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Casualties


Casualties

The Bodies of Those Who Died in Vain Litter Our Landscape

By Dave Lindorff

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I am sick to death of the glorification of war in America.

And I am even sicker of politicians who wrap themselves in the bloody flag and try to rub off some of the stench of death from the bodies of those who have died, mostly in vain for worthless causes, in hopes that taking on some of the odor will cause them to be perceived as admirable patriots themselves.

President George W. Bush, who dodged danger in the Vietnam War by signing up for the Texas National Guard and then ducked even that domestic duty, and Vice President Dick Cheney who used five different excuses to duck military service, morbidly rubbed themselves with that flag for eight long years, even as they sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women into harm’s for their own personal political advantage.

US Drone Crew Blamed For Afghan Civilian Deaths


US Drone Crew Blamed for Afghan Civilian Deaths
Investigation faults US drone crew in deadly February airstrike that killed Afghan civilians
By Rohan Sullivan, Associated Press Writer | ABC News

Inexperienced operators of a U.S. drone aircraft ignored or downplayed signs that Afghan civilians were in a convoy blasted in a deadly American missile attack earlier this year, a military report released Saturday said.

At least 23 people were killed in the Feb. 21 attack in Uruzgan province, deepening tensions between the Afghan government and NATO forces over the toll of civilian deaths at the hands of foreign troops.

It drew a strong rebuke from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a quick apology from the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who is struggling to establish broad support among Afghans that is crucial to winning the almost 9-year-old war against the Taliban.

The insurgents claimed a victory Saturday when they captured a government outpost in Nuristan, a remote mountainous region near the Pakistan border.

Provincial governor Jamaludin Badar said government forces withdrew from the headquarters of the Bargi Matal district early Saturday after a major assault by Taliban militants and a battle lasting several days.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed in a phone message sent to reporters that insurgents had taken complete control of the district, captured three police vehicles and forced security forces to flee road checkpoints. Read more.

Dancing With the Scarred

Missy Comley Beattie

I’ve been thinking of marketing a concept in the genre that’s all the rage—Reality Television. My primary objective is to enlighten the public, however if financial success is a byproduct, I won’t complain.

This I know: engaging the masses requires much more than the presentation of truth. Truth must be veiled in entertainment, the latter a lure to hold attention until the truth, finally, is grasped through (gasp) an epiphany. And, yes, I do believe I’ve come up with something that delivers both.

Here’s the idea: I’m imagining a show whose contestants are troops who’ve returned from AfPak-Iraq. My production crew could go to any military hospital’s traumatic brain injury (TBI) ward to seek competitors for the series. I’m talking Dancing with the Scarred. We’d have Hollywood types work with the young men and women to teach them some dance moves and create fabuloso costumes.

US Iraq Casualties Rise To 75,433

US Iraq Casualties rise to 75,433
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 19 combat casualties in the week ending May 25, as the official total since the March 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,433. The total includes 35,312 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 40,121 dead and medically evacuated (as of May 1, 2010) from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions and PTSD - diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.**

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,403 as of May 25, 2010) but rarely mentioning the 31,827 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 39, 203 (as of May 1, 2010)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,403 reported deaths include 918 (up one) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 208 suicides through May 1, 2010.****

* The number of wounded is usually updated on Tuesdays by the Pentagon at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf.

** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009

*** the number of "non combat" injured was reported by the Pentagon at http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/OIF-Total.pdf.

**** NYTimes, Jan 30, 2009

Channeling the Pentagon Channel: The New Socialist Realism

By Charles M. Young

The Pentagon Channel is not the Military Channel. The Military Channel is Hitler plus top ten lists. You wanna know about the failed plot to assassinate the Fuehrer in 1944 and then learn the ten best attack submarines of all time--the Military Channel is your meat. It’s the NFL Network with a drill sergeant instead of a coach yelling at an audience of men so bored with their lives that trench warfare is an attractive alternative. 

The Pentagon Channel is not the History Channel. The History Channel looks at many tyrants in addition to Hitler, plus UFOs and Biblical prophecies and ghosts. The Pentagon Channel is also not the the History Channel International, which is indistinguishable from the History Channel.

Did War Vet Kill Self To Make A Statement?


Did War Vet Kill Self To Make A Statement?
By Lucas Sullivan and Margo Rutledge Kissell, Staff Writers | Dayton Daily News

The suicide rate among 18- to 29-year-old men who have left the military has gone up significantly, the government said in January. The rate for those veterans rose 26 percent from 2005 to 2007, according to data released by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Jesse Charles Huff walked up to the Veterans Affairs Department’s Medical Center on Friday morning wearing U.S. Army fatigues and battling pain from his Iraq war wounds and a recent bout with depression.

The 27-year-old Dayton man had entered the center’s emergency room about 1 a.m. Friday and requested some sort of treatment. But Huff did not get that treatment, police said, and about 5:45 a.m. he reappeared at the center’s entrance, put a military-style rifle to his head and twice pulled the trigger.

Huff fell near the foot of a Civil War statue, his blood covering portions of the front steps.

Police would not specify what treatment Huff sought and why he did not receive it. Medical Center spokeswoman Donna Simmons declined to answer questions about Huff’s treatment, citing privacy laws. But police believe Huff killed himself to make a statement.

Scott Labensky, whose son lived with Huff, agreed. He said the veteran was injured by a ground blast while serving in Iraq and received ongoing treatment for a back injury and depression. Read more.

Screw the Environment: BP and the Audacity of Greed

By Dave Lindorff

Even as BP’s blown well a mile beneath the surface in the Gulf of Mexico continues to gush forth an estimated 70,000 barrels of oil a day into the sea, and the fragile wetlands along the Gulf begin to get coated with crude, which is also headed into the Gulf Stream for a trip past the Everglades and on up the East Coast, the company is demanding that Canada lift its tight rules for drilling in the icy Beaufort Sea portion of the Arctic Ocean.

In an incredible display of corporate arrogance, BP is claiming that a current safety requirement that undersea wells drilled during the newly ice-free summer must also include a side relief well, so as to have a preventive measure in place that could shut down a blown well, is “too expensive” and should be eliminated.

US Iraq Casualties Stay At 75,414

US Iraq Casualties stay at 75,414
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered no combat casualties in the week ending May 18, as the official total since the March 2003 invasion remained at least 75, 414. The total includes 35, 294 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 40,120 dead and medically evacuated (as of May 1, 2010) from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions and PTSD - diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.**

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,401 as of May 18, 2010) but rarely mentioning the 31,810 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 39,203 (as of May 1, 2010)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,401 reported deaths include 917 who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 208 suicides through May 1.****

The Wounded Platoon


Frontline: On air and online May 18, 2010 at 9:00pm (check local listings)

FRONTLINE tells the dark tale of the men of 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion of the 506th Infantry, and how the war followed them home. It is a story of heroism, grief, vicious combat, depression, drugs, alcohol and brutal murder; an investigation into the Army's mental health services; and a powerful portrait of what multiple tours and post-traumatic stress are doing to a generation of young American soldiers.

Trailer


May 13, 1985: Philly Bombs, Literally

By Linn Washington Jr.

Philadelphia loves to brag about it’s ‘Firsts,’ citing such notable things as the nation’s first capital (1774), America’s first zoo (1874) and the birthplace of the world’s first digital computer ENIAC (1946).

There is one ‘First’ that will never appear in slick tourist handouts from the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau though, and that’s the city’s first air raid on May 13, 1985, when the city deliberately bombed an occupied house containing children, sparking a deadly firestorm.

A bomb dropped on an American city by that city’s own police force?

Yes, a bomb made with hi-explosive military C-4 and powerful Tovex dropped by Philadelphia police from a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter onto the roof of 6221 Osage Ave., located in West Philadelphia just blocks from the University of Pennsylvania – considered America’s ‘First’ university.

Obama's War Hits a Speed Bump

By John Grant

Mister Obama’s War has hit a speed bump in Times Square. The question is will the President and members of Congress pay any attention to it and slow down, or will they floor the accelerator and race into Pakistan?

The speed bump is a nobody named Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old, westernized Pakistani, highly educated, and a naturalized American citizen with a wife and two kids. A casualty of the US financial meltdown, a career in the finance industry fizzled and his $285,000 home went underwater and was foreclosed.

Shahzad then trekked to North Waziristan in Pakistan along the Afghan border, where someone allegedly taught him how to make a car bomb. Fortunately, that training was either inadequate or he was a lousy student.

Following on the bloody Fort Hood shooting and the failed underpants bomber, Shahzad’s action has become leverage for greater US military intervention into the rugged Pashtun areas of northwest Pakistan.

General 'Tried To Cover Up Truth About Death Of Rachel Corrie'


General 'tried to cover up truth about death of Rachel Corrie'
Israeli war hero accused of suppressing testimony that could reveal what really happened to Gaza activist
By Ben Lynfield | General 'tried to cover up truth about death of Rachel Corrie' | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

But according to a military police investigator's report which has now emerged, the "commander" of the D-9 bulldozer was giving testimony when an army colonel dispatched by Major-General Almog interrupted proceedings and cut short his evidence. The military police investigator wrote: "At 18:12 reserve Colonel Baruch Kirhatu entered the room and informed the witness that he should not convey anything and should not write anything and this at the order of the general of southern command."

The commander was a reservist named Edward Valermov. He was in the bulldozer with its driver. In his testimony before he was ordered to stop, he told military police investigators that he had not seen Ms Corrie before she was wounded. Alice Coy, a former ISM volunteer activist who was near Ms Corrie during the incident said in an affidavit to the court that "to the best of my knowledge the bulldozer driver could see Rachel while pushing earth over her body."

Seven years after the American activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, evidence has emerged which appears to implicate Israel's Gaza commander at the time, in an attempt to obstruct the official investigation into her death.

The alleged intervention of Major-General Doron Almog, then head of Israel's southern command, is documented in testimony taken by Israeli military police a day after Ms Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003. The hand written affidavit, seen by The Independent, was submitted as evidence during a civil law suit being pursued by the Corrie family against the state of Israel.

Ms Corrie, who was 23 when she died, was critically wounded when a bulldozer buried her with sandy soil near the border between Gaza and Egypt. The American, wearing a fluorescent orange jacket and carrying a megaphone, was among a group of volunteers from the anti-occupation International Solidarity Movement who over a period of three hours on that day had sought to block the demolition by Israel of Palestinian homes.

The Israeli military has maintained that its troops were not to blame for the killing of Ms Corrie and that the driver of the bulldozer had not seen her. It accused Ms Corrie and the ISM of behaviour that was "illegal, irresponsible and dangerous". Three days after Ms Corrie's death, the US state department announced that the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had promised the US President George Bush that the Israeli government would undertake a "thorough, credible and transparent investigation". Read more.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,123

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,123
Compiled by Michael Munk

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered two combat casualties in the week ending May 4, 2010* as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,123. The total includes 35,274 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,849 (as of April 3, 2010) dead, injured and sick from "non-hostile" causes requiring medical evacuation.

The actual total is well over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, Iraq Coalition Casualties names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq but are not counted by the Pentagon.

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,399 as of May 4, 2010) but rarely mentioning the 31,790 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they almost always ignore the 38,845 (as of April 3, 2010)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,399 reported deaths include 915 (no change this week) who died from those same causes, including at least 207 suicides through April 3, 2010.***

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

Hamas: Egypt Forces Gas, Kill 4 Tunnel Smugglers


Hamas: Egypt Forces Gas, Kill 4 Tunnel Smugglers | CBS News
Egyptian Forces Pumps Gas Into Cross-border Smuggling Tunnel, Killing 4 Palestinians

Egyptian forces pumped gas into a cross-border tunnel used to smuggle goods into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing four Palestinians, Hamas officials said.

Egypt has been under pressure to seal off the hundreds of tunnels that are a key economic lifeline for the blockaded Palestinian territory but which are also used to bring in weapons for the Islamic militant group.

Israel and Egypt have kept Gaza's official border crossings closed since Hamas seized control of the coastal strip in 2007 from forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who now only governs in the West Bank.

A Hamas security official in charge of the tunnel area along the border said the Egyptians filled the passage with some type of crowd dispersal gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his name. Read more.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,121

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,121
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 12 combat casualties in the week ending April 27, 2010* as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,121. The total includes 35,272 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,849 (as of April 3, 2010) dead, injured and sick from "non-hostile" causes requiring medical evacuation.

The actual total is well over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, Iraq Coalition Casualties names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq but are not counted by the Pentagon.

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,397 as of April 27, 2010) but rarely mentioning the 31,790 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they almost always ignore the 38,845 (as of April 3, 2010)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,397 reported deaths include 915 (up three this week) who died from those same causes, including at least 207 suicides through April 3, 2010.***

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,106

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,106
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered eight combat casualties in the week ending April 20, 2010* as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,106. The total includes 35,260 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,846 (as of April 3, 2010) dead, injured and sick from "non-hostile" causes requiring medical evacuation.

The actual total is well over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, Iraq Coalition Casualties names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq but are not counted by the Pentagon.

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,394 as of April 20, 2010) but rarely mentioning the 31,778 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they almost always ignore the 38,845 (as of April 3, 2010)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,394 reported deaths include 912 (no change this week) who died from those same causes, including at least 207 suicides through April 3, 2010.***

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

Fatal Math


Fatal Math
By Missy Comley Beattie

On April 22, 1971, Viet Nam veteran John Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Many of the statements made, then, are painfully pertinent to the situation in which we are criminally involved in AfPak-Iraq, today. Just substitute a few proper nouns and, there, you have it, the grim and undeniable truth.

For example, note these sentences from Kerry:

We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We
saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very
coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American
soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.

Omit “My Lai” and insert any number of atrocities committed during our current war of terror: Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram; the deliberate killing of children; the rapes; and the execrable murder of civilians revealed recently by WikiLeaks. The latter crime is not an isolated incident.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,098

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,098
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered two combat casualties in the week ending April 13, 2010* as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,098. The total includes 35,252 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,846 (as of April 3, 2010) dead, injured and sick from "non-hostile" causes requiring medical evacuation.

The actual total is well over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, Iraq Coalition Casualties names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq but are not counted by the Pentagon.

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,394 as of April 13, 2010) but rarely mentioning the 31,770 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they almost always ignore the 38,845 (as of April 3, 2010)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,394 reported deaths include 912 (up one this week) who died from those same causes, including at least 207 suicides through April 3, 2010.***

Key:
* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

Thought for April 15: More than 53% of Your Tax Payment Goes to the Military

By Dave Lindorff

If you’re like me, now that we’re in the week that federal income taxes are due, you are finally starting to collect your records and prepare for the ordeal. Either way, whether you are a procrastinator like me, or have already finished and know how much you have paid to the government, it is a good time to stop and consider how much of your money goes to pay for our bloated and largely useless and pointless military.

The budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which has to be voted by Congress by this Oct. 1, looks to be about $3 trillion, not counting the funds collected for Social Security (since the Vietnam War, the government has included the Social Security Trust Fund in the budget as a way to make the cost of America’s imperial military adventures seem smaller in comparison to the total cost of government). Meanwhile, the military share of the budget works out to about $1.6 trillion.

FDA, VA Approve Drug Despite Its Link To Soldiers’ Deaths

FDA, VA approve drug despite its link to soldiers’ deaths
By Martha Rosenberg | Nieman Watchdog

Seroquel is a widely-prescribed medication, with almost $5 billion in sales last year. But survivors of dead servicemen, torn and angry, question its use as part of a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sgt. Eric Layne's death was not pretty.

A few months after being prescribed a drug cocktail with the antidepressant Paxil, the mood stabilizer Klonopin and AstraZeneca's controversial antipsychotic drug Seroquel, the Iraq war veteran was "suffering from incontinence, severe depression [and] continuous headaches," according to his widow, Janette Layne, at FDA hearings for new Seroquel approvals last year.

Soon he had tremors. " … [H]is breathing was labored [and] he had developed sleep apnea," said Janette Layne, who served in the National Guard during Operation Iraqi Freedom along with her husband. On the last day of his life, she testified, Eric stayed in the bathroom nearly all night battling acute urinary retention. He died while his family slept.

Sgt. Layne had just returned from a seven-week inpatient program at the VA Medical Center in Cincinnati where he was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A video shot during that time, played by his wife at the FDA hearings, shows a dangerously sedated figure barely able to talk.

Sgt. Layne was not the first healthy veteran to die after being prescribed medical cocktails including Seroquel for PTSD.

In the last two years, Pfc. Derek Johnson, 22, of Hurricane, West Virginia; Cpl. Andrew White, 23, of Cross Lanes, West Virginia; Cpl. Chad Oligschlaeger, 21, of Roundrock, Texas; Cpl. Nicholas Endicott, 24, of Pecks Mill, West Virginia; and Spc. Ken Jacobs, 21, of Walworth, New York, have all died suddenly while taking Seroquel cocktails. Read more.

Massey Energy Bought Workers Comp Insurance Coverage Shortly Before Mine Explosion

By Dave Lindorff

Massey Energy Corp., owner of the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia where at least 25 miners were killed April 5 in a methane gas explosion, apparently arranged for and purchased disability compensation insurance coverage only a month before the disaster, according to one source with inside knowledge about the company’s risk management operations.

Prior to that, the company, known for its aggressive challenges to workers’ comp claims, was self-insured for workers compensation.

Children of Combat-Deployed Parents Show Increased Worries, Even After Parent Returns

ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2010) — The current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in extended and repeated combat-related deployments of U.S. military service members. While much has been reported about the problems, both physical and psychological, many bring back with them, new research out of UCLA shows that the family back home can have issues as well.

The suddenly single parents left at home and their children must quickly adjust to altered family roles and the stress of having a loved one in a distant and dangerous land, in addition to dealing with potential psychological or physical health problems the active-duty parent may have upon their return.

After Combat, Suicide Top Killer of Marines


After combat, suicide top killer of Marines
By Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon | Desert Warrior

According to the latest report released by the Corps, more Marines are killing themselves than die in on- or off-duty accidents, making suicide the second leading cause of death after combat.

In January, seven active duty Marines committed suicide, after a record-high 52 killed themselves in 2009, reported the Corps’ suicide prevention program manager in a February report.

The report also detailed the number of suicide attempts – 164 last year and 20 in January alone.

“The number of Marines who have died by suicide in recent years is shocking and unacceptable,” Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 25.

In contrast, one Marine died in an automobile accident in January and 10 were killed on the battlefield the same month. Read more.

Afghan and Iraqi Civilian Killings Nothing New

Afghan and Iraqi Civilian Killings Nothing New
By Siun | FireDogLake

There are times when I feel that all of the posts I write for FDL are just variations on one story: US forces kill civilians in occupied country. US spinmeisters claim civilians were really “insurgents.” Witnesses speak up or neighbors go to local government to complain. US military quietly backtrack on original story and some officer makes a visit to the scene of the killing, pockets full of condolence cash. Officer pledges that from now on, things will change, more care will be taken – and of course we deeply regret …

And then it happens all over again.

It’s very good to see new attention being paid to civilian casualties as the horrific murders of three Afghan women, two pregnant, comes to light – and the new Wikileaks videos are documenting incidents that passed virtually unnoticed at the time. But these incidents are not unique, not surprising, not news to the people of the countries we occupy. And neither are the “regrets” and promises of more careful behavior to come.

They have seen it all before: Read more.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Jump to 75,095

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Jump to 75,095
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered eight combat casualties in the week ending April 6, 2010* as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 74,791. The total includes 35,250 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,845 (as of April 3, 2010) dead, injured and sick from "non-hostile" causes requiring medical evacuation.

The actual total is well over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, Iraq Coalition Casualties names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq but are not counted by the Pentagon.

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,391 as of April 6, 2010) but rarely mentioning the 31,770 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they almost always ignore the 38,845 (as of April 3, 2010)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,391 reported deaths include 911 (up one this week) who died from those same causes, including at least 207 suicides through April 3, 2010.***

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

Obama’s War: Death to Women and Children, Cover-Ups to Protect the US Killers

By Dave Lindorff

So finally the truth comes out...sort of.

After initially claiming that two pregnant women and a teenage girl killed in a US Special Forces raid on an Afghan home in Khataba in February had been discovered bound and slain by the Americans, the US military has admitted that they were actually shot and killed by those US troops--who then tried to cover up their “mistake” by carving the bullets out of the bodies with knives, removing other incriminating bullets from the compound’s walls, and then washing away the bloody evidence with alcohol.

In this new grisly version of the story issued from the US command in Afghanistan, it was a case of the Special Forces Unit lying to superiors about what had transpired in their botched raid, which also killed an Afghan police commander and a government prosecutor.

Newly Released Documents Reveal Details Of Civilian Casualty Claims In Afghanistan And Iraq


Newly Released Documents Reveal Details Of Civilian Casualty Claims In Afghanistan And Iraq | Press Release
ACLU Releases 13,000 Pages Of Government Files That Underscore Flaws In Compensating Victims' Families

The American Civil Liberties Union today made public more than 13,000 pages of documents regarding reports of civilians killed or injured by Coalition Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The documents include more than 800 claims for damages by the family members of those killed, including many that were denied, and reveal new details about the flaws in the system for compensating victims' families. The ACLU received the records in response to its September 2007 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, which is part of an effort to make more details about the ongoing wars available to the public.

"With more U.S. forces being sent into civilian areas in Afghanistan, it is critical that the American public be informed about what is at stake," said Nasrina Bargzie, cooperating counsel with the ACLU and an attorney at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in Oakland, CA. "These newly released records illustrate that innocent civilian victims and their families are still not being appropriately compensated for their losses. Now that this problem has been brought to light, we hope the Obama administration will be compelled to reform the broken civilian compensation program."

The files made public today comprise over 800 claims for compensation or condolence payments submitted to the U.S. Foreign Claims Commissions and the Commander's Emergency Response Program by surviving family members of Afghan and Iraqi civilians said to have been killed or injured or to have suffered property damages due to actions by Coalition Forces. Many of the claims were denied under the so-called "combat exemption" to the Foreign Claims Act (FCA), which provides that harm inflicted on residents of foreign countries by U.S. soldiers during combat cannot be compensated under the FCA, even if the victims had no involvement whatsoever in the combat. The documents reveal that, due to the claim denials, many innocent civilians were not compensated for their harm or were referred to the Commander's Emergency Response Program for a discretionary condolence payment that is subject to an automatic $2,500 limit per death.

Carrying a Backpack of Sorrow...Soldiers on the Edge of Suicide

Carrying a Backpack of Sorrow ... Soldiers on the Edge of Suicide
By Nadya Williams | Truthout

More of our young soldiers are now killing themselves than are being killed in our wars in the Middle East. The sad statistics are at the end of this article, but the following poem by a 24-year-old former Marine, who slashed his wrists twice after four years of duty and two tours of combat, tells it all.

You fell off the seat as the handlebars turned
sharp left, throwing your body onto
the hot coals of Ramadi pavement,
intertwining your legs within your bicycle.
Lifeless eyes looking to the sky,
your neck muscles twitched turning your head
directly towards us. Nothing escaped your
lips except for the blood in the left corner
of your mouth that briefly moistened them
until the sand and dust dried them out.
The blood trail went behind the stone wall
where your body was placed, weighed down
by your blue bicycle and we laughed.
I used to fall asleep to the pictures and now
I can't even bear to get a glimpse.
-Excerpted from "The Bicycle" by Jon Michael Turner

The military "broke me down into a not-good person, wearing a huge mask," Turner told the audience at his poetry reading in San Francisco's Beat Museum, in North Beach. The March 12 event - on the birthday of "Beatnik" literary icon Jack Kerouac - was organized by the venerable Jack Hirschman, San Francisco's 2006 poet laureate, and by the local IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War). Jon read from his small, self-published book "Eat the Apple" and from several large pages of dark green, handmade paper - the product of The Combat Paper Book Project, where 125 vets, ranging from World War II through Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, shredded their uniforms to make books for their poetry. "Poetry saved my life," Jon told us, more than once.

Portraits Help Bring Closure To Fallen Troops' Loved Ones

Portraits help bring closure to fallen troops' loved ones
By Patrick Oppmann | CNN

For Michael Reagan, the portraits always start the same way.

"I do the eyes first so I get this connection with the face," he said. "I am pretty exhausted after a picture. Just try staring at a photograph for five hours without any distractions."

Reagan, a professional artist for 40 years, is known for his vivid etchings of politicians, celebrities and athletes.

Today, he has a new subject: fallen members of the military.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Jump to 74,791

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Jump to 74,791
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 23 combat casualties in the week ending March 30, 2010* as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 74,791. The total includes 35,242 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 39,549 (as of March 6) dead, injured and sick from "non-hostile" causes requiring medical evacuation.

The actual total is well over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, Iraq Coalition Casualties names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq but are not counted by the Pentagon.

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,390 as of March 30) but rarely mentioning the 31,762 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they almost always ignore the 39,549 (as of March 6)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,390 reported deaths include 910 (no change this week) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 204 suicides through March 6.***

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

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