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Darrell Anderson. Here's the back story. In January 2003, Darrel Anderson joined the Army. He was sent to Iraq and injured by a roadside bomb. Awarded the Purple Heart, when facing a second deployment to Iraq, Anderson decided to self-check out (January 2005). Like Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and an estimated 220-plus others, Anderson went to Canada.
In Canada, he applied for refugee status -- a status regularly granted during the Vietnam era but one Canada has thus far refused to grant to any war resister. Recently, Anderson's attorney apparently missed a deadline for the paper work on that issue.
However, Anderson met Gail Greer when she was working on a film about war resisters and married Greer who is a Canadian citizen. The marriage should have resulted in granting him legal resident status. He is currently waiting on that announcement from the Canadian government.
His mother, Anita Anderson, has filled the press in on this month's developments -- this month is when Darrell Anderson told his mother that he was planning on returning to the United States. According to his mother's statements near the start of the month, Darrell was going to return to the United States if the Canadian government did not offer him status. Anderson himself spoke to Jim Warren of The Lexington Herald-Leader for an article published yesterday and it seems the return is no longer in doubt.
The current plans are to cross the border back into the United States, hold a press conference and then return to Fort Knox. He told Warren, "I decided that I've got to go back and get this over with once and for all, instead of living in limbo up here forever."
During the Vietnam era, activists advocated for an amensty for those who dodged the draft and those who decided to check themselves out. With the end of the war, the fall of Richard Nixon with the Watergate exposures, and a new president named Jimmy Carter, it was thought that such a policy was possible. That did not happen. Carter granted amnesty to those who dodged the draft. Those who self-checked out were to be handled on a case by case basis. That was the best that government was willing to do as that illegal war came to a close.
It is highly unlikely that anything's changed in today's political climate. (The amnesty decision was a political decision.) Those who go to Canada know this. The War Resisters Support Campaign provides them with resources, support and information. (And is a worthy charity to donate to.) It is a difficult decision and coming back to the country for any reason (including the funeral of a parent) means risking arrest.
For Anderson, with no work permit due to his status, Canada meant struggle including living with his Post-Traumatic Syndrome from his experiences in Iraq. Loud noises still startle him after the roadside bomb, sleep usually means nightmares of reliving the experience. For those reasons and others, he made the decision to return to the United States and, in his words to Jim Warren, "I decided that I've got to go back and get this over with once and for all, instead of living in limbo up here forever."
What can happen next? He could be dishonorably discharged and that would be the end of it. More likely, he will face an Article 32 hearing for desertion and then a court-martial (which could result in jail time). What happens to Darrell Anderson largely depends on us. Are we willing to speak out? Are we willing to show support?
We're sure the usual suspects will show up for their one-off "Baby cried the day the circus came to town" coverage and that's not going to be good enough. That's not going to do anything. Well, it will let the usual suspects kid themselves that they "covered" the story. It's not a one-day story.
However the media decides to treat it, we have to be willing to keep this issue alive. Ehren Watada is a success story in terms of attention. It seems, however, as though Kevin Benderman (currently serving a sentence) has been forgotten.
Darrell Anderson remains opposed to the illegal war. He is a war resister. Anita Anderson intends to be outside Fort Knox and maybe some can be their physically, maybe some can be their in spirit. But how much we work to keep this issue alive will impact the outcome. As Patti Smith sang and wrote "People Have The Power." But they have to use it.
More information on Darrell Anderson (and other war resisters) can be found at Courage to Resist.
From The Common Ills --"Iraq snapshot"
Monday, September 25, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military fatality count crosses another marker with little attention, Iran continues to be the focus for Bully Boy's continued war lust, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gets a blistering critique, the 1st Brigade of 1st Armored Division learns that promises of returning home are meaningless as their tour of duty in Iraq gets an extension, war resister Darrell Anderson continues to prepare for his return to the United States, in England Tony Blair comes under criticism from both a would-be-prime-minister and his sister-in-law, and the much trumpeted digital images of of Australian troops playing "cowboy" do not include photos or footage of Jake Kovco.
After being awarded the Purple Heart and returning from Iraq, Darrell Anderson was informed he was being redeployed to Iraq. Anderson elected to self-check out from the military in January 2005 and went to Canada. Earlier this month Anita Anderson confirmed to the press that her son was considering returning to the United States. Darrell Anderson was on a delayed honeymoon with Gail Greer (whom he met when she was part of a team making a documentary on war resisters). (The documentary was Albert Nerenberg's Escape to Canada.)
Anderson spoke with Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) for an article published Saturday where he confirmed that he was returning to the United States at the end of this month (Saturday), explained his reasons for the decision and stated, "I decided that I've got to go back and get this over with once and for all, instead of living in limbo up here forever." Today, Natalie Pona (Toronto Sun) reports that Anderson has again stressed that his decision does not mean the end of his war resistance and that Anderson explained, "To go back and do my prison sentence would just give me freedom. I just want to get in my uniform, go to trial and stand there and tell them I won't participate in their war." Anderson will hold a press conference when at the border and, if not immediately arrested once returning to the US, he will next go to Fort Knox to turn himself in. More information, on Anderson and other war resisters, can be found at Courage to Resist. For the context of Anderson's decision, see Ruth's Report and for the need to speak out see The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You."
Anita Anderson has stated she intends to be outside Fort Knox demonstrating her support for her son's stance. As Troy Garity notes in David Zieger's documentary Sir! No Sir!, ". . . in the summer of 68 as thousands of supporters protested the jailing of the Presido 27, the G.I. movement had arrived." Those who learned of Camilo Mejia's brave stand, or Aidan Delgado, or Pablo Paredes, or any other war resisters after the fact can make a difference now by showing their support for Darrell Anderson as well as Ehren Watada, the first comission officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq who awaits the military's decision on their next course of action as the Article 32 finding of his case winds its way through the military structure. Ricky Clousing who turned himself in at the start of last month has been charged with desertion and there's no word yet on any charges against Mark Wilkerson who turned himself in at the end of last month. Both war resisters elected to self-check out of the military.
On Sunday, Mark Mazzetti (New York Times) reported on the National Intelligence Estimate entitled "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States ("represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government") which, Mazzetti reports, "asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe" and "cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology." Safer but not safe, once claimed the Bully Boy. As Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported, "The NIE . . . coincides with public statements by senior intelligence officials describing a different kind of conflict than the one outlined by President Bush in a series of recent speeches marking the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks." CBS' Bill Plante summarized the points of the NIE as follows:
*The U.S. presence in Iraq is providing new recruits for militant Islam.
*The movement has spread and is now "self-generating."
*While inspired by al Qaeda, the radical movement is no longer directly tied to Osama bin Laden.
*Because of the Internet, the radical Islamist movement is more connected and no longer isolated.
The reporting on the NIE follows a number of recent reports including Harper's magazine and IPS's reports from last week. For Harper's, Ken Silverstein interviewed, former CIA veteran (15 years) and former head of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh who noted that Iraq war has resulted in the loss of "a generation of good will in the Muslim world" and stated, "There's a civil war in Iraq and our presence is contributing to the violence. We've become a lightening rod -- we're not restricting the violence, we're contributing to it. Iraq has galvanized jihadists; our presence is what is attracting them. We need to get out of there." Noting that interview, Jim Lobe (IPS) also connected Nakhleh's statements to Paul Pillar's Foreign Affairs (periodical of the Council on Foreign Relations) essay at the start of this year following Pillar's retirement from the CIA in 2005. Lobe notes that Pillar addressed the issue of "the [intelligence] communiy had warned policymakers before the Iraq invasion that the war and occupation would 'boost political Islam and increase sympathy for terrorists' objectives' and that a 'deeply divided Iraqi society' would likely erupt into 'violent conflict' unless the occupation authority 'established security and put Iraq on the road to prosperity in the first few weeks or months after the fall of Saddam (Hussein).'"
Obviously, that did not happen. Meanwhile Australia's ABC reports the NIE's impact in Australia which has led the Federal Opposition demanding that John Howard (the country's prime minister) "come clean about the effects of the war in Iraq" and "Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, . . . [saying] Mr. Howard should release the Australian intelligence agencies' findings about the war. 'Let's have some honesty in the debate,' he [Rudd] said."
This as, in England, the would-be-prime-minister Gordon Brown, dubbed the second most powerful man in British government -- Chancellor of the Exchequer, Labour party and wanna-be-prime minister in waiting, makes noises of his own. AFX News reports that Brown stated today that"while there must be scope for emergency action, it is in my view right that in future, a parliament, not the executive, makes the final decisions on matters as important as peace and war." On Sunday, as reported by Great Britain's Socialist Worker, Tony Blair's sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, was among over 60,000 participating Saturday in the Time to Go Rally in Manchester and that Booth was chanting, "Yo Blair -- it's time to go, Blair." (*The report was written by Anindya Bhattacharyya.) And today, AFP reports, the White House via mouthpiece Tony Snow finally admitted that the Iraq war "fuel[s] the spread of jihadism".
And the chaos and violence continues in Iraq.
AP reports that a bombing in Ramadi claimed the lives of seven police officers and left seven more wounded. Reuters reports three police officers dead (and ten wounded) in Jurf al-Sakhar after an attack involving "[m]ortar rounds and a suicide truck bomber"; while in Yathrib a man is dead and his daughter wounded after "[a] mortar round landed near" his home.
AP reports that an attack on a police station in Musayyib left one police officer dead and six more wounded. Reuters notes a translator for the US military was shot dead in Najaf on Sunday; that an Iraqi soldier died today from gun shot wounds received Sunday in Balad.
Reuters reports that nine severed heads were discovered this weekend in Baiji and an additional one today -- "the decapitatated head of a police lieutenant, Sameer Hazim" while, near Baiji, an Iraqi soldier's corpse was discovered Sunday.
Today, the US military has announced the death of another US soldier who was today "near Mosul" and died later from his wounds. This follows Sunday's passing the 2700 mark for US troops killed in Iraq and the Army's claim (see above) that they are underfunded. Reuters reports that the 147,000 American troops in Iraq are seen by the military as insufficient and that, in addition to extending tours of duty, "The Army also is considering accelerating the deployments for some brigades in a move to try to stop sectarian violence among Sunnis and Shi'ites in Baghdad, the newspaper [Washington Times] reported, citing Pentagon officials."
Extending tours of duty? No, not the 172 Stryker Brigade. They were already extended when they should have been returning home in August. AP reports that the 1st Brigade of 1st Armored Division "will be kept in place for several weeks beyond their scheduled departure," that the families were notified of this today, and that the Brigade is comprised of an estimated 4,000 soldiers who are currently serving "in the vinicinty of Ramadi".
The extension comes as US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld faces a new round of criticism for his handling of his official responsibilities. AP reports that, in "a hearing by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Major General John R. S. Batiste stated "I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth [regarding Iraq] for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq" and that Major General Paul Eaton declared Rumsfeld to be "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically," therefore, "Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinary bad decision-making." Safer but not safe, claims the Bully Boy. Reuters reports that Batiste declared in the hearing today, "America [is] arguably less safe now than it was on September 11, 2001" as a result of the Iraq war. William Branigin (Washington Post) reports that Batiste and Eaton were joined by "retired Marine Col. Thomas X. Hammes" in calling for Rumsfeld's resignation and that all three served in Iraq and quotes Hammes stating, "While asking major sacrifices, to include the ultimate sacrifice, from those Americans who are serving in Iraq, we are not even asking our fellow citizens to pay for the war. Instead we are charging it to our children and grandchildren."
Meanwhile, Greg Zoroya (USA Today) reports that living wills are a new issue of concern to the US Army as "[a] growing number of troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe brain damage" -- an estimated "250 troops who returned from war with head wounds that left them -- at least initially -- comatose or unable to care for themselves or respond to people. Brain injuries, most from roadside bombs, are the signature wound of the Iraq war."
Apparently the Bully Boy's Blood Lust cannot be satisfied because war with Iran appears to be next on the agenda. Norman Solomon (Common Dreams) examines how the media is covering (covering up?) the probably attack. And on Sunday, Ray McGovern spoke in San Francisco. Robert B. Livingston (San Francisco Bay Area Media) reports that McGovern stated his belief in Bully Boy launching a strike (bombing) on Iran before the November elections and why: "McGovern described an administration desperate to protect itself from justice. If Democrats win a majority in Congress impeachment proceedings against the president, for example, could actually proceed (irrespective of Rep. Nancy Pelosi's vow that impeachment is "off the table"). McGovern cited Bush's low popularity poll ratings as a major concern to those advising Bush, and alluded to how the administration hasn't hesitated to use other crises as a convenient way to capitalize on American's propensity to stand behind their government. " Noting the actions of Cindy Sheehan, CODEPINK and others, McGovern stated, "Women in this country have all the guts. We don't need good girls like Nancy Pelosi. We need strong women like Cindy Sheehan."
Last week, CODEPINK and NOW co-sponsored a Women's Day of Peace in Washington, DC atCamp Democracy. Feminist Wire Daily reports that Olga Vives, vice-president of NOW, addressed the issue of what's beeing cut (domestic programs for women and children) to pay for this war and NOW president Kim Gandy's remarks that "The violence in Iraq has already cost too many lives. Service members and civilians are dying every day in a conflict initiated by George W. Bush. Women must now come together and work toward ending the violence -- a goal that the US government seems incapable of accomplishing."
On the issue Olga Vives was addressing, the costs of the war are estimated to currently be $317, 400,000,000. A running counter can be found at Tom Hayden's website. The counter is a feature provided by the National Priorities Project and, on their site, US citizens can look at how the cost of the illegal war impacts their own areas as well as see how the cost short changes various programs. The costs continue to rise. As Peter Spiegel reports (Los Angeles Times) the US Army's General Peter J. Schoomaker made the decision to ignore the August 15th deadline for presenting the Army's 2008 budget plan to the Pentagon "after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding. The decision . . . is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the Army that in absence of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, say current and former Pentagon officals."
In Australia, news of the digital images of Australian soldiers handling their fire arms in a manner that wasn't seen as professional came as the inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco was winding down. The press was full of speculation that images of Jake Kovco were among the images shocking that nation -- discovered images which were certainly timed well. In the hearing, there was talk of Jake Kovco being a "cowboy" and playing with his gun. The talk had no supporting evidence and the witnesses (including one of Kovco's former roommates) spoke of "hearing" of their claims, not seeing it themselves. Whom did they hear it from? No names were given and the inquiry was apparently comfortable with that. As the issue of digital images showing Australian troops possibly mishandling fire arms continues to be reported by the Australian press, Jake Kovco's name comes up repeatedly. However, The West Australian reports Jake Kovco will not among those pictured because "[t]he internet images relate to the period 2003-05, long before Pte Kovco's unit was in that theatre".
In legal news, Reuters reports that three of the "Pendleton Eight" will face murder charges with the possiblity of, if found guilty, facing the death penalty for the April 26 death, in Hamdania,of Hashim Ibrahim Awad who was allegedly taken from his home, shot dead and a weapon placed near his body after. The three looking at the prospect of the death penalty if found guilty are John Jodka, Marshall Magincalda and Jerry Shumate. Meanwhile, CBS reports that footage believed to show the deaths of US soldiers Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker had been posted online by a group claiming to be The Mujahedeen Shura Council and that a subtitle in the video footage reads: "The two soldiers belong to the same brigade of the soldier who raped our sister in Mahmoudiya." That is in reference to Abeer Qassim al-Janabi (who CBS names, unlike the New York Times) who was raped and killed -- also killed were her parents Qassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen and her five-year-old sister Hadeel Qassim Hamza -- on March12, 2006 in the town of Mahmoudiyah. On the rapes and deaths, CBS notes: "The U.S military has charged four soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division -- Spc. James P. Barker, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard -- in the March 12 alleged rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Sgt. Anthony W. Yribe is accused of failing to report the attack but is not alleged to have been a direct participant. A fifth suspect, Pfc. Steven D. Green, was discharged from the army because of a 'personality disorder' before the allegations became known. He has pleaded not guilty to rape and murder charges and is being held in a civilian court in the United States."
In US election news, Dave Collins (AP) reports that War Hawk Down Joe Lieberman, who had earlier made concilatory noises to war critics, is back in Hawk drag and denouncing Democratic candidate for US Senate out of Conn. Ned Lamont's endorsement of a timeline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq is "doomed to fail" (apparently like Lieberman's own bid for the Democratic nomination this go round) and would "weaken our security" (meaning that he's so busy thinking up smears, he's missed Sunday and Mondays newspapers -- see above for the NIE report). This comes as Joshua Frank (CounterPunch) reports that War Hawk Up Maria Cantwell has a campaign staff doing strange things including, reportedly, attempting to bribe Green opponent (and anti-war candidate) Aaron Dixon if he would bow out of the race. Frank reports: "As Dixon tells it, 'Mark [Wilson] called and basically told me that a lot of people have a lot of money within the Cantwell campaign, and he said that they could put on a fundraiser for Central House that would "blow my mind". He called a week later and basically told me the same thing. I didn't bite, ending this war is too important'."
Finally, Cindy Sheehan (at BuzzFlash) notes that Bully Boy stated on air to Wolf Blitzer: "Yes, you see - you see it on TV, and that's the power of an enemy that is willing to kill innocent people. But there's also an unbelievable will and resiliency by the Iraqi people.... Admittedly, it seems like a decade ago. I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is - my point is, there's a strong will for democracy." Of that idiotic statement, Sheehan writes: "That is 125 commas.With 2701 of our children killed and over 20,000 injured, I would have to type 182 lines filled with commas. Then, if we take in to account the low figure of 100,000 innocent Iraqis killed, I would need pages of commas."
darrell andersonfeminist wire dailyanindya bhattacharyyathe socialist workerthe new york timesmark mazzettithe washington postkaren deyoungwilliam braniginkim gandynowcodepinkcindy sheehantom haydenray mcgovernrobert b. livingstonricky clousingmark wilkersonehren watadaruths reportthe third estate sunday reviewjoshua frankbuzzflashnorman solomon