Friday, March 14, 2008


The mainstream media has turned their backs on coverage of the Iraq Veterans Against the War testimony before Congress yesterday, today and Saturday, but we have obtained a video of the coverage.

Click here to see and hear Iraq veterans talk about what they saw with their own eyes when they were in Iraq.

Warning: It is very graphic and the Iraq war veterans don't hold anything back in telling members of Congress about the atrocities they saw committed by U.S. troops in Iraq against innocent Iraqi citizens.

Judging by the "hits" to this blog in the past two days, there are hundreds if not thousands of Americans who would like to know what the Iraq Veterans Against the War are testifying about in Washington, D.C.

Incidentally, the Iraq Veterans Against the War web site has been overwhelmed with traffic and at times has had to shut down due to the volume.

There is hope Americans still care about what is happening to our troops and judging by the "hits" to my blog there are plenty of Americans who care about our troops and what happened when they were deployed to Iraq.


The killings, violence and mayhem continue in Baghdad and all across Iraq. The latest fatality was the coach of one of the most popular football teams in Baghdad. He was gunned down in front of his house in Baghdad.

Elsewhere in Baghdad and across Iraq the following took place Friday.

Baghdad:#1: A group of armed men gunned down al-Karkh club's football coach, Munther Khalaf, a former international player, in front of his home in al-Yarmuk, Baghdad, a source from the club said. Khalaf received several bullets in his abdomen. He passed away on Friday morning from the wounds he had sustained in Thursday's attack," Saleh Hamid, al-Karkh club board member, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq. Meanwhile, a physician said that Khalaf was "in a very critical condition because he bled profusely after one of his two kidneys received more than one bullet.

#2: An improvised explosive device went off near a U.S. army convoy on the main street linking the southern Baghdad suburbs of al-Dora and al-Jadiriya on Friday, an Iraqi police source said. "An IED planted by unidentified gunmen went off on Friday morning near a U.S. army convoy, setting one of the U.S. military vehicles ablaze," the source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#3: Five Katyusha missiles landed on a U.S. army base in al-Dora district, southern Baghdad, on Friday, an Iraqi police source said. "Unidentified gunmen fired five Katyusha missiles at the U.S. base of al-Saqr in al-Dora, but no information could be reached on possible casualties due to the security siege imposed by U.S. forces around its bases," the source, who did not want his identity revealed, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI). "Plumes of smoke were seen rising from within the base," the source added.

#4: U.S. soldiers killed two suspected al Qaeda militants and arrested 24 others during operations in central and northern Iraq on Wednesday and Thursday, the U.S. military said.Najaf:#1: Gunmen killed a policeman on Thursday in a drive-by shooting outside his house in northern Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said

Kut:#1: One person was killed and six wounded when a bomb on a parked motorcycle exploded near a municipal council building some 50 km (30 miles) south of Baghdad.#2: 11 Katyusha rockets launched by gunmen hit several neighbourhoods in Kut, amongst which are Haideriyah and al-Shuhadaa, killing 2 civilians, injuring 4 and burning 2 civilian cars. The rockets were most probably aimed at the security forces’ bases near by, but incompetence and lack of experience on part of the gunmen caused the rockets to hit residential neighbourhoods instead, said Iraqi Police.

Suweira:#1: Two civilians were killed and four more were injured on Friday by unknown gunmen in north of Wassit, a police source said.“Unidentified gunmen killed two civilians and injured four in al-Radisiya region, north of al-Suwiera,” the source, who asked for anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

Samarra:#1: A 15 year-old girl was killed on Thursday when police opened fire on her family's car when it failed to stop at a checkpoint in Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police and hospital officials said.

Ninewa Prv:#1: A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt attacked the border checkpoint of Rubaiaa, 120 km west of Mosul, on Friday but the casualties could not be known so far, a security source in the Ninewa police said. "The U.S. forces imposed a security cordon on the area and no word yet about casualties," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq.

Mosul:#1: Two explosive vehicles driven by suicide bombers went off successively on Friday noon near an Iraqi army checkpoint in Sinaat Wadi Akkab area, western Mosul, leaving three soldiers killed and 10 others, including five civilians near the blast site, wounded," Brig. Khaled Abdul-Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.#2: The incident was followed by clashes between gunmen and security forces that were still going on as of Friday afternoon.

Afghanistan:#1: Afghan and foreign troops clashed with Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan on Friday, leaving three suspected militants dead and two wounded, an official said.Militants ambushed the security forces in Zabul province before troops returned fire, said district chief Mohammad Younus Akhunzada. No troops were hurt but a police vehicle was damaged


The Department of Defense (DoD) has released the names and hometowns of four more U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. There are nine more U.S. deaths in the past two days waiting confirmation by the DoD.

President Bush, Vice President Cheney and FOX NEWS continue to mislead the American public that all if going well in Iraq.


U.S. Deaths Confirmed By The DoD:
Reported U.S. Deaths Pending DoD Confirmation:

DoD Confirmation List

03/13/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (3 of 3)
Sgt. Phillip R. Anderson, 28, of Everett, Wash...assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas...died Mar. 10 in Balad Ruz, Iraq, of wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

03/13/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 3)
Spc. Donald A. Burkett, 24, of Comanche, Texas...assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas...died Mar. 10 in Balad Ruz, Iraq, of wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

03/13/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 3)
Capt. Torre R. Mallard, 27, of Oklahoma...assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas...died Mar. 10 in Balad Ruz, Iraq, of wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

03/13/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Cpl. Jose A. Paniagua-Morales, 22, of Bell Gardens, Calif., died March 7 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered in Samarra, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment...


There are many signs the United States is preparing for war with Iran. The resignation/firing of Admiral William Fallon, who was head of CentCom and opposed "the surge" in Iraq, is just one of them.

The constant saber-rattling of President Bush and Vice President Cheney is another, and then, of course, there is the Bush White House propaganda machine, FOX News, which keeps bringing up reason why the U.S. should go to war with Iran.

Published on Thursday, March 13, 2008 by US News & World Report

6 Signs The US May Be Headed for War in Iran
by Terry Atlas

Is the United States moving toward military action with Iran?

The resignation of the top U.S. military commander for the Middle East is setting off alarms that the Bush administration is intent on using military force to stop Iran’s moves toward gaining nuclear weapons. In announcing his sudden resignation today following a report on his views in Esquire, Adm. William Fallon didn’t directly deny that he differs with President Bush over at least aspects of the president’s policy on Iran. For his part, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it is “ridiculous” to think that the departure of Fallon — whose Central Command has been working on contingency plans for strikes on Iran as well as overseeing Iraq — signals that the United States is planning to go to war with Iran.

Fallon’s resignation, ending a 41-year Navy career, has reignited the buzz of speculation over what the Bush administration intends to do given that its troubled, sluggish diplomatic effort has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear advances. Those activities include the advancing process of uranium enrichment, a key step to producing the material necessary to fuel a bomb, though the Iranians assert the work is to produce nuclear fuel for civilian power reactors not weapons.
Here are six developments that may have Iran as a common thread. And, if it comes to war, they may be seen as clues as to what was planned. None of them is conclusive, and each has a credible non-Iran related explanation:

1. Fallon’s resignation: With the Army fully engaged in Iraq, much of the contingency planning for possible military action has fallen to the Navy, which has looked at the use of carrier-based warplanes and sea-launched missiles as the weapons to destroy Iran’s air defenses and nuclear infrastructure. Centcom commands the U.S. naval forces in and near the Persian Gulf. In the aftermath of the problems with the Iraq war, there has been much discussion within the military that senior military officers should have resigned at the time when they disagreed with the White House.
2. Vice President Cheney’s peace trip: Cheney, who is seen as a leading hawk on Iran, is going on what is described as a Mideast trip to try to give a boost to stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But he has also scheduled two other stops: One, Oman, is a key military ally and logistics hub for military operations in the Persian Gulf. It also faces Iran across the narrow, vital Strait of Hormuz, the vulnerable oil transit chokepoint into and out of the Persian Gulf that Iran has threatened to blockade in the event of war. Cheney is also going to Saudi Arabia, whose support would be sought before any military action given its ability to increase oil supplies if Iran’s oil is cutoff. Back in March 2002, Cheney made a high-profile Mideast trip to Saudi Arabia and other nations that officials said at the time was about diplomacy toward Iraq and not war, which began a year later.

3. Israeli airstrike on Syria: Israel’s airstrike deep in Syria last October was reported to have targeted a nuclear-related facility, but details have remained sketchy and some experts have been skeptical that Syria had a covert nuclear program. An alternative scenario floating in Israel and Lebanon is that the real purpose of the strike was to force Syria to switch on the targeting electronics for newly received Russian anti-aircraft defenses. The location of the strike is seen as on a likely flight path to Iran (also crossing the friendly Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq), and knowing the electronic signatures of the defensive systems is necessary to reduce the risks for warplanes heading to targets in Iran.
4. Warships off Lebanon: Two U.S. warships took up positions off Lebanon earlier this month, replacing the USS Cole. The deployment was said to signal U.S. concern over the political stalemate in Lebanon and the influence of Syria in that country. But the United States also would want its warships in the eastern Mediterranean in the event of military action against Iran to keep Iranian ally Syria in check and to help provide air cover to Israel against Iranian missile reprisals. One of the newly deployed ships, the USS Ross, is an Aegis guided missile destroyer, a top system to defense against air attacks.

5. Israeli comments: Israeli President Shimon Peres said earlier this month that Israel will not consider unilateral action to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. In the past, though, Israeli officials have quite consistently said they were prepared to act alone — if that becomes necessary — to ensure that Iran does not cross a nuclear weapons threshold. Was Peres speaking for himself, or has President Bush given the Israeli an assurance that they won’t have to act alone?
6.Israel’s war with Hezbollah: While this seems a bit old, Israel’s July 2006 war in Lebanon against Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces was seen at the time as a step that Israel would want to take if it anticipated a clash with Iran. The radical Shiite group is seen not only as a threat on it own but also as a possible Iranian surrogate force in the event of war with Iran. So it was important for Israel to push Hezbollah forces back from their positions on Lebanon’s border with Israel and to do enough damage to Hezbollah’s Iranian-supplied arsenals to reduce its capabilities. Since then, Hezbollah has been able to rearm, though a United Nations force polices a border area buffer zone in southern Lebanon.

Defense Secretary Gates said that Fallon, 63, asked for permission to retire. Gates said the decision, effective March 31, was entirely Fallon’s and that Gates believed it was “the right thing to do.” In Esquire, an article on Fallon portrayed him as opposed to President Bush’s Iran policy and said he was a lone voice against taking military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program. In his statement, Fallon said he agreed with the president’s “policy objectives” but was silent on whether he opposed aspects of the president’s plans. “Recent press reports suggesting a disconnect between my views and the president’s policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time and hamper efforts in the Centcom region,” Fallon, said in the statement issued by Centcom headquarters in Tampa, Fla.

“And although I don’t believe there have ever been any differences about the objectives of our policy in the Central Command area of responsibility, the simple perception that there is makes it difficult for me to effectively serve America’s interests there,” he said. Gates announced that Fallon’s top deputy, Army Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, will take over temporarily when Fallon leaves. A permanent successor, requiring nomination by the president and confirmation by the Senate, might not be designated in the near term.


When is the Bush administration and their puppet mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, going to stop LYING to the American public about how well things are going in Iraq?

There was another twin car bombing in Iraq on Friday morning that killed three Iraqi service personnel and left 13 people injured.

Twin car bombing leaves 13 casualties

Ninewa - Voices of Iraq
Friday , 14 /03 /2008 Time 3:57:43

Ninewa, Mar 14, (VOI) – Three Iraqi army servicemen were killed and 10 others, including civilians, wounded in two successive car bombing attacks in western Mosul, on Friday, the official spokesman for the Ninewa operations command said.

"Two explosive vehicles driven by suicide bombers went off successively on Friday noon near an Iraqi army checkpoint in Sinaat Wadi Akkab area, western Mosul, leaving three soldiers killed and 10 others, including five civilians near the blast site, wounded," Brig. Khaled Abdul-Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI)."Three civilian vehicles were also damaged in the explosions," the source said, not giving more details.Mosul, the capital of Ninewa, lies 405 km north of Baghdad.


The United States of America has sent young men and women off to war in Iraq and Afghanistan without looking ahead to the mental illness they will sustain and without any way of treating the mental illness suffered by the combat troops.

The ARMY has now confirmed one out of every three returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be suffering from mental illness and the Veterans Administration is not prepared to handle the cases of PTSD.

Military Stigmas Treat War Trauma as Admission of Weakness

By Penny Coleman, AlterNetPosted on March 14, 2008, Printed on March 14, 2008

The seven qualities of leadership itemized in Army Field Manual (FM) 22-100 are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Nowhere in that list is there any reference to heartlessness, lack of compassion and a cavalier disregard for the well being of one's troops. And there is certainly no reference to posturing, denial or dissembling. Leading by example trumps mindless stoicism every time.

Back in 1974, when Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer, mastectomy was still considered a taboo topic, too shameful and frightening to be openly discussed. "Too many women are so afraid of breast cancer," she told a gathering of the American Cancer Society, "that they endanger their lives. These fears of being 'less' of a woman are very real, and it is very important to talk about the emotional side effects honestly. They must come out into the open."
Ford's courageous decision to use her position as First Lady to set a visible example for other women made a significant impact on public attitudes. According to the New York Times, "Within weeks, thousands of women who had been reluctant to examine their breasts inundated cancer screening centers. One of those following Mrs. Ford's example was Happy Rockefeller, the wife of the Vice President, Nelson A. Rockefeller. She, too, had breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. Mrs. Rockefeller and many others said Mrs. Ford's example gave them the courage to discuss their experiences openly."

Researchers have since dubbed that phenomenon the "Katie Couric Effect" in honor of the co-anchor of NBC's "Today Show" who, in March 2000, underwent a colonoscopy on live TV. Couric, who lost her husband to colorectal cancer in 1998, decided to undergo the procedure on-air to "further the science being done on all aspects of colon cancer and increas(e) awareness about the critical role screening plays in combating the nation's number two cancer killer." According to Mark Fendrick, one of a team of University of Michigan doctors who studied the public response to the Couric demonstration, in the days and months following, the number of Americans who signed up for the exam rose by more than 20 percent. "This test," said Fredrick, "which requires healthy people to undergo an invasive, uncomfortable and often embarrassing exam, especially needed a celebrity advocate to reduce the stigma and fear, and thereby increase participation."

Interesting. A celebrity advocate to reduce stigma and fear.

In our military today, the stigma and fear that attach to post-traumatic stress injuries is a contributing factor to the current epidemic of suicides among American soldiers and veterans, 120 a week according to the recent study by CBS news. The stigma attaches to any admission of weakness, especially weakness of mind. The fear is of being shunned, shamed, punished or encumbered by a health record that might compromise future employment options. That stigma and fear might be profoundly challenged by an officer willing to go public with his -- and I use the male pronoun intentionally -- post-traumatic stress.

The need for service members to forego notions of manliness intrinsic to traditional military culture, to "come out of the closet" as it were, was raised poignantly by Mike Bowman, the father of Tim Bowman, when he testified before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs in December. Tim, a Specialist in the Illinois National Guard, suffered from post-traumatic stress and took his own life after returning from Iraq.

Bowman made the point that, like most of the rest of the guys in his unit, Tim refused to go to the VA for help when his symptoms became invasive. Instead, they seek "counseling of some form or another -- privately - away from the military, away from the V.A., some as far as 100 miles away from home, to make sure that that information does not get back to their unit." In his statement, Bowman emphasized the courage and clarity evidenced by a soldier admitting a psychic injury. Instead of punishing or decrying such a soldier, Bowman insisted, "Grab that soldier and thank him for saying, 'I'm not OK,' and promote him. A soldier that admits a mental injury should be the first guy you want to have in your unit because he may be the only one that really has a grasp on reality."

Unfortunately, a soldier who has such a grasp on reality, a soldier who has the insight and education to understand that his or her ability to function reliably in a combat situation is compromised, currently faces a very different scenario, in which the convenience and judgment of commanding officers are prioritized. As of December 2006, new Pentagon guidelines give commanders the right to decide whether or not a soldier with a "psychiatric disorder in remission, or whose residual symptoms do not impair duty performance" may be sent back to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Aside from the obvious question of commanders' qualifications to make decisions about the mental health of the soldiers in their charge, there is something truly insidious lurking behind the new guidelines. According to Dr. Katherine Scheirman, a retired Air Force colonel who served as chief of medical operations in the Air Force's European headquarters from July 2004 to September 2006, a medical discharge can take months, sometimes longer, and all the while the commander is stuck with an undeployable soldier. An administrative separation usually takes a few weeks, at most. So commanders have a choice. They "can send him to the hospital and say, 'Hey, this guy isn't able to do his work. Would you look at him for PTSD?' Or they can just kick the guy out. If you kick the guy out, you'll get somebody to replace him. So that's the incentive for the commanders."

That incentive conveniently merges with beliefs of the many "traditional" officers who continue to insist that PTSD is just an excuse for cowardice, weakness, or the old stand-by, malingering. "I've never had a guy in my unit develop PTSD," one senior general from Iraq recently told CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier. "It's nonsense." Such Neanderthal attitudes are encouraged by a cabal of conservative culture warriors in Congress who believe that PTSD is faux science, touted only by a bunch of anti-war activists to justify their liberal politics. And they are using that reasoning to justify this administration's astonishingly callous health care policies for active and veteran service members.

According to the Army's own studies, one in three soldiers will return from Iraq with significant mental health problems. Like Tim Bowman, far too many are still ashamed to ask for the help they need and, if the CBS report is read as a cautionary tale, far too many will end up as suicides. The lives and futures of every soldier who might be moved by example, who might be saved by the "Couric Effect," should be reason enough for senior officers to finally and definitively disown the stubborn machismo that sustains the stigma, and visibly demonstrate their belief that post-traumatic injuries are not a sign of weakness or cowardice. Such injuries cannot and should not be sucked up. Even by the manliest. Where are they?

I call on our generals and other senior officers to lead by example. And lest your mottos take on a hollow tone: "Leave no man behind." "Be all you can be." "Do Something Amazing. Aim High." "Honor. Courage. Commitment." And "Semper Fi."

Penny Coleman is the widow of a Vietnam Veteran who took his own life after coming home. Her latest book, Flashback: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide and the Lessons of War, was released on Memorial Day, 2006. Her blog is Flashback.


Is there anyone in their right mind who believes anyone in the Bush administration anymore after they lied to the American public about the reasons for going to war with Iraq?

Now, the same Bush administration, only this time through Defense Secretary Robert Gates, are saying the resignation of U.S. Navy Admiral William Fallon, who had been in charge of Centcom, does not signal we are going to war with Iran.

As the proverbial saying goes, if you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you.

Every single indicator is pointing to war with Iran around or right after Labor Day. Just in time to influence the upcoming Presidential election.

The Bush administration has ALWAYS used the U.S. military as pawns in their political chess game and there is no reason to believe they would change their game plan now.

Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE

U.S.: Resignation doesn't mean Iran war

Story Highlights
Pentagon: Resignation of Mideast military chief does not mean war with Iran
Esquire magazine portrayed Adm. William Fallon as resisting pressure for war
Fallon had said U.S. must exhaust diplomatic options in disputes with Iran
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he accepts the resignation with regret

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has dismissed as "ridiculous" any suggestion that the resignation of America's military chief in the Middle East signals the United States is planning to go to war with Iran.

Adm. William Fallon resigned Tuesday as chief of U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia after just a year in the post, citing what he called an inaccurate perception that he is at odds with the Bush administration over Iran.

Fallon, the head of U.S. Central Command, was the subject of a recent Esquire magazine profile that portrayed him as resisting pressure for military action against Iran, which the Bush administration accuses of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

In a written statement, Fallon said the article's "disrespect for the president" and "resulting embarrassment" had become a distraction. Watch why some believe Fallon was forced to resign »
"Although I don't believe there have ever been any differences about the objectives of our policy in the Central Command area of responsibility, the simple perception that there is makes it difficult for me to effectively serve America's interests there," Fallon said.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Gates told reporters at the Pentagon he accepted Fallon's resignation "with reluctance and regret."

But, he added, "I think it's the right decision."

"Admiral Fallon reached this difficult decision entirely on his own. I believe it was the right thing to do, even though I do not believe there are in fact significant differences between his views and administration policy," Gates said.