About Alex Limkin

I was born in Chicago in 1972. My mother was a Catalan; my father was Filipino-Chinese. I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1990 at the age of 17 with a GED. Over the next fifteen years, I served on active duty and with Reserve and National Guard components in Military Intelligence, Field Artillery, Infantry, and the JAG Corps. Following completion of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, I attended Airborne, Ranger, and Air Assault School. I received a B.A. from New Mexico State University in 1997 and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico in 2004. My last tour of duty was in Iraq from 2004-2005, when I was mobilized in support of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) and served as an infantry captain with the 98th Division. While assigned to Counter-Terror/Special Operations, my commander, Colonel Ted Westhusing, shot himself over the corruption and human rights abuses taking place. His death changed me forever.

4th of July

 

4th of July

 

Don’t get me wrong
I’m as 4th of July as they come

 

But when it comes to the
4th of July
The real no shit
4th of July
When it comes to celebrating it…
what do I do?

 

I’ll tell you what I do.

 

I get as far away from the
fireworks
as I
can.

 

As it is I live
at the edge of a
national forest…

 

Why is that, son?

 

I’ll tell you why,
general.

 

I get as far away from the
sights and sounds of
fireworks
because they…

 

Don’t say it, son.

 

Because they…

 

Son, to say it makes it so. To say it
gives it a strength over you
it shouldn’t have.
You’re better than that!
We trained you better than that!

*

 

Do you want me to tell you again
the story?

 

How when I was a general,
they came asking:
How fit is your division?

 

and why am I saying they???
everyone
damn
well
knows
at that level
people are on a
first name basis.

 

Jim, they told me.

 

Chrissake, there I am again with that they
when
every
one
of
us
knows
damn
well
knows
at that level they will know you
on a first name basis.

 

Jim, Don asked me.
Jim, how would you rate your division?

 

And by now, the way he was asking me,
the way he was
throat filling emotions
asking me,
I knew something was up.

 

Something was fixing to
shit the fan.

 

General, I said,
I looked him dead in the eyes.
General,
General, I says,
looking him
center of the eyes I am looking him,
Fellow General Ivan Don Denisovich Demarco
i says:
Now you damn well know
my division isn’t worth
two shits
you’ve known it hasn’t been worth
two shits
for months
and it’s going to remain so worth
until I get to the bottom of this inquiry
so help me god.

 

That’s a nice story, general,
but I was just going to say
the fireworks
sound like fighting.

 

*

 

And you know how I know I’m sane out there, general?
Because the peacocks complain about it, too.

 

I don’t follow you, son.

 

They shoot their guns
from the waist
at the dancing shadows
or at the stars
until I see green.

 

But the thunder
puts them in their place, general.
The thunder and the rain.
And the peacocks
complain about it
so I know I’m sane.

 

That’s why I always pray
for rain on the
4th of July
out here in the woods,
general.

 

I pray for rain on the
4th of July
because it’s not the same
firing rounds
from one living room
into another.

 

Letter to a Superior Officer and 5/87 Comrade

Major So-And-So

I was able to get away yesterday and spend a little time in the mountains 80 miles north outside Santa Fe. Still plenty snow up there. Peaceful. Quiet. Got me thinking about how nice it would be to get you into telemark and mountaineering. I know you’re tough as nails and could keep up what you’re doing another 10-15 years and start climbing and skiing the mountains in your 50s–but maybe no need to wait that long.

IMAG3088You deserve 40 good years ahead of you to hike mountains and enjoy your family and watch the clouds go by. Whether your family ever makes it out to NM or not, I want you to not shortchange yourself. There is only so much give in the legs and the joints. Keep some cartilage for yourself.

Respectfully submitted,

Alex Limkin

CPT, U.S. Army

Retired

Skywalk 2014

Skywalk 2014 began Friday, May 16, with a rooftop gathering at Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque.

Brant McGee, Col. Rod Kontny (Ret.), John Cody, Terry Weir, Matt Huggins

L to R: Brant McGee, Col. Rod Kontny (Ret.), John Cody, Terry Weir, Matt Huggins

The group reconvened the next morning at the Canyon Estates Trailhead (6,500′) in Tijeras and set off to walk the 26-mile length of the Sandia Mountains.

Skywalk begins with an ascent to South Peak.

Ascent to South Peak.

IMAG2863

Chuck Hosking claims a bird’s eye view en route to South Peak.

IMAG2870

Atop South Peak (9,800′), the group surveys the next leg of the journey to Sandia Crest.   L to R: Philomena Hausler, Terry Weir, Matt Huggins, AB, John Cody, Chuck Hosking, Brant McGee

 

IMAG2886

Four miles from Sandia Crest, the group pauses at an overlook. From L to R: Brant McGee, Chuck Hosking, John Cody, Matt Huggins

IMAG2876

Looking back towards South Peak. L to R: AB, Philomena Hausler, Brant McGee, Chuck Hosking

IMAG2890

Chuck Hosking, 65, on the path to Placitas.

IMAG2891

Brant McGee,  Matt Huggins, and AB at 25 miles descending into Tunnel Springs.

In memory of Colonel Ted Westhusing (1960-2005)

Skywalk 2015 is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, 2015

Iraq Veteran Pens Interview with Bill Moyers

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REPRINTED FROM THE NEW MEXICO MERCURY

BM: We are pleased to be joined tonight by Iraq veteran, Alex Limkin. Welcome to the show.

AL: Thank you, Bill. Thanks for having me.

BM: And I should also mention AB. She’s here as well, lying under the table.

AL: That’s right.

BM: And she is?

AL: My service dog.

BM: Was AB your service dog in Iraq?

AL: No, I didn’t have a service dog in Iraq. Actually, I was my own service dog in Iraq.

BM: I’m not sure I follow. What does that mean?

AL: When service dogs were first introduced into our military in World War II, we expected two things of them. Perfect and complete obedience. I was perfectly and completely obedient in Iraq. I was my own service dog.

BM: Is AB perfectly and completely obedient?

AL: No, fortunately.

BM: Why fortunately?

AL: One of the reasons we required perfect and complete obedience from our dogs in WWII was the nature of their missions.

BM: Which were?

AL: Well, nearly all involved great danger, from walking point on patrol, to sniffing out bombs, to ferrying courier pigeons and ammunition to beleaguered troops under fire, to running into bunkers with satchels of explosives hanging off their sides.

BM: You mean they were delivering explosives to frontline troops?

AL: Not quite.

BM: You don’t mean…

AL: Yes.

BM: But not all the dogs were used as suicide bombers, right? Some guarded depots and the like?

AL: That’s correct. Many dogs were used in other capacities.

BM: These dogs, where did they come from?

AL: The Army put a call out for dogs and thousands of American families offered their family pets up for conscription into the Army.

BM: You’re kidding. That actually sounds quaint.

AL: Well, from a certain perspective, it’s even noble and gallant. Many of the families loved their dogs immensely, no less than families today. To give up a pet was a sacrifice. It was a loved one. But the war effort was huge. We did everything the government asked of us: panty hose, rubber, aluminum, you name it.

BM: In their defense, the dog owners were probably thinking the dogs would be guarding ammunition depots, something fairly low key.

AL: I imagine you’re right.

BM: And would the dogs, those that survived, would they be returned to their families?

AL: Yes, that was part of the deal. You gave up your pet knowing that it was part of a war time effort and that bad things could happen but it was understood that, if at all possible, the pet would be returned to you.

BM: Now in subsequent wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, etc. we stopped conscripting the family pet from families, and started getting dogs from other sources. Why is that?

AL: Frankly, there are a number of reasons why the military no longer recruits the family pet for war duty. I mean, that just sounds crazy. One of the most significant reasons was all the concerned calls and letters from family members inquiring about the safety of their pets.

BM: Can you imagine if…

AL:  …it was cats instead of dogs?

BM: Precisely. All the cat lovers. It would be like, “Has Socks had his pre-afternoon pre-dinner catnap? He needs his naps if he’s going to be fully alert for patrol-along. “

AL: And think of the care packages.

BM: A deluge of catnip. It would overwhelm the system.

AL: No doubt.

BM: Okay, getting back to reasons why the military no longer enlists the family pet for war.

AL: Yes, another big reason was that many of the dogs that survived the war were unfit to be returned to their families.

BM: Why?

AL: Different reasons. Many had altered personalities from when they left home. Some had personality disorders. Some were passive and withdrawn. Others were hyperaggressive. Some had exaggerated startle responses, inappropriate responses. Pissing and shitting in strange places. Can I say that?

BM: Right, and if they were returned home, and they snapped at their owner, or Suzy, the girl next door, or they were depressed and withdrawn, or they started killing other dogs, it was like, how come our dog is a vicious killer now.

AL: Exactly, it became a public relations nightmare returning service dogs to their families all whacked out and dysfunctional.

BM: Too many questions, too many problems, too many concerned citizens. So what happened to the dogs, the dogs that were unfit to be returned?

AL: (Squeezes thumb to index and middle finger as though giving an injection)

BM: Of course. And that was World War II we’re talking about?

AL: That’s when it all started with the dogs.

BM: We’ve gone a little wide on the topic of dogs. It’s fascinating… and scary… and I’d like to return to it if we have time. But now I’d like to bring us to one of the reasons I wanted to bring you on the show, to talk about moral injury. For those out there that are unfamiliar with this idea, this concept, can you give us a brief rundown on moral injury?

AL:  I’ll do my best. Moral injury, with regard to veterans, and of course it’s not just soldiers in a warzone that can experience moral injury, but with regard to veterans, it has to do with having, with being haunted by experiences that challenged you to your core, that shattered or disordered your moral being.

BM:  I don’t mean to be glib, but it sounds like what you are describing is what the rest of us simply call a guilty conscience.

AL: I think the difference is that…well maybe you’re right. Certainly one of the core aspects of moral injury is tremendous guilt.

BM: Survivor guilt?

AL: That can be part of it.

BM: Now, I have to ask. Why have you been speaking out and writing out so extensively on this idea of moral injury?

AL: The primary reason is that it isn’t being talked about or addressed. When we talk about the psychological afflictions of war, everyone’s familiar with post-traumatic stress, but the term “moral injury” is not heard of. If I’m not mistaken, that’s why you brought me on your show.

BM: Go on.

AL: It’s what you may have witnessed over there. What you may have done. What you may have not done. We’re not necessarily only talking about bloody episodes unfolding before you, whether your own blood or someone else’s. It can be things you are unsure of. It can be the sound of something you hit on the road that you suspect might have been a person but you’re not sure and because you’re maybe part of a larger convoy you can’t stop to check one way or another so you put it out of your mind or it might be having to open a gate at a checkpoint to let in some young boys or girls that you know are being brought on base for sex but you may only suspect this without having hard proof so you just go along with it or it may be signing over a caseload or truckload or containerload of rifles, handguns, various weapons, to Iraqi security forces knowing that those rifles will likely be sold on the black market and used against you later down the road, but either way you can’t do anything about it, or it may be handling monetary transactions, high cash transactions, millions of dollars in shrink-wrapped bundles to private contractors that you may know or suspect are bogus, completely bogus, but there’s nothing you can do about it so you go along with it because everybody is just going along with it. It is frequently the case that soldiers suffer just as much from those actions they do not take, those actions they were unable to take, for whatever reason, as those things that they did.

BM: In years past, soldiers would just come home and they would just, for lack of a better word, they would just “suck it up.” Some of the criticism levied against this new wave of veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, your generation, is that you’re just not “sucking it up.”

AL: We’re not sucking it up, Bill, because it’s spilling out of us.

BM: But why do you think it is different now than in past wars?

AL: One, I’m not entirely sure things are so different. Things have been changing. Many veterans that returned home in previous generations–haunted and aggrieved and distressed–could justify their role in the war because on some level they felt that they had been serving their country, and it was that knowledge, that they had somehow been protecting their families, and their communities, that helped them gulp down their pain, suppress their guilt, and just soldier on, just get on with life. But, really, I think I’m talking nonsense. Look at our Vietnam vets. You’ve had some on this show. How are they doing? The truth is, humans have always been aggrieved about killing. Look at Ulysses. What did he do when he got home from war? He went berserk and killed a houseful of people.

BM: And with this generation that’s not the case. Why? Are you saying that in the case of the Iraq War…

AL: …Certainly there are some true believers out there, those that feel that any mission their government sends them on cannot be called into question, but I feel that the majority of us are disgusted with what we’ve seen and done. It’s common knowledge that the Iraq War was a complete debacle. It’s common knowledge that we were serving the interests of the military contractors–Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater–not the country as a whole. It’s common knowledge that this was a heist of our national treasury on an epic scale the likes of which has never before been seen. We may not yet have the language to articulate our disgust. We may not yet understand even to ourselves what it means to have been let down by our country, let down by our leaders, let down by our beliefs, let down by our ideals. But that is what is spilling out of us. That immense betrayal of trust. Many of us have been shaken to our core. That is what this country is now dealing with. We’re killing ourselves. Every day we’re killing ourselves. Every hour we’re killing ourselves.

(Long silence.)

BM: You walk the length of the Sandia Mountains every spring in honor, in memory of your commander, Colonel Ted Westhusing. It’s 26 miles over a mountain range. Tell me about him.

AL: Colonel Westhusing was my commander in Iraq. He graduated third in his class from West Point, Class of ‘83. He was one of our Army’s top ethicists, sorry, that’s hard to say, he had a PhD in philosophy. He was an Airborne Ranger. He ended his life in Iraq on June 5, 2005. He died of moral injury.

BM: But moral injury, we talked about that, it’s just guilt. How exactly does one die of guilt?

AL:  I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuses and liars. I am sullied—no more.

BM: What is that?

AL: Westhusing said that. Those were his last words. “I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuses and liars. I am sullied—no more.”

BM: What then?

AL: Then he shot himself.

BM: And you were a witness to the shooting?

AL: I wasn’t with him when he pulled the trigger, no. I was about 12 miles away.

BM:  But it still bothers you, deeply.

AL: Yes, it bothers me deeply that my commander shot himself in the head rather than continue with our mission.

BM: Did you ever see his body?

AL: No.

BM: Any blood?

AL: No.

BM: Did you get any blood on your uniform?

AL: No.

BM: It says in my notes that you were shot at accidentally at least once. What was that like?

AL: At the time, I didn’t think much of it. The bullet didn’t strike me so it was like, “No harm, no foul.” Things were very unsafe over there. We had a lot of accidental discharges.

BM: You were working primarily with Iraqi recruits, Iraqi soldiers?

AL: Living and working with the Iraqis, yes.

BM: You slept with a handgun under your pillow?

AL: Yes.

BM: And two AKs under your cot?

AL: Yes.

BM: But you were never shot at intentionally?

AL: No.

BM: These notes indicate that you were awarded the Bronze Star. How do you get the Bronze Star and not get shot at?

AL: Frankly, I think I was given the Bronze Star for not, you know.

BM: Like Westhusing?

AL: That’s right.

BM: It’s a little reminiscent of the Silver Star awarded to Pat Tillman.

AL: Right. We awarded Tillman a Silver Star for getting taken out by friendly fire, and I got a Bronze Star for not getting taken out by friendly fire. For not taking my own self out with friendly fire. All our veterans should be getting Bronze Stars for not killing themselves. We should all be getting medals for not killing ourselves. Weekly medals. Daily medals. I’m serious. That would at least get us out of the house.

BM: Okay, we’ve got just a little more time. I know you wanted to address a situation in your hometown of Albuquerque. You sent me a video. Let me just say, when I watched this video without volume, and knowing that you had sent it, I initially thought this was footage from Iraq or Afghanistan. It looked like, to me, with the rocky terrain and the assault rifles, it looked like an infantry squad gunning down, frankly, gunning down someone who appeared to be surrendering.

AL: It does look like a warzone, but believe it or not, that footage is from the Albuquerque Police Department from just a few weeks ago. They shot a homeless man six times or so in our nearby foothills, then bean bagged his ass, then set an attack dog on him.

BM: It is absolutely horrifying. How has the Department explained this? Is it just a few bad cops? What’s going on?

AL: We all want to think that, Bill. But the scary thing is, that video, the video you thought depicted a battlefield in Afghanistan, that was released voluntarily to the public by our Chief of Police, Gordon Eden, because he believed that the video demonstrates proportionate and justifiable force.

BM: But in the video it appears…for God’s sake, it looks like murder. It’s horrifying.

AL: I agree with you. It’s a video that none of us should be able to stomach. To get back to your question, here’s the thing. If the video is considered by the Police Chief as proportionate force, justifiable force, appropriate force, and the rest of us are gagging and throwing up because we’re watching someone get shot up like a tin can, then clearly there are problems.

BM: Either way, that kind of policing, I mean, you can’t even call that police work,  but whatever it is that is going on out there, it needs to change. What are your recommendations?

AL: It’s too much to go into here, but at a minimum, we’re asking for lapel cameras, for accountability, replacement of tinted windows, so officers can actually be seen by the public, so we can feel like they’re part of the community–not a menacing and hidden task force–and the replacement of Chief Eden. You know, there was a time you could wave to cops driving down the street.

BM: Because you could see them.

AL: In Albuquerque, they’re hidden behind dark tinted glass. It promotes an us/them mentality. Half the time you can’t even tell if there’s a person in there. It’s just spooky.

BM: It’s a bit ironic the name, no?

AL: You mean Eden?

BM: Right, because we associate Eden with paradise, and yet for you in Albuquerque…

AL: For us, it doesn’t feel so much like Eden.

BM: You’re fighting a police state, a militarized state.

AL: It does feel that way.

BM: Now, I’m not a fan of Ayn Rand…

AL: Neither am I…

BM: But there’s this great quote. She said, “We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.” Is that how you feel?

AL: That sounds super dramatic, but there’s probably some grains of truth in there. But I disagree that the stage of rule is by brute force. We are surprisingly complicit in the situation we find ourselves in. This might surprise you, but many people in our city agree with Chief Eden that the video depicts proportionate and judicious force.

BM: You’re kidding.

AL: No, in fact, there are people in your studio audience holding signs up to that effect. (Loud cheers and whistles from the audience members holding signs up to that effect.)

BM: I don’t normally say this, in fact, I don’t think I have ever said this, at least not on a show, but that is absolutely crazy. (Turns to audience.) Have you seen the video, people? What part of getting shot six times and bean bagged while turning away do you not understand? (Turns back to guest.) All other words fail me. Well, it looks like we’re running out of time, but I would like to touch upon one last thing. You have some writings on moral injury, entitled, A Captain’s Appeal: 6 Months of Letters to the VA. Is that available to the public?

AL: It’s out to publishers but so far no one has picked it up, so I’m considering self-publishing.

BM: Well, with your appearance on this show, hopefully that might change.  Would you consider returning?

AL: Where?

BM: To the show.

AL:  Yeah. Why not. Your audience is a little scary, but sure.

BM: That’s it then, we’ll do it. Thanks for joining me, Captain. It’s been a real pleasure. Good luck in getting your police chief replaced, Chief Paradise.

AL: Haha, exactly. Thanks for having me, Bill.

BM: I’ve been talking to former Army captain and Iraq veteran, Alex Limkin. You can learn more about his commander, Colonel Ted Westhusing, the memorial Skywalk across the Sandias, and the problems of a militarized police force at his blog site, WarriorsWithWesthusing.org.”

 

This piece was written by:

Alex Limkin's photoAlex Limkin

Alex Limkin served in Iraq with CTSO (Counter-Terror/Special Operations) under Colonel Ted Westhusing. He writes for the AlibiNew Mexico Compass, and blogs at WarriorsWithWesthusing.org. He is a founding member of the Bosque Action Team, a coalition of organizations and concerned citizens dedicated to conserving and protecting the Bosque. He runs a backcountry action and advocacy team for at-risk veterans, DVR-6. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son.

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Every day 22 veterans commit suicide.

A Former Army Ranger Copes with His Friends’ Suicides, and Asks What He Could Have Done to Help Them

9 HOURS AGO - BY TED JANIS

Every day 22 veterans commit suicide. Former Army Ranger Ted Janis struggles with the suicides of his own friends and affirms the role that veterans can play in helping each other.

I will never forget the first day I heard the Ranger Creed, the motto of the Army Rangers that every soldier learns by heart before joining the famed unit. It was the fall of 2006, and my class of United States Army officers, the first to have joined out of high school after the attacks of 9/11, was preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. The hallowed passage laid out what was expected of us in the years to come, as we fought in Anbar deserts and the labyrinth of Baghdad, battled from Pashtun poppy fields to the valleys of the Pech River. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the third stanza would forever haunt me: Never shall I fail my comrades. While tragic and testing, losing friends in combat was expected. It wasn’t until I had left the military and friends kept dying, taking their own lives, that I felt I failed.

On this past Veterans Day, I contemplated writing about the epidemic of veteran suicide, in honor of two friends. They had come home from fighting overseas and killed themselves. I decided against it. I did not want to darken their lives by bringing their deaths into the harsh glare of the media. I wanted to avoid causing any more pain to their grieving families, to avoid the renewed anguish that the sight of their names in print would bring.

Three weeks later, a third friend joined their ranks. Again, the pain was fresh and the shock numbing. And again the scouring for clues and agonizing over what I could have done.

This third friend and I had learned the Ranger Creed together all those years ago; then he went overseas and tested what it really meant. He served for six years before leaving the military and joining the civilian world. Wrestling with demons born in Afghanistan, he had lost his job, quarreled with his girlfriend and given away his dog. He hanged himself the day after Thanksgiving.

 

‘It wasn’t until I had left the military and friends kept dying, taking their own lives, that I felt I failed.’

 

As I called our veteran friends to tell them of his death, each of us tallied our number, calculating how many comrades had taken their own life. The reckoning was horrific.

The reasons behind an individual veteran’s suicide are unique, numerous and opaque. Yet one fact remains: an average of 22 former service members take their life every day. Most commentators take the government to task for this failure. They ask what the Department of Defense and the VA could be doing better, which is altogether fitting and proper. But, as we who served know, it is not only about them. Even the best bureaucracy, guided by the most enlightened policy, will never offer a complete solution. The government can do better but ultimately this is about us. We are the front line now, as we were in the wars of the past decade.

I know in my darkest moments I relied on my Army comrades. The military instilled in us a belief in the team—an ideal that we made real through the crucible of service and in our sacrifices for each other. Even out of uniform, those bonds remain.

The week after my friend’s funeral, I read David Brooks’ article on suicide in the New York Times where he describes Jennifer Michael Hecht’s book “Stay: A History of Suicides and the Philosophies Against It.” With my friend’s death still haunting me, one passage in particular stood out.

“Suicides happen in clusters, with one person’s suicide influencing the other’s. If a parent commits suicide, his or her children are three times as likely to do so at some point in their lives… People in the act of committing suicide may feel isolated, but, in fact, they are deeply connected to those around. As Hecht put it, if you want your niece to make it through her dark nights, you have to make it through yours.”

Or rather: if you want your Ranger buddy to survive, you have to accept help and fight through your own battles.

I have no training in psychology or therapy or counseling. Each suicide has their own reasons, and the turns of mind and depths of torment that bring people to this decision are beyond my understanding. The VA has a crucial role to play in providing adequate care and counseling to veterans, as does the active duty military whose soldiers at the unit level can form the front line in identifying those at risk and guide them to help. But there is a role for us as individuals also. Veterans who never shunned responsibility while in uniform and now, after returning home, when we thought the hardest battles had been fought, find that our duty continues. We, as a community, need to help stop this cycle.

And so, to my fellow veterans: Reach out. There is support waiting for your call. At my friend’s funeral, over twenty old Army buddies came to grieve, from New York City, West Point, D.C., Colorado, Tennessee. All of us would have done anything we could to have saved our friend. If only he had asked.

Westhusing’s Flaw

An Army psychologist concluded that Westhusing struggled with the idea that “monetary values could outweigh moral ones in war.” This, she said, was a flaw. 

——————————————————————————————————————

From T. Westhusing:

Among the 3,096 United States service personnel killed in Iraq is Col. Ted Westhusing.The U.S. Army’s top military ethicist and a full-time professor at West Point, Col. Westhusing volunteered for service in Iraq in order to better teach his cadet charges. He died on June 5, 2005, the victim of a gunshot wound to the head. In Iraq, Col. Westhusing was charged with oversight of the training of Iraq’s new security forces. Among his responsibilities were the investigation of reported contract irregularities by U.S. Investigations Services (USIS)and human rights abuses by its civilian employees. Once a federal agency, USIS became a privatized government contractor growing fat off the trough of Uncle Sam while executives lined their numbered Swiss bank accounts with big bucks off the American taxpayer. The average American would probably never guess who is a Big Time investor in USIS—The Carlyle Group.West Point professor dies in Iraq Army Col Theodore S. Westhusing44, of Dallas; assigned to the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.; serving with the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq; died June 5 of non-combat-related injuries in Baghdad.By Shaun SchaferAssociated PressTULSA, Okla. — A West Point professor who volunteered to serve in Iraq has been killed in action, family members said Monday.Col. Ted S. Westhusing, 45, was killed in action on Sunday, family members said Monday. They did not release specifics on how he was killed. Family members received official notification of the death from the military late Sunday.Westhusing, a 1979 graduate of Jenks High School, had doctorates in Russian, philosophy and military strategy, his eldest brother Tim Westhusing of Broken Arrow, said Monday.“He wanted to go over there and make things better,” Tim Westhusing said. “He has a wife and three children. He didn’t have to go…”SNIP…Westhusing graduated from West Point in 1983. He left for Iraq near the end of 2004 and was helping train the Iraqi army, working as counter-terrorism and special operations director under Lt. Gen. David Petraeus.CONTINUED…http://www.militarycity.com/valor/900007.html Some say he committed suicide, but those who know him best say the Colonel would never do that.One thing’s for certain: Col. Westhusing WAS bothered by certain companies making Big Bucks off the war in Iraq.A Journey That Ended in AnguishCol. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist who volunteered to go to Iraq, was upset by what he saw. His apparent suicide raises questions.by T. Christian MillerThe Los Angeles Times November 27th, 2005“War is the hardest place to make moral judgments.”- Col. Ted Westhusing, Journal of Military EthicsEXCERPT…Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army’s leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.So it was only natural that Westhusing acted when he learned of possible corruption by U.S. contractors in Iraq. A few weeks before he died, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that a private security company he oversaw had cheated the U.S. government and committed human rights violations. Westhusing confronted the contractor and reported the concerns to superiors, who launched an investigation.In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.SNIP…The colonel began to complain to colleagues about “his dislike of the contractors,” who, he said, “were paid too much money by the government,” according to one captain.”The meetings were never easy and always contentious. The contracts were in dispute and always under discussion,” an Army Corps of Engineers official told investigators.SNIP…“I heard something in his voice,” (his wife, recalling a phone conversation,) told investigators, according to a transcript of the interview. “In Ted’s voice, there was fear. He did not like the nighttime and being alone.”SNIP…”He was sick of money-grubbing contractors,” the official recounted. Westhusing said that “he had not come over to Iraq for this.”CONTINUED…http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=9312 Col. Westhusing wasn’t just any old officer. He was the U.S. Army’s top ethicist, a full-time professor at West Point, the United States Military Academy. Colleagues and comrades-in-arms are on-record as saying he was the last person they believed would ever take his own life.Something must have really bothered this man, for him to consider suicide.Perhaps there is something more sinister. Col. Westhusing is reported to have expressed concerns for his life. I’m not sure if it’s mere coincidence that his bodyguard was off on a week’s worth of R&R when the shooting occurred.A few prominent members of the Carlyle Group…Pentagon, Inc. Lambert at Corrente points out the dearth of military honor in Iraq, replaced by profit motive. Quoting from an L.A. Times piece,

    (Col. Ted) Westhusing, 44 was one of the Army’s leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.

In Iraq, Col. Westhusing encountered the sort of corruption we’ve all been talking about since the first bombs dropped.

    So it was only natural that Westhusing acted when he learned of possible corruption by U.S. contractors in Iraq. … Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that a private security company he oversaw had cheated the U.S. government and committed human rights violations. Westhusing confronted the contractor and reported the concerns to superiors, who launched an investigation.In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.In January, Westhusing began work on what the Pentagon considered the most important mission in Iraq: training Iraqi forces to take over security duties from U.S. troops.Westhusing’s task was to oversee a private security company, Virginia-based USIS, which had contracts worth $79 million to train a corps of Iraqi police to conduct special operations.

Carlyle Group = George H.W. Bush, plus other Establishment luminaries, always perfectly placed to profit from war.

    In May, Westhusing received an anonymous four-page letter that contained detailed allegations of wrongdoing by USIS.The writer accused USIS of deliberately shorting the government on the number of trainers to increase its profit margin. More seriously, the writer detailed two incidents in which USIS contractors allegedly had witnessed or participated in the killing of Iraqis. (Hmmm; reminds me of CACI)In a second incident, the letter says, a USIS employee saw Iraqi police trainees kill two innocent Iraqi civilians, then covered it up. A USIS manager “did not want it reported because he thought it would put his contract at risk.”SNIP…About 1 p.m., a USIS manager went looking for Westhusing because he was scheduled for a ride back to the Green Zone. After getting no answer, the manager returned about 15 minutes later. Another USIS employee peeked through a window. He saw Westhusing lying on the floor in a pool of blood.The manager rushed into the trailer and tried to revive Westhusing. The manager told investigators that he picked up the pistol at Westhusing’s feet and tossed it onto the bed.“I knew people would show up,” that manager said later in attempting to explain why he had handled the weapon. “With 30 years from military and law enforcement training, I did not want the weapon to get bumped and go off.”

Sure thing, buddy.

    After a three-month inquiry, investigators declared Westhusing’s death a suicide. A test showed gunpowder residue on his hands. A shell casing in the room bore markings indicating it had been fired from his service revolver.Then there was the note.Investigators found it lying on Westhusing’s bed. The handwriting matched his.Most of the letter is a wrenching account of a struggle for honor in a strange land.“I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied,” it says. “I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.“Death before being dishonored any more.”

CONTINUED…http://adreampuppet.blogspot.com/2005_11_01_adreampuppe… MI Complex makes money off of war. Hmmm. What name immediately jumps to mind?Of curse, the Bush Family Evil Empire also kills members of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, the United States Air Force, the United States Coast Guard and just about every other service, agency and arm of We the People for profit. “Hey!” Poppy Doc and Baby Doc Bush and their cronies say, “It’s your duty.” They think we are nothing more than their cannon fodder. Gee. That’s how kings and NAZIs think, not American Presidents and real Americans. Real Americans think all people are created equal and have equal rights under the law, especially in times of war.<!– google_ad_section_end –> Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Topfooj (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 12:49 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>1. Know your BFEE.<!– google_ad_section_end –>All in the family. Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 01:18 AM Response to Reply #1<!– google_ad_section_start –>5. Hey, Smirko! DU’s on to your gangster ass!<!– google_ad_section_end –>Know your BFEE: War Profiteers“George Bush is a satanic, sadistic, brutal monster.Compared to George Bush, Adolf Hitler was a true gentleman.”– Michael Boren Williams, former Campaign Manager for Senator Gary Hart and Bush murder attempt victim.Beware the Bush Family Evil Empire. Despite what their fine PR agencies say about a “culture of life,” these people make money off of death. It’s nothing personal – it’s strictly business. In World War I, a Bush was head of the Ordnance, Small Arms and Ammunition section of the War Industries Board. GOOGLE SAMUEL-PRESCOTT-BUSH for more. The Bush Empirehttp://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:Jwa-0s82ragJ:www.new… Of course, these predecessors of what today is termed the BFEE – the owners and operators of the Global Military-Intelligence-Industrial-Financial Complex – helped bring about World War II by helping arm Hitler:Timeline of Treason: The Bush Family Connections to the Nazis http://www.country-liberal-party.com/pages/Bush-Nazi-li… … From: http://www.spiritone.com/~gdy52150/timeline.htmlDuring Vietnam, the nation’s military industrial complex helped heat up the Cold War, all around the world. From…Africa.The Angolan Civil War and U.S. Policyhttp://www.globalpolicy.org/empire/history/2002/0413ang… During the Cold War, they backed Team B and those intelligence analysts who called the Soviet Union a colossus ready to destroy America, even when knowing the USSR was bankrupt and corrupt.Team B: The Trillion Dollar Experiment http://www.thebulletin.org/article.php?art_ofn=apr93cahReflections on the GAO Triad Report on the Nuclear Triadhttp://www.calpoly.edu/~dhafemei/triaddh.htmlBFEE underlings like un-Admirable Poindexter and the Traitor Oliver North dealt with the terrorist loving Ayatollah Khomeini (bankrolled the murder of 241 US service members in Beirut) while helping arm Saddam Hussein during Iran-Iraq war.The crisis in Washington: what history tells ushttp://www.wsws.org/news/1998/apr1998/scan-a4.shtmlGave green light to Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait, then declared war on the guy, even though he said he’d withdraw from Kuwait. Excerpts From Iraqi Document on Meeting with U.S. Envoyhttp://www.dvmx.com/glaspie.htmlBFEE-linked turds like Richard “PNAC” Perle are friends with Iran-Contra/October Surprise Action Figure Adnan Khashoggi (who even turns up in Selection 2000, but that’s another story).Lunch with the Chairmanhttp://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030317fa_factBFEE, likewise, has its mits in money to be made off of the Iraq war. The little turd from Crawford had the gall to warn other countries off of the idea of making money off rebuilding and looting Iraq: “If you don’t send troops, you can’t expect to do bidniss.”Nader: Bush family profited from Iraq Warhttp://www.washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20050224-05… The Smoking Gun? Oil in Iraq as a Motive for War.http://www.threemonkeysonline.com/threemon_articlesmoki… Now where does that leave us today? The BFEE really are – not the nation’s super-wealthy – but the world’s super-wealthy: The Military-Industrial Complex, Wall Street, the Petro-States, the NAZIs, the Mafia, Drugs, Inc., and assorted scum who give satan worshippers a bad name, the BFEE really don’t care what happens to the world and its people, as long as they got theirs.A Government of Thieveshttp://www.e-book.com.au/electionspecial04.htmEver hear of the Carlyle Group? The Bushes and the bin Ladens BANKED there, together – investing MILLIONS we know about, the tip of what Greg Palast calls the cashberg:Bush Watch: Bush Moneyhttp://www.bushnews.com/bushmoney.htmhttp://www.gregpalast.com /Thanks, fooj! Appreciate your friendship and all you do to get the truth out to We the People.Original DU Thread with loads of excellent responses…http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph… Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

babylonsister (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 12:50 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>2. Thank you, octafish. Because I know better, I really wonder.<!– google_ad_section_end –> Gawd, this makes me ill. Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 01:23 AM Response to Reply #2<!– google_ad_section_start –>6. You’re welcome, babylonsister. What Nietzsche said…<!– google_ad_section_end –>…helps me focus:“When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” — Friedrich NietzscheMonstrous to contemplate, their crimes and murders and treasons are so many that we need computers to just number them.Thanks for caring, babylonsister. Truly appreciate all you do.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

H2O Man (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 08:54 AM Response to Reply #6<!– google_ad_section_start –>14. Good quote.<!– google_ad_section_end –>Great thread. Thank you.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

bridgit (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 02:12 PM Response to Reply #6<!– google_ad_section_start –>28. yep, enter the heart of darkness…<!– google_ad_section_end –>Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Straight Shooter (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 12:56 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>3. A man like Westhusing would not kill himself. It would go completely against his grain.<!– google_ad_section_end –>It would absolutely violate his sense of honor, duty, and ethics. He would never abandon his family, nor his country.We all know to whom the modus operandi of “unexplained suicide” is a tried-and-true standby.Thank you, Octafish, for relentlessly shedding light on the darkness which threatens to overtake our country, if not the world.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 01:33 AM Response to Reply #3<!– google_ad_section_start –>7. Agree 100 percent, Straight Shooter. Here’s the Army’s spin…<!– google_ad_section_end –>Col. Westhusing was due home in three weeks. He told others he was worried for his personal safety. He was shocked at what he discovered, but could not talk about. His bodyguard was relieved just when he needed him most. So, of course the Pentagon said he was not going nuts, just thinking too rigidly.Patriots and profiteers: the case of Ted WesthusingDecember 02, 2005Journalist John Rapley has an important insight on the rise of Private military companies:

    Scholars have been watching Iraq carefully as a test-case for what many see as a new form of warfare. Up until the late eighteenth century, fighting in Europe had been a business. Noblemen ran mercenary armies whose services they would sell to kingdoms whenever the latter went to war. But in the nationalist period – widely seen to have begun in the French Revolution – things changed. A new doctrine emerged. It held that armies should henceforth be patriotic. That is to say, they would be drawn from among the citizens of the nation, who should be motivated by duty rather than profit. (Jamaica Gleaner)

Rapley notes the recent death of Colonel Ted Westhusing, a soldier and scholar who had written about military honour, and who had been assigned to oversee a private military company. The Los Angeles Times has more on the case:

    A psychologist reviewed Westhusing’s e-mails and interviewed colleagues. She concluded that the anonymous letter had been the “most difficult and probably most painful stressor.”She said that Westhusing had placed too much pressure on himself to succeed and that he was unusually rigid in his thinking. Westhusing struggled with the idea that monetary values could outweigh moral ones in war. This, she said, was a flaw.”Despite his intelligence, his ability to grasp the idea that profit is an important goal for people working in the private sector was surprisingly limited,” wrote Lt. Col. Lisa Breitenbach. “He could not shift his mind-set from the military notion of completing a mission irrespective of cost, nor could he change his belief that doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do should be the sole motivator for businesses.” (La Times)

SOURCE:http://tomgriffin.typepad.com/the_green_ribbon/2005/12/… The Lt. Col.above sure knows what side of the bread gets the MI Complex butter. For the lesser spirited, to get along, they gotta go along.Thanks for giving a damn, Straight Shooter. Really appreciate all you do.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Karenina (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 05:56 AM Response to Reply #7<!– google_ad_section_start –>9. “This, she said, was a flaw.”<!– google_ad_section_end –>Pardon me, I think I’m gonna Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Straight Shooter (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 10:44 AM Response to Reply #7<!– google_ad_section_start –>19. I will always give a damn about people like Westhusing, Octafish.<!– google_ad_section_end –>This case really bothers me. It’s much worse than the Pat Tillman “friendly fire” incident, which I also find suspicious. There is nothing quite like the theater of war to cover up crimes, especially when it is one individual homicide at a time.Breitenbach may well learn what little use money is one day, if poetic justice ever comes knocking on her door.The thanks goes to you, Octafish, for all you do. Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

countmyvote4real (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 01:18 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>4. Where is the ‘in the pocket’ MSM on this story?<!– google_ad_section_end –>Safely hidden ‘in the pocket.’Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 01:37 AM Response to Reply #4<!– google_ad_section_start –>8. Certainly haven’t been too many reports…<!– google_ad_section_end –>Edited on Mon Feb-05-07 01:40 AM by Octafish…Going by how few people I know who’ve even heard of Col. Westhusing it’s a good bet ABCNNBCBSFixedNoiseNutwork and NYTWaPoTribGannett haven’t been doing much real journalism these days.Here’s what passes for news:Washington Whispers USN&WRAlmost as Good as Being in BaghdadWhen Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus got the Iraq assignment, it meant another star, and his wife had a very special plan. The daughter of a four-star herself, she’d pin her dad’s fourth star on her hubby. One prob: The change-of-command ceremony happens in Baghdad. Well, thanks to a suggestion from the previous Iraq team of Gens. John Abizaid and George Casey, Petraeus has crafted a pretty good backup plan: a video link of the promotion ceremony, the morning of the change of command, with his family back home. “They can share the occasion,” Petraeus tells us, “and that will be nice.”http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/whispers/articles… Of course, Gen. Petraeus, briefed about what Col. Westhusing found, was later surprised to hear he was mentioned in the alleged suicide note.EDIT: Forgot to say, “Thanks, countmyvote4real!” Really appreciate you caring and all you do to get the word out about these traitors.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

blm (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 12:27 PM Response to Reply #4<!– google_ad_section_start –>23. They always fail to give coverage to BushInc’s underlying crime network.<!– google_ad_section_end –>This is standard procedure for them.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

rman (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 06:51 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>10. k&r<!– google_ad_section_end –> Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 07:33 PM Response to Reply #10<!– google_ad_section_start –>32. From Afghanistan to Iraq: Connecting the Dots with Oil<!– google_ad_section_end –>All the oil in the world isn’t worth one human life.From Afghanistan to Iraq: Connecting the Dots with OilAn in-depth look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the events leading up to them, and the players who made them possible. By Richard W. Behan, AlterNetPosted on February 5, 2007, Printed on February 5, 2007In the Caspian Basin and beneath the deserts of Iraq, as many as 783 billion barrels of oil are waiting to be pumped. Anyone controlling that much oil stands a good chance of breaking OPEC’s stranglehold overnight, and any nation seeking to dominate the world would have to go after it.The long-held suspicions about George Bush’s wars are well-placed. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were not prompted by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. They were not waged to spread democracy in the Middle East or enhance security at home. They were conceived and planned in secret long before September 11, 2001 and they were undertaken to control petroleum resources.The “global war on terror” began as a fraud and a smokescreen and remains so today, a product of the Bush Administration’s deliberate and successful distortion of public perception. The fragmented accounts in the mainstream media reflect this warping of reality, but another more accurate version of recent history is available in contemporary books and the vast information pool of the Internet. When told start to finish, the story becomes clear, the dots easier to connect.Both appalling and masterful, the lies that led us into war and keep us there today show the people of the Bush Administration to be devious, dangerous and far from stupid.The following is an in-depth look at the oil wars, the events leading up to them, and the players who made them possible.http://www.alternet.org/story/47489 /Thanks, rman! Appreciate very much you giving a damn.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

OmmmSweetOmmm (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 08:11 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>11. Thank you Octafish for bringing this to the light of DU. I didn’t know about this.<!– google_ad_section_end –>Another brave person suicided… Of course recommended.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 11:13 PM Response to Reply #11<!– google_ad_section_start –>35. Col. Westhusing was an expert on military ethics — the furthest thing from Bushco possible.<!– google_ad_section_end –>Col. Westhusing also was concerned about privatization of jobs once performed by the military:An American Death: Col. Ted WesthusingRJ EskowHuffingtonPost.comThe apparent suicide of Col. Ted Westhusing, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, resonates with loss, tragedy, and meaning. He was a professional ethicist, specializing in the concept of a soldier’s honor, who was assigned to supervise a civilian military contractor in Iraq. Col. Westhusing saw everything he believed in trashed by civilian leadership that understood neither ethics nor honor, under a Republican government that disrespects and mistreats its military.Sound like a facile interpretation? Then listen to the facts.Westhusing, reports the Times, “was one of the Army’s leading scholars of military ethics … His dissertation (for a Ph.D. in philosophy) was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.” Once in Iraq, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that the contractor he oversaw, USIS, had been cheating the government – and that it concealed gross human rights violations to protect its contracts. Writes the Times:

    “In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.”

CONTINUED…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/an-american-deat… This throws into a new light the reports of Halliburton and friends charging the Pentagon $45 for a case of soda pop and who knows how much for what else.Thank you for caring, OmmmSweetOmmm. Thanks also for all you do to oppose these traitors.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

conscious evolution (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 08:16 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>12. K & R<!– google_ad_section_end –>More must read Octafish.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreTue Feb-06-07 12:08 AM Response to Reply #12<!– google_ad_section_start –>37. The Bush Family’s War Profiteering<!– google_ad_section_end –>Thanks, my Friend. Here’s a bit of light on a few other members of the Family:The Bush Family’s War ProfiteeringWritten by Administrator Thursday, 24 February 2005 The extent of Iraq contracts going to corporations which involve members of President George W. Bush’s family is widespread and extensive involving hundreds of millions of dollars. Often these firms receive contracts where the corporations have no expertise and certainly the Bush family members have no expertise or experience in these areas. It is a world not of know how but of know who, marinated in campaign contributions. It seems like Bush family and friends are trading on their relationship to the President. The matrix of government contracts and Bush related corporations invites further investigation by the media and Congress – inquiries that are long overdue.Below are examples of Bush Family members who have profited from the war and occupation of Iraq. These issues have not been examined or reported by the mainstream media. Neil Mallon Bush the younger brother of the President, infamous for his involvement in the Silverado S and L scandal, has been hired by Crest Investment Company as a consultant for $60,000 per year to assist with their efforts to serve as a middleman to advise other companies that seek taxpayer-financed business in Iraq. Working with Crest puts Neil Bush at the center of multiple organizations profiting from the war and occupation in close alliance with long-term Bush Family allies. SNIP…William H.T. (“Bucky”) Bush, an uncle of George W. Bush, joined the board of directors of the St. Louis based company Engineered Support Systems in March 2000. (See: http://www.engineeredsupport.com /) Bucky Bush was one the Bush “Pioneers,” the campaign contributors who raised more than $100,000 in the 2000 presidential election. Engineered Support Systems has three areas: light military support equipment, heavy military support equipment, and electronics/automation systems. Since 2000, following the presidential election and the 9-11 attacks, the company’s federal contracts, revenues and its stock value have all gone up. Engineered Support Systems has been in the top 100 contractors with the DoD since 2001. It’s contracts with the U.S. military have totaled over $1 billion. SNIP…Marvin P. Bush, the youngest brother of George W. Bush, shares an interest in federal contracts held by companies in his firm’s portfolio. Marvin Bush is also an adviser at HCC Insurance, formerly called the Houston Casualty Company, one of the biggest insurance carriers for the World Trade Center. Bush was a director at HCC, which has benefited financially from the 9-11 insurance bailout legislation passed by Congress at the instigation of the White House. The departure of Marvin from the HCC board was announced the same day, November 22, 2002, as the passage of the bill.SNIP…http://www.democracyrising.us/content/view/57/81 / Thank you, conscious evolution for caring, and for all you do to fight these treasonous warmongers.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

conscious evolution (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreTue Feb-06-07 07:34 AM Response to Reply #37<!– google_ad_section_start –>46. no problem octafish<!– google_ad_section_end –>Have you ever looked into the bfee involvment in State Street Bank?Acording to a couple of other DUers they are supposed to be a very bushy bank.Definitely worthy of your attention.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

mod mom (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 08:51 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>13. I remember hearing this on AAR, but never knew about the privatized USIS w ties<!– google_ad_section_end –>to The caryle Group.There can not be an honorable man/woman who supports these evil bastards! This is such a horrible story. They squash honorable men, like Col Westhusen, with no remorse. His final note:“I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied,” it says. “I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.“Death before being dishonored any more.”How heart wrenching. This is what McCain and other Republicans support? Shame on them.Thanks Octafish for these EXCELLENT posts. I share these with my networks. I also post this information w links on different OH political blogs, so that it reaches more people. I really think you should write a book. Two words, my friend: Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreTue Feb-06-07 12:25 AM Response to Reply #13<!– google_ad_section_start –>39. Bush Sr lobbies China for Citigroup (with Carlyle) bid<!– google_ad_section_end –>It gets worse. The Bush Family Evil Empire ISAmerica’s foothold in China:Bush Sr lobbies China for Citigroup bidFormer US president George Bush has pressed Beijing to support a bid by a consortium to purchase a stake in the country’s Guangdong Development Bank.A consortium, led by Citibank and including venture capital firm the Carlyle Group, is keen to buy a 24.1 billion yuan ($3 billion) share of the bank, the Chinese 21st Century Business Herald reports.If ministers in Beijing approve the deal, the consortium will own 85 per cent of the troubled Guangdong Development Bank. Current Chinese rules state that no single foreign investor can own more than 20 per cent of any domestic bank and there is a 25 per cent cap on combined foreign investment.George Bush Senior addressed a letter to the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs, stating: “On my personal behalf, I vigorously ask the Chinese government to support the US companies’ efforts to buy into Guangdong Development Bank. “I sincerely believe that the deal would be conducive to the overall development of the Sino-US relationship.”CONTINUED… http://www.bobsguide.com/guide/news/12910.html Guess which bid got the bank?Thank you for understanding, Mod Mom. I am honored you share the truth about these gangsters.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

wildbilln864 (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 09:22 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>15. Another excellent post Octafish!<!– google_ad_section_end –>Thanks! Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreTue Feb-06-07 12:32 AM Response to Reply #15<!– google_ad_section_start –>40. Dick Cheney: War Profiteer<!– google_ad_section_end –>These guys are the worst. They are warmongers:Dick Cheney: War ProfiteerPosted on Friday, November 18 @ 09:38:22 ESTTom Turnipseed, Common DreamsQuestions persist about Vice-President Cheney’s role in the ongoing investigation and scandal swirling about the White House. His chief of staff and confidante Lewis “Scooter” Libby has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. Let’s take a look at some personal incentives for Cheney’s selling war to our country.Cheney has pursued a political and corporate career to make himself very rich and powerful. He is the personification of a war profiteer who slid through the revolving door connecting the public and private sectors of the defense establishment on two occasions in a career that has served his relentless quest for power and profits.As Defense Secretary, Mr. Cheney commissioned a study for the U.S. Department of Defense by Brown and Root Services (now Kellogg, Brown and Root), a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton. The study recommended that private firms like Halliburton should take over logistical support programs for U.S. military operations around the world. Just two years after he was Secretary of Defense, Cheney stepped through the revolving door linking the Department of Defense with defense contractors and became CEO of Halliburton. Halliburton was the principal beneficiary of Cheney’s privatization efforts for our military’s logistical support and Cheney was paid $44 million for five year’s work with them before he slipped back through the revolving door of war profiteering to become Vice-President of the United States. When asked about the money he received from Halliburton, Cheney said. “I tell you that the government had absolutely nothing to do with it.”The Bush administration has dished out lucrative reconstruction contracts in Iraq to favored U.S. based corporations including Halliburton and denied contracts to many Iraqi and foreign based companies. To the conquerors go the spoils was the message on December 11, 2003 when Bush said, “The taxpayers understand why it makes sense for countries that risk lives to participate in the contracts in Iraq, It’s very simple. Our people risk their lives, friendly coalition folks risk their lives, and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that.”Bush’s statement is a stunning admission of how much corrupt corporations control our foreign policy. Under Cheney’s leadership Halliburton out did Enron in using offshore subsidiaries as tax shelters to hide profits to bilk U.S. taxpayers. Halliburton also utilized off-shore subsidiaries to contract for services and sell banned equipment to rogue states like Iran, Iraq and Libya. This would be illegal if done directly by Halliburton.SNIP…Halliburton has been more closely associated with the invasion of Iraq than any other corporation. Before the Iraq War began, it was 19th on the U.S. Army’s list of top contractors and zoomed to number 1 in 2003. In 2003 Halliburton made $4.2 billion from the U.S. government. Cheney stated he had , “severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest.”SNIP…Calling on Cheney to sever his financial ties to Halliburton, Lautenberg points out that the company has already raked in more than $10 billion for work in Iraq, and was handed some of the first Katrina contracts. The company has been criticized by auditors for its handling of no-bid contacts in Iraq, and there have been numerous allegations of over charging for services. Auditors found the firm marked up meal prices for troops and inflated gas prices in a deal with a Kuwaiti supplier. The company also built the American prison at Guantanamo Bay. Lautenberg said, “It is unseemly for the Vice President to continue to benefit from this company at the same time his Administration funnels billions of dollars to it.”CONTINUED…Source: Common Dreamshttp://www.commondreams.org/views05/1117-22.htmThanks for the kind words, wildbilln864. Thanks also for all you do to spread the word on these bedwetting merchants of death.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

lonestarnot (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreMon Feb-05-07 09:25 AM Response to Original message<!– google_ad_section_start –>16. Bloody bushitler!<!– google_ad_section_end –>Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Octafish (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreTue Feb-06-07 12:43 AM Response to Reply #16<!– google_ad_section_start –>42. The Carlyle Group: Crony Capitalism without Borders<!– google_ad_section_end –>The writer asks, “How much are you making on the war, Daddy?”Dick Cheney and the Self-Licking Ice Cream ConeThe Carlyle Group: Crony Capitalism without Bordersexcerpted from the bookHow Much Are You Making On The War Daddy?A Quick and Dirty Guide to War Profiteering in the Bush Administration by William D. HartungNation Books, 2003, paperEXCERPT…p27The revolving door between the government and weapons contractors isn’t new, but it has reached new heights (monetarily) and depths (ethically), in recent years. Cheney’s relationship with Halliburton is a perfect case study of all that is wrong with the relationship between our democratic form of government and the corporations that finance our elections and feed at the government trough on a daily basis.p29Halliburton’s biggest “cash cow” during his tenure was definitely in the area of military support services, and the company’s ability to earn so much in this area was directly tied to a decision Cheney had made back when he was secretary of defense in the first Bush administration. It was under Cheney’s watch that the decision was made to privatize not only specific services in support of U.S. troops overseas-such as food services, or doing the laundry, or repairing vehicles-but to privatize the actual planning process that went into providing logistics for U.S. troops when they had to be sent into an inhospitable foreign hot spot on short notice.In 1992, near the end of Cheney’s tenure as defense secretary, Halliburton won a contract from the U.S. Army’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), which P.W. Singer has described as a deal to “work with the military in planning the logistical side of contingency operations.” Singer notes that “it was the first time the U.S. military had ever contracted such global planning to a private organization.” In a pattern that would mark both Halliburton’s and Cheney’s business paths, the firm got the LOGCAP contract after conducting a top secret $3.9 million report for the Pentagon on how private companies could essentially provide the bulk of the logistics involved in major U.S. contingency deployments, from transportation and base-building to cooking the food and doing the laundry. The initial study contract called for a plan for how a private company could bear the bulk of the logistical burden for deploying 20,000 troops to 5 separate bases overseas within a 1 80-day period. Later in the year, Halliburton got a $5 million follow-on study contract to outline how a private firm might supply logistics for a series of more specific contingencies. By the end of the year, Halliburton had been selected to receive a five-year contract to be the U.S. Army’s “on call” private logistics arm.The work started almost immediately. Halliburton was called upon to provide support services for U.S. forces deployed to Somalia as part of “Operation Restore Hope,” an operation that began at the end of the Bush administration and carried over into the first Clinton term. As Singer notes, “Brown and Root employees arrived in Mogadishu just 24 hours after the first U.S. troops arrived and stayed until the final withdrawal in March 1995, when its employees left with the last U.S. marines.” The company did everything from hiring local women to hand wash Army laundry to importing “a mortician to clean up the bodies of killed UN peacekeepers before shipping them out of the country.” Singer notes that for a good portion of its time in country, Halliburton was “the largest employer in Somalia, with some 2,500 local employees.”The Somalia operation led to additional, more limited work on behalf of smaller U.S. deployments to Rwanda and Haiti. But the big payoff came in the Balkans, where Halliburton’s Brown and Root Services unit started out supplying logistical support for Operation Deny Flight, the United Nations-mandated no-fly zone in Bosnia, and ended up building and operating bases and refugee camps in Croatia, Bosnia, and, most lucratively of all, in KOSOVO. The firm’s Balkan adventures started during the same year that Cheney took over as CEO of the company, and accounted for a good deal of the company’s growth on the military side of its operations during his five-year tenure at the head of the firm.The Army contract to provide logistical support for 20,000 U.S. troops deployed as part of the NATO IFOR forces in Bosnia came in at a cool $546 million, and it resulted in Halliburton doing work on behalf of U.S. and allied forces in Hungary, Bosnia, and Croatia. Just as it seemed that Halliburton had struck pure gold, there was a setback in 1997 when the company lost in its bid to renew its overall LOGCAP contract with the Army to a competitor, DynCorp, who had underbid them for the next round of work. But the sting was taken out of the loss when the Army decided to remove the BaIkans work from the larger LOGCAP contract, allowing Halliburton to go full speed ahead on its lucrative support operations there.The Bosnia work set the stage for an even bigger role for Halliburton in Kosovo, where the company was involved in everything from building make-shift refugee quarters to building two major Army bases from scratch. The company’s contract for its first year in Kosovo alone ballooned from the base level fee of $180 million to $1 billion. During its first three months in Kosovo alone, Singer reports that the company did the following: “built 192 barracks . . . thirteen helipads, two aviation-maintenance facilities, twelve mess-kitchen dining facilities, two large base dining facilities, and 37 temporary bathing facilities,” even as it was delivering over I million meals, providing more than 55 million gallons of water, supplying over 383,000 gallons of diesel fuel, collecting over 89,000 cubic meters of trash, and loading and off-loading over 4,200 containers with needed supplies.Halliburton’s growth under Cheney’s leadership is nothing compared to what it has done since he became vice president. In 2001, it won back the Army’s LOGCAP contract, just in time to cash in on the logistical bonanza involved in providing facilities and provisions for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, and all the other far-flung outposts of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism. The company is also in charge of making the cages used to house Taliban members and terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A late August 2003 analysis in the Washington Post estimated that Halliburton had raked in $1.7 billion in military contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond since the start of the Bush administration. The company’s biggest prize-which it was awarded on a no-bid basis by the Army Corps of Engineers after Halliburton officials had helped the Defense Department write the specs for the contract-was an open-ended, two year contract worth up to $7 billion for putting out oil fires and repairing oil infrastructure in Iraq.It was only after dogged questioning from Rep. Henry Waxman that it was revealed that the no-bid Halliburton contract was not merely for putting out oil fires, but for rebuilding and operating Iraq’s extensive oil infrastructure.Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

lonestarnot (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreTue Feb-06-07 05:26 AM Response to Reply #42<!– google_ad_section_start –>44. kickiing!<!– google_ad_section_end –>Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

Swamp Rat (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | IgnoreTue Feb-06-07 05:32 AM Response to Reply #44<!– google_ad_section_start –>45. Same here!<!– google_ad_section_end –> Printer Friendly | Permalink | | Top

 

lonestarnot (1000+ posts) Send

Mexican Gray Wolf to be de-listed by U.S. Fish and Game: Not protectable

Went to the wolf meeting and I want to take this opportunity to recognize the bravery and courage of all those working at building bridges of understanding where there are none. We can not give in to pessimism. We must continue to believe in the power of bridges of understanding to bear the weight of the world. To the guy who ran the meeting, who hired a bunch of cops to line the walls, who threatened to throw us out if we didn’t shut up and listen, who got the cops to harass me for having AB, who then tried to make up with me by telling me, hey, i’m a veteran, too, your tactics worked. I left the meeting early and I’m not planning on going to any more meetings in the future. What I meant to say into the record, but did not have the chance to, is that I am sorry we live in such a violent and bloodthirsty and profitobsessed place that we can see no other species as having similar value as our own and that we can only seem to think in terms of money. It is not the death of the cow, it is not the frantic clawing of her hooves and her desperate scramble across a shallow stream and how another wolf was already in front of her where there had been no wolf before and by the time she cobbled up against the stones and was preparing to bring her legs in so she could kick back the second wolf was already on her haunches and a fourth, where did the fourth come from? was it from the side or at the udders? No, it is not any of this.
It is the economic impact of the death of the cow. That is what scares me. It is the lack of heart, the disdain, the contempt, the willful ignorance. That is why I can’t attend any more of your hearings. And why I have to sit here and just breathe
for a minute. -Alex Limkin

I have been invited to speak at North Valley Senior Center about RGV and I’m going to do it

There has been a lot going on. One, I’ve been trying to keep up with a fast moving baby. Two, I moved in with my parents, which even though is a small house is better for me and has a larger yard, etc. Three, I’ve been continuing to devote myself to the Rio Grande Bosque, a narrow stretch of woods and river running through the heart of Albuquerque, which is now threatened by the City.
But I am finally taking a moment to catch my breath and announce some exciting news. I have been invited by the North Valley Coalition to speak publicly at the North Valley Senior Center this Thursday. I will be part of a panel discussion and will be talking specifically about the importance of green space and wilderness in the lives of veterans, the need to proceed with an abundance of caution when altering a wildlife refuge, and the multiple failures taking place at command levels within the City of Albuquerque with regard to their plans (See Rio Grande Vision) to develop and commercialize the Bosque that is reminiscent of the multiple failures that took place with regard to our country’s invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Specifically, I will be drawing parallels between the bad intelligence that is informing both actions, and the inability of officers on the ground to be heard by politicians and bureacrats back in the rear. (Just as the city politicians are turning a blind eye to the intel that the citizens on the ground in Albuquerque are providing them: See thousands of individual petitions, see thousands of individual letters, see thousands of online signatures and comments from Albuquerque asking that the Bosque be preserved and protected: http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-richard-berry-and-albuquerque-city-council-keep-the-rio-grande-bosque-wild)
Just as we were fed a boatload of crap about Saddam cooking up white phosphorus grenades on his kitchen stove, and other chemical wonders in the basement, and nuclear bangalore torpedoes in the nursery, so here we are getting a load of crap intel with regard to the Bosque.
The landscape architecture firm (Kekker Perich Sabatinihired by the Mayor to come up with a plan of development in the Bosque is asserting that the Bosque, in its current form, is “underutilized.” They assert in their documents, available on their project website that the Rio Grande river is “out of sight and out of mind.” This is bad intel. Their solution is even worse: development, development, development. In a wildlife refuge? Could we kick out own ass any harder, I don’t think so.
A massive outpouring of community resistance (see Bosque Action Team, see multiple Op-Eds http://www.abqjournal.com/267350/news/bosque-plan-depends-on-details.html, see attendance of Sept. 4 Town Hall Meeting numbering in the hundreds, see New Mexico in Focus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6Kne3Ox2CI) see Rio Grande Bosque facebook page that I got started and which now has nearly 4,000 followers https://www.facebook.com/newmexicobosque is giving full indication to the Mayor that his intel from Dekker Perich Sabatini (paid $235,000 to produce said intel) is bad.
Any operation relying on bad intel is asking for failure.
Even after the bad intel regarding WMDs was relied on by the Bush Administration, they further compounded their mistakes by disregarding their top strategist, General Shinseki, who advised that if invasion was the best course of action based on bad intel, that he needed an invasion force of 500,000 to get it done. The administration chose to disregard General Shinseki and he was shunted away. “We’ll go in with a quarter of that”, the pinheads decided. Good job, pinheads. We well reaped the fruit of your stupidity.
In this case, Mayor Berry is not even consulting a subject matter expert like General Shinseki, like conservation scientists and enviromental scientists. He is going straight to the private contractors, landscape architecture firm DPS, people who have a vested interest in developing the Bosque without relying on any science at all. He is just relying on what private contractor Dekker Perich Sabatini is telling him, and a document that looks like it was cut and paste together by a couple summer interns. (See executive summary and other repetitive documents at http://www.riograndevision.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Executive-Summary.pdf)
Here’s what we are asking of Mayor Berry. If you’re going to tamper with a wildlife refuge, you should consult with conservation scientists, wildlife experts and environmental experts before making any decisions. Which is what we are requesting here. And before you cut a check for $245,000 to private contractors for a plan on how to cut up the Bosque –money down the drain—try a little public outreach first to see what sort of “utilization” the Bosque is receiving, and gauge the importance of the Bosque in the collective lives of your citizens, FIRST. You can still ask us. We are still here. We’re not going anywhere.
That’s all for now. If you want to hear more, come to the panel discussion. Nov. 14, Thurs. 6:30pm, North Valley Senior Center, 3825 4th St. NW

Me and Promise and AB Ride The State Fair

“If it wasnt for them, we wouldn’t enjoy the New Mexico State Fair the way we will” Hells Yeah!