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Archive | November, 2009

Alternative Radio with David Barsamian

Dahr Jamail – GI Resistance (lecture)

At Nuremberg the plea of, “I was just following orders” was not accepted by the tribunal. That raises the question: What are soldiers to do when faced with orders they know to be against international law and basic morality? Today, reports of U.S. troops refusing orders, of active duty soldiers refusing deployment and speaking out against the wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have trickled into the mainstream media. What makes GIs deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan decide to resist, file for conscientious objector status, or even serve prison sentences to avoid taking part in these wars and occupations? There are devastating societal consequences beyond the many deaths and severe physical and psychological wounds. Suicide rates and domestic violence among returning vets are high. As the wars drag on more and more GIs are asking questions and are resisting.

Dahr Jamail is an award-winning independent journalist who went to Iraq to report on the war and occupation. His articles appear in “The Guardian,” “The Nation” and other journals and magazines. He is the author of “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq” and “The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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Iraq War Veteran on a Mental-Health Mission

(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Kevin N. Murphy, abrinsky)

(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Kevin N. Murphy, abrinsky)

Chuck Luther, who served 12 years in the military, is a veteran of two deployments to Iraq, where he was a reconnaissance scout in the 1st Cavalry Division. The former sergeant was based at Fort Hood, Texas, where he lives today.

“I see the ugly,” Luther told Truthout. “I see soldiers beating their wives and trying to kill themselves all the time, and most folks don’t want to look at this, including the military.”

Luther, who founded and directs “The Soldier’s Advocacy Group of Disposable Warriors,” knows about these types of internal problems in the military because he has been through it himself.

The Web site for the group explains his story:

“SGT Luther unknowingly suffered PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] after living in the combat environment. After weeks of suffering with sleepless nights/nightmares, headaches, bouts of anger, lack of focus, weight loss, depression, high stress and extreme exhaustion, SGT Luther sought out his Command for help. Knowing he was not able to perform his daily duties in this state of mind, he’d hoped to be sent for some form of treatment and sent back into battle. Unfortunately, this is not what happened. SGT Luther’s chain of command responded with phrases such as, ‘Drink water and drive on …’ and told he was ‘malingering’ and ‘faking’ his symptoms. After being belittled and stripped of his dignity, still, with no assistance from those in charge, he was then placed on suicide watch and held in an Aid Station for five weeks.

“Those sent to watch over him for potential ‘suicide’ spoke down to him, and he was not given meals or showers on a regular basis. Even prisoners receive better treatment. SGT Luther was told that if he continued in this manner, he would be discharged from the Army with a Chapter 5-13, Personality Disorder. Because SGT Luther would not give in to the demands of his command to ‘drink water and drive on’ – knowing he needed some form of treatment, he was brought back to Ft. Hood in July of 2007 where he was quickly discharged with a Personality Disorder. His 12 years of Military Service was ended abruptly with the brush of a Colonel’s pen.” Continue Reading →

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National Radio Project Interviews Dahr Jamail

From the National Radio Project:

Will the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ever end? And when they do, how will we measure victory? For journalist and author Dahr Jamail, who’s reported from Iraq and the middle east extensively since 2003, both wars have already been lost. And it’s only getting worse.

On this edition, we interview Jamail about the stresses on U.S. soldiers, on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the growing refusal to serve among members of the US military. Jamail’s new book is titled: The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Sarah Palin Makes Another Fraudulent Claim About Alaska

Image: Jared Rodriguez / truthout; Adapted: auburnxc, Pink Sherbet Photography

Image: Jared Rodriguez / truthout; Adapted: auburnxc, Pink Sherbet Photography

As former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin launches her national book tour, a former consultant questions more specifics from her record as governor.

Palin, the former running mate to Sen. John McCain during the 2008 presidential elections, continues to claim that she effectively protected Alaska’s environment, but a national academies peer review panel has blasted her oil and gas risk assessment plan, calling her environmental credentials into question.

“A blistering critique of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s game plan for assessing the safety of the state’s oil and gas facilities and operations by a national panel of experts calls into question Palin’s claim that, as governor, she made safeguarding of Alaska’s resources a priority,” veteran Alaska oil and gas analyst Richard Fineberg, who consulted to the Palin administration in 2007 and early 2008 wrote on November 15.

“The public would be well served by examination of Palin’s executive style and performance as governor,” Fineberg added, speaking to Truthout in Fairbanks, “It’s important for people to know she was never there to do work, particularly at this time when she is once again in the public eye claiming to be a hard working Alaskan who cares for people in her state.”

Fineberg, who lives in Esther, a small town near Fairbanks, won state and national press awards as a reporter during the 1970s and has observed Alaska petroleum development for four decades, including a stint as a senior adviser to the governor of Alaska on oil and gas policy during the 1980s.

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