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This ia an amazing story that must get out:

A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from Jackson and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel, the troops' relatives said Thursday.

The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq -- north of Baghdad -- because their vehicles were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe, said Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O. McCook.

Sgt. McCook, a deputy at the Hinds County Detention Center, and the 16 other members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C., were read their rights and moved from the military barracks into tents, Patricia McCook said her husband told her during a panicked phone call about 5 a.m. Thursday.


"I got a call from an officer in another unit early (Thursday) morning who told me that my husband and his platoon had been arrested on a bogus charge because they refused to go on a suicide mission," said Jackie Butler of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Michael Butler, a 24-year reservist. "When my husband refuses to follow an order, it has to be something major."

The platoon being held has troops from Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi and South Carolina, said Teresa Hill of Dothan, Ala., whose daughter Amber McClenny is among those being detained.

McClenny, 21, pleaded for help in a message left on her mother's answering machine early Thursday morning.

"They are holding us against our will," McClenny said. "We are now prisoners."

The platoon is normally escorted by armed Humvees and helicopters, but did not have that support Wednesday, McClenny told her mother.

The convoy trucks the platoon was driving had experienced problems in the past and were not being properly maintained, Hill said her daughter told her.

The situation mirrors other tales of troops being sent on missions without proper equipment.

Aviation regiments have complained of being forced to fly dangerous missions over Iraq with outdated night-vision goggles and old missile-avoidance systems. Stories of troops' families purchasing body armor because the military didn't provide them with adequate equipment have been included in recent presidential debates.

Patricia McCook said her husband, a staff sergeant, understands well the severity of disobeying orders. But he did not feel comfortable taking his soldiers on another trip.

"He told me that three of the vehicles they were to use were deadlines ... not safe to go in a hotbed like that," Patricia McCook said.

Hill said the trucks her daughter's unit was driving could not top 40 mph.

"They knew there was a 99 percent chance they were going to get ambushed or fired at," Hill said her daughter told her. "They would have had no way to fight back."

Support our troops.  Deselect One term George II.

Update Salon lead story Charlote Observer story

Originally posted to buffalo soldier on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 06:28 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Holy cow! (3.87)
    You're right, this is almost unbelievable. I'm recommending it and writing about it on my own page. Nice catch--you should set up a tip jar.
    •  Call & Complain (3.80)

      Kossiaks: I placed this shamelessly uptop as the thread was getting too long for such important information to be at the bottom.

      Ole Mississippi's Senator:

      The Honorable Trent Lott
      487 Russell Senate Office Building
      Washington, DC 20510
      Phone: (202) 224-6253
      Fax: (202) 224-2262

      Call & register a complaint regarding forcing volunteers (all military personnel are volunteers in the service) on suicide missions and the repremanding for a basic self-interest in their lives & family back home.

      Ask for a senatorial pardon and release from prison for refusal to go on a mission due to faulty equipment, not lack of bravery or willpower, but LACK OF INTEGRITIOUS SUPPORT.

      Call and tell that you're mad as hell for continuing lack of equipment and support for our troops in Iraq and demand recognition of this on the Senate floor!

      I know I did.

    •  soldiers released from custody today (none)
      this is rumor control has an update..the soldiers were let got today and split seems the problems with bad vehicles has been on-going....24 per cent of non-combat casualties were said to be from non-armored humvees..I saw this in a report in Newsweek a couple of months ago
  •  Wow (4.00)
    These folks are in big trouble. They will probably do time in the brig and get dishonorable discharges but, you know what, they'll be alive. That's going to matter more to their families than any "disgrace" the military puts them thru. And for some of us they'll be heroes for resisting the stupidity of this war.
    •  Yes, alive (4.00)
      It seems that something is coming apart at the seems and life is more precious than we thought.

      What is wrong with this news item?  Is the focus the insubordination?

      The focus ought to be:

      1.  There is still armed conflict in a country that was "successfully invaded" over a year ago.

      2.  The US military is does not have the proper equipment to maintain supply lines.

      3.  The commanding officers seem to be oblivious to the reality on the ground.

      Check out Minister Faust and his new book: The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad.

      by Gearhead on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 06:41:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Give it time (3.93)
        The basic facts are stunning.  Once the story sinks in the implications will become the focus.

        We cannot maintain an irrational war without the particiapation of our troops.

        •  "refuseniks" (none)
          Remember the Israeli refuseniks?  Though they made headlines, their actions did not lead to changes in policy.

          Check out Minister Faust and his new book: The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad.

          by Gearhead on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 07:01:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not the same (4.00)
            Many Israelis believe (with some justification) that they are fighting for their nation's survival. Though Americans (and Brits, Spaniards and Australians) were lied to by their leaders about Iraq, few actually think the war is that important.
        •  The War Is Over (If You Want It) (3.75)
          Something's happening here.  When I watched Going Up River, it reminded me of the days surrounding the vets' D.C. Demo and the Moritorium.  I remember watching the CBS Evening News and seeing John Kerry's testimony to Fulbright's committee and the vets throwing their medals away.  Even at the time (I was 17), when I saw those vets throw away their medals I knew the war was over.  That was the moment it became undeniable and official Washington knew it too.  When veterans and soldiers turn against the war that's it.  Let's have a merry merry christmas and no war.

          This aggression will not stand, man

          by kaleidescope on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 11:12:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Iraq eats equipment for lunch (4.00)
        Many of the non-combat casualties over the past year were due to degraded equipment - missing headlights, bad brakes, etc. The sand and wind combine with the constant use to wear all these vehicles out.

        I suspect that's what was going on here. The unit, being Reserves, had older gear to begin with. They drive it around for awhile and it wears out. The Army doesn't have enough spare parts, so you cannabalize the other vehicles. Then an officer comes up and says here's your mission, you'll need all your trucks.

        The dirty little Army secret over the past ten years is that they skimped on spare parts for almost all their equipment, because they never expected to fight a war this long, and if they did, then the Pentagon would ramp up production for spares and replacements. Alas, the Pentagon has done very little in that direction and so our troops our riding around in badly maintained vehicles.

        Visualize Whirled Peas

        by Hoya90 on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 07:48:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like thunder after lightning (none)
          Clinton will be blamed for neglecting our Guard and Reserves for 8 years.

          George Bailey was a Democrat. Mr. Potter was a Republican.

          by 537 votes on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 08:23:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Another Bush Mystery (none)
          So to the question of why the Bush administration didn't expand the Army a year ago when it became clear more troops were needed in Iraq, we must now add the further question of why they didn't ramp up production of parts.
          •  My own theory is that (4.00)
            Rumsfeld has it in for the Army. In Afghanistan, he was dead set on proving you only need air power and special forces to win a battle. In Iraq, he second-guessed the Army every step of the way telling them what they could and couldn't send.

            I bet he sees the parts shortage as just further evidence we need to get rid of the Army!

            Visualize Whirled Peas

            by Hoya90 on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:35:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  aoeu (none)
              It's standard conservative tactics.  Underfund something, then use the failure to prove it shouldn't even exist in the first place.

              It's remarkable similair to how they justified the opression of using the result of the opression as evidence!  Talk about circular reasoning.

              My turtles laughter
              was loud when the Yankees lost
              22 to zilch

              by TealVeal on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:38:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Their problem isn't the "disgrace" (4.00)
      Do employers rush out to hire ex-military with dishonorable or bad conduct discharges?  Emm, no. These 17 people just had the rest of their lives ruined because they refused to obey an idiotic order.
      •  I'm aware (4.00)
        But I know two people with dishonorable discharges (both highly deserved, by the way) and one of them owns a successful painting co. and the other is a dead-beat drunk. Neither was "ruined" by getting booted out of the military. One of them pulled his life together and the other didn't. People chose to curl up in a fetal position or pick themselves up and move on. In this case, this group will likely have a lot of support to help in overcoming the stigma.
        •  yeah right (4.00)
          I doubt people choose to curl up in a fetal position and become dead-beat isn't that fun. Obviously the two people you talked about had other differences in their background which might have not been superficially apparent.
          But Americans always support their veterans don't they ?
        •  aoeu (none)
          a dishonorable discharge is like a felony conviction.  Sure it's possible to recover from it.  Since you believe it's not that big of a deal I suggest you get a dishonorable discharge yourself.

          My turtles laughter
          was loud when the Yankees lost
          22 to zilch

          by TealVeal on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 12:40:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's hard to recover from being DEAD! (none)
            Just look at the alternative.  If they really thought it was a suicide mission, then can you really blame them for making this choice?

            In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

            by Asak on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 06:05:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Let's hire them (4.00)
        One solution is for Kossacks who have hiring authority to get the word out - we want heroes like you in our organization.  Your integrity will add to our success.  Come work here.
      •  A Good Alternative (none)
        They should en masse have gone their commanding officer and reported to him that they were all bi-sexual.

        This aggression will not stand, man

        by kaleidescope on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 11:17:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Upgarding Discharges (none)
        With this war in Iraq turning out to be like Vietnam, I have a feeling less-than-honorable discharges will be routinely upgraded after a couple of years.
    •  Depends on charges... (none)
      If they're brought up on cowardice in the face of battle, they'll be shot.
      •  no fucking way... (4.00)
        there is no way that happens. If the Army actually did that, it would be absolutely the worst PR blunder the military ever committed. There would be fighting in the streets. The families of these troops would be all over the media, and public sentiment towards the Army, and the war, would plummet to zero.

        And I'm sure President Kerry would grant these troops clemency.

        my weblog and my website - they're, uh, in progress, OK?

        by snookybeh on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 09:05:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This used to happen in France during WW1 (none)
        Entire French battalions would mutiny.

        Maybe the Americans can do what the French used to do. The Generals would tell the battalion that everything was OK and that they were just going to re-deploy them away from the front for a couple of days of rest.  They would send the battalion out into the middle of some isolated farmer's field and open fire on them with artillery.  Afterwards, senior officers would walk among the wounded, shooting each soldier in the head down to the last man.

        Hate to say it guys, but thats what happens in war if you refuse an order.

        •  And normally it's a public execution... (none)
          to put fear into people who are prone to cowardice in the first place.
        •  That Didn't Work in France (none)
          After mass mutinies in the French army, they had to bring in Petain to take command and tone down the treatment of the soldiers.

          And for the rest of the war, the French army was no good for offense, just defense.

          •  That's not true (none)
            Petain did help sort things out after the mutinies and he was much more defensive minded than most of the other generals, but don't forget that the French (and allied) offenses in autumn of 1918 knocked Germany out of the war.
        •  Im Irak... (none)
          Nichts Neues...

          No, the Sultan's demands are still not sufficiently rational; the only lasting peace is one based on reason and scientific principle -- Horatio Jackson

          by rgilly on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 12:32:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I call BS (none)
          I want a reference to that happening.

          The French mutinies in 1917 were due to a similar situation as Iraq now: troops were getting pissed at being thrown into situations where they were constantly being killed for no readily apparent reason.  The French troops made it clear that if attacked they would do their jobs (and they did) but they refused to engage in any more massive over-the-top human wave assaults that resulted in them getting killed in massive numbers without showing any significant success.

          Their actions resulted in a change in the French (and allied, afraid they'd face the same thing) strategies and tactics.  The Canadian Corps capture of Vimy Ridge in the spring of 1917 showed that there was a way to make significant advances without unbearable troops losses but it took commanders who actually cared about the welfare of their forces and didn't treat them like disposable pieces on a chessboard.

          •  Here it is (none)
            Alistair Horne, The Price of Glory, page 323

            To this day, nearly half a century on (the book was written in 1962) details of the French Mutinies remain veiled in exceptional mystery and secrecy, an d of no aspect is less known than the true extent of the reprisals carried out in quelling them.  (Field Marshall Sir Douglas)Haig, in his diaries of November 1917, notes that he had been told that 'there were 30,000 "rebels" that had to be dealt with'.  Only a few dozen of the ringleaders were officially reported tried and shot, but how many more were shot summarily can only be guessed.  From time to time accounts have seeped out, unofficially, of whole units marched to quiet sectors and then deliberately haché by their own artillery.  What is known is that the wretched Russian Division in France, which news of the revolution at home and brutal losses under (General Robert) Nivelle had reduced to a state of complete rebellion, was encircled by loyal French and then cruched by point-blank cannonfire.

            haché is the French word for ground meat.

            I have read other, more detailed accounts in journals but that is going to take some time for me to find

            BTW I am in no way reccomending or justifying the French action, my point was to show how seriously these kinds of things are taken within the military.  When one reads serious accounts of WW1 the most striking thing is that how could any soldier have endured that nightmare without either rebelling or committing suicide.

            BTW2 The conditions in Iraq today are a total picnic compared to the Great War.  I highly suggest that you read Mr. Horne's book and you will see what I mean.  There are very explicit accounts of what happened to the soldiers who were running food and water to the front lines.  

      •  Why can't they say... (none)
        They had other priorities that precluded going on that mission?  Like, I dunno, campaign volunteering?
  •  Don't blame them. (4.00)
    Aren't we paying Halliburton civvies the big bucks to drive fuel trucks around the war zone?  Where are they?

    I move that we send the sons and daughters of GOP / BushCo to drive fuel trucks in Iraq!!!

    That'll end this quagmire quick as snot!


    •  Good Question (4.00)
      "Aren't we paying Halliburton civvies the big bucks to drive fuel trucks around the war zone?  Where are they?"

      Some possible answers:

      These guys are doubtless being killed and maimed at a very high rate, and there are no longer enough of them to do the job, hence the soldiers have to do it.

      They have a lot more freedom to come and go as they wish, and a lot of them have gone home, or gotten reassigned somewhere else where it's less dangerous.

      They're refusing to carry out these missions, just like the soldiers.  Unlike the soldiers, they cannot be arrested and court martialed.

      Iraq is so dangerous that in the world of the contractors/mercenaries, the word is that you shouldn't go there, even if it means going without a job for a while.

      Feel free to add reasons of your own as they occur.

      Naderite is to America what Kryptonite is to Superman - fatal.

      by JJB on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 07:05:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The solution to this (none)
      The solution to this is to elect Kerry -- and because Bush declares he has the answers -- and then send Bush, Cheney and all their Halliburton, Enron, et al cronies into Iraq to fix the mess themselves, with the same lack of basic needs they've deprived our troops of.

      Chaos. It's not just a theory.

      by PBnJ on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 07:17:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Army escort for Halliburton (4.00)
      We're sending the army to escort the Halliburton trucks, and ignoring their recommendations on how to do it safely. There was a diary on this a while ago, "Army Riding Shotgun For Halliburton" I think it was called.

      The Army wanted to have every third truck be one of their own so that they could defend the convoy effectively, but that was denied. They have to go in the Halliburton trucks which aren't properly armored, and with the Halliburton drivers, who aren't trained for these type of situations.

  •  reccomended -nt- (none)
  •  The Great French Army Mutiny Of April-May 1917 (3.87)
    Was foreshadowed by incidents during the previous winter, when veteran soldiers in the Verdun sector would greet newly conscripted replacements who relieved them with shouts of "blacklegs!" (the European worker's equivalent of "scabs!") meant to suggest that their compliance with conscription was allowing the senseless war to continue, and with derisive choruses of sheep bleeting, meant to indicate that they were sheep going off to the slaughter.  These soldiers had already begun to refuse to conduct patrols and probes of the German positions as they believed (rightly) that they were needless and only put the men conducting them in terrible danger.  When they were sent into battle a few months later, in one more idiotic offensive that succeeded only in getting tens of thousands of men killed, they began to refuse to leave the trenches when ordered to attack.  A number of units actually went on strike and abandoned their positions.  Fortunately, the Germans never discovered that they could have attacked and probably broken through.

    This incident, and other recent ones where soldiers are refusing to return to duty after time off, are probably indications of widespread dissatisfaction within the ranks.  To put it simply, soldiers don't behave this way unless there is something terribly wrong with the war they are being ordered to participate in.  Whoever takes the Presidential oath of office on January 20 is liable to have a very touchy situation on his hands, one that will require immediate attention.

    Naderite is to America what Kryptonite is to Superman - fatal.

    by JJB on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 06:54:31 AM PDT

    •  Movie to see: (none)
      Paths of Glory, directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Kirk Douglas.

      Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

      by Maryscott OConnor on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 07:51:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh Yes (none)
        I've seen it many times.  A brilliant movie, banned in France until sometime in the mid-1970s.  De Gaulle hated it.

        The retribution the Army took against the mutineers was ruthless.  There has never been an accounting of how many men were executed, but the numbers run into the hundreds at the very least.  Some units that refused to move to front line positions were instead sent to isolated sectors away from either the enemy or their comrades, presumably for R&R.  Then the generals would order their own artillery to fire on those positions.  There were very few survivors.  The movie touches on this matter, except in this instance the soldier in charge of the artillery unit refuses to fire unless he's given a written order.

        Alistair Horne's book about the Battle of Verdun, The Price Of Glory, gives about as thorough an account of this as it's possible to write.

        Naderite is to America what Kryptonite is to Superman - fatal.

        by JJB on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 08:59:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Funny (4.00)
        I did the DVD artwork for that movie  a few years back.


        Mitch Gore

        No one will change America for you. You must work to make it happen.

        by Lestatdelc on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 09:31:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  John McCain agrees (none)
        He choose Paths of Glory for one of those classic movie channels as part of a big political movie month they are doing where the had 4 Senators choose their favorite films.  Senator Hatch choose To Kill a Mockingbird, Sen. Biden choose Dead Poets Society,, and Sen. Edwards choose Dr. Strangelove.  Got a set of brass ones, that Edwards.

        Indeed, so does McCain.  Its been noted that its a pretty gutsy selection for a Bush endorser to make.  All the more so now.

        •  It played last night (none)
          But there's an encore on Saturday afternoon. If you've never seen that movie, I highly recommend it.
        •  Dr Strangelove (none)
          senator biden is a dork.

          I saw Strangelove on TCM last week, including the opening interview with Edwards about his reasons for choosing the movie. What a great series. Can't wait to watch later today and see McCain's intro to Paths of Glory.

          And perhaps of interest, I was looking on Rotten Tomatoes yesterday (for a review of Team America), and discovered that Dr. Strangelove is coming back to theatres, at least art houses. definitely check this out if you haven't.

    •  great statement (4.00)
      To put it simply, soldiers don't behave this way unless there is something terribly wrong with the war they are being ordered to participate in.

      This is exactly how this story should be framed by whoever follows it up in the media.

      Ok if I use it in a LTE or something?

  •  If this is true (4.00)
    and I see a 'lesbian' story before this in my newspaper I am going to cancel my subscription.
    •  This whole election cycle (none)
      we've been seeing the equivalents of "lesbian" on page one, while insecure nuclear-related materials, "disappeared" suspects in Jordanian custody, Bremer's economic shenanigans, dead soldiers, dead Iraqi civilians (of which there are many more),  Army dissenters, a failed war against the insurgency, and much, much more have been on page A23.

      When they DO talk about the war in Iraq, they can always be counted on to cherry-pick the upbeat bits.  The other day on NPR, one correspondant was talking about the new American offensive, making sure to emphasize that the aerial strikes were exactly hitting their targets, that there were next to no civilian fatalities.

      I can respect her giving a report from the combat zone, and I'm not going to doubt the evidence she's reporting with her own eyes.  All the same, the report jarred against something in me.  We're, what, almost two years into this quagmire?  And we're just now getting reassuring reports about the pinprick precision of US airstrikes?  I'm sure that would come as something of a relief to the tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, if they were alive to feel the sentiment.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sat Oct 16, 2004 at 10:30:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  let's help (none)
    can we research and post the names of these heroes, then plaster their hometown and state newspapers with the info....
    •  Very good idea... (none)
      The West Virginia community from which many of the Abu Ghraib guards originated is very upset about the way the whole thing has focused only on the grunts.

      I can imagine the same would be true for the hometowns of these soldiers.  

      Please, somebody, if you can find out this info first, post it for us.

  •  Whoa! (none)
    is this just the tip of the iceberg?
  •  Two ways to add some spin (4.00)

    Are these people going to get approximately the same punishment as the ones who were torturing and killing Iraqi civilians in Abu Graib for fun?

    If the $87B appropriation bill Kerry voted for passed these people might have had proper vehicles.  Instead we got the $87B bill that Bush wanted, one that was loaded with profits for his corporate buddies.

  •  No Suprise (4.00)
    As a 1969-1970 Vietnam Vet, the Guard "mutiny" does not surprise me. Nixon decided to withdraw because the draft was tapped out and there was an unreported mutiny by the US Army in Vietnam.  The troops fragging gung-ho officers and ignored insane orders.  They had decided to do their one year and get back to the world alive.  

    Now that is clear to any sane person that the Iraq War is lost, the troopers will attempt to Stay Alive.  Their problem will be the neo-conservative ideologues and Christian fanatics in charge that are intent on killing them.

  •  Gitmo in Taji (4.00)
    Kathy Harris of Vicksburg is the mother of Aaron Gordon, 20, who is among those being detained. Her primary concern is that she has been told the soldiers have not been provided access to a judge advocate general.

    Stevens said if the soldiers are being confined, law requires them to have a hearing before a magistrate within seven days.

    I don't expect they'll be getting due process anytime soon. After watching the piece last night on ABC about the Pentagon blowing off injured heroes, I don't expect this story will see the light of day unless it enjoys a tidal wave of advocacy. Shall we lock and load then, brothers and sisters?


    There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America. - Bill Clinton

    by bumblebums on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 07:27:23 AM PDT

    •  I hate to say this (1.00)
      but they are all going to be shot.

      That's how the military works, there is no bigger crime than cowardice, and absolutly no defense for it, in the eyes of the cammanding officers.

      •  aoeu (none)
        When was the last time a US soldier was shot?

        My turtles laughter
        was loud when the Yankees lost
        22 to zilch

        by TealVeal on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:09:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What's your purpose here? (none)
        How much can you "hate to say" this, when you not only keep saying it in this thread, but in one comment that has been removed for its troll rating, you called them traitors and advocated having them shot on live national TV.

        You sound  much less like you're discussing military rules and much more like you're trying to create an outrageous meme about these people.

        Stop repeating this slime.

        Our soldiers and Guard are being used as cannon fodder to create profits for Halliburton, Texaco, Exxon, and Chevron and we'll see that was the plan when President Kerry reveals Dick "Fuck You" Cheney's Energy Task Force documents.

        This is an illegal and immoral war. I want them out alive and brought home to their families and I don't care if they have to mutiny to do it.

        Vice harms the doer ~ Socrates

        by kdub on Sat Oct 16, 2004 at 04:30:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you forgot about the Carlyle Group (none)
          "Our soldiers and Guard are being used as cannon fodder to create profits for Halliburton, Texaco, Exxon, and Chevron and we'll see that was the plan when President Kerry reveals Dick "Fuck You" Cheney's Energy Task Force documents." - - kdub  

          "Former President George Bush met with King Fahd, right, on a trip to Saudi Arabia last year as part of his work for the Carlyle Group." (NYT, 3/5/01)

          "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" -- John Kerry, 1971.

          by peace voter on Sat Oct 16, 2004 at 07:37:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  So they could find enough soldiers to arrest them (4.00)
    But not enough to provide security for their fuel shipment??

    Well, doesn't that just tell you how screwed up our priorities are?

  •  Feinstein, Boxer and Dreier (none)
    have received yet another letter from me.

    This story, if true, is just appalling.

    "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - JFK

    by jillian on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 07:31:03 AM PDT

  •  This infuriates me!! (none)
    Why are our soldiers being treated this way?!? These are our blood, our soul!

    What will it take for our nation to pay attention as we send our brothers and sisters into this mess?

  •  Audio? (none)
    I wonder if the Mom would release the audio of the phone message.  That would be pretty powerful.
  •  This should be on the front page!!! (none)
    This is just terrible. Those poor kids. I'm emailing the link to all the news outlets.
  •  This was well worth posting. (none)
    I followed thread oflinks to the original source and linked it elsewhere. But thanks for picking it up.
  •  To Those Guys I Say (4.00)
    Screw the brass save your ass! Death is forever and you just get home alive and everything else will work out.

    I am foaming at the mouth with rage over this.

    WTF are we saying to these guys?  Get killed and yer mom gets a nice flag?

    No more moms dying of broken hearts.  No more lies telling them their kid died
    "for America".  Sick of that bullshit!

    Out now!

    You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

    by mattman on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 08:31:54 AM PDT

  •  Swing & Bush states (none)
    Interesting how these soldiers are from Bush and Swing states....hmmm...disention in the core...
    •  and since the Pentagon is reviewing ballots... (none)
      It gives me slight pause to remember that the Pentagon, for the first time ever, is requiring that it receive all military ballots this year. I never thought I'd say something like this, but I would not be totally surprised to discover that they are determining which soliders are voting for Kerry and then giving those soldiers the lion's share of the dirty work.

      Or, perhaps this "mission" was a trick all along...the Pentagon discovers a group of soldiers who are overwhelmingly voting for Kerry. Knowing how soldiers talk (i.e., these guys are spreading the word about Kerry and influencing others) the Pentagon decides to send them on a mission that would mean sure suicide. When these guys do the smart thing and refuse, they are locked up. Nobody is so stupid that they couldn't figure out the message behind THAT.

  •  sent article to all top news outlets (4.00)
    A journo emailed me back, and he will be interviewing a US General, and will add this incident and ask for his comments.

    will send feedback from journo when it arrives

    •  update (none)
      May 2001, Flag and General Officer Announcements

      Army Col. Douglas E. Lute is a brigadier general. Lute is currently serving as the executive assistant to the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.

      in other word Lute is up there in the pentagon stratosphere, and it will be interesting to learn how he responds to this article (or indeed the whole JCS that report to Bush/Rumsfeld).

    •  Woo Hoo, Yes, feedback, please (3.80)
        Thank you, I'm too new here to know how this works, but I'm so relieved to see those of you who do know  work it.

         This mother of a soldier thanks you for your action, and so will other mothers, as well as the troops.  It's so encouraging to see people here taking action, I'm almost hopeful we can tip the energy, do our civilian duties here at home to keep another soldier from being maimed or killed.  I have concerns for the civilians in Iraq and elsewhere too, but my thought is if we can work to get our own troops home, we can end the carnage more quickly for all.  

        It is abundantly clear our President and administration won't act and don't find the carnage too disquieting.


      Courage doesn't always shout. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow

      by dyingwarriors on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:41:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it's just a short step from insubordination (none)
    to fragging.  

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -Plato

    by sunzoo on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 08:46:31 AM PDT

    •  the article implies that we're just about there... (none)
      Kathy Harris of Vicksburg is the mother of Aaron Gordon, 20, who is among those being detained. Her primary concern is that she has been told the soldiers have not been provided access to a judge advocate general.

      Stevens said if the soldiers are being confined, law requires them to have a hearing before a magistrate within seven days.

      Harris said conditions for the platoon have been difficult of late. Her son e-mailed her earlier this week to ask what the penalty would be if he became physical with a commanding officer, she said.


  •  My son (4.00)
    is stationed at the Taji airbase and is in the quartermaster corp, but a different unit. We haven't heard from him in 3 weeks and this makes me nervous. He is a mechanic for his units equipment.
    •  best wishes for your son, brother... (4.00)
      my husband is in Mosul. I haven't heard from him for a week or so, which is unusual. He had been calling me every 3 days.

      I'm sure everything is fine with your son and my husband. We will keep them both in our thoughts.

      But I feel horrible for all those guys over there--and the civilians who are having to endure a war without an end.

      "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

      by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 09:06:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let us know if there's any new (none)
      and anything the large Kos voice can do to help. Our thoughts are with you and your precious son.
    •  Rev's son (4.00)
      Rev, let us know when you hear from your son, will you?  I'll keep you in my thoughts.

      I also hope we track this story and find out what becomes of these soldiers.  Sounds like they have common sense in the midst of an insane situation.

      Someone mentioned the Primetime Live special.  Here are links:

      Print story:
      Injured Iraq Vets Come Home to PovertyInjured Soldiers Returning from Iraq Struggle for Medical Benefits, Financial Survival
      Tyson Johnson III of Mobile, Ala., lost a kidney in a mortar attack last year in Iraq. (The Associated Press)
      Video No Support for Troops
      Many injured soldiers returning from Iraq are coming home to poverty.

      + + + This is yet one more reason to donate to Operation Truth

    •  Rev (4.00)
      I will pray for your son and his safety.  My son (a Marine) has been there twice--the initial invasion and last winter/spring in Fallujah when all the shit was going down.  Guess what, they are sending him back for a third time in March.  What they are subjecting our children to is inhumane beyond anything I can comprehend.

      Be careful of how much news you watch (and how much time you spend here).  It can easily become an obsession--an uncomfortable one.

      Please keep us posted.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

      by BigOkie on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:24:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tragic (none)
    I really feel for these soldiers.  One can identify with their choice, but in the military, you don't get to choose which lawful orders to follow.  All across Iraq soldiers are being ordered into situations where there is a good chance they will be killed or injured.  

    To wage an unjust war is a monstrous crime against another society.  But it is also a crime against your own society.  Like the soldiers at Abu Ghraib, these soldiers were placed in a position where it became almost inevitable for them to dishonor themselves.

    •  they didn't dishonor themselves... (4.00)
      And if their story is entirely true, which it sounds like it is considering the number of corroborating witnesses, they will likely be exonerated. It was likely an unlawful order if they were sent on a mission without proper security and equipment.

      And I really hate having to remind people that the soldiers aren't the ones who are to blame here. See my sig line below.

      "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

      by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 09:10:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't understand (none)
        It was likely an unlawful order if they were sent on a mission without proper security and equipment.

        How so?

        All over Iraq soldiers are travelling into battle with humvees lacking proper armor.  Humvees really aren't designed to transport troops in battle anyway.  Are all those convoy orders unlawful?

        In WWII, the Yorktown went into the battle of Midway held together by duct-tape.  Did Nimitz issue an unlawful order sending the Yorktown to Midway?  Would the Yorktown sailors have been justified in mutinying?

        This is a war.  Soldiers are all on the line together.  The soldiers these fellows were supposed to resupply were on the line.  

        I am not 'blaming the troops'.  In the military, you simply do not get to choose your orders.  I think you are mistaking military for civilian life.

        •  possibly unlawful... (4.00)
          because Reserve units often have rules that govern convoy movements, supply runs etc. They should always have proper force protection, e.g. combat infantry troops along with them to provide protection, armored vehicles in the convoy in case they're ambushed.

          My husband's Reserve unit went through months of training on these types of convoy ops and he told me he would never let his troops go out without proper security. It's just stupid to send them out if they are not protected--these units cannot afford to lose guys, it's a practical matter as well as a personal matter (they are usually really close friends).

          If an officer ordered these guys to do this operation and it was unsafe, that officer will be taken to task.

          And I'm not mistaking military for civilian life. I'm perfectly familiar with military life. Any unit worth a dime has a procedure where these NCOs should be able to express their grievances and concerns without having to disobey an order. And if such a system wasn't in place, then the unit's commander should be held responsible not these guys.

          In fact, if the commander had any balls he would stand up for his soldiers and take the heat, because these guys clearly had poor leadership in this situration.

          "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

          by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 10:05:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A possibility of death is not a reason to disobey (none)
            It certainly appears that these soldiers received an unwise order.  This may have been one of a whole series of bad orders, but that doesn't mean they have the right to refuse to follow orders.  What they have done is against both law and military custom, and their behavior is certainly dishonorable.  Their whole lives they will be having to explain what happened, and they will be ashamed around their fellow soldiers.  I guarantee it.

            Incompetance pervades any large organization, and the military is no exception, but soldiers are duty bound to follow orders.  Unit cohesion ABSOLUTELY depends on it.  The fulfillment of any military mission depends on it.  Being ordered into battle is a terrible situation to be in, and the situation is sometimes precarious and the leadership often poor, but soldiers still have to follow orders.  It's the prime directive of military life.

            •  how do you know it is unlawful or dishonorable? (4.00)
              Do you know the whole story? I don't think so, none of us do.

              But we do know that our troops, especially the Reserves and National Guard, were sent to Iraq without proper equipment and training. That is the true dishonor.

              As I said before, GOOD OFFICERS LISTEN TO THEIR TROOPS!!! If the officers in this unit weren't listening, then they are the ones who should be arrested.

              And I'd say an entire platoon standing firm against an irresponsible (if not unlawful) order is an example of excellent unit cohesion. One soldier disobeying an order would be different. A whole platoon = a strongly symbolic and meaningful action.

              There's a time to put aside the bullshit idea that troops must follow all orders like robots, without offering any feedback to the system.

              Ever see the scene in "Band of Brothers" where the NCOs all resign their assignments because of an incompetent officer? Soldiers have a right and responsibility to stand up against incompetent leadership.

              Yes, these soldiers will take some heat. They may end up in Leavenworth. But if their story is true, then they did not do something dishonorable. They took a stand that will force this issue into the light. Maybe they will save the lives of many many soldiers through their actions. We should all thank them and support them.

              Perhaps the media will now decide it's important to cover the fact that the Bush team's incompetent war plan has put our troops at risk unnecessarily and has cost the lives of thousands of U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians.
              The time for America to wake up to the horror of Iraq is NOW!! 20 troops dead in 5 days.

              "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

              by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 12:28:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I completely agree with your assessment of the war (none)
                But it is a very big leap for me to accept the idea of soldiers disobeying lawful orders.  No war-crimes were involved, just the perception of great, perhaps unnecessary, danger.  I have a hard time picturing how this can help other soldiers in Iraq.  

                Yes, it is good to focus politically on how big a fiasco this is becoming, and to focus on how to end it.  But if soldiers begin to think that refusing orders is an acceptable vehicle for protest, many more will die than will be saved because of the loss of morale and effectiveness.

                •  I agree (none)
                  I hate this war, but mass refusals to follow orders will make it an even greater disaster.

                  Keep in mind, if some troops refuse to follow lawful orders, it does NOT mean that the commander will cancel the mission -- it means that some other poor bastards will have to do it instead.

                •  I disagree... (4.00)
                  I think it saves lives to bring issues of lack of security, improper equipment and poor leadership to light. This action did not weaken unit cohesion--the whole platoon refused to go, that is the definition of unit cohesion.

                  If your speaking of the larger unit, the Battalion or Brigade that this platoon was part of or supporting: if their convoy was so unprotected and vulnerable, they likely would have been attacked, the fuel trucks blown up, soldiers killed. For what? The unit they were supporting wouldn't have received the fuel, we'd have a few dead soldiers and another bloody day in Iraq would go by unnoticed by Americans.

                  The NCO who said he didn't feel comfortable taking his soldiers on the mission without security support and with three deadlined vehicles? He is one brave soul. He wasn't looking to save his own ass from a dangerous mission. He was protecting his soldiers from having their lives wasted for no reason. Remember the convoy in Nasariyah?

                  By the way, are you serving in the military? In Iraq? Retired military? I'm guessing you must be past retirement age or you'd be over there fighting and following the orders of incompetent leaders without question.

                  Don't mean to be flip, but it's hard to take the moralizing of someone who's not actually there in the heat of battle.

                  "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

                  by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:24:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are flip (none)
                    and I don't care much for your attitude, either.

                    I was an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam.  So, yes, I have experience following orders of incompetent leaders, haha.  But like it or not, the whole military system breaks down if individuals get to decide which orders to follow.  Trust me, in the heat of battle, the number one goal is to save your own and your buddies' asses.  Politics does not enter the equation, not then.

                    I was not moralizing, I was pointing to the very practical consequences of this action.  When morale and discipline fall apart, the first victims are fellow troops.  

                    •  yes I do have an attitude... (4.00)
                      particularly toward those who advocate a doctrine of follow all orders at all costs.

                      That's one of the reasons I'm not a good miltary wife and one of the reasons I love my husband, who is a field-grade officer but fights constantly to protect his troops from poor decisions of higher-ranking officers. He'll never make it to General, that's for sure, but he'll keep his troops alive if at all possible.

                      Again, none of us know all the details of this case. It's clearly unusual for an entire platoon to balk at an order and I think the situation deserves a thoughtful discussion about whether certain situations might rise above rigid military doctrine.

                      I would hope that the U.S. military would strive to become a more intelligent organization, not just remain a virtual dictatorship.

                      By the way, the comment you're responding to was for wetzel; you're entering into a conversation between me and someone else.

                      "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

                      by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 02:30:51 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Interesting (none)
                        Yes, I saw your comment was threaded as if it was for wetzel, but for some reason I thought that perhaps you had hit the wrong button and was in fact replying to me.  Mi scusi.

                        Since I never said, nor do I believe, that anyone in the military has to follow all orders at all costs, feel free to have whatever attitude you'd like towards such people.  larf!

                        What I am responding to, not your post especially, but this overall attitude that the soldiers who refused the orders are heroes and anyone who disagrees is a stupid Bush/Cheney lackey.  It's never that simple, and I think this is a tough one -- in the same situation, I know that I would be worried about any refusal of mine endangering my fellow soldiers.  I suspect that they would not like my refusing, either, since it would probably mean more danger for them.

                        As you well know, military discipline must face the reality that troops are ordered into harm's way -- it's the job.  If troops can start deciding what level of danger they are willing to face, the situation can get ugly quickly.

                        •  okay (4.00)
                          pacific city, to continue our tradition, I'm going to reply to your extremely well thought arguments by replying to UncaMikey.

                          And I do think your arguments are well thought out, except for the bit calling me out on my own military background.  I do not care to lay down mine and my family's service and sacrifices as a payment to enter this discussion, because the logical end-point of that argument is only to allow the vote to active duty military.  We are veering dangerously close to fascism in this country and I don't think you really want to be a hand-maiden in this process.  The day that civilians no longer have full rights to discussions of military matters is the day we no longer live in a free society.

                          I have absolutely opposed this war from the beginning and I have done what I felt was in my power to oppose it.  I have to admit it's a strange feeling being called out like I were some kind of warblogger.

                          Let me say this.  You have made me question and regret that used the term 'dishonor' in a blithe and thoughtless way.  There is the narrow sense where the platoon's refusal to follow even dangerous and unwise orders is a violation of the military code of honor.  In any system of mores, there is the spirit of the law and the letter of the law.  I think you have said that while the platoon might have violated the letter of this code, this was not in spirit.  And you offer  the almost certain fact that the leaders of this 'revolt' have sacrificed their careers to save their soldiers lives and you offer an appeal to the greater good, that what they have done may spur needed reforms.  I believe these things mitigate but do not erase their dishonor.

                          I absolutely concede the point that what they have done is courageous, but I seriously question the second, and this is why I came into this thread so strongly and probably intemperately.  I think that our country has developed a whole set  unhealthy ideas about war, and I think that this is true of both the right and the left.  Here on DailyKos, we don't know many specifics, probably never will, but with what we do know, the prevailing attitude seems to be 'right on brother' or 'stick it to the man' or 'this just goes to show how badly the war is being run' or 'how will this hurt Bush?'  Both the left and the right seem to have forgotten that war is tragic, not just in the sense of disastrous and horrible, but in the sense that it involves impossible choices.  Think about this from the perspective of an officer.  Sometimes an officer has to send five to die to save twenty.  This is the way it has always been.  But soldiers don't get to say 'the captain's an idiot, and we're not going to do it'.  The honor part of it is to go, and it's even more honorable when you think the captain is a fool, because this is the only way to preserve the spirit of the corp.  Sometimes five get sent to die for nothing.  In Iraq, more than a thousand have been sent to their deaths.  The honor is to suck it up and go.  This is a deeply held sacramental value in the military, and it has a long tradition.  We can say it's a myth or a meme or foolish and unfair, but I don't think we can defend the country without it, and I think we are unfair to deprive soldiers of the sustenance it provides their discipline.  So I'm afraid the brass is going to come down on these guys remorselessly, and though the wise ones will regret it on a human level, they will make certain that these soldiers are dishonored and cast out.

                    •  to illustrate my point, (4.00)
                      I'll past a comment from dyingwarriors  that was just posted downthread:

                      "I'm hearing the breaking report now on CNN.  2pm here.  Investigation and inquiries underway. Commanders indicating soldiers concerns may be valid, and have ordered safety maintenance standdown, but questioning the appropriateness of how soldiers objected.."  

                      Better 'inappropriate' than dead. These guys did not endanger troop morale. They will be heros for bringing this problem to light.

                      "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

                      by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 02:43:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Replying To: A possibility of death... (4.00)
              I can't claim to be an expert on military law, but surely it is not as black and white as you seem to think.
              Taking your argument to a logical extreme, if a soldier was ordered to engage the enemy, armed only with an inoperative firearm, must he comply? What if he was ordered to drop his weapon, march out and attack the (armed) enemy barehanded?
              Imagine a submarine crew ordered to deploy with a nonfunctioning radar system?
              The analogies are endless...
              The point is not whether the order was "unwise"; the point is that the equipment was faulty and grossly insufficient.
              The CO is the one who should be court-martialed!
            •  How can you order a platoon (none)
              to die for a mistake?

              Bush lied - Jesus Suarez del Solar died.

              As of this writing Iraq Coalition Casualties reports that 1097 of our brave young soldiers have perished in this hideous war.

              "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" -- John Kerry, 1971.

              by peace voter on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 09:43:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Juni 1905: (none)
          Odessa Naval Yards/Battleship Potemkin; spoiled food...Oktober 1918: Kiel Imperial German Naval Yards; suicide mission...

          No, the Sultan's demands are still not sufficiently rational; the only lasting peace is one based on reason and scientific principle -- Horatio Jackson

          by rgilly on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 12:46:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Not surprised (4.00)
    I'm an Army reservist.  I was in Iraq, and I'm not surprised that this happened.  By and large, the reserves are poorly equiped, poorly trained, and poorly led.  The equipment problem can be solved, but I'm guessing that this incident stems more from poor training and leadership.  When I was active duty, we had a brutal training regime (google Rakkasan to figure out what I mean), and poor leaders didn't survive. We trained for war each and every day. That type of tough, realistic training is impossible to do one weekend a month.  And a few weeks of training prior to deployment, only goes so far to make up for this.  I guessing that this unit was faced with a mission that they knew their training, leadership, and equipment wasn't up to handling and said to hell with it.  Jail is better than death.  But, you have to understand the military mindset to understand how far of a leap this was for them to make.  Something had to be terrible wrong.
    •  I totally agree (4.00)
      My dad was in WWII, my father-in-law was in Vietnam, my cousin was in Iraq I, and they have all told me the same thing: it takes a hell of a lot for one soldier to disobey an order. It takes a hell of a lot more for an entire platoon to disobey an order. My father-in-law said it's harder for him to read things like this than to read about guys dying, because dying is a feature of every war, but things like this are a feature of a bad war.
    •  I agree, this was a major (4.00)
      historic leap and any person serving in the military would know just how big a step this refusal was.  I don't think I've read a post yet that adequately emphasizes the magnitude of this event.  The whole platoon being shot for cowardice is technically a possible result. Not likely to happen, but these guys knew it was a possibility when they refused the order.

      All I can think is SHIT! This must be only the tip of the iceberg. A single event wouldn't spawn this mutiny (and that's what it is).

      god/goddess help us all.

      For the good of the country, it has to become fashionable to think, again.

      by DyspepTex on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 09:22:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Never Ceases to Amaze Me (none)
    You hear about a story like this one.  You hear a story about our troop's not having sufficient armor and supplies.  Then, you read a story like this one, which says that the military and military families support Pres. Bush over Sen. Kerry by a margin of 3 to 1.  Where is the disconnect?  Is there a disconnect?  I have not served in the military, and I cannot imagine the stress and pressure on our soldiers and their families.  I would love to see a poll of soldiers that asked if they feel that they are better equiped and better lead than they were four years ago.  Actually, I might not love to see it...
    •  that is truly sad... (4.00)
      and I don't understand it, except to say that the active military community can be rather insular.

      Much of the information they receive about the war etc. comes from within the military framework, e.g. Family Readiness Group meetings, where everything that is briefed must be approved by the chain of command.

      There is significant pressure on families to conform to the mainstream view, which is worship God, love your country, support the troops and stand by your (Republican) commander-in-chief. It is like an indoctrination, really.

      I experienced it very briefly when my then-boyfriend (now husband) was on active duty. But he got out quickly because we weren't willing to live our lives that way.

      Things are different in the Reserves. I live in Portland, Oregon--2 hours away from the nearest active military base. And the distance allows me to rail against the military standards for families and get myself in lots of trouble with my husband's commander.

      By the way, many of the soldiers in my husband's unit have said they're voting for Kerry. I wonder if that Annenberg Survey polled only in the active military community or if they polled Reserves/National Guard and their families. They might get different results because Reservists have entire lives outside of the military and they generally don't drink the poisonous Republican Kool-Aid as easily.  

      "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

      by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 09:29:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not analagous to Israeli refuseniks (none)
        I don't think the analogy with the Israeli refuseniks that was made in an earlier comment is valid.  I think the morale of the Israeli Army overall is a lot better than that of most of our troops in Iraq (not that the Israeli Army doesn't have problems), which makes it hard for the refuseniks' example to spread or get traction.  But this protest in Iraq has the potential to spread to other units; as some have said here, this is probably just the tip of an iceberg.
    •  Don't think about an elephant... (4.00)
      I just started reading the Lakoff book yesterday, and am about half way through so I can't really comment yet.  But so far I would say it is just about the most incredible book I've ever read and an absolute MUST READ for every progressive activist.  I have heard lots of you politically literate kossacks mention Lakoff and that's what got me curious, plus I first heard about the importance framing as a fundraiser for progressive policy makers at UCLA.  

      So this book answers your question about the disconnect in the ballot booth where people go in their thousands to vote against their own best interests.  I'm going to buy ten copies (they are only ten bucks each) to give to every progressive activist I know.

      Bad news for George Bush is good news for me. (30)

      by super simian on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 10:46:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chew 'em up and spit 'em out... (4.00)
    Combine this sickening report with last night's 20/20 expose on how the Pentagon has been treating our wounded vets, back from Iraq. They told the stories of some amputees and other seriously wounded who have not received the financial aid they should have and who have been treated like pariahs and criminals. Pentagon bureaucrats keep putting them off and denying them their due and generally making life difficult for them, when they should be bending over backwards help them!

    One soldier was over there for only a couple of months before being hit in an explosion which took one of his kidneys and did some other serious damage. They brought him back home and then demanded he give back his signing bonus of $2700 because he didn't fulfill his term! Then they reported this "debt" to a credit reporting agency so the guy can't even rent an apartment and has to live in his car! Can you imagine that??!!

    There are nearly 8,000 wounded and maimed so far in this war; the stories of FOUR of them were told last night.  How many more thousands are being treated like pariahs by the Pentagon, whose stories we don't know?  What kind of government are we running? What kind of people are we?  Is our government really this appalling?

    •  How many will be insane and homeless in 10 years? (4.00)
      Everyone looks at the Vietnam Vets who wander our streets, homeless and with a litany of mental problems, and just says, "Well, that was Vietnam." The implicit argument there is that this was a different time, and we know better now.

      I'm betting that we'll see a new crop of homeless on our streets in 10 years, only these guys will favor desert camos instead of the green jungle prints favored by today's vets. And a new generation of kids will say, "Yeah, but that was Iraq," and the implicit argument there is that this was a different time, and we know better now.

      •  I'll bet you're right... (none)
        During the time of Desert Storm, I knew an army surgical nurse who went over to Saudi Arabia for several months and worked in a field hospital, or whatever they call it.

        She came back a very different person and has never been quite the same--seems like someone who got a glimpse of hell and was terrified by it. And Desert Storm was a relatively quick, successful, "low cost" war...

      •  Yr implication probably not intended... (none)
        but I think the facts actually are that VN vets have been more successful than their peers who did not serve:  lower unemployment, more educated, etc.  

        I believe a lot of the perception of VN vet homelessness is based on the fact that many homeless middle aged men identify themselves as VN vets when, in fact, they are not.  I think very few of those guys actually served, and just use that ploy to get attention and handouts.

        Here's an old article about it.

        •  worldnet wingnuts don't carry much cred (4.00)
          um, this fumento guy seems to be a major-league wingnut and uber-conservative booster.

          his other articles have titles like "are we spending too much on AIDS" and are published in worldnut daily.

          the "facts" in the article you linked seemed to be pretty spurious to me at a quick glance.  sure, there are plenty of 'nam vets who are gainfully employed and solid part of their community.  i've had numerous coworkers who fit that description, and know a number at church.  but come to think of it, most of those guys were in support roles: signal corps, airbase staff, etc.  if i know any VN ground infantry vets, they don't talk about it.

          the fact remains that exposure to prolonged combat situations really screws people up.  some people re-integrate better than others - and community and family helps.  some people - especially the ones closest to the front lines - have a real hard time re-integrating and fall through the cracks.  they wind up as outcasts, outlaws and suicides.  this is a fact as old as organized warfare.

          courage, faith and truth my brothers and sisters

          by zeke L on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 12:24:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  jhkj (none)
            I have no idea who Fumento is, I googled and his article had mentions of some of the studies I had read about in other places.  If I had more time, I'd google more effectively, I suppose.

            My point is, I am sure that VN vets have done as well or better than their peers since the war.  The post I was responding to seemed to imply that VN vets are more screwed up, which is not the case.  I am also confident that the vast majority of homeless on the streets are not VN vets, regardless of what their handheld signs say.

            I object to the media-fueled perception of VN vets as a bunch of wackos, sympathetically portrayed or not.

            I question your "fact" -- being in a war does things to people, but sometimes it builds and reveals character as no other events could.  (See Kerry and Wes Clark, for example.)  The real wackos, the "outcasts and outlaws" don't last very long in the military.  Do some vets have trouble afterwards?  Of course, but probably in no greater numbers than any other group.

            I'm a VN vet (helicopter pilot) -- it's bad enough to have been in a losing war without compounding it by being assumed by your fellow citizens to be mentally unstable.

            •  i also object (none)
              to the media/hollywood portrayal of all vietnam vets as wackos. it's stupid and demeaning as well as untrue.

              but you've missed my point about outlaws.  wars demand soldiers be indoctrinated to kill the enemy, and part of that is viewing them as not human.  and then when you put people in front-line combat situations where they have to kill and live with the constant threat of being killed, they take psychic damage.  that's why the military traditionally has limits on the amount of time they keep people in combat zones.

              some people come through that and it's a transformative experience (all painful situations can be) and they become stronger.  no doubt the case for JK and wes and yourself and other vets of my acquaintance of vietnam and WW2.

              but it's not that easy for everyone. some people have a real hard time shifting out of kill or be killed mode.  hence the outlaw/suicide factor.  a small minority perhaps, but given the ramifications, significant.  we can't just pretend it's not there and everybody's gonna be fine.  the boys coming back from iraq are going to need us to reach out to them and welcome them.  you're probably better qualified to do that than i am, since you know where they're coming from.

              courage, faith and truth my brothers and sisters

              by zeke L on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 08:06:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (none)

          While there has always been an acknowledgement of prevelance of  mental illness among war veterans, after Vietnam, special attention was paid to soldiers experiencing common symptoms. This was a chronic disorder common to Vietnam Veterans.

  •  Platoon (4.00)
    As a 62 year,old white,U.S. Navy combat veteran,
    in Viet Nam I would like to say, This shows how bad things have gotten in Iraq. If people stop going out on missions, maybe we can bring the troops home real soon. Stop this war, there will
    be a draft, so watch out kids!
  •  Picture George W Blye (none)
    doing a Charles Laughton impression in a hushed but alarmed tone: "Mutiny!"

    This aggregation of senses does not amount to a self.

    by paraphrase on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 10:07:24 AM PDT

  •  Intelligence gathering "convoys" (4.00)
    Is it possible that these convoys are being sent out to flush out ambushes for air surveilance?  Hence, the need to make the convoy as inviting a target as possible.

    I was watching some footage on MSNBC last night, where they were talking about how the marines are getting better at fighting insurgents.  They showed surveilance footage of a highway, where a truck was parked by the side of the road.  A U.S. convoy drove by and was hit by an IED.  A car tears away from the scene and is followed by surveilance from above (didn't clarify whether it was satelite, helicopter, high altitude plane, drone, whatever).  They follow it back to a compound.  The next footage is of marines taking down the insurgents stronghold.  Close with expert analysis, "the marines are doing it the right way, get these guys alive for the intelligence instead of just blowing up the fleeing car."

    This story strikes me as interesting because I was originally struck by the fact that the surveilance was ready to follow the ambushers and did not react to the attack.  Could these wounded duck convoys be used as "bait" to flush out leads?  Would those tactics be out of bounds?

    If the soldiers started to instinctively suspect that they were being sent out as "bait," their reaction makes a lot of sense.

    Total speculation on my part.

    •  Sounds familiar (3.83)
      For anyone who hasn't looked at Kerry's war record, this was the main mission of his Swift Boat: To act as bait and get shot at, so that air support could see where the guerillas were hiding and bomb them.

      It was, of course, very dangerous, which is why he won so many medals. He got his Silver Star when the air support ran out of ammo and retreated. Instead of retreating too, Kerry personally jumped on shore to run after a guy who was about to fire a missile at his boat.

      All this is in Going Upriver, the movie about Kerry's life. It's also in the the PBS documentary The Choice, which gives equal time to Bush's contemporaneous acitivities (mostly just drinking all night while AWOL).
  •  WIDER COVERAGE (3.50)
    AP picked this up.  Now it is posted in The Guardian:

    U.S. Probes if GIs Refused Iraq Mission

    find it elsewhere and rate it up

    Check out Minister Faust and his new book: The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad.

    by Gearhead on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 10:43:24 AM PDT

  •  Rate This story up (none)

    Check out Minister Faust and his new book: The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad.

    by Gearhead on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 10:46:24 AM PDT

  •  Drudge has it now too (none)
  •  say hello to (none)
    .. the story that will eclipse Mary Cheney?
    •  It's Much More Important (none)
      To have a protracted outcry about an already "Out" adult vs. the first concrete signs of our troops cracking under the pressure of too few doing too much for too little reason.
  •  I have just written my congresspersons (4.00)
    Just wrote Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Joe Knollenberg, as well as, the AP and Detroit Free Press.  You might want to heat up your folks.  Here is the text of my message:
    Please verify this upsetting news:  A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from Mississippi and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel.  The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq -- north of Baghdad -- because their vehicles were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe.  Members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C., were read their rights and moved from the military barracks into tents.  Are US soldiers refusing orders due to unsafe equipment? How can this be true? Also, please confirm if these arrested soldiers are being provided access to a judge advocate general.  (One of the arrested soldier's mother -- Kathy Harris -- has reported that this may not be the case.  Her son is Aaron Gordon, age 20.)
  •  AP released story at 1:18PM ET (4.00)
    Text of my email to AP and Detroit Free Press sent earlier this afternoon.  (I hope others in this thread don't mind my mining some of your terrific comments.)
    Subject:  An entire US Platoon is arrested and I get to read about the Cheneys' upset?

    I am astounded that you chose to release the story "Cheneys Angry Over Kerry Remarks on Daughter" when more serious events are taking place without your coverage.  A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from Mississippi and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel.  The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq -- north of Baghdad -- because their vehicles were considered "deadlines" or extremely unsafe.  Members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C., were read their rights and moved from the military barracks into tents.

    Whether the Cheneys are upset about political tactics that they themselves are employing is far less important to our country and its citizens than the news that US soldiers are refusing orders due to unsafe equipment.  This incident, and other recent ones where soldiers are refusing to return to duty after time off, are indications of widespread dissatisfaction within the ranks.  Soldiers don't behave this way unless there is something terribly wrong with the war they are being ordered to participate in (read "Alistair Horne's book about the Battle of Verdun, The Price Of Glory, or rent the video of Kubrick's Paths of Glory).

    Spend your resources on coverage that is truly meaningful to your readers.

    •  Thank you for acting.. (4.00)
       I am new, so not sure if it's okay to clog up the forum with thank you posts, but this mother of a soldier has to thank you for taking action.  It is meaningful to me, and will be for our troops.  

        Exactly, I'm hearing all morning long about the Cheney's being offended while real news of this proportion and significance goes unreported.  Glad to see AP picked this one up and I see in later post that a major newspaper has also now picked it up.  

        Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      Courage doesn't always shout. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow

      by dyingwarriors on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:30:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  local regional article (none)

    this article kind of focusses on the insubordination aspect

  •  Mr. Bush, say hello to (none)
    your Waterloo....

    an October surprise, courtesy of the 343rd...

  •  Recommended (none)
    and rated up on Yahoo.
  •  Lawful Order (none)
    The Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 92 -  FAILURE TO OBEY ORDER OR REGULATION

    Any person subject to this chapter who--

        (1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation;

        (2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by any member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or

        (3) is derelict in the performance of his duties;

    shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    The key words are LAWFUL ORDERS.  Is it lawful to send people on a suicide mission?  If they know their equipment is not up to the task, plus taking into consideration the hazards, then they have a good case of this not being insubordination.
    UCMJ Art 92

    •  Lawful order (4.00)
      You got it...that's the point.  A lawful order, and this war is an illegal and unlawful war.  I'm not sure soldiers know they have a right/obligation to challenge whether an order is lawful, but I also understand the enormous peer pressure when a soldier in a unit questions the validity of what they are ordered to do.

      This story is of a platoon who has decided to band together and take the heat together, it is an awesome statement.

       GI Rights Hotline  800-394-9544

      Courage doesn't always shout. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow

      by dyingwarriors on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:03:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Following orders (none)
        Was it not during the prison abuse scandal where the the officials now say the men and women should have refused to obey any unlawful orders?  And that is why the lowest on the military rung could be tried?  That the fault lay with NOT refusing the orders to abuse?

        Well now, they refuse a suicide mission and they will be tried.  Sounds like Bush's military all right.

  •  Keep it up, get the story out, it reflects reality (4.00)
    Thanks to all of you giving this attention.  I found the story this morning and started getting it out on my own networking, but it needs much Bigger attention.

    To the poster who wonders about military families being Bush supporters 3 to 1, I'd be curious to know where that data comes from, not a challenge, but I'm curious.

    I'm a military family, speaking out and not in support of Bush, not in support of this CIC, who has violated the trust and integrity of the military values. It is more traditional in the military culture for military families to keep their silence and it breaks with that tradition for military families to speak out.

     There are more of us military families that don't support the Bush administrations decisions than is counted, perhaps?  Many military families feel similarly that Bush has betrayed the troops but aren't on record yet as having crossed the line to speaking out.  See Military Families Speak Out (MFSO)  which has membership now of 1600 military families.

    There are Moms on Tour for Kerry now that are mothers and wives of Iraq soldiers and there are Iraq veterans and soldiers themselves, now speaking out..

    I have more to say, but will keep it brief for now, I'm a new poster.  See my blog and links, Dying to Preserve the Lies

    See the recently aired segment Homefront Battles, Newshour with Jim Lehrer.  We are among one of the families speaking out in that segment.

    Thank you all who are posting, please keep this one alive and help voice the concerns for our troops.  We believe we support the troops in a more patriotic manner in challenging the decision makers who send our young to war, maiming and death on false premises.

    See also Iraq Veterans Against the War

    and see also Operation Truth
    They have an ad now airing on CNN with a soldier who was wounded and is questioning why the information about the reasons is missing..missing like his limb.

    Lietta Ruger

    Courage doesn't always shout. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow

    by dyingwarriors on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 12:47:02 PM PDT

    •  hello lietta, (3.66)
      I wondered about that poll also. Did they poll military families on active bases? Did they represent the Reserves and Guard families at all? We don't know.  I can say that I personally know many soldiers currently in Iraq who are voting for Kerry.

      I am a military family member also. My husband is in Iraq. You'll find many here on Daily Kos that have military connections. We are  uniformly critical of the Bush Administration and all supporting Kerry.

      I'm proud of all the organizations of military families that are speaking out against the Bush Administration and this war. It is so hard to do, because there is significant pressure within the military chain of command to not speak out against Bush.

      I've been working with veterans and military family members here in Oregon to get the word out that Bush rushed to war in Iraq without a plan to win the peace and without adequate support from our allies.

      My husband and all our troops are in danger because of the incompetence of the Bush Administration. And I'm mighty pissed off about it.

      Anyway, thanks for your work and for being a part of this community. We have some great conversations here and share valuable information that will help us all defeat George Bush, send John Kerry to the White House and help our troops make it home from Iraq safely.

      "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

      by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:01:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for warm welcome, neighbor (4.00)
          So Oregon (pacific city), I sure appreciate your warm welcome and helping me get familiar with Daily Kos.  It's always a bit nervous making for me to post with a new (to me) networking. More so when the subject is one on which I feel passionate.  Looks like I've joined good company here.

          From a military family neighbor in Washington.  Thank YOU for speaking up and adding your comment.  I was feeling a bit like I was inching out on that limb ...  

          We will be meeting with the Moms on Tour for Kerry this Sunday, and attending the Arlington Northwest Vigil in Olympia also on Sunday.  And we will attend Veterans for Peace dinner featuring Speaker Leuren Moret, a foremost speaker on depleted uranium, another great concern I have for our troops as well as civilians.

          Busy weekend ahead, and I'm so glad to be doing something concrete, as this waiting for our loved ones deployed in Iraq this past 15 months has been crazy-making.  They are back now at their bases in Germany, but scheduled for 2nd deployment to Iraq.

          I'm determined to do whatever I can right now to get Bush out and get Kerry in.... and I won't breathe easy till Kerry takes office in January.  This administration is so beyond integrity or trustworthiness, I am overly-anxious about what they will do next and put nothing beyond them.

        Courage doesn't always shout. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow

        by dyingwarriors on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:19:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please stay in touch... (4.00)

          I think the moms for Kerry will be here in Portland on the 19th, so we'll be doing some events with them I think.

          My husband is based out of Ft. Lewis, so my connections are there. Best wishes to your loved one in Germany.

          "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

          by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:35:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Will stay in touch (none)
   ... send me a test email and I'll respond.  

              I'd heard that the Moms for Kerry would be in Oregon, didn't know where or when. Thanks.  Dem. representative I'm working with here inquired if I'd rather attend in Oregon as we are located close to Oregon, not far from Columbia River.

              So glad to hear you are planning to go in Portland and my sincere wishes for your husband.  Yeah, I know Ft Lewis, including that overpass on the freeway that has some of those obnoxious signs of the hooah nature that Real Men fight the War...arghhh.

               When I was chaeuffering my son around at Ft Lewis to take care of red tape business recently in getting his family (my daughter and their 3 children) relocated to Germany, we saw a young man with both arms in braces, looked like a missing hand, and criss cross stitches up the back of both of his legs..he was on crutches.   We can't be sure, as he was not in khakis or uniform, and had woman with him (likely his mother) but it had an effect on us knowing it is likely he was recovering from an IED explosion.  Hard to take.    

            Courage doesn't always shout. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow

            by dyingwarriors on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:55:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  There's increasing talk lately about Iran (none)
    and Syria as the next neocon targets. And I've been wondering if/whether the maxed-out military might just say, No, we can't do this.

    Maybe the good souls of the 343rd Quartermaster Company have begun to answer that.

    What if they gave a war and nobody came?

    Electronic votes:
    Can Supreme Court decisions
    Be very far off?

    by Mnemosyne on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 12:54:15 PM PDT

  •  Call Your Congressmembers! (4.00)
    I just did. 'Course I did it with my journalist's hat on, so I'm waiting to have a whole conversation with a senior aid when they call back.  

    But, really, everyone should do this. And you've got a perfect way to frame it:

    "This is like the whole body armor travesty, but now we're talking a whole platoon at a time. And these people are going to have their lives ruined because the Army couldn't give them fully-funcitoning equipment? $120 billion and counting, and they Army couldn't give them fully-functioning equipment???"

    Do it!  You'll feel better, instantly. And it's legal!

    Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

    by Paul Rosenberg on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 01:49:10 PM PDT

  •  Reporting now on CNN, Wolf Blitzer (4.00)
      I'm hearing the breaking report now on CNN.  2pm here.  Investigation and inquiries underway.  Commanders indicating soldiers concerns may be valid, and have ordered safety maintenance standdown, but questioning the appropriateness of how soldiers objected.  


    Courage doesn't always shout. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow

    by dyingwarriors on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 02:05:47 PM PDT

    •  Die First, Ask Questions Later (none)
      "Commanders indicating soldiers concerns may be valid, and have ordered safety maintenance standdown, but questioning the appropriateness of how soldiers objected."

      Once again demonstrating that "military intelligence" is an oxymoron.

      Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

      by Paul Rosenberg on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 02:22:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as I said upthread... (none)
        better inappropriate than dead.

        "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

        by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 02:45:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This makes no sense (none)
          I don't understand this attitude.  Troops can be and often are ordered into harm's way.  Who gets to decide what level of potential harm is acceptable?  The orderer or the orderee?

          This is a tough situation, we need much more information before we can judge one side or the other.

          •  but there are feedback pathways... (none)
            the staff sergeant to the platoon leader, the platoon leader to the company commmander and on up the chain.

            If there was a breakdown somewhere, e.g. if a maintenance officer wasn't doing his job to keep the vehicles safe or if someone dropped the ball on arranging proper force protection...The order to go might have come down the chain before the feedback on someone messing up his job worked it's way up the chain of command.

            In other words, perhaps it was a timing and communication issue coupled with poor maintenance and lax security planning, all of which may be revealed upon investigation. That is my hope--that this was a communication breakdown, not evidence of a systemic morale problem. And that these soldiers will be exonerated.

            But you're right, we don't know the full story yet. Good conversation though. :)

            "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." - William Westmoreland Jr

            by pacific city on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 03:15:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Remember the Body Armor Fiasco??? (none)
            You can't understand what's going on in Iraq if you keep forgetting what's already happened in Iraq.

            This is not your grandfather's war against ultimate evil.

            Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

            by Paul Rosenberg on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 04:11:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  platoon arrested (4.00)
    I live here in fabulous Jackson and the town is positively electrified by this.  There is also controversy regarding a unit being on forced lockdown at Camp Shelby--soldiers called in to local news stations to say they were not allowed to leave base at all now, though other groups with them are allowed to go off base.  I guess we "dumbass hicks" are finally standing up for ourselves.
  •  World News Tonight (none)
    ABCNews did a good job covering this tonite with an audio tape of the voice message one soldier left for her mother describing the situation.  The report was sympathetic to the soldiers' plight.  
  •  want to make a documentary? (none)
    Anybody interested in doing a documentary on all the ways Bush and co. screwed the members of the military? This plus Abu Ghraib plus insufficient armor ought to be good for a couple hours.
  •  Kerry: go to the Magnolia State (4.00)
    Should Kerry go to Jackson, Mississippi and meet with the families of the arrested platoon?

    This would connect Kerry's anti-war activism with the current situation.

    It would make Kerry look like the candidate of the whole country rather than just a candidate in the battleground states.

    It would elevate this story to a sustained national story.

    •  Kerry Campaign Release this afternoon (3.50)
      Kerry-Edwards Campaign: Military Families Speak Out About Bush's Failure to Provide Body Armor and Equipment

      10/15/2004 5:13:00 PM
      Contact: Chad Clanton or Phil Singer, 202-464-2800, both of Kerry-Edwards 2004, Web:

      WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 U.S. Newswire -- The following was released today by the Kerry-Edwards Campaign:

      In response to Annenburg Poll showing sixty-three percent of the military sample, compared to only 41 percent of the public generally, approves of Bush's handling of Iraq, the Kerry campaign released the following statements from military families.

      "As a mother of a marine in Iraq, I'm especially angry at this administration for failing to give them the proper equipment. My son had to go online to buy his own helmet. My other son's unit had to buy their own desert boots. And the Bush administration keeps insisting there are no supply glitches. It's just not true. For these troops to be fighting without armored vehicles is like sending them on a suicide mission. George Bush should be held accountable." -- Nita Martin, Mother of two Marines.

      "My husband's unit, in 14 months in Iraq, had an armored vehicle for one day. They hit a landmine on that day, and it saved the lives of 4 Marines. Then, they had to do the same mission the next day with vehicles that weren't properly armored." - Lara Bertsch, Wife of a recent returnee Operation Iraqi Freedom

      "The humvees were done with makeshift kit armor. You just attach these big plates to the doors. It was a step up from the way they came, but if one of these hit a mine, you were pretty much up a creek." -Jeff Mussman, Operation Iraq Freedom Vet


      Military Leaders: George Bush Sent Troops To Iraq Without Proper Protection.

      -- "In reference to armored vests, there was a shortage. ... This is a long-term problem that should have been fixed, however, well before the Iraq war started." (Brigadier General David Grange (ret.), CNN, 3/14/04, emphasis added)

      -- "I visited one of these units in December that was getting ready to deploy. That was December, they were deploying in January, and they were short basic equipment: radios, vests, armored Humvees, et cetera. We're better than that as a nation, and we're better than that as a military." (General George A. Joulwan (ret.), CNN, 3/14/04, emphasis added)

      -- "Everybody had flack jackets and some body armor, but not the new body armor. They showed us the schedule, and said it was going to be done. They were short at that time, I believe, around 1,400 up-armored Humvees that were coming into the country ... it does leave you wondering why couldn't we have done this before the war, and we simply didn't." (General Don Sheppherd (ret.), CNN, 3/14/04, emphasis added)

      -- Could not "answer for the record why we started this war with protective vests that were in short supply." (Gen. John Abizaid, House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, in Washington Post, 10/4/03, emphasis added)

      Soldiers Lacked Armored Vehicles, Still Buying Their Own Equipment as Late as This Year. In late March 2004, the AP reported, "Soldiers headed for Iraq are still buying their own body armor - and in many cases, their families are buying it for them - despite assurances from the military that the gear will be in hand before they're in harm's way. The Portland Press Herald wrote that "In early March, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, questioned Acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee about the shortage of body armor and fortified Humvees for troops serving in Iraq. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said after a visit to Iraq in mid- June that U.S. forces still need better armored equipment. Of the 15,000 Humvees in Iraq, about 1,500 to 2,000 are armored, according to the Army." (Associated Press, 3/26/04; Portland Press Herald, 7/2/04)

      Dan Britt, Soldier's Father: "If I Can Raise the Odds, Then I'll Feel Better." "'In war, as we've learned through all our history, who gets killed and who doesn't is just happenstance,' said Dan Britt of Hamilton, Ohio, a father who paid about $1,400 for body armor that included a groin and neck protector. 'But if I can raise the odds, then I'll feel better.' Britt heard last week that his son, a medic stationed in Kuwait with orders to move soon into Baghdad, finally received last week the armor he bought. Britt said it is reassuring that his son has protective armor, even if he had to pay for it." (Associated Press, 3/19/04)

      Cpl. Dan McBride's Parents, Sisters, and Brothers Chipped In to Buy Him a Kevlar Vest. "Families of soldiers deployed to Iraq would be reimbursed for the cost of body armor not provided to them by the military under legislation approved by the Senate on Monday night. That's good news to the family of Cpl. Dan McBride, who is with the Washington National Guard's 81st Brigade. His parents, two sisters and two brothers chipped in to buy him a $600 Kevlar vest before he left for Iraq last February." (Spokane Spokesman Review, 6/16/04)

      First Lt. Christian Boggiano Wrote Home Seeking Bulletproof Vests To Arm Humvees. "Before his unit shipped from Kuwait to Iraq in March, First Lt. Christian Boggiano, 23, made a special appeal to his mother, Mary, by e-mail message. Please, he asked, scrounge around for a few old police bulletproof vests and mail them to me. 'Once I get up north, we'll use them on the doors and floors of the Humvees so when roadside bombs go off they'll catch a lot of shrapnel,' wrote Lieutenant Boggiano, a 2002 graduate of West Point. ... Over the last two months, state troopers and police officers around New Jersey have donated about 1,000 outdated, surplus bulletproof vests they owned, all in the spirit of making the thin-skinned, vulnerable Humvees safer for the soldiers and marines who ride them, Mrs. Boggiano said." (New York Times, 5/22/04)

      Nancy Durst, Army Reservist's Wife: "They're So Sick Of Being Treated As Second-Class Soldiers." "Nancy Durst recently learned that her husband, a soldier with an Army reserve unit from Maine serving in Iraq, spent four months without body armor. ...Her husband also has told her that reservists serving in Iraq have not been given the same equipment as active duty soldiers. 'They're so sick of being treated as second-class soldiers,' she said." (Associated Press, 3/19/04)

      Courage doesn't always shout. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow

      by dyingwarriors on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 05:20:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Put it in the local news in the South (none)
      Akansas Democrat Gazette-, fax  501-372-4765, or mail it to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203.

       City Editor
       Alyson Hoge  (501) 399-3691  
       Deputy Managing Editor for Features
       Jack Schnedler  (501) 399-3677  
       News Editor (after 3:30 p.m.)
       Sandra Tyler  (501) 378-3886  
       International Editor
       Heidi White  (501) 378-3541  

      Mobile Register
      Mobile register-
      Newsroom Contact Information

        Mike Marshall   (251) 219-5634
        Editor & Vice President

        Dewey English   (251) 219-5612
        Managing Editor

        Frances Coleman   (251) 219-5607
        Editorial Page Editor

        Email Contact

      The Times-Picayune
      3800 Howard Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70125-1429
      Contact: City Desk (504) 826-3300; toll free 1-800-925-0000; fax: (504) 826-3812; e-mail:
      Click for Bureau addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses:

      Ashton Phelps Jr., PublisherJim Amoss, Editor
      Peter Kovacs, Managing Editor, News
      Dan Shea, Managing Editor, News
      Lynn Cunningham, Assistant to the Editor
      Terri Troncale, Editorial Page Editor
      Dante Ramos, Deputy Editorial Page Editor
      Ray Massett, V.P., General Manager
      David Francis, V.P., Business Manager

  •  Platoon Arrested for Refusing Suicide Mission (none)
    Pretty goddam sad commentary on our Commander-in-Chief when our soldiers are not given the equipment they need to adequately themselves.

    What the hell happened to the billions of dollars authorized for this war?

    My new signature line:
    Hey yippee-ki-yi-ay
    How many kids did Bush kill today?

    (For those who were around during the Vietnam war, this should be sung to the tune of "Hey Hey LBJ"):

  •  List of emails to use (4.00)
    Just in case you have a letter to go out.

    A friend sent these to me, it's easy this way to cut and paste to the address box.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,  

  •  Amazing (none)
    It's interesting to think that this could be the tip of the iceberg of unrest among the rank and file military.  We don't really know how bad things are in Iraq, even the internet reports and blogs like Juan Cole's are mere glimpses of the situation on the ground.  Behind all the Rovian propaganda, it seems possible that our troops are headed for a complete breakdown in the command structure, if not mutiny.  All after the election, of course.  

    Either Kerry is going to inherit a world of shit, or Rove is going to be very busy for another four years shielding Americans from reality for the good of our nation by God's own will.

    "Revolutionary debris litters the floor of Wall Street." -Kurt Cobain, Diaries

    by Subterranean on Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 11:30:08 PM PDT

  •  HIT THIS POLL! (none)
    Please hit this poll..don't let them get away with it!

    It´s not over till we say it´s over George and we say.....

    by philinmaine on Sat Oct 16, 2004 at 04:31:58 AM PDT

  •  Just got off the phone with (none)
    my hubby - he said his unit had also discussed refusing orders if they unneccessarily put them at risk (provided those orders were not make or break for overall effort.)  Luckily it has not come to that.  

    I think the Army wants damage control.  I can tell you that knowing we have committed $120B in Iraq and there are still soldiers who have sub-par equipment does not sit well with this army wife!

    They ask for trust but somehow I've got serious doubts / Open up the window let the bad air out

    by Catriana on Sat Oct 16, 2004 at 05:54:32 AM PDT

    •  Let him know there are millions who would support (none)
      such a decision if it comes to that.

      Let's get some Democracy for America

      by murphy on Sun Oct 17, 2004 at 08:11:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! (none)
        The support our guys and gals receive here is really super - it's important to remember that all those guys you see on the TV are real people with families who love them and just want them to come home in one piece.

        4 1/2 more months and he'll be home!   Then I can think up some heinous child-rearing task for him to make up for missing the potty-training months.

        They ask for trust but somehow I've got serious doubts / Open up the window let the bad air out

        by Catriana on Sun Oct 17, 2004 at 08:58:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  According to the UCMJ (none)
    what is:

    1. a lawful order?
    2. a lawful war?

    Are these answers to find in the UCMJ or somewhere  else?

    According to which laws might a war be unlawful? US constitutional law, international law or UCMJ?

    What happens if a war is unlawful according to international law, but lawful according to US constitutional law? What happens in that case, if the UCMJ laws would say (I don't know if they do, but I believe so), that in any war you have to comply with international laws of war? It would mean then that UCMJ would be in conflict with US laws?


    For free speech, against free lies.

    by mimi on Sat Oct 16, 2004 at 05:59:38 AM PDT

  •  What is Bush's reaction? (none)
    Anyone get close enough to him to ask him what he thinks about this? I can hardly wait. It sure won't be in a stump speech!
    Likewise, I cannon imagine how Kerry reconciles this with his veteran status and war experience. He can't support the Reservists but he certainly has made the point again and again how badly managed the war has been.
  •  Contaminated fuel was headed for helicopters (none)
  •  Contaminated fuel for helicopters (none)
    Any chance the recent helicopter crashes are related to this?

  •  Military Voters (none)
    This is a link to an HTML version of a paper regarding the Republican affiliation of professional military in the US: hip.doc+military+voters+polls+support+president+percentages+historic+American&hl=en

    There is a pdf version at the website, but for some reason I could not clip the url.

    Anyway, it is MUST READ material.  Especially note that over the last several decades Republican affiliation has increased AND, while civilian voter turnout has declined, military voter turnout has increased.  

    Unless we do something to both increase civilian turnout AND increase Democratic affiliation in the professional military, we might end up like several third world countries where the "democratically elected" government is unedr the influence and patronage of the military.  Combined with the corporate influence because of defense spending, the "military industrial complex" Ike warned about appears to be all too close.

  •  AP: soldiers are being demoted (none)
    AP:  "Casey, in a telephone interview from his Louisville home, said his grandson told him that some of the soldiers already had been reduced in rank.

    He said Rogers's rank had been reduced from sergeant to specialist and that he and another soldier, Sergeant Larry McCook of Jackson, Miss., were being transferred to the Alabama-based 2101 Transportation Company."

  •  Our light force + insecure supply routes (none)

    GIs Who Refused Job Had Unarmored Trucks
    BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. Army Reserve soldiers who refused orders to drive a dangerous route were members of one of a few supply units whose trucks are still unarmored, their commanding general said Sunday.

    The soldiers, now under investigation, had previously focused on local missions in safer parts of southern Iraq (news - web sites) and had never driven a convoy north along the attack-prone roads passing through Baghdad. (Full AP story)

    Juan Cole:

    The refusal of 19 reservists of the 43rd Quartermaster Company in Tallil to take fuel up to Taji north of Baghdad sheds significant light on issues that have come up in the presidential debatesAs Eric Brunner-Williams notes, "It appears that they disobayed an illegal order, to conduct routine logistics ops [by] delivering fuel known to be water contaminated to combat units (sabotage) and doing so without combat support and draw casualties (standing orders on force protection)."

    One of the reservists, Amber McClenny, managed to get a phone call through to her mother, leaving a message that said, ""We had broken-down trucks, nonarmored vehicles and, um, we were carrying contaminated fuel. They are holding us against our will. We are now prisoners." (The Army denies that anyone is being detained in the case.)

    That is, there are three separate elements to the order that the reservists refused to obey. The first was that they were being sent to deliver contaminated fuel that shouldn't have in fact been delivered up to the hot war front in Anbar province. The second is that they were being sent to do it in old barely operational vehicles that not only were not armored properly against roadside bombs, but might break down, stranding the soldiers and exposing them to a guerrilla attack. The third was that they were being denied the customary escort by humvees and helicopter gunships, key to scaring off potential small-band guerrilla attacks.

    In other words, they were ordered to do something illegal in a way that might well have gotten them killed for no good reason.

    Kerry said in the first presidential debate,

    ' KERRY: The president just talked about Iraq as a center of the war on terror. Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it.

    The president made the judgment to divert forces from under General Tommy Franks from Afghanistan before the Congress even approved it to begin to prepare to go to war in Iraq.

    And he rushed the war in Iraq without a plan to win the peace. Now, that is not the judgment that a president of the United States ought to make. You don't take America to war unless have the plan to win the peace. You don't send troops to war without the body armor that they need.

    KERRY: I've met kids in Ohio, parents in Wisconsin places, Iowa, where they're going out on the Internet to get the state-of-the-art body gear to send to their kids. Some of them got them for a birthday present.

    I think that's wrong. Humvees -- 10,000 out of 12,000 Humvees that are over there aren't armored. And you go visit some of those kids in the hospitals today who were maimed because they don't have the armament. '

    Bush's only response to the charge that the troops are not properly equipped has been that Kerry voted against the $87 bn appropriation bill submitted last fall. But this is just playing for the camera, since he knows very well that Kerry's "no" vote on that bill had nothing to do with equipping the troops, and that there was never any question that the military appropriation for Iraq would go through.

    The real issue is that the bill passed, but that the money doesn't seem to have gotten to the troops on the ground. The incident at Tallil sheds a flood of light on the continued problems of lack of proper equipment that US troops face. Zell Miller came before the Republican convention with a litany of all the weapons programs that had proved useful in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the fact is that really fancy equipment, aside from the ability to laser-target objectives, was never very useful in Afghanistan. As Donald Rumsfeld noted, there were "no good targets in Afghanistan." In Iraq after the war, what would have been useful was just armored transport vehicles that had some chance of surviving a grenade attack.

    At Tallil, apparently the reservists are being ordered into old broken down army trucks to go out and face the guerrillas without even a modicum of protection. This incident suggests that Kerry's view of the situation is more realistic than that of Bush.

    posted by Juan @ 10/16/2004 05:06:54 PM

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