Getting Internet

Through some negotiations, the battalion was granted a waiver allowing the purchase of commercial Internet access. The largest concession made was for the battalion to observe the electronic blackout periods required to maintain Operational Security (OPSEC). We are now allowed to purchase a system for use in our personal living space.

The biggest issue with personal Internet access is the price. According to estimates, it will cost participants between $150 and $210 per person, per quarter. It should be worth the money to access Skype or instant-message loved ones. But speed will be an issue. At some point, a large number of participants may make the service too slow. But, for now, I am sure people will enjoy the opportunity to see and hear their loved ones at a moment's notice.

By Bert Stover |  June 15, 2006; 8:05 AM ET  | Category:  Al Taqaddum, Iraq
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Posted by: L | June 15, 2006 08:32 AM

Hi Bert,

I hope you get it! My sweetie, at Al Asad, put his money in about two months ago and still hasn't seen the internet. They keep telling him they will get it in a month and that was two months ago. He refuses to stand in line any more to use the one in the Internet Cafe for 30 min. but he does manage to call me pretty much daily if there isn't a blackout. I will be so happy when he finally does get it. At least then I can just email him a quick note if I don't hear from him, know he'll get it and know I'm thinking of him.

Good Luck luck and hang in there!!

Posted by: Cali-Girl | June 15, 2006 09:26 AM

Bert, we'd love to hear to whom this money goes to... who provides the service (your ISP).

Seems like an awful lot of money per person for the service, and war zones, i imagine, are prime places for some to earn obscene profits

stay safe (and in touch)

Posted by: dave | June 15, 2006 09:27 AM

It's a venerable American tradition to profit off of war. In the civil war it was rotten meat,useless boots, and inoperative weapons. In Iraq, the theft and profiteering is off the charts, led by Cheney's partners at Halliburton, KB&J, and of course by the gasoline profiteers and the "security contractors" engaged in the BUSINESS of war. The internet scam sounds familiar. Of course the entire Iraqi enterprise is criminal anyway, as a blatant grab for petroleum couched in a series of preposterous lies. I hope that no more Americans or Iraqis have to die for the gang whose brilliant idea this was.

Posted by: Come home soon | June 15, 2006 09:46 AM

NEVER support an unprovoked big power attack against a smaller, weaker, poorer country. NEVER. Such attacks are ALWAYS criminal. The people back home are ALWAYS fed a pack of red meat lies to justify the crime. Don't believe the hype.

Posted by: not brain dead | June 15, 2006 09:50 AM

Good deal Bert, I hope it works out. See Ya

Posted by: CW2 Hill | June 15, 2006 10:00 AM

Bert, Can you say hi to Derrick Kanouse from Bill Chmelir. He and I went through WOCS, Primary and Instuments together at Rucker. I hope that both you and he, and all of you guys are doing well.

Posted by: CW2 Bill Chmelir, Oregon ARNG | June 15, 2006 11:20 AM

Police in Eugene, Oregon have arrested a 21-year-old Army Specialist for refusing to return to fight in Iraq.

The soldier, Suzanne Swift, served in Iraq for a year but decided she could not return. And like thousands of other soldiers, she went AWOL. Not only did Swift feel the war lacked purpose, she said her superiors repeatedly sexually harassed her while serving in Iraq.

Swift remained AWOL until Sunday night when the Eugene police knocked on her mother's front door. She was arrested and taken to the county jail. Then she was transferred to Fort Lewis in Washington. She has been forced to return to her unit but is barred from leaving the base. No charges have been filed against her yet for deserting.

Posted by: common sense | June 15, 2006 11:37 AM

Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq
by Peter Laufer

Consider Specialist Jeremy Hinzman, who chose Canada over his military career. When queried about his obligation to follow orders, his answer came fast: "I was told in basic training that, if I'm given an illegal or immoral order, it is my duty to disobey it. I feel that invading and occupying Iraq is an illegal and immoral thing to do." Meet Sergeant Camilo Mejía, who said from prison, "Behind these bars I sit a free man because I listened to a higher power: the voice of my conscience."

Increasing numbers of U.S. soldiers are returning from Iraq horrified by what they witnessed and what they did. Journalist Peter Laufer tells how these soldiers are transformed from trained warriors to activists in the struggle to end the Iraq War. He puts their experiences into context by drawing on the lessons of the Vietnam War and citing the historical precedents for troops who refuse unconscionable orders.

Mission Rejected probes the universal issue of resistance to war by the very men who chose to defend the nation.

From the Publisher
"My son died in Iraq for lies and greed. The sons and daughters in this book are living for peace. I hope that all American soldiers will read Mission Rejected and realize that they don't have to follow bad orders." --Cindy Sheehan, mother of Specialist Casey Sheehan, kia 4/4/04

"This is a book about American heroes. They experienced the futility, the inhumanity and the brutality of the war in Iraq and then, at great personal sacrifice, made the decision to resist and obey their consciences. When this country gives them medals of honor I will know we live in a just society." --Michael Ratner, author of Guantanamo: What the World Should Know

"Here's a book that talks turkey about the BushCheneyRummy mess in Iraq. First these young soldiers risked their lives in that dreadful war, then they came home and risked their livelihoods to tell us the truth: it's an immoral, illegal war of lies that dishonors our country's noble ideals. Every congress critter should read Mission Rejected - and then apologize for their role in creating the mess." --Jim Hightower

"In the military, real courage is taking a stand against orders one believes are unlawful and accepting the consequences. Moral cowardice is taking the easy way by accepting unlawful orders and committing illegal actions. Ultimately, one must live with oneself. These women and men have chosen the hard short path to freedom from the long-term emotional, spiritual and physical consequences of conducting state sponsored murder in a conflict that has nothing to do with our national security." --Ann Wright, retired US Army Reserves Colonel and former US diplomat

Posted by: Bogota | June 15, 2006 11:52 AM


Hang in there. I'm one of those old salts that believs we are doing the right thing by liberating countries from oppression. All of you are volunteers and heros in my book. Don't let the "stick their heads in the sand folks" get you down. Fair Winds and Following Seas.

Posted by: USN REtired | June 15, 2006 12:17 PM

The war profiteering company is not KB&J, as someone stated above. It's KBR, formerly Kellogg, Brown, and Root. They've been raking in bundles of money from military contracts since their founding in 1919. The unprovoked attack on Iraq has been particularly lucrative for the company. KBR will continue to profit off of death and destruction as long as young men and women continue to swallow the poisonous war propaganda that we are fed day in and day out. Anyway, war is a VERY good business and the KBR people like Cheney really don't give a damn about anyhting else.

Posted by: sad but true | June 15, 2006 12:18 PM

The idea put forward by the Old Salt above that we are involved in Iraq in order to liberate people from oppression is ludicrous. If it were so, then Cheney, KBR, etc. would obviously have invaded the absolute monarchy known as "Saudi" Arabia, "Saud" being merely the name of the ruling family.

And then, of course, we would have to invade a long list of dictatorships, several countries including Palestine to eject occupiers, etc.

And of course, we would have invaded Iraq to liberate its people from oppression even if its main export were artichokes rather than oil.

Never mind that the warmongers never mentioned liberating the Iraqi people from oppression at the time of the unprovoked invasion; it was to save the world from nonexistent weapons.

Some people will believe anything, which would be laughable if we did not have 2,500 dead and 17,000 wounded, many grieviously so.

Posted by: al | June 15, 2006 01:30 PM


I'm not sure who the money goes but it's not JUST for the internet service. And I don't know if this is how they are doing it everywhere but with my sweetie there was about 20 in the unit that have paid and will get the use of the internet. If you didn't pay you don't get to use it. They all chip in to pay for the equipment to provide them with the service. Then of course they have to pay for the service as well. Depending on what service they get the price is higher or lower. Of course, better service, the higher the price. With so few pitching in, that could be the reason for the higher price as well. The more people, the lower it would have been.

I'm sure someone is skimming off the top but now you know where some of the money is going.

Posted by: Cali-Girl | June 15, 2006 01:56 PM

"Some people will believe anything..."

are you kidding?

switch "Some" with "Most" and you capture the American spirit

but that's what happens when the world's most powerful nation, and media, say war is a good thing

Posted by: dave | June 15, 2006 01:59 PM

Why the heck isn't the internet free for our troops? The war profiteers are shameless, but war is a business and busines is business.

Posted by: oh yeah | June 15, 2006 02:22 PM

To all war profiteers everywhere, from Masters of War, by Bob Dylan, 1963:

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Posted by: free the internet | June 15, 2006 02:28 PM

Media critic Solomon (Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You) looks at the pro-war propaganda generated by the U.S. government during military interventions, emphasizing the influence of the media upon public opinion. He begins in 1965, when President Johnson crafted public messages as he sent troops to the Dominican Republic. Solomon claims that LBJ's handling of this invasion established the prototype for a media agenda employed by subsequent presidents to create public approval for their actions. He finds several formulaic messages that help persuade the public to support military intervention. These include portraying America as a fair and noble superpower, whose honest leaders work hard to avoid war, and the enemy leader as an aggressive, Hitler-like violator of human rights who will do much harm unless the United States intervenes. Solomon's timely analysis, which continues through the current war in Iraq, provides the public, analysts, and journalists with useful tips on how to evaluate the prewar messages of any administration, current or historical. Of interest to both public and academic libraries.-Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Libs., Washington, DC (Library Journal, July 15, 2005)

"An engaging book that helps explain how the myth-making machine works." (The Texas Observer, July 8, 2005)

"Brutally persuasive...a must-read for those who would like greater context with their bitter morning coffee, or to arm themselves for the debates about Iraq that are still to come." (Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2005)

"Norman Solomon is one of the bravest and best American journalists, especially when he is dissecting the topics of war and the media. War Made Easy exposes and explains the lies and deceptions that have misled our nation into vile and bloody disasters from Vietnam to El Salvador to Iraq; it reveals the frequent cowardice and culpability of the US media that often behaves as a propaganda arm of the Pentagon. War Made Easy is a sobering and essential book that Americans should read, share, and discuss."
--John Stauber, co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception and Banana Republicans

"If you don't have fun reading Norman Solomon's War Made Easy, you don't know how to have a good time. This exceptional book will drive our bonkers leaders and their mouthpieces in the US press crazier than they are already. Read one passage each night to your children to protect them from the brain-snatchers and dummy-fication zombies of America's news media of the living dead."
--Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

"If you want to help prevent another war (Iran? Syria?), read War Made Easy now. This is a stop-the-presses book filled with mind-blowing facts about Washington¹s warmongers who keep the Pentagon budget rising. It would be funny if people weren't dying. War Made Easy exposes the grisly game and offers the information we need to stop it."
--Jim Hightower, author of Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush.

"America's mainstream media didn't launch the war on Iraq, but the Bush administration sure couldn't have waged it without them. The great lesson of War Made Easy is that, alas, such journalistic malfeasance is nothing new; our media have a history of enabling Washington's foreign misadventures. Perhaps if enough people read--and act on--this book, it won't be so easy next time."
--Mark Hertsgaard, journalist and author of On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency.

Posted by: 1-2-3-4 -what are we fighting for | June 15, 2006 02:47 PM

Good work, man! The best way to stay close to your family. Believe me, I've been there.

Posted by: Miguel Vinuesa | June 15, 2006 04:10 PM

Heartfelt thanks to the six United States senators who voted today to bring our troops home safely:

Senators Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts; Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Barbara Boxer of California, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, all Democrats.

Shame on the 93 who voted to continue the unjustified occupation of a country where we are not wanted, putting the lives of our service members at risk for the future oil profits of a greedy few.

Posted by: heartfelt thanks | June 15, 2006 06:00 PM

The House debate came on a day when the Defense Department said that the number of American military deaths in Iraq had surpassed 2,500 and when the Congressional Research Service reported that the cost of the war has now totaled $319 billion, with costs running at $8 billion a month.

"This is a blunder of historic proportions by this president," said Representative George Miller, Democrat of California. "And it's very important that we understand we are paying a huge price for those mistakes."

Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, also from California, described the war as "a grotesque mistake," and yet another California Democrat, Henry Waxman, noted the insurgency in Iraq has shown no signs of abating.

"We are viewed in Iraq as occupiers," he said, adding that corruption is crippling efforts to rebuild the country and that Iraq has become "a free fraud zone" where $8.8 billion in American cash has vanished.

Posted by: FOR WHAT? | June 15, 2006 06:15 PM

Yes, well only senators Morse and Gruening voted against the deceitful Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which passed 88-2 and authorized Johnson's attack on Vietnam, to the eternal credit of the two and the eternal shame of the eighty eight. Even pianos are ashamed to have eighty eight keys after the deaths of 3,000,000 Vietnamese between August 7, 1964 and April 30, 1975.

Posted by: history will out | June 15, 2006 06:41 PM

The cost may be high, but I can only assume that as internet connection set up in the middle BFE, Iraq would be costly just the same as it would be costly to get the internet running in a remote corner of Death Valley here in the US.

I'm glad that you will be getting a chance to correspond with those you miss most.

Be good and do the best you can.

Posted by: Bill | June 15, 2006 09:34 PM

To Oh Yeah:

There is free internet and phone service for our troops. The only problem with it is that they have to stand in line (Sometimes for up to an hour) and then only get 30 minutes. The computers are old, and the keyboards are a bit shot from so much use. But they do have it.

So this service that they are paying for is for their own personal computers that they can use whenever they want for as long as they want, unless there is a black out and outside communication is shut down.

Personally, I feel lucky that there is even internet service available, free or otherwise. Pretty amazing that I can talk to him in the middle of a war and a million miles away. Any communication I can get from him, I will take!

Posted by: Cali-Girl | June 15, 2006 09:36 PM

The Democrats have elections to win, that is all in the world they care about. They could care less about a soldier. Most of the same people thought the war was just fine, when they thought that it helped them politically. The winds shifted, and they blew with them. Brave, smart liberals my a*s. All they smell is blood in the water for the midterms. Please, they are not fooling anyone. Their record on this is very poor, as is their vision and message. It is a good thing for them they have the Iraq war to thump their chests over. Without it, they would be exposed for the morally bankrupt jellyfish they are. They are no better than Rummy and his crew, and just as invested in the whole thing. Get real. In twenty years, when the whole thing is over, you will see. They will point to a free, democratic Iraq and take all the credit they can. The whining has gotten so loud, and your soldiers hear it. I will tell you, being one of them, that they hate you for it. Just like the Vietnam era soldiers, you protest types break the hearts of those you claim to "protect". BS, every person in the military signed the dotted line, we know the risks. We don't pick em, we fight them.....and by God we are winning it. That is the ground truth, and nothing you say will convince many of us otherwise. That is one thing that annoys me about the liberals. You all think you are so damn smart, that you need to do all the thinking for all the rest of us. Well ,you don't. Do all the troops a big favor: shut up about timelines for withdrawl (helps the bad guys) and let us win the damn war. Just shut up!

PS: The soldiers who did report think the deserters are cowards. If they did not want to fight, then wearing the uniform and taking commisions was a real bad idea. They don't have the horsepower to decide what war they want to go to. They abrogated that right when they took the oath. I hope they like making big rocks into little ones.

Posted by: Enough about the Dems | June 15, 2006 11:07 PM

Hey, "Enough about Dems"...

you will lose the war

believe it... the Republicans will set a date for withdrawl


Posted by: dave | June 16, 2006 09:47 AM

Thats enough from you Dave, you naughty little liberal you. The war was won the day Saddam was captured and his government fell. What you should have said was "you will loose the peace". That is wrong too, fool, because the Iraqi people will make this government work. Time will tell which one of us, if any, is correct. Cut-and-run never does anything but create anarchy. We started it, now we gotta finish it. Only fools and cowards cut and run. Embrace the suck big boy, we are.

Posted by: Enough about the Dems | June 16, 2006 01:11 PM

Dave et al,

Private internet service in Iraq is expensive. On most bases (I think Anaconda is an exception), the only option is satellite access, which cost approximately $6K for six months of bandwidth about equal to a single DSL line (and that depends on how well-aimed the antenna is, which can be a problem after a few big dust storms).

Posted by: wlc | June 16, 2006 01:12 PM

Enough about the Dems...

You're quite the eternal optimist... like your cowardly President.

So, basically, according to you, destiny dictates that you will prevail, and that Iraq is at peace

you sucker

Im beginning to think you're a draft dodger, too.

Posted by: dave | June 16, 2006 03:32 PM

In the Senate yesterday, we had a moment of silence because we lost our 2,500th troop in Iraq. It was a solemn milestone which we observed in this Chamber.

Over at the White House, I guess they have a different feeling. In all the news around the country today, there's a quote from Tony Snow, the President's Press Secretary, who said in response to the news, "it's a number."

"It's a number."

Posted by: BRING THEM HOME ALIVE | June 16, 2006 04:43 PM

2,500 dead and 18,490 wounded, all to turn Iraq into a hellish bloodbath, to discredit the United States in the eyes of humanity, and to dramatically increase the level of terrorism in the world.

Sickening. Bring them home alive.

Posted by: NOW | June 16, 2006 04:49 PM

WHITE HOUSE comment on the 2,500th American death in Iraq as a result of the unprovoked invasion:

"It's a number."

Posted by: GOD HELP US | June 16, 2006 04:51 PM

funny, that... you failed to mention the tens of thousands of dead iraqis

oh, wait... 'its a number'

Posted by: dave | June 16, 2006 04:58 PM

"God help us"?

be brave, and help yourself and your fellow humans.

Posted by: dave | June 16, 2006 05:04 PM

No, Dave, I have been there and done my duty. It is not destiny that will win it, certianly not optimism. What will win it is the American Soldier and Marine. Make no mistake about that. The only reason we need loose is if we liten to fools like you. Your brave Canadian Army is doing very well in Afganastan. Be proud of that if you can. We are proud of ours, and they will win the peace, despite people like you. We just love proving you wrong. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that we are pasting the crap out of the insurgency on the ground, every day. I know it just kills you Dave, it kills them even more. Silly liberal

Posted by: Enough about the Dems | June 16, 2006 05:24 PM

Hey "NOW", every one they send we get a fair shot at killing. They don't need an excuse from us to become scumbag terrorists, they will find a reason on their own. Maybe Iraq was a mistake, but now it is the center of the greater war. Let them come, we will defeat them there or anywhere else they choose. This country will only loose if we give it to them, like people of your sentiment keep spouting. Deafeatist cut and run whimpering wont get anyone anywhere. What conutry were we invading when the came on 9-11? NONE !! They attacked anyway, because they are fanatical, murdering animals. They can make a choice: vote, work for the new democracy or die in large numbers. Their call. History will judge.

Posted by: Enough about the Dems | June 16, 2006 05:30 PM

"What conutry were we invading when the came on 9-11?"

How could anyone be asking this question? The 9/11 attackers explicitly stated their reasons: The stationing of US troops in Saudi Arabia in support of the absolute monarchy there and the US bankrolling of the decades-long Israeli occupation of Palestine. Nothing could be clearer.

The United States has about 700 military bases outside it's own territory in about 130 countries.

"As distinct from other peoples, most Americans do not recognize -- or do not want to recognize -- that the United States dominates the world through its military power. Due to government secrecy, our citizens are often ignorant of the fact that our garrisons encircle the planet."

See "Empire of Bases" at

Posted by: Hello? | June 16, 2006 08:03 PM

And the troops in Saudi gave them adequate reason to murder over 3000 American civilians. Hello indeed. Not a good enough reason to most of us. If they were that fired up, they could have attacked the Saudi monarchy. You people can't excuse the barbarity of these murderers by telling America that we are worse. It is a lie, we don't buy it.....and you people are no longer woth talking to. Grow a spine and drop your Neville Chamberline like ideas. They always lead to ruin and more war. The troops were in Saudi protecting them and the oil from, guess who, Iraq? Get real and study history. Sometimes, war IS the answer. Out here

Posted by: Enough about the Dems | June 16, 2006 09:31 PM

There is no good reason and no justification to murder a single person, let alone the 3,000 of 9/11 or the 50,000 to 100,000 in Iraq. However, thr anti-Dem stated that the US was invading no country. The US was occupying the Arabian peninsula to protect its own interests as stated in Carter-era national security doctrine. Then again, how anyone could justify protecting the Saudi monarchy, one of the most repressive theocratic regimes on the planet, is worth pondering as well.

It is apparently beyond the ability of the anti-Dem to comprehend the barbarity of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which would be impossible without US economic support and political cover. Most people in the region correctly make no distinction between the US and Israel in the case of Palestine.

Posted by: Grunt | June 17, 2006 12:04 AM

On September 11, 2001, the United States was invading no country. In exchange for a wide variety of benefits, more than 100 states around the world have agreed to host U.S. forces. There *is* a difference.

If you do not like the guests who have been invited into your home, you take that up with the kin who invited them, not by killing the guests.

As to a rationalization based upon the barbarity of governments we did (and, in many cases, continue to) support, I find it significant that other nations with a worse record (e.g., France, which stations its Legion Etranger throughout its "former" empire) have not been targetted yet. I suspect that has more to do with a strategy of using the common remembrance of the first half of Jefferson's quote ("We are friends of freedom everywhere, but guardians only of our own.") as the foundation for an effective propaganda campaign.

But that is just my opinion.

Posted by: wlc | June 17, 2006 11:58 AM

trust you're heard from Jeb. he and kim had baby girl last week. his address is
sounds like you're in the middle of a bunch. take care and be safe and fly safe. hope you're going to get an early return to Lancaster.


Posted by: E Stephens | June 18, 2006 02:17 PM

Bert, get some!

Posted by: Hooyah | June 19, 2006 09:55 AM

Bert, Just new to these boards. Wanted you to know that we in the Midwest support you and are proud of all you do! Good luck on the internet connection.
To all who post negative and hate America comments to our men in the military, one question.

Why do you feel justified in your verbal attacks in this blog? Go out and tell it to your elected representatives. Don't post here, go spout your twisted reasoning to people who aren't risking their lives.

Posted by: Aludair | June 19, 2006 11:06 AM

Keep on truckin'!

Posted by: Love Country | June 19, 2006 11:47 AM

Remember Saddam's "killing fields"? By now, the Bush administration has turned whole swathes of Iraq into a charnel house. Last week Hala Jaber, a fine British reporter, returned to Baghdad and visited one of today's killing fields -- that city's morgue into which, from what she calls "the nightly slaughter," approximately 6,000 corpses have been delivered since the first of the year. "Each corpse," she writes, "tells a different story about the terrors of Iraq. Some bodies are pocked with holes inflicted by torturers with power drills. Some show signs of strangulation; others, with hands tied behind the back, bear bullet wounds. Many are charred and dismembered."

Baghdad, she relates, is a city in which the "main topic of conversation in most households is death -- who is the latest to have been killed, what depraved technique was used and whether it is safe to go out."

It was into that city of death -- or rather its American death-lite version -- that our President flew last week, just over three years after he famously declared "mission accomplished" on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. He landed at Baghdad's airport, helicoptered into the Green Zone, that heavily fortified American citadel, in 25 pounds of body armor, surprised the new prime minister, looked him "in the eyes," and declared himself "inspired." It was, as Sidney Blumenthal put it, "'mission accomplished' in a business suit."

The last time he was there, he hoisted a giant fake turkey for Thanksgiving. This time, he returned home and, visibly recharged like some Energizer Bunny, gave a thumbs-up press conference in which he hoisted a whole fake Iraq. He also made his intentions clear for the remainder of his second term -- and it was nothing short of more of the same until victory. ("What you hear from me, no matter what these polls and all the business look like, is that it's worth it, it is necessary, and we will succeed.")

Posted by: | June 19, 2006 01:51 PM

The war in Iraq was not a "mistake." It was a deliberately calculated exercise of U.S. power with a specific end in mind -- namely, control of Iraq and the Persian Gulf region. It was illegal and remains so. It was a war crime and remains so. Its perpetrators were war criminals and remain so. Its goals were unworthy and remain so.

Posted by: | June 19, 2006 01:55 PM

I no longer am convinced that the U.S. adventure in Iraq is lost. There is no guarantee that the Bush administration cannot succeed in its goals there. The only certain thing is that success -- what the president calls "victory in Iraq" -- will come at the expense of thousands more American deaths, tens of thousands more Iraqi deaths, and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.

Indeed, this war would have to be sustained not only by this administration, but by the next one and probably the one after that as well. For over three years, the United States has supported a massive military presence on the ground in Iraq, while taking steady casualties. It may be no less capable of doing so for the next two-and-a-half years, until the end of Bush's second term -- and during the next administration's reign, too, whether the president is named John McCain or Hillary Clinton. At least theoretically, a force of more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers could wage a brutal war of attrition against the resistance in Iraq for years to come. Last week, in a leak to the New York Times, the White House announced its intention to leave at least 50,000 troops in Iraq for many years to come. Last week, too, the son of the president of Iraq (a Kurd) revealed that representatives of the Kurdish region are in negotiations with the United States to create a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq's north.

Posted by: | June 19, 2006 02:01 PM

Army Charges 3 GIs With Murder in Iraq

Monday June 19, 2006 9:01 PM

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The U.S. Army has charged three soldiers in connection with the deaths of three Iraqis who were in military custody in northern Iraq last month, the military said Monday.

The Multinational Corps-Iraq said three members of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division have been charged in connection with the deaths of three male detainees during an operation near Thar Thar Canal in northern Salahuddin province on May 9.

``A noncommissioned officer and two soldiers each have been charged with violating several articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, communicating a threat, and obstructing justice,'' an announcement said.

It added that ``on the day the alleged murders occurred, the unit commander ordered an inquiry to determine the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the three detainees.''

It said that a criminal investigation began May 17 and was ongoing.

``The soldiers are currently in pre-trial confinement awaiting an Article 32 hearing to determine if sufficient evidence exists for the case to be referred to court-martial,'' the announcement said

Once charged, defendants have the right to an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury investigation.

Last week, the Army said it had opened a criminal investigation into the suspicious deaths of three men in military custody in Iraq.

The investigation was requested by Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, commander of multinational forces in Iraq, who acted after other soldiers raised suspicions about the deaths.

Posted by: | June 19, 2006 04:19 PM

American GI's Indictment Sought in Italy

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Published: June 19, 2006

Filed at 3:27 p.m. ET

ROME (AP) -- Italian prosecutors requested the indictment of a U.S. soldier Monday in the fatal shooting of an Italian intelligence agent at a checkpoint in Baghdad -- a case that saw the agent mourned as a national hero.

Authorities were seeking the indictment on charges of murder and attempted murder, said one of the prosecutors, who asked that his name not be used because a new law in Italy allows only the chief prosecutor to speak to the media.

The fatal shooting of Nicola Calipari on March 4, 2005, angered Italians, already largely opposed to the war in Iraq. The former conservative government of Premier Silvio Berlusconi -- a strong U.S. ally -- called repeatedly for an investigation into the killing but insisted the incident would not affect Italy's friendship with Washington.

Italy's new, center-left government also has said it would not let this case and others get in the way of good relations between the countries.

''This involves issues from the past, you can't intervene in the past, the assessment of responsibility and of possible violations of the law is up to the magistrates,'' Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema told The Associated Press.

The prosecutor investigating the Calipari case said it would be at least two months before a judge rules on the indictment requests. He said prosecutors planned to argue the U.S. soldier had committed ''political murder,'' because Calipari was a civil servant and his slaying damaged Italy's interests.

Italian law does not allow foreigners charged with killing Italians abroad to be tried in absentia unless the murder has political connotations, the prosecutor said. Magistrates have said they would not seek the soldier's arrest for the time being.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he did not know about the Italians' request. He noted the U.S. military inquiry concluded the shooting was a ''tragic accident,'' and added U.S. commanders have said recently that the number of deadly incidents at military checkpoints has been declining, in part due to improved procedures since the 2005 shooting.

Calipari was shot at a checkpoint while heading by car to the Baghdad airport shortly after securing the release of an Italian journalist who had been kidnapped in the Iraqi capital.

Another agent, who was driving the car, and the journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, were wounded.

Italian prosecutor Erminio Amelio, who identified the U.S. soldier as Mario Lozano, said last week that he and his colleagues had wrapped up the investigation into the incident.

Fabrizio Cardinali, Lozano's court-appointed lawyer, said Monday he had yet to read 2,500 pages of documents related to the case before he could formulate a defense strategy. American newspapers have reported that Lozano is from New York; Cardinali said he does not know where Lozano is or where he is from.

Italy and the U.S. issued separate reports on the incident, after failing to agree on a shared version of events.

U.S. authorities have said the vehicle was traveling fast, alarming soldiers who feared an insurgent attack. Italian officials claimed the car was traveling at normal speed and blamed U.S. military for failing to signal there was a checkpoint.

In another case, Italian prosecutors are trying to extradite 22 purported CIA agents in the alleged kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in Milan.

In 1998, a judge threw out a manslaughter case against the crew of a U.S. Marine jet that severed a ski gondola cable in the Alps, killing 20 people. The judge ruled that Italian courts lacked jurisdiction under a NATO treaty.

Posted by: | June 19, 2006 04:26 PM

One aspect of getting the Internet in Iraq is the lack of equipment and cabling to distribute this throughout living areas. We have received a request from another unit to send, as part of volunteer collections of items to be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, raw cable (CAT5), plugs (RJ45) and other supplies which can be used to string wiring from the Internet connection to individual quarters. It can take 100 feet or more of cable to go to each drop point. For those who are sending things to the troops, you may want to include CAT5 cable, RJ45 plugs or small Ethernet hubs/switches. It makes the Internet connection much more useful, and provides an opportunity to use a connection in a more private setting.

Posted by: Gardog | June 19, 2006 06:02 PM

Three US soldiers charged with murdering Iraqi prisoners

· Captives killed after raid on chemical factory
· Italy calls for guardsman who shot agent to face trial

Barbara McMahon in Rome, Michael Howard in Sulaimaniya and Julian Borger in Washington
Tuesday June 20, 2006
The Guardian

Three US troops have been charged with murder for shooting three Iraqi prisoners and threatening to kill a fellow soldier who wanted to report the incident, the Pentagon said yesterday. The three men killed were among 200 Iraqis held after a raid on a former chemical factory south-west of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, the Pentagon charge sheet said.

Staff Sergeant Raymond Girouard, Specialist William Husaker and Private Corey Clagett, all members of the 101st Airborne Division, face charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder and obstructing justice. If convicted of premeditated murder, they could face the death penalty under US military law.

The prosecution is the third instance in weeks of alleged war crimes by US forces in Iraq, with investigations into the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians by marines at the town of Haditha in last November, and a separate inquiry into the killing of a disabled Iraqi man by marines in the town of Hamdania on April 26. In the Haditha case, as in the prosecution announced yesterday, investigators are also looking into efforts to cover up the original incident.

The conduct of US forces in Iraq was also under scrutiny in Italy yesterday where prosecutors called for the indictment of an American soldier for the shooting of an Italian intelligence agent at a checkpoint in Iraq last year. The request to charge Mario Lozano, a national guardsman from New York, with the murder of Nicola Calipari, a senior military intelligence officer, was signed by four Rome prosecutors. They referred to the shooting as a "political crime" which harmed Italy's interests.

Posted by: | June 19, 2006 09:59 PM

I work for the SemperComm Foundation and I wanted to let you and your fellow service members know about my organization. SemperComm is a charitable non-profit organization that was founded to boost the morale of U.S. service members stationed at overseas remote bases, by providing them with the means to communicate with loved ones back home and with access to a variety of entertainment equipment in order to make life at remote postings more bearable. While these service members aren't on the front lines, SemperComm believes that it still important for them to have the same updated technology and entertainment tools as the larger, more exposed bases. For more information on SemperComm, visit or e-mail me directly at We'd love to hear how the internet situation is progressing for everyone stationed with Bert and we'd love to hear from anyone else interested in SemperComm and its mission!

Posted by: The SemperComm Foundation | June 22, 2006 03:37 PM

I was stationed at Camp Taqaddum from Feb-Nov 2005 with the 2/112 AR, 36 ID. I personally setup 4 satellite internet systems in our camp area. The initial intent was to provide access for two of our platoons (approx 50 men). This was going to work out to about $320 per person for 9 months of service. In the end I was able to sell more subscriptions and refund most of the initial purchasers about $80 each, resulting in a cost of about $240 for the 8 months we had the service. $30/mo for internet while living in tents in Iraq... not bad.

Posted by: Rogers | June 25, 2006 02:36 AM

Unbelievable. Bert is taking 2 four day passes while he is on his 6 month tour. I have known of military folks who have done a year in Iraq without one pass let alone two. I have also read about Berts comments on the laundry. My gosh man how much more do you want. You complain because you think they soak it hot water and its not clean enough for you. When was the last time you had to wash your clothes in a bucket because there were no other options? Juast two short years ago thats what some had to do in Iraq. You are trying to get internet in your living space. Big deal, go to the internet center like everyone else. You complain about walking through the dust coming back from the shower and have to wash you feet again. What about the grunt on the ground who doesnt have the chance to shower daily? I guess your main concern is for yourself. If you ever happen to look and see how bad things were in Iraq not to long ago and how bad some still have it maybe you would try to find something positive about your time in Iraq instead of all this whining and crying you are doing now. Suck it up and stop being such a baby.

Posted by: Bert is a whiner | June 26, 2006 03:53 PM

For the record, our tour is a year. I work with Bert and he is not whiny or a complainer at all. He just tries to let people at home know exactly what we are going through. What is so bad about that? We are an aviation unit not grunts.
On the leave issue, Bert is forgoing leave and that's why he is being allocated two 4 day passes. Most of us are choosing to take leave to get away from here for two weeks.
The laundry issue, I don't think anyone here thinks their laundry gets clean. Everything white comes back a dingy brown. Just a fact of life here that everyone accepts.
We DO find positive aspects here but I think tone is hard to convey on a blog and maybe that is why you criticize.

Posted by: Paula | June 27, 2006 11:43 PM

You sound hot. Can I get a picture? I could read your tone in your blog. Where are you headed for your two weeks leave?

Posted by: Bert is a whiner | July 13, 2006 07:01 PM

Bert, I'm a vet from the Vietnam era. I was one of the fortunate ones who never saw combat. Now I have two sons who are Iraqi combat veterans. Steve was with the 101st. ABN in Mosul, and his brother Mike has just returned from a year at FOB Cobra east of Baquba. 4 months after returning home Mike volunteered to return to Iraq on a special mission. He is training now, and will depart for Iraq in August. I have nothing but respect, and admiration for the job that you guys are doing over there. It is a shame that you're repaid by listening to the negativism from some of the people posting here. Negativism is not the filter that the majority of Americans view your service through. Only a small handful of protestors have that point of view. Most of them are confused, and upset that the anti war movement can't gain any traction. So it is best just to ignore their comments. They aren't relevent. What I've noticed has been millions of yellow ribbons signifying over whelming support for the troops and your mission. America is behind you one hundred percent. The protesters seem to be united in support of America's enemies. On the other side of the ball The majority of Americans are united in support of our men and women in uniform. For example, I've only paid for postage on one care package that I've sent my sons in Iraq. The rest of the postage was paid by people standing in line with me. They insisted on paying as their way of saying thank you for a job well done. I've gone to restuarants with my sons. When the check was brought to the table it had already been paid by an anonymous diner. Scrawled across the check were these words. "Thank you for your service to our country." That is the way this family thinks too. Every day that my sons were deployed I prayed for them. When things got hot in their AO I worried over them. When they returned home I felt an over whelming sense of pride in them. Now the worry starts over again with Mike's new deployment. As a family we've tried to make peace with the fact that he may not return. That is the hardest thing that military families have to endure. Both of my boys told me this. Dad, our country is in danger. We are sworn to protect it, and we have to honor the sacrifice of those who came before us. I know that they are right. I feel that way too. It seems strange to me that the men and women with their boots on the ground in Iraq take such pride in their mission. Many volunteer to return. On the other hand protesters hide in their air conditioned homes, and give aid to our enemies with their rhetoric. That lets me know that you guys are doing a great job. You've been successful in the fight to preserve their right to make fools of themselves. If they were ME citizens they'd be shot for expressing their views so openly. Thank God that America is blessed with young men and women like you. You are indeed our national treasure. Thank you for your service to our country.

Posted by: yota58 | July 19, 2006 11:37 AM

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