A Fast Collapsing US Army in Iraq.

Discussion in 'Politics' started by SouthAmerica, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. .

    August 8, 2006

    SouthAmerica: Here is another sign of a collapsing US Army in Iraq.

    If you are an American soldier you want to go home and back to your family and regular life, but the enemy in Iraq is not afraid to die. And for them dying is a form of achieving recognition and glory.

    How do you fight an enemy who is not afraid of dying when you are?

    Not being afraid of death when you are terminally ill. Not this type of death. But afraid of death when the alternative is to go home and live a long life with family and friends and away from war – and in this case a war that most soldiers are not even sure why they are there fighting this lost cause.


    “Stress sent soldiers to drink and drugs, colleague testifies”
    Soldier at rape-murder hearing describes conditions in Iraq
    CNN News - Tuesday, August 8, 2006

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Stressed-out soldiers drank whiskey and downed painkillers to try to cope with "mentally draining" duty in Iraq, a private testified Tuesday.

    Troops turned to alcohol and drugs as they dealt with fears of being attacked and killed, Pfc Justin Cross said.

    "It drives you nuts. You feel like every step you might get blown up. You just hit a point where you 're like, 'If I die today, I die.' You're just walking a death walk."

    Cross described what was going on in his unit to a military hearing that will decide whether courts-martial will be launched against serving colleagues accused of raping an Iraqi girl and murdering her and her family in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, five months ago.

    The Mahmoudiya inquiry is one of several examples of alleged atrocities committed by U.S. troops in Iraq now being investigated.

    Soldiers began recounting the killings of a raped teenager and her family when they were being given stress counseling after two other members of their unit were kidnapped from a checkpoint and killed.

    The killings of the soldiers "pretty much crushed the platoon," said Cross, of the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment. "For a while we were down, but we got back."

    The unit also lost of all its belongings on February 5 when the building in which they were living burned down.

    Cross said his unit went on long rotations outside its forward base, sometimes spending several weeks without hot food and showers or contact with family and friends.

    He testified that he and other soldiers were constantly in fear and said the unit was "full of despair."

    The Army's surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, said last month that deployments in Iraq put heavy mental stress on troops and that some will need counseling.

    Kiley said 15 percent to 30 percent of troops returning from Iraq have mental health issues but that was not unusual.

    Up to one in 20 troops take antidepressants, the Army says, but cannot compare that to previous conflicts.

    Mental-health teams have been sent to the front lines in both Iraq and Afghanistan to give support and Kiley is to head a new 14-member task force to recommend improvements in care for troops and their families.

    Cough syrup, painkillers

    Cross told the military hearing that some of those accused of rape and murder were among colleagues who drank whiskey and cough syrup and swallowed painkillers to cope with their jobs.

    The accused soldiers were drinking whiskey when one of them raised the idea of raping the girl, according to earlier testimony in the Article 32 hearing that will determine if there is enough evidence for courts-martial where the suspects could face the death penalty.

    Spec. James Barker, 23; Sgt. Paul Cortez, 23; Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman, 21; and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, 19, face charges in connection with the killings in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, on March 12.

    Former Pfc. Steven Green, who was discharged from the Army in May because of an "anti-social personality disorder" and returned to the United States, is facing rape and murder charges in a civilian federal court. He is being held in a Kentucky jail.

    A sixth soldier, Sgt. Anthony W. Yribe, has been charged with failing to report the alleged rape and killings but is not alleged to have been a participant.

    All six men are from the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

    Cross said he saw Barker, one of the suspects, almost killed during a sweep for homemade bombs and said he survived because he was in a Humvee.

    Iraqi authorities have identified the girl who was raped and shot to death as Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, 14. Her father, mother and 5-year-old sister were also killed.

    'He does nothing by himself' Green and other soldiers accused in the case had sought help from their company commander for combat stress.

    The soldiers' battalion commander, Lt. Col. Thomas Kunk, testified earlier this week that he recalled Green saying that "all Iraqis are bad people."

    "I told him that that wasn't true and that 90 to 95 percent of the Iraqi people are good people and they want the same thing that we have in the United States," Kunk said.

    Defense attorney Capt. Megan Shaw questioned Cross about whether all of the soldiers were involved in the murders, or whether it was possible that Green did it alone.

    "Green does nothing by himself," Cross replied.

  2. .

    August 8, 2006

    SouthAmerica: The impact of war on American soldiers and their families are much greater than the American mainstream media ever mentioned to the American people, and Vietnam is a major example of that failure of providing information and communication.

    If the American people had a better understanding of the implications of sending people to war – the American people would not be so casual about sending their kids to war.

    That war have been very costly to the US, not only in money and resources, but the tremendous blow that that war caused to the US economy and also to American society, for example:

    1) Because the United States lost the Vietnam War, that event cost the US prestige and influence around the world.

    2) The Vietnam War was the main cause of “hyperinflation” in the United States economy in the 1970’s.

    3) But the biggest impact of that war was the loss of life. The US lost 58,000 soldiers during the war, and that tragedy continues in the US in 2006. Since the Vietnam War ended in 1973, more than 30 years ago; 150,000 US Vietnam veterans committed suicide, for a total casualty number of over 208,000 deaths so far - deaths related to that war. Never mind the large number of people who were injured in that war, and the impact that had in the breakdown of thousands of families here in the US.

    After the soldiers come back home from these wars many of these veterans become basket cases; they become alcoholics, they take drugs, they have all kinds of mental breakdowns, and their worlds are shattered with very high rates of divorce, and they have a hard time adjusting to their life at home. And thousands of these soldiers come back home severely wounded causing a lot of stress in the entire family of these people, including the wife, kids, and other relatives. And many soldiers get cancer and other diseases after they come back from exposure to toxic materials on the battlefields.

    Two facts that we have to keep in mind today is that over half of the homeless men in the US are Vietnam vets. And the number of post-war suicides is almost three times the number of soldiers who died in the actual Vietnam War.

    If the American people had a better understanding of the consequences of war and the impact that war has on the social fabrique of its own society then Americans would not jump so quickly to the idea of going to war – for example: as Americans did in the case of the current war against Iraq.

    War should be the last option after everything else fails; and should be related to protecting your own country.

    The Iraq war has been all along about “OIL” and not about protecting the United States about a possible attack from Saddam Hussein.

    By: Ricardo Amaral

  3. .

    August 11, 2006

    SouthAmerica: As the American mainstream media cover more important news such as the long lines on US airports, and how people can’t take toothpaste, hair gel, shaving cream, and other cosmetics with them if they decide to fly on American commercial carriers.

    The Iraq sectarian civil war has disappeared from the news. Now you see it, now you don’t.

    I guess the US government is afraid that the terrorists are going to attack people inside commercial airlines and open their bags and spread toothpaste, hair gel, shaving cream, and other cosmetics all over the passengers and they would make a big mess inside these airplanes. When these planes land in New York, or Newark the passengers would be covered from head to toe with all these things – what a mess.

    The airlines probably would need to power-wash inside the airplane before these planes can fly again.

    Today, the Israel/Lebanese war also got a little coverage by the media, but not as much as on prior days.

    But the Iraq war that is important to the American people in many ways – it is costing a ton of taxpayer money, and more important the casualty of American soldiers is increasing by the day. Not only the number of dead soldiers (approaching 3,000 deaths) but also the number of wounded soldiers (approaching the 20,000 mark – with almost half of them with severe injuries) – and today the situation in Iraq is so dangerous for everyone that the American mainstream media has almost stopped covering that war.

    As the American troops in Iraq are left wondering what they are doing in the middle of a nasty sectarian civil war with no end in sight. Their government has all but abandoned them in Iraq. The American mainstream media that realized it is too dangerous to cover that war has abandoned the US troops also.

    This is how the US government resolves any problem today – out of sight – problem solved.