Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Capt. Jeff Pirozzi; War based on a lie; from Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes

European and Mideast editions

Nov 28, 2005

War based on a lie

Weapons of mass destruction? I’m still looking for them, and if you find any give me a call so we can justify our presence in Iraq. We started the war based on a lie, and we’ll finish it based on a lie. I say this because I am currently serving with a logistics headquarters in the Anbar province, between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. I am not fooled by the constant fabrication of “democracy” and “freedom” touted by our leadership at home and overseas.

This deception is furthered by our armed forces’ belief that we can just enter ancient Mesopotamia and tell the locals about the benefits of a legislative assembly. While our European ancestors were hanging from trees, these ancient people were writing algebra and solving quadratic equations. Now we feel compelled to strong-arm them into accepting the spoils of capitalism and “laissez-faire” society. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching Britney Spears on MTV and driving to McDonald’s, but do you honestly believe that Sunnis, Shias and Kurds want our Western ideas of entertainment and freedom imposed on them? Think again.

I’m not being negative, I’m being realistic. The reality in Iraq is that the United States created a nightmare situation where one didn’t exist. Yes, Saddam Hussein was an evil man who lied, cheated and pillaged his own nation. But how was he different from dictators in Africa who commit massive crimes again humanity with little repercussion and sometimes support from the West? The bottom line up front (BLUF to use a military acronym) is that Saddam was different because we used him as an excuse to go to war to make Americans “feel good” about the “War on Terrorism.” The BLUF is that our ultimate goal in 2003 was the security of Israel and the lucrative oil fields in northern and southern Iraq.

Weapons of mass destruction? Call me when you find them. In the meantime, “bring ’em on” so we can get our “mission accomplished” and get out of this mess.

Capt. Jeff Pirozzi

Camp Taqaddum, Iraq

Stars & Stripes
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Asleep on President Bush New Strategy in Iraq Speech today

Naval Academy midshipmen waiting for President Bush speech this morning; strategy for war in Iraq. Picture posted on CNN website in the CNN coverage...picture no longer there. Posted by Picasa
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Monday, November 28, 2005

: Recommended BCC documentary; The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear

We give this a Highly Recommended rating, please take the time to view, it is full of detail and if you don't watch all of it, guaranteed you will learn something new even from watching bits of it!

Hi Friends,

We watched all three; and the history relevant to US getting into Iraq is profound. So much so that we believe it a valued gift at Christmas this contributes immensely to the dialogue with language not yet used. A BBC documentary that US media will not air in this's apparant why not once you see the videos. Highly recommended, and sharing among my 'bring them home now' friends. Lietta (and Arthur; he found them and shared with me)

The Power of Nightmares -
Each program is 58 minutes long - - Real Video -11-26

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Video Immediate Troop Withdrawal speech Congressman John Murtha; also transcipt

Hi all,

Lietta here, animated excitement this morning on (D) Rep John Murtha's impassioned call of Immediate Withdrawal Troops. Brief research this am indicates this is not a lightweight position by this Congressman, known for his hawkish positions (per what others say about him). He's a long time and respected Congressman, long time former Marine, Vietnam Veteran, and a bit of research will tell you this is almost a pivotal turning point (imo).

A must see link to video of Congressman John Murtha's speech this morning on CNN

A link to partial transcript of his speech this morning

Just some excerpts but he covers every single point and fullness of his speech is a don't miss, he states so much pertinent factual info;

"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised..."

"The American and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq..."

"It is evident that continued military presence in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States, Iraq, or the MIddle East..."

"The main reason given for war has been discredited..."

"Let me personalize this for you. I go to the hospitals every week... two women... they wanted to say they were happy to be alive... I had a kid in my district, was blinded and lost his foot... getting bills from a collection agency..."

"These soldiers are marvelous people..."

"It was a US intelligence failure, and it was a failure in how the intelligence was used..."

"What demoralizes is not the criticism" but the lack of a plan to win the peace.

"We must be prepared, the war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls in our bases at home..."

"George Washington said that being prepared for war is one of the best ways to preserve the peace... we better make sure we prepare enough to preserve the peace..."

That the Coalition soldiers were considered the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign Jihadists, alike...our men were the catalyst of violence in Iraq.

That our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency.

That only about 7% of the insurgency consists of foreign fighters.

That 80% of the Iraqis are against the presence of our Coalition being there and want us out of their country!

That 45% of the Iraqis think that attacks against our soldiers are justified.!

That we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis!

That criticism isn't what is demoralizing our troops...what is demoralizing them are the IEDs (roadside bombs)!
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Immediate Troop Withdrawal says Congressman John Murtha, former Marine - Nov 17, 2005

Vietnam vet says the Iraq war is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An influential House Democrat who voted for the Iraq war called Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, another sign of growing unease in Congress about the conflict.

"This is the immediate redeployment of American forces because they have become the target," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, one of Congress' most hawkish Democrats. At times during his remarks to reporters, the decorated Vietnam War veteran and former Marine was choking back tears.

"It is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region," Murtha said.

Murtha, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, has earned bipartisan respect for his grasp of military issues over three decades in Congress.

He said announcing a U.S. withdrawal would provide the Iraqi government with an added incentive to have their own security forces take control of the conflict.

Murtha is a close adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California. For months, Pelosi has pushed for the Bush administration to outline an exit strategy, although she has stopped short of calling for an immediate troop pullout.

Some Senate Democrats have called for immediate or phased withdrawal.

Murtha's comments came just two days after the Senate voted to approve a statement that 2006 "should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty" to create the conditions for the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Murtha voted to give the president authority to use force against Saddam Hussein in 2002. In recent months, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee defense panel has grown increasingly troubled with the direction of the war and with the Bush administration's handling of it, particularly following reports of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.

"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion," Murtha said. - House Democrat�calls for immediate troop withdrawal - Nov 17, 2005
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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Tomdispatch Interview: Ann Wright on Service to Country

I met Ann Wright in my week at Crawford, TX, Camp Casey. She is indeed a remarkable woman. Would that when I reach age 59, I have half her passion! When Military Speaks Out, it's time to listen.

A new Tomdispatch Interview today: (copyright)

Former diplomat Ann Wright, who publicly resigned in protest before the invasion of Iraq and became one of our most out-of-the-ordinary antiwar activists describes her life and thoughts in a wide-ranging interview: "A Felon for Peace"

TomDispatch - Tomdispatch Interview: Ann Wright on Service to Country
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Tuesday, November 8, 2005

92,000 US troops told to prepare for Iraq rotation

By Charles Aldinger Mon Nov 7, 5:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The

Pentagon on Monday notified 92,000 fresh U.S. troops to prepare for rotation to

Iraq over a two-year period beginning in mid-2006, but cautioned that the number did not signal immediate plans to slash a much-higher U.S. troop level now in that country.

more at 92,000 US troops told to prepare for Iraq rotation - Yahoo! News

from GI Special;

Nov. 7, 2005 By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today announced the next major units to deploy to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Today's announcement affects about 92,000 servicemembers -- more than 65,000 from the active component and 26,000 from the Guard and Reserve -- who will begin their scheduled rotation in mid-2006, according to Army Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Defense Department spokesman.

Major units to deploy include:

Division Headquarters and 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii;

13th Corps Support Command, Fort Hood, Texas;

1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard;

2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany;

3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.;

3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; and

2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
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Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning -

Having myself prepared and delivered several sermons in my own Episcopal church challenging the Commander-in-Chief and war in Iraq; this article got my attention.

November 7, 2005

# All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena risks losing its tax-exempt status because of a former rector's remarks in 2004.

By Patricia Ward Biederman and Jason Felch, Times Staff Writers

The Internal Revenue Service has warned one of Southern California's largest and most liberal churches that it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election.

Rector J. Edwin Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena told many congregants during morning services Sunday that a guest sermon by the church's former rector, the Rev. George F. Regas, on Oct. 31, 2004, had prompted a letter from the IRS.

In his sermon, Regas, who from the pulpit opposed both the Vietnam War and 1991's Gulf War, imagined Jesus participating in a political debate with then-candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry. Regas said that "good people of profound faith" could vote for either man, and did not tell parishioners whom to support.

But he criticized the war in Iraq, saying that Jesus would have told Bush, "Mr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster."

On June 9, the church received a letter from the IRS stating that "a reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church … " The federal tax code prohibits tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from intervening in political campaigns and elections.

The letter went on to say that "our concerns are based on a Nov. 1, 2004, newspaper article in the Los Angeles Times and a sermon presented at the All Saints Church discussed in the article."

The IRS cited The Times story's description of the sermon as a "searing indictment of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq" and noted that the sermon described "tax cuts as inimical to the values of Jesus."

As Bacon spoke, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a co-celebrant of Sunday's Requiem Eucharist, looked on.

"We are so careful at our church never to endorse a candidate," Bacon said in a later interview.

"One of the strongest sermons I've ever given was against President Clinton's fraying of the social safety net."

Telephone calls to IRS officials in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles were not returned.

On a day when churches throughout California took stands on both sides of Proposition 73, which would bar abortions for minors unless parents are notified, some at All Saints feared the politically active church had been singled out.

"I think obviously we were a bit shocked and dismayed," said Bob Long, senior warden for the church's oversight board. "We felt somewhat targeted."

Bacon said the church had retained the services of a Washington law firm with expertise in tax-exempt organizations.

And he told the congregation: "It's important for everyone to understand that the IRS concerns are not supported by the facts."

After the initial inquiry, the church provided the IRS with a copy of all literature given out before the election and copies of its policies, Bacon said.

But the IRS recently informed the church that it was not satisfied by those materials, and would proceed with a formal examination. Soon after that, church officials decided to inform the congregation about the dispute.

In an October letter to the IRS, Marcus Owens, the church's tax attorney and a former head of the IRS tax-exempt section, said, "It seems ludicrous to suggest that a pastor cannot preach about the value of promoting peace simply because the nation happens to be at war during an election season."

Owens said that an IRS audit team had recently offered the church a settlement during a face-to-face meeting.

"They said if there was a confession of wrongdoing, they would not proceed to the exam stage. They would be willing not to revoke tax-exempt status if the church admitted intervening in an election."

more at Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning - Los Angeles Times
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Church's leaders urge Bush to provide plan for Iraq withdrawal -

Nov. 7, 2005

By Tim Tanton*

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church's bishops are calling on President George Bush to draw up a plan and timeline for withdrawing all U.S. forces from Iraq.

The resolution, adopted Nov. 4, updates a statement that the Council of Bishops issued in May 2004. During the final session of the council's weeklong fall meeting, no bishops voted in opposition to the resolution, though some abstained from voting.

In a poignant moment, Bishop Charlene Kammerer of Virginia told the council about her son, Chris, who is serving in the Navy in the Persian Gulf.

"I know the pain of totally loving and supporting your child in the military and at the same time faithfully challenging the policies of the United States government," she said.

"Our son has absolutely no problem with our stance," she said. "He has been formed and shaped by the United Methodist Church. We are very proud of him for his service, and yet he and many, many, many others in the military are questioning why we are there. I cannot do anything but support this resolution as a parent of Chris."

Other bishops also spoke in favor of the resolution, submitted by retired Bishop Marshall "Jack" Meadors Jr. of Atlanta.

"Nothing could be more global than this war," said Bishop Sally Dyck of Minnesota, "and we need to bear in mind that the world is waiting for us to make a moral statement about the war."

Though the council had adopted a statement on Iraq a year and a half ago, several bishops stressed the importance of speaking again on the issue. Bishop Melvin Talbert noted that when something is important, the message needs to be said over and over again. "Repetition is helpful at times."

more at Church's leaders urge Bush to provide plan for Iraq withdrawal -
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