Tag Archives: US Army

Were Qurans the only books burned? Where’s the outrage from US churches?

If the Qurans recently burned at NATO bases in Afghanistan were disposed of accidentally in the incineration pits, aren’t American Fundamentalist Talibans concerned about where the excess bibles go? By now we all know the M.O. at US camps in our occupied territories is to incinerate any and all unused inventory. They’re even ordered to burn leftover bottled water. Can there be any doubt if the US forces found themselves with too many Qurans to go around, that they had fewer takers for Christian bibles? When you raise the subject in these parts, even yokels profess their indignation at the prospect of burning a bible, so wouldn’t they want to scrutinize what’s being burned at our military bases? Or is it the same with American flags? When hippies do it, it’s a national sacrilege, when the Army does it, it’s ordained cremation.

Oops, troops don’t get memo, kill kids

SUNDAY- Drunken US soldiers kill 16 Afghanistan civilians, nine of them children. The US military is claiming the massacre was the work of one soldier who “wandered” inside homes in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district, but witnesses report it was a squad who laughed as they shot the families and tried to burn the bodies. US Army defenders might argue mouths agape that it doesn’t make sense, what would US NATO forces accomplish by doing that? State terrorism is no accident. Whether by directive, unleashing berserkers, or enlisting young men with mental deficiencies, TROOPS KILL KIDS.
 
For our remedial readers I’ll note that Tony and I are under fire for raising that point at an Occupy GA. What’s the vigilante posse got to say about the US soldiers in the village of Zangabad? Just part of the ugly job of war? Happens everyday? Yes it does.

The troops don’t want your support, they want you to enable them


In protesting war, it’s not enough to say you “support the troops”, even as you advocate to “bring them home”. Soldiers see criticizing war as directed at them because it underminds the purity of spirit they want to go about their destructive missions. Don’t expect to get anywhere with trying to explain legal or moral issues. Their military indoctrination omits understanding war crimes like collective punishment, disproportionate force, massacre, murder, and by the looks of it, even rape of your fellow female soldiers. No, today’s soldiers want enablers to help them “embrace the carnage” so they can “do what they have to do” wherever they’re deployed. Even stationed stateside, they’re unencumbered by critical thought, they certainly don’t want to hear yours.

The 4th Combat Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, 12th Regiment, Lethal Warriors, self-styled Berserkers

Neighbors of Ft Carson probably know that soldiers in the 12th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Division of the US Army 4th Ivy go by the team name of “LETHAL WARRIORS”. It may boost egos, but wouldn’t you think it limits their deployment options? You could hardly expect host populations to think “Lethal Warriors” would qualify as PEACEKEEPERS for example. Who welcomes lethal force to deliver humanitarian aid? Well never mind that, because it gets worse.
 
The 12th Regiment members are also proud that they’re considered “BERSERKERS”. And they know what that means. Do you? The 12th gets called in when command doesn’t want one raghead left standing. Get your rage on, light up a village and leave no survivors as a lesson to the villages nearby. You’ve got to “embrace the carnage” to be a berserker apparently. The term is self-explanatory, and so probably the soldiers don’t know berserker referred to the Norse warriors who threw themselves into a rage before laying waste their adversaries. Whether augmented by drink, drug or mental illness, the practice of deploying berserkers was OUTLAWED BY THE 10TH CENTURY. Do the soldiers of the 12th know their fighting anti-ethos has been a war crime for a full millennium?

Tea Party soldiers attempt military coup of OCS, want Occupy to be more like occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan

ONLY IN COLORADO SPRINGS! (SPOILER: OCCUDRAMA ALERT)–
Not satisfied with heckling the OCS antiwar rally on Saturday, some “berserkers” from Fort Carson’s 4/4 2/12 regiment thought they’d march on the Occupy events committee meeting Monday and vote to make OCS more like their occupation stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, more pro-killer and all. Or vote OCS out of existence. Cute, as they pretend to uphold everybody’s freedom, etc. Apparently the soldiers were following the directions of Right Wing Youtube slackupier Agent Snuffleupagus Doubt, who promised to reopen his faux-occupy website for their coup, as if maintaining the fake OCS Facebook group wasn’t anti-occupy enough. True to idiotic form, Doubt’s plan was to overwhelm the democratic nature of OCS, forgetting to caution his winged monkeys about embarrassing mechanisms which protect OWS groups from malicious disruptions, many of his troops face disciplinary probation, for starters. But for Agent Duh it’s enough to videotape a flash-blob declaring itself king of OCS, and it’s done. Emboldened by this virtual occupy, next Mastermind Duh will probably scheme to send Republican operatives to crash the Democratic Caucuses, vote them all Republican, and steal their delegates for Ron Paul! What a plan!

BTW Commander Dumbass, how can someone who hasn’t attended Occupy meetings in months, someone who has publicly declared himself on repeated occasions to have left Occupy, and someone who has often acted in league with public attackers of Occupy, PRETEND to tell people what are its bylaws? Critics of democracy movements accuse proponents of advocating mob rule, and so you’ve confused democracy for your own caricature? I suppose you think if the minister of First Prez wanted to convert Occupy, he could march enough of his flock down to Acacia and vote OCS into his denomination. That logic may wash with Ft Carson boys, and your Youtube viewership, but it’s not going to cut it with real people. Are you kidding me with your inanity?

Ft Carson conducts pro forma town hall to clear way for environmental impact of proposed helicopter brigade

Occupy Colorado Springs protest at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jan 26, 2012
OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- Ft Carson’s environmental PR team held what’s called a “draft Environmental Assessment,” prerequisite to their addition of a Combat Aviation Brigade to America’s “Best Hometown in the Army”. Except for a car-dealer and realtor giving their attaboys, the citizens comment section weighed solidly AGAINST expansion of war-making and war-training. In true pro forma, Garrison Commander McLaughlin shrugged off the opposition, stating that public input would be answered while the army proceeded as planned. And that’s where Occupy will have something to say.

The fundamental message from OCCUPY WALL STREET, and from the global movement at large, is that it’s the people who are in charge. Whatever corrupted system may have wielded the power to bring the world to the brink of chaos, the authority must be returned to the people. OCCUPY makes clear the people do not have to sit idly by while their rulers make decisions against their interests. OCCUPY reminds us the people will have a say in their own destiny.

An army hearing, about what it plans to do, in defiance of public outcry, is nothing that self-respecting citizens have to take sitting down. They didn’t, citizens came from as far as the Southeastern plains to present their testimonials, but after the citizen comment period ended, the holders of the meeting made certain to conclude that the Ft Carson expansion was advancing regardless. This inhospitalty even after almost uninterrupted patriotic fawning over Ft Carson’s soldiers and the role they play defending our liberty.

While everyone falls all over themselves to THANK A SOLDIER, let’s not confuse respect for deference. America is not ruled by a military junta. The Department of Defense is not our governing body. For all his authority and swagger, this camp commander does not overrule us citizens. WE are the boss of the army. We are his CHAIN OF COMMAND. When the people of Colorado Springs, the people of Colorado, or the people of the United States express our will, it’s the army’s role to say “SIR, YES SIR.”

I’m deeply troubled by an officer of the military who pretends that his fellow citizens are but a temporary impediment to his military plans. When a room full of citizens tells this commander that they don’t want helicopters over their airspace, I expect him to take heed. To do otherwise is purely insubordination of his superiors. All this patriotic militarism may be going to his head. This is a soldier after all, sworn to protect our constitution and America, meaning its people. DO YOU HEAR ME SOLDIER?

If you think I sound disrespectful, let me inform you that I’m a veteran too, of ANTIWAR actions. One of which involved a soldier of higher rank than this one, running up to me as I silently held a sign, and attacking me with his fists, knocking me over. CSPD policemen had to pull him off. I did not press charges, but I could have. That was not only assault. An officer of his stature knows it was worse than that: it was an attack on his chain-of-command. What incalculable gall, to presume to treat me as a subordinate upon whom he could visit his accustomed violence. On a citizen!

And that’s what’s got me worried, about where all this soldier-worship leads. Only a couple weeks ago, at a weekly sidewalk peace bannering, a fellow activist was approached by a soldier and sucker-punched in the face, right out of the blue, while his wife cheered from their car. Are you kidding me? This deference to soldiers has got to stop.

These are soldiers, and we’re right to thank them. Theirs is a thankless task. Well not thankless, they ask, and are given unending thanks. But theirs is a task no one wants, to have to dehumanize yourself, be made to kill, maim, torture, rape, often it turns out, exactly under orders. We’ve learned that soldiers are sometimes commanded to kill everyone in a 360 degree radius. “Free Fire Zones” mean to kill every living thing in sight. We learn too that pissing on your dead victims is taught as a coping mechanism, to dehumanize your adversary so as to suffer less PTSD and less guilt. And we’ve learned that the military has no followup plan to reintegrate their soldier-monsters to a life post-service. Homeless vets from Vietnam onward are a testimony to the incompatibility of war service in horror zones to a return to normal civilian life. When the army creates killer-thugs, it means to dispose of them in further war zones, it means for them to re-up, or die prematurely from DU exposure. Yes, soldiers are to be thanked, but kept at arm’s length, like Fukushima heroes, radioactive. By design, their duty rendered them untouchable, to them eternal thanks and goodbye, unless you are prepared to weather the propensity to antisocial violence and domestic abuse the veterans of fragile countenance bring back with them. Certainly we cannot elevate the more hardened professional killers, who know only means foul and heartless, to positions of authority above citizens.

It irks me to no end to be goaded by this camp commander, who after hearing the public speak, admonished us in the end that our protestations will amount to nothing. How dare he, this insubordinate would-be coup leader?

Shall OCCUPY remind you, America is ruled by its people. This is a Democracy. WE THE PEOPLE are in charge!

Yes it may look right now like the suits are in charge, the men behind you, patting your back, the men with businesses who profit from war-making. In other cultures they are known as war profiteers, and in other periods of history they are executed. Who should profit by war? Well another aspect about OCCUPY is that these business vultures have been put on notice their time has come. No sustainable model of global democracy has room for predatory warmongers who keep wanting to pull their fortunes from war.

The people will be in charge of this nation, not the military or its business enablers. And when the people say enough, it’s going to be the military’s place to do the people’s will. If the people say no helicopters, or not in my airspace, or stop with your immoral wars, the army better stop its posturing, or find itself in the brig. Thank you soldier, but stand down. When the people tell you to stand down soldier, you had better do it, on the double.

For my part I will not decline to press charges a second time against military careerists who overstep their authority. And I will not again brook one iota of insubordination from someone sworn to serve this country. We American citizens are in charge of what’s done in our name. Do you hear me soldier? Sir, Yes Sir? Wise move soldier.

Semper Fido Bitches

Semper FidelisCOLO. SPRINGS– Tough crowd at this week’s antiwar bannering: the usual plentiful honks of support, but now intermittent servicemen heckling in crew-cutted indignation. And we haven’t yet inaugurated our WARMONGERS GO TO HELL banner. The best the driver of a white van-load of them could muster was “Semper Fi” so they must have been Marines because they shout it like it means “America! Fuck Yeah!” Are they taught it’s abbreviated Latin for Always Faithful? I believe Fidelis is the root of Fido.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Man’s faithful companion, the original boot-licker.

Faithful to what honestly? Not the Constitution, or law, liberty or the will of the American People. The US military boot-licking dogs pledge an oath to big oil and the rest of the corporate monied interests. Semper Bitches.

Another soldier-driver asked me with smug arrogance, where was my sign that read “Support the Troops?” Huh? I don’t support the troops. Does he support baby killers, rapists, torturers, drone-pilot-cowards and snipers? WTF. We parted calling each other names. Hippie. Blimp-neck enabler. Dirty hippie. Moron.

Do the other branches of the Defense Department resent the Marines because they don’t have their own pithy Latin je-ne-sais-quoi –literally– to represent their own mistaken-self identity? The Navy and Air Force already have a Native American name, he-who-shoots-from-cover. US Army GIs can modify the USM slogan: Semper Fuckers.

Afghans mutilated by US kill teams are then disfigured by Der Spiegel editors

You’re shot up at random by a US kill team eager to engage Call Of Duty in the full-gore mode, who pose with you for a trophy pic, then when it sees the light of day, photo editors decide it best to shield your identity, they say to not dishonor your survivors, but likely to lessen the damning impact of the image. The US soldiers posing with their bloody victims were not holding the heads aloft intending to pixilate the identity of their kill. Why should Der Spiegel rob the unfortunate Afghan victim of his humanity, and the scarce opportunity he has for redress from the systemic brutality being visited upon his people by an invader culture, whose average interaction with his, might be this glimpse of a candid Kodak Moment?

Army “Revolutionary” XM25 weapon will revolutionize US people killing

The $35,000 rifle fires exploding ordnance, enabling US infantrymen to kill people behind walls or at distances of 2,300 ft. No indication that our soldiers can now SEE behind walls, or differentiate between combatants and noncombatants at such great distance. Meaning the XM25 will “revolutionize” killing, as military spokesmen say, probably the same innocents we’re massacring now, but an order of higher magnitude. If the same braggarts had a hand in naming the XM25, it means times (X) a magnitude (M) of 25, which I’ll bet is an arbitrary underestimation, where Collateral Damage approaches 100%. And get this, the Army assure us that the XM25 can be fired from the safety of distance and from cover, both of which the XM25 deprives of our adversary. “Revolutionary” pretends to reference the spirit of America’s only defensible war for our independence, but it really means another leap in the arms race, use of disproportional power, further distorting our inhuman arm’s length from war conventions, eliminating “cover” for our victims, but not for our own fighters because our opponents could never afford such a weapon. The DoD’s own words.

It’s class war after all. The haves against the have-nots. Specifically have-not the means to defend themselves from foreign oppressors. Nothing revolutionary about the wealthy keeping down the people.

And there’s nothing technologically revolutionary about the XM25 either. Laser metering, exploding bullets, timed remote detonation, none of those is a new development. Putting all that into a rifle bore is just a matter of budgeting for sky-is-the-limit weaponry. We could make guns that launched miniature yellow submarines if defense spending wanted to bear the expense.

GI quadruple amputee’s hobby: guns. Army needs a prosthetic for PTSD.

Wounded Army Specialist Brendan Marrocco was this weekend’s NYT front page testimonial to the resilience of US soldiers. The VA is finally acknowledging amputee-counts apparently, so we now learn that 988 veterans have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Specialist Marrocco lost all four, but is learning to get around. He can walk for stints of up to 15-minutes, and his favorite pastime? Shooting guns.

Let them eat army boots!

After the airport in Haiti was passed into US control, the Guardian newspaper is reporting controllers are diverting aid flights in favor of US Army landings. International aid efforts are being sent to the Dominican Republic while the US concentrates on getting boots on the ground. Meanwhile the US Navy has positioned an aircraft carrier to serve as a “floating airport” for flights to where?

I’d like to get a picture of that, gunboat diplomacy in Port Au Prince, a moated Green Zone, towering over the rabid masses ashore. Will American soldiers be taunting the Haitians “Boukies” still, or resort to the term from Somalia everyone learned from Black Hawk Down: they called them “Skinnies.”

Army offers Mental Resiliency Training to harden the conscience against PTSD

What do you make of the VA study indicating that more stateside military drone operators suffer higher Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than soldiers in actual combat? It may point to the obvious, that PTSD comes less from being shell-shocked under fire and more from committing deeds to haunt the conscience. If our troops weren’t being asked to act inhumanely, perhaps we’d see fewer suicides, or homeless and maladapted vets. Instead the Army has announced it will give all its soldiers “mental resiliency training.” This might inoculate their fear of coming home to face their loved ones, but will it steel them against redemption?

That’s how many Black Hawk Down?

COLO. SPRINGS- A spectacular migration of Army attack helicopters traversed the city sky yesterday, flying south to Ft Carson where they will catch trains to faraway winter fear-breeding grounds in the news.
cos-helicopter-convoy-south-ftcarson

cos-helicopter-convoy

It took only one Black Hawk Down to terminate US ground operations in Somalia. If you’re hoping such a milestone could be a benchmark for Iraq or Afghanistan, unfortunately “hawk” also denotes the plurality. How many Black Hawk have to go down before Americans cry uncle? This week we are nearer to finding out.

I know I’m mixing Apaches with Chinooks, but I’m grouping all multi-million-dollar vertical-flight aircraft together obviously to note that the US lost three over the weekend in Afghanistan, with a commensurate record setting loss of US soldiers. Which will prove the more alarming?

Earlier in the week, Brazilian paramilitary forces lost a helicopter in a gunfight over a Rio slum, where a war is suspected to have been declared on the poor in preparations for the 2016 Olympics. The significance of sophisticated weaponry downed by common insurgency tactics is not going uncelebrated.

Isn’t it interesting how the official reaction, whether you’re a spokesman for the Brazilian military or Israel’s is to deny any possibility that the aircraft might have been struck by enemy fire? Uniformly that it the denial, which almost always proves untrue. As if even the cause of the crash matters. What’s probably critical to military strategists is that opponents not receive accurate feedback about the effectiveness of whatever tactics they used.

Meaning armchair strategists have no reliable information to go on, other than to keep a tally.

Afghan Taliban set high POW standard

Army private bowe bergdahlThere it is. The Afghans have captured a POW, we’ve been sent his image in RGB with a personal message to the American public. US military spokesmen are calling the video a violation of the laws of war. Secretary of State Clinton is calling it “just outrageous and a real sign of desperation and inappropriate criminal behavior.” She’s probably right about the desperation. But showing no signs of nudity, degradation, brutalization or rigor mortis, Army Private Bergdahl is faring better than any US detainee.

And think of the example we’ve set for the Taliban. Bagram AFB, and other unlisted US detention centers in Afghanistan, are purportedly even worse than Club Guantanamo. What happened in 2001 to Taliban forces who surrendered to the Northern Alliance is still trying to come to light, despite a desperate US cover-up. You’ve heard it by now, although the graves have been moved, the shell casings disappeared, and the witnesses killed. Over two thousand Afghan POWs were suffocated in shipping containers, those who survived were finished off by US special forces as they hastily emptied the containers at Dasht-e Leili.

US Army blankets are generic today

US Army blanketWhen I was assembling my dorm room kit for college, I wanted an army blanket as a bed cover. For reasons I must have understood better then, the heavy duty olive drab wool, emblazoned with a U.S. monogram, was inarguably cool. Its generic quality was iconic, thus it had a caché more authentic than a stack of Izods. I considered my Army blanket to be the No. 2 Pencil of bed linens.

I forgot about that blanket until the Ward Churchill trial in Denver, when the contention arose whether the US army spread small pox to North Dakota Indians by means of infected blankets. Native American oral tradition has been retelling this tale, but the White Man’s narrative is pushing back.

The ignoble suggestion remains a penciled notation in American History texts, except by scholars such as Churchill, because anti-revisionists want to see more proof. Deniers seem to willfully overlook that perpetrators might have cloaked their trail, sooner than document their scurrilous coup. Where are the blankets, or invoices for the blankets? With only songs about the blankets, how is anyone to confirm their provenance? It’s hearsay, the defenders say, bitter, vindictive slander to implicate the US Army for the 1837 small pox epidemic, just because the Red Man’s comprehension could not attribute another cause.

Although the Indian accounts aren’t so pointed. They tell of an Indian chief who stole the blankets from the white soldiers, unwittingly bringing the outbreak back to his camp.

Now I’ll not assert that US Army blankets have always had a “U.S.” stenciled on them, nor even that they were army-colored, as khaki wasn’t on the uniform palette until the turn of the century. But governments have always needed to distinguish government property, to discourage their agents from divesting of their standard issue for personal gain.

I will contend that it is only from the perspective of our contemporary culture of abundance, that we presume a blanket is nondescript without a trademark. In our overloaded consumer economy, it is not unreasonable to believe that an item without its receipt cannot be assumed to have come from a particular store. Indeed we need designer logos to differentiate products when we cannot assess the quality for ourselves. Today, even thread-counters are at pains to tell an Eddie Bauer from a CJ Crew by touch. But not so in the Wild West. The carpet-bagger mercantile purveyors of the West may have ushered in mass-produced dry goods, but I hardly think varieties were indistinguishable. Wanna bet there was quite a difference between blankets woven by Indians, blankets bartered from trading posts, and standard army issue?

Hummel volunteers were unfit for Nazis

The Volunteers -special Iraqi Freedom issueOne might think the Nazis embraced kitsch. But they didn’t like Hummels. Their Army Times equivalent, Der SA-Mann, derided Berta Hummel’s depictions of impoverished but happy German children. Her charcoals and porcelain figurines looked like “wasserköpfige und klumpfüßige Dreckspatzen.” That’s “hydrocephalic, club-footed goblins,” instead of the “hard as Krupp Steel” Aryans they wanted Nazi Youth to be.
 
You might be wondering about the American Flag shown on the right…

The Third Reich banned the sale of the light hearted Hummel statuettes in Germany, but allowed their export, to profit by the foreign exchange.

In 1937 as Germany geared up for war, Berta, now Sister Maria Innocentia working from a convent in Siessen, Wuerttemberg, countered by publishing an uncharacteristically sad drawing of two boys dressed as Brownshirts, called Die Freiwillige, or The Volunteers, under which she inscribed this plea: “Dear Fatherland, let there be peace!”

When the Hummel print archive was on display in New Braunfels, Texas, in 1999, museum docent Tom Ryan described Die Freiwillige:

“They wear short pants and long sleeved brown shirts resembling those of adult Nazi ‘S.A.’ thugs. The cowed boys goose step in unison from left to right. Their tiny combat boots have no strings. Their hair spills out from under their caps. Nearer to us, the first boy somberly beats cadence on a thin, gaily colored drum which resembles a castanet. On his right a less than happy marching partner rests his toy rifle upside down on his right shoulder.”

Hitler was reportedly furious. Paper supplies were denied to the convent and German galleries were forbidden to display Hummel’s art. Eventually SA soldiers were quartered in the Siessen convent and the sisters were put out. Sister Hummel was forced to live in a basement and died shortly after the war of tuberculosis.

But the story is not over.

Another fate awaited Sister Maria’s sad satiric pair, the two little boys who marched unhappily, accompanying Hummel’s personal call for peace. Instead of unwittingly beaconing adults to lead their drumbeat circle in the opposite direction, far away from war, the little pair was ultimately fashioned into a new Hummel. This time sans brown shirts, but with rifle held adroitly.

The two play soldiers were remade into infant patriots, taking up the drum and given the same name, this time in English: “The Volunteers.” Hummel figure 50/0 was made into a special collectible in 1990, for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

(Synopsis: Godmother Superior of kitsch, Maria Innocentia Hummel, intended her “Volunteers” to be a plea for peace. The forlorn would-be soldiers were an affront to Hitler, but a half century later, the United States would prove its imperviousness to satire and enlist Hummel’s little boys into the war against Iraq.)

The military recruitment playground

We at Not My Tribe have become increasingly accustomed to combating Israeli military propaganda coming this web site’s way, but what about the US military recruitment playground that we live our lives so immersed in? It’s so all around us so much that we sometimes don’t even see it and most of our neighbors just take it for granted like earth, wind, and fire. And now, here’s a new case of the US military propaganda machine going after our kids. It’s a Philadelphia area ‘playground’ for kids created by the Pentagon called The Army Experience… Pretty sick!

The no-less-combatant support services

LEXINGTON, NEBRASKA- Along I-80, we stopped to see the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles. While visitors cannot help but be drawn to the tanks and guns, the large collection of jeeps and trucks make clear the tremendous resources and personnel required behind-the-lines to support any combat operations, their function every bit as lethal.
M-221 GMC 2 1/4 ton cargo truck 6x6

Ft Carson shredding casualty records

pfc-albert-nelson-document-shredded
IS THE US-ARMY-BEDMATE-GAZETTE GOING TO REPORT THIS STORY? Salon Magazine was leaked helmet-cam video showing the 2006 deaths of two US soldiers in Ramadi, by friendly fire, which the US Army is still attributing to Iraqi insurgents. Within hours of breaking the story, soldiers working in Fort Carson offices were ordered to shred the documents relating to the slain PFCs. Fortunately Salon was leaked this development as well.

Watch the video. Pay no heed to the warnings of graphic violence and profanity. What the tape reveals is the inanity of all the soldiers’ conduct. First, a very imprudent peek through a window at a US tank, which more than likely prompted the tank to fire. As a result, the helmet wearer is knocked to the floor, a soldier on the floor above is wounded (and dies), and another on the roof is killed. What followed was discussion about whether the tank had fired the single round, countered by the commanding officer repeating that the official attribution would be mortar fire until a report proved otherwise. Despite that fact that all the soldiers coming up to the commander are reporting that the tank had fired, and he tells them “I agree with you–.” Also, during the entire sequence no other shot is heard.

It will be interesting to see what Fort Carson intended to accomplish by shredding the records of PFCs Albert Nelson and Roger Suarez. In particular because some of the documents were spirited aside and sent to Salon. Was the Army intending to produce revised versions to support their official report of the soldiers deaths?

Marine recruiters pursue high schoolers

COLORADO SPRINGS- I saw a local military-education atrocity the other day when I passed a school as kids recessed for lunch. Next time I’ll have a camera and I won’t be alone making sure it doesn’t happen again.

You’ve seen it at outdoor fairs, the Marine recruiter canopy. Bolt upright Marines stand in uniform around a chin-up bar beckoning teenage boys to come show off their upper body strength. Usually there’s a tank-topped ringer crediting his biceps to a military regimen.

In past this was as innocuous as any misappropriated emphasis on physical fitness. The services were voluntary after all, and short of the special forces, most military duty was served at sleepy bases in Germany, Korea or Okinawa. Of course, since Granada we’ve come to see how much more combat our soldier boys have been seeing.

These days with high casualties in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and growing conflicts in Somalia and Sudan, covert exposure in Georgia, Colombia and elsewhere, the prospect of the military getting their claws on your child takes on a sinister consequence.

Probably today’s chin-up bar would be akin to the archery tournaments of medieval days. Fun, irresistible, a sure ticket off the farm but to a destiny of a vagabond with a lost limb if you were lucky. Mothers no doubt cautioned their boys against showing off their bow and arrow skills, just as today they might panic about military recruiters seeing their kids’ Xbox scores.

Today I passed by Palmer High School at about lunch time. Kids were pouring out the front doors to spend their lunch hour in Acacia Park across the street. What did I spy, not in the city park, but right in front of the school building, but a handful of smartly dressed Marines with their chin-up bar. Right at the front door. You’d have to walk around around them to get in or out.

All around the red-painted chin-up bar were high school peers watching as others stood in line waiting for their chance to show their strength. There you have it. If I’d had my camera, I could have gotten the red bar, the formal marine uniforms, their cohorts in black wife-beaters, and all the eager kids, right beneath the WILLIAM J. PALMER HIGH SCHOOL lettering above the school entrance. I wonder how many mothers that image would have pleased.

A call to the counselor’s office revealed that the recruiters cannot be denied from visiting a school at a moment’s notice. A further conversation with the principal revealed that the recruiter’s presence is supposed to be no more than a table with literature. The circus attraction was news to him. But a quick survey of a couple high schoolers revealed that the chin-up bar attraction has made the rounds before.

I imagined circulating among them with antiwar fliers, and earning the teenager scorn as if I was crashing a scene to which they were already wise. Kids know everything these days, except of course they do not. Nothing’s changed over the centuries, neither war predatory appetite, nor a child’s vulnerability, nor their stubbornness to defy wisdom.

I think it’s the same foot you have to put down on drugs. You, Mister Know-it-all, may think you’ve got your eye on the ball beneath that shell game, but the scheme’s much larger than your peripheral vision. You’re in school to learn about widening your view, and before you graduate there are predators whose only crack at you will be during adolescence.

Young would-be drinkers often raise the argument that if you’re old enough to serve your country in the army, you should be old enough to drink alcohol. Now it’s true that the soldier-makers want you in your prime. Except for that perversion of a life’s purpose, we need to turn that comparison on its head. If you’re not ready for alcohol, perhaps you shouldn’t be let near the soul-changing fork in the road presented by a military recruiter.

A letter from an American Soldier

I received a well written letter yesterday from an American Soldier. It was addressed to me, but I thought I’d post his arguments for general comment.

Mr. Verlo,

I stumbled upon your website by a pure stroke of accidental misfortune while searching for current news on the Fort Carson Installation.. My wife, my son and I are from Colorado, and I am an American Soldier. I am college educated and studied Middle-Eastern history, and I am well versed as it pertains to Mesopotamia, global-terror and global insurgencies.

I have deployed to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. In 2003-2004 I served in Al-Fallujah and Ar-Ramadi in the Al-Anbar province, and in 2005-2006 in Tal’afar in the western Ninewah province with the 3d Armored Cavalry from Fort Carson (maybe you heard about the letter that Najim Abdullah wrote to George Bush about my unit?).

I spent seven months in Afghanistan training Afghani Security Forces, and would go back again to either country to serve for one reason only: to support my Soldiers. Although I am career-military, I do not now, nor did I ever support the Bush Administration or the pretenses under which we invaded Iraq. But, unfortunately, our elected officials thrust us into this mess, and we (Americans and American Military alike) are essentially left to deal with it. I am writing to you to comment on a few articles that you have authored, and provide my own opinions and citations.

First, in your article titled: “It’s in the Percentages”, you note that “apparently” 30% of Soldiers don’t have a high school education, 30% are returning with PTSD and 25% percent of their children are considered “special needs”. These are very interesting statistics, yet, you provided no citations. You go on to state that (and I quote): “I find it an absolute nightmare to imagine soldiers in positions of authority, making life and death decisions over others, who don’t know right from wrong, history from high stakes poker, or intelligence from drunken stupor. How do you reason with someone whose only motivation is their next beer?” and “It’s a war crime to subject civilian populations to rule by incompetents”. Again, very interesting. Here are some solid statistics for you, as well as citations. I chose to contrast military service members to college students in this case, but the same could be applied to any demographic (i.e., individuals who were recently laid off nation-wide, or illegal immigrants).

– 40% of college students who come from middle to upper class families engage in binge drinking on a regular (weekly) basis, as opposed to 26% of military personnel who have recently returned from combat tours overseas, where they suffered some sort of physical and/or emotional trauma (ABC news poll, 2007/2008). In addition, over 22,000 service members have called suicide hotlines in an attempt to get help (VA poll, 2008).

– 20% of college students engage in heavy drug use, as opposed to less than 5% of military personnel (ABC News Poll, 2007).

Here’s my favorite one:

3% of all college women report sexual assault at some point in their college career. In 2007, there were 2,212 reported cases of sexual assault on military installations by service members. In a military that exceeds roughly 2,000,000 people, that’s less than 1%.

Second, in your article titled: “Turning out to support fewer Troops”, you allude to Soldiers “riding in on a black cloud”. Hmmm, I’m not quite sure I understand that one. Is this a reference to the environmental damage we do with our vehicles, or the perceived “evil” that we bring with us because we are all, in fact, rapists, murderers and psychopaths?

Third, in your article titled: “Colorado Springs Military Community”, you state that (and I quote) “FIVE MAJOR MILITARY INSTALLATIONS ALREADY AND THE CITY AND COUNTY ARE BROKE”. El Paso County is broke? Since when? I would love to see a citation in reference to this one, because I have “Googled” it to no end and have found nothing that would lead me to believe anything but the contrary. The Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation reports that: “Colorado Springs has a 3.1 million labor force within an hour radius, a Fast track permitting and planning program (30-60 days), 27 Fortune 500 Companies and a quality of life which is 70% the cost of coastal communities” (CSEDC 2008).

Sir, I have read your opinions on the media (many of which I share with you, by the way), so I would presume that you think this is a fabrication. Here’s the bottom line; the military presence in Colorado (the big, scary war-machine that we are) boosts the economy of the area due to its service members buying cars, houses (and paying taxes on their properties), shopping at local businesses, applying for and receiving loans from local banks, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that if the military left Colorado Springs, the city would continue to thrive, but the economy would noticeably decline anywhere that 30,000 people leave, military or not.

Fourth and final, in your article titled: “On Jan 14 let us not expand Fort Carson”, you state that more military in the area would make (and I quote) “Colorado Springs even more dependent on poor paying jobs, predatory businesses, and skyrocketing social problems. Only developers, car-dealers, pawn shops, strip clubs, liquor stores, social workers, jails and mortuaries benefit from a higher soldier population”. Wow, seriously? These are only issues tied to the influx of more military in the area? So, if 3,000 recently released convicted felons chose Colorado Springs as their new home, it would have less of an impact? Or how about 3,000 illegal immigrants, or 3,000 pregnant teenagers?

Well, let’s go ahead and analyze this a bit further. Developers and car-dealers will benefit from ANY new arrivals to the area, not just military. In reference to pawn shops and strip clubs, the owners of these businesses know exactly what they are doing by placing them outside of military installations. Service members are targeted by these establishments. That’s why they are placed where they are in the community. The same can be said for pay-day loan houses and used car dealerships on Powers and Academy blvd. But if you placed strip clubs next to colleges, would it still be the military that held the higher attendance record? It’s all about business strategy my friend, not the assumption that all military service members are sex-crazed, alcoholic lunatics.

Social workers, jails and mortuaries benefit wherever there are people with problems, criminals and people who have died. I suppose that again, it’s only military who fall into these categories. Ah yes, and our children are even more screwed up than we are. The fact that you said (and I quote): “The rest of us suffer increased crime and their children’s behavioral problems in our schools” vividly displays your utter incompetence and lack of any compassionate notion. You realize that less than 30% of military children who have been separated from a parent experience behavioral issues (USA Today poll, 2008)? The percentage of non-military children who experience behavioral issues as a result of a parent’s incarceration, or divorce, or even domestic abuse is almost twice as high.

Sir, I will be the first to admit that military service members are not perfect. But we are human beings, who are susceptible to the same things that civilians are. We are an easy target, because so many of us are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe problems, after having served in a war that has lost most of it’s public support (and rightly so).

What I have a hard time understanding is why people such as you exercise your freedoms of speech, protest, religion, etc, and then malign the very people who provide, protect and preserve those liberties? I am as anti-Bush as the average American left-wing protestor, but to blame service members for the actions of their elected leadership is immoral. You are essentially grouping us with Nazi’s, which is absolutely ridiculous. The Nazis’ goal was global domination, and they had no clearly defined rule of engagement. They knew that what they were doing was wrong, and did it anyway.

Does the US Military have people who behave in this manner? Absolutely, and they are dealt with within the justice system for their actions. We are in fact “just following orders” with our presence in the Middle-East. As I realize that this was also the defense of Nazi war criminals at Nurnberg, allow me to elaborate. The US military has clearly defined Rules of Engagement, and our greater mission is to stabilize an unstable region, not global control as conspiracy theorists would have everyone believe. Unless you have a solid understanding of counter-terror and counterinsurgency doctrine, you are in no position to presume anything about the US Military in the Middle-East (unless YOU have been there) other than the fact that we invaded Iraq under false pretenses. I’ll give you that one, and take it for myself as well.

Sir, have you ever held a young Iraqi child in your arms, returning him to his parents as they kiss you and your Soldiers’ cheeks, after he had been treated at a US facility because terrorists sodomized him and cut out his tongue? Have you ever looked straight into the eyes of a terrorist, who swore allegiance to Zarqawi and proclaimed himself a “holy warrior”, and seen pure evil? And while your medical personnel treated him for burns (which were sustained when he poured kerosene on a child and his father and attempted to set them on fire publicly, only succeeding to set himself on fire) he spoke perfect English and vowed to remember your name and kill your family? I presume you would view this as our fault, correct?

But here’s the difference between the American Soldier and everyone else: when it is our fault, we acknowledge it, and DO something about it. We help people, good and bad, bottom line. Do bad things happen? Of course. Are all Soldiers and Marines upright citizens? Of course not.. That’s why one Marine out of 30,000 threw a puppy off of a cliff, and four Soldiers out of 121,000 raped a 14-year old girl and killed her family. These actions were inexcusable and tragic, and the individuals in question were/are being dealt with. To generalize every American service member based on these isolated incidents vividly shows your lack of any rational thought.

So in closing, allow me to say that whether you care to acknowledge it or not, it is the MILITARY who grant and preserve liberties and who TRULY make a difference, not politicians, protestors, or half-minded anti-war bloggers. And understand (or don’t) why we are involved in the Global War on Terror, it is because it doesn’t matter whether or not you are white, black, Canadian, American, gay, straight, blind, deaf, or how many anti-Bush websites you manage or protests you attend, there are fundamentalist extremists who want to murder you and your family because you represent western culture.

I want this war to be over so badly that it consumes me at times. I do not want my son to have to see what I have seen as a result of a failed administration. Sir, we are human beings also, and I gladly serve to protect the liberty and freedom of individuals like you who don’t support me at all. So at your next rally, or the next article you write which slanders US service members, take a moment to reflect on your freedoms, and understand who it is that truly grants them. I wish you all continued health and happiness.

Sincerely,

[D.]

Fort Carson’s boot on your 4th of July

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph July 4, 2008I just love the Gazette’s headline on their July 4th front page: POST IS KEEPING TABS ON ITS ‘BOOTPRINT’. Is it a cute eco play on words, or an ironic malapropism? About collateral damage, Rumsfeld famously said the US doesn’t do body counts. I am reminded of course of George’s Orwell’s foretelling: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

Certainly the PR crew at Fort Carson meant to imply the equivalent of an environmental footprint in Army lingo. But footprint is itself no longer the literal track left behind you as you walk. It has come to mean the space you occupy, or the resources you consume. Or that of your computer or the printer on your desk for example. The portion of surface resources which each item displaces.

There must be a semantic fallacy which applies here, a mixed semaphore perhaps? As if you could tell me “put a sock in it.” And the Army would add “Put a BOOT in it. HA HA.”

If the Fort Carson sustainability spin doctors want to call the Army eco impact a “bootprint” instead, it probably is more accurate. Their activities have devastation-unleashing consequences. And as the interviews in the article reveal, the warrior’s real passion is in the warfare, hybred-whatsits be damned.

On this Independence Day when we’re all wishing ourselves “Happy” Patriotism, let’s reflect on the full context of Orwell’s 1984 passage:

Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

PCMS wildfire initiates Army PHASE 1B

Bridger Fire initiates US Army scorched earth policy
PINON CANYON MANEUVER SITE, Colo- The US Army refused assistance in fighting the PCMS Bridger Fire, and now it’s jumped the Pergatoire River and is leading the aquisition of PARCELS 1B and 2A, a year ahead of the Army’s until now thwarted expansion schedule.

Pictured above is an enhanced diagram of a leaked Army map, revealing the expansion planned to create the USA Joint Combat Training Center which will occupy the full Southeastern corner of Colorado. A legend is posted below.

PCMS (blue) Existing Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site
PHASE 1 (green) years 1&2, Wildlife Buffer
PHASE 1a (purple) year 3
PHASE 1b (maroon) year 3
PHASE 2a (yellow) year 4
PHASE 2b (lavender) years 5-10
PHASE 3a (dark grey) year 11
PHASE 3b (grey) year 12
PARCEL 2 (orange) years 13-16
PARCEL 5 (light grey) years 17-18
JCTC (rose) expansion to Oklahoma and Kansas borders

Pinon Canyon public meeting WED 3PM

Pinon Canyon- Our land, our families, our heritage -PCEOC
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO- As previously announced, the Army is conduction a public scoping meeting on May 21 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Colorado Springs about their tentative Pinon Canyon takings. At 6:30pm they’ll outline their need to Grow-The-Army (GTA) on account of the GD-GWOT. Southeastern Colorado ranchers intend to voice their opposition at an early session 3-6pm and boycott the 6:30 public relations meeting. Here’s an invitation from Bill Sulzman:

What: Ranchers Coalition meeting.
When: Wednesday May 21, 3 – 6 PM.
Where: the Crowne Plaza Hotel (Circle and I-25)

Why?

This is an extremely important meeting in the long term struggle to prevent the Army from seizing a huge chunk of ranch land in Southeast Colorado in the area adjacent to the current Pinon Canyon Maneuver site in Las Animas County. This is one of three meetings organized by the opposing ranchers and their coalition. The reason for this time and place is that it precedes an official Army scoping hearing on Fort Carson troop expansion at the same hotel starting at 6:30 PM on May 21.

The official scoping meeting is a charade (in my opinion) . The Environmental Impact Statement that is the end goal of this process is almost certainly a done deal. At least 95% of what will finally be written is already in place in a series of formulas that are always the same when the Army does an EIS. Those who take part in scoping hearings and later hearings on a draft EIS validate the process without any real effect on the final decision. For that reason the ranchers are asking us to boycott the official session and attend their meeting to get the latest information on what is really happening.

This is a very critical point in the campaign. The Army will almost certainly use this latest troop increase proposal, on top of those already mandated by the BRAC process. to add one more argument to their call for hundreds of thousands if not millions of acres of southeast Colorado grassland, evicting ranchers in the process.

It is our chance to show solidarity with folks we usually do not have much interaction with. I believe their cause is just and urge as many of you as possible to stop by at whatever time you can get there on the 21st whether that is at 3 or 4 or 5 o’clock or later.

I think we also know that a further huge increase in our city’s dependence on Pentagon dollars is a bad idea in its own right. City and county budgets are already in the red. Water and energy concerns and social service shortfalls are already dogging our community. When is enough enough? See official announcement below.

Hope to see you there.

Bill Sulzman

USA acronyms want Pinon Canyon again

May 8 PSA from the DECAM/NEPA coordinator at the FCPAO:
(Release 08-056)
 
FORT CARSON, COLO.– Part of GTA effort: USA issues NOI to prepare an EIS for bringing IBCT and CAB to USAFC and the PCMS, against the NAA. PUBLIC SCOPING MEETINGS (to hear NAA!) are May 20 in TAD, May 21 in COS (6:30PM Crowne Plaza Hotel) and May 22 in LHX.

Glossary:
PSA -Public Service Announcement
DECAM –Directorate of Environmental Compliance and Management
NEPA –National Environmental Policy Act
FCPAO -Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
GTA –“Grow the Army”
USA -United States Army
NOI -Notice of Intent
EIS -Environmental Impact Statement
IBCT -Infantry Brigade Combat Team (3,900 soldiers)
CAB -Combat Aviation Brigade (2,800 soldiers)
USAFC –United States Army Fort Carson
PCMS –Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site
NAA -No Action Alternative

TAD -Trinidad, Colorado
COS -Colorado Springs
LHX -La Junta (Airport codes)

Wikipedia explains this GWOT acronym:

AWR — (Alpha Whiskey Romeo) Allah’s Waiting Room. When engaged, insurgents have a tendency to flee to the same building (the AWR), at which point the troops radio in an air strike.