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News ::
GI'S WANT TO COME HOME AND IRAQIS WANT THEM OUT (english)
16 Jul 2003
GI'S WANT TO COME HOME AND IRAQIS WANT THEM OUT
Crisis Deepens for Bush and Pentagon Brass

By Fred Goldstein
-------------------------
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the July 17, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper
-------------------------

GI'S WANT TO COME HOME AND IRAQIS WANT THEM OUT
Crisis Deepens for Bush and Pentagon Brass

By Fred Goldstein

President George W. Bush and his entourage are touring Africa as part of Washington's plans to expand its military, economic and political
domination on the continent. Washington has threatened Iran, Syria and
North Korea. It has dispatched troops to the Philippines and Colombia,
and is trying to push the Palestinians into abandoning their struggle
for national survival.

All of this is in accord with their ambitions of exercising total world domination.

But the momentum of the whole imperial enterprise is being significantly weakened, if not undermined, by the deepening crisis in Iraq.

The growing Iraqi resistance to the U.S. military and the declining
morale of U.S. troops is haunting the Pentagon. It should be a signal to the anti-war movement to intensify its efforts to stop the occupation and bring the troops home.

BUSH: 'BRING 'EM ON'

Bush declared the war over on May 1 during a triumphal photo op when he landed on a U.S. aircraft carrier. That scene is no longer being
replayed. The Pentagon's latest count of U.S. soldiers killed in combat since then is up to 30. More are said to have died in accidents. The number of wounded is in the neighborhood of 200.

On July 2, Bush's public response to this growing crisis and
intensifying conflict was to taunt the resistance and say "Bring 'em
on." This was safely said from the campaign trail in the U.S., where he was busy circulating among his millionaire and billionaire cronies,
building up his financial war chest for re-election.

This belligerent, thuggish taunt was repeated by Gen. Tommy Franks
during his retirement ceremony. But while it may have sounded good among the fraternity of ultra-militarists, elitist pilots, Special Operations mercenaries and assorted right-wingers to whom Bush was appealing, the phrase undoubtedly had a different ring to U.S. soldiers on the ground and their families back home, not to speak of the resistance fighters in Iraq.

No sooner did Bush get the words out of his mouth than U.S. forces in
Iraq suffered their heaviest attacks since May 1. These were underplayed in the media. But the Washington Post of July 5 reported an attack in Balad, a small farming town about 50 miles north of Baghdad. Balad was the scene of massive U.S. sweeps in Operation Desert Scorpion recently.

"The mortar attack, which occurred late Thursday and wounded at least 17 members of the Army's 3rd Corps Support Command at a sprawling military base near the town, resulted in more injuries than any other single incident since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1."

The subsequent ambush of a military patrol on a highway south of Balad, continued the Post, "sparked one of the most intense clashes in the past two months, with soldiers killing 11 Iraqis during three separate firefights that spanned eight hours, military officials said."

A U.S. military official said about 50 people were involved in the
attack. "This is unusual and concerning," the official told the Post. "A group of 50 suggests a degree of organization we haven't seen before."

The attack on Camp Anaconda near Balad used mortars, which take training and skill in ballistics and can be fired from up to four miles away. During the week there was a mortar attack on the International Airport near Baghdad, where the top U.S. military commander works, and on the field headquarters of the Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Ramadi, which was hit three nights in a row, according to the Post.

HEAVIER ATTACKS THAN DURING WAR

New York Times chief military correspondent Michael Gordon journeyed to the headquarters of Theater Support Command for logistics at Arifjan, Kuwait, to meet with officials there. "We are having heavier attacks now than we did during the war," Maj. Gen. David E. Kratzer told Gordon, who reported in the Times of July 4. "It is an unusual day when we don't have at least one attack someplace on the supply route." The area just south of Baghdad has been dubbed "RPG Alley" by the soldiers. RPGs are rocket-propelled grenades. The high command is worried that the resistance fighters are improving their skills.

Similar reports come from the 1st Armored Division, which arrived in
Baghdad in early May. One field artillery unit was attacked seven times while patrolling a two-square-mile area, according to the Washington Post of July 8: "The incidents included mortar fire from a nearby neighborhood, a drive-by shooting, a rocket-propelled grenade launched from a bus stop and hand grenades tossed at soldiers' Humvees as they drove through a congested market."

"We're hit more now that the war is pretty much over," Spec. Justin
Keeney, 22, of Oregon City, who drives a heavy equipment truck from
Baghdad to the northwest, told the Post. "When we haul tanks or
artillery, they don't mess with us. If we have engineering equipment, we get lit up. It's almost guaranteed."

'THEY'RE GETTING TIRED OF US'

"Such urban combat," continued the Post, "not only poses an immediate
threat to soldiers' lives, it has the potential to stir resentment
toward occupation forces at a time when the U.S. government is
attempting to focus attention on its efforts to rebuild Iraq."

The Post reporter talked to Spec. James McNeely, 48, a member of the
D.C. National Guard's 547th Transportation Company. "They're getting
tired of us," he said. "Wouldn't you be mad if they invaded your
country?"

As the occupation drags on and U.S. soldiers are confronted with having to carry out the colonial role of occupation police, their morale is dropping.

"Most soldiers would empty their bank accounts just for a plane ticket
home," said one recent letter to Congress written by an Army soldier now based in Iraq. The soldier requested anonymity. (Christian Science
Monitor, July 7)

"Make no mistake, the level of morale for most soldiers I've seen has
hit rock bottom," said another soldier, an officer from the Army's 3rd
Infantry Division.

This morale is being worn down by long and frequent deployments amid an openly hostile population, whose resistance is drastically
underreported. A Washington Post reporter watched as the lead Humvee in a caravan had its front lifted off the ground by a mine on the side of a bridge. The vehicle was damaged, but because no one was killed or seriously wounded, this incident was not reported by the military. But such incidents are everyday occurrences. "It's becoming routine," a military official told the Post.

When the reporter went over to interview some of the many Iraqis on the banks of the Tigris by the bridge, no one saw who planted the mine. "And even if they did, several said, they would not identify the person to U.S. forces."

"This kind of attack is good for the Iraqi people," said Kudier Abbas,
39, a food vendor. "The Americans have been here for four months. What
have they done for us." He pulled out some candy and asked, "They think this will make us happy?"

This growing tide of reported and unreported attacks on the soldiers is downplayed by the high command. But it cannot be downplayed to the
families of the soldiers who get letters and first-hand reports.

ANGER, DISILLUSIONMENT MOUNTING

At Fort Hood, Tex., Fort Stewart, Ga., and base towns throughout the
U.S., tension and anxiety are rising rapidly among military families,
who had thought that when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld promised a
short, clean, surgical war that would "liberate, not occupy," he knew
what he was talking about.

"I want my husband home," Luisa Leija, a mother of three children at
Fort Hood, told the New York Times, as reported in the July 4 edition.
"I am so on edge. When they first left, I thought yeah, this will be a
bad war, but war is what they trained for. But they are not fighting a
war. ... They have become police in a place they're not welcome."

"Frustrations became so bad recently at Fort Stewart," continued the
Times, "that a colonel, meeting with 800 seething spouses, most of them wives, had to be escorted from the session. 'They were crying, cussing, yelling and screaming for their men to come back,' said Lucia Braxton, director of community services at Fort Stewart.

"The soldiers were supposed to be welcomed by waving crowds. Where did
all those people go?" asked Kim Franklin, whose husband is part of an
artillery unit.

"In the postwar and pre-peace phase," wrote the Times, "it is not Green Berets or top-gun fighter pilots who are being killed. The casualties have been mostly low-ranking ground troops who are performing mundane activities, like buying a video, going out on patrol or guarding a trash pit."

Fear of how the brutality of the war will transform their husbands and
break up families is common. "That's my biggest fear," said Valerie
Decal, the wife of an artillery sergeant, said. "That my husband will
come back different. Even if you're G.I. Joe, if you have to kill
someone, that's not something you just forget about."

The realities of imperialist war and colonial occupation have brought
untold suffering to the Iraqi people. Their entire infrastructure and
state system has been destroyed. Thousands of civilians have been killed and wounded. Thousands have been arrested and detained by a foreign, oppressive occupying force that has barged into their country and tried to take control. Midnight raids have resulted in handcuffing, blindfolding, destruction and stealing of personal property. Brutalizing interrogations, killing of innocent civilians, widespread attempts to disarm a population under occupation and attack--all this has stoked the resistance.

All these acts of terror are carried out under the orders of the
Pentagon and L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. overlord of Iraq. And it is
the soldiers, the working class in uniform, who have to carry out these criminal orders. The Pentagon has pushed the GIs into the line of fire of the resistance because Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and the entire ruling class, led by the big oil companies, are determined to subdue Iraq and establish their empire in the Middle East.

The task of fighting to get the troops home and allowing the Iraqi
people to determine their own destiny is urgent. It is in the interest
of not only the Iraqi people and the U.S. soldiers, but of the
Palestinians, Iranians, Syrians, the people of Africa, Korea and all the rest of the globe who are on the hit-list of the Pentagon.

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and
distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not
allowed. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY,
NY 10011; via e-mail: ww (at) wwpublish.com. Subscribe wwnews-
on (at) wwpublish.com. Unsubscribe wwnews-off (at) wwpublish.com. Support the
voice of resistance http://www.workers.org/orders/donate.php)
See also:
www.workers.org
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Impeachment: Bring It On! (english)
16 Jul 2003
USC Title 18, Section 2331, (a new category) - "domestic terrorism" - has been created and means activities that:

"involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping, and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States."

Bush KNOWINGLY lied about Saddam's WMD to intimidate and coerce the public and congress to get his oil war in Iraq. Bush is, by definition of his own Patriot Act, a terrorist.

Mr. Bush, the country awaits your impeachment and free trip to Guantanamo.
See also:
http://www.votetoimpeach.org/