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"I've got my own 'Most Wanted' list. The aces in my deck are Paul Bremer, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz," ------------ http://www.antiwar.com/justin/justincol.html July 18, 2003 MILITARY MORALE HITS BOTTOM IN IRAQ – While War Party proclaims 'colonialist consensus' at home by Justin Raimondo American troops in Iraq, who creamed Saddam Hussein and his cronies in record time, are turning their sights on another target: the Bush administration – and if I were the Bushies, I'd be scared. A sergeant stationed in Fallujah recently told ABC News: "I've got my own 'Most Wanted' list. The aces in my deck are Paul Bremer, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz," Sure, the soldiers of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division are tired – exhausted is more like it. They've been there since September, and were promised that they'd be home by now. But it isn't just homesickness. Pfc. Eric Rattler avers: "I used to want to help these people, but now I don't really care about them anymore. I've seen so much, you know, little kids throwing rocks at you. Once you pacify an area, it seems like the area you just came from turns bad again. I'd like this country to be all right, but I don't care anymore." A conquered country needs to stay conquered, and that requires an occupation; we'll be in Iraq anywhere from 5 to 10 years, according to the experts and influential members of Congress. It is also going to require a lot more troops. But American soldiers are trained to win wars, not to baby-sit restive natives. Imperialism goes against the grain of the American character, as vociferously expressed by one of the military wives, Rhonda Vega of Hinesville, Georgia, who told a national TV audience: "Just send my husband home – send all the soldiers home. They have done the job they were supposed to do." Soldiers calling for Rummy's resignation on national television, military wives speaking out against the occupation – it didn't take very long for the backlash against the Iraq war to make itself felt. War "revisionism" usually takes years to kick in: this time, however, the smoke had barely cleared from the skies over Baghdad before the lies of the War Party were exposed and the storm of indignation broke. This can be explained, at least to some extent, to the ubiquity of the Internet, and is also due, perhaps, to the unusual brazenness of these particular liars. After all, the administration's Niger-uranium fantasy was debunked by UN inspector Jacques Baute "with a few quick Google searches," as Joshua Marshall described it. What were they thinking? Blinded by arrogance, and the myth of American preeminence, the neoconservative architects of a frankly imperial foreign policy don't care what ordinary people think. The whole world, for them, consists of Washington, D.C. and immediate environs, which is how come Rich Lowry can proclaim, in all seriousness, the rise of a "colonialist consensus." The editor of National Review opines: "No one wants to say it out loud, but we are all colonialists now." By "we," of course, he means all the policy wonks who inhabit the Washington Beltway, and who seem to have arrived at a "consensus" on the desirability of imperialism: "Beneath all the vitriolic partisan disagreements about American foreign policy, then, there is a sort of colonialist consensus, which is why American troops are in Afghanistan and Iraq (a Republican president's colonialism), Bosnia and Kosovo (a Democratic president's colonialism), and perhaps soon Liberia, too (a Republican president's colonialism that is pleasing to Democrats)." But the grunts who have to fight Washington's wars of conquest are not included in this great "consensus." Their opinions are not even considered, because they don't count. We must leave it to the elites, on the right and the left, and they have spoken: "Conservatives want to provide security and decent government to far-flung parts of the world for our own good – to protect America's interests; liberals want to provide security and decent government to far-flung parts of the world for other people's good – to protect humanitarian principles." What this means is that, when it comes to foreign policy, the ideological spectrum has been considerably narrowed to include only the two known varieties of neoconservatives: right-neocons and left-neocons, with the entire range of permitted dissent on foreign policy matters consisting of the short distance between National Review and The New Republic. Libertarians, leftists, paleoconservatives, and other opponents of our policy of global intervention – all are beyond the pale, including non-ideologues Pfc. Rattler, Ms. Vega, and the people who will actually have to fight these endless wars of conquest. Lowry and his fellow mandarins see their role as grand strategists. They are all of them little Napoleons, and their unspeakable arrogance leaps out at Lowry's readers: "The unspoken assumption of both sides is that swaths of the world have proven incapable of self-government, and they're both right. So conservative Republican President George W. Bush sends American troops to take over from the nasty dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and liberal Democrat Howard Dean wants to send American troops to take over from the nasty dictator of Liberia, Charles Taylor." Lowry's unspoken assumption is that we can care passionately about the ability of distant peoples to govern themselves without losing our own capacity for self-government, embodied in the Constitution and the revolutionary anti-colonialist heritage of the Founders. Can we rid the world of nasty dictators without the risk of installing one in Washington? Certainly, in the neocon view, it is a risk well worth taking, but, in the self-enclosed, self-referential world of Lowry's "colonialist consensus," such a question never even gets asked. Lowry wants neo-colonialists to come out of the closet, so to speak, and openly proclaim their proclivities, previously thought shameful and now openly celebrated. Furthermore, he says, we must learn from our predecessors how to go about building the new imperial order: "We can also openly study the British example and learn its lessons, especially how to create a – in [Niall] Ferguson's phrase – 'self-liquidating' empire, one that builds the institutions necessary to decent government, then leaves." "Self-liquidating" is one way to describe a policy that over-extended, impoverished, and eventually drained the British homeland, ending in exhaustion and economic ruin. As the last, degenerated remnants of a once mighty empire debate whether to throw their lot in with the United Socialist States of Europe, or fall back on their Anglo cousins across the ocean, one can only agree with Lowry that we must study the British example and learn its lessons. But what lesson, apart from "Don't go there!", can possibly be learned? Lowry enthuses over what a great deal European imperialism was for the downtrodden peoples of, say, Africa, although I'm almost sure he wouldn't want to bring the Belgians back to the Congo, or the Spanish, for that matter, back to the Southwest United States (although perhaps, with a little coaxing, they could be persuaded to take Mexico in hand….) What he doesn't mention, however, is that it wasn't such a great deal for the Europeans. The economic benefits of imperialism accrue only to certain politically favored entities and individuals, while the economic health of the commonwealth suffers in the long run. An empire must be policed, maintained by an administrative apparatus, and militarily defended: imperialism is essentially a policy of endless war. The costs far outweigh whatever prerogatives and peripheral benefits come with the imperial purple. Lowry's "consensus" of would be empire-builders excludes an awful lot of people, not only us libertarians, people on the Left, and the Buchanan-American First wing of the conservative movement, but also the U.S. military, from top-ranking officers in the Pentagon to the lowliest grunts on the front lines. In the months leading up the invasion of Iraq, prominent military leaders spoke out against intervention – and were disdained by the War Party as needlessly and dangerously interfering in the political process. Now that they have been proven right, we see ordinary soldiers in uniform calling on the Secretary of Defense to resign. A U.S. general has just conceded what everyone has known for many weeks: that America is bogged down in a guerrilla war against a multi-faceted Iraqi resistance movement that will not be easily defeated. "This is the duty we accept," said President Bush today [Thursday] about this war, but he is wrong. The American people never accepted any such thing. When the U.S. went to war with Iraq, and invaded its territory, we were told that it was necessary in order to disarm the Iraqis, who possessed "weapons of mass destruction" – yes, even nukes. Saddam Hussein has already "reconstituted" his nuclear weapons, said Vice President Dick Cheney. Now both Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are facing a growing chorus of jeering criticism – where's the WMD? The cry goes up on both sides of the Atlantic, directed at Bush, Cheney, and Blair, calling on them to resign. This is a "consensus"? There is much to Lowry's contention that the Left, as embodied by Howard Dean and his supporters, represents but another wing of the War Party. During the Clinton years, liberals embraced the idea of "humanitarian" intervention in Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, and elsewhere. Certainly a great deal of the antiwar sentiment in the Democratic party is due to sheer partisanship. But people are not static entities floating in a vacuum. They live in human history, and are not incapable of learning its lessons. In wartime, the ruling party invariably seizes the moment to increase its stranglehold on power, and its opponents resist. In this sense, Republican opposition to entering World War II was "partisan." Today, in fighting the interventionist policies of the Republican-led War Party, Democratic peace activists who might be otherwise inclined to endorse intervention on "humanitarian" grounds will find themselves constrained by both politics and logic. We may be in for a repeat of the process whereby the progressive populists of the 1930s who opposed U.S. entry into the war became the conservatives of the 1940s and 50s, and were later derided as "right-wing isolationists." War is the occasion for political realignments, and this is undoubtedly what is happening at the moment. A great debate is taking place as America takes its first halting steps on the road to Empire, and the question of the day is: What are we getting into? Americans want to know – but most of them are excluded from the discussion. They just don't matter, according to the Rich Lowrys of this world, but of course they do matter. Their taxes pay for the grandiose delusions of the policymakers; their lives are lost in pursuit of Napoleonic dreams, and they are, increasingly, insisting on being included in the national discussion. The near mutiny by American soldiers in Iraq shows how and why the attempt to build a colonialist "consensus" is doomed from the start. The great irony is that Lowry's "consensus" had no sooner been proclaimed than it had already begun to collapse. – Justin Raimondo ----- Original Message ----- From: "AS-ILAS" <AS-ILAS@gmx.de> To: "casi" <email@example.com> Sent: Samstag, 19. Juli 2003 15:32 Subject: [casi] Mutiny on the Bounty ? Mutiny on the Bounty ? 1) Pentagon may punish GIs who spoke out on TV 2) Sad Soldiers Say ==================== http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/07/18/MN248299.DTL Friday, July 18, 2003 Pentagon may punish GIs who spoke out on TV Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer Friday, July 18, 2003 Fallujah, Iraq -- Morale is dipping pretty low among U.S. soldiers as they stew in Iraq's broiling heat, get shot at by an increasingly hostile population and get repeated orders to extend their tours of duty. Ask any grunt standing guard on a 115-degree day what he or she thinks of the open-ended Iraq occupation, and you'll get an earful of colorful complaints. But going public isn't always easy, as soldiers of the Army's Second Brigade, Third Infantry Division found out after "Good Morning America" aired their complaints. The brigade's soldiers received word this week from the Pentagon that it was extending their stay, with a vague promise to send them home by September if the security situation allows. They've been away from home since September, and this week's announcement was the third time their mission has been extended. It was bad news for the division's 12,000 homesick soldiers, who were at the forefront of the force that overthrew Saddam Hussein's government and moved into Baghdad in early April. On Wednesday morning, when the ABC news show reported from Fallujah, where the division is based, the troops gave the reporters an earful. One soldier said he felt like he'd been "kicked in the guts, slapped in the face." Another demanded that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld quit. The retaliation from Washington was swift. CAREERS OVER FOR SOME "It was the end of the world," said one officer Thursday. "It went all the way up to President Bush and back down again on top of us. At least six of us here will lose our careers." First lesson for the troops, it seemed: Don't ever talk to the media "on the record" -- that is, with your name attached -- unless you're giving the sort of chin-forward, everything's-great message the Pentagon loves to hear. Only two days before the ABC show, similarly bitter sentiments -- with no names attached -- were voiced in an anonymous e-mail circulating around the Internet, allegedly from "the soldiers of the Second Brigade, Third ID." "Our morale is not high or even low," the letter said. "Our morale is nonexistent. We have been told twice that we were going home, and twice we have received a 'stop' movement to stay in Iraq." The message, whose authenticity could not be confirmed, concluded: "Our men and women deserve to be treated like the heroes they are, not like farm animals. Our men and women deserve to see their loved ones again and deserve to come home." After this one-two punch, it was perhaps natural that on Thursday, the same troops and officers who had been garrulous and outspoken in previous visits were quiet, and most declined to speak on the record. During a visit to Fallujah, a small city about 30 miles west of Baghdad, military officials expressed intense chagrin about the bad publicity. And they slammed the ABC reporters for focusing on the soldiers' criticism of Rumsfeld, Bush and other officials and implying that they are unwilling to carry out their mission. COMPLAINTS CALLED ROUTINE "Soldiers have bitched since the beginning of time," said Capt. James Brownlee, the public affairs officer for the Second Brigade. "That's part of being a soldier. They bitch. But what does 'bad morale' really mean? That they're not combat-ready or loyal? Nobody here fits that definition." The nervousness of the brass has a venerable history. It has long been a practice in American democracy that the military do not criticize the nation's civilian leaders, as Gen. Douglas MacArthur found out in 1951, when he criticized President Harry Truman's Korean War strategy -- and was promptly fired. Yet several U.S. officers said privately that troop morale is indeed low. "The problem is not the heat," said one high-ranking officer. "Soldiers get used to that. The problem is getting orders to go home, so your wife gets all psyched about it, then getting them reversed, and then having the same process two more times." In Baghdad, average soldiers from other Army brigades are eager to spill similar complaints. "I'm not sure people in Washington really know what it's like here," said Corp. Todd Burchard as he stood on a street corner, sweating profusely and looking bored. "We'll keep doing our jobs as best as anyone can, but we shouldn't have to still be here in the first place." Nearby, Pfc. Jason Ring stood next to his Humvee. "We liberated Iraq. Now the people here don't want us here, and guess what? We don't want to be here either," he said. "So why are we still here? Why don't they bring us home?" E-mail Robert Collier at firstname.lastname@example.org. ------------------------- 2) http://www.sierratimes.com/03/07/15/guestoped_ks.htm This Article Published 07. 14. 03 at 22:18 Sierra Time Sad Soldiers Say By Kristina Simmons When you hear about “heroes”, you think of people whom you would envy. None of us asked to be called heroes, or anything else. For the past 9 months we have lived a hard life. We trained for nearly 6 months before the war started, were the first U.S. forces into Iraq on March 20th, and were responsible for the daring strike into Baghdad on April 7th and 8th that virtually ended the war. We are the forgotten and betrayed soldiers of 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, also known as the “Send Me” Brigade. Our Task Force motto is “Can Do”, and we have been living true to those words for a very long time. We are also the unit that is sitting in the city of Al Fallujah, as we enter the month of July. Our men and women have completed every mission we have been given, even when that mission kept us from coming home on time. We have received the occasional newspaper, each one showing us that the rest of the armed forces are returning home…even as we are getting orders for our next mission. We also read the letters that our Commanding General (MG Buford Blount) writes in our local newspaper. Each time we read his words our desperation grows deeper, because we know that most of our countrymen are hearing his lies about our situation here. Our morale is not high or even low. Our morale is non-existent. We have been told twice that we were going home, and twice we have received a stop movement to stay in Iraq. Where is the honor and integrity the army preaches to soldiers in Basic Training? The closer you get to the front lines, the worse the soldiers get treated. Every single one of my men has diarrhea, because none of us on the front lines have had a single fresh vegetable in over a month. Meanwhile MG Blount and his cronies are enjoying Burger King at Baghdad International Airport (which we captured). The 3rd Infantry Division soldiers feel betrayed, and forgotten. Many of our brothers in arms have paid the ultimate price to help liberate this country. Every one of us has made sacrifices, and what is our reward? Being treated like farm animals. We have had more support from the press, who were embedded with us throughout the fight, than we have ever received from our chain of command. Our troops, and our equipment are worn out. Many of our troops have been through some truly terrible experiences; They have been told by mental health professionals that they need to get out of this environment. MG Blount, and LTG Sanchez (the V Corps Commander) however, either don’t care about those of us out here on the front lines or they have been lied to by their subordinates and have passed those lies on to the rest of the world. In closing, all I am really trying to ask for is your help. Please send this letter on to your representatives in congress and to your local media, and ask them to get the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division home. Our men and women deserve to be treated like the heroes they are, not like neighborhood mongrels. Our men and women deserve to see their loved ones again and deserve to come home. Thank you for your attention, Sincerely, The Soldiers of 2nd Brigade, 3rd ID This letter was written 1 July. Since that time they were given instructions July 8, 2003, that they were to pack up for the return to Fort Stewart by August 1, 2003, On July 12, 2003 that order was rescinded and they were told they were extended in Iraq until September 30 at the earliest. So once again they have been deceived. Please do not be fooled by the news reports that our soldiers are getting the best of the best they can offer. They are not, they are in need of personal items they cannot buy. They are in need of uniforms, which the Army continues to promise to replace, along with boots and fresh food. They are not getting these things. The soldiers you see returning were deployed in February and March of 2003. The soldiers who captured Baghdad have been there since October, some since September, and this is their 2nd add on mission since the end of the war. How long are we as Americans supposed to put up with this mistreatment of OUR people? How long can we be angry that the world has no trust in us, while our soldiers in Iraq are in pain? The grandiose of the return of some soldiers is a trick to mask the reality of the situation. The war is not over, it is far from over, and now the lies are being discovered. We as American need to confront our congressmen and politicians, whom we as a people have elected to represent us, until they are forced to tell the truth and face this reality. We are duty bound to expose the truth. The soldiers and the families of those soldiers need your help, they have been gone from their families for such a long period of time they are almost strangers to us. PLEASE take time to pass this on and take some action!! We as family members of these soldiers are not ashamed of the job that these soldiers have done. We are proud of them for doing the things that they have been ordered to do, at all costs to them and us. We bring no shame to our men and women; the shame is our government and the people who are making the ill planned decisions concerning our soldiers. We know that they signed up to serve and protect, and although they are tired, worn, broken and feeling betrayed, they are still soldiers, they will carry on -- they will get job after job done and with honor. Find the time in your busy lives to do something to help these soldiers come home. Call your representatives, send letters to them concerning the situation, and ask them what they are planning to do about it. These soldiers are men and women from all of our communities and families who are also Americans. Thank you _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk