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GI Special 7D22: Indonesian Soldiers In Revolt [ 30 April 2009 ]


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 actions.

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GI Special 7D22: Indonesian Soldiers In Revolt [ 30 April 2009 ]

Thomas F. Barton

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

4.30.09

Print it out: color best.  Pass it on.

 GI SPECIAL 7D22:

[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 Their Money”

“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 [Excerpts]

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 actions.

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 a plane.

 

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 said.

 

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 wounds.

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 ($8,400).

“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,” Zebua said.

He denied soldiers had stolen guns stored at the base.

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 Tuesday.

 

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 officer.

DO YOU 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, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657.  Phone: 917.677.8057

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

Former Port St. Lucie Resident Killed In Iraq

Michael Anaya

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 vehicle.

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 added.

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 it.”

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 72 hours.

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 POST-DISPATCH

A soldier who grew up in Fenton and four other soldiers killed by a bomb in Iraq were returned to the United States on Sunday evening.

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 year.

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 school.

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.

 

Resistance Action

 

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, police said.

 

A roadside bomb in the south of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, targeted a police patrol, wounding two policemen, police said.

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATIONS

 

UNREMITTING HELL ON EARTH;

ALL HOME NOW

A US soldier with the 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment, 2nd BCT, ...

A 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 were dropped.

 

 

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!

 

 

TROOP NEWS

NOT ANOTHER DAY

NOT ANOTHER DOLLAR

NOT ANOTHER LIFE

The casket of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers, of Hopewell, ...

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 Army”

American Troops Have Completed Almost 3 Million Combat Tours In Iraq And Afghanistan;

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 deployed.

 

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 Army.”

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

This is an undated photo shows abolitionist Frederick Douglass. ...

 

“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

“Hope for change doesn’t cut it when you’re still losing buddies.”

-- J.D. 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

“What 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, 1787.

"The mighty are only mighty because we are on our knees.  Let us rise!" 

-- Camille Desmoulins

"When someone says my son died fighting for his country, I say, "No, the suicide bomber who killed my son died fighting for his country." 

-- Father of American Soldier Chase Beattie, KIA in Iraq

 

 

One day 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.

 

Mike Hastie

U.S. Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71

December 13, 2004

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.

-- George Washington

Be Careful What You Say

From: Mike Hastie

To: GI Special

Sent: April 29, 2009

Subject: Be Careful What You Say

  Be 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

everyone.

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

people.

So, I have to be careful when I say,

war is hell.

 

Mike Hastie

U.S. Army Medic

Vietnam 1970-71

April 29, 2009

 

Photo and 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: (hastiemike@earthlink.net)  T)

 

 

Mary’s War

 

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’s War

 

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

about that

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 danced.

She cries and tears drop on Jason’s face

as she changes his diaper again

she vows he will not fight in any war

that the government comes up with all the time

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 face

she picks him up in her arms

and dances a slow dance with him

across the baby’s room floor.

 

 

Vietnam:

“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”

 

From: LONG 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 anymore.

 

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 Sergeant Womack.

 

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 him.

 

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 justify it.

 

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 deception.

 

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 heart?

 

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.

 

Vietnam:

“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”

 

From: LONG SHADOWS: VETERANS’ PATHS TO PEACE.  Edited by David Giffey; Atwood Publishing, Madison, Wisconsin, 2006

 

By Dennis McQuade, Veteran, Vietnam [Excerpts]

 

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 transferred.

 

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 useless.

 

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 can be.

 

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 dirty.

 

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 about it.

 

 

“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”

 

From: LONG 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 January.

 

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.

Troops Invited:

Comments, arguments, articles, and letters from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Write to Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or send email contact@militaryproject.org:  Name, I.D., withheld unless you request publication.  Same address to unsubscribe.  Phone: 917.677.8057

April 30, 1975:

An Imperial War Ends In Defeat:

After 100 Years Of Colonial Occupation, A Nation Wins Its’ Fight For Independence

Last 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.

 

 

POLITICIANS CAN’T BE COUNTED ON TO HALT THE BLOODSHED

 

THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WARS

 

I Support Magnets

Cafepress.com/strk3

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

C.i.a. Where everybody knows your name

Cafepress.com/strk3

 

 

Got an opinion?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Write to Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or send to contact@militaryproject.org:  Name, I.D., withheld unless you request identification published. 

 

 

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.

 

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 France).

April 30, 2009 By Christopher Ketcham, AlterNet [Excerpts]

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 country immolates.

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 condemned it.

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 depenalized.

And perhaps most compelling is that authorities are listening: In most cases, they are declining to prosecute the bossnappers.

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 France).

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 elitism."

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 noise.

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]

 

 

Splash image: Write us at contact@militaryproject.org

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:: Article nr. 53861 sent on 01-may-2009 04:47 ECT

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