Afghanistan, Iraq, War Reports
North League Against War, based in Leeds.
All additions by Northllaw are clearly marked.
Web addresses for complete articles, acknowledgments and gracious thanks to publishers.
Plus original Message Excerpts, posted on behalf of - GI Special. T. Barton.
Anti-war collectables from GI special near end >>this way please >>>>>
Included due to historic elements of the anti-war movement.
The deadline is extended to 1.10.08. -- In English – 10th of January. 2008.
Less than four days left , it’s been on the go in the states for well over a month now.
Last article is quite good, guidance notes, certainly worth the read, recommended.
From the British Ministry of Defence website >>>
Operations in Iraq: British Fatalities http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInIraqBritishFatalities.htm
It is with very deep regret that the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the following fatalities suffered during Operation TELIC. ----- [Otherwise known as the illegal invasion of Iraq]
As at 13 December 2007, a total of 174 British Armed Forces personnel or MOD civilians have died serving on Operation TELIC since the start of the campaign in March 2003.Of these, 134 are classed as Killed in Action or Died of Wounds (109 are classed as Killed in Action and 25 are classed as Died of Wounds sustained from Action). 40 are known to have died either as a result of illness, non-combat injuries or accidents, or have not yet officially been assigned a cause of death pending the outcome of an investigation.
The balance of these figures may change as inquests are concluded.
More from this site below >>>>
Iraq PM leaves for check-up in UK
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has left for medical tests in Britain. His spokesman said he was in good health but suffering from mild exhaustion. He said recent security improvements had given Mr Maliki, 57, the chance to make his trip now. Mr Maliki himself said he was going for routine check-ups and would return to Iraq soon. State television showed him looking healthy as he walked to his plane at Baghdad airport from the terminal. A British government spokesman confirmed the planned visit but had no other comment.
[Northllaw ….. Now is Maliki making political deals behind the backs of the rest of the government, or is he making a deal to bring ALL the injured Iraqis to Britain for treatment. The Iraq government is still only representing a minority of the population; and there is a growing need to prepare a new round of elections, it is after all a government that has failed to achieve, could there be another reason for a visit, and does he want to offer his boss, the corporate management committee, his resignation?
The country-its people, what’s left of it, is still suffering greatly; the housing situation is in need of a scheme of public works-to rebuild, the schools and education are in dire straights, the medical services are not far from being non existent. Yet ‘’ Maliki the healthy’’, not the ones in urgent need of hospital treatment flies to Britain, for a ‘’check’’, so people will ask ‘’how much the check’’, is it private or national health?
It would be fully in order and most correct for Maliki to propose to Go’d’n Brown [Prime Minister Waiting to be elected [Go’d’n Brown, Wattbe ]; is a country without a Prime Minister one where the M.P.s do as they wish, anarchy mayhap?] that all the Iraqi injured be flown immediately to Britain, evacuate all hospitals in Iraq, as part of and the start of, reparations for the illegal invasion of the Country.
A problem for the next Parliament in Britain will be certainly, where will the billions be coming from, how high can taxation be raised in Britain alone, how much can be recovered from the profiteers? Will a collapse of the housing market effect payments? What economic policies do the Conservative and Liberal Democrats Parties have to cover the repayments, it is without a doubt a question that will continue to be raised in many Public political meeting of any of the three main parties, by the public.
On the MOD site there is no excuse for the BNLP or the Conservatives, who voted in favour of the invasion, for the ‘blood lust’’ that has resulted, of what is now on a ‘conservative’ estimate, in a MILLION DEAD IRAQIS.
NO sorry, to all the BNLP - ‘’British New Labour Party’’ Members and the ’Conservative party’ [As the traditional party of empire and British imperialism, what now do the Conservatives have to ‘conserve’’] reparations will not go away.
The British were put in charge of the ‘opium’ removal in Afghanistan, it’s been removed, in larger and larger quantities each year, to the drug dealers, is this what was really meant though? Wasn’t it envisaged that they would ‘’in fact’’ destroy the crops, prior to it being reaped; the amounts that have ‘travelled’ into the areas of the ‘’Northern Alliance camp’’, for processing into Heroin has magnified every year.
[Are people to ‘believe that all the weapons supplied to the “Northern Alliance” are given ‘gratis?]
Still, the Feudal Lords that have been “created” do need to be paid, it cost’s money to run the Estates; one can be assured that they will not live in conditions in anyway similar to the ‘’council estates’’ in Britain, even your local Labour councillors and the M.P.s, the squires and the ‘’wanna be Lords, if they could afford the payments; ermine trimmed robes cost’’, can testify to that.
Why, when the government of Britain has so much involvement in Afghanistan, are people everywhere still waiting for figures regarding the deaths of Afghanis to be published; there are now, admittedly it took some time, absolutely horrifying figures for Iraq. Most unfortunately they are the cause of the present total disgust amongst electors, English and Celt plus their friends amongst the immigrants, throughout the country, and in growing numbers, for the ‘Blood fest of Paganism’ that has been invoked, and inflicted on so many innocent civilians.
And nothing on the MOD site that says the British government or the United Nation sanctioned such, did the American?
The Bangladesh government was removed, chaos ruled, Kenya is inflamed, blood flows, Pakistan has just had a lesson in ‘Pagan blood fest’, the destruction following the death of Benazir Bhutto was used as an excuse for the ‘sacrifice of humans’ to ’appease’ the Pakistan Peoples Party members and of course the PPP’s new supporters, the other groups who joined in the festivities, and probably some god or other.
There has been some talk of more troops being sent to Pakistan, mainly inferring American ones, but just in case any British troop are sent, word of advice to the lads, ‘get your hair cut the same as the Americans, bald heads’.
Don’t let them take trophies, some unscrupulous American company has been smuggling ‘cowboy comics’ to the locals, some of them in the ‘hills’ are wild. Five times the size of Iraq in terms of population, Pakistan will stretch the troops to the limit, possibly further.
US General Predicts? Record Poppy Haul. By JASON STRAZIUSO….KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) —
The U.S. general in charge of NATO's Afghanistan mission said Wednesday he expects another year of "explosive growth" in the country's poppy fields, a harvest militants will turn into weapons for use against Afghan and NATO troops. ---"The money associated with poppy and opiate production continues to appear to be very good," McNeill told a news conference. "So without pressure or incentives or dissuasion to keep people from growing it, I expect the amount grown next year to increase." Its export value was estimated at $4 billion.
British on front line of new? Afghan Poppy War….By JEROME STARKEY AND MICHAEL HOWIE
BRITISH troops are to be placed in the front line of efforts to eradicate poppy crops in southern Afghanistan, the soldier in charge of international forces in the country signalled yesterday.
---- which is centred on Helmand province and accounts for more than 90 per cent of the heroin on Britain's streets.End]
2007 is America’s deadliest year in Iraq
Allegra Stratton and agencies….Monday December 31, 2007
This year has been the most deadly for American troops in Iraq since the invasion nearly five years ago, US military figures out today show. Deaths peaked in May when 126 American soldiers died in coalition assaults on insurgent strongholds. The second half of the year saw violence drop dramatically with the American surge of 30,000 extra troops and a freeze on activities by some militias.
[Northllaw …. People should bear in mind that much of the reason for the extra troops, was to replace the British, who were withdrawing for sunnier climes. Moved them to where they can provide the best of all ’rest’ cures for the troops, well some of them. End]
As of last night in Baghdad, 21 deaths were reported in December, one more than in February 2004, the month with the lowest death toll. The 899 American troop deaths in 2007 surpassed 2004 when 850 US soldiers were killed.
The US military deaths are dwarfed by Iraqi civilian casualties, although the fluctuations show the same pattern. It is difficult to obtain accurate figures on civilian casualties but the Associated Press said Iraqi civilian deaths peaked in May with 2,155 killed, falling to 718 in November and 710 in December.
Over the year, 18,610 Iraqis were killed. In 2006, the only other full year an AP count has been made, 13,813 civilians were killed. The civilian toll was compiled by AP from hospital, police and military officials, as well as accounts from reporters and photographers. Insurgent deaths were not included. Other counts differ and some are much higher.
The US military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, yesterday used the more recent statistics to give an upbeat assessment of the security situation in Iraq. Overall violence across the country was down roughly 60% since June, he said, and the favourable security situation would allow some US troops to return home during the coming year as responsibilities were handed over to the Iraqi army.
Petraeus also drew attention to the significance of Sunni tribal leaders transferring allegiance to the Iraqi government. In the western province of Anbar, and in Baghdad, coalition of Iraqis known as Awakening Councils or Concerned Local Citizens groups that receive US money and expertise have been joined by Sunni Arabs, previously opposed to the invasion. Their coalition in Anbar province, a Sunni stronghold, now numbers 70,000 fighters. ------
British military casualties were also higher in 2007 than 2006. According to Ministry of Defence statistics released at the end of November, 46 soldiers had died in 2007 compared with 29 the year before. Like America, the first half of the year was worse for British forces than the second half. Of the 46 deaths in total for 2007, 29 were in the first six months of the year as opposed to 17 in the second half.
How Britain became party to a crime that may have killed a million people
George Monbiot….. Tuesday January 1, 2008……The Guardian
Not having a written constitution allowed Blair and his advisers to go to war without reference to parliament or the public. ---- [NL. see below the royal prerogative, little mentioned or explained]
If you doubt Britain needs a written constitution, listen to the strangely unbalanced discussion broadcast by the BBC last Friday. The Today programme asked Lord Guthrie, formerly chief of the defence staff, and Sir Kevin Tebbit, until recently the senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defence, if parliament should decide whether or not the country goes to war. The discussion was a terrifying exposure of the privileges of unaccountable power. It explained as well as anything I have heard how Britain became party to a crime that may have killed a million people.
Continued below -----
[Northllaw …. Not having a written agreement doesn’t matter in law, what is known as a ‘gentleman’s agreement’’, a verbal agreement, witnessed, is valid, as Blair the barrister would have been fully aware, it has been used by and between the Americans and British. The cabinet and the BNLP had all the legal advice at ‘hand’ so to speak. A new constitution would require an examination of any previous one/s, openly discussed by the electorate, so would the new constitution.
If, as is alleged, and with lessening conviction throughout, the British Empire has gone; there is an vast open dispute regarding the matter, growing numbers in complete disagreement, why are the ‘laws’ of the Empire still on the statute books, why are people still being tried in courts under imperialist barbarian ‘’laws’’; then it can only be ‘the Democracy’’ of the electorate as a whole, that decides any new constitution. …..
For consideration >> That a constitution is unwritten, does not mean that there isn’t one, just that it may be laid out in ‘’practical form’ instead and remembering of course that the mass of the population did not write, it must be correct to assume they used another method, could it be otherwise?
Before going too far in reading Monbiot, it is advisable for all people to remember that nothing passed in Parliament, can become ‘’law’’ if it is not in line with or allowed by the Constitution.
So some where there must be one, - or even more than one, bearing in mind the types of people who have populated the Houses of Parliament, beset at times by rampant political schizophrenics and ‘cults’ of personality.
The self same Constitution that led to the drawing up of the Magna Charta, the one accepted in the 1080’s as the English constitution by the Normans, Scandinavians, Saxons, Celts in England, mentioned in The Anglo Saxon Chronicles as ’the agreement’; so where did it go?
The one defended in the 1640’s by the English Nation; but of course they lost to the barbarian imperialists who were in favour of the ‘Foreign imperialist constitution’, brought in to England in the mid twelfth century; and the one the ‘New Conservative Party of the 1830’s argued as an ‘unwritten constitution, why did they record such in their history?............
The USA has 50 states, so how many ’counties are there in England, where some such Constitution was first implemented, is it actually the same one, if so the English nation had it first, the people of Yanquiville copied it, is that correct?
The founding Fathers of the USA were mainly of English descent, they found it easier to just use the same one, perhaps. So maybe it is written down.
The Ward, Mark, Parish, all tend to mean the same thing, the basis of the democracy within the political system for elections in Britain.
Does one need to replace ’Royal prerogative’, with some thing that comes out of a corporate company board room, for that is all one gains from Monbiots description of present play, is there not something better than ‘Social Democracy’, when will the Utopians realise that Conservatives/conservatism never subscribed to mass Democracy.
Frederick Engles >> The gens [clans] was lost in the mark community, in which, however, traces of its origin in the kinship of its members are often enough still visible. Thus, at least in those countries where the mark community maintained itself - northern France, England, Germany and Scandinavia - the gentile constitution changed imperceptibly into a local constitution and thus became capable of incorporation into the state. But it nevertheless retained that primitive democratic character which distinguishes the whole gentile constitution, and thus even in its later enforced degeneration and up to the most recent times it kept something of the gentile constitution alive, to be a weapon in the hands of the oppressed. End ]
Guthrie argued that parliamentary approval would mean intelligence had to be shared with MPs; that the other side could not be taken by surprise (“do you want to warn the enemy you are going to do it?”), and that commanders should have “a choice about when to attack and when not to attack”. Tebbit maintained that “no prime minister would be able to deploy forces without being able to command a parliamentary majority. In that sense, the executive is already accountable to parliament”. Once the prime minister has his majority, in other words, MPs become redundant.
Let me dwell for a moment on what Guthrie said, for he appears to advocate that we retain the right to commit war crimes. States in dispute with each other, the UN charter says, must first seek to solve their differences by “peaceful means” (article 33). If these fail, they should refer the matter to the Security Council (article 37), which decides what measures should be taken (article 39). Taking the enemy by surprise is a useful tactic in battle, and encounters can be won only if commanders are able to make decisions quickly. But either Guthrie does not understand the difference between a battle and a war - which is unlikely in view of his 44 years of service - or he does not understand the most basic point in international law. Launching a surprise war is forbidden by the charter.
It has become fashionable to scoff at these rules and to dismiss those who support them as pedants and prigs, but they are all that stand between us and the greatest crimes in history. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg ruled that “to initiate a war of aggression ... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime”. The tribunal’s charter placed “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression” at the top of the list of war crimes.
If Britain’s most prominent retired general does not understand this, it can only be because he has never been forced to understand it. In September 2002, he argued in the Lords that “the time is approaching when we may have to join the US in operations against Iraq ... Strike soon, and the threat will be less and easier to handle. If the UN route fails, I support the second option.” No one in the chamber warned him that he was proposing the supreme international crime. In another Lords debate, Guthrie argued that it was “unthinkable for British servicemen and women to be sent to the International Criminal Court”, regardless of what they might have done. He demanded a guarantee from the government that this would not be allowed to happen, and proposed that the British forces should be allowed to opt out of the European convention on human rights. The grey heads murmured their agreement.
Perhaps it is unfair to single out the noble and gallant lord. The British establishment’s exceptionalism is almost universal. According to the government, both the Commons public administration committee and the Lords constitution committee recognise that decision-making should “provide sufficient flexibility for deployments which need to be made without prior parliamentary approval for reasons of urgency or necessary operational secrecy”. You cannot keep an operation secret from parliament unless you are also keeping it secret from the UN.
Tebbit appears to have a general aversion to disclosure. In 2003, the Guardian obtained letters showing he had prevented the fraud squad at the MoD from investigating allegations of corruption against the arms manufacturer BAE, that he tipped off the BAE chairman about the contents of a confidential letter the Serious Fraud Office had sent him, and that he failed to tell his minister about the SFO’s warnings. In October 2003, under cross-examination during the Hutton inquiry into the death of the government scientist David Kelly, he revealed the decision to name Kelly was made in a “meeting chaired by the prime minister”. That could have been the end of Tony Blair, but a week later Tebbit sent Lord Hutton a written retraction of his evidence. No one bothered to tell parliament or the press; the retraction was made public only when the Hutton report was published, three months later. Blair knew all along, and the secret gave him a crushing advantage.
The discussion also reveals that Guthrie and Tebbit appear to have learned nothing from the disaster in Iraq. They are not alone. Just before he stepped down last year, Blair wrote an article for the Economist headlined “What I’ve Learned”. He had discovered, he claimed, that his critics were both wrong and dangerous and that his decisions, based on “freedom, democracy, responsibility to others, but also justice and fairness”, were difficult but invariably right. He called his article “a very short synopsis of what I have learned”. I could think of an even shorter one.
We have yet to hear one word of regret or remorse from any of the main architects - Blair, Brown, Straw, Hoon, Campbell and their principal advisers - of Britain’s participation in the supreme international crime. The press and parliament appear to have heeded Blair’s plea that we all “move on” from Iraq. The British establishment has a unique capacity to move on, and then to repeat its mistakes. What other former empire knows so little of its own atrocities?
When people call our unwritten constitution a “gentleman’s agreement”, they reveal more than they intend. It allows the unelected gentlemen who advise the prime minister to act without reference to the proles. Britain went to war in Iraq because the public and parliament were not allowed to know when the decision was made, what the intelligence reports said, and what the attorney general wrote about the its legality. Had the truth not been suppressed, Britain could never have attacked Iraq.
Real constitutional reform requires much more than the timid proposals in the green paper on the governance of Britain, which are likely to appear in a bill in a few weeks’ time. Yes, parliament should be allowed to vote on whether to go to war, yes the royal prerogative should be rolled back. But the prime minister, his diplomats, civil servants and generals would still decide which wars parliament needs to know about, which crimes could be secretly committed in our name. Real constitutional reform means not only handing power to parliament but also confronting the power of the hard, unaccountable people who act as if it is their birthright.
Read these next three items together >>>>comment below >>>
eBay halts auction of Iraq relic.
Sarah Bridge and agencies…..Tuesday December 18, 2007…..Guardian Unlimited
A 4,000-year-old clay tablet suspected of being smuggled illegally from Iraq was pulled from eBay just minutes before the close of the online auction.
------------- The authorities have launched criminal proceedings against the seller, who has been identified only as a resident of Zurich, Switzerland.
eBay stopped the auction just minutes before the bidding deadline on December 12, -----. Zurich police confiscated the business card-sized tablet from a storage facility. Officials said the tablet, which dates from around 2000 BC, was “with great probability” smuggled out of Iraq. Switzerland bans trading of Iraqi cultural objects that were removed from the country after 1990.
The offer price listed was €250-300 (£178-250). It is not clear if any bids had been made.
--------- Fischer said. “If it’s a tainted object, then the goal will be to return it to Iraq.”
The seller faces a fine of up to 500,000 Swiss francs (£215,000) or a prison sentence if convicted of breaking the Swiss embargo on the transfer of cultural goods.
Cuneiform tablets are included on a “red list” of especially endangered Iraqi cultural objects by the International Council of Museums. The Iraqi National Library is believed to have lost numerous objects after it was burned and looted following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. The National Museum was also looted following the fall of Baghdad on April 9 2003. Many treasures have been returned but the museum remains shut for security reasons.
Saddam’s Fall: The Hard-Earned Trophy
By Manila Ryce…..Published Sunday, December 31st, 2006,
It is known that President Bush has the pistol Saddam was carrying when he was captured mounted on his wall in the Oval office. He advertises it proudly to visitors as a souvenir of this meaningless war. Were the president allowed to, I would not be the least bit surprised to hear that Saddam’s head was recently mounted in place of that pistol. Bush has been unable to hide his jubilation lately, calling Saddam’s death sentence a milestone for justice. Given his trouble with the English language, I can only assume that the president misspoke, saying “milestone”.
Lord Elgin - Saviour or Vandal?
By Mary Beard
Much of the sculpture that once enhanced the Parthenon in Athens was brought to London by Lord Elgin 200 years ago. Was this the act of a saviour or a vandal?
http://www.hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/elgin.htm A must view site, very good background to the Greeks.
THE ELGIN MARBLES - PARTHENON FRIEZE
[Northllaw…..Three items above are all Historical artefacts, all of them belong in museums, the Elgin marbles should be returned to Greece, the Cuneiform Tablet to Iraq, and also the Hand gun to Iraq.
None of the resolution passed by the United Nations, or any government involved in the Invasion of Iraq, has given any person the right to ‘’spoils of war’’, an interesting term, it’s not only theft as it also includes rape, and at times the taking of slaves, confiscation of land and property.
The present Iraqi government has, and had, no right to give away any Iraqi museum piece or to allow any to take ’spoils of war’. Any stolen item must be reclaimed. All involved in the theft, punished, including if they are members of the Iraq government.
Saddam Hussein’s position and place in the scheme of thing/events has made any item that he commonly used museum pieces, and as such raised their value tremendously, particularly items of state, as with uniform and weapons.
Yet many item looted from museums and private individual have been taken, it’s good to see the eBay company withdrawing the item, it’s good to see the size of the fines and possible prison sentence far exceeds the monetary value or size of the item.
So how did Bush come into being the receiver of stolen goods?
Who were the soldiers that stole it?
Have they been arrested and court marshalled?
Have their officer/s been arrested?
Or did all follow procedure, based on the argument of ‘liberation’, not barbarian war and its spoils, as to why they were there, are they then ‘clean?
The Gun was the property of the Iraqi Nation and in trust to its government [which government, one may ask?] as with all historic artefacts [how did it get to the USA]; the Gun was not a personal possession, though even that would not justify its theft.
The American so-called commander if chief, or is that ‘thief in commander’, a President who is but a common thief, enough to make any American proud.
Any President, who commits theft whilst in office, is impeachable.
Has Congress officialised theft, ’spoils of war’, if so – then the war is openly barbarian, if not then they must be the first to oppose the ‘taking of spoils’, or is it a matter of ‘turning a blind eye’.
Is it possible they can also be construed as accessories to the act and liable for arrest as accomplices, how many Congress people would like to be arrested as accessories? State governors?
Any member of the electorate in the USA has the right to carry out a citizen’s arrest, if the crime possibly carries a prison sentence, a felony.
Any trooper found stealing, using the euphemism ’spoils of war’ would be court marshalled, if found guilty, punishable by prison and dishonourable discharge, and have trouble finding a well paid job.
Rules of the Military, any member can make an arrest, even of officers by the ranks.
A commander of the Military can be removed by the officers and in a ‘democratic army’, of a democratic America, even by troopers.
Rules of Congress, any Congress person can make an arrest for theft, of any other member of Congress.
Some steal millions from the ‘’peoples purse’’, government money, Benazir Bhutto was accused of corruption and a missing one thousand five hundred million [obviously, if taken, therein lies the question, it’s been a ’share holding’ company, the others of the company would still need to be charged, her death could not be used for an excuse to hide the complicity of the others.] some are little minded thieves.
It’s impeachable; ‘Tis after all said and done, only the common theft of a dangerous weapon.
Is there any in Britain or America that supported the invasion, on the argument that it was a ‘liberation’ that could be in favouring of ‘spoils of war’, the commonality of all barbarian warfare?
No civilised person could agree with it. End]
Now for an item of propaganda >>
Iraqis ignore Saddam anniversary
By Humphrey Hawkesley….....BBC News, Baghdad
The first anniversary of the execution of Saddam Hussein is passing in Iraq with scant mention by the government or the press. ----
In the year since the hanging, Iraq has gone through a substantive political transformation.
Many former Sunni insurgents and Saddam Hussein supporters have now joined forces with the Americans to fight al-Qaeda insurgents with their more extreme Islamic ideology.
In an end-of-year briefing, the Iraqi government said that 75% of al-Qaeda networks have now been destroyed.
The head of the US military in Iraq, General David Petraeus, warned that al-Qaeda remained the biggest single challenge to the country.
Those involved in Saddam Hussein’s execution maintain that his death has helped reconciliation.
Saddam’s execution put an end to any hopes among his supporters that he might come back to power,” said the Moneer Haddad, the final appeal court judge who took charge of the hanging and witnessed the execution.
But the copy of the death certificate that Mr Haddad keeps in his home is evidence that Iraq remains a country far from being at peace with itself.
Of the five signatures, three names are blacked out for fear of revenge killings.
‘Lesson for others’
Iraq’s National Security Adviser Mowafak Al-Rubaie, who was also in the execution chamber, keeps a bust of Saddam in his dining room as a stark reminder.
“It is for those tyrants and dictators who treat their people unjustly,” he said, jabbing his finger at the bust.
The Middle East has learned a lot (from Saddam’s execution). It’s given a lesson to rulers that they need to be extra careful in caring for their people and they have to open up their systems and regimes.”
Huge monuments of Saddam Hussein memorabilia still dominate Baghdad, not least in the Green Zone, his former palace complex from where Iraq is now run by the new government and kept in place by the American military.
Some statues remain in place, like a massive hand, modelled on his own, that holds a sword stretched across a former military parade ground. The other hand has been broken off and lies smashed on the ground amid uncleared rubbish and razor wire. Divisions remain.
It is not difficult, though, to find Iraqis vehemently opposed to Saddam Hussein’s execution.
In order to get a job as welder in a state-owned oil company, Ali joined the Baath Party - the political machine that kept Saddam Hussein in power. He rose to become a mid-ranking officer in his local Abu Jaafar al Mansour branch in Baghdad. Now he has no job, is afraid to give his full name, and plans to leave the country.
“Saddam may have been a dictator,” he says. “But in comparison to the current leaders of Iraq he’s innocent. Saddam was a great Arab leader and we felt very sad that he was executed.”
While many of Saddam’s loyalists may have shunned the insurgency since his execution, they are far from supportive of the present Shia-led government. One of the most crucial figures is Sheikh Ali Hatim Al Sulaiman. He leads the Dulaimy tribe in Anbar province that until recently was wracked with violence.
“Saddam was executed for political reasons,” he said. “Iraq’s government is failing and Saddam’s execution was part of that failure.” The dictator may be dead, but Iraq remains divided and at war.
[Northllaw… when Saddam was found, it was obvious, from his long finger nails, to his unkempt beard and hair, that he was suffering from profound shock, all resistance had gone from him. It took them months to get him out of it.
The Iraqi army had disbanded at the time the invasion took place.
During the period of the sanctions, the United Nations has stated that over a 1,200,000 died, around six hundred thousand were children.
Now it’s said that a million have died since the invasion, so can it be said now that somewhere around a million babies, infants, children have been murdered in the last sixteen years?
Following the first attack on Iraq, what has become known as ’The Democracy of the Women’, came to be common knowledge, many of the women were the mothers of the children, some of them died too. But before they did, they amongst the rest carried the young ones in their wombs, they gave birth to them, they fed them at the breast, and many saw them die.
Without the support of women in such conditions no state could survive for so long, if the women had rebelled, the state would have fallen, ’The Democracy of the Women’ has now become known world wide, and its destruction one of the worst crimes committed.
The women of Iraq set an example for all countries in Arabia, and the surrounding areas, they involved in the housing, education, health, power, water and many other issues, helped to ‘spend’ money from oil revenue on necessities collectively.
The Iraq government had a dictatorship over the state machine, to protect the position they had to have support, not only from the party, but from sections of the population, as with the British conservative party, as with the Lib-Democrats. The collective gains in health care, housing, education, by the women [such gains were once encouraged in Britain, they have diminished under the BNLP] in favour of the children was part of it, but the government also the held power over the men, the opposition parties, groups, the tribal-ism that afflicted some of them, it stopped them from conflict. End]
From the Ministry of Defence website >>>
1/. What are British forces doing in Iraq?
Armed Forces from the United Kingdom are helping the Iraqis to secure and rebuild their country after years of neglect and conflict, in support of the Government of Iraq.
UK military operations in Iraq are being conducted under the name ‘Operation TELIC’. We operate as part of a coalition called the Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I) alongside troops from 25 other nations. The coalition remains at the formal request of the Iraqi Government, under a mandate from the United Nations, as set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1723.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1723, submitted by Denmark, Japan, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States, was adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on November 18, 2006, extending the mandate of multi-national forces in Iraq until December 2007, with a force review in June 2007.
The resolution was requested by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in a letter that was attached to the resolution as an annex, along with a letter from the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirming the force’s willingness to continue. The resolution allows for the mandate to be terminated earlier if requested by the Iraqi government.
This resolution follows on from the earlier resolutions providing for the multinational force, resolutions 1546 (which established the multi-national force in 2004) and 1637 (which extended the mandate in 2005).
3/. Why was military action necessary in the first place?
In view of the Iraqi regime’s failure to comply with the will of the United Nations, and based on the authority provided by a series of UN resolutions since 1991, the UK joined a US-led coalition that was prepared to use force as a last resort to secure Iraqi compliance.
4/. What are British forces doing in Iraq?
During his visit to Washington in July 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown underlined that “Our aim, like the United States, is step by step to move control to Iraqi authorities, to the Iraqi government and its security forces, as progress is made.”
5/. What happened during the initial military campaign?
On 14 April 2003 the Prime Minister [‘’ Blair ‘’] informed the House of Commons that:
“Less than four weeks after the commencement of the war, the regime of Saddam is gone, the bulk of Iraq is under coalition control, and the vast majority of Iraqis are rejoicing at Saddam’s departure.”
3/. Iraqi regime’s failure to comply with the will of the United Nations ----------resolutions since 1991, the UK joined a US-led coalition
2/. the United Kingdom and the United States, was adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on November 18, 2006, extending the mandate of multi-national forces in Iraq until December 2007, with a force review in June 2007.
The resolution was requested by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in a letter that was attached to the resolution as an annex, along with a letter from the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
1/. Armed Forces from the United Kingdom are helping the Iraqis to secure and rebuild their country after years of neglect and conflict, in support of the Government of Iraq.
5/. [‘’ Blair ‘’] informed the House of Commons that:
“Less than four weeks after the commencement of the war, the regime of Saddam is gone, the bulk of Iraq is under coalition control,
4/. July 2007, ---- Gordon Brown underlined that “Our aim, like the United States, is step by step to move control to Iraqi authorities,
GI Special Raffle
Now For The Prizes: Winners Choice
Including anti-war collectables
Raffle: NOTICE - DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 1.10.08
Prize #1: The Original 1972 GI Movement Calendar!
This is 20” by 14”, with a different page for every month, and different photographs of GI Resistance on every page.
Within the boxes for each day of the month, resistance anniversaries are listed.
This comes along once in a lifetime, If that often. Repeat: this is not a copy or reprint.
[Thanks to Dennis Serdel, Warrior Poet. Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, American Div. 11th Brigade, Purple Heart, Veterans For Peace 50 Michigan, Vietnam Veterans Against The War, United Auto Workers GM Retiree, Perry, Michigan.
[He sent this in expressly for the GI Special raffle. He’s been organizing to resist Imperial war for about 40 years now. All honour and respect to him.]
Prize #2: Ramparts Magazine, October 1967
With Stephen Schneck’s review of John Lennon’s film “How I Won the War,” and more photographs about the film.
Prize #3: Gulf War: “New World Order War #1Music of Resistance by Bad Religion, 7” LP: 1991
Printed Political Analysis By Noam Chomsky
[Thanks again to Dennis Serdel,]
Prize #4: May 1917: Russia….The War Bonds That Brought on a Revolution
In February 1917, Russian workers and soldiers rose in revolution to overthrow a feudal government that had dragged them into an Imperial War, World War 1, where Russians died, at home and in the Army, for the glory and greed of the Czar, Emperor of Russia.
Having gotten rid of him, they thought the new government, led by Prime Minister Kerensky, would stop the war.
Instead, in May 1917, he floated the Kerensky War Loan, gold backed bonds to borrow $188 million, to pay for keeping Russia in the war.
Seeing that nothing less would do, 6 months later the elected soldiers’ and workers’ councils organized a second revolution that wiped Kerensky’s government of generals, war profiteers, crooked politicians, and capitalists off the face of the earth.
[Northllaw…..At his point Northllaw will differ in form a little with GI Special [wishful thinking on their part, but they mean well, futuristic, youthful, enthusiastic…..] --- Unfortunately the Russians throughout the ex-empire didn’t build anything from either Marx or Lenin’s works. Lenin in his last speech and written work openly said that they – up till that time – had implemented no socialist measures, -- Stalin was a puppet for the bureaucrats. The left over offal from the destruction of the czarist regime by the devouring of it by the February government, plus the scraping from the streets of the dregs from the kerensky government and the scum of the administrations, plus the Mensheviks, plus the zionists who joined him en-mass, plus some religious loons from the asylums, and a sprinkling of capitalists, therefore they institutionalised state capitalism.
Stalin was a social democrat and non entity, they were based on private ownership of capital in the main, and the Stalinist Utopians were based on state capitalism in the main, two sides of a coin, and the same metal as the fascists of Italy. Stalin was a social democrat, with one foot in the camp of the Utopians, not a socialist. The revolution only really lasted for the first five years. Then they buried it and millions of people as well. End]
These are the Kerensky bonds. The blue is for 500 gold roubles, the red for 1000 gold roubles. If you win one, feel free to go to Moscow and see if Putin will honour the debt.
P.S. They were purchased on 9.1.64 from (no joke) Carl Marks & Co., Inc., New York. And yes, if you win one, you’ll get a copy of the bill of sale that says so.
Prize #5…..Vietnam GI: Complete…..Full set Vietnam GI reprints are not available anywhere else.
Jeff Sharlet Dies…..VIETNAM GI…..August 1969
Many good men never came back from Nam. Some came back disabled in mind. Jeff Sharlet came back a pretty together cat—and he came back angry. Jeff started VGI, and for almost two years poured his life into it, in an endless succession of 18-hour days trying to organize men to fight for their own rights.
On Monday, June 16th, at 2:45 pm, Jeff died in the Miami VA Hospital. He died of a sudden heart failure, brought on by the uncontrollable growth of the cancer that had earlier destroyed his kidney. There was no way to save him. He was only 27 years old.
Rather than wait for the draft, like so many others Jeff went RA. With dreams of seeing Europe, he applied for “translator-interpreter”, and found himself at the US Army Language School at Monterey, California. But instead of French, Czech or German, he was assigned a strange language called “Vietnamese”--. Spoken in a country he couldn’t even find on the map. For eleven months in 1962 he was drilled in Vietnamese.
In 1963 he was assigned to Army Security Agency, and left for his first tour in Nam. Stationed in Saigon awhile, Jeff witnessed the ARVN coup that overthrew Saigon dictator Ngo Diem. On his second tour his ASA unit was stationed near Phu Bai. Engaged in top-secret work monitoring, decoding and translating North Vietnamese radio messages, they wore AF uniforms and worked at a small air base. But every time they went into the bars, every bargirl could reel off all the facts about their mission.
Speaking the language well, Jeff could talk to many Vietnamese about what was happening to their country. He spent long hours questioning ex-Foreign Legion men, who’d settled in Vietnam after the French left, peasants, ARVN officers, students, and even suspected VC agents. By the time he ETSed in July, 1964 he’d put a lot of pieces together.
Jeff went back to school, and got his college degree (with honours) from Indiana University in 1967.
During his “GI Bill years” he joined the peace movement, and became chairman of his local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. But he had become increasingly disillusioned about the student movement, and felt that its shallowness and snotty attitude towards other people made it ineffective.
That summer he went to New York City to work with Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and it was there that he decided to try to organize other GIs to fight the brass. Jeff had won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for graduate study at the University of Chicago. He enrolled and” picked up his check. From then on all his time and money were sunk into starting a newspaper for servicemen.
After two years of endless travelling, fund-raising and writing, Jeff’s drive started to fade. That restless energy that had brought him countless miles to base after base wasn’t there. After his last trip to Ft. Hood in the Fall of 1968, Jeff complained that he was really beat, burnt out. We all agreed that he should go “on leave” and take a rest.
It was while visiting friends in Boston that the first really severe pains started. Jeff flew home to Florida, and entered the hospital. From there it was steadily downhill all the way. The removal of his left kidney, massive radiation treatments, and drugs—nothing stopped the growth of his cancer. At the end he was weak and emaciated, without enough breath in his lungs to speak for more than a few sentences. He said that he had many new ideas for our fight, but was just too exhausted to talk about them.
Jeff was a truly rare man. He was our friend and comrade, and those of us who came together in this fight will never forget him. VGI, the paper that so many readers called “the truth paper,” will go on fighting.
Prize #6: Signed By the Author, The New Winter Soldiers… by…. Richard Moser. Signed “Best Wishes for Peace 4.19.07”
Prize #7: BUSH’S LAST DAY [[[Must be seen to be believed ]]] A pot mug.
This was given to GI Special for the raffle by Ruth DiRoma in memory of Michael DiRoma, whose computer genius made GI Special possible.
Prize #8: Issue #1: Army@Love
Issue #1 [May 2007] of the Vertigo Press underground comic that horrifies the Pentagon. Its God knows how many years in the future. The Iraq war is still on. But the troops have other priorities. Welcome to the Hot Zone. Anti-War cartoonist Richard Crumb, Vietnam Days, would have loved it. Early issues out of print.
Prizes #9, 10 &11….Ten Different Issues Of GI Special Printed out In Full Colour.
Because most readers have come on within the last year, many people have never seen earlier GI Specials. None in these prizes will be more recent than March 2006. A slice of history.
GI Special Running On Empty
You know we don’t hit you up often for funding [ GI Special, not Northllaw] last GI Special Raffle was 4.07, never more than two a year, but now we cannot avoid it, we have problems.
We barely made the November 1 yearly payment on a very high security mail box that allows anybody in the armed services to address mail to GI Special anyway they want, using any name they want, ranging from Military Project to Presbyterian Pen Pal Club, provided the Box # is correct: $600
After major computer horrors earlier this year that killed our outgoing email system and stopped publication for over a week, installation of new security systems to protect GI Special and the troops who read it from hackers,
sneak peepers and other Bush Buddies who do not wish them well. Quality security systems are not free, nor is the yearly retainer for an-on call computer emergency service.
Internet service provider fees, producing copies of printed materials for outreach to active duty troops and National Guard members, reams of paper, buckets of ink, travel costs to respond to invitations to go to military base towns….
It never ends, but the money that comes from the pay checks of working people who help GI Special come out has gone as far as possible, and now the unpaid bills are piling up.
T, GI Special
All proceeds are used for projects giving aid and comfort to members of the armed forces opposing today’s Imperial wars.
Please Note: If any funds are received in excess of GI Special expenses, they will go to The Military Project for direct, face to face support of troops organizing to resist the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Please Also Note: [If you send gold or silver bullion, diamonds, or large amounts of foreign or domestic currency, use registered mail. Yeah, fat chance. Iraqi dinars are not welcome, unless signed by Gen. Betrayus, in which case they A) will be auctioned on E-bay or B) used for target practice, depending on market demand.]
Sample testimony for GI special, and their genuine
A letter was received from another part of the world from someone who wishes to help GI Special, but is unable to meet the 12.30.07 deadline for entry into the raffle.
OK, we’ll extend the deadline for postmarked or paypal donations to 1.10.08. No further extensions, in fairness to people who sent their help in by the deadline. T.
“Why Bother Parting With My Cash?” #1: FROM IRAQ DECEMBER 30, 2007
T. Barton >> This Soldier in Iraq Has Something to Say To You about the GI Special Holidays 2007 Fund Raising
From: [Soldier, Iraq]…..To: GI Special……Sent: December 30, 2007
I’m sorry that I haven’t donated as I have benefited from GI Special every day I’ve been here.
I’ve tried to tell as many people as possible about your publication as I see it as basically all the Iraq news anyone needs to know.
I don’t have checks here and I don’t have money orders. I tried to make a credit card payment but paypal
wants my bank information which I just can’t bring myself to give.
I’m going to miss the deadline for the raffle, but I AM going to donate just as soon as I deploy to Texas.
I use “deploy” because the sentiment among my buddies is, when you’re in Iraq for 15 months and hope to
be in the US for 12... Which is really your home station?
I’ve been incredibly busy in the last few months, trying to get the word out to fellow soldiers about GI Special and IVAW. There’s a lot of interest but even among those not interested in joining, it’s not out of love for Iraq or the war, more out of a mindset of “I volunteered to do this so I just shouldn’t resist.”
At any rate, with all the talk of the “success,” it’s surprising (or not?) how much the soldiers still don’t see the cause as worth it.
I think after 15 months, the soldiers have realized that even if every soldier gave one hundred, two hundred or even one-thousand percent, nothing we accomplish will get us home any sooner and that is the definition of a pointless war.
Keep fighting the good fight, T! [Soldier, Iraq]
Reply: Please nothing whatsoever to apologize for. Admiration for your resistance is limitless. You’re in the raffle, and so is every troop serving in Iraq who wishes to enter, free. It’s a very small way of showing respect for the shit you’re wading through.
You may not get the results you want now, but action is preceded by a long period of ferment and preparation, and in that process, the circulation of information is resistance. Merely taking it from you, reading it, and thinking about it is necessary and indispensable. Beginnings are everything. That tired old line about winning hearts and minds first, as a precondition for action, was always true and still is. It just got a bad rep in Vietnam when command thought the way to win hearts and minds was napalm.
Come home safe, T
From: XXXX, Soldier: Baghdad, Iraq]….To: GI Special…..Sent: April 01, 2007
This is my second tour in an illegal and immoral war. I was set to separate from the Army on the XXth of X, 2006.
Thanks to stop loss, I deployed involuntarily on X XXth for a second combat tour.
I just started receiving the GI Special and it’s a breath of fresh air.
I think every service member should read it
In solidarity, [XXXXX]
OK, Here’s How the Raffle Works
Anybody who sends at least $5 is in the raffle.
The deadline is extended to 1.10.08. — In English – 10th of January. 2008.
Currency Converter Search Result
Friday, 4 January 2008…….2.70 British Pound = 5.06520 US Dollar
1 British Pound = 1.87600 US Dollar
1 US Dollar = 0.53305 British Pound
There are 11 prizes, so 11 names will be pulled out of a hat.
The first name pulled gets to pick his or her choice, and then the second name will get to choose from the remaining prizes, and so on. We’ll contact winners by email or phone if you send a phone number.
There will be no charge for shipping the items to you unless you are overseas and do not have APO.
NOTE; ANY ENVELOPES POSTMARKED January 10, 2008 OR EARLIER WILL BE CONSIDERED GOOD FOR THE RAFFLE, BECAUSE SOME ARE COMING FROM OVERSEAS. Same for Paypal contributions.
So, the drawing will be done 1.20.08 to give those letters time to arrive.
YOU CAN SEND YOUR SUPPORT BY MAIL OR CREDIT CARD:
IF YOU SEND A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER BY MAIL, MAKE PAYABLE TO: THOMAS F BARTON.
Mail to: G.I. Special…Box 126…2576 Broadway….New York, N.Y…..10025-5657
WE CAN ALSO ACCEPT CREDIT CARD OR PAYPAL PAYMENTS THROUGH OUR PAYPAL
ACCOUNT. CLICK THE LINK BELOW OR COPY IT INTO YOUR BROWSER ADDRESS FIELD
Last but, as the saying goes, not the least by a long shot.
Support soldiers who want out
(‘Support soldiers who want out’, December 13),
The war in Iraq and the threat to Iran are class issues, writes Cliff Slaughter, a supporter of Movement for Socialism. The anti-war movement needs to go beyond bigger demonstrations
Cliff Slaughter … Retired Lecturer, Ex Bradford University.
I suggest that the current raging row at the top about funding of the armed forces can open our eyes to a real opportunity - one that we should have seen and grasped before.
The official figure of deaths of British soldiers in the present operations in Iraq and Afghanistan stands at 250. According to newspapers, for every soldier killed or injured in action, scores more return home traumatised by the horrific scenes they have witnessed.
A recent ministry of defence report says there has been “slippage” in the military’s ability to “recruit, train, motivate and retain sufficient personnel”. There are “worries that without proper funding the military is going to lose substantial numbers of troops, who are fed up with poor pay, accommodation and constant operations”. I propose that we support the rank-and-file soldiers, campaign to encourage this “slippage” and give more “worries” to the class enemy.
A top-level report led by general Sir Richard Dannatt complains that troops feel “devalued, angry and suffering from Iraq fatigue”. Soldiers are “‘going sick’ to get out of the army”.
On military housing the ministry of defence report says (note some of the language): “Some estates are degenerating - in Germany it is reported that many of the neighbouring areas are occupied by immigrant families with hordes of children [sic]. This is of particular concern for wives when their husbands are deployed [on operations].”
One comrade has described the rank-and-file soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan as “economic conscripts” - they are drawn in the great majority from traditional working class areas (Glasgow, the north-east, south Wales …).
What is happening to them? “The number of troops who have committed suicide after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan is equivalent to 10% of deaths suffered on operations” (The Daily Telegraph November 15).
The ministry of defence has disclosed that (up to December 2006) 17 serving personnel have killed themselves after witnessing the horrors of conflict.
There are also fears that the number of suicides among troops who have recently left the armed forces could be significantly higher than 17. However, no records are kept once they leave the services.
Over the same period, 81 personnel who had not served on operations committed suicide and 14,000 Territorial Army members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are not included in these figures. An estimated 300 Falklands veterans committed suicide, outstripping the 258 killed in conflict.
The Daily Telegraph reported: “A young soldier was so traumatised by the prospect of his first posting in Iraq that he took a fatal overdose. Kingsman Jason Chelsea cold not come to terms with the thought that he might have to ‘shoot children’” (November 15).
These soldiers are being thrown into conflict in the service of the ruling class without concern for their lives. Top military officers are saying: “The lives of hundreds of soldiers could be lost unless the government starts to fund the military properly.”
General Lord Guthrie says: “The military is about to break if [Gordon Brown] is not careful. By this I mean nobody will want to join the armed forces, and the operational consequence of this is a failure in Afghanistan. It could well mean that the Taliban actually win a battle and kill a lot of soldiers.”
A senior NCO in Afghanistan told a reporter: “I am having trouble selling the armed forces as a career choice. But why let common sense and young people being killed for close to the minimum wage get in the way of politics?” The fact is that private soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq take home little more than £1,000 a month, while senior officers above the rank of brigadier now routinely earn six-figure salaries.
Soldiers serving in Iraq have had to witness torture carried out as routine policy. There is already a mountain of evidence of its use by the US forces, and the use of Saddam’s torture methods and personnel - with American ‘refinements’ - are encouraged in the camps and prisons run by the Iraqi ‘authorities’.
The Iraq ministry of the interior told New York Times Magazine reporter Peter Maass that “it does not allow any human rights abuses of prisoners that are in the hands of ministry of the interior security forces”. But “in November 2005 173 Iraqis were discovered in an interior ministry dungeon, some tortured so badly that their skin was falling off, others with drill marks in their skulls and teeth and toenails removed.”
Life makes you need to leave Glasgow, south Wales, the north-east … for all this?
Why are they there?
It is surely good news that “More than 5,000 soldiers have left in the past few months and 2,000 are waiting to have their applications to quit approved.”
Weapons of mass destruction? To this day, not one has been found. Iraq an enemy? But did not the US support Iraq in the Iraq-Iran war? To help the Kurdish people, brutally repressed by Saddam? But they totally ignored this when they supported Saddam against Iran. And they support the Turkish rulers in their attack on the Kurds. To promote ‘democracy’? But they refused elections in Iraq because the shi’ites are in the majority, and they suppressed violently demonstrations calling for elections.
Naomi Klein writes: “The architects of the invasion … unleashed ferocious violence because they could not crack open the closed economies of the Middle East by peaceful means.” Michael Ledeen, adviser to Bush’s government, called it “a war to remake the world”.
In other words, the Middle East must be brought under the control of US capital and its state, in order that none of the economic resources and political/strategic areas of the world shall remain outside its domination.
Eight days after declaring an end to major combat in Iraq, president Bush announced plans for the establishment of a United States-Middle East free trade area within a decade. Two hundred state-owned firms were immediately privatised.
The Halliburton Corporation, for example, soon had 50,000 employees in Iraq.
Even the schools were removed from state ownership and responsibility. The teachers, unionised, came under the hammer: 4,700 were sacked. “…
the children disappeared from the schools - as of 2006, two-thirds of them stayed home. Next came the professionals …
An estimated 300 of Iraq’s academics have been assassinated by death squads since the US invasion …. thousands more have fled ….
By February 2007, an estimated 2,000 doctors had been killed and 12,000 had fled.” One in seven Iraqis have been forced to leave their homes.
British soldiers in Iraq are already outnumbered by their countrymen working for private security forces at a rate of three to one. Then companies employing these ‘security’ forces are paid by the British state: that is, by the taxpayer. The same goes for the US forces and the US government.
What exists in Iran, and what is being prepared for the people of Iran, is a brutal military dictatorship, no better than the brutal dictatorships it replaces. This is what the armed forces are there to impose, by whatever methods are deemed necessary.
Their presence must be opposed by all possible means, by a movement which seeks to support the people of Iraq and Iran against the invaders and against their own repressive rulers. And which supports those soldiers who are being exploited and sacrificed, who in their thousands want to find a way out of the war. Should they be left to make individual decisions to find that way out?
Protests not enough
Protests against the occupation and war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and against the threat to Iran, are natural and essential, but are they enough? They will not ‘stop the war’, that is clear.
From our side, in Britain and the US, and in every country whose troops are in these war zones, we must surely look for ways to help those soldiers who do not want to be part of this barbarous war, this ruthless killing spree on behalf of capital and those who own it.
We must actively, by all means at our disposal, actually support and encourage their opposition to the war.
Is it not a fact that when a soldier opts out of the forces, he or she does more to ‘stop the war’ than a thousand protests?
There are millions of men and women who oppose the war and will support those soldiers who look for a way out of it.
There are thousands of families who have lost loved ones or have sons in the army in Britain and the US who will welcome and join with a movement of support for the troops.
They surely must not be left alone to voice their sorrows.
We should make contact with every movement in the US which opposes the war and supports those soldiers who ‘vote with their feet’ against it - and there are many.
We should find ways of encouraging British soldiers to make links with US troops who feel the same as they do.
If we work in this way, will we not be condemned as traitors, as unpatriotic, as people damaging the morale of our brave troops, and so on?
Yes, of course, but we will be standing in a proud working class tradition of solidarity and opposition to wars in which the sons and daughters of the working class are sacrificed in the interests of their exploiters.
If you like, but I repeat: a real ‘anti-war movement’ will be more than protests, which will not ‘stop the war’. We have to find ways of actually putting a stop to it. Bigger and bigger demonstrations, yes, but the war must be opposed, not just objected to.
First step! Support those soldiers who have started to do that and the many others who want to do the same. Find ways of bringing together all those families and individuals who want it ended.
Organise in the unions whose members are responsible for communications, transport and supplies to bring their members into contact with soldiers and their organisations to look for ways of protecting any who want out of the war.
Such initiatives by the unions could be a step towards finding ways for the organised working class here and in the US to truly help and organise aid to the people of Iraq and Iran.
Am I saying that soldiers should object to ‘doing their duty’, that they should not be doing what they are ordered to do? Yes, I am, conscious of the fact that thousands of them are already convinced of this. Let us help them.
To add to my article, last week a report has now appeared on the large number of Iraq-serving soldiers expelled from the army because of drug-taking. The report leaves no room for doubt that many are taking drugs only before imminent tests, in order to get themselves thrown out.
What do you think ? 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 email firstname.lastname@example.org:. Name, I.D., withheld unless you request publication. All Replies confidential.
Added by Northllaw,
Invitation also to any British Soldier/s or members of their families, friends, please post to same address -- send email email@example.com any details of ‘life’ of soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq, or in the army generally.
Any reports/details of soldier’s deaths, injuries, or ‘conflicts’ in service, reminiscences of actions, eye witness accounts.
Any enquires regarding Troop News, please post to Northllaw.
Interesting articles wanted for Northllaw mailing list, anything that fits with the essential direction of Troop News. We cover main media sources. Anyone wish to write an article, please send.
Interested in comments and views.
G.A. Chair northllaw.