As a thank you to US troops around the world for your ongoing sacrifices and hard work, we will be presenting a special "news log" for our troops and their families, which will appear on Saturdays, hopefully in a regular manner. Sections include: "White Knights" (military heroes of the week), "Officers and Leaders Behaving Badly," "Bits m'Pieces" and "Humor."
DEMOCRATS.COM'S TROOP NEWS for August 21
Compiled by Cheryl Seal
US Soldiers' Hearts Go Out to War Zone Kids
Soldiers in a war zone experience what their too-often-clueless leaders don't: contact with real people on the ground. Like kids. That contact is, for sure, bittersweet. While soldiers quickly see that kids are kids everywhere, they also see what war does to children. It is no wonder that while most soldiers return from the front wiser, deeper, more compassionate (though understandably more angry) human beings, the "leaders" who sent them into war while never leaving the cloistered comfort of their own homes and offices remain unchanged -ready to start another war.
Story below by Tiffany Pakkala
From the 'Sentinel' of Perry County, PA
Iraqi children initially may seem very different from their American counterparts thousands of miles away.
But some Pennsylvania soldiers stationed north of Baghdad insist they are just like the kids they know back home. Iraqi children "exhibit much of the same tendencies. The little boys are still disgusted by the thought of being kissed by a girl. The girls are still shy when we roll in," Spc. Robert Valvo of New Hope Township near Pittsburgh said in a recent e-mail.
He and the rest of New Kensington-based 458th Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, which includes local soldiers, take unannounced trips to schools to give children gifts from "Operation Caring Hands," which collects clothing, school supplies and toys in America and ships them to troops in Iraq for distribution.
The children "all like shiny new things. They love to display their knowledge to fit in with the grown-ups. (And) when they're not busy trying to sell us stuff, they play soccer with their friends," Valvo said. "Almost reminds me of when I was their age. They just want to be like kids in America, go to school, go home and play with their friends and be happy," added Spc. Ralph Brown of Hazelton.
Guard Chaplain Dedicates Himself to Helping Families of Deployed Soldiers - Sans Proselytizing.
We've all heard the horror stories about fundy chaplains in the war zone or back home who are glad to help - as long as you wanna sit and listen to their evangelical spiel for an hour or three each day! The worst I heard was the bible thumper in Baghdad who used the promise of cold drinks and a shower to lure soldiers - they got the shower/drinks only if they signed up for a few hours of hellfire and brimstone. So I thought NJ chaplain Will Barnes was a breath of fresh air! In the real spirit of Godliness Barnes wants to help - no "pricetag" attached!
Story below by Beth Miller
In Delaware's 'News Journal"
The families of Delaware's National Guard members have a new ally - Chaplain Will Barnes, a lieutenant colonel who now is director of the Guard's Family Program.
Barnes, 55, of Clarksboro, N.J., has been in the Guard for more than a decade but in this job less than a month. He came to it fresh from six months as chaplain at Fort Dix in New Jersey, a major Army deployment hub. His duties there made him eager to put his ministerial and counseling skills to use in a different way.
"I came away with a passion to want to do something in helping these families," Barnes said. "Providentially, God brought all this together."
....Chaplain Col. Paul Womack, who worked with Barnes during his recent duty at Fort Dix, said Delaware Guard members are "blessed to have him giving his attention to these issues there."
Womack and Barnes counseled soldiers on their way to or from combat zones. Womack goes to Iraq himself next month. "I'd take him to Iraq with me, if I could," Womack said.
Instead, Delaware troops will get Barnes. "He's got a real passion for the soldiers and their situations," Womack said. "I think he has an opportunity to help create a model of support that we can use in all the reserve components. ... You put a chaplain in this position and you're bringing in the best of both worlds."
...With almost 3,000 Guard members in Delaware as well as their extended families, Barnes expects to have a potential constituency of 7,500 or more.
He will not be pushing religion on anyone, but he will be available to those who request such counsel or ministry. "In the military, a chaplain's role is not to mandate religious preference, but to protect religious freedoms," he said.
With his background, Barnes is ready to hear and deal with just about anything life can dish up to troops and their families. "There is not anything that couples or families can say to me that I haven't already dealt with in therapy or in the parish or in my own experiences," he said. "And what happens, you begin to care for families through building relationships."
Barnes will bring practical suggestions to those relationships, Womack said.
"He helps people solve the problem, break it down into little bitty bite-sized chunks and begin to work the problem. He's not so much into analysis as 'What can we do that will give us a solution?' "
From War Zone to Hurricane Zone: National Guardsmen Are on the Job
Mitch Stacey, AP via So. FLA Sun Sentinel: "Despite the heat and chaos, members of a Florida National Guard unit don't mind helping with Hurricane Charley relief efforts -- at least nobody is shooting at them.
The Guard's 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry, spent about a year in Iraq, returning in March. Serving in Ramadi they worked to secure the city, sweeping the roads for bombs, helping train Iraqi police and fighting insurgents. Here, where the powerful hurricane roared through Friday, they are engaged in more mundane tasks such as directing traffic, securing damaged neighborhoods and distributing food and ice.
"I like this," said Spc. Matthew Heffernan, 30, an information technology manager from Boynton Beach. "Duty in Iraq was great as far as serving your country. This is like the same thing, but you're serving the actual people who pay your salary." Heffernan and other soldiers sat on cots in the shell of an empty grocery store that has been converted to a barracks and staging area for National Guard units serving Port Charlotte. They're working 12-hour shifts and appreciating the fact that an industrial air conditioning unit was brought in to cool the place. An estimated 70 percent of the 300-strong unit in Port Charlotte also served together in Iraq. Their unit first deployed to Jordan and then to Iraq in April 2003, shortly after the war began. They ended up in Ramadi, which became an unstable and dangerous place as insurgents attacked American troops. The unit came home in March after suffering heavy casualties but, amazingly, no deaths. "I'll let the numbers tell the story," said 1st Lt. Jason Van Steenwyx, 35, of North Lauderdale. "We took more than 50 Purple Hearts. We were in [hostile] contact with somebody nearly every day." Heffernan told the story of how, on his wife's birthday, he was nearly shot in the head when an incoming round ricocheted off his gun site.
Spc. Jason Krenta, 23, of West Palm Beach now can joke about picking up a roadside bomb that was disguised as a bucket of garbage. Somehow it didn't go off.
Staff Sgt. Joseph Knight, a 33-year-old boat captain from Fort Lauderdale, said the Iraq service, more specifically, the possibility of getting killed nearly every day, forced him to be more aggressive about securing his future.
OFFICERS AND LEADERS BEHAVING BADLY
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Unmasked as Frauds Funded by Bush Pal
What pisses me off about this story is that anyone who did even a little digging when the 'Swift Boat Phonies" first surfaced in the news some months back quickly discovered they were frauds. The chieif Swiftie, John O''Neill, never serverd with Kerry, never even clapped eyes on him until long after both Kerry and he were out of Viet Nam. But did the media ever report this? Of course not!! War is far too good for business! And keeping Bush in office and Kerry out is good for war. Instead, the media circulated all the inuendoes, while blowhards like Rush Limbaugh dished the lies up in daily heaping servings.
But worst of all, of course, is that Kerry really did serve in a war zone, really did risk his life and really was wounded defending his men and fighting for his country. Things Bush can't claim.
Story below by Bill Press
in 'Hernando Today'
(The same facts were finally also revealed in the NY Times and Washington Post this week - about two months AFTER the folks at those bloated rags knew the truth. Give me an honest small-town news guy any day!
It's not even Labor Day, but we already know what will be the "seminal issue" of this election. No, it's not health care, education, jobs or the economy. It's not even the war in Iraq.
It's John Kerry's combat record in Vietnam. That is now the No. 1 issue on cable television and rightwing talk radio, the subject of a new book, "Unfit for Command," and the target of an anti-Kerry commercial sponsored by a group calling itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. It is the most vile, despicable brand of politics we've ever seen. Bombarded with so many lies, Americans deserve to know the truth. Here it is.
THE CHARGE: In the book and commercial, 13 men who "served with Kerry in Vietnam" assert that Kerry's war record is a fraud. He faked his injuries. He shot a teenager in the back. He didn't deserve the Purple Heart, Silver Star or Bronze Star.
THE TRUTH: Not one of the 13 men who claim they "served with" Kerry in Vietnam actually did so. They may have been in Vietnam at the same time, but they did not serve with Kerry or under his command. John O'Neill, co-author of Unfit for Command, admits he never even laid eyes on Kerry in Vietnam. All five men still alive who did serve under Kerry now support him for president.
Lt. Commander George Elliott, quoted in the commercial as saying Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star, has since recanted. In 1996, responding to the same charge that Kerry merely ran after an enemy soldier and shot him in the back, Elliott said: "The fact that he chased an armed enemy down is something not to be looked down upon, but it was an act of courage."
THE ACCUSERS: Neither John O'Neill nor Jerome Corsi, co-authors of "Unfit for Command," is credible. O'Neill is a professional Kerry hater, first recruited by President Nixon in 1971 to discredit Kerry, who was then leading veterans opposed to the war. O'Neill seconded Nixon's nomination at the Republican convention in 1972 and has orchestrated personal attacks against Kerry in every campaign since.
As political commentator, Corsi frequently spews his hatred on the Web site FreeRepublic.com - where he has called Sen. Hillary Clinton a "fat hog," referred to her daughter as "Chubby Chelsea," called Katie Couric "Little Katie Communist" and expressed the wish that a small plane crash into the set of NBC's "The West Wing," killing Martin Sheen. He didn't even spare the pope. When John Paul II visited the United Nations, Corsi wrote: "Maybe that's the connection - boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press."
THE SOURCE: The White House denies any connection, but this is clearly part of the extended Bush campaign. For Bush, O'Neill also led the charge to smear Sen. John McCain in 2000. Merrie Spaeth, who produced the Swift Boat ad, also produced commercials in 2000 accusing McCain of being against clean air. This year's ads were paid for, in part, by a $100,000 contribution from longtime Bush supporter Bob Perry, a close ally of Karl Rove.
NOTE: I was disgusted to discover that the Army Times is continuing to promote the Kerry smear campaign by leaving out certain details - like the fact that none of the Swift Boat Phonies ever served with Kerry, and that Bush and his pals were behind the smear job! But what can you expect - Army Times is, basically, "Rummy Times."
Pentagon Shields Fanatical Bigot Boykin Who Helped Orchestrate Abu Ghraib Torture While throwing the Book at a Handful of Soldiers
How fair is this!? The folks "investigating" the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan are claiming it is all the work of a few lower-ranking "bad eggs" and that Donald Rumsfeld, Gen Geoffrey Miller and others had nothing to do with it. In fact, you won't even hear them breathe the name "Gen. William 'Jerry' Boykin - a guy who probably had more to do with the abuse of prisoners, both in Guantamo and Iraq than any single other person. Boykin is a fundamentalist, hell-fire-and-brimstone fanatic - in fact he gives every symptom of being a seriously ill paranoid schizophrenic. Yet the Pentagon is calling for Boykin to be exonerated of a long and growing list of crimes....
First up is this story from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, from this week, about Boykin being exonerated of all wrongdoings:
The Defense Department would be wrong to exonerate an Army general who sparked international ire for describing the U.S. war on terrorism as a Christian battle against Satan, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"We are concerned that the Defense Department is not taking this case seriously," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "General Boykin's conduct was utterly outrageous and should not be treated lightly."
According to today's Washington Post, a Defense Department report recommends that the Acting Secretary of the Army find Boykin, who is now a high-ranking military intelligence official, guilty [only] of minor internal regulations, such as failing to get clearance for his frequent comments before churches and making sure his audiences understood that he was speaking in a personal capacity. The report has not been made public, but was obtained by the newspaper.
The Post's article quotes a "senior Defense official" as calling the report a "complete exoneration" of Boykin and that it is likely the general will only be held responsible for "relatively minor offenses."
Here's a story from the 'Guardian' about those 'minor' offenses:
By Sidney Blumenthal (one of the last real investigative reporters of our time)
Saving General Boykin seemed like a strange sideshow last October. After it was revealed that the deputy undersecretary of defence for intelligence had been regularly appearing at evangelical revivals preaching that the US was in a holy war as a "Christian nation" battling "Satan", the furore was quickly calmed.
Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, explained that Boykin was exercising his rights as a citizen: "We're a free people." President Bush declared that Boykin "doesn't reflect my point of view or the point of view of this administration". Bush's commission on public diplomacy had reported that in nine Muslim countries, just 12% believed that "Americans respect Arab/Islamic values". The Pentagon announced that its inspector general would investigate Boykin, though he has yet to report.
Boykin was not removed or transferred. At that moment, he was at the heart of a secret operation to "Gitmoize" (Guantanamo is known in the US as Gitmo) the Abu Ghraib prison. He had flown to Guantanamo, where he met Major General Geoffrey Miller, in charge of Camp X-Ray. Boykin ordered Miller to fly to Iraq and extend X-Ray methods to the prison system there, on Rumsfeld's orders.
Boykin was recommended to his position by his record in the elite Delta forces: he was a commander in the failed effort to rescue US hostages in Iran, had tracked drug lord Pablo Escobar in Colombia, had advised the gas attack on barricaded cultists at Waco, Texas, and had lost 18 men in Somalia trying to capture a warlord in the notorious Black Hawk Down fiasco of 1993.
Bush Apparently Blows Off Pope in Najaf Negotiation Offer
Conspicuously absent from US reports about Mugtada al Sadr's willingness to negotiate peace terms is any mention of the reason why: the Pope. Al Jazeera (and the Aussie news as well) reports: "The Vatican has confirmed that Pope John Paul II is ready to mediate between Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr and US-led occupation forces. A spokesman for al-Sadr, whose forces are locked in an intense battle inside the city with US-led troops, has already welcomed the proposal. But Vatican spokesman Ciro Benedettini said on Tuesday the Pope was only willing to mediate if requested to do so by both sides in the conflict." Al Sadr has agreed, but will the US? The fact that the US papers are not mentioning this important story seems indicative.
Instead of Removing Troops from So. Korea, Maybe Someone ought to Remove So. Korean Pres. Roh Moo-hyun
As soldiers in So. Korea know, anti-American sentiment has been growing and often making life unpleasant for soldiers and other Americans living in the Peninsula. According to Owen Rathbone of "American Daily," much of this anti-Americanism is being covertly promoted by So. Korean Pres. Roh Moo-hyun to promote his own political career.
American expatriates have had to deal with all kinds of misplaced anger from Koreans over the past few months after two schoolgirls were killed in a U.S. armored vehicle accident last year. Restaurants and tourist sites throughout Korea posted signs that read: "No Americans." A U.S. serviceman was attacked and stabbed in an underpass by a group of young thugs. An American servicewoman was manhandled by a gang on a jogging path. A group of American soldiers at a train station were spat on by a middle aged Korean man as a cameraman filmed the entire episode and a large crowd looked on. One U.S. soldier, when he refused a political leaflet on a Seoul subway, was attacked by a mob, abducted and forced to "confess" before a crowd of protesters about American soldiers' "crimes." Protesters stormed U.S. military installations, tossing concrete blocks at soldiers, injuring many Americans in the process. The American Chamber of Commerce was also ransacked by a crazed mob on another occasion. Protesters have tried to smash their way into the U.S. Embassy many times, but have fortunately been prevented from doing so by riot police.
The Korean government's response to this uncontrolled rage has been to do almost nothing. No charges have been laid against any of the individuals who participated in attacks or who trespassed on and vandalized American property. In one case, a Korean anchorwoman who had criticized protesters for storming a military base was summarily dismissed from her job.
BITS N' PIECES
Soldiers Meet Desert Wildlife - Including 'Meat-eating Camel Spiders'
Story by Seth Robson
Stars and Stripes
At first glance, the desert that surrounds Camp Buehring and Udairi Range appears to be a desolate, hellish training environment. Soldiers who live there, including those from the 2nd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, known as the Strikeforce, have discovered there is more to this scorched landscape than meets the eye.
Scurrying amongst the sparse vegetation are deadly insects such as scorpions and camel-spiders. Salem, Ohio, native Warrant Officer Randall Menough, 41, of the 699th Maintenance Company, said these creatures sometimes make their homes at the engineering workshop he operates in a corner of Camp Buehring.
A camel spider bit a soldier after he picked up a sheet of metal it was living under, he said. "The camel spider is a meat eater. They are not poisonous but they inject you with a numbing agent," Menough explained.
The soldier was kept in the hospital overnight for observation but was released the next day suffering effects similar to those of a bee-sting victim. After five months in the desert, Menough has accumulated a collection of scorpions assembled in a glass terrarium to amuse visitors. There are two types of scorpions: small yellow ones and large black ones.
The smaller scorpions are more venomous than their larger cousins, but when it comes to a battle they usually succumb to their more heavily armored foes, soldiers said. Perhaps the most striking desert creatures are the cat-sized green and yellow lizards that prowl the wasteland. Their spiky tails and faces give them the appearance of miniature Tyrannosaurus Rexes.
There are no lizards in Menough's miniature zoo and he has no plans to acquire one. "We don't mess with the lizards. The yellow ones are dangerous," he said.
The cold-blooded reptiles like to bask in the sun or scuttle about the dusty landscape searching for prey. Each appears to have marked out its own territory, which it patrols vigilantly in the hot sun.
However, an attempt to make friends with one of the lizards is rebuffed. The beast scuttles off, stopping every so often to glance back over its shoulder at the two-legged stranger before disappearing down its hole, a small depression in the sand that resembles a rabbit's burrow.
Everything You Never Really Needed to Know about Camels and Would Never Probably Ask
This camel does not store water any more than does any other species, yet it does not need to drink water for days. It can handle extreme dehydration as a result of a number of different physiological adaptations. Camels have been known to lose safely body water equivalent to 40% of its body weight, a loss that would be lethal in any other animal. How do they do this?
Plasma volume is maintained at the expense of tissue fluid, so that circulation is not impaired.
The small oval erythrocyte of the camel can continue to circulate in situations of increased blood viscosity.
Camels can take in a very large amount of water at one session to make up for previous fluid loss. In other animals, this would result in severe osmotic problems. Camels can do this because water is absorbed very slowly from their stomach and intestines, allowing time for equilibration. Furthermore, their erythrocytes can swell to 240% of normal size without bursting. (Other species can only go to 150%.)
Only the Smashed Furniture is Real: Simulation Training Gets Intense
By Steve Silberman
Twisted rebar, concrete, and splintered furniture lay scattered across the floor of this room. Our view through a jagged hole in the wall looks out on the city, showing steady civilian traffic crossing a bridge over a river below. Sparrows flap through the gray haze, and Arabic music and the voices of merchants filter up from the street
The air is thick with heat, but it's not the merciless 120-degree swelter of Baghdad. It's late spring in Lawton, Oklahoma. We're in the battle lab of an Army base called Fort Sill, and the air-conditioning is on the fritz. The river, the bridge, the civilian traffic, the birds, the bombs, and Sergeant Prado are all virtual - a simulation generated by flat-panel displays on the walls, a subwoofer in the floor, and half a dozen Windows and Linux boxes down the hall. Only the smashed furniture, the officer standing beside me, and the adrenaline spikes are real.
72-Year-Old Big Rig Driver in Iraq Tells of War Zone Dangers
By Grace Leonhart
Hope Star News
[72-year-old] Jim Johnson was born and raised in Viriginia....He signed on with KBR, a construction subsidiary of Halliburton. He left the United States on May 5, 2004, flying out of Houston, Texas [and ending up] in Camp Anaconda, Iraq, which is located about 40 miles from Baghdad. The weather was hot when they landed. It was around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and at the end of September the temperature will be around 130 degrees.
"It gets so hot there, that the spiders go underground, except one species, which is called the camel spider," Johnson said. "Camels lay down when they sleep and every morning, the owners have to check the bellies of the camel to make sure no spiders have gotten on the animal. If they go undetected, a camel can be destroyed by that one spider. They are as big as a half a cantaloupe."
Aside from heat and spiders, there are many more dangers driving a truck in the middle of Iraq during a war. Johnson's job in Iraq was transporting JP8, which is jet fuel, to aviators in the U. S. military.
"Since the war was declared "over," last year, KBR had lost 46 men and while I was there, for five weeks, we lost two. I told the company I would drive to Russia or anywhere, but I couldn't drive at night. It was just too dangerous.
"The daytime driving was dangerous enough," Johnson said. "We drove in convoys, with military escorts in the front and military escorts in the back and every third vehicle had a military shooter as a passenger. You'd see little kids on the side of the road, begging for food and water. Most soldiers and convoys would throw rations and water to the little ones. Women and children work over there, men don't." [note- this statement is not actually true - what is true is that in Iraq women and children are, alas, the ones sent out to do the begging]
When the drivers weren't driving, they slept in tents and pre-fab housing, some with air conditioning, but no running water. They always had bottled water and got showers two or three times a week, when trucks brought in water. A mess hall was set up where officers and enlisted men ate together through all the branches of service.
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Fail Lie Detector Test
Several members of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have failed independent polygraph tests administered over the past week...Dwight Treadle gave each of the swift boat veterans a so-called "lie detector" test in which he found that all of them were lying through their teeth!
"John O'Neill, "Swiftee" spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was sweating so much throughout his questioning," said Treadle, "we needed to fire up two bilge pumps! It turns out that he was not even in the Navy, as he had claimed; he was a member of the Texas Air National Guard and has never even been in a rowboat. I found out that he was the coke dealer that kept George W. Bush in drugs for the entire time he was in the Guard. O'Neill pleaded with me not to spill the beans. When I told him that I was going to publish all the facts, he just pissed himself! He admitted that, not only did President Bush pay him for spreading lies about John Kerry, but Bush also paid him to bring a large box of crack cocaine to the White House every Wednesday morning."
Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman, USN (Ret.), it turns out, was never even in the military. During the Vietnam War Hoffman was a ringleader of Students For a Democratic Society (SDS), was busted for hashish and peyote possession four times, and met with spies from North Vietnam in Montreal on several occasions. "I am so ashamed of claiming to be a Rear Admiral all these yearsÃ???????Ã??????Ã?????Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¦ I knew it would all come out one of these days. I just loved that white uniform which I picked up in an Army-Navy store in the Haight back in 1966.
Bush Gets Oval Office Just the Way He Wants It
After four different color schemes, a Tiki phase, and more than three years spent rearranging furniture, Bush has the Oval Office set up just the way he wants it.... "Took long enough," Bush said, lounging on one of the two overstuffed green leather couches he'd ordered from Jennifer Convertibles. "Just getting these couches was a chore; they almost didn't fit through the door. Then, arranging them so I could see the plasma TV while I stretched out was a real pain."....Since 1909, the year the modern Oval Office was constructed, every president has decorated it to express his personal style, traditionally drawing from the collections of art and furnishings available through the National Gallery, the Smithsonian, and the White House itself. However, Bush is the first president to request decorative items from such sources as the Major League Baseball Hall Of Fame, Crutchfield, and a local Successories outlet.
White House curator William Allman said Bush decorated the Oval Office with almost no input from Allman or his staff.
"Every president since Taft has made the Oval Office his own, thereby adding to the rich history of the White House and to that of America itself," Allman said. "I'm sure President Bush's halogen lamp, rotating CD rack, and six-foot iguana terrarium will be valuable additions to our permanent collection, even if he did have to throw out the desk to make room for everything."
The historic "Resolute" desk, traditionally used by the president, was made from the timbers of the HMS Resolute, an abandoned British ship discovered by an American vessel and returned to England as a token of friendship and goodwill. When the ship was retired in 1880, Queen Victoria had the desk made and presented it to President Rutherford B. Hayes. It is currently housed in the living room of Washington, DC body-shop employee Mike Koharski, who found it on the curb outside the White House.
Bush Ad Features Iraqi Soccer Team; Al-Sadr Ad Features Bush
NewsHax: " Many see it as natural that al-Sadr would try and emulate George Bush. "They really have a lot in common," said an intelligence operative, who preferred to remain anonymous and alive. "They both were pulled into the political scene on the coat-tails of their well-respected fathers, they both are senselessly stubborn and they've both gotten themselves in over their heads."It remains to be seen if al-Sadr will declare the mosque turn-over as "Mission Accomplished" ...But...Taking his cue from Bush's use of the Iraqi soccer team as a political prop, al-Sadr has produced his own series of ads in an effort to garner increasing support for his cause inside Iraq. Despite low production quality and a limited budget, at least one ad appears to be having some effect. In the five-second spot, al-Sadr simply points to a picture of George W. Bush and asks, "Any questions?"
FRONT LINE PHOTOS: Life in Occupied Iraq ( from Army Times)
As they say, one picture is worth a thousand words: from the strained, fearful look in a young soldier's face to the Hurricane Charley-scale destructive power of a bomb in a residential neighborhood.....here is a first hand look at life in occupied Iraq.
LINKS TO 'HOMETOWN' PAPERS
The US Active Duty Soldier/Veteran/Reservist/Guardsman RESOURCE GUIDE
One-stop "shopping" list of services, resources, and critical info for active duty and post-active duty troops