Military Resistance

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3.31.13

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Military Resistance 11C17

“Skepticism About The 12-Year Old War In Afghanistan Spiked This Year Among Many U.S. Troops”
“When Asked Whether The U.S. Is Likely To Succeed In Afghanistan, About 53% Say That Is Either ‘Not Very Likely’ Or ‘Not At All Likely’”
“Insider Attacks That Have Killed Dozens Of U.S. Service Members Have Affected Their Views Of The War And Undermined Their Trust In The Afghan Troops”

4.1.13 By Andrew Tilghman, Army Times [Excerpts] Skepticism about the 12-year old war in Afghanistan spiked this year among many U.S. troops, according to the latest annual Military Times Poll. When asked whether the U.S. is likely to succeed in Afghanistan, about 53 percent say that is either “not very likely” or “not at all likely,” a sharp rise from the 39 percent who responded that way in the two previous polls. For troops on the ground in Afghanistan, their interaction with the Afghan people plays a role in making them question the mission. “We are not going to solve their problems because the people of Afghanistan are not ready to take over their responsibilities once we depart,” said an Army sergeant first class who is now deployed. “There is no self-support for the country to succeed; so I’ll say that it will be a major failure.” Other troops who have deployed recently to Afghanistan say the so-called insider attacks that have killed dozens of U.S. service members have affected their views of the war and undermined their trust in the Afghan troops they were assigned to train and mentor. “We didn’t trust them at all. It was kind of an inside joke — but not so much a joke as a reality — that the unit we trained with was infiltrated,” said an Army staff sergeant who deployed there in 2011. Back home, some troops are troubled by news reports of Afghan President Hamid Karzai making repeated public state-ments suggesting that the Afghans do not appreciate the U.S. military’s efforts. The survey shows that troops’ views on the Iraq War also have shifted since the withdrawal of U.S. forces there in late 2011. Some 54 percent of troops in this year’s poll said the Iraq War was a success — a solid majority, but a huge drop from the 72 per-cent who felt that way two years ago.

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 contact@militaryproject.org: Name, I.D., withheld unless you request publication. Same address to unsubscribe.

ACTION REPORTS

“A Sergeant Told Me He’d Already Seen The Wray Harris DVD And (He’d Been In Iraq Himself) Was Impressed By The Truthfulness Of It”

[Outreach To New York National Guard]
From: Alan S To: Military Resistance Newsletter Sent: March 27, 2013 Subject: Outreach to New York National Guard This time there was only one terminal in question because a friendly sergeant told me there were no other patrols at any of the others thereby saving me foot fatigue. Very helpful indeed. 4 National Guard soldiers and 1 National Guard airman were at the terminal. 5 Military Resistance Newsletters were handed out including 3 concerning the young Guardsman killed by police (the front page story) on a NYC highway several months ago. 3 DVDS of “Sir! No Sir!” And 3 of Iraq War Vet Wray Harris filmed testimony of his military/war experience “Authority & Expectations” were also distributed. [See the Wray Harris film at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyfkLubnyBw] A sergeant told me he’d already seen the W. Harris DVD and (he’d been in Iraq himself) was impressed by the truthfulness of it. He took another copy. While speaking to a soldier another came by wanting to know what was going on. I said we were talking about Vietnam, and the film “Sir! No Sir!” I also mentioned Pentagon Colonel Heinl’s well known memorandum of 1971 depicting the Army as essentially a non-factor due to rebellion, drugs and other causes that stopped that war.

The curious soldier wrote Heinl’s name down with deliberation, clearly taken by what was news to him (not to mention many others) about this memorandum. The soldier I was talking to knew what fragging was. Another soldier agreed the politicians were the corrupt element in both recent wars but felt he needed to follow orders to protect his career. He’s been deployed 3 times already – all to Iraq. Nonetheless he was interested in our talk and would use the newsletter to consult its website and find out about other things. He felt information was always valuable. All troops also received our newly redesigned intro card that shows only Military Resistance contact info on the front. The back is empty.

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ACTION REPORTS WANTED: FROM YOU!
An effective way to encourage others to support members of the armed forces organizing to resist the Imperial war is to report what you do. If you’ve carried out organized contact with troops on active duty, at base gates, airports, or anywhere else, send a report in to Military Resistance for the Action Reports section. Same for contact with National Guard and/or Reserve components. They don’t have to be long. Just clear, and direct action reports about what work was done and how. If there were favorable responses, say so. If there were unfavorable responses or problems, don’t leave them out. Reporting what went wrong and/or got screwed up is especially important, so that others may learn from you what to expect, and how to avoid similar problems if possible. If you are not planning or engaging in outreach to the troops, you have nothing to report.

NOTE WELL:
Do not make public any information that could compromise the work. Identifying information – locations, personnel – will be omitted from the reports. Whether you are serving in the armed forces or not, do not identify members of the armed forces organizing to stop the wars. If accidentally included, that information will not be published.

The sole exception: occasions when a member of the armed services explicitly directs identifying information be published in reporting on the action.

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The Military Resistance Organization:
Military Resistance Mission Statement:
1. The mission of Military Resistance is to bring together in one organization members of the armed forces and civilians in order to give aid and comfort to members of the armed forces who are organizing to end the war of empire in Afghanistan. The long term objective is to assist in eliminating all wars of empire by eliminating all empires.

2. Military Resistance does not advocate individual disobedience to orders or desertion from the armed forces. The most effective resistance is organized by members of the armed forces working together. However, Military Resistance respects and will assist in the defense of troops who see individual desertion or refusal of orders as the only course of action open to them for reasons of conscience.

3. Military Resistance stands for the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and other occupation troops from Afghanistan. Occupied nations have the right to independence and the right to resist Imperial invasion and occupation by force of arms.

4. Efforts to increase democratic rights in every society, organization, movement, and within the armed forces itself will receive encouragement and support. Members of the armed forces, whether those of the United States or any other nation, have the right and duty to act against dictatorships commanding their services, and to assist civilian movements against dictatorship. This applies whether a political dictatorship is imposed by force of arms or a political dictatorship is imposed by those in command of the resources of society using their wealth to purchase the political leadership.

5. Military Resistance uses organizational democracy.

This means control of the organization by the membership, through elected delegates to any coordinating bodies that may be formed, whether at local, regional, or national levels. Any member may run for any job in the organization. All persons elected are subject to immediate recall, by majority vote of the membership. Coordinating bodies report their actions, decisions and votes to the membership who elected them, and may be overruled by a majority of the membership.

6. It is not necessary for Military Resistance to be in political agreement with other organizations in order to work together towards specific common objectives. It is productive for organizations working together on common projects to discuss differences about the best way forward for the movement. Debate is necessary to arrive at the best course of action.

Membership Requirements:
7. It is a condition of membership that each member prioritize and participate in organized action to reach out to active duty armed forces, Reserve and/or National Guard units. 8. Military Resistance or individual members may choose to support candidates for elective office who are for immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, but do not support a candidate opposed to immediate, unconditional withdrawal. 9. Members may not be active duty or drilling reserve commissioned officers, or employed in any capacity by any police or intelligence agency, local, state, or national. 10. I understand and am in agreement with the above statement. I pledge to defend my brothers and sisters, and the democratic rights of the citizens of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. ----------------------------(Signed (Date) ----------------------------- (Application taken by) Military Resistance: Contact@militaryproject.org Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 888-711-2550

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You Can Take Action That Makes A Difference:
Join The Military Resistance Organization:
MILITARY RESISTANCE MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION
Name (please print): __________________________ Armed Forces? (Branch) ____________ Veteran? Years: ____________ Union: ____________________ Occupation: _________________________________________ Mailing address: ______________________________________ E-Mail:_____________________________ Phone (Landline):_______________________________________ Phone (Cell):___________________________________________ $ dues paid _________________________ (See next: Calendar year basis.) Armed Forces Members Civilians Students/Unemployed Civilian/Military Prisoners @ @ @ @ Dues waived $25 $10 Dues Waived

Comments:

NOTE: Civilian applicants will be interviewed, in person if possible, or by phone.

Military Resistance: Contact@militaryproject.org Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 888-711-2550

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“People Need Not Be Helpless Before The Power Of Illegitimate Authority”
MILITARY RESISTANCE:
Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 Contact@militaryproject.org [Based on a statement by David Cortright, Vietnam Veteran and armed forces resistance organizer.] In the final analysis the stationing of American forces abroad serves not the national interest but the class interest of the corporate and political elite. The maintenance of a massive, interventionist-oriented military establishment is based on the need to protect multinational investment and preserve regimes friendly to American capital. Imperialism is at the heart of the national-security system and is the force fundamentally responsible for the counterrevolutionary, repressive aims of U.S. policy. Only if we confront this reality and challenge it throughout society and within the ranks can we restore democratic control of the military. Of course nothing can be accomplished without citizen involvement and active political struggle. During the Vietnam era enlisted servicemen created massive pressures for change, despite severe repression, and significantly altered the course of the war and subsequent military policy. To sustain and strengthen this challenge we must continue to build political opposition to interventionism and support those within the armed services, including national guard and reserves, who defy the goals and program of Empire. The central lesson of the GI movement is that people need not be helpless before the power of illegitimate authority, that by getting together and acting upon their convictions people can change society and, in effect, make their own history. The Military Project Military Resistance: Contact@militaryproject.org

Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 888-711-2550

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

Kettering Pilot Was Near End Of Final Tour

James E. Groves III March 18, 2013 By Terry Morris, Staff Writer. Dayton Daily News KETTERING — Before his fourth tour of military duty, James Groves III toured Arlington National Cemetery while in Washington, D.C., last fall to run the Marine Corps Marathon. The U.S. Army chief warrant officer told his wife, Katie, that was where he wanted to be buried if he died in military service. The 37-year-old Kettering Fairmont High School graduate was killed Saturday when the helicopter he was piloting crashed near Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mechanical failure is suspected. The other soldier who was aboard survived. Groves, who enlisted following commencement in June 1994, was nearing the end of his second tour in Afghanistan, following two in Iraq. “He expected this to be the shortest by far. He left in December and was going to be home by September,” said his mother, Leslie Groves, of Kettering, who “knew immediately what had happened” when a chaplain and a uniformed Army officer came to the door of the family home on Olson Drive last weekend.

“He and Katie were going to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. James was very close to his 19th anniversary in the military. He was going to retire after 20 years,” Leslie Groves said. Katie Groves was at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Monday afternoon along with the couple’s sons, James IV, 12, and Shane, 9, when her husband’s body was transported from overseas. A spokesman at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, where Groves had been stationed, said the incident remains under investigation. A helicopter crash March 11 in Afghanistan killed five soldiers who were also assigned to the same base. The Army Times reported they were on a routine training mission using night-vision goggles. It was the highest one-day toll for U.S. troops this year in Afghanistan. Another Dayton area soldier, Ohio National Guard Spec. Cody D. Suggs, 22, of West Alexandria died March 8 in a non-combat incident at Kandahar Airfield. James, who has an older sister, Jeannette, was born in Columbus on Nov. 7, 1975. The family moved to Kettering in 1978. He played baseball while growing up in Kettering and football for Fairmont High School. He attended Rosewood Elementary School, now the city’s arts center, for kindergarten and then went to Indian Riffle Elementary School. At Fairmont, one of his assignments for the student television station was to interview military recruiters. “He talked to recruiters at all four branches and decided that the Army offered the best deal,” his mother said. “He grew up around it. Both of his grandfathers were in the Army during World War II. His father was in the Army Reserve when we were first married.” He was stationed in Colorado when he met Katie. “They were both runners and loved going on cruises. Katie took him on a cruise for his birthday last November. He was home for Thanksgiving. He left in December. That was the last time we saw him.” Groves, who attended officer training school and was an instructor pilot, was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd infantry Division at Hunter Airfield. His resume included included military intelligence and air assault. “James didn’t say much about what it was like in Afghanistan. He did talk about Iraq. He said the U.S. presence there was necessary and that we were doing some good. When one of his buddies there died, he accompanied the body home for the Leslie Groves said the commander of the base in Afghanistan told Katie there was no enemy action in the area at the time of the crash. “They were looking at a mechanical malfunction as the cause. Pilot error was not a consideration.”

The body was flown to Dover following a memorial service at Kandahar. A service at Hunter was also planned. “He will be buried at Arlington per his request. Katie is seeing to that,” Leslie Groves said.

POLITICIANS REFUSE TO HALT THE BLOODSHED THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WAR

Once Praised As A “GameChanger” By Fools In U.S. Military Command, Afghan Local Militia Falls Apart:
“Many Taliban Put Down Their Weapons When Elders And Rebel Leaders In Andar Convinced Them That The Uprising Was Independent Of Kabul”
“Now, Mr. Rahmatullah Said, ‘They See It Is Government-Backed, And They Have Picked Up Their Weapons Again’”

Many Of The Rebellion’s Original Leaders “Distanced Themselves From The Project, Moving To The Relative Safety Of Kabul Or Elsewhere”

A band of anti-Taliban fighters posed in Andar in September. The group has since splintered and its fighters enrolled in the Afghan Local Police. Habib Khan Totakhil/The Wall Street Journal March 27, 2013 By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV, Wall Street Journal. Habib Khan Totakhil contributed to this article. [Excerpts] KABUL— When villagers rose up against Taliban rule in Afghanistan’s Andar district last year, U.S. military commanders billed the surprise rebellion as a potential game-changer akin to the Sunni tribal awakening that helped the U.S. leave Iraq. Now, as the spring fighting season begins, it is increasingly clear that the Andar uprising didn’t live up to these hopes. Reeling under Taliban attacks, the rebels of Andar have abandoned the pretense of being an independent, spontaneous movement. They have accepted supervision by the Afghan government and — even worse in this region of conservative Muslims—aid from American forces. Many of the rebellion’s original leaders — former insurgents themselves — have been killed.

Others, disillusioned by how things have turned out, distanced themselves from the project, moving to the relative safety of Kabul or elsewhere. Similar uprisings in other provinces have struggled to gain momentum, too. “When the Americans and the government began to interfere, this hurt the holiness of the uprising,” said one of the Andar rebellion’s initial leaders, Mawlawi Rahmatullah, a former Taliban commander. “When you fight with your beliefs, you are much stronger than when you fight just with your weapons. That’s how we were able to defeat the Taliban in the beginning.” Last summer, many Taliban put down their weapons when elders and rebel leaders in Andar convinced them that the uprising was independent of Kabul and aimed solely to protect the area from outside interference, he said. Now, Mr. Rahmatullah said, “they see it is government-backed, and they have picked up their weapons again.” Among those killed by the Taliban in recent months: Mr. Rahmatullah’s father, brother, cousin and uncle. Mr. Rahmatullah, 33 years old, has been injured, too, and his family’s house in the district has been torched. The troubles in Andar, a district of 500,000 people in the strategic southeastern province of Ghazni, show how hard it is to rally popular support against the Taliban when President Hamid Karzai’s government in Kabul is perceived as predatory and corrupt. “I don’t think the uprising in Andar has had any impact on the situation in the province, or in the country,” said a senior Western official familiar with Ghazni. Today’s sober assessments stand in contrast with the expectations when the Andar uprising first started. In August, American commanders repeatedly drew parallels with the so-called Anbar Awakening, the rising of Sunni Iraqi tribes against foreign al Qaeda militants in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in 2007—a development that significantly weakened the Iraqi insurgency. “This is a really important moment for this campaign because the brutality of the Taliban and the desire for local communities to have security has become so, so prominent—as it was in Anbar—that they’re willing to take the situation into their own hands,” the thencoalition commander, U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, told Foreign Policy magazine in late August. The Andar uprising erupted in summer 2012, after local Taliban militants such as Mr. Rahmatullah — who spent 2007 to 2010 at the U.S. detention facility in Bagram — and fighters of the Hezb-i-Islami insurgent group grew increasingly frustrated with more senior Taliban commanders, many of them outsiders who had moved into the district.

These commanders had shut down local schools and the district’s main bazaar, and frequently executed villagers they said were spies. “We had to defend our honor and our homes,” said Hayebatullah Haqyar, a member of the uprising’s leadership council who served as a district governor under the pre-2001 Taliban regime. Lacking cohesive command, the Andar uprising also attracted people affiliated with Mr. Karzai’s government, such as former Ghazni Gov. Faizanullah Faizan. Another former Ghazni governor, Afghan intelligence chief Asadullah Khaled, provided covert aid to some of the rebels, Mr. Khaled and rebel leaders said. All of the uprising’s commanders initially trumpeted their independence from Kabul. “It was a need of the time to tell the people that we’re not with the government,” Mr. Faizan says now. “People would not have risen in the name of supporting the government at that time.” The Taliban, meanwhile, continued their attacks. All in all, the Taliban killed more than 60 uprising members and injured many others, including Mr. Faizan. By late last year, uprising leaders said they had no choice but to accept government supervision and enroll the area’s men into the Afghan Local Police, a self-defense force that is under the command of the Ministry of Interior in Kabul and mentored by U.S. special-operations forces. “We were compelled to do it because we were between a rock and a hard place,” explained Lutfullah Kamran, a 24-year-old computer-science graduate who is commander of the new Andar ALP. “Yes, it is true that the American Special Forces are supporting us now. But this doesn’t matter—the Taliban, too, are supported by foreign countries.” The Andar ALP now numbers some 200 men, paid 6,000 afghanis ($120) a month, with 100 more being recruited, he said. The Andar ALP’s experience has been rocky: In February, two Taliban infiltrators sprayed the force with gas and then let the Taliban into the camp, Mr. Kamran said. The insurgents gunned down 17 ALP troops in that incident, and killed five in other attacks, he said. “At the beginning, they were calling themselves an uprising, but today they are in the foreigners’ embrace,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. “They are in a weak position.”

MILITARY NEWS
HOW MANY MORE FOR OBAMA’S WAR?

A military honor guard places casket of Rex Schad into a hearse in Edmond, Oklahoma, March 21, 2013. Schad was killed earlier this month while conducting a patrol with the Afghanistan National Police. He is a 2005 graduate of Edmond Memorial High School. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman 3/22/2013

Syrian Revolutionary Soldiers Score Significant Advances On All Fronts:
Shoot Down Iran Military Supply Plane At Damascus Airport; Airport Now Closed:

Rebels Capture Dael, “A Key Town On A Main Highway Between Damascus And The South”
Assad Regime Politician Says “Rebels Advancing In All Towns And Villages In Daraa Province, Which Is Torn From East To West After The Army Withdrew From Many Positions’”
The Observatory reported that the rebels had seized a swathe of land stretching 25 kilometers east to west along the Jordanian border to the sensitive ceasefire line between Syria and Israel. Eastward, the FSA said it was in control of an oil field near the borders of Iraq, 30 March 2013 Al Arabiya Alaa al-Basha, a spokesman for the opposition Syrian Military Council, said Friday a number of commanders belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were wounded in Thursday’s incident when the Free Syrian Army (FSA) destroyed a plane carrying arms from the Islamic republic. The FSA hit the plane as it was landing in Damascus International Airport, the SANA Revolution Network reported on Thursday, adding that the Syrian regime had diverted all flights going to the Damascus airport to another in the Soueida area – around 15 kilometers away. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency denied the report, saying everything was “normal” at the airport. However, a video posted by activists on YouTube showed a plane catching on fire as it tried to land at the airport. According to various reports – which Al Arabiya cannot confirm – Iran transfers nearly five tons of arms shipment every week. The weapons are reportedly hidden in a special compartment in the aircraft’s cargo. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces battled over a “strategic” town in the southern province of Daraa, where the Syrian uprising started two years ago.

Opposition media reported heavy rocket fire at Dael after the FSA reported it was “victorious” in taking control of the southern town, a battle it dubbed “Mother of Martyrs.” Syrian rebels controlled Dael, a key town on a main highway between Damascus and the south, their latest advancement in the Daraa province, which borders Jordan, a watchdog said on Friday. “Rebels seized control of Dael after destroying the three army checkpoints at the entrances to the town,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “The town is located on a main road linking Daraa to Damascus.” Home to 35 thousand people, Dael is also considered “strategic” because it was previous the launch pad from which the Syrian regime used to attack anti-regime fighters in the province. According to FSA, Dael on Friday has become the first southern town in Deraa to be “freed” from the Syrian regime’s control. The capture of Dael came a day after a loyalist MP from Daraa, Walid al-Zohbi, said rebels were advancing “in all towns and villages in Daraa province, which is torn from east to west after the army withdrew from many positions.” On Sunday, the Observatory reported that the rebels had seized a swathe of land stretching 25 kilometers east to west along the Jordanian border to the sensitive ceasefire line between Syria and Israel. Eastward, the FSA said it was in control of an oil field near the borders of Iraq, and liberated Al-Tal area which is located in the Al-Qaseer region in the central province of Homs. The Free Syrian Army added that it had killed eight regime soldiers. According to the opposition fighters, after taking control of al-Tal, they seized two Syrian regime armored vehicles and an unspecified amount of weapons and ammunition.

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FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

“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

I say that when troops cannot be counted on to follow orders because they see the futility and immorality of them THAT is the real key to ending a war. -- Al Jaccoma, Veterans For Peace

Venezuela:

“While The State Took Control Of The Oil Industry, It Didn’t Take Away Any Industry From The Possessing Classes”
“That Didn’t Prevent The Richest Venezuelans And The Multinationals From Increasing The Share They Take Of The National Income”
“These Parasites Are The Ones Who Truly Benefitted From Venezuela’s Wealth”
March 18, 2013 Lutte-Ouvriere [Thanks to Larry C, who sent this in.] Chavez appeared in Venezuela’s political life in 1992 after a failed coup d’etat. This was his way of responding to the 1989 massacre of working people who had protested insufferable price increases by the social democratic government. After this coup attempt, Chavez was imprisoned. In Venezuela, for decades, political life meant alternating between the two parties in power, the right and the social democrats. In the 1990s, the degradation of the political system opened a way for Chavez’s movement. When he came out of prison, he launched a “Bolivarian movement” to take part in elections. By evoking Simon Bolivar, the 19th century leader of Venezuelan independence from Spain, he appealed to the nationalist sentiment of the working classes and sought to rally all those who hoped for change. The discredit of the traditional parties did the rest, and in 1999, Chavez was elected president at the head of a movement still finding its direction. For fourteen years, the regime established many social programs, which did contribute to reducing inequalities. It was all the more remarkable that Venezuela acted the opposite of what was common throughout the rest of the world – where wages and benefits continually were cut to preserve and enlarge big business profits and the wealth of the privileged class. Even in

rich countries, less and less money is devoted to public services, and social programs and social protections are reduced. Certainly the existence of a sizeable income from oil permitted the Chavez regime to use part of that income to finance his social programs. That’s what the politicians and commentators reproach him for. For these critics, the profits of the multinationals and the local ruling class are more important than social expenditures. In their eyes, Chavez is guilty of rewarding a base of supporters. These same critics have nothing to say when the same is done to benefit the rich! Those who hated Chavez the most had to admit he got results. In the conservative French newspaper Le Monde, one article said, “The Bolivarian revolution privileged the social to the detriment of the economy.” At the same time, the newspaper showed how much improvement there had been in the lives of Venezuelans. Between 1998 and 2011, the Gross Domestic Product per person went from $3,889 to $10,731. At the same time, the level of poverty decreased from 49% to 27.4%. An index showing equality versus inequality showed a favorable improvement. And infant mortality was reduced from 20.3 to 12.9 per thousand births. The Chavez regime also improved education. During his years in power, UNESCO added Venezuela to its list of states without illiteracy. In 2008, the regime was responsible for raising food consumption by 16.5%, thanks to a program that furnishes basic foods to the population – despite sometimes chaotic distribution. The health sector benefitted right from the beginning of Chavez’s presidency thanks to aid and know-how of Cuban doctors. Even rich bourgeois people in Latin America, although anti-Castro, prefer to go to Cuba for medical care. Thanks to this aid, the Chavez regime was able to open numerous neighborhood clinics. But the clinics have also lacked medical supplies, and some have now closed. Chavez himself publicly admitted the difficulties. In the same way, with respect to housing, the regime admitted that it only constructed 350,000 units of public housing while the country needs three million. The opposition continued to denounce Chavez as nothing but a dictator. They ignore the fact that during 14 years in power he organized election after election and even a referendum, which would have driven him out of power if he had lost. With his power stabilized, Chavez declared himself the partisan of “21st century socialism” and added “socialist” to his party name. But, in practice, while the state took control of the oil industry, it didn’t take away any industry from the possessing classes.

Chavez had rather sought, and found, a compromise with them, including with some of those who tried to overthrow him in 2002, like Cisneros, a big owner of the media. Even if Chavez was able to better the living conditions of the very poor, due to the luck of having big oil supplies and higher world prices, that didn’t prevent the richest Venezuelans and the multinationals from increasing the share they take of the national income. Finally, these parasites are the ones who truly benefitted from Venezuela’s wealth.

Budget Cuts Won’t Reduce Massive Size Of First Cavalry Division Patch

28 March 2013 by ArmyJ, The Duffel Blog FORT HOOD, TX –

As conventional budget cuts loom on the heels of sequestration, leaders across the military are considering innovative and helpful ways to lower operating costs without hurting unit training or weapons qualifications. However, one common-sense suggestion — “a no-brainer” according to one Pentagon official — has ruined at least one officer’s career on the sprawling Army base of Fort Hood. The suggestion: shrink the enormous 1st Cavalry Division patch down to a size comparable to the rest of the military. The storied division has seen action in every American conflict since its 1921 formation. The most notable thing about the unit is not their impressive combat record, though, but their patch: an elephantine black and yellow Norman shield sporting a horse head. Unlike other military emblems, the 1st Cav insignia has been known actually to extend below the elbows of shorter soldiers, and is greeted with a level of mockery and derision usually reserved for things like the green fleece cap, or ACUs. Miles Detrich, discharged Army Captain and former comptroller for the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cav was the man who ignited the firestorm. The Duffel Blog talked to the nowunemployed Detrich while he sat drinking at a dirty bar in Killeen, Texas. “It all seemed so simple you know? Our Colonel told us budget cuts were coming, and we’d have to get creative with how the units spent money. Everyone else was coming up with off-the-wall stuff, while this was staring us right in the face. Literally.” Detrich sighed and gestured at his own worn 1st Cav patch, which he had removed to hang on the back of his chair, where it dangled and brushed the floor. “Did you know these things cost the Army over fifty bucks a piece? Look at it. Fifty fucking bucks! Ridiculous!” Shortly after formalizing the suggestion to reduce the size of the patch by a mere two inches, Detrich was given a General Letter of Reprimand by his chain of command and removed from the company commander’s list. Less than two weeks later he was presented with his paperwork and chaptered out of the Army, three years before his scheduled ETS date. Now, Mr. Detrich sits, alone and jobless, wishing his impressive resume lands him a job offer, but he’s not hopeful. “After my little incident, no one in this town will even look at me. I can’t even move away. My entire family is from this area. I can’t even get a job flipping burgers after my commander followed through on his threat to make sure I’d never work again.” The man glanced around the empty bar and finished his beer in one long gulp, the very embodiment of self-loathing.

“All I wanted to do was save the Army some money. Was that so wrong?” According to Command Sergeant Major James Norman, CSM of the Division, the answer is an emphatic yes. “This punk-ass captain is going to come along and say we need to change the damn patch? Almost a century of blood and tradition behind those colors, and some paperpushing finance weenie decides to save a few nickels by shitting on the legacy of countless better men before him,” said Norman, who became increasingly annoyed. “Well, not on my watch! We’ve got plenty of money. I don’t understand what those queers up in Washington do all day, but I know the Army will always have cash to spend. “In fact, just this week I commissioned a gold-plated statue of the patch to be placed in front of the headquarters building, just to remind all our young troopers that they’re part of the First Team! HOOAH?” He smiled as if envisioning the future memorial. “We’ve also got a plan in the works to extend the size of the combat patch by another 2 inches, and add diamond studs to the spurs that we veterans have the privilege of wearing at every social function, on-post and off!” When the Sergeant Major finished, he was shown several documents. The first was a report that highlighted the fact that not only was Detrich’s proposal to trim the 1st Cav patch sound financial advice, it would have saved the Army enough money to deploy an entire combat brigade to and from Afghanistan, twice. The second was an excerpt from CPT Detrich’s service record showing he was actually a decorated infantry officer who’d earned the Silver Star medal before being forced into the comptroller position. Norman refused to back down, calling Detrich a “fucking POG,” before breaking into a horribly off-key version of Garryowen, the 1st Cavalry Division song, and ending the interview.

STUCK ON STUPID

Silly Raving Lying Bullshit To The Contrary, There Is No U.S. War In Or On Syria:

“The Pentagon Drew Up Military Options But Made Clear To The White House They Were Unpalatable”
“The Administration, Under Pressure From Lawmakers And Allies, Has Only Taken Halting Steps To Help Provide Training, Equipment And Intelligence To Moderate Rebel Fighters”
Comment: T
The same yammering fools who have been predicting an immanent U.S. military attack on Iran every year for the past decade, have a new delusion to peddle to the ill-informed: recently claiming that the U.S. Department of Defense is conducting U.S. military activity inside Syria. Of course they have not the slightest proof. To paranoid, pseudo-radicals, absence of proof merely proves how huge, powerful and successful this [or some other] U.S. government conspiracy really is! They are not engaged in political life: they are religious fanatics, with their own twisted freakish faith, and nothing whatever will shake their faith. The reason to make this clear is to provide material reality to those who may get sucked into their endless, bottomless bullshit. The U.S. Empire is evil enough without making up silly ghost stories emphasizing how all-powerful it is that also operate to make critics of the Empire appear absurd and out of touch with reality . Fools who fall down on their knees before their fantasies of how all-powerful it is to the contrary notwithstanding, the U.S. Empire is ever weaker, approaching bankruptcy, riddled with dissention and competing factions in the leadership: incapable of keeping any important secrets about anything. That’s good news. ********************************************************************************** March 29, 2013 By ADAM ENTOUS, Wall Street Journal [Excerpts]

With the death toll mounting in the Syrian rebellion, the Obama administration has stepped up calls for strongman Bashar al-Assad to give up power. But two years into the bloodiest chapter of the Arab Spring, the administration, under pressure from lawmakers and allies, has only taken halting steps to help provide training, equipment and intelligence to moderate rebel fighters. That incremental shift is the product of a wrenching, behind-the-scenes debate over how best to drive Mr. Assad from power, contain Islamist factions inside the rebellion and keep the U.S. from being sucked into a new conflict just as it exits its longest war. A reconstruction of months of conversations within the administration—based on interviews with two dozen senior officials in Washington, Europe and the Middle East— suggests that process has been slowed by internal divisions, miscalculations and bureaucratic inertia. The Pentagon drew up military options but made clear to the White House they were unpalatable. State Department calls for intervention grew but weren’t aggressively pursued or enough to overcome White House resistance. Administration lawyers, meanwhile, raised doubts whether the U.S. even had a legal basis for using force in Syria. And America’s allies talked up the need to do something but got cold feet at crucial junctures so little was done. The most engaged U.S. effort thus far comes from the CIA, which is working with European and Arab spy services to provide intelligence, training and logistical support to select rebel groups, according to U.S., European and Arab officials. Nevertheless, CIA operatives are frustrated by what they see as the Obama administration’s reluctance to provide the rebels with the items they say they need most, including arms and cash, according to current and former officials.

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