Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Other Items

"Just because we volunteered, doesn't mean we volunteered to throw our lives away for nothing. You can only push human beings so far," Marc Train, 19, a soldier from America's heartland, stationed most recently in Fort Stewart, Georgia, says.
"Soldiers are going to Iraq multiple times. The reasons we're there are obviously lies. We're reaching a breaking point, and I believe you're going see a lot more resistance inside the military."
Train's a Private in the US Army, but the last time anyone saw him on base at Fort Stewart was March 16, 2007, just before he headed to Washington, DC, to protest the Occupation in which he is expected to fight.
Before leaving for DC, Train contacted Garett Reppenhagen, Chairman of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). Train wanted to participate in the street theater protests Reppenhagen was organizing for Iraq veterans to mark the fourth anniversary of the Invasion.
"When I learned he was coming from Fort Stewart where he was still an active duty soldier, my first thought was, Wow, the kid has guts," Reppenhagen said.
Photos show Train at an anti-war demonstration outside the Pentagon that drew over 30,000 people on March 17, 2007. He was on stage with veterans and other GIs opposing the Occupation. In one hand he held an antiwar banner; in the other, a red flag, waving in the wind, high above his head.
"We parted that evening with plans for Marc to get a ride to the Operation First Casualty [street theater] preparation the next day," Reppenhagen recalls. "Marc never showed. Something deep down inside me figured he wasn't going back to Fort Stewart."

The above is from Sarah Olson's "Fort Stewart Soldier, Blogger Goes AWOL, Objects to Iraq Deployment" (Atlanta Progressive News) and it's a lengthy article that traces Train's story in depth, including the revoking of his security clearance for blogging online about Halliburton which is apparently now a national security issue. On a similar topic, "11,000 UK Army Deserters Over Iraq" (Kavkaz Center) and we noted the UK issue on Sunday so we're zooming in on the next aspect:

The MoD, however, said most of the soldiers going AWOL reported domestic circumstances rather than a desire to avoid serving in violence-racked Iraq.
"Anecdotal evidence suggests that most AWOL is caused by domestic circumstances rather than wishing to avoid military service," said a spokesman.
There were suggestions that soldiers were going AWOL after tours in Iraq because the Army does not take their mental problems seriously.
One of the soldiers who fled his regiment in Iraq to begin a new life with his girlfriend killed himself in front of her and her two children last month.
A US Army survey found earlier this month increasing rates of mental health problems for troops on extended or multiple deployments in Iraq.
It showed that 20% of soldiers and 15% of marines suffered from acute depression, anxiety or stress.

Yes, the US military did try to push the nonsense that all self-checkouts were based upon mental issues (and you know a New York Timeser 'enlisted' to carry water) but, no, it's not accurate. As Tod Ensign noted on WBAI's Law and Disorder yesterday, "Now, of course, the military always says, 'You know a lot of deserters are driven by family problems or financial issues or they just can't stomach the military" which of course is true, in some cases. But I do think there is an increase in the attitude among soldiers, especially guys that have already served over there that this is an endless war and there's nothing to be gained by them going back again."

Only those not paying attention at all to the issue of war resistance in the last 13 or so months (possibly they get their news from the print version of The Nation -- if so, it's no surprise they would be completely lost on this topic) would believe the nonsense that those self-checking out are all doing so due to mental issues (or even that a majority of them would do so). It's a nice out and part of the military's attack on war resisters: "Make them seem unhinged and no one will listen to them!" (Possibly the attacks on Jimmy Massey were a trial run -- certainly the reporter launching those lies had 'embedded' before.) As noted today on Democracy Now!, the US military has no interest in keeping track on the suicide rates of returning veterans so it sure is 'cute' the way they put out this nonsense that the only self-checkouts are the ones with mental issues.

Turning and returning to the New York Times, on the front page War Pornographer Michael Gordon offers "Journalism 101: How Not To Be A Reporter" but the Times calls it "U.S. Warns Iraq That Progress Is Needed Soon." The gist is that the US welcome wagon William J. Fallon (commander) and Ryan Crocker (ambassador) met with the puppet Nouri al-Maliki and told him the privatization of Iraq's oil legislation needed to be passed next month. Such a good mouthpiece for the government, Gordo doesn't even (as others at the Times do) bother to note a few other 'benchmarks' to make it seem as if oil isn't (or wasn't) a motive. Having noted that, Gordo explains the basics involved in being Stenographer in the Court of Bully Boy:

This reporter, who is accompanying Admiral Fallon on his trip to Iraq, was allowed into the meeting. It was only at the end of the meeting that American officials agreed that it could be on the record.

The Times actually cleaned that up, it should have read:

This hack, who is accompanying Admiral Fallon on his trip to Iraq as designated undergarmet washer, food taster and groin scratcher, was allowed into the meeting to serve tea and cookies to my betters. It was only at the end of the meeting, after Admiral Fallon showed al-Maliki how many tricks he has taught me, that I was given a doggie bone and American officials agreed that it could be on the record. No one thought to ask al-Maliki whether he agreed because he does what the US tells him.

It's amazing that a reporter was willing to go into a meeting with the understanding at the start of the meeting that the meeting could *NOT* be written of. Apparently, the War Pornographer has a new title Gordo Geisha of the Green Zone.

Adam Kokesh, Dave Zirin (Edge of Sports) are on Democracy Now! today.

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