Soldiers Are Pawns In The President’s Wars

When they’re not busy destroying our military, creating propaganda or ordering our troops to slaughter innocent Iraqi’s, leaders of the U.S. Military in the Pentagon are busy covering up a smorgasbord of other atrocities committed both against and by our troops: being poisoned by illegally used radioactive weaponry, rape, and in some cases murder, of female troops by their male counterparts, contractors from Vice President Cheney’s previous employer killing and sickening our troops while making billions in profits, censoring the Iraq war so American’s don’t know the atrocities of it, ordering witnesses to ignore subpoenas to keep crimes covered up and numerous other atrocities committed against our troops by the Bush administration and the politicized Pentagon are detailed below.

Apparently our military leaders and the Bush administration believe, as Henry Kissinger once said, that “military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in Foreign Policy.”

Retired officers have reportedly been used — and are still being used by some of the corporate media outlets — to generate favorable news coverage of the Bush administration’s wartime performance. In other words, they’re illegally spreading propaganda for Bush and the Pentagon.

Obviously, the strain of two wars coupled with the threat of a third against Iran and possibly one more exacts a heavy toll on the U.S. military. Our brave men and women have enough to deal with without military leaders making their lives more difficult.

The 21st century military has suffered because of the political tactics used by The Bush administration these past seven and a half years — commit the crime and then do everything possible to keep it covered up.

Suppressing Information About Civilian Deaths

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reportedly released thousands of pages of documents related to Navy investigations of civilians killed by Coalition Forces in Iraq, including the cousin of the Iraqi ambassador to the United States.

The documents show how the Bush administration and the Defense Department went to unprecedented lengths to control and suppress information about the human cost of the wars on Iraq and Afghansitan at every step of the way. Many charges of war crimes in Iraq have not seen the light of day according to a retired Army intelligence colonel, who also notes that there are many discoveries in the documents that should bring pause to any American who cares about this country and hopes to restore the United States’ respected role in the world. Americans need to be made aware of the facts about Bush’s illegal, premeditated war.

The ACLU report also notes:

Through its FOIA project, the ACLU has made public information on Defense Department policies designed to control information about the human costs of war. These practices include:

*    Banning photographers on U.S. military bases from covering the arrival of caskets containing the remains of U.S. soldiers killed overseas;
*    Paying Iraqi journalists to write positive accounts of the U.S. war effort;
*    Inviting U.S. journalists to “embed” with military units but requiring them to submit their stories for pre-publication review;
*    Erasing journalists’ footage of civilian deaths in Afghanistan; and
*    Refusing to disclose statistics on civilian casualties.

Today’s documents are available online at:
www.aclu.org/natsec/foia/NCIS_log.html

Dangers of Depleted Uranium

Four wars since 1991, including the Iraq war, used weaponry containing Depleted Uranium (DU) which is illegal under international treaties and U.S. military law. DU shells used by the military are worse than nuclear weapons. Much of the Middle East has been contaminated by the use of bombs containing DU. Some heavy armor tanks also use plates containing DU. Affects of the contamination by weapons containing DU can be found here (warning: very disturbing, graphic pictures).

Noted by Leuren Moret in from Mindfully.org:

Described as the Trojan Horse of nuclear war, depleted uranium is the weapon that keeps killing. The half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, the age of the earth. And, as Uranium-238 decays into daughter radioactive products, in four steps before turning into lead, it continues to release more radiation at each step. There is no way to turn it off, and there is no way to clean it up. It meets the US Government’s own definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

After forming microscopic and submicroscopic insoluble Uranium oxide particles on the battlefield, they remain suspended in air and travel around the earth as a radioactive component of atmospheric dust, contaminating the environment, indiscriminately killing, maiming and causing disease in all living things where rain, snow and moisture remove it from the atmosphere. Global radioactive contamination from atmospheric testing was the equivalent of 40,000 Hiroshima bombs, and still contaminates the atmosphere and lower orbital space today. The amount of low level radioactive pollution from depleted uranium released since 1991, is many times more (deposited internally in the body), than was released from atmospheric testing fallout.

Many of our troops have served multiple extended tours of duty in Iraq, and are subject to the same radiation poisoning as the Iraqi’s and other Middle Eastern countries, including Afghanistan, that the U.S. has bombed since 1991. If a soldier gets wounded, mentally or physically, or becomes ill with cancer, the military creates more obstacles for them to receive treatment.

Army Rules Suspicious Death As Suicide

The St. Louis American reported on yet another suspicious death of a U.S. soldier reported by the Army as suicide. The Army claims that PFC. Lavena L. Johnson, a 5’1″ African-American soldier died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound from a rifle on July 19, 2005. Documents and photos acquired under a Freedom of Information Act request suggest otherwise.

PFC. Johnson was the first woman soldier from Missouri killed in Iraq. Questions about her death were brought to the attention of U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton when her parents went to Washington D.C. Her parents are looking for answers coinciding with the evidence obtained from the Army. The House Armed Services Committee is looking into the case but no formal investigation has begun yet.

The Army wouldn’t release a CD-ROM of color photos taken by Army investigators until U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay spoke about the case during a Congressional hearing regarding Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. Mr. Johnson calls the photos “horrible.” He says the pictures taken and documents from the incident proved his daughter was brutalized — she was raped, beaten, shot and set on fire. Someone went so far as to pour lye in her vagina to destroy evidence and her body was dumped in a filthy contractor’s tent.

The St. Louis American reviewed the photos. Their review showed that PFC. Johnson’s nose appeared to be broken and pushed inward to the left side and there was an imprint of what appeared to be a bullet lodged in the front of her head above her left eye, on the side of what was described by medical examiners as an exit wound.

The evidence obtained by her father raises questions about how PFC. Johnson could have shot herself with her own rifle when a cot is located neatly between the body and her weapon. The Army’s autopsy report called her death a suicide. Her body was exhumed and re-examined by the medical examiner in St. Louis in 2007, revealing that PFC. Johnson died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Lavena Johnson was promoted to the rank of Private First Class posthumously by the Army and awarded a Good Conduct Medal and an Army Commendation Medal. The executive director of Veterans for Peace said there is an epidemic of sexual assault not only to women but to men as well in the military. More information can be found in the article from the St. Louis American.

Frequent Sexual Assaults Frequently Ignored

An opinion written by Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) who chairs the House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence, was published in the Los Angeles Times. In it she writes that sexual assaults are frequent, and frequently ignored in the armed services.

The stories are shocking in their simplicity and brutality: A female military recruit is pinned down at knifepoint and raped repeatedly in her own barracks. Her attackers hid their faces but she identified them by their uniforms; they were her fellow soldiers. During a routine gynecological exam, a female soldier is attacked and raped by her military physician. Yet another young soldier, still adapting to life in a war zone, is raped by her commanding officer. Afraid for her standing in her unit, she feels she has nowhere to turn.

These are true stories, and, sadly, not isolated incidents. Women serving in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.”

The scope of the problem was brought into acute focus for me during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center, where I met with female veterans and their doctors. My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41% of female veterans seen at the clinic say they were victims of sexual assault while in the military, and 29% report being raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and the downward spirals many of their lives have since taken.

Numbers reported by the Department of Defense show a sickening pattern. In 2006, 2,947 sexual assaults were reported — 73% more than in 2004. The DOD’s newest report, released this month, indicates that 2,688 reports were made in 2007, but a recent shift from calendar-year reporting to fiscal-year reporting makes comparisons with data from previous years much more difficult.

Harman goes on to note that the Defense Department has made some efforts — although the Defense Department, in typical Bush administration fashion, ordered a witness to disregard a subpoena, blocking testimony of a key sexual Sexual Assault Prevention official in a hearing held by the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs — to manage the rape epidemic but there is an apparent inability or unwillingness to prosecute rapists in the ranks. The military’s response has been underwhelming and there appears to be a lack of urgency to do anything about it. Congress is not doing much better. More information can be found from the Los Angeles Times. A FY07 Department of Defense report (PDF) on sexual assault in the military is available from the Sexual Assault and Response Office.

Negligence In Electrocution of U.S. Soldier

Think Progress reported on Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth who was electrocuted on January 2, 2008 while taking a shower at the Legion Security Forces Building in Baghdad. It appears that contractor KBR — a war profiteering spinoff of Halliburton who are responsible for killing at least 16 troops before receiving another fat contract from our government — has ignored repeated warnings about unsafe wiring.

Pentagon Inspector General Gordon Heddell claimed there was no evidence that either KBR or the Defense Department knew about the unsafe wiring beforehand. The House Oversight Committee uncovered information that contradicts Heddell.

A work order from July 8, 2007, released by the House Oversight Committee, shows that KBR knew about the unsafe wiring months before Maseth’s death. The previous occupant of his room had reported that the pipes have voltage and that he was getting shocked in the shower — he had been shocked at least four times in the shower between June and October 2007. Each time he was shocked, KBR personnel tried to fix the unsafe wiring hazard. The Pentagon IG admitted he was wrong claiming KBR was not aware of it beforehand. More can be found from Think Progress.

More on how KBR electrocuted our troops can be found from Counter Punch. KBR also seems to have major issues with raping femaie employees too. As with the Army, KBR has the same type of problem punishing those who commit the rapes. KBR has also, more than once, supplied our troops with contaminated water that made them sick. As noted by AlterNet, if KBR supported our troops any better, they’d be killing them. Unfortunately, the already have.

A lot of information regarding the forced vaccinations our soldiers receive, the Military’s Stop-Loss and ReDeployment program forcing our troops to serve multiple extended tours of duty in Iraq, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder our troops are suffering from and other mistreatments of our troops by President Bush — including an example of how he supports our troops — can be found in a previous post I did in May.

It’s very easy to see why the Military has recruiting problems. Being a soldier and fighting for your country is very honorable and noble. Being intentionally used as a pawn in Bush’s military to fight personal, illegal wars started because of Bush’s complicity, deceptions and lies is a form of slavery — and completely unacceptable. It’s time for people to wake up and hold Bush and all who have helped along the way, accountable for their actions. It’s time to recognize the truth of how our government has been deceiving us. Too many lives have already been taken and too much destruction has already been done. It’s time to do something about it.

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