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Archive for Friday, March 28, 2008

Veterans on a mission to inform

Veterans, from left, David Bellavia, Tom Parks and Pete Hegseth make a stop Thursday at the Dole Institute of Politics on the Vets For Freedom National Heroes Tour. They and other veterans are traveling across the nation to answer questions and inform the public on what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans, from left, David Bellavia, Tom Parks and Pete Hegseth make a stop Thursday at the Dole Institute of Politics on the Vets For Freedom National Heroes Tour. They and other veterans are traveling across the nation to answer questions and inform the public on what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.

March 28, 2008

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Veterans speak at Dole Institute

Several Iraq war veterans made their way to Lawrence today, stopping at KU's Dole Institute of Politics. Enlarge video

The Iraqi army has its first major test in Basra, where it recently launched an offensive against radical Shia militias, a group of veterans visiting Lawrence on Thursday said.

"This is the Super Bowl for them," said David Bellavia, a former staff sergeant with the Army's First Infantry Division based at Fort Riley. "This is where the rubber meets the road."

Bellavia is co-founder of Vets For Freedom, a 2-year-old national group of 21,000 military veterans with chapters in Kansas and 43 other states. He and rotating groups of veterans are participating in a bus tour that began earlier this month in San Diego.

The bus rolled into Lawrence on Thursday and stopped at Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics.

Called the National Heroes Tour, its purpose is to have highly decorated veterans answer questions and inform the American public about what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We're here to get the truth out about what's happening on the ground from the guys who have seen it firsthand," Pete Hegseth, the group's executive director, said.

The wars have strained the military, but it won't break, said Hegseth, a former member of the Army's 101st Airborne Division who served in Iraq. He said the troop surge and counter-insurgency strategy led by Gen. David Petraeus is working. The bus tour will end April 8 in Washington, D.C., where veterans will meet with members of Congress.

A month ago, Hegseth returned to Iraq for a week to visit the troubled Baghdad neighborhood where he led patrols in 2005. There has been a major change for the better, he said.

"I walked through there for three days with no special security," he said. "I didn't hear a shot fired or a single explosion."

Shia violence has increased in Baghdad and Iraq this week because of the Basra offensive, but Hegseth and Bellavia said that violence has been caused by rogue elements that the Iraqi Army needed to stand up to.

In 2004, Bellavia's unit was in Fallujah fighting the Mehdi militia controlled by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

"I'm one of those guys who thinks Muqtada al-Sadr is long overdue his stay on earth," said Bellavia, who has been nominated for the Medal of Honor because of his actions in Fallujah.

Also on the bus was Tom Parks, a Marine who earned the Silver Star in Iraq. Iraqi soldiers are much better than they were when he worked with them, he said.

"When I started training Iraqi security forces in 2004, it was like training a kid in nursery school," Parks, an Overland Park resident, said. "We're watching these guys do great things now."

Comments

max1 6 years ago

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2226600,00.html December 13, 2007: In March 2004 George Bush said that "the advance of freedom in the Middle East has given new rights and new hopes to women ... the systematic use of rape by Saddam's former regime to dishonour families has ended". This may have given some people the impression that the American and British invasion of Iraq had helped to improve the lives of its women. But this is far from the case. Even under Saddam, women in Iraq - including in semi-autonomous Kurdistan - were widely recognised as among the most liberated in the Middle East. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2007/sep/02/090200015.html September 02, 2007: "We're withdrawing personnel," said a British defense ministry spokesman, on customary condition of anonymity. "It's been our long planned intention to leave the palace." . . . "It has always been our intention to draw down troops in Basra" as Iraqi army and police become ready to handle security duties, said a spokesman for Brown's Downing Street office, speaking on condition of anonymity. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/15/africa/ME-GEN-Iraq-Basra.php November 15, 2007: BAGHDAD: Attacks against British and Iraqi forces have plunged by 90 percent in southern Iraq since London withdrew its troops from the main city of Basra, the commander of British forces there said Thursday. . . British officials have been talking with members of al-Sadr's militia since before this past summer, Binns said, in hopes of bringing them into the political process in Basra. . . "We may get to the point where the main Sadrist strain will support the Iraqi security forces - that's the goal," Binns said. . . Still, Binns said he believes violence is down to a level where it is manageable for Iraqi security forces. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7144437.stm 14 December 2007: More than 85% of the residents of Basra believe British troops have had a negative effect on the Iraqi province since 2003, an opinion poll suggests. . . 56% believe their presence has increased the overall level of militia violence. . . The survey's results suggest that only 2% of Basra residents believe that British troops have had a positive effect on the province since they helped the US overthrow Saddam Hussein in March 2003.

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max1 6 years ago

Bellavia said that violence has been caused by rogue elements

Pre-invasion conditions: http://www.aina.org/news/2007051895626.htm "We were all friends. We celebrated holidays together. When we had the [Shia] celebration in commemoration of Imam Hussein, even Jews and Christians joined us. We never thought about race or religion. Schools were open to everybody. In schools, we had Jewish, Christian, Sunni and Kurdish classmates. There were no bad feelings towards anyone."

Post invasion conditions after the US turned control over to regional warlords and clerics: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/26/AR2007102602402.html?nav=hcmoduletmv October 27, 2007: "When we first got here, all the shops were open. There were women and children walking out on the street," Alarcon said this week. "The women were in Western clothing. It was our favorite street to go down because of all the hot chicks." . . . Asked if the American endeavor here was worth their sacrifice -- 20 soldiers from the battalion have been killed in Baghdad -- Alarcon said no: "I don't think this place is worth another soldier's life." . . . The American people don't fully realize what's going on, said Staff Sgt. Richard McClary, 27, a section leader from Buffalo. "They just know back there what the higher-ups here tell them."

May 13, 2003 http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2601 News Transcript: 101st Airborne Division Commander Live Briefing from Iraq Q: General, Brian Hartman with ABC News. . . do you have any idea when you'll be coming home? Petraeus: First of all, we don't know when we're coming home. We think we're here for at least probably three more months or so.

June 18, 2003 http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-06-18-rumsfeld_x.htm Asked at Pentagon press conference about the Iraqi resistance, Rumsfeld described it as "small elements" of 10 to 20 people, not large military formations or networks of attackers. . . "In those regions where pockets of dead-enders are trying to reconstitute, Gen. (Tommy) Franks and his team are rooting them out," Rumsfeld said

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beobachter 6 years ago

Mike, is this not you and those like you? The same ones who scream about freedom of speech, while shouting down anyone that has a different opinion"

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Glad to see madmike here propping up his strawpeople.

"Why do we still occupy South Korea?"

Why do we still have bases in the Philippines and Japan? Same answer for all-- to project American Imperial power.

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madmike 6 years ago

Glad to see the usual suspects of the extreme left here. The same type of folks that would ban military recruiters from their campuses. The same ones who scream about freedom of speech, while shouting down anyone that has a different opinion, all the while wanting federal dollars to fund their never-ending education so they can be perpetual students living off of the same government they hate so much.

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Pilgrim 6 years ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says:

God bless em:. They're doing God's work over there in Iraq.


Thank God the truth finally sunk through all those layers of your thick skull, log. Isn't it refreshing?

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beobachter 6 years ago

All I asked was, who's funding the tour? Is that so hard to answer? Course if you're a W worshipper, no one is allowed to question anything you say or do.

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pisafromthewest 6 years ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says:

"Geez, a PR Pentagon road show."

beobachter (Anonymous) says:

"wondering, who is funding the tour for the bush pep squad?"


So the veterans who speak out against the war are patriotic heroes whose honesty is beyond reproach, but those who also risked their lives and witnessed the situation firsthand and still support the war must be lying propagandists?

You two really are a couple of low-class pieces of cr*p.

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max1 6 years ago

28 Oct 2003 http://www.fifa.com/en/mens/awards/gala/0,2418,72464,00.html?articleid=72464 Hussain Saeed Mohammed: "When playing football becomes a normal thing to do in Iraq, that will mean we're back to normal." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/08/03/wirq03.xml 03/08/2006: In recent months Iraqi sport has found itself unwittingly at the forefront . . . Gunmen burst into a cultural centre and kidnapped the head of the Olympic Committee, Ahmed al-Hajiya, and 50 other officials, including Mr Karim. http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=2460444 May 27, 2006: BAGHDAD, Iraq -- An Iraqi tennis coach and two of his players were killed because they were wearing shorts, apparently in violation of a warning by Islamic extremists. . . This was the second attack against athletes in just more than a week. . . A taekwondo team was kidnapped in western Iraq while driving to a training camp in neighboring Jordan on May 17. The 15 athletes were snatched on a road between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/mideastwire/index.php?id=177 August 3, 2006: Akram Salman, the first Iraqi football team coach, has resigned from the Iraqi Football Federation and headed to Kurdistan after receiving death threats. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/KAM333861.htm Dec 3, 2006: BAGHDAD - Police found the body of Hidaib Mejhoul, a member of the national Iraqi Football Association, in Baghdad's Yarmouk district on Saturday . . . shot twice in the head and his body had signs of torture. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2022995,00.html February 27, 2007: Eighteen teenage boys playing soccer in the Sunni triangle city of Ramadi were reported to have been killed today . . . a US military spokesman, Major Jeff Pool, said a controlled blast by US soldiers near the soccer field slightly wounded 30 people, including nine children. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,283253,00.html June 16, 2007: The remains of 13 members of an Iraqi tae kwon do team kidnapped last year have been found in western Iraq http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/09/AR2007080901104.html August 9, 2007: BAGHDAD - The goalkeeper of the Kirkuk soccer club was kidnapped as he was traveling from northern Iraq to visit relatives in Baghdad, a sports official said Thursday. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/212/story/30632.html March 17, 2008: Around 6:30 pm, two mortar shells hit a soccer field at Ghadeer neighborhood of New Baghdad(east Baghdad) near Ibn Saad school. Five people were killed and 7 were injured. Those people were playing soccer when the mortars landed on the field.

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BrianR 6 years ago

"Wonder who's credit card(s) they're using:?"

It is interesting that domain registration info has changed for veteransforfreedom.org since this morning.

It is owned by the pentagon.

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logrithmic 6 years ago

The usual suspects I'm sure - General Electric, Boeing, Haliburton, Lockheed, etc.

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beobachter 6 years ago

wondering, who is funding the tour for the bush pep squad?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"Don't worry, bozo, you've still got Haditha. Hey, what's this in the news?"

And you wonder why none of the soldiers see any point in providing testimony/evidence to the military investigators.

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logrithmic 6 years ago

Geez, a PR Pentagon road show. Aren't they so clean cut and very white?

God bless em.... They're doing God's work over there in Iraq.

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posessionannex 6 years ago

Add to my above list of stories:

Russian spy siphons food and medicine away from Iraqi children for top Russian officials:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3636018.ece

excerpt:

Alexandre Kramar, who set the price of Iraqi crude as a UN oil overseer from 1996 to 2003, was an undercover agent for Russia's foreign intelligence agency, the SVR, his former handler says.


Why did he stop in 2003? Hmmmm....

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posessionannex 6 years ago

2003 Iraq: Iraq has never formally surrendered to the United States.

Iraq is an ally of the United States. Why would they surrender?

Wait, you're making some ridiculous tiny parsing argument. Well, here's my reply: Saddam Surrendered:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2003/12/16/1010647.htm

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posessionannex 6 years ago

WW2 Japan: Japan had no natual resources that would've compelled the United States to occupy their nation for any length of time.

Why do we still occupy South Korea? What's this all important natual (sic) resource they're sitting on? Why are we there? Have "Major combat operations" on the Korean Peninsula ended yet?

In your answer, you may find something interesting.

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posessionannex 6 years ago

You forgot:

WW2 Japan: Employed the Mitsubishi Zero in combat operations.

2003 Iraq: Does not employ the Mitsubishi Zero.

WW2 Japan: Had a city called Osaka.

2003 Iraq. Has no city by that name.

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Agnostick 6 years ago

First of all, posessionannex, you do note some halfway-decent similarities, as well as some weak ones. For example:

  • "Is motivated by a militaristic, religious-political ideology that sees war as a demonstration of loyalty to god, and enforces obedience to its leaders."

The Japanese viewed Hirohito, the Emperor, as "God". Our current Islamic militants do not worship any known human personifications of Allah. To even portray Allah in human form is forbidden, is it not?

  • "Wants to destroy the U.S. Presence in their region."

Perhaps--but the Japanese were actively expanding their empire outward. The same can't really be said about Al Qaeda, as they do not formally represent any single nation or group of nations.

  • "Will not quit until either we, or they, are defeated utterly."

This is a good point.

  • "Can be suicidal."

So is this.

Now... about those differences...

Pearl Harbor: Attacked by the Imperial Navy of Japan--a formal branch of the military trained, equipped, organized, and funded by a singular sovereign nation.

9/11 Attack: Attacked and destroyed by representatives of a rogue terrorist organization, secretly trained, equipped, organized, and funded by clandestine individuals and groups--though it's worth noting that 15 of the 19 hijackers died with Saudi Arabian passports. No singular nation is behind Al Qaeda.

WW2 Japan: Congress unanimously approved, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a formal Declaration of War against Japan on the day following the attack. 2003 Iraq: The United States of America has issued no formal declaration of war since June 5, 1942.

WW2 Japan: U.S. military forces fought almost exclusively with uniformed Japanese soldiers and sailors.

2003 Iraq: U.S. military forces initially fight uniformed Iraqi soldiers--followed by several years of skirmishes with "plainclothes" terrorists and insurgents.

WW2 Japan: Any sort of "nation building" or redevelopment efforts occur after a formal surrender by the Japanese empire.

2003 Iraq: "Nation building" occurs simultaneously with military operations

WW2 Japan: No U.S. civilian contractors sent to mainland Japan during the period of war.

2003 Iraq: U.S. civilian contractors regularly sent to Iraq in the midst of military operations. Several are killed, including at least one beheaded in front of a videocamera.

WW2 Japan: Japan had no natual resources that would've compelled the United States to occupy their nation for any length of time.

2003 Iraq: Oil

WW2 Japan: Japan formally surrendered to the United States, and other Allied Powers, on September 2, 1945. (although there were a handful of soldiers who went on fighting for months, or even years after)

2003 Iraq: Iraq has never formally surrendered to the United States.

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Agnostick 6 years ago

I agree, stuck. Quite a bus.

Must eat up tons of $$$ at the gas pump.

Wonder who's credit card(s) they're using...?

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stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

yeah... that's quite a bus...

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stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

does anyone else remember that song? "my heroes have always been cowboys..." yeah... I like that song... Willie Nelson...

and he did that one a few years back... "whatever happened to peace on earth?"

yeah... I like Willie Nelson...

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Red_Peters 6 years ago

"My comments speak for themselves:"

To or not to be, that is the question.

You're terrific Agnostick!

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Agnostick 6 years ago

posessionannex: Sounds like you're not happy with your newspaper. Maybe you should try another one...? ;)

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malcolm_x_obama 6 years ago

Agnes, So why are you still posting?

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stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

hmmm... I heard on the news that the uranium found by the Columbians was depleted uranium... which of course... according to the US government is harmless...

and of course... the US government has to say that because they have spread tons of it all over Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo...

probably best that the LJW leave this story alone...

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stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

wow... I guess that's the end of the Haditha story...

unless Lance Cpl Tatum has problems sleeping at night...

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posessionannex 6 years ago

I've got all sorts of comments, but there is still silence from the LJW about the following news stories:

Obama Superdelegate indicted:

http://thehill.com/campaign-2008/puerto-rico-governor-obama-supporter-indicted-2008-03-27.html

Al-Hanooti Indicted as spy, paid for trip to Saddam's Iraq for three congressmen of unknown party affiliation:

http://www.investigativeproject.org/article/628 http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jcotA-ZlF4QSOBAOcpQAVxJrFqhgD8VLIS6O0

Columbians seize Chavez' buddies computer, leads them to Uranium and who knows what else:

http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN26296862

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posessionannex 6 years ago

Don't worry, bozo, you've still got Haditha. Hey, what's this in the news?

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN2844311120080328

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Agnostick 6 years ago

mallory says:

"Or are you just being an inflamatory troll. I've seen that posted about you before. That you just troll here."


My comments speak for themselves:

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/Agnostick/comments/

So do yours:

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/malcolm_x_obama/comments/

... but your username... is the most telling... ;)

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madmike 6 years ago

Good to see that Comerade BOZO is still in lock-step with his true sovied feelings.

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SpeedRacer 6 years ago

As a Vietnam vet I am gratified that these honorable men and women are not being pelted with obscenities and more concrete items on their tour. It is a long way from the sentiments of the late 60's and 70's. I was opposed to the Vietnam war, but served because I felt it was my duty. Many veterans who supported the war were booed and ostracised for being no more than patriotic. While I do not support the war in Iraq, I commend our soldiers for seeing their duty and doing it. I commend them for speaking their minds, as well, just as I commend those veterans who speak out against the war. No free nation can exist without a free exchange of views on topics that affect us all.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"My god, you really didn't read the link."

I read it. There wasn't much to read, but that certainly doesn't keep you from creatively reading between the lines.

"Funny thing to accuse an atheist of."

You're not an atheist. Your worship of war is a daily occurrence here.

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posessionannex 6 years ago

Besides, investigations in a war zone, where neither evidence nor witnesses are available, are incredibly difficult, even if done immediately after the fact, much less months or even years later.

Well, that's why KerryCo and the other witnesses are so important, there, buddy.

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posessionannex 6 years ago

This sounds like a paraphrase of the belief system you espouse here every day.

Funny thing to accuse an atheist of.

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posessionannex 6 years ago

That they chose not to investigate them other than trying to get statements that were already available to them tells me that they didn't want to investigate, but merely to discredit the testimony of the winter soldiers.

My god, you really didn't read the link.

Let's say I write here:

"I saw a Bobville, KS PD officer kill a man yesterday"

The KBI comes to my house and says "We need details."

I say: "I'm unwilling to talk to you"

You say "The KBI failed to investigate."

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stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

indeed, there is something stunning about that account...

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posessionannex 6 years ago

Back to the topic:

"Bellavia, who has been nominated for the Medal of Honor because of his actions in Fallujah."

Here's his nomination, the account is stunning:

http://tinyurl.com/rj74c

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"The battlefield is where our army displays its true character, conquering whenever it attacks, winning whenever it engages in combat, in order to spread [our deity's] reign far and wide, so that the enemy may look up in awe to his august virtues.

or

fight and slay the unbelievers wherever you find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war; but if they repent, and practice our way, then accept them: . You shall fight back against those who do not believe in [our deity]"

This sounds like a paraphrase of the belief system you espouse here every day.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

The CID had information on the allegations because they stated them very publicly. That they chose not to investigate them other than trying to get statements that were already available to them tells me that they didn't want to investigate, but merely to discredit the testimony of the winter soldiers.

Besides, investigations in a war zone, where neither evidence nor witnesses are available, are incredibly difficult, even if done immediately after the fact, much less months or even years later.

But I can understand that for someone who worships war as much as you do, it's easy to just call them liars, rather than recognizing that in every war that's ever happened, brutality is the norm, no matter what armies are involved. Even in the so-called "good war," WWII, even the Allied military was guilty of various war crimes, including summary executions, slaughter of civilian populations and rape. That's just the real nature of war, and why it should be a very last resort, not something just to entertain people like you with a blood lust.

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posessionannex 6 years ago

As to the comparisons of Japan/Iraq: World War II/Iraqi Incursion: these analogies don't even get off the starting line. I can sit here and easily come up with maybe a dozen different reasons why the two are completely different.

I'll remember that next time I hear the Iraq/Vietnam comparison.

Regarding the current war in Iraq, which began May 1, 2003:

Here are the similarities I see, and it's like comparing Lemons to Oranges in my opinion.

In both conflicts, the enemy:

Is motivated by a militaristic, religious-political ideology that sees war as a demonstration of loyalty to god, and enforces obedience to its leaders. Wants to destroy the U.S. Presence in their region. Will not quit until either we, or they, are defeated utterly. Can be suicidal. *Says stuff like:

The battlefield is where our army displays its true character, conquering whenever it attacks, winning whenever it engages in combat, in order to spread [our deity's] reign far and wide, so that the enemy may look up in awe to his august virtues.

or

fight and slay the unbelievers wherever you find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war; but if they repent, and practice our way, then accept them. . . . You shall fight back against those who do not believe in [our deity]

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malcolm_x_obama 6 years ago

Agnostick,

Gee, they all speak different languages, ......If you really think they'd play baseball then you're a clown. It is the idea that in the future we will find something in common and be allies because of our shared experience.

Or are you just being an inflamatory troll. I've seen that posted about you before. That you just troll here.

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malcolm_x_obama 6 years ago

merrill (Anonymous) says:

Bush still lies! Despite Bush Claims, US Forces Leading Attacks on Mahdi Army ============

Merrill still spams! Despite Merrill Claims, LJW Readers Do Not Read Spam

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posessionannex 6 years ago

CID essentially conducted no investigation on any of these cases, so the most likely explanation, PA, is that these winter soldiers didn't wanted to open themselves up to trumped-up perjury charges designed to silence and punish them for telling what they saw.

CID essentially attempted to investigate, but they got nowhere because KerryCo did not cooperate with the investigation. You did examine the link, right? In my opinion, the most likely explanation, bozo, is they were liars. Just like the most likely explanation of Winter Soldier II is, in my opinion, they are liars. That's why they didn't swear affidavits, that's why they didn't testify under oath, that's why they have, in my opinion, no credibility.

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Agnostick 6 years ago

I'm proud of these soldiers, and grateful for their service. They and their families have sacrificed much... perhaps too much.

As to riding around on a bus and speaking their minds, why shouldn't they? In the most literal and basic "currency," they have certainly paid for that right, a right many of us often take for granted.

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Agnostick 6 years ago

mallory...

Baseball in Baghdad? Why?

As to the comparisons of Japan/Iraq... World War II/Iraqi Incursion... these analogies don't even get off the starting line. I can sit here and easily come up with maybe a dozen different reasons why the two are completely different.

I'd say you're comparing apples to oranges, but even that old cliche embodies too close an association, since they're both tree fruit.

Your comparisons are more like comparing... jellyfish... to old rusty spark plugs.

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com http://www.uscentrist.org http://www.americanplan.org

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Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Toll from US Strike on Hilla Unknown

Meanwhile, the death toll from Wednesday's US bombing in the town of Hilla remains unknown. Witnesses have reported anywhere between ten and eighty casualties. A local resident said Hilla had not been used for insurgent activity.

Hilla resident: "What is the reason behind attacking us? We did not fight them or attack a police center or military base. We did not threaten anyone or participate in demonstrations. No military actions in our area."
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Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Bush still lies! Despite Bush Claims, US Forces Leading Attacks on Mahdi Army

Tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad Thursday to protest the ongoing government crackdown on Shia fighters loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr. More than 130 people have been killed since Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched the crackdown on Sadr's Mahdi Army on Tuesday. Earlier today, Maliki said he would extend a deadline for Mahdi fighters to lay down their arms until April 8th. As the fighting escalated, President Bush continued to sound off on the White House theme that the violence in Iraq marks a sign of US success.

President Bush: "This offensive builds on the security gains of the surge and demonstrates to the Iraqi people that their government is committed to protecting them. There is a strong commitment by the central government of Iraq to say that no one is above the law. This operation is going to take some time to complete. And the enemy, you know, will try to fill the TV screens with violence. But the ultimate result will be this: terrorists and extremists in Iraq will know they have no place in a free and democratic society."

Despite President Bush's claims, reports on the ground say the US military is still waging much of the fighting. According to the Washington Post, an Iraqi battalion mostly stayed on the outskirts of Sadr City as US troops led the attacks. US armored vehicles supported by helicopters and drones were seen battling Mahdi forces. US gunfire was heard throughout Thursday's clashes. Mahdi Army commanders corroborated the account, saying they have been mostly fighting US forces in Sadr City. One senior Mahdi Army member said, "If there were no Americans, there would be no fighting." Meanwhile, in Basra, a Mahdi Army member said several Iraqi troops had laid down their arms rather than fight.

Mahdi Army member: "We are members of Mahdi Army. We thanked the soldiers who handed out their weapons and equipment. We thanked them, as they did not fight their brothers in the Mahdi Army. We want to tell Maliki that Basra is safe, so we ask him not to ignite the situation and the mounting number of casualties."

Anonymous US officials say Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki decided to launch the anti-Sadr offensive without even consulting Washington. Administration officials are said to be struggling to understand the situation on the ground. The violence also continued to hit the US-controlled Green Zone. On Thursday, an American contractor was killed by one of twelve mortar rounds fired inside the zone's heavily fortified walls.

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Richard Heckler 6 years ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's government imposed a weekend curfew in Baghdad on Thursday amid clashes between government troops and Shiite militia fighters, and U.S. Embassy staff were told to remain indoors after days of rocket attacks left two U.S. government employees dead.

The curfew, which took effect at 11 p.m. Thursday (4 p.m. ET), bans pedestrian, motorcycle and vehicle traffic through 5 p.m. Sunday, said Gen. Qassim Atta, an Iraqi military spokesman.

Sixteen rockets were fired Wednesday and 12 on Tuesday. U.S. Embassy workers in Iraq were told to remain in secure buildings and wear protective clothing as rockets continued to rain down on Baghdad's International Zone.

Also called the Green Zone, the International Zone is a heavily fortified central Baghdad district housing the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government offices.

=============================================== http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/27/pakistan.usa ================================================ 44,000 dead or disabled USA soldiers - this number increases daily! ================================================

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Richard Heckler 6 years ago

"Straight talking" John McCain's co-chairman, Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona, has been indicted on corruption charges. I have lost count of the number of Republicans who have quit because they have been indicted or are not going to run for reelection because they face indictment on corruption, sexual harrassment or various other charges. What is it about the GOP that attracts right wing nuts, Christian fundamentalists, corrupt businessmen, and NASCAR enthusiasts?

And when is the main stream media going to hone in on the fact that McCain has surrounded himself with advisors who are lobbyists and that there is nothing about McCain that is straight talking?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

CID essentially conducted no investigation on any of these cases, so the most likely explanation, PA, is that these winter soldiers didn't wanted to open themselves up to trumped-up perjury charges designed to silence and punish them for telling what they saw. BushCo would almost certainly love to be able to do the same.

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posessionannex 6 years ago

"Hey, bozo, suppose you were to ask those winter soldiers II fellahs to sign affidavits affirming their testimony,"

Gee, one would!

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posessionannex 6 years ago

Seems to me Kerry and many of his buddies testified in front of Congress. If they were lying, why weren't they brought up on contempt/perjury charges?

Well, they reported war crimes, didn't they? I suppose the army CID should have investigated those crimes, and Kerry and the other Fonda-funded winter soldiers should have cooperated fully with the investigation, being great patriots in search of justice. Let's look at the results from that CID investigation, specifically at the support provided by those patriots, shall we?

http://www.wintersoldier.com/staticpages/index.php?page=WSI_CID

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malcolm_x_obama 6 years ago

posessionannex,

Too easy, Fallujah is a sunni area that would have killed and buried any Mahdi militiamen that ventured into the area. Sunni no like Shiite.

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posessionannex 6 years ago

Lets play:

Lawrence Journal World Irony watch!

Round one, From the story:

"'We're here to get the truth out about what's happening on the ground from the guys who have seen it firsthand,' Pete Hegseth, the group's executive director, said."

Later in the story:

"In 2004, Bellavia's unit was in Fallujah fighting the Mehdi militia controlled by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr."

Can you spot the irony? First poster to spot it gets the coveted "I gave money to FARC to buy uranium, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" t-shirt.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"Hey, bozo, suppose you were to ask those winter soldiers II fellahs to sign affidavits affirming their testimony,"

With whom? BushCo, who are confirmed liars looking desperately to salvage their last shred of credibility?

"do you think they would sign it, or refuse like Kerry and his buddies?"

Seems to me Kerry and many of his buddies testified in front of Congress. If they were lying, why weren't they brought up on contempt/perjury charges?

"Wonder which one of the two groups he would be most in agreement with???" Why do you need to ask me? You're his mother.

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Jean1183 6 years ago

Bozo......my son is an Iraqi Freedom vet. He went over as a "weekend warrior", came back and decided to go full-time in the military.

Wonder which one of the two groups he would be most in agreement with???

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malcolm_x_obama 6 years ago

As I watched highlights of Major League Baseball's opening game today, being played in Japan. It crossed my mind how a HATED enemy Japan was to the US during WW II that ended some 63 or so years ago. During this war the US suffered over 416,000 or so military deaths at the hands of the Axis powers. During this time the US was faced with fanatical and sometimes suicidal adversaries willing to die for their cause (kamikazes, banzai charges, and suicides vs surrender - attributed to our Japanese opponents) . At the time the Japanese wanted us dead as sure as any Al-Qaeda terrorist, jihadi fighter, Islamic militant, or Iraqi insurgent (who may very well be a combination of all these).

While watching this baseball game I could not help but think if one day, during my life, we might one day be watching opening day of Major League Baseball in Baghdad. Does this sound crazy? I bet it sounds just about as crazy as it would to those living in the WW II era that we would ever be watching opening day being played in Japan. It seems that based on the patriotism, determination, will, and heroism of past generations, the US somehow seemed able to overcome the difficulties of a long war (about 4 years for WW II) and defeated our enemies who we then welcomed back into civilized society and now view them as loyal allies.

Seems some in this country have forgotten the past and the sacrifices of generation that have gone before who served their nation, sacrificed, and persevered during difficult times. Thinking about it this way, it is clear to me that 4,000 military dead in the fight for Iraq might one day seem obviously worth it when compared to the sacrifices of the past. 416,000 dead in 4 years, is by my calculations, over 1000 times greater than 4,000.

Maybe the "cut and run/surrender" crowd might look back at history just a little before rushing to quick short sighted judgements on Iraq and consider where opening day was played today.

For what it is worth, A patriotic American and Citizen of the US.

Thank you for your service to our great country and to freedom.

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posessionannex 6 years ago

Hey, bozo, suppose you were to ask those winter soldiers II fellahs to sign affidavits affirming their testimony, do you think they would sign it, or refuse like Kerry and his buddies?

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Dont_Feed_The_Bears 6 years ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says:

Many vets have very different views.

And these are the ones that will grow up to ride around on the back of a trash truck.

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Eybea Opiner 6 years ago

My sentiments exactly, Jean.

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Jean1183 6 years ago

Thank you for your service........in Iraq/Afghanistan and the service you are doing here/now!

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