Wednesday, December 19, 2007

US Military Finds All Iraqi Groups Blame U.S. Invasion for Violence

Every poll taken of Iraqis has said essentially the same thing.

What Iraqis Want

More Professor Smartass on Iraqi opinion

The news here is that these results come from focus groups conducted by the US military.

So if your righty friends disagree with this, you can tell them they are calling the troops liars.

The other significant thing is that the military has signed contracts with Gallup to do four polls a month. Both Republicans and most Democrats in Congress have either been silent about what the Iraqis think of our occupation or blatantly lied.

The related lie is that Iraq must be divided to restore peace and that Iraqis want that. Polls show most Iraqis want ONE country, and much of the sectarian violence is likely instigated by Saudi foreign fighters, since more come from Saudi than almost all other countries combined according to Israeli and Saudi studies.

Clearly, the Iraqis want us to leave, Americans overwhelmingly want us to leave, and the military is publicizing data that makes the case for pulling out.

Who exactly are we teaching democracy by staying?
All Iraqi Groups Blame U.S. Invasion for Discord, Study Shows

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2007; A14

Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces" as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

That is good news, according to a military analysis of the results. At the very least, analysts optimistically concluded, the findings indicate that Iraqis hold some "shared beliefs" that may eventually allow them to surmount the divisions that have led to a civil war.

Even though members of the military "understand the limitations" of polling data, Rapp said, "subjective measures" are an important part of the mix. In July, the military signed a contract with Gallup for four public opinion polls a month in Iraq: three nationwide and one in Baghdad. Lincoln Group, which has conducted surveys for the military since shortly after the invasion, received a year-long contract in January to conduct focus groups.

Outside of the military, some of the most widespread polling in Iraq has been done by D3 Systems, a Virginia-based company that maintains offices in each of Iraq's 18 provinces. Its most recent publicly released surveys, conducted in September for several news media organizations, showed the same widespread Iraqi belief voiced by the military's focus groups: that a U.S. departure will make things better. A State Department poll in September 2006 reported a similar finding.

Matthew Warshaw, a senior research manager at D3, said that despite security improvements, polling in Iraq remains difficult. "While violence has gone down, one of the ways it has been achieved is by effectively separating people. That means mobility is limited, with roadblocks by the U.S. and Iraqi military or local militias," Warshaw said in an interview.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

ARMY TIMES: "Not us. We're not going."
Soldiers refuse to patrol in Iraq

This is an incredible story, and has echoes the incidents near the end of documentary SIR, NO SIR, about the troops who resisted the war in Vietnam. Near the end of the movie (and the end of the war) troops at forward bases near the North Vietnamese border refused to go on patrols that they rightly judged as suicidal. When they were replaced, the next unit also refused. The war couldn't continue if the troops refused to fight it.

In this case, 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1-26 Infantry in the 1st Infantry Division, a mortar attack at a Burger King, watching a friend burn to death pinned under a Bradley, and their first sergeant putting a rifle under his chin and pulling the trigger because he felt responsible for the recent deaths of his men were some of the things that led to the incident below.

If that first sergeant had thought his mission in Iraq had anything to do with the safety of the United States, I doubt he would have killed himself.


‘Not us. We’re not going.’

Soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Charlie 1-26 stage a ‘mutiny’ that pulls the unit apart
Stories by KELLY KENNEDY - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Dec 8, 2007 14:32:57 EST

“I’m not getting killed at Burger King,” he thought, and he dived for a concrete bunker. People were screaming. DeNardi saw a worker from Cinnabon hobbling around, so he climbed out of the bunker, pulled shrapnel out of the man’s leg and bandaged him. The Pizza Hut manager was crying and said two more foreign workers were injured behind her stand — near the Burger King.

“Lightning doesn’t strike twice,” DeNardi said, “so I went back. But there were body parts everywhere.” The first man’s leg had been blown off, his other leg was barely attached and he had a chest wound. “He was going to die,” DeNardi said.

It was just another bad day to add to many — and DeNardi’s platoon had already faced misery that seemed unbearable. When five soldiers with 2nd Platoon were trapped June 21 after a deep-buried roadside bomb flipped their Bradley upside-down, several men rushed to save the gunner, Spc. Daniel Agami, pinned beneath the 30-ton vehicle. But they could only watch — and listen to him scream — as he burned alive. The Bradley was far too heavy to lift, and the flames were too high to even get close. The four others died inside the vehicle. Second Platoon already had lost four of its 45 men since deploying to Adhamiya 11 months before. June 21 shattered them.

But within days, he would lose five men, including a respected senior non-commissioned officer. Master Sgt. Jeffrey McKinney, Alpha Company’s first sergeant, was known as a family man and as a good leader because he was intelligent and could explain things well. But Staff Sgt. Jeremy Rausch of Charlie Company’s 1st Platoon, a good friend of McKinney’s, said McKinney told him he felt he was letting his men down in Adhamiya.

According to Charlie Company soldiers, McKinney said, “I can’t take it anymore,” and fired a round. Then he pointed his M4 under his chin and killed himself in front of three of his men.

On July 17, Charlie’s 2nd Platoon was refitting at Taji when they got a call to go back to Adhamiya. They were to patrol Route Southern Comfort, which had been black — off-limits — for months. Charlie Company knew a 500-pound bomb lay on that route, and they’d been ordered not to travel it. “Will there be route clearance?” 2nd Platoon asked. “Yes,” they were told. “Then we’ll go.”

But the mission was canceled. The medevac crews couldn’t fly because of a dust storm, and the Iraqi Army wasn’t ready for the mission. Second Platoon went to bed.

They woke to the news that Alpha Company had gone on the mission instead and one of their Bradleys rolled over the 500-pound IED. The Bradley flipped. The explosion and flames killed everybody inside. Alpha Company lost four soldiers: Spc. Zachary Clouser, Spc. Richard Gilmore, Spc. Daniel Gomez and Sgt. 1st Class Luis Gutierrez-Rosales.

“A scheduled patrol is a direct order from me,” Strickland said.

“We said, ‘No.’ If you make us go there, we’re going to light up everything,” DeNardi said. “There’s a thousand platoons. Not us. We’re not going.”

They decided as a platoon that they were done, DeNardi and Cardenas said, as did several other members of 2nd Platoon. At mental health, guys had told the therapist, “I’m going to murder someone.” And the therapist said, “There comes a time when you have to stand up,” 2nd Platoon members remembered. For the sake of not going to jail, the platoon decided they had to be “unplugged.”