Tag Archives: US military

US Tough Talk On Iran Falls Flat

Leaders in the American armed forces and the Bush administration have been racheting up tough talk regarding Iran’s support for Iraq militants but, so far, the rhetoric has not resulted in the reality that Iran is worried about a possible American invasion. Iranian Foreign Minister spokesperson, Mohammed Ali Hosseini, responded to the latest comments by Admiral Mullen last week in which he warned of consequences if Iran did not cease sending in supplies to insurgents. “We see it unlikely, said Hosseini, “that they plan to enter a new disaster which they themselves believe wlll have unpleasant consequences for the region and the world.” He said Iran smply does not believe America possesses the military power to initiate a third area of operation in the Middle East.

On one hand, the Iraq government of Prime Minister Maliki, constantly praises Iran for aiding its survival, on the other hand, the United States insists Iran is attempting to destroy the Mailiki government. Perhaps, there should be a meeting of minds to work out the story to be presented to the world.

US General Urges Al-Sadr To Halt Military Action

A top level American general urged Muqtada al-Sadr to rein in his armed forces after a US soldier was killed during a gun battle with miilitants who support the radical cleric. Despite al-Sadr’s rhetoric about initiating extensive action in response to attacks by Prime Minister Maliki’s troops, the American military has avoided directly criticizing al-Sadr, and blame fighting with his militant supporters on a break away group. “We do not attribute what we’ve seen to JAM,” said General Llod Austin III, using the Iraqi acronym for al-Sadr’s Mahdi army. However, he urged that “Sadr will choose the road of peace and responsibility.” The killing of the soldier raised the level of dead Americans to 34 so far in April which represents the highest mark since September when 65 were killed.

During recent days suicide bombers blew up a cart loaded with explosives near an Iraqi police station and a half hour later a parked car bomb blast went off near a police patrol. Last weekend, the terror network boasted it was initiating a new offensive against the Americans and their Iraqi allies. On Tuesday, a woman suicide bomber killed 18 people in Diyala province.

German Embassy Incident In Iraq With US Soldiers

Germany’s top diplomat in Baghdad claims in a classified report that American soldiers mishandled three workers at the Germany embassy in Baghdad. The incident has created new tensions in Berlin-Washington relations. For some unknown reason, American soldiers placed three off-duty Iraqi guards under arrest and one of them was detained for four months where he claimed to be abused by guards. After complaints by German Ambassador Hanns Schumacher two of the guards were relased and given financial compensation. As of this date, no apology has been issued by American military authorities.

This is simply a minor incident, but, in a sense, it reflects some of the ongoing problems for America in Iraq. On one hand, the United States continually complains about the lack of effort on the part of Germany, yet, on the other hand, when Germans are present, they are treated with disrespect. During the past two months, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has criticised Germany’s lack of effort in Afghanistan in public statements. Perhaps, it is time to lower the anti-Germany rhetoric and work in a cooperative manner with allies.

Unforseen Casualties Of Iraq War!

Thee is increasing evidence of an unforseen consequence for members of the military who are fighting in Iraq. Soldiers and Marines caught in rodside bombings and fiefights are coming home in epidemic numbers with permanent hearing loss and ringing in their ears. Hearing damage has now become the number one disability in the fight against terrorism. The Veterans Affairs administration and hearing experts say the true toll of this disability may require decades before final figures are in. Nearly 70,000 of the more than 1.3 million troops who have served in the two war zones are collecting dsability for tinnitus, a potential debilitating ringing in the ears and more than 58,000 are on disability for hearing loss.

Theresa Schulz, author of “Troops Return With Alarming Rates of Hearing Loss,” says “the numbers are staggering” for those returning with these problems. Blasts from roadside bombs cause violent changes in air pressure and can rupture the eardrum and break bones inside the ear. A common problem is refusal on the part of many soldiers to wear earplugs.

The loss of hearing is just one of the many unforseen consequences of an invasion that lack coherent planning for the safety of American fighting men and women. There was a rush to judgment by the Bush administration who never explored all potential consequences of a war and how it might physically impact those doing the fighting. Experts estimate 60% of those exposed to roadside blasts may suffer from permanent hearing loss. That cost is not listed in any budget for Iraq war expenses.

China Furious At US Attack On Its Military

The Chinese govenment reacted with anger to a Pentagon statement questioning the rationale for an increase in the Chinese military budget. According to the Pentagon, “The lack of transparency in China’s military and security affairs poses risks to stability by increasing the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation.” The American government expressed its concern an increase in China’s military may upset the balance of power in Asia. Qin Gang, speaking for the Chinese government responded to the Pentagon comments by noting, “It is also an interference in China’s internal affairs and violates norms in international relations.”

The Chinese government apparently has yet to get the message, the Bush government has a right to invade nations, bomb nations, interfere in other governments because it alone stands for world peace and order. Since the 1960s, the United States fought a long war in Vietnam, bombed the neutral nation of Cambodia and completely destabilized its government, has sent large amounts of arms to Indonesia, given military equipment to Taiwan, and is actively engaged in fighting in Pakistan. The United States military budget is larger than all world military budgets combined, but the Bush government is upset when another nation increases its military budget!!

As for the charge that America doesn’t know the “motivation” behind China’s increased military budget, does this mean the Bush administration told the world it was going to bomb Somalia last week? Perhaps, the day America reduces its military budget to a reasonable figure, it might have the right to lecture other nations about their military spending. If hypocrisy was a virtue, the Bush administration would be composed of saints.

Conflict In Dyala Province As Police and Sunnis Clash

Fierce clashes erupted in Diyala province between Sunni militia, which are supporting the US effort to fight al-Qaeda, and local Iraqi police. Tensions between Sunni and Shiite forces center around rival claims of unfair treatment. It is reported in Azzaman that American troops have been assisting the Iraqi police fight against the Sunni who were trained by the American armed forces. Azzaman also reported Baghdad municipal workers claim half the capital lacks adequate water supplies.

The American media and military reports things are improving in Iraq, but Iraqi newspapers like Azzaman present a different story. For example, the newspaper claims last week U.S. gunships attacked the village of Zad in northern Iraq and killed eight people including five children. “This incident took place last week and U.S. and Iraqi sources have kept it under wraps.” Obviously, writing from the United States it is difficult to ascertain the reality of what is happening in Iraq. This war is characteized by an inability of the American or international press to gain access to on-the-scene accounts.

Okinawans Protest US Soldier Rape Attack

Protests continue mounting on Okinawa over the latest incident in which a 14 year-old girl allegedly was raped by an American soldier. The Okinawa Women Acting Against Military Violence set a letter to the American government demanding an apology and compensation for the girl who was attacked. “Can we allow the U.S. military to interfere in the lives of Okinawans,” said the letter. “Why are we not making a safe environment for Okinawan women a priority?”

As long as there are military bases anywhere in the world there will be incidents in which soldiers attack women. American forces have now been stationed in Japan and on Okinawa for over sixty years. The reasons for their original being placed in these locations has long since disappeared into history. Isn’t it about time to withdraw the 50,000 military personnel and have them sent to areas where there presence is needed?

US Military In Need Of Mental Health Facilities

Sgt. Todd Bowers, head of the 80,000 member Afghanistan Veterans of America, told Congress there is need for mandatory, confidential, mental health screening before and after deployment of troops. He complained the present system of screening just is not working. “Troops may not be filling out their forms accurately, troops needing counseling are not consistently getting referrals and those with referrals do not always get treatment. He believes at least half of the soldiers and Marines who test positive for needed counseling believe they will be judged weak by their comrades-in-arms for seeking such assistance. Bowers also noted seeking counseling is not an attractive notation to have in one’s file. He called for: a moratorium on discharge of personnel for personality disorders until there has been a complete overhaul of procedures, and making certain in cases of suicide attempts, counseling rather than prosecution is available.

These are sensible recommendations that should be accepted.

US General Denies Iran Involvement In Iraq

The American commander in Iraq’s central province of Diyala told the French magazine, Le Point, that he never witnessed any hostile act from the Iranian side of the region over the past 10 months. Le Point, quoted Colonel Ronald Ward as saying during his ten-month stay in the Iraq province he never witnssed preparation by any US military forces for carrying out border operations. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Scott Pettinger said what he saw in that province was completely contradictory to what was being claimed by Washington in making allegationss of Iranian activity in the region. He said no Iranian agent had ever been arrested in Diyala nor had he ever come across evidence of the transfer of weapons or money from Iran to insurgent forces in the area.

The information in this story emanates from the Tehran Times and we have not been able to access to the original source of Le Point. If the Tehran Times report is an accurate recital of what the French magazine reported, it again illustrates the hysteria against Iran by the Bush administration is more illusion than reality.

Coming Out But Staying In For Gay Soldier

Sgt. Daniel Manzella told an officer he was a homosexual and the officer turned him in. During the investigation, Manzella ladmitted he was gay and even offered visual confirmation, a home video showing him kissing a civilian boyfriend. Needless to say, Manzella was rather surprised at the final verdict of his commanding officer. “They found no evidence of homosxuality,” says Manzella. This verdict, and dozens of others, merely confirms the growing reality on the part of the United States armed forces that current conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan require retention of every qualified soldier in the ranks, gay or straight or whatever. The Manzella story was recounted on “60 Minutes” but nothing happened. There has been a dramatic drop in the number of gay and lesbian discharges over the past five years to nearly half the 1,273 who were discharged in 2001.

The ironic aspect of Bush’s fiasco in Iraq is the apparent benefit it has provided gay and lesbian soldiers. In an era in which the United States refuses to undertake a draft and thus requires volunteers to fill the ranks of its armed forces, gay and lesbian soldiers will be welcomed. We are living in the age of pragmatism when it comes to topics such as sexual orientation, America increasingly examines the individual, not their sexual behavior. So, is George Bush patron saint of ending gay and lesbian discrimination?