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This blog does not promote, support, condone, encourage, advocate, nor in any way endorse any racist (or "racialist") ideologies, nor any armed and/or violent revolutionary, seditionist and/or terrorist activities. Any racial separatist or militant groups listed here are solely for reference and Opinions of multiple authors including Freedom or Anarchy Campaign of conscience.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Soldiers trained to kill, not to cope

By Joseph F barber,
NAJAF, Iraq — Tucked behind a gleaming machine gun, Sgt. Joseph Hall grins at his two companions in the Humvee.


"I want to know if I killed that guy yesterday," Hall says. "I saw blood spurt from his leg, but I want to be sure I killed him."

The vehicle goes silent as the driver, Spc. Joshua Dubois, swerves around asphalt previously uprooted by a blast.

"I'm confused about how I should feel about killing," says Dubois, who has a toddler back home. "The first time I shot someone, it was the most exhilarating thing I'd ever felt."

Dubois turns back to the road. "We talk about killing all the time," he says. "I never used to talk this way. I'm not proud of it, but it's like I can't stop. I'm worried what I will be like when I get home."

The men aren't Special Forces soldiers. They're troops with the Army's 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment serving their 14th month in Iraq, much of it in daily battles. In 20 minutes, they will come under attack again.

Suicide in the Army

By the numbers

24 U.S. soldiers deployed to Iraq and Kuwait killed themselves last year, a rate of 17.3 per 100,000

All but two were male and almost two-thirds were unmarried

The annual Army average suicide rate is 11.9 per 100,000

The average suicide rate for civilian males ages 20 to 34, the common ages of those serving in the military, is 21.5 per 100,000

All but one died of gunshot wounds; the other from an overdose of over-the-counter medication

None had a history of mental-health treatment

Source: Department of Defense

Many soldiers and Army psychiatrists say these constant conversations about death help troops come to grips with the trauma of combat. But mental-health professionals within and outside the military point to the chatter as evidence of preventable anguish.

Soldiers are untrained, some experts say, for the trauma of killing. Forty years after lessons learned about combat stress in Vietnam, experts charge that avoidable psychological damage goes unchecked because military officials don't include emotional preparation in basic training.

The danger back home

Troops, returning home with untreated and little-understood mental-health issues, put themselves and their families at risk for suicide and domestic violence, experts say.

Twenty-four U.S. troops deployed to Iraq and Kuwait killed themselves last year, according to the Defense Department, an unusually high number, one official acknowledged.

On patrol, however, all that is available is talk.

"Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill," Hall says. "It's like it pounds at my brain. I'll figure out how to deal with it when I get home."

Home is the wrong place for soldiers to deal with combat experiences, some experts say.

"It's complete negligence," says Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a retired psychology instructor at West Point who trains law-enforcement officers and special-operations soldiers.

"The military could train soldiers to talk about killing as easily as they train them to pull the trigger. But commanders are in denial. Nobody wants to accept the blame for a soldier who comes home a wreck for doing what his country asked him to do," he says.

The emotional and psychological ramifications of killing are mostly unstudied by the military, defense officials acknowledge.

U.S. soldiers practice an assault outside Najaf in April. Although troops are trained for combat, they aren't prepared for the trauma of killing.

"The idea and experience of killing another person is not addressed in military training," says Col. Thomas Burke, director of mental-health policy for the Defense Department. "Training's intent is to re-create battle, to make it an automatic behavior among soldiers."

He defends the approach, saying that if troops think too much about emotional issues in combat, it could undermine their effectiveness in battle.

Other military representatives, including officers overseeing combat stress-control programs, did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.

Killing made automatic

Much of the military's research on killing and battle stress began after World War II, when studies revealed that only a small number of troops — as few as 15 percent — fired at adversaries in battles.

Military studies suggested troops were unexpectedly reluctant to kill. Military training methods changed, Grossman and others say, to make killing a more automatic behavior.

Bull's-eye targets used in basic training were replaced with objects shaped like humans. Battlefield conditions were reproduced more accurately, Burke says. The goal of these and other modifications was to help soldiers react more automatically.

The changes were effective. In the Vietnam War, 95 percent of combat troops shot at hostile fighters, according to military studies.


Veterans of the Vietnam War also suffered some of the highest levels of psychological damage. Possibly up to 50 percent of combat forces incurred mental injury, says Rachel MacNair, an expert on veteran psychology. Most notable among the injuries was post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition contributing to violent outbursts years after soldiers leave battlefields.



"The more soldiers ignore their emotions and behave like trained machines rather than thinking people, the more you invite PTSD," says Dr. David Spiegel of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

But after returning home, veterans of the Iraq conflict are eschewing treatment for stress-related illnesses, according to a study out this summer.

Almost one in every six troops arriving home from duty in Iraq is showing symptoms of PTSD, depression or anxiety, but few have sought help, according to interviews with more than 6,000 soldiers and Marines before and after deployment.

According to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the veterans cited fear of the stigma of mental illness: that it could cost them their careers or alter relationships with peers and command officers. The study was led by Dr. Charles Hoge, chief of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

"These findings cry out for creative solutions," says Dr. Matthew Friedman, executive director of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD. "We need to figure out ways to get these people into treatment."

PTSD was the most reported mental-health problem. Overall, about 12 percent of those returning from Iraq reported symptoms, compared with 3 to 4 percent of the general population.

Rachel Yehuda, director of the PTSD program at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital, says the consequences for soldiers seeking treatment are real "and the challenge is for the military to create an environment where mental health becomes part of the landscape."

Conflicting demands

Military officials say there have been changes in treating psychological trauma since Vietnam.

Foremost is the creation of combat stress-control teams: mental-health professionals in Iraq who speak with troops immediately after traumatic events, such as a U.S. casualty.

Military psychologists say immediate intervention is important. "We get them to voice what they are feeling, to realize they're not the odd man out, not to blame themselves," says Capt. Robert Cardona, a psychiatrist with a combat stress-control team based in southern Iraq.

But the demands of the military's mission and a soldier's mental health are sometimes at odds. "Our primary goal is to keep soldiers functional, so they can continue to fight," Cardona says. "Everything else, including feeling well, is second to that."

Mental-health technicians are available for troops who request help, Cardona says, but stress teams aren't deployed to bases just because U.S. forces kill hostile fighters. He says about half of the soldiers seeking help are traumatized because they killed someone.

"Killing unleashes emotions few people are prepared to deal with," Cardona says. "We help soldiers put those emotions and experiences away, so they can go into battle the next day. We set the expectation that shock is temporary and that they will return to duty."

Hugs — and hate



The men of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment's Alpha and Charlie companies are resting and playing cards in the shade of a staircase, and talk turns to killing.

"I enjoy killing Iraqis," says Staff Sgt. William Deaton, 30, who had killed a hostile fighter the night before. Deaton has lost a good friend in Iraq. "I just feel rage, hate when I'm out there. I feel like I carry it all the time. We talk about it. We all feel the same way."

Sgt. Cleveland Rogers, 25, avoids dwelling on his actions.

"The other day an Iraqi guy was hit real bad, he was gonna die within an hour, but he was still alive and he started saying, 'Baby, baby,' telling me he has a kid," Rogers says. "I mentioned it to my guys after the mission. It doesn't bother me. It can't bother me. If it was the other way around, I'm sure it wouldn't bother him."

Spc. Nathan Borlee tries to keep a lid on what he's feeling.

"I feel like I'd lose control if I think about it too much, so I don't," the 23-year-old says. "Usually, everybody comes back and just gives everybody a hug. You kind of get overwhelmed by the feelings."

Without the proper training, experts say, these conversations may contribute to mental injuries.

Grossman, the retired West Point instructor, says training troops to have therapeutic discussions about killing is "not that hard." His curriculum, used by law-enforcement officers and after such traumas as school shootings, focuses on mental and physical techniques to manage anxiety and other emotional reactions to killing.

"To make killing instinctual, rather than conscious, is inviting pathological, destructive behavior," Grossman says. "We have to give soldiers a vocabulary to talk through emotions and teach them not to be embarrassed by troubling feelings."

"I worry about my soul"

Back in the Humvee, Hall and Dubois approach an abandoned elementary school that commanders say is hiding mortars and hostile fighters. Suddenly, the ground is punctuated by the yellow bursts of improvised explosive devices.

Hall begins firing his .50-caliber machine gun, the phosphorus on each fifth bullet trailing long, red streaks.

The constantly squawking radio pauses briefly and a calm, transmitted voice fills the truck.

"Enemy contact," the radio broadcasts. "Kill 'em, kill 'em."

Ahead, a tank pushes a hole through the school's wall. Staff Sgt. Robert McBride, 35, enters a classroom and sees a group of six Iraqis with guns, he later recounts. He throws a grenade. The blast cuts one Iraqi in half, and the rest lie dying. The soldiers collect dozens of mortar rounds and return to their vehicles. McBride looks at the hostile fighters once more.

"It did not bother me at all to see those bodies up close," McBride says later. "I'm a warrior. ... My soldiers, they are all warriors. They have no problems. I don't let them have problems. There is no place in this Army for men who aren't warriors."

The men's commander, however, worries about them.



"During the heat of the battle, the adrenaline is such you don't really think about it," says Capt. Brandon Payne, 28. "Once that adrenaline wears off, though, it gets tough. Some kids, it rolls right off their backs. Some, it's like they break down a little more each day."

Payne is as conflicted as his troops about making sense of war. Reconciling duty with ethics, he says, seems more complicated in Iraq.

"I'm a Christian. I feel I'm saving my soldiers' lives by destroying as many enemies as I can. But at the end of each day, I pray to God. I worry about my soul," he says. "Every time a door slams, I flinch. I'm hoping it will just go away when I get home."


FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.A place to voice your Opinion with out being marginalized or Set aside, Freedom of Expression is the purest form of freedom we have left. So try it out "EXPRESS YOURSELFS AND BE HEARD"

This Profil does not promote, support, condone, encourage, advocate, nor in any way endorse any racist (or "racialist") ideologies, nor any armed and/or violent revolutionary, seditionist and/or terrorist activities. Any racial separatist or militant groups listed here are solely for reference and Opinions of multiple authors including Freedom or Anarchy Campaign of conscience.

Email @ veteransproject@yahoo.com

http://josephfreedomoranarchy.blogspot.com/2014/07/donate-and-support-veterans-project_30.html
http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience By Joseph F barber,
NAJAF, Iraq — Tucked behind a gleaming machine gun, Sgt. Joseph Hall grins at his two companions in the Humvee.


"I want to know if I killed that guy yesterday," Hall says. "I saw blood spurt from his leg, but I want to be sure I killed him."

The vehicle goes silent as the driver, Spc. Joshua Dubois, swerves around asphalt previously uprooted by a blast.

"I'm confused about how I should feel about killing," says Dubois, who has a toddler back home. "The first time I shot someone, it was the most exhilarating thing I'd ever felt."

Dubois turns back to the road. "We talk about killing all the time," he says. "I never used to talk this way. I'm not proud of it, but it's like I can't stop. I'm worried what I will be like when I get home."

The men aren't Special Forces soldiers. They're troops with the Army's 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment serving their 14th month in Iraq, much of it in daily battles. In 20 minutes, they will come under attack again.

Suicide in the Army

By the numbers

24 U.S. soldiers deployed to Iraq and Kuwait killed themselves last year, a rate of 17.3 per 100,000

All but two were male and almost two-thirds were unmarried

The annual Army average suicide rate is 11.9 per 100,000

The average suicide rate for civilian males ages 20 to 34, the common ages of those serving in the military, is 21.5 per 100,000

All but one died of gunshot wounds; the other from an overdose of over-the-counter medication

None had a history of mental-health treatment

Source: Department of Defense

Many soldiers and Army psychiatrists say these constant conversations about death help troops come to grips with the trauma of combat. But mental-health professionals within and outside the military point to the chatter as evidence of preventable anguish.

Soldiers are untrained, some experts say, for the trauma of killing. Forty years after lessons learned about combat stress in Vietnam, experts charge that avoidable psychological damage goes unchecked because military officials don't include emotional preparation in basic training.

The danger back home

Troops, returning home with untreated and little-understood mental-health issues, put themselves and their families at risk for suicide and domestic violence, experts say.

Twenty-four U.S. troops deployed to Iraq and Kuwait killed themselves last year, according to the Defense Department, an unusually high number, one official acknowledged.

On patrol, however, all that is available is talk.

"Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill," Hall says. "It's like it pounds at my brain. I'll figure out how to deal with it when I get home."

Home is the wrong place for soldiers to deal with combat experiences, some experts say.

"It's complete negligence," says Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a retired psychology instructor at West Point who trains law-enforcement officers and special-operations soldiers.

"The military could train soldiers to talk about killing as easily as they train them to pull the trigger. But commanders are in denial. Nobody wants to accept the blame for a soldier who comes home a wreck for doing what his country asked him to do," he says.

The emotional and psychological ramifications of killing are mostly unstudied by the military, defense officials acknowledge.

U.S. soldiers practice an assault outside Najaf in April. Although troops are trained for combat, they aren't prepared for the trauma of killing.

"The idea and experience of killing another person is not addressed in military training," says Col. Thomas Burke, director of mental-health policy for the Defense Department. "Training's intent is to re-create battle, to make it an automatic behavior among soldiers."

He defends the approach, saying that if troops think too much about emotional issues in combat, it could undermine their effectiveness in battle.

Other military representatives, including officers overseeing combat stress-control programs, did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.

Killing made automatic

Much of the military's research on killing and battle stress began after World War II, when studies revealed that only a small number of troops — as few as 15 percent — fired at adversaries in battles.

Military studies suggested troops were unexpectedly reluctant to kill. Military training methods changed, Grossman and others say, to make killing a more automatic behavior.

Bull's-eye targets used in basic training were replaced with objects shaped like humans. Battlefield conditions were reproduced more accurately, Burke says. The goal of these and other modifications was to help soldiers react more automatically.

The changes were effective. In the Vietnam War, 95 percent of combat troops shot at hostile fighters, according to military studies.


Veterans of the Vietnam War also suffered some of the highest levels of psychological damage. Possibly up to 50 percent of combat forces incurred mental injury, says Rachel MacNair, an expert on veteran psychology. Most notable among the injuries was post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition contributing to violent outbursts years after soldiers leave battlefields.



"The more soldiers ignore their emotions and behave like trained machines rather than thinking people, the more you invite PTSD," says Dr. David Spiegel of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

But after returning home, veterans of the Iraq conflict are eschewing treatment for stress-related illnesses, according to a study out this summer.

Almost one in every six troops arriving home from duty in Iraq is showing symptoms of PTSD, depression or anxiety, but few have sought help, according to interviews with more than 6,000 soldiers and Marines before and after deployment.

According to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the veterans cited fear of the stigma of mental illness: that it could cost them their careers or alter relationships with peers and command officers. The study was led by Dr. Charles Hoge, chief of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

"These findings cry out for creative solutions," says Dr. Matthew Friedman, executive director of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD. "We need to figure out ways to get these people into treatment."

PTSD was the most reported mental-health problem. Overall, about 12 percent of those returning from Iraq reported symptoms, compared with 3 to 4 percent of the general population.

Rachel Yehuda, director of the PTSD program at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital, says the consequences for soldiers seeking treatment are real "and the challenge is for the military to create an environment where mental health becomes part of the landscape."

Conflicting demands

Military officials say there have been changes in treating psychological trauma since Vietnam.

Foremost is the creation of combat stress-control teams: mental-health professionals in Iraq who speak with troops immediately after traumatic events, such as a U.S. casualty.

Military psychologists say immediate intervention is important. "We get them to voice what they are feeling, to realize they're not the odd man out, not to blame themselves," says Capt. Robert Cardona, a psychiatrist with a combat stress-control team based in southern Iraq.

But the demands of the military's mission and a soldier's mental health are sometimes at odds. "Our primary goal is to keep soldiers functional, so they can continue to fight," Cardona says. "Everything else, including feeling well, is second to that."

Mental-health technicians are available for troops who request help, Cardona says, but stress teams aren't deployed to bases just because U.S. forces kill hostile fighters. He says about half of the soldiers seeking help are traumatized because they killed someone.

"Killing unleashes emotions few people are prepared to deal with," Cardona says. "We help soldiers put those emotions and experiences away, so they can go into battle the next day. We set the expectation that shock is temporary and that they will return to duty."

Hugs — and hate



The men of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment's Alpha and Charlie companies are resting and playing cards in the shade of a staircase, and talk turns to killing.

"I enjoy killing Iraqis," says Staff Sgt. William Deaton, 30, who had killed a hostile fighter the night before. Deaton has lost a good friend in Iraq. "I just feel rage, hate when I'm out there. I feel like I carry it all the time. We talk about it. We all feel the same way."

Sgt. Cleveland Rogers, 25, avoids dwelling on his actions.

"The other day an Iraqi guy was hit real bad, he was gonna die within an hour, but he was still alive and he started saying, 'Baby, baby,' telling me he has a kid," Rogers says. "I mentioned it to my guys after the mission. It doesn't bother me. It can't bother me. If it was the other way around, I'm sure it wouldn't bother him."

Spc. Nathan Borlee tries to keep a lid on what he's feeling.

"I feel like I'd lose control if I think about it too much, so I don't," the 23-year-old says. "Usually, everybody comes back and just gives everybody a hug. You kind of get overwhelmed by the feelings."

Without the proper training, experts say, these conversations may contribute to mental injuries.

Grossman, the retired West Point instructor, says training troops to have therapeutic discussions about killing is "not that hard." His curriculum, used by law-enforcement officers and after such traumas as school shootings, focuses on mental and physical techniques to manage anxiety and other emotional reactions to killing.

"To make killing instinctual, rather than conscious, is inviting pathological, destructive behavior," Grossman says. "We have to give soldiers a vocabulary to talk through emotions and teach them not to be embarrassed by troubling feelings."

"I worry about my soul"

Back in the Humvee, Hall and Dubois approach an abandoned elementary school that commanders say is hiding mortars and hostile fighters. Suddenly, the ground is punctuated by the yellow bursts of improvised explosive devices.

Hall begins firing his .50-caliber machine gun, the phosphorus on each fifth bullet trailing long, red streaks.

The constantly squawking radio pauses briefly and a calm, transmitted voice fills the truck.

"Enemy contact," the radio broadcasts. "Kill 'em, kill 'em."

Ahead, a tank pushes a hole through the school's wall. Staff Sgt. Robert McBride, 35, enters a classroom and sees a group of six Iraqis with guns, he later recounts. He throws a grenade. The blast cuts one Iraqi in half, and the rest lie dying. The soldiers collect dozens of mortar rounds and return to their vehicles. McBride looks at the hostile fighters once more.

"It did not bother me at all to see those bodies up close," McBride says later. "I'm a warrior. ... My soldiers, they are all warriors. They have no problems. I don't let them have problems. There is no place in this Army for men who aren't warriors."

The men's commander, however, worries about them.



"During the heat of the battle, the adrenaline is such you don't really think about it," says Capt. Brandon Payne, 28. "Once that adrenaline wears off, though, it gets tough. Some kids, it rolls right off their backs. Some, it's like they break down a little more each day."

Payne is as conflicted as his troops about making sense of war. Reconciling duty with ethics, he says, seems more complicated in Iraq.

"I'm a Christian. I feel I'm saving my soldiers' lives by destroying as many enemies as I can. But at the end of each day, I pray to God. I worry about my soul," he says. "Every time a door slams, I flinch. I'm hoping it will just go away when I get home."


FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.A place to voice your Opinion with out being marginalized or Set aside, Freedom of Expression is the purest form of freedom we have left. So try it out "EXPRESS YOURSELFS AND BE HEARD"

This Profil does not promote, support, condone, encourage, advocate, nor in any way endorse any racist (or "racialist") ideologies, nor any armed and/or violent revolutionary, seditionist and/or terrorist activities. Any racial separatist or militant groups listed here are solely for reference and Opinions of multiple authors including Freedom or Anarchy Campaign of conscience.

Email @ veteransproject@yahoo.com

http://josephfreedomoranarchy.blogspot.com/2014/07/donate-and-support-veterans-project_30.html
http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Shame on you America!

Shame on you America!

FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.A place to voice your Opinion with out being marginalized or Set aside, Freedom of Expression is the purest form of freedom we have left. So try it out "EXPRESS YOURSELFS AND BE HEARD"

This Profil does not promote, support, condone, encourage, advocate, nor in any way endorse any racist (or "racialist") ideologies, nor any armed and/or violent revolutionary, seditionist and/or terrorist activities. Any racial separatist or militant groups listed here are solely for reference and Opinions of multiple authors including Freedom or Anarchy Campaign of conscience.

Email@ freedomoranarchycampaignofconscience@facebook.com


http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience

There is no valid argument for the destruction of our planet and any form of life on it.As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves. Be the change that you want to see in the world. Shame on you America!

FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.A place to voice your Opinion with out being marginalized or Set aside, Freedom of Expression is the purest form of freedom we have left. So try it out "EXPRESS YOURSELFS AND BE HEARD"

This Profil does not promote, support, condone, encourage, advocate, nor in any way endorse any racist (or "racialist") ideologies, nor any armed and/or violent revolutionary, seditionist and/or terrorist activities. Any racial separatist or militant groups listed here are solely for reference and Opinions of multiple authors including Freedom or Anarchy Campaign of conscience.

Email@ freedomoranarchycampaignofconscience@facebook.com


http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience

There is no valid argument for the destruction of our planet and any form of life on it.As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves. Be the change that you want to see in the world.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Soldiers Story

02-01) 04:00 PDT Tikrit, Iraq -- An Iraqi man shouted out after the squad of American soldiers, two garbled English words as they echoed through a narrow concrete alleyway.


Pfc. Matthew Bledsoe paused and swiveled his head to catch the words, the burlap strips dangling from his helmet swaying with the motion.
"Was that a 'f -- you?' " he asked. "Or a 'thank you?' "
It was a familiar moment in Iraq, a place where, as an American soldier, you often can't tell the difference between people who want to kiss you and people who want to kill you.
There are few places in Iraq where that distinction is more difficult to make -- or more essential to make quickly -- than in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's adopted hometown and his onetime seat of power.
The soldiers who patrol Tikrit -- the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, known familiarly as the 1-22 -- have been in Iraq for more than nine months and they are tired. Bone tired.
But there are smiles on their faces these days as they catch glimpses of new troops, their shoulders bearing the big red 1 of the 1st Infantry Division, whose soldiers are getting ready to take over in Tikrit.
After months of rumors, disappointments and dashed hopes, the 4th Infantry Division is preparing, within the next two months or so, to go home. It will be the last of the divisions that fought the war in Iraq to leave.
It wasn't the kind of war they came prepared to fight. The battalion, more than 600 strong, entered Iraq from Kuwait late in the conflict. They arrived from Fort Hood, Texas, trained and rested, with tons of the most lethal and sophisticated military hardware ever produced. They were ready for serious combat.




Instead, they spent their first days driving north, taking pictures of shattered Iraqi tanks and of children trying to steal gear strapped to the outside of the humvees.
Sgt. Mike Evans of Cobra Company knew the calm wouldn't last.
"I told them all before we left, 'Somebody in this formation ain't coming back,' " said Evans, 35, who made it to the Euphrates River as a sniper in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and may be the most respected soldier in the 1-22.
"





About six days after we crossed the border, we had our first casualty. That opened up their eyes real fast. This wasn't a simulation -- this was real," he said. "They grew up fast."
It was a lesson relearned in Tikrit. Although Republican Guard holdouts engaged the Americans in a series of short, sharp battles, resistance was minimal at first.
Lt. Col. Steve Russell, commanding officer of the 1-22, said that at first the patrolling soldiers visited homes for dinners, bought trinkets in the marketplace and tried to socialize with the locals.
"June changed all of that," said the 40-year-old officer from Del City, Okla. "That's really when the guerrilla war started for us."
The hot months -- June, July and August -- were bad ones for the 1-22. As attacks on the streets of Tikrit increased, so did the temperature. At times, soldiers were on rations of only two half-liter bottles of water a day as the thermometer soared into the 120s.
Rumored departure dates in August -- and on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas -- came and went. Each time, the soldiers of 1-22 thought they were going home, despite Russell's estimate that the campaign would require a year.
Tempers flared. Fistfights erupted in the barracks.
In October, three members of the 1-22 were killed in attacks, two in a single weekend. And after each casualty, Capt. Xuan Tran, the 1-22 chaplain, counseled soldiers who felt like turning their rage against the Iraqi people.
"We are human beings. And when you see your roommate killed ... you will experience some emotion," he said. "(But) if we have that mentality, it could be very bad. It could be a massacre."
Russell and the 1-22 responded by locking down Tikrit, supplementing tank and humvee patrols with more foot patrols. Al-Awja, where Saddam Hussein was born, was fenced off completely, and residents needed to show identification to come and go. Attacks were met by force, and soldiers aggressively searched for insurgents.
"In the early days, we'd get a tip and search a whole block,'' Lt. Michael Isbell recalled. "I remember one day we searched 132 houses straight.''
Tikritis chafed under the tight leash, and the tough tactics drew some criticism from observers in the United States. Russell makes no apologies: Different populations require different techniques, he says, and the techniques he chose worked.
"People have the notion that the American soldier is somehow untrained for this mission," he said. "But our history belies that. We both know how to fight and how to handle civilians."
Attacks peaked in July, when there were more than 60, then dropped sharply in August to about 30 as the Americans' strategy began to pay off. Then the insurgents switched tactics, turning to hit-and-run assaults and roadside bombs, and attacks climbed to about 55 in November. But that number, too, has been falling steadily, Russell said, to about a dozen in January.
Tikrit began to come to life with new shops and people strolling in the streets. The city government began to function, with a new mayor elected by a governing council of sheikhs. A week ago, police began to hand out parking tickets -- and people are paying them.
"Eventually, you learn to respect the city. But the city also respects us, " said Capt. Brad Boyd, 34, Cobra's commander and a San Jose native who still limps from the shrapnel wounds he sustained from a roadside bomb in December.
"They understand we are extremely lethal if we need to be, but they also know we'd rather hand out candy."
These days, Tikrit has calmed down so much that there is time for the soldiers to be bored, to sit in the barracks playing video games and killing flies with pocketknives. But it is an uneasy calm.


A few of the soldiers are torn between wanting to see action again before they head home and wanting things to stay quiet enough to guarantee that they make it home alive.
The 1-22 is divided into camps across the region they patrol. Cobra Company is bivouacked in Hussein's "Birthday Palace," from which the former president would review parades in his honor, firing a rifle in the air from his balcony. Boyd's bed is in Hussein's old bedroom.
Gator Company is camped in Al-Awja, in a party palace next door to Saddam Mosque, where they cook Spam in the banquet-quality kitchen.
The specialty platoons -- medics, mortar-firers, headquarters and scouts -- are in the House of Saladin, a palace named for the Tikrit-born general who defeated the Western armies in Jerusalem in the late 12th century.
The Tikrit compound offers good food -- king crab legs made the menu recently -- in a cavernous mess hall where colonels and privates eat side by side. There are hot showers, laundry facilities and the "Ironhorse Resort," a palace boasting a swimming pool, Internet cafe and a bazaar where local Iraqis sell "Saddam lighters'' for $5 and pirated DVDs for $3.
About 70 percent of the time is now down time, the soldiers say. But the remaining 30 percent can kill you.
One recent night, the movie -- "A Fish Called Wanda" -- was just getting rolling. Wanda had double-crossed her partner in crime, and was preparing to seduce Archie into telling her which safe-deposit box matched the key she had found in Ken's fish tank. Then the first mortar hit.
"Goddammit!" snapped Sgt. Mark Dornbusch, 24, of Austin, Texas, as the first thunderous explosion echoed outside. "Let's go!"
The men of Gator Company jumped off the ornate couches and chairs and sprinted outside, strapping on body armor and helmets as a second round burst just outside their walled compound.
For the next hour, they stopped and searched Iraqi cars throughout the city of Al-Awja, using pidgin Arabic to try to find witnesses to the attack. No one would admit even hearing the thunderous explosion.
Eventually, Gator returned to its compound to track the mortars using the crater patterns outside their walls -- and to wait for the next attack.
It is a threat that never ends and can rarely be anticipated. Patrols regularly uncover caches of hundreds of mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and AK-47s.
"A couple of months ago, my dad asked me, 'Are you scared when you go outside the gate?' " Evans said. "I said, 'No, I'm not scared. I'm terrified.' "
Leaving the relative security of the palaces for any reason requires gearing up with an armored vest, Kevlar helmet and loaded weapon -- about 50 pounds of equipment, just to walk the 100 yards to the shower.
And it's not just infantry troops who suffer. Engineers, support troops, even medics have died or been injured working with the 1-22. One of the six soldiers kill in combat while serving with the 1-22 was Pfc. Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, a 21-year-old supply specialist from Houston.
"I always thought cooks and females were behind the lines," said Spc. Felissa Maddox, 22, a cook who survived a roadside bomb attack on her convoy in December. "The infantry guys do more patrols than we do ... (but we're) the same." On the outer wall of the building where she lives, an unexploded rocket- propelled grenade can still be seen protruding from the marble.
"Every time you walk out of the gate, you take a risk," said Spc. John Ott, who fuels military vehicles. "We wear 'American soldier' on our chest, just like they do."
The constant tension has led some soldiers close to a breakdown, Capt. Tran said. The rest maintain a state of hyper-vigilance for anybody who looks like one of their attackers.
That means almost anybody in Tikrit.
The Cobra humvee roared up to the House of Saladin, and soldiers hustled an injured Iraqi man inside to the medics. Outside, the wounded man's friend lay cuffed in the back of the vehicle.
Soldiers tried to explain the situation to the handcuffed man: An American soldier had been shot in the hand by a sniper and reported a white truck leaving the scene. When a Cobra patrol spotted a white truck moments later, Evans stepped in front of the vehicle, ordering it to stop. The driver failed to stop, the soldiers said, and Evans fired warning shots into its engine and, finally, through the door, hitting the driver in the buttock.
The explanation, delivered in a mix of English and pidgin Arabic, did not seem to get through. The cuffed man looked from American soldier to American soldier, saying, "No, Saddam" and "Yes, Bush," before weeping in panic and crying out to Allah.
No weapons were found in the truck. It was the kind of encounter that critics of the war point to as examples of American soldiers responding too quickly and too harshly to threats of violence.
But on the streets of Tikrit, the soldiers say, they have to depend on instinct and "situational awareness" and can't lose time worrying about their critics in Iraq or at home.
"I worry about me and my men," Cobra Spc. Jacob Lynn said.
Sgt. John Garza tucked a fresh plug of Copenhagen behind his lip and spat out the back of his Bradley, which was positioned to observe the convoys beginning to haul the battalion's gear from Tikrit to Kuwait in preparation for their long-awaited withdrawal.
"Where (insurgents) have the advantage is we're looking for the bad guys in a crowd of civilians," said Garza, 23. "They look for the guys with the burlap on their heads."
Some say the burlap strips, intended as camouflage, make their helmets more intimidating; some say they look like Sideshow Bob from "The Simpsons" television show. In any case, the look, which they often use on patrol, sets the 1-22 apart, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.
On one hand, they feel a certain respect from the Tikritis, who see the helmets and know they are the soldiers most directly involved in securing the streets. On the other hand, they fear it makes them targets. Russell himself has been attacked more than a dozen times. One roadside bomb exploded prematurely, killing two bombers about half a block from his convoy. His soldiers are certain the attackers knew exactly who they were targeting.
Still, members of the 1-22 continue their patrols, hoping their visibility will either intimidate attackers into staying home -- or draw them into the open by offering a target.
"It's kind of like hunting with live bait," said Staff Sgt. Scott Feucht. "We're the live bait."
Feucht spoke in the middle of a patrol through Tikrit's streets, which were filled with Iraqis going about their daily business.
"This guy over here might be Mr. Nice Guy who wants to invite you in the house for some tea, while the guy across the street might want to shoot you in the back with a friggin' RPG," Lt. Jason Lojka said.


Sometimes, the same person plays both roles.
"You might go by a house and the guy is smiling and waving, 'Hey, mister, mister, I love Americans,' " he said. "And then you go around the house ... and find him flipping off the last guy in the column."
The soldiers' experiences have led them to have decidedly mixed emotions about the people they came to liberate.
A number of soldiers said they hold the Iraqi insurgents in something close to contempt, especially since they abandoned traditional fighting for guerrilla warfare.
"They'll shoot you in the back or use IED's (improvised explosive devices, or homemade bombs),'' said Spc. Rodrigo Vargas, 23, of Houston. "They're not going to fight you head on.''
Some soldiers say the citizens of Tikrit became accustomed to the favors granted by Hussein and are ungrateful for their new freedoms. Others say the Iraqis are lazy, pointing to the trash lining Tikrit's streets and human excrement in the gutters. They bristle at the failure of some Iraqis to cooperate, their insistence that they know nothing of any insurgents, even in areas from which attacks have emanated.
"They'll tell you, 'No fedayeen in Tikrit,' " Garza said. "If Jimmy Hoffa moved to my street, I would know who the hell he was."
Some soldiers privately admit that in the worst times, when soldiers die at Iraqi hands, they feel like taking a .50-caliber machine gun into downtown Tikrit and mowing down every Iraqi they see. In those times, sergeants and officers try hard to temper their soldiers' anger without dulling their edge.
"You don't want them going crazy out there, but you don't want them hesitating," said Cobra Staff Sgt. John Minzer. "You try to train people: 'If you're going to shoot someone, you're going to have to live with that your entire life.' "
But the soldiers' attitudes toward the Iraqis are changeable.
"If there's people that have gotten killed or shot, your tolerance level for Iraqis goes way down," Sgt. Andrew Antolik, 23, said. "If it's been a couple weeks of quiet, you'll go out and be like, 'Hey, what's up. Salaam aleikum. Shukran.' (Peace be with you. Thank you.)"
Some soldiers say they have gotten to know some of the Tikritis, and they describe friendly encounters in the middle of a patrol when they sip tea and talk about their families and religions.
"There's a lot of good people in this city that mean well. I've got a lot of Iraqi friends," Evans said. "About 20 percent of the people are just idiots -- those are the ones you've got to watch for."
Today, with attacks on the decline, few soldiers seem to display a hatred for the Iraqis. Many view the Iraqis with pity, as people broken by decades of war and despotism whose assumptions about how the Americans would treat them were shaped by how they were treated by Hussein.
"They had an awful regime under Saddam," Spc. Stewart Tignor said. "They don't understand democracy, they don't understand us. So really they're just trading one regime for another."
For many soldiers, the face of the Iraqi people is often a child's face. The children chase after patrolling soldiers, accept their candy and trade pidgin English for pidgin Arabic, slap hands and have belching contests with the patrolling soldiers as their parents watch warily from a distance.
They see the children as barometers: If children wave at a soldier while their parents are watching, they figure the parents probably like the Americans, too, even if they don't show it. If a child scowls or throws a rock, it suggests the parents are less fond of the Americans -- and their house might be due for a quick search.
But for other soldiers, the appeal of the children is simpler than that.
"When you see the kids, and you realize (Hussein) had these big palaces and the people down the street didn't have water, you realize what this place is all about," Boyd said. "The criminals were running the place."
In the nine months since they arrived in Iraq, the members of the 1-22 have recovered huge caches of weapons; they've done battle with insurgents, and they've even uncovered information during raids that helped lead to the capture of Saddam Hussein. In the process, they've lost six soldiers.
Was it worth it? Each soldier has his own answer.
"Did I honestly think doing this and coming over here was going to stop terrorism? No. That's the dumbest thing I ever heard," Isbell said. "There are no weapons of mass destruction that we've seen. These people didn't even have an air force. ... I didn't even see an army."
Other soldiers see Iraq as a containment zone for terrorists.
"Bullets flying all over the place; I'd rather that happen over here than at my home," Vargas said. "I don't want my wife dropping my little girl off at school getting hit with crossfire."
Their estimates of how long it will take for Iraq to be at peace range from a year to 20 to never.
"We can spend millions of dollars in fixing up schools, fixing up roads, they're still going to hate us," Sgt. Curtis Keltner said. "We're Westerners. They're never going to accept our culture."
Lifers say they expect to rotate back to Iraq some day; some newer recruits say they will not re-enlist to avoid that fate.
But most say they have accomplished their mission -- a mission they see as simpler and more straightforward than the geopolitical consequences often debated in the United States.
"When you join the military ... there's a deep-seated notion of honor, doing the right thing, nobility," Isbell said. "If I go (to Iraq) and give them some of the luxuries I've been living with, that's a good thing."
Rather than claiming to have saved the world from terror or chemical weapons, the soldiers say they see in the streets of Tikrit a new life, new businesses, new possibilities, even if the people walking those streets still complain bitterly that their lives were better under Hussein.
"If you understand the history of this area, I don't think they'd know peace if it bit them in the ass," Vargas said. "You can get rid of a government. You can get rid of the dictator. But you can't get rid of the idea. Hopefully we can, or at least show them a better way. ... If we show them a better way, maybe they'll choose it."
For many, the goal is worth the sacrifice they've made, said Staff Sgt. Tony Bach, a medic for Cobra Company.
"I question, why do I have to put a 19-year-old kid in a body bag?" he said. "But then I see a little kid. And that's what we're here for -- to put an end to oppression."
As the sun set over the Tigris River behind the House of Saladin, Sgt. Ricky Hines threw another letter from home onto the garbage fire. He has five chests filled with correspondence, he said. They sustained him during the war; now he is done hauling them around. "It's time to go home."
The soldiers will go home changed. Many had never fired a shot in combat before they came to Iraq. Now, they have killed and seen their friends killed.
Some have already seen the changes in themselves when they went home on leave. Some woke up dreaming of combat or pulled their car over to check a box by the side of the road for explosives. Others felt naked as they walked unarmed through crowds of strangers in the airport or the mall.
They've heard about "shell shock'' and post-traumatic stress, and they talk about a handful of men of the 3rd Infantry Division, who went home after the war and killed their wives or themselves. Suicide rates during this conflict have already been abnormally high, according to the Army. Knowing that, some soldiers worry what will happen to their buddies when they get home.
"This battalion will have more deaths in the first 30 days after we get back than we did in the whole deployment," speculated Spc. Darryl Saylor, 25, of Baltimore.
But Russell and Evans, combat veterans both, said they don't worry about their soldiers. True, some have experienced the horrors of war firsthand, but they have a powerful resource to help them cope -- friendships tested in battle that will see them through the difficult transition ahead.
"The company has come and formed a band of brothers," Evans said. "Joes are gonna be Joes when they get back."
Spc. Percell Philips will take home a scar by his right eye and the bullet that lodged in his helmet after grazing his skull. He considers himself the luckiest man in the 4th Infantry Division.
He shot his attacker dead. Later, he saw the man's corpse in a hospital and considered taking a photo but decided he didn't want to take that memory home with him.
"I see my little nephews when I go home. They ask me how many people I killed," he said. "I tell them, 'None.' "
Dangerous mission
The 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry is part of the 4th Infantry Division, considered one of the Army's most advanced divisions for its sophisticated computer network linking its M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Apache helicopters. Still, it nearly missed the major combat at the beginning of the war.
The military had planned to use the powerful mechanized division to invade Iraq through Turkey, but the Turkish parliament blocked that plan, refusing to let the U.S. military use the nation as a staging ground. After months of delays, the division moved to Kuwait in late March and rumbled across the border into Iraq on April 13, four days after the fall of Baghdad.
It sped north to the capital in 40 hours, secured al-Taji airfield north of Baghdad and on April 19 rolled into Tikrit, a stronghold of Saddam Hussein loyalists, where it has encountered some of the stiffest resistance of the conflict.
In addition to attacks that killed members of the 1-22, other notable events:
-- July 29 -- Soldiers detain more than 175 suspected Hussein loyalists, including a top bodyguard, in a predawn raid near Tikrit.
-- Aug. 2 -- At least two U.S. soldiers are injured in remote- controlled explosions in Tikrit after elders of Saddam Hussein's tribe bury the ousted dictator's sons, Odai and Qusai, in Al-Awja, where Hussein was born.
-- Aug. 12 -- American soldiers round up 14 members of a family that supported Hussein, including a Republican Guard officer and one of the dictator's bodyguards.
-- Sept. 27 -- Troops uncover a huge weapons cache in Al-Awja, including 23 Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, 1,000 pounds of plastic explosives, four rocket-propelled-grenade launchers and 115 rockets, 1,300 blasting caps and 423 hand grenades.
-- Oct. 30 -- To quell attacks, soldiers stretch concertina wire around the village of Al-Awja, requiring residents to show ID to enter or leave.
-- Nov. 7 -- A Black Hawk helicopter crashes near Tikrit, apparently shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing all six U.S. soldiers aboard -- four from the 101st Airborne Division and two from Army headquarters.
-- Jan. 7 -- Soldiers arrest 12 Iraqis wanted for attacks on forces in Tikrit, including the Oct. 1 killing of Analaura Esparza Gutierrez.
Source: Chronicle research
Fallen soldiers of the 1-22
During the United States' war in Iraq, six soldiers serving with the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry of the Army's 4th Infantry Division have been killed in combat and more than 50 have been injured. Those who were killed are:
-- 1st Lt. Osbaldo Orozco, 26, of Earlimart, (Tulare County), died April 24 when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle flipped over as it maneuvered to return fire during an attack in Tikrit.
-- Pfc. Jesse M. Halling, 19, of Indianapolis, a member of the 401st Military Police Company who was attached to the 1-22, was killed by a rocket- propelled grenade June 7 while defending the Civilian Military Operations Center in Tikrit.
-- Pfc. Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, 21, of Houston, a member of the 4th Forward Support Battalion, attached to the 1-22, was killed Oct. 1 when a roadside bomb struck her humvee near Tikrit.
-- Spc. James E. Powell II, 26, of Radcliff, Ky., died of injuries he suffered Oct. 12 when the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was riding in struck an anti-tank mine in Baji, north of Tikrit.
-- Donald Wheeler, 22, of Concord, Mich., was killed Oct. 13 when his unit was fired on by a rocket-propelled grenade in Tikrit.
-- Pfc. Ervin Dervishi, 22, of Fort Worth, Texas, died Jan. 24 when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Bradley Fighting Vehicle in which he was traveling in Baji.
Sources: Fort Hood Public Affairs Office; Lt. Col. Steve Russell & LT Joseph f barber,75th Rangers
02-01) 04:00 PDT Tikrit, Iraq -- An Iraqi man shouted out after the squad of American soldiers, two garbled English words as they echoed through a narrow concrete alleyway.


Pfc. Matthew Bledsoe paused and swiveled his head to catch the words, the burlap strips dangling from his helmet swaying with the motion.
"Was that a 'f -- you?' " he asked. "Or a 'thank you?' "
It was a familiar moment in Iraq, a place where, as an American soldier, you often can't tell the difference between people who want to kiss you and people who want to kill you.
There are few places in Iraq where that distinction is more difficult to make -- or more essential to make quickly -- than in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's adopted hometown and his onetime seat of power.
The soldiers who patrol Tikrit -- the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, known familiarly as the 1-22 -- have been in Iraq for more than nine months and they are tired. Bone tired.
But there are smiles on their faces these days as they catch glimpses of new troops, their shoulders bearing the big red 1 of the 1st Infantry Division, whose soldiers are getting ready to take over in Tikrit.
After months of rumors, disappointments and dashed hopes, the 4th Infantry Division is preparing, within the next two months or so, to go home. It will be the last of the divisions that fought the war in Iraq to leave.
It wasn't the kind of war they came prepared to fight. The battalion, more than 600 strong, entered Iraq from Kuwait late in the conflict. They arrived from Fort Hood, Texas, trained and rested, with tons of the most lethal and sophisticated military hardware ever produced. They were ready for serious combat.




Instead, they spent their first days driving north, taking pictures of shattered Iraqi tanks and of children trying to steal gear strapped to the outside of the humvees.
Sgt. Mike Evans of Cobra Company knew the calm wouldn't last.
"I told them all before we left, 'Somebody in this formation ain't coming back,' " said Evans, 35, who made it to the Euphrates River as a sniper in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and may be the most respected soldier in the 1-22.
"





About six days after we crossed the border, we had our first casualty. That opened up their eyes real fast. This wasn't a simulation -- this was real," he said. "They grew up fast."
It was a lesson relearned in Tikrit. Although Republican Guard holdouts engaged the Americans in a series of short, sharp battles, resistance was minimal at first.
Lt. Col. Steve Russell, commanding officer of the 1-22, said that at first the patrolling soldiers visited homes for dinners, bought trinkets in the marketplace and tried to socialize with the locals.
"June changed all of that," said the 40-year-old officer from Del City, Okla. "That's really when the guerrilla war started for us."
The hot months -- June, July and August -- were bad ones for the 1-22. As attacks on the streets of Tikrit increased, so did the temperature. At times, soldiers were on rations of only two half-liter bottles of water a day as the thermometer soared into the 120s.
Rumored departure dates in August -- and on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas -- came and went. Each time, the soldiers of 1-22 thought they were going home, despite Russell's estimate that the campaign would require a year.
Tempers flared. Fistfights erupted in the barracks.
In October, three members of the 1-22 were killed in attacks, two in a single weekend. And after each casualty, Capt. Xuan Tran, the 1-22 chaplain, counseled soldiers who felt like turning their rage against the Iraqi people.
"We are human beings. And when you see your roommate killed ... you will experience some emotion," he said. "(But) if we have that mentality, it could be very bad. It could be a massacre."
Russell and the 1-22 responded by locking down Tikrit, supplementing tank and humvee patrols with more foot patrols. Al-Awja, where Saddam Hussein was born, was fenced off completely, and residents needed to show identification to come and go. Attacks were met by force, and soldiers aggressively searched for insurgents.
"In the early days, we'd get a tip and search a whole block,'' Lt. Michael Isbell recalled. "I remember one day we searched 132 houses straight.''
Tikritis chafed under the tight leash, and the tough tactics drew some criticism from observers in the United States. Russell makes no apologies: Different populations require different techniques, he says, and the techniques he chose worked.
"People have the notion that the American soldier is somehow untrained for this mission," he said. "But our history belies that. We both know how to fight and how to handle civilians."
Attacks peaked in July, when there were more than 60, then dropped sharply in August to about 30 as the Americans' strategy began to pay off. Then the insurgents switched tactics, turning to hit-and-run assaults and roadside bombs, and attacks climbed to about 55 in November. But that number, too, has been falling steadily, Russell said, to about a dozen in January.
Tikrit began to come to life with new shops and people strolling in the streets. The city government began to function, with a new mayor elected by a governing council of sheikhs. A week ago, police began to hand out parking tickets -- and people are paying them.
"Eventually, you learn to respect the city. But the city also respects us, " said Capt. Brad Boyd, 34, Cobra's commander and a San Jose native who still limps from the shrapnel wounds he sustained from a roadside bomb in December.
"They understand we are extremely lethal if we need to be, but they also know we'd rather hand out candy."
These days, Tikrit has calmed down so much that there is time for the soldiers to be bored, to sit in the barracks playing video games and killing flies with pocketknives. But it is an uneasy calm.


A few of the soldiers are torn between wanting to see action again before they head home and wanting things to stay quiet enough to guarantee that they make it home alive.
The 1-22 is divided into camps across the region they patrol. Cobra Company is bivouacked in Hussein's "Birthday Palace," from which the former president would review parades in his honor, firing a rifle in the air from his balcony. Boyd's bed is in Hussein's old bedroom.
Gator Company is camped in Al-Awja, in a party palace next door to Saddam Mosque, where they cook Spam in the banquet-quality kitchen.
The specialty platoons -- medics, mortar-firers, headquarters and scouts -- are in the House of Saladin, a palace named for the Tikrit-born general who defeated the Western armies in Jerusalem in the late 12th century.
The Tikrit compound offers good food -- king crab legs made the menu recently -- in a cavernous mess hall where colonels and privates eat side by side. There are hot showers, laundry facilities and the "Ironhorse Resort," a palace boasting a swimming pool, Internet cafe and a bazaar where local Iraqis sell "Saddam lighters'' for $5 and pirated DVDs for $3.
About 70 percent of the time is now down time, the soldiers say. But the remaining 30 percent can kill you.
One recent night, the movie -- "A Fish Called Wanda" -- was just getting rolling. Wanda had double-crossed her partner in crime, and was preparing to seduce Archie into telling her which safe-deposit box matched the key she had found in Ken's fish tank. Then the first mortar hit.
"Goddammit!" snapped Sgt. Mark Dornbusch, 24, of Austin, Texas, as the first thunderous explosion echoed outside. "Let's go!"
The men of Gator Company jumped off the ornate couches and chairs and sprinted outside, strapping on body armor and helmets as a second round burst just outside their walled compound.
For the next hour, they stopped and searched Iraqi cars throughout the city of Al-Awja, using pidgin Arabic to try to find witnesses to the attack. No one would admit even hearing the thunderous explosion.
Eventually, Gator returned to its compound to track the mortars using the crater patterns outside their walls -- and to wait for the next attack.
It is a threat that never ends and can rarely be anticipated. Patrols regularly uncover caches of hundreds of mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and AK-47s.
"A couple of months ago, my dad asked me, 'Are you scared when you go outside the gate?' " Evans said. "I said, 'No, I'm not scared. I'm terrified.' "
Leaving the relative security of the palaces for any reason requires gearing up with an armored vest, Kevlar helmet and loaded weapon -- about 50 pounds of equipment, just to walk the 100 yards to the shower.
And it's not just infantry troops who suffer. Engineers, support troops, even medics have died or been injured working with the 1-22. One of the six soldiers kill in combat while serving with the 1-22 was Pfc. Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, a 21-year-old supply specialist from Houston.
"I always thought cooks and females were behind the lines," said Spc. Felissa Maddox, 22, a cook who survived a roadside bomb attack on her convoy in December. "The infantry guys do more patrols than we do ... (but we're) the same." On the outer wall of the building where she lives, an unexploded rocket- propelled grenade can still be seen protruding from the marble.
"Every time you walk out of the gate, you take a risk," said Spc. John Ott, who fuels military vehicles. "We wear 'American soldier' on our chest, just like they do."
The constant tension has led some soldiers close to a breakdown, Capt. Tran said. The rest maintain a state of hyper-vigilance for anybody who looks like one of their attackers.
That means almost anybody in Tikrit.
The Cobra humvee roared up to the House of Saladin, and soldiers hustled an injured Iraqi man inside to the medics. Outside, the wounded man's friend lay cuffed in the back of the vehicle.
Soldiers tried to explain the situation to the handcuffed man: An American soldier had been shot in the hand by a sniper and reported a white truck leaving the scene. When a Cobra patrol spotted a white truck moments later, Evans stepped in front of the vehicle, ordering it to stop. The driver failed to stop, the soldiers said, and Evans fired warning shots into its engine and, finally, through the door, hitting the driver in the buttock.
The explanation, delivered in a mix of English and pidgin Arabic, did not seem to get through. The cuffed man looked from American soldier to American soldier, saying, "No, Saddam" and "Yes, Bush," before weeping in panic and crying out to Allah.
No weapons were found in the truck. It was the kind of encounter that critics of the war point to as examples of American soldiers responding too quickly and too harshly to threats of violence.
But on the streets of Tikrit, the soldiers say, they have to depend on instinct and "situational awareness" and can't lose time worrying about their critics in Iraq or at home.
"I worry about me and my men," Cobra Spc. Jacob Lynn said.
Sgt. John Garza tucked a fresh plug of Copenhagen behind his lip and spat out the back of his Bradley, which was positioned to observe the convoys beginning to haul the battalion's gear from Tikrit to Kuwait in preparation for their long-awaited withdrawal.
"Where (insurgents) have the advantage is we're looking for the bad guys in a crowd of civilians," said Garza, 23. "They look for the guys with the burlap on their heads."
Some say the burlap strips, intended as camouflage, make their helmets more intimidating; some say they look like Sideshow Bob from "The Simpsons" television show. In any case, the look, which they often use on patrol, sets the 1-22 apart, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.
On one hand, they feel a certain respect from the Tikritis, who see the helmets and know they are the soldiers most directly involved in securing the streets. On the other hand, they fear it makes them targets. Russell himself has been attacked more than a dozen times. One roadside bomb exploded prematurely, killing two bombers about half a block from his convoy. His soldiers are certain the attackers knew exactly who they were targeting.
Still, members of the 1-22 continue their patrols, hoping their visibility will either intimidate attackers into staying home -- or draw them into the open by offering a target.
"It's kind of like hunting with live bait," said Staff Sgt. Scott Feucht. "We're the live bait."
Feucht spoke in the middle of a patrol through Tikrit's streets, which were filled with Iraqis going about their daily business.
"This guy over here might be Mr. Nice Guy who wants to invite you in the house for some tea, while the guy across the street might want to shoot you in the back with a friggin' RPG," Lt. Jason Lojka said.


Sometimes, the same person plays both roles.
"You might go by a house and the guy is smiling and waving, 'Hey, mister, mister, I love Americans,' " he said. "And then you go around the house ... and find him flipping off the last guy in the column."
The soldiers' experiences have led them to have decidedly mixed emotions about the people they came to liberate.
A number of soldiers said they hold the Iraqi insurgents in something close to contempt, especially since they abandoned traditional fighting for guerrilla warfare.
"They'll shoot you in the back or use IED's (improvised explosive devices, or homemade bombs),'' said Spc. Rodrigo Vargas, 23, of Houston. "They're not going to fight you head on.''
Some soldiers say the citizens of Tikrit became accustomed to the favors granted by Hussein and are ungrateful for their new freedoms. Others say the Iraqis are lazy, pointing to the trash lining Tikrit's streets and human excrement in the gutters. They bristle at the failure of some Iraqis to cooperate, their insistence that they know nothing of any insurgents, even in areas from which attacks have emanated.
"They'll tell you, 'No fedayeen in Tikrit,' " Garza said. "If Jimmy Hoffa moved to my street, I would know who the hell he was."
Some soldiers privately admit that in the worst times, when soldiers die at Iraqi hands, they feel like taking a .50-caliber machine gun into downtown Tikrit and mowing down every Iraqi they see. In those times, sergeants and officers try hard to temper their soldiers' anger without dulling their edge.
"You don't want them going crazy out there, but you don't want them hesitating," said Cobra Staff Sgt. John Minzer. "You try to train people: 'If you're going to shoot someone, you're going to have to live with that your entire life.' "
But the soldiers' attitudes toward the Iraqis are changeable.
"If there's people that have gotten killed or shot, your tolerance level for Iraqis goes way down," Sgt. Andrew Antolik, 23, said. "If it's been a couple weeks of quiet, you'll go out and be like, 'Hey, what's up. Salaam aleikum. Shukran.' (Peace be with you. Thank you.)"
Some soldiers say they have gotten to know some of the Tikritis, and they describe friendly encounters in the middle of a patrol when they sip tea and talk about their families and religions.
"There's a lot of good people in this city that mean well. I've got a lot of Iraqi friends," Evans said. "About 20 percent of the people are just idiots -- those are the ones you've got to watch for."
Today, with attacks on the decline, few soldiers seem to display a hatred for the Iraqis. Many view the Iraqis with pity, as people broken by decades of war and despotism whose assumptions about how the Americans would treat them were shaped by how they were treated by Hussein.
"They had an awful regime under Saddam," Spc. Stewart Tignor said. "They don't understand democracy, they don't understand us. So really they're just trading one regime for another."
For many soldiers, the face of the Iraqi people is often a child's face. The children chase after patrolling soldiers, accept their candy and trade pidgin English for pidgin Arabic, slap hands and have belching contests with the patrolling soldiers as their parents watch warily from a distance.
They see the children as barometers: If children wave at a soldier while their parents are watching, they figure the parents probably like the Americans, too, even if they don't show it. If a child scowls or throws a rock, it suggests the parents are less fond of the Americans -- and their house might be due for a quick search.
But for other soldiers, the appeal of the children is simpler than that.
"When you see the kids, and you realize (Hussein) had these big palaces and the people down the street didn't have water, you realize what this place is all about," Boyd said. "The criminals were running the place."
In the nine months since they arrived in Iraq, the members of the 1-22 have recovered huge caches of weapons; they've done battle with insurgents, and they've even uncovered information during raids that helped lead to the capture of Saddam Hussein. In the process, they've lost six soldiers.
Was it worth it? Each soldier has his own answer.
"Did I honestly think doing this and coming over here was going to stop terrorism? No. That's the dumbest thing I ever heard," Isbell said. "There are no weapons of mass destruction that we've seen. These people didn't even have an air force. ... I didn't even see an army."
Other soldiers see Iraq as a containment zone for terrorists.
"Bullets flying all over the place; I'd rather that happen over here than at my home," Vargas said. "I don't want my wife dropping my little girl off at school getting hit with crossfire."
Their estimates of how long it will take for Iraq to be at peace range from a year to 20 to never.
"We can spend millions of dollars in fixing up schools, fixing up roads, they're still going to hate us," Sgt. Curtis Keltner said. "We're Westerners. They're never going to accept our culture."
Lifers say they expect to rotate back to Iraq some day; some newer recruits say they will not re-enlist to avoid that fate.
But most say they have accomplished their mission -- a mission they see as simpler and more straightforward than the geopolitical consequences often debated in the United States.
"When you join the military ... there's a deep-seated notion of honor, doing the right thing, nobility," Isbell said. "If I go (to Iraq) and give them some of the luxuries I've been living with, that's a good thing."
Rather than claiming to have saved the world from terror or chemical weapons, the soldiers say they see in the streets of Tikrit a new life, new businesses, new possibilities, even if the people walking those streets still complain bitterly that their lives were better under Hussein.
"If you understand the history of this area, I don't think they'd know peace if it bit them in the ass," Vargas said. "You can get rid of a government. You can get rid of the dictator. But you can't get rid of the idea. Hopefully we can, or at least show them a better way. ... If we show them a better way, maybe they'll choose it."
For many, the goal is worth the sacrifice they've made, said Staff Sgt. Tony Bach, a medic for Cobra Company.
"I question, why do I have to put a 19-year-old kid in a body bag?" he said. "But then I see a little kid. And that's what we're here for -- to put an end to oppression."
As the sun set over the Tigris River behind the House of Saladin, Sgt. Ricky Hines threw another letter from home onto the garbage fire. He has five chests filled with correspondence, he said. They sustained him during the war; now he is done hauling them around. "It's time to go home."
The soldiers will go home changed. Many had never fired a shot in combat before they came to Iraq. Now, they have killed and seen their friends killed.
Some have already seen the changes in themselves when they went home on leave. Some woke up dreaming of combat or pulled their car over to check a box by the side of the road for explosives. Others felt naked as they walked unarmed through crowds of strangers in the airport or the mall.
They've heard about "shell shock'' and post-traumatic stress, and they talk about a handful of men of the 3rd Infantry Division, who went home after the war and killed their wives or themselves. Suicide rates during this conflict have already been abnormally high, according to the Army. Knowing that, some soldiers worry what will happen to their buddies when they get home.
"This battalion will have more deaths in the first 30 days after we get back than we did in the whole deployment," speculated Spc. Darryl Saylor, 25, of Baltimore.
But Russell and Evans, combat veterans both, said they don't worry about their soldiers. True, some have experienced the horrors of war firsthand, but they have a powerful resource to help them cope -- friendships tested in battle that will see them through the difficult transition ahead.
"The company has come and formed a band of brothers," Evans said. "Joes are gonna be Joes when they get back."
Spc. Percell Philips will take home a scar by his right eye and the bullet that lodged in his helmet after grazing his skull. He considers himself the luckiest man in the 4th Infantry Division.
He shot his attacker dead. Later, he saw the man's corpse in a hospital and considered taking a photo but decided he didn't want to take that memory home with him.
"I see my little nephews when I go home. They ask me how many people I killed," he said. "I tell them, 'None.' "
Dangerous mission
The 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry is part of the 4th Infantry Division, considered one of the Army's most advanced divisions for its sophisticated computer network linking its M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Apache helicopters. Still, it nearly missed the major combat at the beginning of the war.
The military had planned to use the powerful mechanized division to invade Iraq through Turkey, but the Turkish parliament blocked that plan, refusing to let the U.S. military use the nation as a staging ground. After months of delays, the division moved to Kuwait in late March and rumbled across the border into Iraq on April 13, four days after the fall of Baghdad.
It sped north to the capital in 40 hours, secured al-Taji airfield north of Baghdad and on April 19 rolled into Tikrit, a stronghold of Saddam Hussein loyalists, where it has encountered some of the stiffest resistance of the conflict.
In addition to attacks that killed members of the 1-22, other notable events:
-- July 29 -- Soldiers detain more than 175 suspected Hussein loyalists, including a top bodyguard, in a predawn raid near Tikrit.
-- Aug. 2 -- At least two U.S. soldiers are injured in remote- controlled explosions in Tikrit after elders of Saddam Hussein's tribe bury the ousted dictator's sons, Odai and Qusai, in Al-Awja, where Hussein was born.
-- Aug. 12 -- American soldiers round up 14 members of a family that supported Hussein, including a Republican Guard officer and one of the dictator's bodyguards.
-- Sept. 27 -- Troops uncover a huge weapons cache in Al-Awja, including 23 Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, 1,000 pounds of plastic explosives, four rocket-propelled-grenade launchers and 115 rockets, 1,300 blasting caps and 423 hand grenades.
-- Oct. 30 -- To quell attacks, soldiers stretch concertina wire around the village of Al-Awja, requiring residents to show ID to enter or leave.
-- Nov. 7 -- A Black Hawk helicopter crashes near Tikrit, apparently shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing all six U.S. soldiers aboard -- four from the 101st Airborne Division and two from Army headquarters.
-- Jan. 7 -- Soldiers arrest 12 Iraqis wanted for attacks on forces in Tikrit, including the Oct. 1 killing of Analaura Esparza Gutierrez.
Source: Chronicle research
Fallen soldiers of the 1-22
During the United States' war in Iraq, six soldiers serving with the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry of the Army's 4th Infantry Division have been killed in combat and more than 50 have been injured. Those who were killed are:
-- 1st Lt. Osbaldo Orozco, 26, of Earlimart, (Tulare County), died April 24 when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle flipped over as it maneuvered to return fire during an attack in Tikrit.
-- Pfc. Jesse M. Halling, 19, of Indianapolis, a member of the 401st Military Police Company who was attached to the 1-22, was killed by a rocket- propelled grenade June 7 while defending the Civilian Military Operations Center in Tikrit.
-- Pfc. Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, 21, of Houston, a member of the 4th Forward Support Battalion, attached to the 1-22, was killed Oct. 1 when a roadside bomb struck her humvee near Tikrit.
-- Spc. James E. Powell II, 26, of Radcliff, Ky., died of injuries he suffered Oct. 12 when the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was riding in struck an anti-tank mine in Baji, north of Tikrit.
-- Donald Wheeler, 22, of Concord, Mich., was killed Oct. 13 when his unit was fired on by a rocket-propelled grenade in Tikrit.
-- Pfc. Ervin Dervishi, 22, of Fort Worth, Texas, died Jan. 24 when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Bradley Fighting Vehicle in which he was traveling in Baji.
Sources: Fort Hood Public Affairs Office; Lt. Col. Steve Russell & LT Joseph f barber,75th Rangers


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Are Americans afraid to speak out against their government?

Are Americans afraid to speak out against their government?

Being a United States citizen I see many speak out against things with our government but when it comes to stand firm most back down. I know with the passing of hr 1955 The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 and the Patriot Act it allows much play with what and who can be determined a terrorist. The President as well saying your either with us or against us also make it difficult to speak out. But to make this question as simpliest form are you afraid to speak out against the government if so why? Personally it is easier for me to speak out for those once of the court system easily loose their rights.

H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext…

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h110-1955

Feel free to voice your opinion or leave a comment here @ blogspot.com or you can visit us @ http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience Are Americans afraid to speak out against their government?

Being a United States citizen I see many speak out against things with our government but when it comes to stand firm most back down. I know with the passing of hr 1955 The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 and the Patriot Act it allows much play with what and who can be determined a terrorist. The President as well saying your either with us or against us also make it difficult to speak out. But to make this question as simpliest form are you afraid to speak out against the government if so why? Personally it is easier for me to speak out for those once of the court system easily loose their rights.

H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext…

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h110-1955

Feel free to voice your opinion or leave a comment here @ blogspot.com or you can visit us @ http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Where is America


Where is America

Religious fundamentalists would have us believe that America is suffering for its sins, and that our policies of inclusion, secularism and pluralism offend their god and their religious sensibilities. This is a distraction. They are distracting us from noticing the real threats to our future — threats that are much more mundane but threats that make it harder to predict a positive outcome.

We’ve taken thousands of young people out of our society at a time of their lives when they are still impressionable and not yet fully mature, trained them to be hunters and killers and transported them to a foreign country unlike ours in so many ways. We’ve kept them there for much of their formative years. Eventually they’ll come home. Is America prepared to deal with thousands of 20 and 30 year old people who essentially grew up as warriors in a foreign land? Do the means exist to help them adjust, to reintegrate into our society? How will we put their skills to use?


America has more people in prisons per capita than any other country on Earth. In 2008, over 7.3 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole at year-end — 3.2% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in every 31 adults. (Source) Far too many of these people were imprisoned for violations of moral law, drugs, gambling and prostitution, and will eventually be released back into society. While in prison many of these “criminals” associated with and learned from more hardened criminals. Having been branded as criminals, many will employ these new skills when they find themselves unemployable and rejected by their society. By enforcing our useless moral laws we have created a entire criminal class that will affect all the rest of our society. Our federal and state budgets cannot even provide services for the law-abiding among us. How will we provide the funds to rehabilitate this class of criminals?


How will we be able to afford to monitor them in case they backslide? What will happen to our culture when a million adult former prisoners re-enter our neighborhoods?

Our dependence on oil and other non-renewable resources has not waned, even in the face of the worst environmentally catastrophic oil spill in U.S. history. Electric vehicles and those running on alternative fuels continue to sell poorly. Manufacturers do not see a compelling reason to produce more environmentally friendly vehicles when people aren’t buying them. We don’t even appear to be willing to make small sacrifices that might reduce the amount of oil we need, like reducing freeway speeds. Not only are we a wasteful nation but one unwilling to sacrifice for the common good. Will that attitude change in the future? Will our children be more willing to make the sacrifices we aren’t willing to make? Will we ever acknowledge our addiction to non-renewable resources and do whatever it takes to kick it?
Over time we have come to inseparably associate democracy with capitalism. We have enshrined both as the epitome of human society. Anyone who suggests that democracy may not be scalable and workable in the 21st century or that capitalism may not be the best way for people to engage in the exchange of goods is castigated from all sides. We cannot accept the idea that our system may be breaking down and not have much of a future. We are faced with abuses of Wall Street and corrupt government officials and persist in considering them anomalies, not indicators of a weak system. Will we ever be able to consider alternatives to our present systems? Will we be able to listen to and consider alternative theories without demonizing those who suggest them? Can we admit that perhaps, just perhaps, our current models aren’t destined to last forever?



Will technology be our savior or present us with a host of new and frightening possibilities we haven’t envisioned or provided for? What will we do with all the workers displaced by the inevitable increase in robotic manufacturing? Will we be able to provide for citizens without jobs? Can we make leisure profitable? Will we have to return to a barter system when money becomes worthless? If a future court makes abortion illegal, how will we cope with an increasing population born to unemployed and unemployable couples? Are increased taxes the answer, smaller government? Will neighborhoods have to take over the maintenance of their infrastructure from the federal government?
Our economy is in a shambles and we may not have seen the worst of it yet. Greed has displaced reasonable commerce at many levels. Millions of people around the globe suffer inhumane conditions every day because a humane response wouldn’t be profitable for those who could alleviate their suffering.



Where once merchants were satisfied with making a realistic profit by selling their goods at a price consumers found attractive, now the attitude is to make as much profit in as short a time possible and the consumer be damned.

Websites are worth more money than many businesses, solely because of their potential as marketing venues. Searching for information on the internet has been commercialized. Our economy is essentially out of control and our current models provide no relief. Indeed, the teabaggers would have us believe that less government control is beneficial at the same time we can trace the present financial catastrophe directly back to the government’s deregulation of the banking industry.



We have no concrete plan to get us out of this mess beyond platitudes. Does anyone have a realistic solution? Can we even get our heads far enough above water to try and look for land? Are we doomed to become a nation ruled by the rich solely because they are rich?
Our Southern coast and perhaps eventually our Eastern coast is being threatened by an oil leak of disastrous proportions. Too many of us would rather argue about global climate change than do anything, even make the most minor effort, to do anything about it.



We have become a nation of ostriches with our heads buried in the sands of denial. Some claim against all reason that millions of humans introduced into a stable biosphere couldn’t possibly have any negative impact. The planet hasn’t had a very long time to try and deal with all the added waste humans have forced into our environment in our short time here. We have no good solution to store nuclear waste at the same time some are encouraging us to reconsider nuclear power as a solution to our oil addiction. Solar and wind power? Oh, those are too expensive they say.As well as hemp product that have shown a economic and viable use for over 5,000yrs,Hens, BIO FUEL



It would be more accurate to say there’s not enough profit in those technologies to satisfy the greed of the providers. Is the future of our country to be decided strictly on the basis of greed and profit? Does any sane person really believe the environment is invulnerable to our impositions on it or that humans are no more a problem for the Earth to deal with than flies or deer? Do we really think we can keep on living the way we have with no impact on the ecosystem, the only ecosystem that we know of that can sustain us? Instead of reducing our impact on the Earth should we all be prostrating ourselves in prayer?


We can’t afford to let the fundamentalists distract us from attempting to find real solutions to our very real problems. It is not beneficial to the future of our country or of humanity to simply blame all our problems on our lack of bigotry and insufficient xenophobia. Do we sit around and hope that some abstract philosophical concept will save us from ourselves or do we get off our collective behinds and start trying to find a way out of the mess we’ve made of our present and the potential horror we can expect in the future?By Joseph F Barber
http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience

Where is America

Religious fundamentalists would have us believe that America is suffering for its sins, and that our policies of inclusion, secularism and pluralism offend their god and their religious sensibilities. This is a distraction. They are distracting us from noticing the real threats to our future — threats that are much more mundane but threats that make it harder to predict a positive outcome.

We’ve taken thousands of young people out of our society at a time of their lives when they are still impressionable and not yet fully mature, trained them to be hunters and killers and transported them to a foreign country unlike ours in so many ways. We’ve kept them there for much of their formative years. Eventually they’ll come home. Is America prepared to deal with thousands of 20 and 30 year old people who essentially grew up as warriors in a foreign land? Do the means exist to help them adjust, to reintegrate into our society? How will we put their skills to use?


America has more people in prisons per capita than any other country on Earth. In 2008, over 7.3 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole at year-end — 3.2% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in every 31 adults. (Source) Far too many of these people were imprisoned for violations of moral law, drugs, gambling and prostitution, and will eventually be released back into society. While in prison many of these “criminals” associated with and learned from more hardened criminals. Having been branded as criminals, many will employ these new skills when they find themselves unemployable and rejected by their society. By enforcing our useless moral laws we have created a entire criminal class that will affect all the rest of our society. Our federal and state budgets cannot even provide services for the law-abiding among us. How will we provide the funds to rehabilitate this class of criminals?


How will we be able to afford to monitor them in case they backslide? What will happen to our culture when a million adult former prisoners re-enter our neighborhoods?

Our dependence on oil and other non-renewable resources has not waned, even in the face of the worst environmentally catastrophic oil spill in U.S. history. Electric vehicles and those running on alternative fuels continue to sell poorly. Manufacturers do not see a compelling reason to produce more environmentally friendly vehicles when people aren’t buying them. We don’t even appear to be willing to make small sacrifices that might reduce the amount of oil we need, like reducing freeway speeds. Not only are we a wasteful nation but one unwilling to sacrifice for the common good. Will that attitude change in the future? Will our children be more willing to make the sacrifices we aren’t willing to make? Will we ever acknowledge our addiction to non-renewable resources and do whatever it takes to kick it?
Over time we have come to inseparably associate democracy with capitalism. We have enshrined both as the epitome of human society. Anyone who suggests that democracy may not be scalable and workable in the 21st century or that capitalism may not be the best way for people to engage in the exchange of goods is castigated from all sides. We cannot accept the idea that our system may be breaking down and not have much of a future. We are faced with abuses of Wall Street and corrupt government officials and persist in considering them anomalies, not indicators of a weak system. Will we ever be able to consider alternatives to our present systems? Will we be able to listen to and consider alternative theories without demonizing those who suggest them? Can we admit that perhaps, just perhaps, our current models aren’t destined to last forever?



Will technology be our savior or present us with a host of new and frightening possibilities we haven’t envisioned or provided for? What will we do with all the workers displaced by the inevitable increase in robotic manufacturing? Will we be able to provide for citizens without jobs? Can we make leisure profitable? Will we have to return to a barter system when money becomes worthless? If a future court makes abortion illegal, how will we cope with an increasing population born to unemployed and unemployable couples? Are increased taxes the answer, smaller government? Will neighborhoods have to take over the maintenance of their infrastructure from the federal government?
Our economy is in a shambles and we may not have seen the worst of it yet. Greed has displaced reasonable commerce at many levels. Millions of people around the globe suffer inhumane conditions every day because a humane response wouldn’t be profitable for those who could alleviate their suffering.



Where once merchants were satisfied with making a realistic profit by selling their goods at a price consumers found attractive, now the attitude is to make as much profit in as short a time possible and the consumer be damned.

Websites are worth more money than many businesses, solely because of their potential as marketing venues. Searching for information on the internet has been commercialized. Our economy is essentially out of control and our current models provide no relief. Indeed, the teabaggers would have us believe that less government control is beneficial at the same time we can trace the present financial catastrophe directly back to the government’s deregulation of the banking industry.



We have no concrete plan to get us out of this mess beyond platitudes. Does anyone have a realistic solution? Can we even get our heads far enough above water to try and look for land? Are we doomed to become a nation ruled by the rich solely because they are rich?
Our Southern coast and perhaps eventually our Eastern coast is being threatened by an oil leak of disastrous proportions. Too many of us would rather argue about global climate change than do anything, even make the most minor effort, to do anything about it.



We have become a nation of ostriches with our heads buried in the sands of denial. Some claim against all reason that millions of humans introduced into a stable biosphere couldn’t possibly have any negative impact. The planet hasn’t had a very long time to try and deal with all the added waste humans have forced into our environment in our short time here. We have no good solution to store nuclear waste at the same time some are encouraging us to reconsider nuclear power as a solution to our oil addiction. Solar and wind power? Oh, those are too expensive they say.As well as hemp product that have shown a economic and viable use for over 5,000yrs,Hens, BIO FUEL



It would be more accurate to say there’s not enough profit in those technologies to satisfy the greed of the providers. Is the future of our country to be decided strictly on the basis of greed and profit? Does any sane person really believe the environment is invulnerable to our impositions on it or that humans are no more a problem for the Earth to deal with than flies or deer? Do we really think we can keep on living the way we have with no impact on the ecosystem, the only ecosystem that we know of that can sustain us? Instead of reducing our impact on the Earth should we all be prostrating ourselves in prayer?


We can’t afford to let the fundamentalists distract us from attempting to find real solutions to our very real problems. It is not beneficial to the future of our country or of humanity to simply blame all our problems on our lack of bigotry and insufficient xenophobia. Do we sit around and hope that some abstract philosophical concept will save us from ourselves or do we get off our collective behinds and start trying to find a way out of the mess we’ve made of our present and the potential horror we can expect in the future?By Joseph F Barber
http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience


Does anyone else wonder where we are headed?

Where Is America Headed

Does anyone else wonder where we are headed? I look around at our country and I hardly recognize it anymore. Is anyone keeping track of these changes? I am. I can tell you what I see that I never saw a few years ago but definitely not 10 years ago.
We have: coming inflation, record high unemployment, lost health care, huge stock market losses, incredible gas prices, increased foot cost, increased electric and heating expenses, Christian discrimination, pro-Islam and Sharia law movements, terrorism, the hate crime bill, a government that spews lies and calls anyone that disagrees with what they’re doing racist and un-American (BTW, just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we are racist, it has nothing to do with color, it has to do with policy), stimulus packages, bailouts, public owned GM, Obama’s out of control Czar count, bowing to the Arab King, ACORN, SEIU, dis-information Czar, town hall meetings, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, end of life discussions, pulling the plug on grandma, health care reform, Constitutional WatchDogs, failed politicians, government trying to overwhelm the people,



threats to the 2nd Amendment, gun control, Nancy Pelosi, government trying to gain control of pc’s that visit their websites, out of control government spending, criminalizing free speech, gay/bi/lesbian/transgender taught in school, Islam taught in school, breakdown of family, breakdown of church, breakdown of state, Constitutional citizens, outsourcing, offshore accounts and tax evasion, the erosion of the free market or capitalist society, war on terrorism, swine flu, Avian flu, federal wiretapping of American citizens, loss of privacy, identity theft, war on drugs, hackers, terrorists and rogue nations tapping our electric grid, FEMA concentration camps (some believe it, some don’t), US Air Force patents mind control machine(saw it on the History channel 8/11/09), chemtrails, HAARP, micro-chipping, increased taxation without representation, the Glenn Beck show , the O’Reilly Factor , political assassination, Sara Palin, character assassination, suitcase bombs, nuclear Iran, recession, interest rates plummet but they will rise again, gold over $1,000 an ounce, Militia rolls rising, Taliban, pirates…..I guess the list could go on for years.

The point is, America is changing, and it’s not in a good way. Everyone who cares about this country should voice their opinion, one way or another. Just get out there and do or say something. Don’t sit back and act like nothing is happening.

FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.A place to voice your Opinion with out being marginalized or Set aside, Freedom of Expression is the purest form of freedom we have left. So try it out "EXPRESS YOURSELFS AND BE HEARD"

This Profil does not promote, support, condone, encourage, advocate, nor in any way endorse any racist (or "racialist") ideologies, nor any armed and/or violent revolutionary, seditionist and/or terrorist activities. Any racial separatist or militant groups listed here are solely for reference and Opinions of multiple authors including Freedom or Anarchy Campaign of conscience.

Email@ freedomoranarchycampaignofconscience@facebook.com


http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience

There is no valid argument for the destruction of our planet and any form of life on it.As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves. Be the change that you want to see in the world.
Where Is America Headed

Does anyone else wonder where we are headed? I look around at our country and I hardly recognize it anymore. Is anyone keeping track of these changes? I am. I can tell you what I see that I never saw a few years ago but definitely not 10 years ago.
We have: coming inflation, record high unemployment, lost health care, huge stock market losses, incredible gas prices, increased foot cost, increased electric and heating expenses, Christian discrimination, pro-Islam and Sharia law movements, terrorism, the hate crime bill, a government that spews lies and calls anyone that disagrees with what they’re doing racist and un-American (BTW, just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we are racist, it has nothing to do with color, it has to do with policy), stimulus packages, bailouts, public owned GM, Obama’s out of control Czar count, bowing to the Arab King, ACORN, SEIU, dis-information Czar, town hall meetings, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, end of life discussions, pulling the plug on grandma, health care reform, Constitutional WatchDogs, failed politicians, government trying to overwhelm the people,



threats to the 2nd Amendment, gun control, Nancy Pelosi, government trying to gain control of pc’s that visit their websites, out of control government spending, criminalizing free speech, gay/bi/lesbian/transgender taught in school, Islam taught in school, breakdown of family, breakdown of church, breakdown of state, Constitutional citizens, outsourcing, offshore accounts and tax evasion, the erosion of the free market or capitalist society, war on terrorism, swine flu, Avian flu, federal wiretapping of American citizens, loss of privacy, identity theft, war on drugs, hackers, terrorists and rogue nations tapping our electric grid, FEMA concentration camps (some believe it, some don’t), US Air Force patents mind control machine(saw it on the History channel 8/11/09), chemtrails, HAARP, micro-chipping, increased taxation without representation, the Glenn Beck show , the O’Reilly Factor , political assassination, Sara Palin, character assassination, suitcase bombs, nuclear Iran, recession, interest rates plummet but they will rise again, gold over $1,000 an ounce, Militia rolls rising, Taliban, pirates…..I guess the list could go on for years.

The point is, America is changing, and it’s not in a good way. Everyone who cares about this country should voice their opinion, one way or another. Just get out there and do or say something. Don’t sit back and act like nothing is happening.

FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.A place to voice your Opinion with out being marginalized or Set aside, Freedom of Expression is the purest form of freedom we have left. So try it out "EXPRESS YOURSELFS AND BE HEARD"

This Profil does not promote, support, condone, encourage, advocate, nor in any way endorse any racist (or "racialist") ideologies, nor any armed and/or violent revolutionary, seditionist and/or terrorist activities. Any racial separatist or militant groups listed here are solely for reference and Opinions of multiple authors including Freedom or Anarchy Campaign of conscience.

Email@ freedomoranarchycampaignofconscience@facebook.com


http://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience

There is no valid argument for the destruction of our planet and any form of life on it.As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves. Be the change that you want to see in the world.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Feds Remove Anti-Tumor Cannabis Info After Just Days Online



Feds Remove Anti-Tumor Cannabis Info After Just Days Online

Just 11 days after adding a section on medical marijuana to its treatment database, the National Cancer Institute has altered the new page, removing any mention of the evidence that marijuana can diminish and even reverse tumor growth.


In an edit appearing Monday afternoon, NCI replaced a sentence about marijuana's direct anti-tumor effect with one saying that it is prescribed mainly to control nausea, pain and insomnia for cancer patients, reports Kyle Daly at The Colorado Independent.


The original language, published to the Web on March 17, had read:


The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect.

After being changed Monday, it now reads:


The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. Though no relevant surveys of practice patterns exist, it appears that physicians caring for cancer patients who prescribe medicinal Cannabis predominantly do so for symptom management.

Information which acknowledges that marijuana has been used medicinally for thousands of years was left on the site, as were statements regarding cannabinoids and their benefits in ameliorating the side-effects of conventional cancer treatments.


Was Big Pharm behind the changes? Were the pharmaceutical companies protecting their profits derived from harsh and often ineffective chemotherapy?


Do we live in a free, science-based society or one where medical research can be deleted and ignored for political reasons?


http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/03/feds_remove_anti-tumor_cannabis_info_after_just_5.php



Are advacates to legalize hemp & cannibis use the issue for there own political gain or are there efforts truly meant to creat change .


Feds Remove Anti-Tumor Cannabis Info After Just Days Online

Just 11 days after adding a section on medical marijuana to its treatment database, the National Cancer Institute has altered the new page, removing any mention of the evidence that marijuana can diminish and even reverse tumor growth.


In an edit appearing Monday afternoon, NCI replaced a sentence about marijuana's direct anti-tumor effect with one saying that it is prescribed mainly to control nausea, pain and insomnia for cancer patients, reports Kyle Daly at The Colorado Independent.


The original language, published to the Web on March 17, had read:


The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect.

After being changed Monday, it now reads:


The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. Though no relevant surveys of practice patterns exist, it appears that physicians caring for cancer patients who prescribe medicinal Cannabis predominantly do so for symptom management.

Information which acknowledges that marijuana has been used medicinally for thousands of years was left on the site, as were statements regarding cannabinoids and their benefits in ameliorating the side-effects of conventional cancer treatments.


Was Big Pharm behind the changes? Were the pharmaceutical companies protecting their profits derived from harsh and often ineffective chemotherapy?


Do we live in a free, science-based society or one where medical research can be deleted and ignored for political reasons?


http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/03/feds_remove_anti-tumor_cannabis_info_after_just_5.php



Are advacates to legalize hemp & cannibis use the issue for there own political gain or are there efforts truly meant to creat change .