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“Civilians Balk At Recognizing That One Of The Most Traumatic Things About Combat Is Having To Give It Up”
“O’Byrne Is Also Worried About Being Alone. He Hasn’t Been Out Of Earshot Of His Platoonmates For Two Years And Has No Idea How He’ll React To Solitude”
“Men Like Mac And Rice And O’Byrne Have Come Home To Find Themselves Desperately Missing What Should Have Been The Worst Experience Of Their Lives”
“To A Combat Vet, The Civilian World Can Seem Frivolous And Dull, With Very Little At Stake And All The Wrong People In Power”

“They Miss Being In A World Where Human Relations Are Entirely Governed By Whether You Can Trust The Other Person With Your Life”

Second Platoon; Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley

Comment: T
There have been several explanations offered to explain the high rate of suicides among active duty troops and veterans. The most often repeated: the effects of explosives on the brain; personal troubles back home when troops are serving overseas; and, from the left, the silly notion that significant numbers of troops kill themselves because they feel hopeless guilt about the wars they are fighting. Largely ignored until fairly recently is the fact that prescription drugs that have suicidal/homicidal ideation as dangerous side effects have been given out like popcorn to troops on the battlefield, and also given out wholesale to troops who return and are diagnosed with anxiety, and/or post traumatic stress, including the wounded. Ignored is an inconvenient truth that both war opponents and war supporters find do not serve their moralistic propaganda purposes, but is reality, however much they wish to deny it. That truth may be understood from this article:

************************************************************************************** [From War; By Sebastian Junger; Twelve Publishers; 287 pp. $26.99] One night a few weeks later I’m sitting on the ammo hooch listening to the monkeys in the peaks. A temperature inversion has filled the valley with mist and the mist is silver in the moonlight and almost liquid. Airborne is asleep but keeps popping his head up to growl at some threat impossibly far below us in the valley. There’s been a big fight over by the Pakistan border and F-15s and -16s have been powering overhead all evening looking for people to kill, O’Byrne wanders out and we start talking. His head is shaved but dirt sticks to the stubble so you can see where his hair ought to be. He says he signed a contract with the Army that’s almost up, and he has to figure out whether to reenlist. “Combat is such an adrenaline rush,” he says. “I’m worried I’ll be looking for that when I get home and if I can’t find it, I’ll just start drinking and getting in trouble. “People back home think we drink because of the bad stuff, but that’s not true. . we drink because we miss the good stuff.” O’Byrne is also worried about being alone. He hasn’t been out of earshot of his platoonmates for two years and has no idea how he’ll react to solitude. He’s never had to get a job, find an apartment, or arrange a doctor’s appointment because the Army has always done those things for him. All he’s had to do is fight. And he’s good at it, so leading a patrol up 1705 causes him less anxiety than, say, moving to Boston and finding an apartment and a job. He has little capacity for what civilians refer to as “life skills”; for him, life skills literally keep you alive. Those are far simpler and more compelling than the skills required at home. “In the Korengal, almost every problem could get settled by getting violent faster than the other guy,” O’Byrne told me. “Do that at home and it’s not going to go so well.” It’s a stressful way to live but once it’s blown out your levels almost everything else looks boring. O’Byrne knows himself: when he gets bored he starts drinking and getting into fights, and then it’s only a matter of time until he’s back in the system.

If that’s the case, he might as well stay in the system -- a better one -- and actually move upward. I suggest a few civilian jobs that offer a little adrenaline—wilderness trip guide, firefighter — but we both know it’s just not the same. We are at one of the most exposed outposts in the entire U.S. military, and he’s crawling out of his skin because there hasn’t been a good firefight in a week. How do you bring a guy like that back into the world?

“They Miss Being In A World Where Human Relations Are Entirely Governed By Whether You Can Trust The Other Person With Your Life”
Civilians balk at recognizing that one of the most traumatic things about combat is having to give it up. War is so obviously evil and wrong that the idea there could be anything good to it almost feels like a profanity. And yet throughout history, men like Mac and Rice and O’Byrne have come home to find themselves desperately missing what should have been the worst experience of their lives. To a combat vet, the civilian world can seem frivolous and dull, with very little at stake and all the wrong people in power. These men come home and quickly find themselves getting berated by a rear-base major who’s never seen combat or arguing with their girlfriend about some domestic issue they don’t even understand. When men say they miss combat, it’s not that they actually miss getting shot at — you’d have to be deranged — it’s that they miss being in a world where everything is important and nothing is taken for granted. They miss being in a world where human relations are entirely governed by whether you can trust the other person with your life. It’s such a pure, clean standard that men can completely remake themselves in war. You could be anything back home — shy, ugly, rich, poor, unpopular — and it won’t matter because it’s of no consequence in a firefight, and therefore of no consequence, period. The only thing that matters is your level of dedication to the rest of the group, and that is almost impossible to fake. That is why the men say such impossibly vulgar things about each other’s sisters and mothers. It’s one more way to prove nothing can break the bond between them; it’s one more way to prove they’re not alone out there.

“There Is A Profound And Mysterious Gratification To The Reciprocal Agreement To Protect Another Person With Your Life, And Combat Is Virtually The Only Situation In Which That Happens Regularly”
War is a big and sprawling word that brings a lot of human suffering into the conversation, but combat is a different matter. Combat is the smaller game that young men fall in love with, and any solution to the human problem of war will have to take into account the psyches of these young men. For some reason there is a profound and mysterious gratification to the reciprocal agreement to protect another person with your life, and combat is virtually the only situation in which that happens regularly. These hillsides of loose shale and holly trees are where the men feel not most alive—that you can get skydiving — but the most utilized. The most necessary. The most clear and certain and purposeful. If young men could get that feeling at home, no one would ever want to go to war again, but they can’t. So here sits Sergeant Brendan O’Byrne, one month before the end of deployment, seriously contemplating signing back up. “I prayed only once in Afghanistan,” O’Byrne wrote after it was all over. “It was when Restrepo got shot, and I prayed to god to let him live. But God, Allah, Jehovah, Zeus or whatever a person may call God wasn’t in that valley. Combat is the devil’s game. God wanted no part. That’s why our prayers weren’t answered: the only one listening was Satan.” Combat fog obscures your fate — obscures when and where you might die — and from that unknown is born a desperate bond between the men. That bond is the core experience of combat and the only thing you can absolutely count on. The Army might screw you and your girlfriend might dump you and the enemy might kill you, but the shared commitment to safeguard one another’s lives is unnegotiable and only deepens with time. The willingness to die for another person is a form of love that even religions fail to inspire, and the experience of it changes a person profoundly. What the Army sociologists, with their clipboards and their questions and their endless metaanalyses, slowly came to understand was that courage was love. In war, neither could exist without the other, and that in a sense they were just different ways of saying the same thing. According to their questionnaires, the primary motivation

in combat (other than “ending the task” — which meant they all could go home) was “solidarity with the group.” That far outweighed self-preservation or idealism as a motivator. The Army Research Branch cites cases of wounded men going AWOL after their hospitalization in order to get back to their unit faster than the military could get them there. A civilian might consider this an act of courage, but soldiers knew better. To them it was just an act of brotherhood, and there probably wasn’t much to say about it except “Welcome back.”


Suicide Numbers Likely To Top 2011, Army Says
Dec 13, 2012 Army Times [Excerpts] As many as 12 active-duty soldiers committed suicide in November, pushing the Army above last year’s record number of suicides with one month left to go in the year, officials said today. With the deaths in November, of which one has been confirmed as suicide, the Army has now had 177 suspected suicides among active-duty soldiers this year. Last year’s total of confirmed suicides was 165. Of the deaths this year, 113 have been confirmed and 64 deaths are still under investigation. Typically, about 90 percent of suspected suicides are confirmed. Also in November, there were as many as 15 suicides among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty. Of those, 12 were from the Army National Guard and three from the Army Reserve. Two of the deaths are confirmed as suicides and the others remain under investigation. So far this year, 126 soldiers from this population are suspected of committing suicide: 84 from the Guard and 42 from the Reserve. Only 29 cases are still under investigation; the other 97 have been confirmed as suicides. In 2011, the total number of suicides among this population of soldiers was 118. Of those, 82 were from the Guard and 36 from the Reserve. In all, the Army has suffered as many as 303 suicides so far this year — 210 have been confirmed as suicides and 93 are still under investigation.


Sam Stone ature=related
By John Prine [Veteran] Sam Stone came home, To his wife and family After serving in the conflict overseas. And the time that he served, Had shattered all his nerves, And left a little shrapnel in his knee. But the morphine eased the pain, And the grass grew round his brain, And gave him all the confidence he lacked, With a Purple Heart and a monkey on his back. Chorus: There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes, Jesus Christ died for nothin’ I suppose. Little pitchers have big ears, Don’t stop to count the years, Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios. Mmm.... Sam Stone’s welcome home Didn’t last too long. He went to work when he’d spent his last dime And Sammy took to stealing When he got that empty feeling For a hundred dollar habit without overtime. And the gold rolled through his veins Like a thousand railroad trains, And eased his mind in the hours that he chose, While the kids ran around wearin’ other peoples’ clothes... Repeat Chorus: Sam Stone was alone When he popped his last balloon Climbing walls while sitting in a chair Well, he played his last request While the room smelled just like death With an overdose hovering in the air But life had lost its fun And there was nothing to be done But trade his house that he bought on the G. I. Bill

For a flag draped casket on a local heroes’ hill. Repeat Chorus

Troops Invited:
Comments, arguments, articles, and letters from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Write to Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or email Name, I.D., withheld unless you request publication. Same address to unsubscribe.


Foreign Occupation “Servicemember” Killed Somewhere Or Other In Afghanistan: Nationality Not Announced
December 24, 2012 Reuters A foreign servicemember died following an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan today. The insurgent attack in which this service member died is unrelated to the shooting at the Kabul police headquarters today.

Afghan Policewoman Kills U.S. Occupation Staff Member:
“The Compound Where She Attacked The US Adviser Is A Highly Secure Enclave In The Center Of Kabul”
[Thanks to Mark Shapiro, Military Resistance Organization, who sent this in.]

24 December 2012 TOLOnews & By Denis D. Gray, MSN News [Excerpts] The Afghan policewoman who shot and killed a US civilian adviser in the Kabul compound housing the governor of the city and near a number of key ministries appeared to be acting with premeditation and crossed three checkpoints to get inside the highly secure enclave, sources tell TOLOnews. The circumstances of the killing were not immediately clear, but the shooting could be another insider attack by Afghans against their foreign allies. The suspect, identified by Afghan officials as Nargis, is a 33-year-old married woman originally from the Mir Bacha Kot district of Kabul province. She lives in Kabul city's working class neighborhood of Wazirabad, according to police sources. Nargis had lived as a refugee in Iran and Pakistan, like millions of Afghans who went to either country to flee conflict. Nargis graduated from the police academy in late 2008 and was among the pioneering groups of female Afghan police cadets. She worked at the District 6 police station in Kabul city shortly after graduation but was most recently employed in the gender section of the Ministry of Interior. Her husband is a civilian employee at the Ministry of Interior. She had recently returned from a government-sponsored trip to Egypt, where she split from the visiting Afghan contingent and went missing for two days, saying she was lost in the unfamiliar city. Her supervisors failed to mention this in their report of the trip, the civilian source told TOLOnews. The compound where she attacked the US adviser is a highly secure enclave in the center of Kabul that houses the Kabul governor's office, the police chief's compound, various government offices and courthouses. On the morning of the attack, Nargis apparently wanted to attend the graduation ceremony of a literacy course for Afghan police, the source told TOLOnews. The ceremony was apparently canceled, so Nargis attempted to enter the enclave by convincing the guards first that she wanted to see the police chief, then the governor. She was told both officials were out of office. When the US adviser entered the enclave, Nargis asked a nearby guard to confirm if the person was a foreigner. Receiving an affirmative answer, she followed the foreigner to a shop inside the compound where he was apparently buying an Afghan police memento. Nargis, dressed in her police uniform and armed with the gun issued by the Ministry of Interior, fired at the foreigner's torso at close range, according to the source familiar with the investigation. It is unclear how Nargis was able to get past the three checkpoints, with her gun, to get to the adviser in the most secure part of the compound. All outside security personnel entering the enclave have to check their weapons at the entrance.

There are no initial indications of a possible collusion from security personnel at the enclave, although it is likely that the guards were lax in checking a female police officer. Kabul Governor Abdul Jabar Taqwa told TOLOnews that Nargis had hidden the gun in her socks. Nargis remains in Afghan custody and is under joint Afghan-US investigation. Nargis is the first female member of the Afghan security forces to be involved in such an attack, and is among the rare suspects to be apprehended. Most are killed during the attack.


Afghan Policeman Kills Five Policemen In Dirzab:
“The Attacker Then Stole His Colleague's Weapons And Fled To Join The Taliban”
24 December 2012 By Denis D. Gray, MSN News [Excerpts] An Afghan policeman shot five of his colleagues at a checkpoint in northern Afghanistan late Sunday. The attacker then stole his colleague's weapons and fled to join the Taliban, said deputy provincial governor in Jawzjan province, Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani. In Sunday's attack, Jawzjani, the provincial official, said the attacker was an Afghan policeman manning a checkpoint in Dirzab District who turned his weapon on five colleagues before fleeing to the militant Islamist group.



“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. “We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” Frederick Douglass, 1852

The Nixon administration claimed and received great credit for withdrawing the Army from Vietnam, but it was the rebellion of low-ranking GIs that forced the government to abandon a hopeless suicidal policy. -- David Cortright; Soldiers In Revolt

“The Syrian Uprising Is Part Of The Same Struggle Across The

Region Against Poverty, Inequality And State Repression”
Al-Assad “Participated In The Torture Of ‘Terror Suspects’ Through The CIA’s ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ Programme”
“Israeli Officials Expressed Concern That The Fall Of Assad Could Lead To “’The Freeing Of Palestinian Organisations From Any Restraints’”
“’Both The Regime And Foreign Forces Ultimately Want To Crush The Movement From Below”
28 June 12 by Jonathan Maunder, International Socialism [Excerpts] By the time Bashar [al-Assad] came to power in 2000, the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada, coinciding with the announcement by Israel of plans to build 1,500 new settlements in the Golan Heights, put an end to the possibility of a peace agreement with Israel. Bashar’s strategy in this period is usually seen as one of straightforward opposition to Israel and US foreign policy, in particular the Iraq War. In reality his approach has been more nuanced, reflecting the strategic dilemmas and calculations of the regime. On the one hand, support for the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements allowed Bashar to apply pressure on Israel without directly confronting its occupation of the Golan Heights. Alliances with Iran and Iraq under Saddam Hussein had important economic and political benefits.

But at the same time Bashar sought to strengthen Syria’s ties to pro-Western states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in order to insulate the regime from an aggressive US administration following 9/11. As Raymond Hinnebusch puts it: “Syria was trying to position itself to manipulate two opposing regional alliance networks, the traditional pro-Western one that tied it to Cairo and Riyadh and what at times looked like a potential new anti-Western one with Iraq (under Saddam Hussein) and Iran.” On an economic level this can be seen in the way that under Bashar the hostile ruling classes in Iran and the Gulf States have exploited Syrian workers and resources. While Iran built a gas pipeline and Syria’s first car factory in 2007, billions of dollars of real estate investment have poured in from Saudi Arabia (including from the Bin Laden family), Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. On a geopolitical level, it can be seen in the way that, as well as backing resistance to Israel and opposing the war on Iraq, Bashar cooperated with the US in sealing the border with Iraq to stop insurgents fighting the US/UK occupation and participated in the torture of “terror suspects” through the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” programme. Bashar’s contradictory role in the region can be seen in the response of Saudi Arabia and Israel to the 2011 uprising. As the New York Times commented in May 2011 on the Saudi response: “An initial statement of support by King Abdullah for President Bashar al-Assad has been followed by silence, along with occasional calls at Friday prayer for god to support the protesters. That silence reflects a deep ambivalence, analysts said. The (Saudi) ruling family personally dislikes Mr Assad — resenting his close ties with Iran and seeing Syria’s hand in the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, a Saudi ally. But they fear his overthrow will unleash sectarian violence without guaranteeing that Iranian influence will be diminished.” Similarly some Israeli officials expressed concern that the fall of Assad could lead to “the freeing of Palestinian organisations from any restraints and (their belief) that the Syrian regime represents a central authority that regulates behaviour and keeps events from slipping out of control”. This “regulating” position was reflected in comments by the chief of Syrian intelligence in 2003 that threats of regime change against Syria from the US “could unleash groups that had hitherto been checked by Syrian intelligence networks, namely Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad”. If the position of Bashar’s official enemies is not straightforward, neither is that of his supposed allies. Hamas has refused to back the regime during the uprising and has moved its political office out of Damascus, while Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has stayed loyal, even though this threatens to undermine Hezbollah’s credibility in Syria and the Arab world in general.

Hafez and Bashar al-Assad’s opposition to Israel and support for resistance movements has been shaped primarily by their geopolitical interests as representatives of a state capitalist ruling class, concerned above all to maintain their influence and strength in relation to other states. This has involved repeated manoeuvring between support, restraint and repression of these movements. In contrast to such cynical manoeuvring socialists should look to the mass struggles of the Arab revolutions as the greatest hope for challenging imperialism in the region and liberating Palestine. At the time of writing the Assad regime remains in power. There is some uncertainty about what will happen if it does fall. Some argue that it will mean a boost for the US and Israel, and a further step along the road to a war with Iran. Another concern is the descent into sectarianism and civil war. All these outcomes are possible and should not be treated lightly. The key question is whether the working class can use its collective social power in the workplaces through mass strikes to tip the balance against the regime and make it more difficult for outside powers to manipulate the uprising. Beyond the regime’s suppression of the uprising, whether this happens depends on the role of other forces within the opposition such as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Syrian National Council (SNC), and the influence of sectarianism. The FSA mostly comprises defecting soldiers and officers, and civilians who have taken up arms to defend themselves from regime attacks. It is no surprise that armed resistance has developed given the ruthless suppression of the uprising and the legacy of the regime’s brutal war against the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which destroyed the city of Hama and killed around 20,000 of its inhabitants. The “umbrella” of the FSA includes a number of different groups who maintain a loose connection with the leadership based in Turkey. There has been much discussion about the extent of assistance being provided to the FSA by external powers such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and NATO. While it is likely that some form of assistance is being provided, and may well increase in future, it is important not to exaggerate such claims. Credible reports in early 2012 suggested that the FSA remained poorly armed and with a significant proportion of its arms coming from defectors, raids on government weapons bases and black market purchases. The FSA has real popular roots within the uprising and is simply too diverse for it to be easily turned into a unified proxy force acting in the interests of outside powers. However, it is likely that outside powers will try to build up loyal units and co-opt leaders within the armed resistance.

Therefore while socialists should defend the right of armed resistance against the regime, and oppose abstract calls for the resistance to lay down its weapons while the murderous Assad regime remains in power, the dangers of a situation where the FSA becomes a substitute for mass popular action also need to be recognised. Such a development will make it harder for a workers’ movement to emerge. The SNC was formed by exiled leaders, dominated by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, in an attempt to persuade the West to carry out a similar military intervention in Syria to that which it carried out in Libya. The leaders of the SNC have thus focused most of their attention on lobbying for military intervention rather than building international support for the uprising. Socialists should identify clearly with the forces from below which are fighting the Assad regime. There is no contradiction between this and opposition to imperialist intervention. On the contrary, belief in social change and socialism “from below” is the most consistent and solid basis for opposing imperialism. The importance of the Arab revolutions is that they raise the possibility for the mass of ordinary people in the region to challenge the control of both regional ruling classes and the imperialist powers. Despite significant challenges, and some important contrasts with the struggles in Tunisia and Egypt, the Syrian uprising is part of the same struggle across the region against poverty, inequality and state repression. It has emerged out of the regime’s drive to reform the economy in the interests of the ruling class while strengthening its means of internal repression. The uprising can be seen as a new phase in an important tradition of popular struggle in Syrian history. As Hanna Batatu wrote of Syria in 1981: “Connected with these struggles is a phenomenon that repeats itself: rural people, driven by economic distress or lack of security, move into the main cities, settle in the outlying districts, enter before long into relations or forge common links with elements of the urban poor, who are themselves often earlier migrants from the countryside, and together they challenge the old established classes.” A crucial difference this time is the greater objective potential for the Syrian working class to lead the struggle, due to its growth in both absolute and relative terms, and the fact that a majority of Syrians now live in urban areas. The developing strength of this class, using its unique collective power in the workplaces, is the only way the Syrian Revolution can fully realise its emancipatory potential — not just bringing down the regime, but beginning to address the deep social and economic issues facing workers, the youth and the poor. The further development of the revolution faces substantial obstacles. What is certain is that both the regime and foreign forces ultimately want to crush the movement from below.

The success or failure of the Syrian uprising will have an impact on the confidence of revolutionary movements across the region and the rest of the world. For this reason socialists should oppose all attempts by imperialist powers and their allies to intervene in Syria, and stand firmly in solidarity with the workers, peasants, soldiers and students in their struggle against the Assad regime. Their victory will be our victory, just as their defeat will be our defeat.

College Chicken-Hawks Hold Annual Conference, Vow Support For More Wars:
“It Boasts An Honorary National Board Composed Of A Virtual Who’s Who Of Defense Industry Executives And Politicians”

23 December 2012 by Jack Mandaville, The Duffle Blog MADISON, WI – Hundreds of college students, representing more than ninety universities, recently converged on Madison to hold their eleventh annual Benevolent Institute of The Chicken-Hawk conference. The organization is seeing its highest turnout in its decade of existence. As wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have wound down, the organization worries that there “won’t be any more foreign wars to fight.”

The popular campus group was founded in 2002 by Reed Vanderbilt, then an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee. It has since spread to over one hundred colleges across the country. The group’s motto, “We make the war, they do the chore,” represents their mission of breeding the future smoke-filled backroom shot-callers of America. It boasts an honorary national board composed of a virtual Who’s Who of defense industry executives and politicians. Former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is the Honorary Chairman, and was scheduled to speak. “I’m really stoked to be here,” says Tim Olson, a student from the University of Minnesota. “We’ve got a lot of great minds coming together. “We’ve got future congressmen, business leaders, and some chicks looking to find a husband.” Standing next to Olson is Thad Berry, a graduate student at Rice University in Houston, TX. “I just met Tim a few hours ago,” says Berry. “That’s the beauty of this conference, you know? “Students from all over the country can get together and discuss how we’re going to continue force-feeding democracy to the uncivilized world. It’s a brotherhood that nobody can understand. Plus, we have an awesome ‘Risk’ tournament to close out the week.” When asked if he would be willing to take up arms in order to accomplish the spread of his organization’s ideals, Berry didn’t hesitate. “Well, my uncle did his twelve hours in Grenada and my cousin’s brother-in-law is a dietitian in the Vermont National Guard, so, I think my family has done enough time in the shit. “I’m just here to discuss how we’re going to keep providing wars for the brave men and women in uniform. It’s really all about them at the end of the day.” The Duffel Blog asked a number of other students whether they had considered military service before college. A surprising number said yes. “I thought about joining,” said Greg Cadena, a student from San Diego State University. “But I have some acne around my left ankle, so I probably would have been disqualified. I figured the next best thing for me would be serve my country by joining a collegiate organization that asks others to serve and has an open bar at its meetings.”

“Same here,” added Todd Benson, Cadena’s fraternity brother at the Alpha Sigma Sigma house. “I really wanted to join the Army, but a constant sore on my elbow would have disqualified me. Regardless, I totally voted for The Hurt Locker at the MTV Teen Choice Awards.” Benson continued: “I want my unborn children to grow up in an America where they will never have to question whether or not they might get called to put on a uniform. “Somebody here said, ‘They also serve, who only order others into combat with nothing at stake personally,’ and that really resonated for me. That is what being in BITCH is all about.”


Foreign Terrorists Move To Kill Palestinian Communities By

Destroying Their Water Supply Cisterns:
This Will “Undermine The Sustainability Of The Communities That Depend On Them For Survival”

December 22, 2012 HelpAge International Aid agencies are calling for an immediate end to demolitions of water cisterns belonging to Palestinian communities in the West Bank, which have been on steady increase in the past year. The recurring demolitions present a clear breach of International Humanitarian Law and undermine the sustainability of the communities that depend on them for survival. The year 2012 ends with a somber record - just in its first 10 months, Israeli armed forces have destroyed 36 rainwater cisterns used by the Palestinian communities in the Area C of the West Bank, affecting over 1600 people, an increase from 34 cisterns destroyed in 2011. The communities whose cisterns were destroyed live unconnected to the water network and are forced to rely on rain harvesting and/or water purchases from vendors. Most of the communities that have been subject to demolition of cisterns reside in the vicinity of Israeli settlements and unauthorized outposts that enjoy a regular water supply. Aid agencies are dismayed by what appears to be a continuous targeted destruction and consciously slanted distribution of one of the most scarce and most vital natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory.

As an object “essential for the survival of the population”, according to International Humanitarian Law, water cisterns have special protection and hence should never be destroyed based on administrative reasons. The destruction of essential water infrastructure in Area C is in clear violation of International Humanitarian Law and Israel's obligations as an Occupying Power, and is undermining the very existence of Palestinian communities in this region. Many among the destroyed cisterns have in the past years been rehabilitated with European Union (EU) and other donors' funds, in projects implemented by various members of AIDA (the Association of International Development Organizations) testifying to the international community's understanding of the vital importance of these infrastructures for the survival of Palestinian communities in Area C. AIDA offers its unconditional support to all its members doing this vital work and calls upon the international community to ensure that demolitions of water cisterns are halted immediately, and to take concrete steps to ensure aid agencies can continue to assist vulnerable Palestinians unhindered and without interference. List of agencies: Action Against Hunger (ACF); ActionAid; American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz (ACPP); CARE; Comitato Internazionale Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP); Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT); EWASH; HelpAge International; Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen Schweiz (HEKS); Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH); World Vision Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza For further factual clarification or media enquiries, please contact EWASH: Alex Abu Ata ( Jawwal 0595878719 or Orange 0543079627 To schedule a fieldtrip to affected communities, please contact Polish Humanitarian Action: Marta Kaszubska: (, Orange +972 543198667 or Jawwal +972 598521266

Foreign Terrorists Attack Funeral Procession In Hebron:
“When The Mourners Arrived At The Cemetery Near The Main Street, Israeli Soldiers Stationed At The Town’s Northern Entrance Started To Fire TearGas Canisters At Them”

22/12/2012 Ma’an HEBRON -- Israeli soldiers opened fire and injured five young Palestinian men Saturday north of Hebron in the southern West Bank as clashes erupted when soldiers attacked a funeral procession. Muhammad Ayyad Awad, a spokesman of a local popular committee against the wall and settlements, said hundreds of residents took part in a funeral procession of Ahmad Ibrahim Salim Adi in Beit Ummar. The deceased, aged 44, was found dead Friday in an ancient well about two months after he disappeared. He was reported missing in October. Awad added that when the mourners arrived at the cemetery near the main street, Israeli soldiers stationed at the town’s northern entrance started to fire tear-gas canisters at them. After that, young men threw stones at the soldiers who fired live bullets and rubber-coated bullets. Omar Mahmoud Awad was hit by a live bullet to the thigh, and Nizar Ali Awad received a gunshot to his lower back, according to Awad. They were evacuated to a public hospital in Hebron. Three other young men were hit by rubber-coated bullets and were also evacuated to a Hebron hospital, added Awad. An Israeli soldier was hit by a stone in the head during confrontations, according to Awad. An Israeli army spokesman said some 300 Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs at Israeli forces who responded with riot-dispersal means. Asked if that included live fire, the spokesman said that soldiers fired live bullets toward “one of the main rioters,” and he was evacuated by the Red Crescent. The spokesman confirmed that a soldier was also injured. [To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation commanded by foreign terrorists, go to: The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”]

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Street Demonstrations Against Rape Rock Indian Government:
“The Government Moved On Sunday To Stamp Out Protests, Banning Gatherings Of More Than Five People”

“But Thousands Poured Into The Heart Of The Capital To Vent Their Anger”
“Youths Shouted ‘Down With Delhi Police!’”
Dec 23, 2012 By Arup Roychoudhury and Annie Banerji, Reuters The government moved on Sunday to stamp out protests that have swelled in New Delhi since the gang-rape of a young woman, banning gatherings of more than five people, but still thousands poured into the heart of the capital to vent their anger. Police used tear gas and batons to hold crowds back from marching on the president's palace, just as they did the day before. About 30 to 35 people, including a few policemen, were being treated at a nearby hospital for injuries, two doctors said. The 23-year-old victim of the December 16 attack, who was beaten, raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi, was still in a critical condition on respiratory support but responding to treatment, doctors said. Six men have been arrested for the assault. New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India's major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures. Most sexual assaults go unreported and unremarked, but the brutality of last week's attack triggered the biggest protests in the capital since mid-2011 demonstrations against corruption that rocked the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The protesters, predominantly college students but also housewives and even children, are demanding more steps from the authorities to ensure safety for women - particularly better policing - and some want the death penalty for the accused. Several metro stations were closed and many roads into the administrative centre of the city were barricaded on Sunday to prevent a build-up of protesters. However, by late afternoon the crowd around the India Gate monument - normally a festive place on a Sunday - had swollen to several thousand. Scuffles broke out near government buildings, where youths shouted “Down with Delhi police!” and threw bottles at the forces holding them back. Angry protesters later overturned a vehicle and seized police vans.

Since last week's rape, the authorities have promised better police patrolling to ensure safety for women returning from work and entertainment districts, the installation of GPS on public transport vehicles, more buses at night, and fast-track courts for swift verdicts on cases of rape and sexual assault. However, that has not been enough to placate protesters in New Delhi and other cities across the country, where the past week began with peaceful candle-light vigils and ended with a spasm of violence in the capital. Bowing to public pressure, Sonia Gandhi, chief of the ruling Congress party, emerged from her residence after midnight to talk to protesters. She went out again on Sunday with her son, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as a future prime minister. “She assured us of justice,” said one of the students who met the Gandhis. Some others, though, shouted “Down with Sonia Gandhi!” and accused politicians of indifference to the plight of ordinary citizens. “It's time she (Sonia Gandhi) takes the bull by the horns and make this country safe for women. Be it better policing or strongly penalising offenders,” said Rukmani Dutta, a final-year political science student at Delhi University. Protesters said they would continue to demonstrate until they get firm assurances from the government. “Until and unless the government understands the pulse of the people and imposes strict action against these criminals, we will not relent,” said Sherry Kaur, a student at Indraprastha University, also in New Delhi.


U.S. soldier in Beijia village Iraq, Feb. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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