Monday, July 7, 2008


The mainstream media in the United States, and especially the Bush White House propaganda machine FOX NEWS, wants you to think the war has ended in Iraq or is close to ending.




This story from the ARMY TIMES is a must read for anyone interested in what our troops go through in Iraq.

Pfc. puts life in shambles by taking war spoils

By Billy Cox - Special to the TimesPosted :

Monday Jul 7, 2008 12:37:38 EDT

SARASOTA, Fla. — After nearly three weeks of desert combat and enough death to jangle his brain for a lifetime, Pfc. Earl Coffey arrived in Baghdad in April 2003 thinking he had discovered an oasis.

It was Palace Row, one of the most exclusive tracts of real estate in Iraq, and not even major bomb damage could dim the luster of a tyrant’s decadence. Coffey was among the first U.S. troops to secure Saddam Hussein’s inner sanctum, the postwar “Green Zone” now hosting diplomats and government authorities. Its allure was intoxicating.

Coffey recalled his awe at seeing gold-rimmed toilet seats, 30-foot wide chandeliers, and Swarovski crystal collections. Over the next few days, he sampled one revelation after another: the Dom Perignon champagne, the Monte Cristo Cuban cigars, even the lion’s roar of captive pet carnivores.

He watched as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle rammed and collapsed the wall of a windowless bunker just outside Saddam’s palace. The building concealed bundles of U.S. currency stacked floor-to-ceiling and wrapped in binding that read “Bank of America.”

To a man who had grown up in the bleak shadows of Kentucky’s coal mines, staring down all that money “was like hitting the lottery,” Coffey said.

His career was about to drown in a flood of American dollars.

The family business
Today, adrift and troubled in Sarasota, the 34-year-old is worlds away from what he once was — a trained sniper who took his first shot with a .22-caliber rifle his father gave him when he was 7 or 8 years old in rural Harlan County. At first, he practiced on tin can lids nailed to a fence post 80 yards away. When that got too easy, he began targeting the nails. And other things.
“I could shoot the fire off cigarettes from 40 to 50 yards,” he said. “I could shoot the head off a match.”

Coffey had other interests, like football. He played linebacker and tailback at tiny Everts High School. But looking back, he said his course was set the first time he picked up a gun. His father was a Vietnam veteran; his grandfather survived World War II.

“I wanted to go to the Army,” he said. “It was an honorable profession.”
So he volunteered at age 17. Duty sent the small-town boy around the world: Kuwait, Germany, Scotland, Curacao, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, the Azores.

Still a teenager, Coffey found himself in Mogadishu pr
oviding cover fire during the bloody “Black Hawk Down” street battles in 1993. “None of us thought we were coming out alive,” he said.

Using a .50-caliber sniper rifle, he and a spotter stalked targets from as far away as three-quarters of a mile. By then, Coffey had become a deadly expert, with enough experience to have his own theory on how quickly his targets would die.

“It’s all according to how full of rage or how full of energy they are,” he said.
A normal man dies instantly. In Mogadishu; he shot a man standing on a balcony 960 meters away.

“I hit him right above the eye,” Coffey said. “But he walked a good 15 feet before he finally went down.”

At age 19, this son of a coal miner and truck driver had come a long way from home and a childhood spent, for a while, without indoor plumbing.

“We had an outhouse,” Coffey said. “I remember packing water from natural springs way down at the end of the road. Our bath was a galvanized metal tub.”

Continue reading this story here:


Relative Calm in Iraq Ends as Attacks Take 16 Lives

Iraqi police officers pass U.S. troops at the site of a Baghdad car bombing. (By Karim Kadim -- Associated Press)

By Zaid SabahWashington Post Foreign Service

Monday, July 7, 2008; Page A10

BAGHDAD, July 6 -- A wave of attacks in Baghdad and areas north of the capital Sunday shattered a relative lull in violence, killing 16 people and injuring 15 a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared that Iraq's government had defeated terrorism.


The Bush administration has long opposed any timetable for a troop withdrawal from Iraq, but Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants to set a timetable for U.S. troops to leave Iraq.

How are the Bush administration and FOX NEWS going to "spin" this news?

Iraq's Maliki Suggests Setting Timetable for U.S. WithdrawalU.S. Has Consistently Opposed

Establishing Timeline for Troop Drawdown

By Sudarsan RaghavanWashington Post Foreign Service
Monday, July 7, 2008; 1:22 PM

BAGHDAD, July 7 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has for the first time suggested establishing a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, a step that the Bush administration has long opposed.

Maliki floated the idea on Monday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he spoke with Arab ambassadors about a security pact being negotiated to determine the future role of U.S. troops in Iraq. The agreement would replace a U.N. mandate authorizing the presence of the troops, which is set to expire Dec. 31.

Maliki said that Iraq has proposed a short-term memorandum of understanding with the United States instead of trying to forge a longer term pact on an issue that has spawned opposition across Iraq's political divides.

"The current trend is to reach an agreement on a memorandum of understanding either for the departure of the forces or a memorandum of understanding to put a timetable on their withdrawal," Maliki said, according to a statement released Monday by his office that did not specify how long a period a memorandum would cover. "In all cases, the basis for any agreement will be respect for the full sovereignty of Iraq."


Lori Price and her excellent Citizens for a Legitimate Government site provided us with this breaking news out of Iraq and Afghanistan which is more proof that FRED BARNES and BILL KRYSTOL of FOX NEWS are lying to the American public.

Car bomb kills six people in Baghdad 06 Jul 2008 Six people have been killed and 14 injured in a car bombing in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Officials say the bomb went off in a mainly Shia district in the north-east of the city. Reports say the attack targeted a police patrol car.

Suicide Car Bomb Hits Afghan Capital 07 Jul 2008 A suicide car bomb exploded outside the Indian Embassy in central Kabul on Monday, killing 28 people and wounding 141, officials said. The massive bomb exploded near a row of metal turnstiles outside the embassy, where dozens of Afghan men line up every morning to apply for visas. The embassy is located on a busy, tree-lined street near Afghanistan's Interior Ministry in the city center.

20 die in coalition missile strike in Afghanistan 06 Jul 2008 At least 20 people have been killed in a missile strike by 'coalition' forces in Afghanistan. Local people say that the group was a wedding party, and most of the dead are said to be women and children. However the US has said that those killed were militants involved in previous mortar attacks on a NATO base. [Yeah, the bride was a busy little bee in June. You know, planning her wedding, planning mortar attacks....]


FRED BARNES, and BILL KRYSTOL where guests on FOX NEWS SUNDAY and without batting an eye both of them claimed the mlitary victory by U.S. forces in Iraq will go down in history as one of the greatest military victories in the last 50 years of American troops engage in combat overseas.

It is obvious that neither BARNES or KRYSTOL know how to read or they would have known the following:

Sunday: 1 US Soldier, 26 Iraqis Killed; 43 Iraqis Wounded

Updated at 12:10 a.m. EDT, July 7, 2008

The workweek in Iraq began with several deadly attacks. At least 26 Iraqis were killed 43 more were wounded across the country. The biggest attacks were in Baghdad and Jalawla. Meanwhile, an American soldier died of non-combat related causes.

In Baghdad, six people were killed and 14 more were wounded when a car bomb blew up in Shabb; a second car bomb was defused at that spot. This was the third attack in four days near the Yarmuk Hospital A separate car bomb wounded five in Jamiya; the injured may have been policemen defusing a bomb.

Also, three security personnel were wounded during operations, and two dumped bodies were found.

Several neighborhoods in Sadr City were cordoned off after clashes that occurred overnight. The arrest of a Sadrist official set off the confrontations. No casualties were reported.

Seven relatives were killed when a roadside bomb blasted the family of a local Kurdish official in Jalawla. The official and as many as 11 others were wounded. Some sources later reported that the official died as well.

One Iraqi soldier was killed and four others were wounded during an IED attack in Kanaan.
Clashes between Awakening Council (Sahwa) members and Iraqi army troops in Baquba left
two dead civilians.

A roadside bombing in Haswa killed one person and wounded another.

An Iraqi merchant was killed in Kut. The man held U.S. nationality and had arrived recently.
female body bearing gunshot and torture marks was found in Mussayab.

Two schoolgirls were kidnapped in Talkif, a predominantly Christian unaccustomed to violence.
In Kirkuk, 20 gunmen
turned themselves over to police. A "key" al-Qaeda leader was captured. Four Iraqi policemen were injured during a roadside bombing.

A bomb was placed on a car belonging to the head of a Sahwa council in Iskandariya.
He was killed shortly after meeting with U.S. forces.

Gun released six captives in Khanaqin after negotiations with relatives.

In Zubayr, one child was killed and another was injured in a landmine blast. The landmine is believed to date from the Saddam era. Officials estimate that Iraq has 4000 landmine fields within its borders. That is 25% of the total number of mines worldwide.

A civilian was shot and killed in Mosul.

Gunmen killed an Iraqi army officer on his way home to Dhuluiya. Two suspects were arrested.

So FRED BARNES and BILL KRYSTOL of FOX NEWS are LYING through their teeth when they say everything is wonderful in Iraq.


Echoes of Vietnam: VA Stalls, Dissembles While Vets Suffer and Die

By Penny Coleman, AlterNetPosted on July 4, 2008, Printed on July 6, 2008

On June 10, U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs back into court. Conti is presiding over a lawsuit brought by veterans against the VA, charging the agency with systematically denying veterans the services and support they so desperately need. Conti demanded that the VA explain why it had failed to produce certain critical (and incriminating) documents.

Among those documents was an e-mail written by the now-infamous Norma Perez. It read: "Given that we have more and more compensation-seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out. Consider a diagnosis of adjustment disorder, R/O [ruling out] PTSD."

Bob Filner, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said it was inconceivable that a low-level staffer like Perez could have written such an e-mail on her own authority. Barack Obama called it "unacceptable" and "tantamount to fraud." John McCain called it "not too important."

Lost somehow in the high-decibel rhetoric of the moment is a historical dimension of this story that I think deserves some attention. This is not the first time the VA has acted as adversary rather than advocate. Thirty years ago, almost to the day, Max Cleland, then head of the VA, circulated an equally directive memo to his staff that read:

In view of the remaining uncertainties on the long-term effects of the defoliants, all VA personnel should avoid premature commitment to any diagnosis of defoliant poisoning. Similarly, entries in medical records should not contain statements about the relationship between a veteran's illnesses and defoliant exposure unless unequivocal confirmation of such a connection has been established.

(The defoliants Cleland refers to were Agent Orange and other dioxin-based chemicals the United States sprayed over Vietnam.)

In the meantime, Cleland instructed VA staff to deny all Agent Orange claims. He also refused to undertake any kind of epidemiological study because, he claimed, the necessary outreach to veterans would only cause them "needless anxiety."

Then, as now, veterans' "anxiety" was a hot topic at the VA. In testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in February 1980, Cleland justified the agency's practice of first, and often exclusively, giving veterans with dioxin-related symptoms psychiatric exams. Obviously, he explained to the committee, if "in FY 1979, 46 percent (of veterans) had received care for psychiatric disorders," that proved, ipso facto, that psychiatric care was what they needed. They were suffering from "post-Vietnam syndrome." All their symptoms were in their heads. Veterans tried to sue the VA over its "no health effects" policy, but the agency took the rather astonishing position that veterans had "no standing" to challenge the policies. They were allowed to sue the chemical manufacturers, but not the U.S. government, the entity that bought the poison and ordered it spread -- in concentrations four times that recommended for civilian use and with total disregard for the health and safety of its own soldiers and Vietnamese citizens. Veterans' lawyers suggested that the VA's position would lead "to a government of men, not law."

A prescient observation.
In a manner usually associated with totalitarian regimes, veterans were called "crazy" and thus dismissed, stigmatized and silenced. Paul Reutershan, who courageously initiated the class-action lawsuit against the chemical companies in 1978, told a television audience at the time, "My government killed me in Vietnam, and I didn't even know it." Five months later, Reutershan was permanently silenced when he died of his illnesses. The longer the VA stalled, the more veterans died.

Reutershan was not, however, the original whistleblower. In 1977, Maude DeVictor, a VA caseworker in Chicago, began to notice a pattern of unusual birth defects in Vietnam veterans' children. She began to keep a log of these cases, at least initially with her supervisors' permission, accumulating a devastating, if circumstantial, body of evidence suggesting a strong link to dioxin poisoning. Suddenly, without explanation, her boss ordered her to stop. DeVictor decided to go to the media. On March 23, 1978, WBBM, the CBS television affiliate in Chicago, aired an hourlong documentary on the health effects of Agent Orange, including interviews with veterans and scientists. DeVictor was fired from her job and banned from full-time government work.

Which brings us back to today.
Veterans for Common Sense, one of the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit, called Judge Conti's recent ruling "an important victory for veterans." And I suppose that it might be, if the VA can be forced to start doing its job. After seven years of preposterous, viciously cruel and far-too-often lethal gamesmanship, it would feel good to see the bad guys slapped around -- even just a little bit. And the fallout from such a court order, if one could be made binding, would certainly ease the betrayal and perhaps even the suffering of veterans. It might also help convince Americans that our big-stick militarism is a far more expensive solution to our international problems than they have been led to believe.

But what has really changed?
I find it deeply ironic that the very physical effects of dioxin were once dismissed as merely psychological, not compensable service-connected injuries. With the inclusion of posttraumatic stress disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, such psychic injuries are acknowledged, yet the VA is still using the same tools of denial and obfuscation to refuse treatment to injured vets. The agency has proven itself over time to be far more committed to protecting the bottom line for "a government of men" than to protecting its rightful charges. Perhaps if the agency were no longer the fiefdom of political appointees, its policies would not be so predictably callous and politically expedient.
And where are the Maude DeVictors in this generation's VA? How is it that policies are set and directives come down from above, stinking of injustice, and yet a staff that, at least in my experience, is largely made up of honorable, compassionate professionals carries them out without protest? Since this generation of soldiers began coming home, psychically injured in numbers never seen (or acknowledged?) before, a steadily increasing number of reports accuses the agency of everything from indifference to gross medical malfeasance. That's corporate for "murder." The VA may be tantamount to a corporation, but those who individually carry out those policies and directives have also chosen. Like Maude DeVictor, they could have said no.
On the entrance to the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs is a metal plaque that bears these words, taken from Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address: "To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan."
That plaque is an affront and an offense to those who have been so heartlessly treated, and someone should order it taken down. Or, maybe it's time to take matters into our own hands. Maybe, to paraphrase Abbie Hoffman, it's time to steal this plaque.

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 website is Flashback.