October 19, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 14 Days to Go -- More Republican Leaders Repudiate Bush, Edwards Denounces Bush 9/11 "Con," M. Moore Motivates 5K @ UW, US Marines Speak Out from Hell

There are only 14 days to go until the national
referendum on the CHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and
COMPETENCE of the _resident, the VICE _resident and
the US regimestream news media that has protected them for years...Remember, the US regimestream news media
has been, in large part, a full partner in a Triad of shared special interest with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party...They are trying to steal it again, under the cover of cooked polls and craven propapunditgandary...The US regimestream news media refuses to provide CONTEXT and CONTINUITY on the growing list of PRINCIPLED, PATRIOTIC Republicans who are standing up to the Bush Cabal to save their party and their country...Yes, the life of the Republic itself is at stake in the election. If enough of us vote they cannot steal it...

Richard W. Behan, www.smirkingchimp.com: George Bush
is not a Christian, Karl Schwarz tells you. He is a
liar, and Christians don't lie.
Schwarz is telling this to anyone who might listen,
including President Bush, to whom he fired off a
smoking email entitled "An American Demands the Truth
From You."
Other listeners are adding up quickly. First he sent
to his stockholders--300,000 people or so--a
PowerPoint presentation daylighting the greed,
deception, and stupefying corruption of the Bush
Administration. Lately he is making the rounds of the
talk show circuit, and the wild book of outrage will
soon be on the streets.
It is a formidable read. 810 pages. And a
comprehensive title to match: One Way Ticket to
Crawford, Texas: A Conservative Republican Speaks Out
on September 11, 2001; Afghanistan; Iraq; Bush-Cheney
2004; Imperial Oil "Strategeries".
Mr. Schwarz' faith does not surface in the book, but
his disgust as a citizen is apparent, and his
white-hot anger about the Bush Administration is
supported by vivid descriptions of graft and
corruption, with dates, names, and places.
The book displays the ongoing transformation of a
decent democracy into the functional fascism of
corporate empire. The Republicans are not uniquely
responsible for this--Schwarz takes directed swipes at
the Clinton years--but the Bush Administration's
frenzied, happy sellout to the corporate and the
wealthy is rapidly completing the process. George Bush
and his henchmen, Schwarz asserts, are brazenly using
the military might of the United States to enrich
their political supporters and their associated
corporate interests.
Karl W. B. Schwarz lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. He
was twice asked by his party (but declined) to run for
governor, opposing Bill Clinton. He was a top
fundraiser for the Republican National Committee, as a
close personal friend of RNC treasurer, William J.
"Mr. Mac" McManus. Schwarz was active at the highest
levels in the re-election campaign of George H.W.
Bush. He has not been a lightweight Republican.

Associated Press: Former Republican Gov. William
Milliken of Michigan endorsed Democratic Sen. John
Kerry for president on Monday, saying President Bush
has pursued policies "pandering to the extreme right
wing."
Milliken, governor from 1969-82, accused the Bush
administration of rushing into the Iraq war, pushing
tax cuts that benefit the rich and blocking meaningful
stem-cell research.
"I felt so strongly about the direction of this
country that in the end, it wasn't a difficult
decision to make," Milliken said in an interview
Monday with Traverse City Record-Eagle reporters and
editors.
Milliken issued a three-page statement of his views
about Bush and domestic and international issues.
"This president has pursued policies pandering to the
extreme right wing across a wide variety of issues and
has exacerbated the polarization and the strident,
uncivil tone of much of what passes for political
discourse in this country today," Milliken said in the
statement.

LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press: Answering President
Bush's criticism of John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards said
the president on Monday "made one last stand to con
the American people" into believing he is the only one
who can fight terrorism.
"The first casualty of a desperate campaign is the
truth," Kerry's running mate said near the southern
New Jersey town where Bush earlier accused Kerry in a
speech of having a dangerous pre-Sept. 11, 2001, view
of the world. "George Bush (news - web sites) stood up
today and he didn't tell you the truth" about Iraq
(news - web sites), the war on terror, about Kerry and
"about his own record."
"George Bush today made one last stand to con the
American people into believing that he is the only one
who can fight an effective war on terror," Edwards
continued. "John Kerry defended this country as a
young man. He will defend this country as president of
the United States." In Fort Myers, Fla., before Bush's
speech, Edwards accused Bush of "exploiting a national
tragedy for personal gain." He said Bush "claims
steady leadership but offers a steady stream of
failure." He accused the president of "creating a new
haven for terrorists" and assailed him for failing to
capture the mastermind of the attacks, Osama bin Laden
(news - web sites).
"He will fail in the war against terrorism because he
does not know how to lead," Edwards said. "George Bush
is playing on people's deepest fears. He's exploiting
a national tragedy for personal gain and it's the
lowest kind of politics.
"You don't win the war on terror by giving a speech.
You win the war on terror based on what you do. And
the facts show, the facts show that we haven't done
all that we can to keep the American people safe and
crush the terrorists before they can do harm to us.
George Bush's failed actions speak much louder than
his words.
"One of the greatest signs of weakness and failure is
to resort to the politics of fear and that's what
George Bush is doing today," Edwards said.

nbc15.madison.com: About five thousand students and
community members turned out to see controversial
filmmaker Michael Moore in Madison. He visited to the
University of Wisconsin-Madison campus Saturday night.
The controversial director of Fahrenheit 9/11 took on
President Bush from Iraq to the environment. Moore
urged the crowd to vote but vote for John Kerry,
saying Democrats are the majority and if they vote,
Republicans will have a lot to be scared about.

FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press: At this Marine base,
at the far west of the restless Anbar province only
miles from the Syrian border, the news spreads
quickly.
"We are losing guys left and right," says Cpl. Cody
King, 20, of Phoenix, not hiding his anger. "All we
are doing around here is getting blown up."
King and his fellow Marines from the weapons company
of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, spoke
between patrols, huddled together and sifting through
their log book, venting their anger and frustration.
They never talked of fear.
Among other things their green leather bound book
lists are the number of times their company has been
hit by homemade bombs since they arrived in the
country two months ago. Also listed in book, in fine,
careful print, are the names of those who were killed
or wounded during those incidents...
In recent months, Marine fatalities have exceeded Army
deaths -- even though the Army has at least three
times as many troops in Iraq.
It is difficult to pinpoint the reasons for the
unusually high death toll for the Marines because they
limit details on the circumstances of battle deaths to
either "enemy action" or "non-combat related." The
Army specifies the type of weapon that caused the
death as well as the city where it happened.
"After you lose so many Marines, you just keep
fighting to stay alive," says King, the son of a
Vietnam veteran.
But for some of the Marines, lack of armor, few
vehicles and too restrictive rules of engagement are
partly to blame.
"We need more armor, more vehicles and more bodies,"
says King...
"All we are doing is getting Americans killed and we
cannot do much about it," says King. The other marines
in the room nod in approval.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=18312&mode=nested

Richard W. Behan: 'A Republican businessman vilifies
George Bush'
Posted on Monday, October 18 @ 10:21:17 EDT
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Karl Schwarz -- Conservative and Devoutly
Christian -- and His Wild Book of Outrage

By Richard W. Behan

George Bush is not a Christian, Karl Schwarz tells
you. He is a liar, and Christians don't lie.

Schwarz is telling this to anyone who might listen,
including President Bush, to whom he fired off a
smoking email entitled "An American Demands the Truth
From You."

Other listeners are adding up quickly. First he sent
to his stockholders--300,000 people or so--a
PowerPoint presentation daylighting the greed,
deception, and stupefying corruption of the Bush
Administration. Lately he is making the rounds of the
talk show circuit, and the wild book of outrage will
soon be on the streets.

It is a formidable read. 810 pages. And a
comprehensive title to match: One Way Ticket to
Crawford, Texas: A Conservative Republican Speaks Out
on September 11, 2001; Afghanistan; Iraq; Bush-Cheney
2004; Imperial Oil "Strategeries".

Mr. Schwarz' faith does not surface in the book, but
his disgust as a citizen is apparent, and his
white-hot anger about the Bush Administration is
supported by vivid descriptions of graft and
corruption, with dates, names, and places.

The book displays the ongoing transformation of a
decent democracy into the functional fascism of
corporate empire. The Republicans are not uniquely
responsible for this--Schwarz takes directed swipes at
the Clinton years--but the Bush Administration's
frenzied, happy sellout to the corporate and the
wealthy is rapidly completing the process. George Bush
and his henchmen, Schwarz asserts, are brazenly using
the military might of the United States to enrich
their political supporters and their associated
corporate interests.

Karl W. B. Schwarz lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. He
was twice asked by his party (but declined) to run for
governor, opposing Bill Clinton. He was a top
fundraiser for the Republican National Committee, as a
close personal friend of RNC treasurer, William J.
"Mr. Mac" McManus. Schwarz was active at the highest
levels in the re-election campaign of George H.W.
Bush. He has not been a lightweight Republican.

But neither is he dogmatically partisan. More than
victory in politics, Schwarz seeks integrity in public
life and truth in the flow of information to the
public.

One Way Ticket to Crawford, Texas is a comprehensive
expose of the Bush Administration's systematic
deflecting of public policy to favor private,
corporate interests. The Administration leapt on the
opportunity provided by the anthrax scare, for
example, to inoculate 550,000 servicemen and women
with a vaccine known to be dangerous. Hugely
profitable to a pharmaceutical corporation benefactor,
there is clinical evidence the vaccine caused
widespread respiratory disease, heart attacks,
strokes, and pulmonary embolisms. The book also
details the Bush Administration complicity in Enron's
savaging of the California electricity market. And so
forth.

Schwarz' signature revelation is the story of what
happened to an obscure Argentinean company, the Bridas
Corporation--and how that might explain 9/11,
Afghanistan, and Iraq.

There is $7.34 trillion worth of petroleum and another
$3 trillion of natural gas in the Caspian Basin. A
pipeline across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India could
bring it to market. (Included in this "market" are a
number of gas-fired power plants in Pakistan, owned by
US corporations, and, at the time, an Enron project in
Dabhol, India.)

In 1995 the Bridas Corporation was negotiating with
the Taliban in Afghanistan to build the pipeline. The
U.S. Government and the Unocal Corporation were
pressing the Taliban fiercely to decline. In January
of 1996, however, Bridas signed the contract to
proceed: it now controlled the flow of Caspian riches.

Fast forward to1998. The Project for a New American
Century is staffed by a group of "neoconservatives,"
starkly rightwing political thinkers and activists. It
is committed to maintaining the military and economic
supremacy in the world accorded the United States by
the collapse of the Soviet Union. On January 26, 1998,
the PNAC sent a letter to President Clinton urging the
removal of Saddam Hussein by military means, if
necessary. Should he remain in power, much would be
put at hazard, including "a significant portion of the
world's supply of oil." Signing the letter were Donald
Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, James
Woolsey, Zalmay Khalilzad, John Bolton, Richard
Armitage, and Elliott Abrams.

Fast forward now to 2000, an election year. Eleven
members of the PNAC would assume prominent roles in
the upcoming administration of George W. Bush: the
signers of the 1998 letter to Clinton, plus Richard
Cheney, Douglas Feith, and Lewis Libby. In September
the PNAC made public another document, a 90-page
report entitled, "Rebuilding America's Defenses." The
new document advocated pre-emptive war--something
never done in the history of the nation--but it
realized how sharp a departure this would be. The
"transformation" would be long and difficult, in the
absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event,
like a new Pearl Harbor." President Bush, early in his
Administration, formally adopted the concept when he
signed and issued the National Security Strategy
document.

One more fast forward: to January of 2001. The Bush
Administration has taken office, and the linkages with
the oil industry are intimate, historic, and huge. The
president and vice president are just the openers:
eight cabinet members and the National Security
Advisor were drafted directly from the oil industry,
and so were 32 other officials, in the Departments of
Defense, State, Energy, Agriculture, Interior, and the
Office of Management and Budget.

Vice President Dick Cheney convenes his supersecret
"Energy Task Force." Its membership and deliberations
remain deliberately obscured, but Schwarz is certain
the forced removal of the Taliban and the Bridas
Corporation was discussed. The citizen group Judicial
Watch did force the release of a few documents,
however, with a lawsuit. Prominent among them is a map
of the Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, tanker terminals,
and oil exploration blocks: the Cheney Task Force had
more than a passing interest in Iraqi oil, as well.

From Paul O'Neill and others we know the new Bush
people, from their first days in office, intended to
invade Iraq. Less well known was the covert planning,
undertaken in the spring of 2001, for an attack on
Afghanistan. The State Department gained the
concurrence of both India and Pakistan for the attack,
but as late as August 2, U.S. negotiators were still
asking the Taliban to rescind the pipeline contract
with the Bridas Corporation. The negotiations were
fruitless.

On August 6, 2001, President Bush ignored the CIA's
warning of a terrorist attack contained in the
"Presidential Daily Briefing," and 36 days later the
World Trade Center was rubble. Was this the
"catastrophic and catalyzing event" the Project for a
New American Century anticipated, and was the Bush
Administration in any way involved?

The Internet is full of assertions that it was.
Websites, books, and DVD's abound, making their
cases--some alarming, others hyperbolic,
conspiratorial, or looney. Michael Ruppert 's book
Crossing the Rubicon is alarming. Ruppert lays the
blame for 9/11 directly at the feet of Vice President
Cheney, and his argument was worthy enough to
stimulate an invitation from the Commonwealth Club of
San Francisco--hardly on the lunatic fringe--to
present it in person. Speaking on August 31, 2004,
Ruppert did so. Attorney Stanley Hilton, on the other
hand, claims George Bush personally signed the order
authorizing the attacks of 9/11, and he intends to
prove it in a court of law. Mr. Hilton was chief of
staff for Senator Robert Dole, which is a decent
enough credential to keep him out of the looney bin,
but his assertion does give pause to reasonable
people.

The reasonable people of New York City, however, are
evenly split: a Zogby International poll in late
August found 49.3% of those interviewed believed the
Bush Administration had foreknowledge of the attacks
on the Trade Towers and "consciously failed" to act.

To Karl Schwarz' credit, he chooses only to establish
the dots of fact, leaving it to others to connect them
and find culpability. But his dots show the Bush
Administration was fully aware of the Bridas contract
and its threat to the domestic oil industry.

Anyone past middle school can understand how
desperately the Bush Administration needed a credible
excuse to proceed with its planned attack on
Afghanistan. To suggest 9/11 was engineered is risky,
but to consider it an unrelated coincidence is asking
a great deal. Can anyone be that lucky? There is, of
course, a middle ground between engineering and random
good fortune: the Bush Administration might in fact
have known about the impending disaster but chose, as
half of the New Yorkers believe, to do nothing.

On October 7, 2001 the attack on Afghanistan--planned
long before 9/11--was undertaken. On December 31,
Hamid Karzai is appointed by the Bush Administration
to be interim president of Afghanistan, and much has
been made of his former service to the Unocal
Corporation, as a consultant on the Trans Afghanistan
pipeline.

With the Taliban deposed, the Bridas Corporation's
contract to build the pipeline was now in play, and on
February 8, 2002 its fate was sealed. Presidents
Karzai of Afghanistan and Musharraf of Pakistan agreed
to a new plan for a pipeline, and by the end of the
year a project known as the Central Asia Pipeline was
born. The Bridas contract was, in Karl Schwarz' words,
breached by US military force.

On February 23, 2003 the Bush Administration agreed to
finance the Central Asia Pipeline and protect it with
US troops, stationed at permanent bases in the region.


The $10 trillion of hydrocarbon fluids in the Caspian
Basin are now firmly controlled by US oil companies,
including BP/Amoco, Chevron-Texaco, Amerada Hess,
Devon Energy, and Remington/Western Resources. (These
companies also have in common a law firm to represent
them: Baker Botts of Houston, Texas. The senior
partner in the firm is James Baker, the engineer of
George Bush's selection as President by the Supreme
Court, and former Secretary of State in the first Bush
Administration. Baker Botts has been retained also by
Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Defense Minister of
Saudi Arabia. Prince Aziz has been accused of
complicity in 9/11--and sued--by the families of World
Trade Center victims, and Baker Botts is defending
him.)

In Afghanistan, neither the Bridas Corporation--nor
Osama bin Laden--has been seen or heard of since.

Does the Afghanistan episode demonstrate the influence
of the oil industry in the administration of George W.
Bush? Does it explain what happened next?

With "Mission Accomplished" in Afghanistan, the
doctrine of pre-emptive war can now be applied
elsewhere.

President Bush spoke repeatedly of an al Qaida-Iraqi
linkage, deliberately and successfully (and we know
now falsely) persuading the American public Saddam
Hussein was an accessory to 9/11. Chemical weapons,
biological weapons, soon-to-be nuclear weapons. Months
and months of lies and deception at home, of arm
twisting abroad and at the United Nations. And then
came the "pre-emptive" invasion.

Now that the lies of the Bush Administration have been
exposed, we are told the Iraqi adventure was
undertaken to bring freedom and democracy to that
tragic region of the world. Liberation to the Iraqis,
however, looks more like occupation. And the
construction, once more, of permanent military bases
in Iraq provides ample reason to feel that way.

US military might has now cordoned off, during the
Bush Administration, both the $10 trillion in Caspian
Basin resources and the world's second largest pool of
petroleum in Iraq. This is a fact, one of Karl
Schwarz' dots. Is it truly just a collateral result, a
mere by-product of bringing freedom and democracy to
the Middle East?

Ask who benefits from the fact. Ask who bears the
costs. And ask how it happened. Karl Schwarz can
answer all three questions, with names, dates, and
places. He will let you connect his dots.

Mr. Schwarz has seen what other Republicans need to
see: Emperor Bush is utterly naked. He is a
geopolitical Wizard of Oz. Behind the curtain of his
"freedom and democracy" rhetoric there lies indeed a
world-class liar, a wretched charlatan.

As no other president in history, George W. Bush has
directed a Big Lie campaign against his own country,
disgracing our nation in the eyes of the world and
dividing our people at home

We need to honor, by reinstating it, our proud
national heritage of honesty, decency, and generosity
in both foreign and domestic affairs. We need to
regain the respect of the community of nations. We
need to salvage our democracy.

We need to give George W. Bush a one-way ticket home.

This essay is deliberately not copyrighted, so
permission to reproduce it is unnecessary. Richard W.
Behan's latest book is Plundered Promise: Capitalism,
Politics, and the Fate of the Federal Lands (Island
Press, 2001). For information about the book go to
http://www.rockisland.com/~rwbehan/. Behan is
currently working on a more broadly rendered critique,
Degenerate Democracy: A Failing U.S. Constitution and
the Triumph of Corporate Avarice. He can be reached at
rwbehan@rockisland.com.


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=536&e=2&u=/ap/20041018/ap_on_el_pr/kerry_gop_endorsement

Michigan's Milliken Endorses Kerry

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Former Republican Gov. William
Milliken of Michigan endorsed Democratic Sen. John
Kerry (news - web sites) for president on Monday,
saying President Bush (news - web sites) has pursued
policies "pandering to the extreme right wing."

Milliken, governor from 1969-82, accused the Bush
administration of rushing into the Iraq (news - web
sites) war, pushing tax cuts that benefit the rich and
blocking meaningful stem-cell research.


"I felt so strongly about the direction of this
country that in the end, it wasn't a difficult
decision to make," Milliken said in an interview
Monday with Traverse City Record-Eagle reporters and
editors.


Milliken issued a three-page statement of his views
about Bush and domestic and international issues.


"This president has pursued policies pandering to the
extreme right wing across a wide variety of issues and
has exacerbated the polarization and the strident,
uncivil tone of much of what passes for political
discourse in this country today," Milliken said in the
statement.


Milliken, a moderate Republican, has been critical of
Bush and has faulted the GOP on such issues as
same-sex marriage, flag-burning and abortion.


The Bush campaign dismissed Milliken's endorsement,
saying he led under a different time.


"We didn't have the threat from terrorists who want to
kill us," said John Truscott, a spokesman for the Bush
campaign. "We didn't have the same kind of war going
on. This election and these times demand a strong
leader who's decisive and who will tell the truth."


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041018/ap_on_el_pr/edwards

Edwards Says Bush Trying to Con Americans

Mon Oct 18, 7:28 PM ET

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

HAVERFORD, Pa. - Answering President Bush (news - web
sites)'s criticism of John Kerry (news - web sites),
Sen. John Edwards (news - web sites) said the
president on Monday "made one last stand to con the
American people" into believing he is the only one who
can fight terrorism.

"The first casualty of a desperate campaign is the
truth," Kerry's running mate said near the southern
New Jersey town where Bush earlier accused Kerry in a
speech of having a dangerous pre-Sept. 11, 2001, view
of the world. "George Bush (news - web sites) stood up
today and he didn't tell you the truth" about Iraq
(news - web sites), the war on terror, about Kerry and
"about his own record."


"George Bush today made one last stand to con the
American people into believing that he is the only one
who can fight an effective war on terror," Edwards
continued. "John Kerry defended this country as a
young man. He will defend this country as president of
the United States."


Bush's campaign disputed the notion of any
fabrications in the speech, delivered in a state that
lost nearly 700 residents in the terrorist attack on
the World Trade Center. The campaign also circulated a
memo among reporters citing the sources of the claims
Bush made in the speech.


Campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry and
Edwards "have demonstrated they will say anything to
get elected."


The day was dominated by talk of terrorism and the
North Carolina senator sought to put Bush on the
defensive as the president headed into what his aides
called a major speech on terrorism in Marlton, N.J.


In Fort Myers, Fla., before Bush's speech, Edwards
accused Bush of "exploiting a national tragedy for
personal gain." He said Bush "claims steady leadership
but offers a steady stream of failure." He accused the
president of "creating a new haven for terrorists" and
assailed him for failing to capture the mastermind of
the attacks, Osama bin Laden (news - web sites).


"He will fail in the war against terrorism because he
does not know how to lead," Edwards said. "George Bush
is playing on people's deepest fears. He's exploiting
a national tragedy for personal gain and it's the
lowest kind of politics.


"You don't win the war on terror by giving a speech.
You win the war on terror based on what you do. And
the facts show, the facts show that we haven't done
all that we can to keep the American people safe and
crush the terrorists before they can do harm to us.
George Bush's failed actions speak much louder than
his words.


"One of the greatest signs of weakness and failure is
to resort to the politics of fear and that's what
George Bush is doing today," Edwards said.


Since the terrorist attacks, the Taliban regime in
Afghanistan (news - web sites) has been toppled and
the former leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein (news - web
sites), has been in U.S. custody since December.
However, bin Laden still evades capture nearly three
years after the attacks, and casualties of U.S. troops
continue in Iraq.

http://nbc15.madison.com/global/story.asp?s=2440106

Michael Moore Rallies UW Campus

MADISON, Wis. ) About five thousand students and
community members turned out to see controversial
filmmaker Michael Moore in Madison.

He visited to the University of Wisconsin-Madison
campus Saturday night. The controversial director of
Fahrenheit 9/11 took on President Bush from Iraq to
the environment. Moore urged the crowd to vote but
vote for John Kerry, saying Democrats are the majority
and if they vote, Republicans will have a lot to be
scared about.

Moore also said students will play a big role in this
election with this admonition. "(Republicans) need
slackers to keep slacking off. This year the slackers
will rise up." The event was part of Moore's Slacker
Uprising Tour.

About 40 Bush-Cheney supporters also showed up to
protest chanting "We want Bush" and "No more lies" but
the rally was mostly peaceful.

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-iraq-war-in-the-west,0,3853284.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines

Marines Vent Frustration in Western Iraq


By FISNIK ABRASHI
Associated Press Writer

October 19, 2004, 2:58 AM EDT


QAIM, Iraq -- The sound of the Black Hawk medical
helicopter is an ominous sign for the Marines
patrolling this forgotten western corner of Iraq that
borders Syria. It means that one of them is seriously
wounded or killed by their elusive enemy.

The sound of roaring engine, shattering evening calm,
gets immediately followed up with a quick whisper
among the troops, trying to find out who it was --
this time.

At this Marine base, at the far west of the restless
Anbar province only miles from the Syrian border, the
news spreads quickly.

"We are losing guys left and right," says Cpl. Cody
King, 20, of Phoenix, not hiding his anger. "All we
are doing around here is getting blown up."

Most of the incidents these days, in this land of
endless desert, dried-up river beds and winding dirt
roads, include 155 mm artillery shells, mines and
other sorts of crude homemade bombs. They make the
Marines' enemy faceless and only heighten the feeling
of vulnerability. The armor at their disposal is in
short supply.

King and his fellow Marines from the weapons company
of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, spoke
between patrols, huddled together and sifting through
their log book, venting their anger and frustration.
They never talked of fear.

Among other things their green leather bound book
lists are the number of times their company has been
hit by homemade bombs since they arrived in the
country two months ago. Also listed in book, in fine,
careful print, are the names of those who were killed
or wounded during those incidents.

On Sept. 3, a thunderous blast from a homemade bomb
ripped through a group of Marines providing security
for engineers repairing a bridge over the Euphrates
River, near the town of Ubayd.

Four were killed and three were wounded. King escaped
unscathed.

In recent months, Marine fatalities have exceeded Army
deaths -- even though the Army has at least three
times as many troops in Iraq.

It is difficult to pinpoint the reasons for the
unusually high death toll for the Marines because they
limit details on the circumstances of battle deaths to
either "enemy action" or "non-combat related." The
Army specifies the type of weapon that caused the
death as well as the city where it happened.

"After you lose so many Marines, you just keep
fighting to stay alive," says King, the son of a
Vietnam veteran.

But for some of the Marines, lack of armor, few
vehicles and too restrictive rules of engagement are
partly to blame.

"We need more armor, more vehicles and more bodies,"
says King.

Gunnery Sgt. Jason Berold says the rules, as they are
now, are frustrating. Unless they see insurgents
shooting at them or have what they call positive
identification, there's little that the Marines can
do.

"It is very frustrating," says Berold, 38, of Los
Angeles.

"All we are doing is getting Americans killed and we
cannot do much about it," says King. The other marines
in the room nod in approval.

"None of us are scared of going out ... as long as you
get one bad guy."

Because of the existing rules of the engagement,
though, the only thing left after the incidents is to
"pick up your dead and wounded and get out of there as
soon as possible," King says.

Sgt. Ryan Hall, 27, says that a "50-50" chance of
getting hurt or killed on patrol is a good bet among
his troops. As he walks outside the compound, the
Abilene, Texas, resident points to the damage that
company vehicles have suffered. There are cracks in
the armored windshield of their Humvees from flying
shrapnel. There are also holes on the back and damage
to its side.

Shortly after darkness fell in this distant base,
another sound of the helicopter signaled what they all
knew.

"You do not know whether he will survive," King says.

That night, only one made it. A suicide car bomber had
rammed into their patrol near the town of Qaim. Two
soldiers and one Marine died.
Copyright 2004, The Associated Press | Article
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Posted by richard at October 19, 2004 03:47 AM