Is Doomsday Coming For U.S. Forces In Iraq?


Richard Moore

     Signs of the Times for Tue, 11 Apr 2006

     Signs Editorial:

     Is Doomsday Coming For U.S. Forces In Iraq?

     March 27, 2006 Updated April 8, 2006
     Signs of the Times Having many cherished friends, from many walks 
of life, a good listener hears many different voices from many 
different sources. Let this listener share with you those things he 
has been told of late from many whom he dearly loves and does not 
want to lose. They, all those human beings who dare to Be and to 
Love, in this brief whirl of endless doubts we think of as life, are 
precious, and the Shadow now falling over far too many of them on the 
blood soaked sands of Iraq seems very dark and dire.

     It is not yet possible to provide enough hard data to fully 
support the following speculations. It is all told by way of 
"scuttlebutt" from rank and file, military-on-the-job rumors, and old 
fashioned soldiers' and sailors' gossip and intuitions. It is offered 
in that "for what it's worth" category, in the hopes that it will 
make a few more folks think about the hell on Earth that is the day 
to day reality for U.S. "boots on the ground" in Iraq.

     In general, my experiences over many years of close friendships 
with honorable, career military and National Guard members, from 
among both officers and non-commissioned personnel, have proven that 
the "scuttlebutt" is often more accurate than the official line being 
handed out from the current CentCom. That was certainly true in 
Vietnam, and the similarities between Iraq and "The Nam" are abundant.

     Remember, however, this is only "scuttlebutt." Do not take it as 
fact but as food for thought, and perhaps as a warning.

     In Iraq, many, perhaps most, of the American forces in the 
forward operations areas are essentially pinned down. They stay 
huddled for safety within their small, fortified (as best possible) 
bunkers and camps, both rural and urban, emerging only upon direct 
commands, to conduct their assigned patrols and sweeps while looking 
first and ever more exclusively to their own survival in all regards. 
They are literally stressed and terrified out of their minds, and 
most of them are also physically ill, many seriously so, from the 
effects of Depleted Uranium poisoning. Many of them, especially with 
their psychopathic "leaders" giving them almost carte blanche to do 
such, have taken on a "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" modus 
operendi, at all times and in all circumstances when they're outside 
of their bunkers.

     The truth of this "scuttlebutt" is now being born out by numerous 
Iraqi eyewitnesses and by the latest statements and sworn testimony 
coming from members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and in a 
Canadian courtroom where an American army deserter is pleading for 
political asylum to keep from returning for another tour of duty in 
Iraq. Those soldiers who do still have empathy and conscience alive 
within themselves post Iraq War will suffer hell's own psychological 
and spiritual torments for the rest of their lives, as have a 
majority of Vietnam combat veterans. Their having either engaged in 
or witnessed daily massacres of civilians, including women and 
children, will leave them broken for life in the deepest parts of 
themselves. But, their having been driven to the point of unflinching 
barbarity in Iraq is also very understandable, just as it was among 
combat troops in Vietnam where the "kill 'em all" sobriquet 

     These days, the areas they "patrol and sweep" are growing 
smaller, and their unit actions becoming shorter and more perilous, 
as they go about the impossible task of "clearing" each day's 
designated areas of IEDs and "insurgents." The conditions of their 
daily lives are deplorable. The rate of suicides among them is 
astronomical, setting an all time record for any U.S. military 
deployments, in any war or other combat action ever. Some of the 
oldest among National Guard members now in Iraq were forced back into 
active duty after having been retired for years. Their ages go up to 
and include some members who are in their fifties and even a few 
field medics and nurses in their early sixties. Thus some now in Iraq 
were there, in The Nam. They know of what they speak, and they say it 
is even worse in Iraq now than it was in Vietnam in the months before 
the end.

     In many of the Forward Operations Bases or Camps, American 
soldiers do not dependably receive enough daily drinking water, let 
alone water enough for washing, and for many there are still no 
regular showers. For the most remote locations, there are no showers 
at all, not even with the foul, recycled and often unsafe "yellow 
water" that has become notorious among U.S. troops' Iraq war tales. 
Many bivouacs have no air conditioning and most are in areas where 
there is no electricity for most of the time, which is true 
throughout nearly all of Iraq outside of the Green Zone.

     Having their own generators doesn't help them much when the fuel 
supplies can't and often don't get through the heavy fields of fire 
and explosives from the Iraqi resistence. Some U.S. troops in Iraq 
even lack for adequate supplies of MREs episodically, let alone of 
fresh foods. They are sometimes left hungry at the end of their long, 
desperate days, an awful insult added to all the other dangers and 
deprivations of their days and nights. They are often without laundry 
facilities, without real beds as opposed to cots, and even without 
flush toilets in some isolated camps.

     They are supposedly rotated out of the grueling forward positions 
to the large, new bases already finished, (almost 8 of them now) 
every two to four weeks, but the operative phrase on that is always 
"if possible." Their successful rotation to more tolerable conditions 
largely depends on the current "heat" of the resistence around a 
particular forward base. Some units deployed, especially in the more 
remote and heavily resistence dominated areas, have now been virtual 
prisoners, out in the deserts, for several months.

     Rumor has it that upwards of 5,500 U.S. combat troops have walked 
out of Iraq, into adjacent countries such as Turkey, Iran and Syria, 
and have kept on going from there to places in Europe and elsewhere. 
They were largely from among those units stuck in the farthest, most 
isolated positions, and the scuttlebutt says that the Iraqi 
resistence fighters have even helped some of them to get across the 
borders and have provided them with food, water, contacts and money 
for the journey. On several occassions, by the time the transport 
helicopters came in to take them out to one of the big new bases for 
a break, the entire unit was gone but for one or two die hards.

     It was the U.S. occupation's own "back" that really got broken at 
Fallujah. Please note the steadily shrinking sizes and numbers of 
cleverly named U.S. military assaults and initiatives that have taken 
place since then. The annihilation of Fallujah, and the U.S.'s 
massive slaughter of innocent civilians there, increased support for 
the resistence to almost 100% among the Iraqi people. It is most 
accurate to say that the American combat forces in Iraq are now 
largely fighting a defensive war. Those with a knowledge of military 
tactics and history will recognize that to be the worst possible 
position an invading and then occupying army can get into. To have 
that be the case this long after the initial invasion, when neither 
the troops nor their equipment are able to operate at anywhere near 
to peak condition and efficiency, is even worse.

     In addition to the other shortages the troops on the front lines 
face in these bases, they are also short on ammunition. Despite all 
of the Bush administration's propganda to the contrary, the 
resistence owns the highways and roads of Iraq, with the possible 
exceptions of a very few and very shaky stretches in and around the 
"Green Zone" and, maybe, maybe not, the main airport road out of 
Baghdad. The military's ability to resupply its forward troops is 
rapidly approaching nil. The remote troops are being kept alive by 
air drops delivering almost everything that does reach them now.

     Unfortunately, the anti-aircraft fire from the resistence, always 
present and heavy, from at least small arms, surrounds the U.S. 
forward bases and is especially strong near the most remote and 
smallest ones. For that reason, the drops of supplies to forward 
combat units are not as precise as they need to be in order to keep 
supply levels adequate, and some things like diesel fuel, gasoline 
and ammunition cannot be air dropped regularly or at all. Again, 
despite the official reports, the recent increases in helicopter 
"crashes" shows the growing prowess of the Iraqi fighters in bringing 
them down.

     Note too that, except for numerous and frequently fatal vehicular 
"accidents," there has been scant media or press mention lately of 
the U.S. military's huge convoys of transport trucks that were 
formerly hauling supplies to the U.S. troops from the depots and 
distribution centers in Kuwait and at the Baghdad airport and the new 
air bases. They have not been rolling very reliably since just after 
Fallujah. The U.S. troop and supply convoys cannot safely travel in 
Iraq these days, nor keep any kind of a regular schedule, partly due 
to the increasing resistence skills in stopping them by causing roll 
overs and other "accidents," and partly because the vehicles 
themselves are worn out beyond any safe usage.

     The military's equipment is all used up, and there is not a 
steady stream of replacement materiels coming in, quite the contrary. 
While the mercenary companies have grown richer than Croesius, the 
National Guard, Reserves and regular military have gone broke. In 
person-power, weapons, vehicles, tanks, ammunition, body armor, 
ordinance, and all else, the U.S. military is drained dry and used 
up, even to being short on replacement uniforms for active duty 
combat troops. U.S. soldiers are often caught on camera these days in 
heavily patched uniforms. Close scrutiny of the next cable or network 
news clips of frontline soldiers may prove quite revealing.

     Much of what is air-dropped in for the most remote U.S. troops is 
promptly grabbed up by the Iraqi resistance fighters surrounding 
their encampments. Thus, CentCom, which is well aware of this 
precarious situation, often does not dare to air drop ammunition, 
ordinance, replacement weapons or parts, and much else. The troops 
are being gradually deprived of even their most basic capacity for 
self-defence against the increasingly numerous, better armed, better 
organized and often cleaner and better fed "insurgency."

     It is an intolerable situation for any soldier to live in, day 
after day, for weeks and months on end, and it is not going to get 
better. The conditions currently being denied by the brass and 
stoically, depressively endured, with no hope of a say in the matter, 
by the "grunts" in the forward operations zones, is not unlike that 
faced by soldiers in the trenches of WW I. In fact, if the U.S. does 
not soon withdraw its forces, it may have very few left to withdraw. 
Of course, this too may be far from coincidental. Only such a massive 
and "unforeseen" troop loss will avoid the full, horrible truth from 
eventually reaching the American public. Most of the U.S. military 
personnel who have done duty in Iraq are now so radioactive, from 
their constant and ultimately lethal exposures to the DU, Depleted 
Uranium, present in all of the U.S. munitions, and the heavy armored 
assault vehicles in use in Iraq and in Afghanistan as well, that they 
really cannot be safely returned to home soil in large numbers.

     They themselves are literally toxic. The very cells of their 
bodies are heavily, permanently contaminated with ceramic uranium 
oxide gases and particulates that can and will spread from their own 
flesh into everything and everyone they touch, breathe upon or even 
stand near to, from other human beings to plants, soil, buildings, 
furnishings and onward. This is not a rumor but a tragic, brutal fact.

     A strong and persistent rumor, told by Iraqi civilians and a few 
old Iraqi soldiers as well, has it that a comprehensive, 
post-invasion military strategy was designed and implemented well 
before the U.S. and "coalition" forces ever arrived. With years of 
advanced planning by the best military minds of Saddam Hussein's 
armed forces and intelligence services, the Iraqis were well prepared 
for Bush's war when it came. Remember that George W. Bush had openly 
stated his wishes, and his PNAC friends had widely published their 
"scholarly" position papers, which included plans to re-invade Iraq, 
well before the 2000 "election." From the December 12, 2000 
appointment of Bush to the presidency until the Iraq invasion began, 
the planning and implementation went into high gear in both Iraq's 
career military and in its civilian high command. They made 
preparations for just such an invasion as did occur in March of 2003. 
In fact they planned for a much larger invasion force than was 
deployed, having anticipated some 300,000 to 500,000 U.S. troops.

     Much of Iraq has been honeycombed with miles upon miles of 
fortified tunnels, virtual super highways and cities built deep 
underground, shielded against electronic and aerial detection, with 
hospitals, support staff, dormitories, kitchens, and several years 
worth of supplies. The plan, then and now, was to lure the American 
command, by using huge initial successes against token military 
resistence as bait, into spreading the U.S. troops throughout Iraq, 
and thereafter breaking them up into ever smaller, less unified 
groups, sub groups and so on over a period of several years.

     Eventually, without their ever having noticed it was happening, 
by the artful use of an "insurgency" constantly stinging at the U.S. 
forces like wasps, they would gradually be drawn awry and herded, 
stationed here, there and everywhere, willy nilly, in Baghdad, at 
their brand new but largely unmanned military and air bases, around 
the oil fields and the pipelines, in their fortified city and rural 
bunkers, in a helter-skelter pattern of troop concentrations all 
widely separated from each other. And that is exactly how it now is 
with the positional deployments of the majority of American and other 
coalition forces in Iraq. They are now, worst of all, very far 
removed from the means to withdraw them quickly if they should become 
overwhelmed by a superior force. Just as the large transport 
helicopters and cargo planes cannot dependably get in to keep them 
well supplied, they cannot dependably get in to bring the troops out 

     This was the Iraqi strategy from the start. Once they got the 
U.S. forces sufficiently scattered and pinned down, they could, and 
will, at the time of their choosing, close the traps, bring the still 
unaccounted for majority of the pre-invasion Iraqi army out of 
hiding, and wipe out or capture the American forces in a very brief 
and total sweep.

     Let us now consider some of the facts and matters of record 
closely related to this "hypothesis" of the pre-war Iraqi planning 
for the defeat of the U.S. invasion and occupation.

     No post invasion censuses, nor any other registrations of Iraqis, 
were ever conducted, and such dared not to be conducted in order to 
hide the massive numbers of civilian deaths and wanton massacres. 
There was no orderly, immediate U.S. take over and no exercise at all 
of any necessary civil control. Any such would have stifled the 
rampant graft and pillaging planned and done by the Coalition 
Provisional Authority. There still is no broad and stable civil order 
in Iraq today, except in the delusions and propaganda of the Bush 
administration, and in the desperate attempts to keep up appearances 
being provided by the very carefully selected Iraqi "government" and 
its puppets. Not even the corporate media and press is, for the most 
part, any longer able to pretend that Iraq has a functional and 
effective civil control structure in place, not anywhere.

     There is literally no record at all of where Iraq's huge, pre-war 
standing army, nor its equipment and materiels really went. Whatever 
truly did become of them, the U.S. command and the Bush government 
have no idea of it, not one way or the other. All they have ever had, 
told and sold as "facts," were their own irrational assumptions, 
fixed ideas, wishful thinking and deceitful PR, to put it bluntly, 
their own wild and not very bright guesses and stories for a gullible 
public and a compliant media and press. The possibilities shared here 
are based on a good deal more reason and fact than all of that, 
having at least good, solid "scuttlebutt" behind it.

     Remember too that there were vast caches of UN-sealed 
conventional weapons that the U.S. troops opened and then left 
abandoned and unguarded when they went tearing through Iraq in a 
patently chaotic fashion, during and immediately after the invasion. 
All of those massive caches of arms, ordinance, tanks, missiles, 
aircraft yet unaccounted for, high yield conventional explosives, 
detonators and tons upon tons of ammunition, ALL of the munitions 
caches, got emptied out by the same unknown, faceless, trackless 
hoardes of Iraqi men who also stripped every last Iraqi military base 
bare, right down to the concrete blocks, the windows and frames, the 
electrical wiring, the lamps, the plumbing fixtures and even the 
pipes. To have been executed so quickly and thoroughly, that task 
alone had to have been well planned, in great detail and in advance. 
That the Bush administration called it "looting" is ludicrous. It was 
far too systematic and well organised to have been mere looting.

     It is impossible to forget the bizarre scene that appeared on the 
televisions of the world, in the live, real time broadcasts coming 
from the Iraq war, on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CBS, ABC, BBC, etc., et 
al, immediately after the fall of Baghdad to U.S. forces. For three, 
entire, mind bending days the cameras revealed, from dawn until dark, 
the sight of thousands, upon tens of thousands, upon literally 
uncountable numbers of unarmed, unburdened Iraqi men, all able bodied 
and roughly of military age, all clean and in civilian clothing, all 
walking casually in an endless stream down the main highway of Iraq, 
from North to South.

     They were many miles out in the middle of nowhere, without so 
much as a backpack on their shoulders or a hobo's bindlestiff in 
their hands, heading South. That is all we really ever knew for sure 
of their destination, just South, despite the speculations of 
reporters that they were going home to Baghdad, and all we ever 
really knew for sure of their origin was that they had mysteriously 
appeared from the North. They were miles from any town or city when 
the first TV camera crews spotted them. All we really heard about 
them was the speculation from the cable and network news reporters.

     Not one U.S. military unit came to question them, nor did the 
media do so effectively. The few questions asked got smiling, 
friendly replies in suspiciously "broken" English, utterances of 
"going home" or "no more fighting now" which were devoid of real 
factual content, and skillfully so. No slightest attempt was made to 
stop or detain any of them, and it was obvious, at least to this 
viewer, that they were behaving in a planned and very orderly manner. 
Smiling and cheerful, as if on some kind of a grand, holiday lark of 
a walkabout, they walked on and on and on in their countless 
thousands, an endless stream. The oddest part of all was that no one 
detected any noticeable influx of tens of thousands of men, or more, 
into Baghdad during the 3 days that the march continued. Although 
network camera crews in Baghdad and other cities to the south of the 
march had been alerted to watch for their arrivals, and did so, they 
were never seen.

     They just vanished into the sands of Iraq, somewhere, in the 
middle of nowhere, after staging a masssively distracting march down 
the main highway between Tikrit and Baghdad for three days, days in 
which that single distraction might well have hidden many another 
action from view. Countless Iraqi males of the right ages and fitness 
to have been soldiers simply disappeared at points unasked then and 
unknown still.

     They vanished overnight. Come the dawn of day four, the highway 
was empty. Not so much as a scrap of paper marked their passing. Not 
so much as a shoe, or a rag, or a food wrapper had been left behind. 
Oddly, one reporter and camera crew, from CNN, briefly went into the 
desert for a few yards on either side of the highway that strange, 
silent, fourth dawn, and could find not one set of tracks leading 
away from the highway that had, as of dark the night before, been 
covered by an endless file of walking men.

     Bear in mind that Iraq's standing army at the time of the Bush 
invasion was over 2.5 million strong. Make no mistake, they were not 
delighted to have the U.S. armed forces invade their country and take 
control of it away from Saddam Hussein. Let's face it, with males 
above the age of 10 in Iraq being allowed to own an unlimited number 
of guns of all kinds if they so chose, had the domestic opposition to 
Saddam ever been even so high as a full 50% of the Iraqi people, 
especially had it been so among the Iraqi military forces and men, 
then Saddam would have been long gone. He wasn't. That alone should 
have given any reasonable person the idea that there was much more to 
the political situation in Iraq than the extremely simplistic picture 
of an intolerably oppressive and despotic regime as was promoted by 
Bush Sr., the Clinton administration, Bush Jr., the neocons of the 
PNAC and the corporate media and press.

     Now is that terrible circumstance and time when the U.S. troops 
themselves, somehow sensing that they have all been long since 
written off as expendable, must continue to hunker down in terror, 
abandoned by a government of, by and for their pathologically 
selfish, greedy, amoral, psychopathic rulers. A war that had no 
justifiable cause for its beginning may very possibly, and very soon, 
have a very well justified ending imposed upon it.

     But, again, the true price will not be paid by those who created 
that war for their own selfish gains in power, prestige and wealth. 
The only ones who'll pay for it, in the highest measures of all, are 
those American soldiers who were either idealistic enough, foolish 
enough, obedient enough, or all three, to have gone to the faraway 
land of Iraq and fought in it, and those Iraqis who have either been 
killed by the U.S. invaders or forced to fight them to the death so 
that their nation and people could again live in freedom from 
occupation by foreign forces, and hopefully, someday, in peace.

     The ultimate truth about all wars, on all sides, for all those 
who fight in them, for all those who love the fighters as friends and 
kin, and for all those civilians who are the innocent victims of 
"collateral damage" is that there are no real winners, and the losers 
are always the maimed, the dead, and the bereaved.

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