigger on me?
I’m struggling with that question. I think about it, it hurts all over again. It’s the question I need to answer and I
don’t know if I can.
I knew that he was dead. He did die, and the question lingers ...
should I have done more? Would he have
actually done what he said? Would he
have killed me?
That’s hard, because I think he would have. I tell myself I think
he would have done it, but then I think I’m just saying that to try to
And I try to use other means to make it easier. The way he was hit and shot up he wouldn’t
have been normal. But then, who am I to
make that decision?
When I think about that incident, it takes me to the present.
I think about how many of those young people over there fighting now
would experience something similar, and come back to this country, and later on
in life find out that this war was a lie, that they went because of lies and
I wonder how will they deal with it?
So many of the young men who were wounded say they would rather be
there with their comrades. Are they
saying this because they’re still brainwashed or is it coming from their
It intensifies that anger I have against what’s going on now when
I think of those experiences I had and see that the young today are going
through the same things.
It must have been 1969 at Cam Ranh Bay, the blacks got irritated
because they were’ being pulled out of their MOS and were doing the dirty
work on the base like humping ammo, regardless of MOS.
They got ticked off about it, and I remember what actually started it
was a movie.
I think it was A Hundred Rifles, the movie with Jim Brown and Raquel
Welch. It had this scene where Jim Brown
hugged her or something while she was under the water tower, and some racial
slurs started. That’s all it took
to tip it because the idea was already there that there would be a riot.
I was in an MP unit, and I refused to go up to take part in anything to
try to quell it.
I don’t know how they finally settled it.
I know the guys had machine guns up on the hill. The ammo dump was down
in a valley, and the regular base was down, and up on the hill they had a lot
of the supplies, the meat and all the other supplies were up there.
The black guys took the high ground. They hauled ammo up there and set up machine
guns and dared the MPs to come up.
It was planned. It was well
planned and well organized.
It was bad being a black man in the military.
In Cu Chi, if people were wounded, if you
were black, nine times out of ten you would get patched up if you were able and
go back to the field, back on your regular duty.
If you were Caucasian, you would go to
brigade or something else, but blacks, they never got sent back to the rear.
There wasn’t a whole lot of racial stuff between the individuals
themselves, the soldiers.
It was just at the higher levels that you would see it.
The medals I think were given according to color also.
When I got my second Bronze Star people said I should have gotten a
Silver Star or a higher medal.
They had other people there that I know didn’t do anything and
they got medals, high medals.
As a matter of fact, my company commander got a Congressional Medal of
Honor and he skipped out when we really got hit.
It was a matter of who wrote the citations, what they put in it.
“We Would Go Out And Call In Coordinates Of The Location, But We
Were Usually About 400—500 Meters Away”
“And We Would Say We Were There, That We Had Checked It Out And
Nothing Was There”
SHADOWS: VETERANS’ PATHS TO PEACE.
Edited by David Giffey; Atwood Publishing, Madison, Wisconsin, 2006
By Dennis McQuade, Veteran, Vietnam
Then they sent us out to this junction.
It just symbolized the whole Vietnam War for me.
There was nothing there but jungle.
And yet there was a crossroads there that was called Baldwin’s
Junction. Baldwin was our Colonel.
The rumor was that 50 men had been killed fighting over this junction,
but nothing was there.
There were no buildings.
There were no crops.
There was no VC base camp.
And they sent us out there.
I was with Childress and this lieutenant was with us, and about 10
other guys. We went up the trail. We got near Baldwin’s Junction, and
sure enough, there was a sniper. He started firing at us. We were at the back, Childress and I. The lieutenant was in about the middle.
The lieutenant called for the machine gun and so Childress and I
ran. I had the ammunition. He had the M-60, and the lieutenant, when
Childress ran by, said, “Go over there and spray that. area.”
Well, I ran by and he says, “Where the fuck are, you
going?” He didn’t seem to
realize that I had the ammunition.
And Childress ran and he stepped on a big mine, a huge mine. He was just blown up and was killed. There were
also six or seven other people wounded, one pretty badly. I’ll never
forget that. They then called in air
strikes for this sniper.
Then they had us dig, we got about 50 meters away and they had us dig a
10-inch deep foxhole the length of our body in the ground, and then they called
in the air strikes. They just pulverized
this whole area, which had been pulverized many other times.
I remember being more afraid of that than I was the sniper, because, I
knew from being in a mortar platoon that people make mistakes and they call in
the wrong coordinates. The ground just
shook like it was a trampoline. And I
was scared. I was really scared. Luckily
I got out of that unit. I was
But probably for the next 10 years, I had one of those survivor
complexes. I kept thinking, “Why
did that lieutenant stop me that day?
What kind of fate saved me when Childress died and I should have been
there with him?”
But also from that incident I realized that that it had been completely
There was nothing of any value there.
There was no winning or losing.
A person died and six or seven, were wounded.
When I went to Vietnam I wanted to survive, but after all these things
had happened, my whole mind-set was, “I want to survive.” Nothing else mattered.
So I didn’t volunteer for anything. I didn’t do anything that would make it
any more dangerous for me than it had to be.
And a lot of people were acting that way at that time.
I even went with some sergeants on patrols in the 9th Division that we
were being sent into similar places like Baldwin’s Junction, completely
useless places out in the jungle where you were sure you would be attacked.
And we would go out and call in coordinates
of the location, but we were usually about 400—500 meters away. And we would say we were there, that we had
checked it out and nothing was there, and we would radio back.
This was at the E-7 platoon sergeant level
with certainly officers aware, and just saying, why should we go in that
area. There’s no reason.
I’m basically, in my core, against all wars.
I wouldn’t completely call myself a pacifist because I probably
respect people’s right to defend their own country. It may mean I’d take part in defending
my own country if it were invaded. But, I still am opposed to war. It’s a
horrible thing. It’s never positive. It’s always very
negative. That’s the only thing it
I hope that I can do this until I’m 85, maybe longer I hope,
because I think there’s just a tremendous need. Over the years I’ve also shown my
slides of Vietnam, and have added some slides of the peace movement. It started out with a first grade teacher,
Cate Lyman at Hawthorne Elementary. We
showed it to first graders.
I remember going in there when Rambo was big, and talking about Rambo,
and then what I did in the Army.
At that level we didn’t talk about the killing and the death, but
we talked about how the war really wasn’t so glamorous. You end up filling sand bags all day long. You end up working in the kitchen. You get dirty cleaning trucks.
John Wayne, when I was young, was just an outrageous misconception of
what a soldier is. It’s farcical
that soldiers ran around in World War II movies and they didn’t even get
When John Wayne was out fighting, lying on a Japanese beach, he would
have a pressed uniform when he got up.
Wars are a lot worse than that.
They are bloody and horrible and full of death.
One of the worst things wars do is lower people’s level of
morality. They can’t help but do
that. There’s a common denominator
for morality that lowers a great deal because there’s so much death and
everybody has to excuse it. It is
lowered for everyone. The whole culture
becomes that way. That’s one of
the most horrible things for me.
I saw some terrible things. For
a time I became accustomed to it, and that’s really sad. All war, even if
it’s a war for a so-called good cause, does this. There’s no way it
doesn’t. People lower their levels of morality.
I think what we try to do in Vets for Peace is try to remind people
there’s a higher level of morality that we’ve got to keep, that war
is really horrible and here are guys that were in the military who can tell you
“Desert Storm Wasn’t Short In Reality”
“If That Were The Case, We Wouldn’t Have Been Getting Blown
Up People In Germany In March If The War Was Over In January”
“It’s Not Like I Expected The U.S. Government Would Tell
The Truth To The People”
SHADOWS: VETERANS’ PATHS TO PEACE.
Edited by David Giffey; Atwood Publishing, Madison, Wisconsin, 2006
By Frances Wiedenhoeft, Veteran, Desert Storm
and Afghanistan [Excerpt]
I was deployed [for Desert Storm] from January of 1991 until
August. It was shocking at that time. I
knew intellectually I was going to be’ taking care of the victims of a
war, but to actually see it was kind of emotionally overwhelming. We’d
get a planeload, we’d get like 300 or 400 patients just deposited onto
the hospital. And we’d triage and
do surgery on them and send them where they needed to go.
I don’t know how they are doing, this time, but at that time the
triage from the field in Iraq and Kuwait, it wasn’t working properly and
so they’d send patients that they had just pulled right out of the field
with a minimum of care.
They would still have their weapons on them and grenades attached to
them and all kinds of stuff.
It was so far from the reality of anything anyone heard on this side of
the ocean. It was distressing and shocking to me, but I think in some ways when
I went to Afghanistan at least I was familiar with.... It’s just
different. You know, I deal with trauma at University Hospital and I’ve
dealt with abused children as patients and women beat up by their men, and car
accidents and injuries can look very similar as far as how it devastates a
person’s body and mind. But it was different knowing that all these
injuries in Desert Storm were caused by one group of people’s inhumanity
to another group of people.
Desert Storm wasn’t short in
reality. It was short compared to World
War II or the Vietnam War. People think
it was like five days long or something.
If that were the case, we wouldn’t have
been getting blown up people in Germany in March if the war was over in
It’s not like I expected the U.S.
government would tell the truth to the people.
That’s unfortunate, though, because I
think if more people knew what the reality was of Desert Storm, maybe they
wouldn’t have been so gung ho to go into Iraq the second time.
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April 30, 1975:
An Imperial War Ends In Defeat:
After 100 Years Of Colonial Occupation, A Nation
Wins Its’ Fight For Independence
helicopter out of Saigon 4/30/75
[Thanks to Mark Shapiro.]
Carl Bunin Peace History April 30-May 6
The U.S. presence ended in Vietnam as U.S.
Marines and Air Force helicopters, flying from carriers off-shore, begin a
massive airlift, Operation Frequent Wind. In all, 682 flights went out-- 360 at
night. 5,000 people were evacuated by helicopter from the military compound
near Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut airport; about 2500 from the U.S. Embassy
(1000 Americans total, the rest Vietnamese).
That morning, two U.S. Marines, Darwin Judge
and Charles McMahon Jr., Marine security guards, were killed in a rocket attack
at the airport. They were the last
Americans to die in the Vietnam War. At
dawn, the last Marines of the force guarding the U.S. embassy lifted off.
The war in Vietnam ended as the government in
Saigon announced its unconditional surrender to the North Vietnamese. Vietnam was reunited after 21 years of U.S.
domination and 100 years of French colonial rule.
CAN’T BE COUNTED ON TO HALT THE BLOODSHED
TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WARS
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
opinion? Comments from service men and
women, and veterans, are especially welcome.
Write to Box
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CLASS WAR REPORTS
Enraged About Corporate Greed?
Kidnap Your Boss
[Thanks to Sandy Kelson, Military Project
& Veterans For Peace, who sent this in.]
There is a
reason the French enjoy the best health system in the world (according to the
World Health Organization), some of the best unemployment benefits, a free
education system and some of the shortest work weeks and most productive
worker-per-hour output among developed countries.
noise, they marshal in the streets, they bossnap, sometimes they set things on
fire, barricade roads, demolish infrastructure (as in the recent rash of
railway sabotage in France).
April 30, 2009 By Christopher Ketcham,
In answer to their own economic crisis, the
French have taken up "bossnapping."
Here’s how it works: An executive of a
company, perhaps the CEO, stands before a group of his employees, puts his
hands together, sighs, and then, with regret as smooth as brie, explains the
fact that downsizing is needed to meet the exigencies of economic crisis (read:
the preservation of profits in downturn).
The employees get pissed off -- and bum-rush
the boss. They trap him in his office, barricade the door, feed him espresso
and baguette, and demand a fair deal. It’s
a sort of soft-touch storming of the Bastille.
And lo, it works.
A few weeks back, this happened at the FM
Logistics Co. in Woippy, France, as 125 workers charged into a meeting of five
company managers and held the poor creatures hostage for a day. At least 475 workers at FM Logistics, which
is owned by Hewlett-Packard Co., were facing the specter of
"redundancy" as HP sought to move its printer packaging operations to
the cheaper labor pool in Malaysia.
By midnight, the company had turned tail,
promising "new proposals on redundancy talks," according to Reuters.
The news service quoted one of the
bossnappers: "We’ve had enough.
We have been negotiating for a year, if you can call it negotiating, and
we haven’t managed to make ourselves heard."
At 3M’s pharmaceutical factory in
Pithiviers, 50 miles from Paris, workers exploded upon hearing that 110 of them
were to lose jobs. They surrounded the
manager and forced him into his office, where he was held hostage for 24 hours
until 3M agreed to resume negotiations.
The president of Sony France in
March was locked in his office by employees who barricaded the doors and
windows with tree trunks.
Angry factory workers at the Caterpillar
plant in Grenoble took four managers hostage on April Fool’s Day.
In the last month across France, at least a
dozen such incidents have been reported, with no less than five CEOs of major
corporations held in what the French are calling, with typical delicate aplomb,
"sequestration." In each case,
the sequestered bosses have been well-fed and well-treated -- though sometimes,
alas, forced to sleep on the floor.
I called my family in France -- my ex lives
in Paris with our daughter -- to get the home-fire take on these outrages.
"Most people are for it," my ex
told me. "Because of les
inegalites" -- the inequalities of the rich doing well as the rest of the
I e-mailed her sister-in-law, a
schoolteacher, who wrote back, "These bossnappings seem to be peaceful
most of the time, and I’m not so shocked. Workers are totally desperate, and I don’t
blame them for wanting to be heard, as long as no one is hurt." (She also
noted that she personally knows a company boss in the south of France who has
taken to keeping a bedroll and extra food in his office, just in case.)
A poll this month found that 45
percent of French agree with the practice of bossnapping, while only 7 percent
A second poll found that 55
percent of French believe that "radical protest" under the current
circumstances was justified, while 64 percent said that bossnapping should be
And perhaps most compelling is
that authorities are listening: In most cases, they are declining to prosecute
It’s lovely to behold all this, and
even lovelier to think my daughter is growing up weaned on the grand French
tradition of raising hell.
The habit goes back to the revolution -- its
call signs, Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite -- to the Paris commune, the
resistance, the Soisante-Huitards toppling the republic.
This is a country where, two weeks ago,
fishermen at the ports of Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk amassed a flotilla of
500 boats to blockade shipping in the major northern ports (their ire directed
at European Union fishing quotas issued from on high for the benefit of
corporate interests backed by the EU).
The government answered the blockade by
handing the fishing industry $66 million in loans to ride out hard times.
In January, over a million citizens on strike
took to the streets in protest of government stimulus policies that appear to
favor big business and special interests over average Frenchmen (sound
familiar?). The country almost literally
came to a halt: Flights canceled, the Paris metro paralyzed, commuter transit
dead on the rails, schools and courts and post offices shut down.
When French President Nicolas
Sarkozy recently visited the small town of Chatellerault, he was met not by the
typically American crowd of corralled sheep but by thousands of protesters who
pelted with eggs his cordon of teargas-firing police.
There is a reason the French
enjoy the best health system in the world (according to the World Health
Organization), some of the best unemployment benefits, a free education system
and some of the shortest work weeks and most productive worker-per-hour output
among developed countries.
They make noise, they marshal
in the streets, they bossnap, sometimes they set things on fire, barricade
roads, demolish infrastructure (as in the recent rash of railway sabotage in
Sheldon Wolin, a professor emeritus of
politics at Princeton University, celebrates this kind of behavior among
citizens as "the disorderliness that has always been the hallmark of a
vibrant democracy" -- and in talking about "democracy," lame old
word that it’s become, he is cleaving to its earliest meaning in
politics: rule and resistance by that dangerously unwashed thing the Greeks
called the demos, the people themselves.
In his troubling book, Democracy
Incorporated, published last year, Wolin, who was a bomber pilot during World
War II, laments that disorderliness in the U.S. has been on the wane since the
1960s, helped along by the widening reach of an anti-democratic corporate-state
apparatus -- "highly managed, money-saturated elections, the lobby-infested
Congress, the imperial presidency, the class-biased judicial and penal system, (and
not least), the media" -- that encourages docility, depoliticization, the
shrugging-off of participation.
"One of the reasons why the ‘60s
continues to be a favorite punching bag of neocons and neoliberals," he
writes in Democracy Incorporated, "is that it represented a decade of
prolonged popular political education unique in recent American history. The
most frequent topics were racism, foreign policy, corporate power, higher
education and threats to ecology -- each in one form or another a domain of
What Wolin is saying is perhaps a hard dose
of the obvious: When Americans protest -- and they’re not protesting very
much (on the eve of the Iraq war, the French had more people in the streets
than did the whole of the citizenry of the United States) -- the system today
isn’t geared to listen, or, rather, is geared more handily to ignore the
The goal, of course, is "to isolate
democratic resistance, to insulate society from hearing dissonant voices, and
to hurry the process of depoliticization," says Wolin.
Americans, it appears, are good at
depoliticization, certainly no good at bossnapping. [He misreads history. Americans are slow to arouse to mass resistance,
but when aroused, explosive and terrible in our wrath. Don’t change the channel. T]
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