Friday, September 29, 2006
Darrell Anderson, to the left, war resister who self-checked out in January 2005, scheduled to return to the United States tomorrow. Get the word out. Illustration from The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You." Information on Darrell Anderson and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
Anderson is part of a growing war resistance that includes others -- two are noted in Cary Leider Vogrin's "Return to Army a relief for Springs man" (Colorado Springs Gazette):
Spc. Mark Wilkerson, a 2002 Widefield High School graduate and former Mayor’s 100 Teen, said he has settled back into the military routine at Fort Hood, Texas, and is relieved to be freed from the burdens he felt while AWOL. “There’s no more stress of me getting caught. I can start to move on. I just felt that my life was in stall mode for a year and a half,” he said via phone this week from Fort Hood.
In another AWOL case that also received national attention, a Fort Bragg soldier is scheduled to be tried in October, although his attorney said Thursday that the military command is considering his request for an administrative discharge. Sgt. Ricky Clousing, 24, went AWOL in June 2005 and surrendered last month. One of his attorneys, Larry Hildes of Bellingham, Wash., said the military is investigating Clousing’s allegations that U.S. soldiers abused Iraqi citizens. Clousing was an intelligence interrogator assigned to B Company of the 313th Military Intelligence Battalion. Wilkerson walked away from the Army in December 2004 after being denied conscientious objector status. He said serving in Iraq changed his views about the war, and he drove away from Fort Hood as his unit was preparing for a return trip to the Middle East. Wilkerson lived in Colorado Springs while AWOL -- and even got a job -- but decided that to move on with his life, he needed to face his crime.
Again, Darrell Anderson is scheduled to return to the US tomorrow. Now for Micah's highlight:
The Iraq war has acted as a "recruiting sergeant" for extremists in the Muslim world, according to a paper prepared for a Ministry of Defence thinktank, which also said the British government sent troops into Afghanistan "with its eyes closed".
The paper, which describes the west as being "in a fix" and includes a savage attack on Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, was written by an officer attached to the Defence Academy, according to BBC2's Newsnight programme. Its release provoked a furious response from the Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf, who has been touring the US.
The MoD was quick to play down the significance of the report. However, the study reflects what the MoD, military commanders, and the Foreign Office, have been saying in private. What is embarrassing is the timing of the leak, a day after Tony Blair's defence of Britain's military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. The research paper blamed the ISI for indirectly supporting terrorism and extremism.
It adds: "The war in Iraq ... has acted as a recruiting sergeant for extremists across the Muslim world ... Iraq has served to radicalise an already disillusioned youth and al-Qaida has given them the will, intent, purpose and ideology to act."
The above, reflecting the same findings of the (US) NIE, is from Richard Norton-Taylor's "Iraq War Was Terrorism 'Recruiting Sergeant'" (Guardian of London via Common Dreams)· Moving to the New York Times for more reality, from James Glanz's "Congress Is Told of Failures of Rebuilding Work in Iraq:"
In a sweeping new assessment of reconstruction failures in Iraq, a federal inspector told Congress on Thursday that 13 of 14 major projects built by the American contractor Parsons that were examined by his agency were substandard, with construction deficiencies and other serious problems.
The final project, a prison near the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya, was terminated for other reasons, said the inspector, Stuart Bowen, who heads the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Delays and cost overruns led to its cancellation.
On this topic, Martha notes Griff Witte's "Iraq Contractor's Work Is Further Criticized" (Washington Post):
The contractor that botched construction of a $75 million police academy in Baghdad so badly that human waste dripped from the ceilings has produced shoddy work on 13 out of 14 projects reviewed by federal auditors, the top official monitoring Iraq's reconstruction told Congress yesterday.
In a House hearing on what has gone wrong with reconstruction contracts in Iraq, Parsons Corp. quickly became the focus, taking bipartisan heat for its record of falling short on critical projects. The Pasadena, Calif., firm was supposed to build facilities at the heart of the $21 billion U.S.-led reconstruction program, including fire stations, border forts and health-care centers. But inspectors have found a litany of flaws in the firm's work. The one project reviewed by auditors that was being constructed correctly, a prison, was taken away from Parsons before its completion because of escalating costs.
In a report released yesterday, inspectors found that the Baghdad Police College posed a health risk after feces and urine leaked through the ceilings of student barracks. The facility, part of which will need to be demolished, also featured floors that heaved inches off the ground and a room where water dripped so heavily that it was known as "the rain forest."
The academy was intended as a showcase for U.S. efforts to train Iraqi recruits who eventually are expected to take control of the nation's security from the U.S. military.
A showcase for a war built on show and shadows. It it at all surprising? Or, in the words of Pretenders, "How much did you, how much did you, how much did you get?" ("How Much Did You Get For Your Soul" -- Pretenders' Get Close.) This isn't a surprise to anyone but the useless (FactCheck.org, The NewsHour and other idiots). What's been going on is a scandal but the useless and the scared have provided cover for nearly four years (if you want to leave the topic of Iraq, it's much longer).
As noted last night, from Ms.:
Before the new Ms. comes out on October 10, we’re doing a last push to get signatures on our "We Had Abortions" petition. With our right to choose in danger, we at Ms. think it’s important for us to take a stand now for abortion rights. We’d love to have your help!
Also, today on KPFA, The Morning Show (7:00 am to 10:00 am PST), Arianna Huffington will be a guest and, later in the day, one of Kris Welch's guests on Living Room will be Daniel Ellsberg (airs noon to 1:00 pm PST).
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