Monday, May 16, 2005

From truthout
Benderman update
Sergeant Kevin Benderman cannot shake the images from his head. There are bombed villages and desperate people. There are dogs eating corpses thrown into a mass grave. And most unremitting of all, there is the image of a young Iraqi girl, no more than eight or nine, one arm severely burnt and blistered, and the sound of her screams.

"If I am sincere in what I say and there's consequences because of my actions, I am prepared to stand up and take it," Sgt Benderman said. "If I have to go to prison because I don't want to kill anybody, so be it."
Name: Kevin Benderman
Occupation: Man

As I said, a hero.

We were told that we would be going to Iraq to jack up some terrorists. We were told it was a new kind of war, that these were evil people and they had to be dealt with ... We were told to consider all Arabs as potential terrorists ... to foster an attitude of hatred that gets your blood boiling.
- US Army veteran Jeremy Hinzman

Campaigners have also drawn attention to the often scurrilous tactics used by US military recruiters, who for three months have failed to meet their targets for recruits. After several cases where recruiters had illegally covered up recruits' criminal and medical records, threatened one prospect with jail for failing to meet an appointment and provided another with laxatives to help him lose weight and pass a physical, the Pentagon is halting all recruiting on 20 May for a day of retraining.

"I had an 18-year-old who was told he did not have to serve in Iraq. 'I was told I'd get a job where I would not be sent', he told me," said Ms McNeill, a lawyer. "He was recruited to be an military policeman. They are the people they are sending to Iraq. People all the time are told [by recruiters] 'I can get you a job where you will not have to go to war'."

Kevin Benderman is anything but a raw recruit. He joined the US Army in 1987, served in the Gulf War and received an honourable discharge in 1991. He rejoined in 2000 and served during the invasion of Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division.
Please visit the site of the American Friends Service Committee.

Beyond Abu Ghraib
...the punishment of two high-ranking officers does not erase concerns that the Army is seeking scapegoats among lower-ranking soldiers and sparing the brass.
Staying what course?
On the Downing Street memo

Fiscal ‘conservatives’
$441.6 billion for ‘defence’, that is, wars abroad

When the Soviet Union fell and many called for a peace dividend, the defense budget was under $200 billion.

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