Subject : ON THE BEST OF
ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS.
8 August 2006
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Voltaire's famous satire on the 17th-century philosophy of Leibniz
serves as a reminder of the almost unspeakable absurdities of
Neoliberalism, as a economic philosophy for the market, the main
of which necessarily remains, as always, to produce and distribute
essential goods and services for society.
Despite the bumper-sticker aphorisms of Margaret
"What Society?" Thatcher, it is today a widely accepted economic
fact of life that capital investments in the means of destruction
are more profitable, than many other kinds of investments. "The
production of destruction," from this vantage point, is also a
good way out of recessions. This is not a new idea, and we have
discussed the Kondratieff
before in past Bulletins. [See CEIMSA Bulletin
N° 228.] It would appear that no one has put this theory into
more efficient practice than that august body of international
shareholders known as The
Meanwhile, the imperialist wars in the Middle East continue to
create a global social class consciousness which might ultimately
threaten the Masters of War and their entire economic philosophy, if
not the entire capitalist system of private ownership over public well
being. Anyhow, the fissures at this moment in history are more visible
Below, the short Podcast, "Cease Fire Now!" has been dedicated to
those children who have lost their lives because the United States,
the United Kingdom, and Israel have successfully
blocked a cease fire resolution. The immediate result of this action,
by these three military states, is a continuation of the murder of
civilians in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.
In this context, we invite readers to examine the 7
articles below in order to gain a better appreciation of our "best of
all possible worlds".
Item A. is an article by Ana
Radelat on the growing number of U.S. troops who won't fight in
Iraq, "The American Deserters".
Item B. is a collection of war
photos by Dahr Jamail.
Item C. is an editorial by Nouvelle
Obs. editor, Jean Daniel, on Israel in a "Trap," sent to us
by Dr. Elisabeth Chamorand.
Item D. is an article by Yale
University Professor Immanuel Wallerstein, who is investigating the
question, "What can Israel achieve?"
Item E. is an investigative report
on the history of Vietnam war crimes, by Nick Turse and Deborah
Item F. is another video on
the inhumanity of war from Lebanon, sent to us by Chambéry
graduate student, Zineb Belarif.
And, finally, item G., sent to
by NYU Professor of Politics Bertell Ollman, is a piece of
contemporary satire, "Ballad of the Self-Hating Jew."
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
from Ana Radelat :
5 August 2006
Since 2000, about 40,000 troops
from all branches of the military have deserted. Those who help war
resisters say desertion is more prevalent than the military has
admitted. "They lied in Vietnam with the amount of opposition to the
war and they’re lying now," said Eric Seitz, an attorney who represents
Army Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse
deployment to the war in Iraq.
Swept up by a wave of patriotism
after the US invasion of Iraq, Chris Magaoay joined the Marine Corps in
- Thousands of Troops Say They Won’t Fight
- by Ana Radelat
The newly married Magaoay thought a military career
would allow him to continue his college education, help his country and
set his life on the right path.
Less than two years later, Magaoay became one of
thousands of military deserters who have chosen a lifetime of exile or
possible court-martial rather than fight in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"It wasn’t something I did on the spur of the
moment," said Magaoay, a native of Maui, Hawaii. "It took me a long
time to realize what was going on. The war is illegal."
Magaoay said his disillusionment with the military
began in boot camp in Twentynine Palms, Calif., where a superior
officer joked about killing and mistreating Iraqis. When his unit was
deployed to Iraq in March, Magaoay and his wife drove to Canada,
joining a small group of deserters who are trying to win permission
from the Canadian government to stay.
"We’re like a tight-knit family," Magaoay said.
The Pentagon says deserters like Magaoay represent a
tiny fraction of the nation’s fighting forces.
"The vast majority of soldiers who desert do so for
personal, family or financial problems, not for political or
conscientious objector purposes," said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a
spokesman for the Army.
Since 2000, about 40,000 troops from all branches of
the military have deserted, the Pentagon says. More than half served in
the Army. But the Army says numbers have decreased each year since the
United States began its war on terror in Afghanistan.
Those who help war resisters say desertion is more
prevalent than the military has admitted.
"They lied in Vietnam with the amount of opposition
to the war and they’re lying now," said Eric Seitz, an attorney who
represents Army Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to
refuse deployment to the war in Iraq.
Watada is under military custody in Fort Lewis,
Wash., because he refused to join his Stryker brigade when it was sent
to Iraq last month.
Watada said he doesn’t object to war but considers
the conflict in Iraq illegal. The Army has turned down his request to
resign and plans to file charges against him.
Critics of the Iraq war have demonstrated on the
lieutenant’s behalf. Conservative bloggers call him a traitor and
Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign
Wars, said deserters aren’t traitors because they’ve done nothing to
help America’s enemies. But he rejects arguments that deserters have a
moral right to refuse to fight wars they consider unjust.
"None of us can choose our wars. They’re always a
political decision," Davis said. "They’re letting their buddies down
and hurting morale - and morale is everything on the battlefront."
Because today’s military is an all-volunteer force,
troops seeking objector status must convince superior officers they’ve
had an honest change of heart about the morality of war.
The last time the US military executed a deserter
was World War II. But hundreds face court-martials and imprisonment
Members of the armed forces are considered absent
without leave when they are unaccounted for. They become deserters
after they’ve been AWOL for 30 days.
A 2002 Army report says desertion is fairly constant
but tends to worsen during wartime, when there’s an increased need for
troops and enlistment standards are more lax.
They also say deserters tend to be less educated and more
likely to have engaged in delinquent behavior than other troops.
Army spokesman Hilferty said the Army doesn’t try to
find deserters. Instead, their names are given to civilian law
enforcement officers who often nab them during routine traffic stops
and turn them over to the military.
Commanders then decide whether to rehabilitate or
court-martial the alleged deserter. There’s an incentive to
rehabilitate because it costs the military an average of $38,000 to
recruit and train a replacement.
Jeffry House, an attorney in Toronto who represents
Magaoay and other deserters, said there are about 200 deserters living
in Canada. They have decided not to seek refugee status but instead are
leading clandestine lives, he said.
Like many of the people helping today’s war
resisters, House fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam War. About 50,000
Americans sought legal residency in Canada during the Vietnam era.
"You would apply at the border and if you didn’t
have a criminal record, you were in," House said.
He said changes in Canadian law make it harder for
resisters to flee north. Now, potential immigrants must apply for
Canadian residency in their home countries. Resisters say that exposes
them to US prosecution.
from Dahr Jamail :
5 August 2006
taken many Images from Lebanon, many photographs of different aspects
of the conflict.
Israeli Air Strikes Targeting
Lebanese Red Cross :
Scenes from Shelter in Qana where on July 30, Israeli
air strikes killed over 60 civilians, 37 of whom were children, as they
slept in a shelter :
Views of villages and roads in southern Lebanon which
have been hit by Israeli air strikes. July, 2006 :
Targets destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Sidon,
and on highway between Sidon and Beirut. July, 2006 :
Wounded Lebanese civilians, many in critical
condition, crowd hospitals in Sidon. July, 2006 :
Israeli air strikes destroyed 5 of 6 oil storage
tanks at electrical plant in El-Jiye, leaving much of Lebanon's coast
covered in oil,
including the ancient harbor at Byblos :
Images of destruction south of Beirut, as well as
inside Beirut, from Israeli air raids. July, 2006 :
As Israeli air strikes continue, wounded Lebanese
arrive at hospitals in Beirut. July, 2006 :
Israeli bombings of oil storage tanks near the coast,
along with an Hezbollah attack against an Israeli warship have left
Beirut's beaches covered in oil :
Approximately 75% of southern Beirut has been damaged
or destroyed by a massive Israeli air assault. July, 2006 :
Lebanese refugees from southern Beirut and southern
Lebanon, fleeing Israeli bombs, now living in Parks in central Beirut.,
July 2006 :
Refugees from Lebanon clog the northern border with
Syria, as they flee for their lives from indiscriminate Israeli bombing
of their country, July 2006 :
As Israel invades Lebanon, tens of thousands of
people jam the border with Syria to escape the bloodshed in July 2006 :
from Elisabeth Chamorand :
3 August 2006
I have just sent you an article by Jean Daniel; I don't agree with
everything he says, but I think he is right when he says it is
solve the problem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I also think the
in Iran's Trap
- by Jean Daniel
taking no comfort from Israel's decision to bomb all of Lebanon -
without avoiding civilian massacre - some people assert that the
Israelis, alas, couldn't do anything else. My answer: what they could
do specifically, they've just decided to do, but too late - to suspend,
at least provisionally, the bombing.
- Let us imagine that,
after the kidnapping of the two soldiers by Hezbollah, the Israelis had
proceeded to a riposte that almost no one, even among the Arabs, would
have contested their right to conduct. Suppose that they had executed
that riposte in a single day, or two at most, and in an overwhelming
manner. That they had returned afterwards to global public opinion,
NATO, the European Union, the Security Council, and they had spoken
thus: "It's been years that none of you has succeeded in carrying out
Resolution 1559, intended to disarm the Hezbollah militia. You can all
wait. But after Hezbollah's aggression, we can't. And we are forced to
impose what you delay doing." This Israeli warning in the form of a
security ultimatum necessarily would have had to be taken seriously. In
any case, the world would have felt itself indebted to a state that had
not passed directly from the status of attacked party to attacker.
- Why do all these
speculations become so foolish when they are mentioned today? First of
all, because the Israelis never count on anyone but themselves, and
they were persuaded they would be able to achieve their objectives
rapidly. Then, because they had no desire to delay an operation that
had long been premeditated, with the United States' support and surety.
- When did evidence of
this collusion appear? The day when George Bush contented himself with
saying the Israelis had a right to defend themselves without adding the
least qualification, while he knew - he did, not we - that the issue
for Israel was not responding to a provocation, but proceeding to an
"eradication," that would bring invasion and occupation in its wake.
- Also, on the day
when, at the Rome Conference, Condoleezza Rice obtained the replacement
of an injunction for an immediate cease-fire with the simple wish for
an urgent solution. Finally, on the day when, at the Security Council,
it became clear that the United States wanted to prolong the
discussions and water down the resolutions to give the Israelis time to
finish with Lebanon and Hezbollah. Each time, we understood that the
conflict would be prolonged - dramatically for everyone - if
Hezbollah's resistance were to present the same surprises as the
Iraqis' and the Afghans'. In any case, a series of spectacular rallies
to Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the new charismatic figure between Nasser
and Bin Laden, was not expected.
- In fact, for the
first three days following the beginning of the Israeli riposte, the
Arab states didn't budge, except for Algeria and Syria. More: the Sunni
allies (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt) went so far as to denounce
"Hezbollah's irresponsible adventurism."
- Several days later,
with "eradication" in Lebanon being transformed into disasters and the
razing of cities, Hezbollah's epic resistance against the IDF has
become so irresistibly contagious that, under the enormous pressure of
Arab public opinion, the religious authorities first of all, then the
political ones (even in Riyadh!) condemned Israel and declared
themselves in solidarity with the Lebanese "people," Hezbollah having
suddenly become the sole expression of the people. Even better, Bin
Laden's right hand, the Sunni Ayman al-Zawahiri, who supports a civil
war against the Shiites in Iraq, did not hesitate to rally to an
ideological and emotional mobilization suddenly become powerful enough
to transform all who do not adhere to it into traitors.
- Since then, the
entire Muslim world has tilted toward Hezbollah, which, after preening
itself (a little quickly) on having kicked the Israelis out of the
Lebanese fatherland in 2000, today reveals itself capable of resisting
one of the best armies in the world so effectively and so long.
- Thus, having failed
to conquer quickly enough or to stop when they should have, the
Israelis have transformed their enemies into heroes. Israel's victims,
even yesterday so divided, have united in their mourning and their
revolt. We now know that with nationalist and mystic hysteria in place,
when Hezbollah fighters fall, others will replace them and the
"eradicatory" ambition is confounded. For these heroes have muscled in,
in the name of a new Islam on the move, that of Sheikh Hassan
Nasrallah, and thanks to the tutelage of a very great power, Iran,
which thus marks its return to the international scene. With the risk
that the Iranians endow themselves with the atomic bomb and allow their
allies to benefit from it.
- What is most
extraordinary in this story is that the Israelis, although the best
informed in their region, should have made the same error in Lebanon as
the Americans in Iraq: underestimating the terrorist tactics of their
adversaries and planning to replace a bad government with men to their
liking, thanks to handy opponents.
especially, like the Americans at the time of the war in Iraq, they
didn't bother with the Lebanese because they thought that they, out of
fear of Hezbollah and respect for strength, would want only to unite
with a victorious Israel.
- Some Israelis fear
today, rightly, that Hezbollah will appear to emerge victorious from no
matter what international arrangement. You would have to be blind, in
fact, not to recognize that a certain Hezbollah victory is already
gained and that the threat today is the tipping over of the entire
moderate Arab world: the Sunni rallying to the Shiite Hezbollah fight
heralds the promotion of its Iranian sponsor to the status of a great
- There are strategists
with an international vision in Washington. The radical Islamism born
with Khomeini's revolution in 1979 and with the Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan took on a tragic dimension during the 1980-1990 Algerian
civil war. But at that time, no one thought any more about the
Palestinian conflict that remained a wound in the heart of every Arab.
- As though Israel's
military victories had brought the humiliation inflicted on the entire
Arab world by the British, French, and other colonizers to a paroxysm.
Maxime Rodinson has explained what comprises the "Arab rejection" of
Israel's existence very well.
- This wound was
beginning to be put into perspective, in any case, was beginning to
calm down, if not to heal, when impotent Arabism ceded its place to
Islamism on the move. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stroke of
genius - if one may say so - was to awaken the Palestinian wound,
prancing into one-upsmanship and declaring that "Israel must be erased
from the map." To do that, he devoted himself to the triple objective
of defying the Americans by endowing himself with nuclear weaponry,
attempting to establish Shiite Muslim hegemony over the Arab world, and
creating permanent hotbeds of insurrection between Palestine's allies
and Israel's allies.
- Hezbollah is probably
the insurrectionary hotbed most precious to Iran. Israel presumed on
its strength by imagining it could rapidly finish with Hezbollah, and
it has dramatically fallen into Iran's trap.
- Jacques Chirac, by
recalling that the nation of Iran was the heir to a "great
civilization" and that it had a right to intervene in the affairs of
the region and the world, not only demonstrated that he understood the
stakes, but proceeded to a true overture: in fact, an appeal for
dialogue covering all the region's problems.
- With things brought
to this pass, even the most autistic Americans, fearing all the same to
add a third Lebanese front to Iraq and Afghanistan, should understand
that it is time to persuade Israel to an immediate cease-fire. That
said, the Israelis obviously have a perfect right to demand every
guarantee to assure their security. Notably by demanding the
installation of a true international force of interposition on a
security zone situated in Lebanese territory, but perhaps also in
Israel. The "eradication" will not take place as young Israelis full of
illusions and vengeful buoyancy and also ready to die for their
country's victory hoped. Nonetheless, Hezbollah's firepower and
capacity to harm will have been moderately well weakened.
- That said, through all the
analyses and declarations, it seems that everyone, everywhere,
understands that without a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, everything will quickly start over again as before. With this
difference - that, from now on, millions of Muslims and Arabs feel
themselves directly involved. And that Zionism, born in part to flee
European anti-Semitism, will have resuscitated anti-Semitism with a
face no longer Christian, but Muslim. I hope it will take less than two
thousand years for it to disappear.
- Jean Daniel is co-founder and Director of
the Nouvel Observateur.
from Immanuel Wallerstein :
6 August 2006
What Can Israel Achieve?
by Immanuel Wallerstein
The State of Israel was established in 1948. Ever since,
there has been continuous violence between Jews and Arabs in Israel,
and between Israel and its neighbors. Sometimes, the violence was
low-level and even latent. And every once in a while, the violence
escalated into open warfare, as now. Whenever full- scale violence
broke out, there was an immediate debate about what started it, as
though that mattered. We are now in the midst of warfare between Israel
and Palestine in Gaza and between Israel and Lebanon. And the world is
engaged in its usual futile debate about how to reduce the open state
of warfare to low-level violence.
Every Israeli government has wished to create a situation in which the
world and Israel's neighbors recognize its existence as a state and
intergroup/interstate violence ceases. Israel has never been able to
achieve this. When the level of violence is relatively low, the Israeli
public is split about what strategy to pursue. But when it escalates
into warfare, the Jewish Israelis and world Jewry tend to rally around
In reality, Israel's basic strategy since 1948 has been to rely on two
things in the pursuit of its objectives: a strong military, and strong
outside Western support. So far this strategy has worked in one sense:
Israel still survives. The question is how much longer this strategy
will in fact continue to work.
The source of outside support has shifted over time. We forget
completely that in 1948 the crucial military support for Israel came
from the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites. When the
Soviet Union pulled back, it was France that came to fill the role.
France was engaged in a revolution in Algeria, and it saw Israel as a
crucial element in defeating the Algerian national liberation movement.
But when Algeria became independent in 1962, France dropped Israel
because it then sought to maintain ties with a now- independent
It is only after that moment that the United States moved into its
present total support of Israel. One major element in this turn-around
was the Israeli military victory in the Six Days War in 1967. In this
war, Israel conquered all the territories of the old British Mandate of
Palestine, as well as more. It proved its ability to be a strong
military presence in the region. It transformed the attitude of world
Jewry from one in which only about 50% really approved of the creation
of Israel into one which had the support of the large majority of world
Jewry, for whom Israel had now become a source of pride. This is the
moment when the Holocaust became a major ideological justification for
Israel and its policies.
After 1967, the Israeli governments never felt they had to negotiate
anything with the Palestinians or with the Arab world. They offered
one-sided settlements but these were always on Israeli terms. Israel
wouldn't negotiate with Nasser. Then it wouldn't negotiate with Arafat.
And now it won't negotiate with so-called terrorists. Instead, it has
relied on successive shows of military strength.
Israel is now engaged in the exact same catastrophic blunder, from its
own point of view, as George Bush's invasion of Iraq. Bush thought that
a show of military strength would establish U.S. presence
unquestionably in Iraq and intimidate the rest of the world. Bush has
discovered that Iraqi resistance was far more formidable militarily
than anticipated, that American political allies in Iraq were far less
reliable than he assumed they would be, and that the U.S. public's
support of the war was far more fragile than he expected. The United
States is heading towards a humiliating withdrawal from Iraq.
Israel's current military campaign is a direct parallel of Bush's
invasion of Iraq. The Israeli generals are already noting that
Hezbollah's military is far more formidable than anticipated, that U.S.
allies in the region are already taking wide distance from the United
States and Israel (note the Iraqi government's support of Lebanon and
now that of the Saudi government), and soon will discover that the
Israeli public's support is more fragile than expected. Already the
Israeli government is reluctant to send land troops into Lebanon,
largely because of what it thinks will be the reaction of its own
people inside Israel. Israel is heading towards a humiliating truce
What the Israeli governments do not realize is that neither Hamas nor
Hezbollah need Israel. It is Israel that needs them, and needs them
desperately. If Israel wants not to become a Crusader state that is in
the end extinguished, it is only Hamas and Hezbollah that can guarantee
the survival of Israel. It is only when Israel is able to come to terms
with them, as the deeply-rooted spokespersons of Palestinian and Arab
nationalism, that Israel can live in peace.
Achieving a stable peace settlement will be extremely difficult. But
the pillars of Israel's present strategy - its own military strength
and the unconditional support of the United States - constitute a very
thin reed. Its military advantage is diminishing and will diminish
steadily in the years to come. And in the post-Iraqi years, the United
States may well drop Israel in the same way that France did in the
Israel's only real guarantee will be that of the Palestinians. And to
get this guarantee, Israel will need to rethink fundamentally its
strategy for survival.
[Copyright by Immanuel Wallerstein, distributed by Agence Global. For
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from TruthOut :
6 August 2006
Los Angeles Times
Vietnam: The War
by Nick Turse and Deborah Nelson
The men of B Company were
a dangerous state of mind. They had lost five men in a firefight the
day before. The morning of Feb. 8, 1968, brought unwelcome orders to
resume their sweep of the countryside, a green patchwork of rice
paddies along Vietnam's central coast.
They met no resistance as they
entered a nondescript settlement in Quang Nam province. So Jamie Henry,
a 20-year-old medic, set his rifle down in a hut, unfastened his
bandoliers and lighted a cigarette.
Just then, the voice of
a lieutenant crackled across the radio. He reported that he had rounded
up 19 civilians, and wanted to know what to do with them. Henry later
recalled the company commander's response :
Kill anything that
Henry stepped outside
the hut and saw a small crowd of women and children. Then the shooting
Moments later, the 19
villagers lay dead or dying.
Back home in California,
Henry published an account of the slaughter and held a news conference
to air his allegations. Yet he and other Vietnam veterans who spoke out
about war crimes were branded traitors and fabricators. No one was ever
prosecuted for the massacre.
Now, nearly 40 years
later, declassified Army files show that Henry was telling the truth -
about the Feb. 8 killings and a series of other atrocities by the men
of B Company.
The files are part of a
once-secret archive, assembled by a Pentagon task force in the early
1970s, that shows that confirmed atrocities by U.S. forces in Vietnam
were more extensive than was previously known.
The documents detail 320
alleged incidents that were substantiated by Army investigators - not
including the most notorious U.S. atrocity, the 1968 My Lai massacre.
Though not a complete
accounting of Vietnam war crimes, the archive is the largest such
collection to surface to date. About 9,000 pages, it includes
investigative files, sworn statements by witnesses and status reports
for top military brass.
The records describe
recurrent attacks on ordinary Vietnamese - families in their homes,
farmers in rice paddies, teenagers out fishing. Hundreds of soldiers,
in interviews with investigators and letters to commanders, described a
violent minority who murdered, raped and tortured with impunity.
Abuses were not confined
to a few rogue units, a Times review of the files found. They were
uncovered in every Army division that operated in Vietnam.
Retired Brig. Gen. John
H. Johns, a Vietnam veteran who served on the task force, says he once
supported keeping the records secret but now believes they deserve wide
attention in light of alleged attacks on civilians and abuse of
prisoners in Iraq.
practices unless we acknowledge the past," says Johns, 78.
Among the substantiated
cases in the archive :
Seven massacres from
1967 through 1971 in which at least 137 civilians died.
attacks on noncombatants in which at least 57 were killed, 56 wounded
and 15 sexually assaulted.
One hundred forty-one
instances in which U.S. soldiers tortured civilian detainees or
prisoners of war with fists, sticks, bats, water or electric shock.
that evidence against 203 soldiers accused of harming Vietnamese
civilians or prisoners was strong enough to warrant formal charges.
These "founded" cases were referred to the soldiers' superiors for
Ultimately, 57 of them
were court-martialed and just 23 convicted, the records show.
Fourteen received prison
sentences ranging from six months to 20 years, but most won significant
reductions on appeal. The stiffest sentence went to a military
intelligence interrogator convicted of committing indecent acts on a
13-year-old girl in an interrogation hut in 1967.
He served seven months
of a 20-year term, the records show.
Many substantiated cases
were closed with a letter of reprimand, a fine or, in more than half
the cases, no action at all.
There was little
interest in prosecuting Vietnam war crimes, says Steven Chucala, who in
the early 1970s was legal advisor to the commanding officer of the
Army's Criminal Investigation Division. He says he disagreed with the
attitude but understood it.
"Everyone wanted Vietnam
to go away," says Chucala, now a civilian attorney for the Army at Ft.
Belvoir in Virginia.
In many cases, suspects
had left the service. The Army did not attempt to pursue them, despite
a written opinion in 1969 by Robert E. Jordan III, then the Army's
general counsel, that ex-soldiers could be prosecuted through
courts-martial, military commissions or tribunals.
"I don't remember why it
didn't go anywhere," says Jordan, now a lawyer in Washington.
Top Army brass should
have demanded a tougher response, says retired Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard,
the highest-ranking member of the Pentagon task force in the early
"We could have
court-martialed them but didn't," Gard says of soldiers accused of war
crimes. "The whole thing is terribly disturbing."
In March 1968, members
of the 23rd Infantry Division slaughtered about 500 Vietnamese
civilians in the hamlet of My Lai. Reporter Seymour Hersh exposed the
massacre the following year.
By then, Gen. William C.
Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam at the time of My
Lai, had become Army chief of staff. A task force was assembled from
members of his staff to monitor war crimes allegations and serve as an
Over the next few years,
members of the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group reviewed Army
investigations and wrote reports and summaries for military brass and
the White House.
The records were
declassified in 1994, after 20 years as required by law, and moved to
the National Archives in College Park, Md., where they went largely
The Times examined most
of the files and obtained copies of about 3,000 pages - about a third
of the total - before government officials removed them from the public
shelves, saying they contained personal information that was exempt
from the Freedom of Information Act.
In addition to the 320
substantiated incidents, the records contain material related to more
than 500 alleged atrocities that Army investigators could not prove or
that they discounted.
Johns says many war
crimes did not make it into the archive. Some were prosecuted without
being identified as war crimes, as required by military regulations.
Others were never reported.
In a letter to
Westmoreland in 1970, an anonymous sergeant described widespread,
unreported killings of civilians by members of the 9th Infantry
Division in the Mekong Delta - and blamed pressure from superiors to
generate high body counts.
"A batalion [sic] would
kill maybe 15 to 20 [civilians] a day. With 4 batalions in the brigade
that would be maybe 40 to 50 a day or 1200 to 1500 a month, easy," the
unnamed sergeant wrote. "If I am only 10% right, and believe me it's
lots more, then I am trying to tell you about 120-150 murders, or a My
Lay [sic] each month for over a year."
A high-level Army review
of the letter cited its "forcefulness," "sincerity" and "inescapable
logic," and urged then-Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor to make
sure the push for verifiable body counts did not "encourage the human
tendency to inflate the count by violating established rules of
Investigators tried to
find the letter writer and "prevent his complaints from reaching"
then-Rep. Ronald V. Dellums (D-Oakland), according to an August 1971
memo to Westmoreland.
The records do not say
whether the writer was located, and there is no evidence in the files
that his complaint was investigated further.
James D. "Jamie" Henry
was 19 in March 1967, when the Army shaved his hippie locks and packed
him off to boot camp.
He had been living with
his mother in Sonoma County, working as hospital aide and moonlighting
as a flower child in Haight-Ashbury, when he received a letter from his
draft board. As thousands of hippies poured into San Francisco for the
upcoming "Summer of Love," Henry headed for Ft. Polk, La.
Soon he was on his way
to Vietnam, part of a 100,000-man influx that brought U.S. troop
strength to 485,000 by the end of 1967. They entered a conflict growing
ever bloodier for Americans - 9,378 U.S. troops would die in combat in
1967, 87% more than the year before.
Henry was a medic with B
Company of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. He
described his experiences in a sworn statement to Army investigators
several years later and in recent interviews with The Times.
fall of 1967, he
was on his first patrol, marching along the edge of a rice paddy in
Quang Nam province, when the soldiers encountered a teenage girl.
"The guy in the lead
immediately stops her and puts his hand down her pants," Henry said. "I
just thought, 'My God, what's going on?' "
A day or two later, he
saw soldiers senselessly stabbing a pig.
"I talked to them about
it, and they told me if I wanted to live very long, I should shut my
mouth," he told Army investigators.
Henry may have kept his
mouth shut, but he kept his eyes and ears open.
On Oct. 8, 1967, after a
firefight near Chu Lai, members of his company spotted a 12-year-old
boy out in a rainstorm. He was unarmed and clad only in shorts.
"Somebody caught him up
on a hill, and they brought him down and the lieutenant asked who
wanted to kill him," Henry told investigators.
Two volunteers stepped
forward. One kicked the boy in the stomach. The other took him behind a
rock and shot him, according to Henry's statement. They tossed his body
in a river and reported him as an enemy combatant killed in action.
Three days later, B
Company detained and beat an elderly man suspected of supporting the
enemy. He had trouble keeping pace as the soldiers marched him up a
"When I turned around,
two men had him, one guy had his arms, one guy had his legs and they
threw him off the hill onto a bunch of rocks," Henry's statement said.
On Oct. 15, some of the
men took a break during a large-scale "search-and-destroy" operation.
Henry said he overheard a lieutenant on the radio requesting permission
to test-fire his weapon, and went to see what was happening.
He found two soldiers
using a Vietnamese man for target practice, Henry said. They had
discovered the victim sleeping in a hut and decided to kill him for
"Everybody was taking
pot shots at him, seeing how accurate they were," Henry said in his
Back at base camp on
Oct. 23, he said, members of the 1st Platoon told him they had ambushed
five unarmed women and reported them as enemies killed in action.
Later, members of another platoon told him they had seen the bodies.
Capt. Donald C. Reh, a
1964 graduate of West Point, took command of B Company in November
1967. Two months later, enemy forces launched a major offensive during
Tet, the Vietnamese lunar New Year.
In the midst of the
fighting, on Feb. 7, the commander of the 1st Battalion, Lt. Col.
William W. Taylor Jr., ordered an assault on snipers hidden in a line
of trees in a rural area of Quang Nam province. Five U.S. soldiers were
killed. The troops complained bitterly about the order and the deaths,
The next morning, the
men packed up their gear and continued their sweep of the countryside.
Soldiers discovered an unarmed man hiding in a hole and suspected that
he had supported the enemy the previous day. A soldier pushed the man
in front of an armored personnel carrier, Henry said in his statement.
"They drove over him
forward which didn't kill him because he was squirming around, so the
APC backed over him again," Henry's statement said.
Then B Company entered a
hamlet to question residents and search for weapons. That's where Henry
set down his weapon and lighted a cigarette in the shelter of a hut.
A radio operator sat
down next to him, and Henry was listening to the chatter. He heard the
leader of the 3rd Platoon ask Reh for instructions on what to do with
"The lieutenant asked
the captain what should be done with them. The captain asked the
lieutenant if he remembered the op order (operation order) that came
down that morning and he repeated the order which was 'kill anything
that moves,' " Henry said in his statement. "I was a little shook ...
because I thought the lieutenant might do it."
Henry said he left the
hut and walked toward Reh. He saw the captain pick up the phone again,
and thought he might rescind the order.
Then soldiers pulled a
naked woman of about 19 from a dwelling and brought her to where the
other civilians were huddled, Henry said.
"She was thrown to the
ground," he said in his statement. "The men around the civilians opened
fire and all on automatic or at least it seemed all on automatic. It
was over in a few seconds. There was a lot of blood and flesh and stuff
"I looked around at some
of my friends and they all just had blank looks on their faces.... The
captain made an announcement to all the company, I forget exactly what
it was, but it didn't concern the people who had just been killed. We
picked up our stuff and moved on."
Henry didn't forget,
however. "Thirty seconds after the shooting stopped," he said, "I knew
that I was going to do something about it."
For his combat service,
Henry earned a Bronze Star with a V for valor, and a Combat Medical
Badge, among other awards. A fellow member of his unit said in a sworn
statement that Henry regularly disregarded his own safety to save
soldiers' lives, and showed "compassion and decency" toward enemy
When Henry finished his
tour and arrived at Ft. Hood, Texas, in September 1968, he went to see
an Army legal officer to report the atrocities he'd witnessed.
The officer advised him
to keep quiet until he got out of the Army, "because of the million and
one charges you can be brought up on for blinking your eye," Henry
says. Still, the legal officer sent him to see a Criminal Investigation
The agent was not
receptive, Henry recalls.
"He wanted to know what
I was trying to pull, what I was trying to put over on people, and so I
was just quiet. I told him I wouldn't tell him anything and I wouldn't
say anything until I got out of the Army, and I left," Henry says.
Honorably discharged in
March 1969, Henry moved to Canoga Park, enrolled in community college
and helped organize a campus chapter of Vietnam Veterans Against the
Then he ended his
silence: He published his account of the massacre in the debut issue of
Scanlan's Monthly, a short-lived muckraking magazine, which hit the
newsstands on Feb. 27, 1970. Henry held a news conference the same day
at the Los Angeles Press Club.
Records show that an
Army operative attended incognito, took notes and reported back to the
A faded copy of Henry's
brief statement, retrieved from the Army's files, begins:
"On February 8, 1968,
nineteen (19) women and children were murdered in Viet-Nam by members
of 3rd Platoon, 'B' Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry....
"Incidents similar to
those I have described occur on a daily basis and differ one from the
other only in terms of numbers killed," he told reporters. A brief
article about his remarks appeared inside the Los Angeles Times the
interviewed Henry the day after the news conference. His sworn
statement filled 10 single-spaced typed pages. Henry did not expect
anything to come of it: "I never got the impression they were ever
In 1971, Henry joined
more than 100 other veterans at the Winter Soldier Investigation, a
forum on war crimes sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
The FBI put the
three-day gathering at a Detroit hotel under surveillance, records
show, and Nixon administration officials worked behind the scenes to
discredit the speakers as impostors and fabricators.
administration never publicly identified any fakers, one of the
organization's leaders admitted exaggerating his rank and role during
the war, and a cloud descended on the entire gathering.
"We tried to get as much
publicity as we could, and it just never went anywhere," Henry says.
"Nothing ever happened."
After years of dwelling
on the war, he says, he "finally put it in a closet and shut the door".
Unknown to Henry, Army
investigators pursued his allegations, tracking down members of his old
unit over the next 3 1/2 years.
Witnesses described the
killing of the young boy, the old man tossed over the cliff, the man
used for target practice, the five unarmed women, the man thrown
beneath the armored personnel carrier and other atrocities.
Their statements also
provided vivid corroboration of the Feb. 8, 1968, massacre from men who
had observed the day's events from various vantage points.
Staff Sgt. Wilson
Bullock told an investigator at Ft. Carson, Colo., that his platoon had
captured 19 "women, children, babies and two or three very old men"
during the Tet offensive.
"All of these people
were lined up and killed," he said in a sworn statement. "When it, the
shooting, stopped, I began to return to the site when I observed a
naked Vietnamese female run from the house to the huddle of people, saw
that her baby had been shot. She picked the baby up and was then shot
and the baby shot again."
Gregory Newman, another
veteran of B Company, told an investigator at Ft. Myer, Va., that Capt.
Reh had issued an order "to search and destroy and kill anything in the
village that moved."
Newman said he was
carrying out orders to kill the villagers' livestock when he saw a
naked girl head toward a group of civilians.
"I saw them begging
before they were shot," he recalled in a sworn statement.
Donald R. Richardson
said he was at a command post outside the hamlet when he heard a
platoon leader on the radio ask what to do with 19 civilians.
"The cpt said something
about kill anything that moves and the lt on the other end said 'Their
[sic] moving,' " according to Richardson's sworn account. "Just then
the gunfire was heard."
William J. Nieset, a
rifle squad leader, told investigators that he was standing next to a
radio operator and heard Reh say: "My instructions from higher are to
kill everything that moves."
Robert D. Miller said he
was the radio operator for Lt. Johnny Mack Carter, commander of the 3rd
Platoon. Miller said that when Carter asked Reh what to do with the 19
civilians, the captain instructed him to follow the "operation order."
sought two volunteers to shoot the civilians, Miller said under oath.
"I believe everyone knew
what was going to happen," he said, "so no one volunteered except one
guy known only to me as 'Crazy.' "
"A few minutes later,
while the Vietnamese were huddled around in a circle Lt Carter and
'Crazy' started shooting them with their M-16's on automatic," Miller's
Carter had just left
active duty when an investigator questioned him under oath in Palmetto,
Fla., in March 1970.
"I do not recall any
civilians being picked up and categorically stated that I did not order
the killing of any civilians, nor do I know of any being killed," his
An Army investigator
called Reh at Ft. Myer. Reh's attorney called back. The investigator
made notes of their conversation: "If the interview of Reh concerns
atrocities in Vietnam ... then he had already advised Reh not to make
As for Lt. Col. Taylor,
two soldiers described his actions that day.
Myran Ambeau, a
rifleman, said he was standing five feet from the captain and heard him
contact the battalion commander, who was in a helicopter overhead.
(Ambeau did not identify Reh or Taylor by name.)
"The battalion commander
told the captain, 'If they move, shoot them,' " according to a sworn
statement that Ambeau gave an investigator in Little Rock, Ark. "The
captain verified that he had heard the command, he then transmitted the
instruction to Lt Carter.
minutes later, there was automatic weapons fire from the direction
where the prisoners were being held."
Gary A. Bennett, one of
Reh's radio operators, offered a somewhat different account. He said
the captain asked what he should do with the detainees, and the
battalion commander replied that it was a "search and destroy mission,"
according to an investigator's summary of an interview with Bennett.
Bennett said he did not
believe the order authorized killing civilians and that, although he
heard shooting, he knew nothing about a massacre, the summary says.
Bennett refused to provide a sworn statement.
An Army investigator sat
down with Taylor at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. Taylor said
he had never issued an order to kill civilians and had heard nothing
about a massacre on the date in question. But the investigator had
asked Taylor about events occurring on Feb. 9, 1968 - a day after the
Three and a half years
later, an agent tracked Taylor down at Ft. Myer and asked him about
Feb. 8. Taylor said he had no memory of the day and did not have time
to provide a sworn statement. He said he had a "pressing engagement"
with "an unidentified general officer," the agent wrote.
Investigators wrote they
could not find Pvt. Frank Bonilla, the man known as "Crazy." The Times
reached him at his home on Oahu in March.
Bonilla, now 58 and a
hotel worker, says he recalls an order to kill the civilians, but says
he does not remember who issued it. "Somebody had a radio, handed it to
someone, maybe a lieutenant, said the man don't want to see nobody
standing," he said.
Bonilla says he answered
a call for volunteers but never pulled the trigger.
"I couldn't do it. There
were women and kids," he says. "A lot of guys thought that I had
something to do with it because they saw me going up there.... Nope ...
I just turned the other way. It was like, 'This ain't happening.' "
Afterward, he says, "I
remember sitting down with my head between my knees. Is that for real?
Someone said, 'Keep your mouth shut or you're not going home.' " He says he does not know
who did the shooting.
Investigation Division assigned Warrant Officer Jonathan P. Coulson in
Los Angeles to complete the investigation and write a final report on
the "Henry Allegation." He sent his findings to headquarters in
Washington in January 1974.
Evidence showed that the
massacre did occur, the report said. The investigation also confirmed
all but one of the other killings that Henry had described. The one
exception was the elderly man thrown off a cliff. Coulson said it could
not be determined whether the victim was alive when soldiers tossed
The evidence supported
murder charges in five incidents against nine "subjects," including
Carter and Bonilla, Coulson wrote. Those two carried out the Feb. 8
massacre, along with "other unidentified members of their element," the
that there was not enough evidence to charge Reh with murder, because
of conflicting accounts "as to the actual language" he used.
But Reh could be charged
with dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the killings, the
Coulson conferred with
an Army legal advisor, Capt. Robert S. Briney, about whether the
evidence supported charges against Taylor.
They decided it did not.
Even if Taylor gave an order to kill the Vietnamese if they moved, the
two concluded, "it does not constitute an order to kill the prisoners
in the manner in which they were executed."
The War Crimes Working
Group records give no indication that action was taken against any of
the men named in the report.
Briney, now an attorney
in Phoenix, says he has forgotten details of the case but recalls a
reluctance within the Army to pursue such charges.
"They thought the war,
if not over, was pretty much over. Why bring this stuff up again?" he
Taylor retired in 1977
with the rank of colonel. In a recent interview outside his home in
northern Virginia, he said, "I would not have given an order to kill
civilians. It's not in my makeup. I've been in enough wars to know that
it's not the right thing to do."
Reh, who left active
duty in 1978 and now lives in Northern California, declined to be
interviewed by The Times.
Carter, a retired postal
worker living in Florida, says he has no memory of his combat
experiences. "I guess I've wiped Vietnam and all that out of my mind. I
don't remember shooting anyone or ordering anyone to shoot," he says.
He says he does not
dispute that a massacre took place. "I don't doubt it, but I don't
remember.... Sometimes people just snap."
Henry was re-interviewed
by an Army investigator in 1972, and was never contacted again. He
drifted away from the antiwar movement, moved north and became a logger
in California's Sierra Nevada foothills. He says he had no idea he had
been vindicated - until The Times contacted him in 2005.
Last fall, he read the
case file over a pot of coffee at his dining room table in a
comfortably worn house, where he lives with his wife, Patty.
"I was a wreck for a
couple days," Henry, now 59, wrote later in an e-mail. "It was like a
time warp that put me right back in the middle of that mess. Some
things long forgotten came back to life. Some of them were good and
some were not.
"Now that whole stinking
war is back. After you left, I just sat in my chair and shook for a
couple hours. A slight emotional stress fracture?? Don't know, but it
soon passed and I decided to just keep going with this business. If it
was right then, then it still is."
researcher Janet Lundblad contributed to this report.
from Zineb Belarif :
7 aout 2006
Bonjour M. Feeley
Je suis très intéressé par tout les articles
écris sur la guerre au Liban, merci pour tout ce que vous
envoyer pour nous même en vacances. J'ai trouvé sur le
site Information Clearing House cette vidéo. S'il vous
Plaît, faite la circuler car le monde entier doit voir les
terreurs commis au Liban.
from Bertell Ollman :
4 August 2006
Subject: "Ballad of the Self-Hating Jew"
And now for a change of pace. From Australia. Your Jewish readers
will love it and others will get a taste of the level of much of the
going on within the Jewish community.
Guy Rundle's poem for Antony Loewenstein (from the Crikey website) is
below. It's called ...
- Ballad of the Self-Hating Jew
- He was trucking down Carlisle St
- With a bagel in his hand
- Someone said to someone
- Who is that awful man?
- Him? Oh my dear I thought you knew
- That’s the neurotic, self-hating Jew
- He thinks it’s not impossible
- That Israel is in error
- And even if you’re airborne
- Terror is still terror
- Mass killing might be wrong!
- Gosh even torture too?
- Yes, amazingly, cos he’s a neurotic quite
- psychotic, self-hating Jew
- He believes peaceful neighbours
- Can’t be built from rubble
- And it’s possible that Begin
- Was Arafat sans stubble
- That Dershowitz is crazy
- And Danby might be too
- He’s a neurotic, psychotic, ingrate
- third rate, self-hating Jew
- He’s pretty sure that AIJACS
- Will get a surface clean
- (sotto voce: Gaza for example)
- But you shouldn’t inhale it,
- If you know what I mean
- He disagrees with Leibler (gasps)
- So alas it must be true
- He’s a third rate, ingrate, simple inexplicable,
- Utterly despicable, neurotic, quite psychotic,
blue meanie party pooping self-hating Jew
- He thinks that Eretz Israel
- Needs someone to restrain her
- Says he likes chopped liver
- But not if it’s called “Qana”
- He’s a yarmulke-wearing mullah
- And once we’ve whacked Hezbollah
- (any day now)
- We’ll settle his hash too
- Ingrate third rate, neurotic, quite psychotic
- Vanunu in a muu-muu, self-hating Jew.