This is a very moving first-hand description of combat in Iraq. It was difficult to selectively excerpt from it, because it is all worth reading. Nonetheless, here are some rather extensive excerpts:
Q: What experiences turned you against the war and made you leave the Marines?
A: I was in charge of a platoon that consists of machine gunners and missile men. Our job was to go into certain areas of the towns and secure the roadways. There was this one particular incident – and there’s many more – the one that really pushed me over the edge. It involved a car with Iraqi civilians. From all the intelligence reports we were getting, the cars were loaded down with suicide bombs or material. That’s the rhetoric we received from intelligence. They came upon our checkpoint. We fired some warning shots. They didn’t slow down. So we lit them up.
Q: Lit up? You mean you fired machine guns?
A: Right. Every car that we lit up we were expecting ammunition to go off. But we never heard any. Well, this particular vehicle we didn’t destroy completely, and one gentleman looked up at me and said: “Why did you kill my brother? We didn’t do anything wrong.” That hit me like a ton of bricks.
Q: Who gave the order to wipe the demonstrators out?
A: Higher command. We were told to be on the lookout for the civilians because a lot of the Fedayeen and the Republican Guards had tossed away uniforms and put on civilian clothes and were mounting terrorist attacks on American soldiers. The intelligence reports that were given to us were basically known by every member of the chain of command. The rank structure that was implemented in Iraq by the chain of command was evident to every Marine in Iraq. The order to shoot the demonstrators, I believe, came from senior government officials, including intelligence communities within the military and the U.S. government.
Q: What kind of firepower was employed?
A: M-16s, 50-cal. machine guns.
Q: You fired into six or ten kids? Were they all taken out?
A: Oh, yeah. Well, I had a “mercy” on one guy. When we rolled up, he was hiding behind a concrete pillar. I saw him and raised my weapon up, and he put up his hands. He ran off. I told everybody, “Don’t shoot.” Half of his foot was trailing behind him. So he was running with half of his foot cut off.
Q: After you lit up the demonstration, how long before the next incident?
A: Probably about one or two hours. This is another thing, too. I am so glad I am talking with you, because I suppressed all of this.
Q: Well, I appreciate you giving me the information, as hard as it must be to recall the painful details.
A: That’s all right. It’s kind of therapy for me. Because it’s something that I had repressed for a long time.
Q: And the incident?
A: There was an incident with one of the cars. We shot an individual with his hands up. He got out of the car. He was badly shot. We lit him up. I don’t know who started shooting first. One of the Marines came running over to where we were and said: “You all just shot a guy with his hands up.” Man, I forgot about this.
A: Oh, yeah. They [cluster bombs] were everywhere.
Q: Dropped from the air?
A: From the air as well as artillery.
Q: Are they dropped far away from cities, or inside the cities?
A: They are used everywhere. Now if you talked to a Marine artillery officer, he would give you the runaround, the politically correct answer. But for an average grunt, they’re everywhere.
Q: Including inside the towns and cities?
A: Yes, if you were going into a city, you knew there were going to be ICBMs [cluster bombs].
Q: Cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons. They are not precise. They don’t injure buildings, or hurt tanks. Only people and living things. There are a lot of undetonated duds and they go off after the battles are over.
A: Once the round leaves the tube, the cluster bomb has a mind of its own. There’s always human error. I’m going to tell you: The armed forces are in a tight spot over there. It’s starting to leak out about the civilian casualties that are taking place. The Iraqis know. I keep hearing reports from my Marine buddies inside that there were 200-something civilians killed in Fallujah. The military is scrambling right now to keep the raps on that. My understanding is Fallujah is just littered with civilian bodies.
Not to be outdone, I guess, Junior put Poppy to work raising foreign money for his campaign.
LONDON — Though President Bush last month declared an end to fund-raising for his re-election after accumulating a record sum [Um, then what was that visit to GA all about? Oh, I get it. It was another lie.–M], the campaign plans at least one more event in a city it missed the first time around.In what is billed as the only major fund-raiser being held outside the United States, the campaign will host a reception featuring former President George Bush today at London’s five-star Landmark Hotel. The invitations sent to American expatriates seek a minimum contribution of $1,000 to spend a few hours with the president’s father.
“There is a large contingent of Americans living in London, and we felt we wanted to help build support there for the campaign,” said Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign in Washington.
Five-star hotels and $thousand dinners$ in London on the campaign account–the Bushes know what’s life’s all about, don’t they? MONEY. Even if you have to go overseas to get it.
I made fun of Junior’s trip to Georgia a couple of posts back by saying he showed up just to collect $2.2Mil from Georgia oligarchs gathered at the home of chief oligarch Robert Nardelli. I accused him of not doing anything important while he was there, but I was wrong, I admit it. He actually did two important things while he was there.
1) He collected $3.2Mil, not $2.2M, which of course transforms his visit from the mundane to the ‘Slightly Special’.
Seen by few who weren’t willing to write a check for the privilege, President George W. Bush breezed in and out of Atlanta on Monday in a four-hour, drive-time visit that netted $3.2 million from some of Georgia’s biggest names in business.The visit to one of the South’s wealthiest neighborhoods caused only minor rush-hour irritation, but gave Bush a chance to tell the well-connected that he wouldn’t let a drop in the polls and a rough month in Iraq get him down.
Well, what’s a little torture among friends? He also took the opportunity to announce a major change in the direction his Admin has been taking in the Middle East.
“He had some very heartfelt comments that sometimes you might not see when they have cameras judging every word,” said Herman Cain, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate who attended the event at the home of Robert Nardelli, chief executive officer of Home Depot. “[Bush] said we should make no mistake, that he wants to be president and he’s ready to campaign and earn our vote, because he understands our enemy and knows what we need to do to win the war on terror.”
Well, that’s a relief. When did he figure it out? Musta been, like, over the weekend because he didn’t have a clue on Friday.
2) He met his first African-American who wasn’t a sports star or a token corporate honcho or Colin Powell–
–but a 20-year-old member of Americorps, the program Bush praised so highly just before he cut its budget to the bone. The guy even has cornrows. Maybe that’s why Georgie looks so startled.
Anyway, it’s good to know our Prez wasn’t wasting his time on trivialities while Iraq’s going down the spout but pouring his energies into what’s really important: MONEY. Lots and lots of MONEY.
And in case you thought Cheney has just been lounging around watching Buffy re-runs (he looooves The Master), in fact Dickie-Bird was in Georgia, too (co-incidence, I’m sure), raising money (there’s that word again, but one must have one’s priorities) for right-wing whacko Max Burns. And it was good to see that some things don’t change: Cheney continued the Bush Tradition of charging money for pictures of himself.
POOLER — Vice President Dick Cheney brought political muscle and a flurry of fat checks to the re-election campaign of 12th District U.S. Rep. Max Burns at a fund-raising luncheon Monday.The vice president also used the opportunity to campaign for the Bush-Cheney 2004 ticket and took a few shots at the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
Vice President Dick Cheney waves to supporters of U.S. Rep. Max Burns (right) Monday in Pooler, where he spoke at a fund-raising luncheon for the Republican congressman.
The fund-raiser for the Republican Burns, held at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum, drew about 200 people, many of whom paid extra to have a picture taken with the vice president.
The luncheon, Burns’ first major fund-raiser since April 1, added $175,000 to his campaign chest. Through March 31, he had raised nearly $1.3 million and had $879,306 in cash, according to the Federal Election Commission. His closest competitor, Athens lawyer John Barrow, had raised $640,235. (emphasis added)
Is it me or is raising MONEY the only thing these guys do well?