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November 27, 2006
Porn Squad CommandosBy Greyhawk
In the giddy spirit of the day, nothing could quite top the wish list bellowed out by one man in the throng of people greeting American troops from the 101st Airborne Division who marched into town today.
Warning: Graphic descriptions of sex and violence follow.
In Baghdad, Saddam Hussein was preparring his own welcoming committee:
Colonel Raaed Faik was riding with fellow Republican Guard officers on a civilian bus thirty-two kilometers northeast of Baghdad that morning, trying to obey an order to rush to Baghdad to join in the defense of the city. They were to help keep Highway 8 open for a counterattack. Faik was a senior signal officer in the Republican Guard, but he was dressed now in civilian clothes. The chief of staff had radioed an order for this division to fight without uniforms in hopes of mounting an effective guerilla war against the American forces on the streets of Baghdad. But some officers had not received the order, and they were still in their uniforms. They bickered with the plainclothes officers over how to dress for the battle.While it may have seemed foolish, it was part of a larger plan to welcome the bringers of Democracy to the capital city of Iraq.
Meanwhile, in America, three soldiers were out of their uniforms, too, and enjoying a brief vacation prior to joining the battle...
In March 2003, she went with Graner and another soldier to Virginia Beach. During the trip, Graner took pictures of himself having anal sex with England. He also photographed her placing her nipple in the ear of the other soldier, who was passed out in a hotel room. Soon, it became their new game: Whenever Graner asked her to, England would strike a pose.She probably was. And perhaps Graner really did hand over those pictures "by mistake". Regardless, England and Graner would soon bring their brand of "sexy" to Iraq.
In addition to his own troops in civilian clothes, Saddam had some "out of town help" waiting for Americans in Baghdad:
Just south of the spaghetti junction, beyond the row of greenhouses on the west side of the highway, Yusef Taha and his brother Ziad were huddled in the rear downstairs room of their two-story stucco home in the shade of the nursery awnings. The Taha brothers owned one of the greenhouses, which had been shredded by coax from the Rogue Bradleys two days earlier. They had stayed in the war zone to protect their house - not from the Americans but from the Syrian mercenaries who had arrived several days earlier to seize control of the entire greenhouse complex. The brothers knew that if they fled, the Syrians would have set up sniper's nests on their roof, drawing tank rounds that would have flattened their modest little home. So now they were hunkered down inside with twelve family members - aunts and uncles, in-laws and children - praying that the Americans would pass by quickly and leave their house intact.
Lynndie England had joined the Army National Guard at age 17. Two years later she married Jamie Fike, with whom she had worked at a grocery store and a chicken-processing plant near her home town of Ft Ashby, West Virginia. Life was set.
But employed by the Guard as an administrative specialist, that life would change one drill weekend when she met another soldier who had just joined the unit.
She met him while processing his paperwork for the 372nd Military Police Company after he arrived in Cresaptown, MD, in November 2002. He was 15 years older. He used to follow her out to the smoking area. Graner didn't smoke, though; he just wanted to see her. "He was funny, the jokester," she says. "Was he too old for me? I didn't think about it at the time. He acted like he was 3 years old." He was loud, raunchy, and bad to the bone. "An outlaw," she calls him.Charles Graner had been a prison guard for several years. According to his ex-wife,
"The whup ass [beatings] ran like a river," Ms Morris quoted Graner as saying about the frequent beatings of prisoners. "He had complete contempt for prisoners; as far as he was concerned they had no rights," she said, summing up his attitude as a prison officer in Pennsylvania.He wasn't always a soldier. In fact, he had joined the Marine Corps Reserve shortly after graduating high school in 1986. He married the former Staci Michelle Dean on June 15, 1990 - on their marriage license application, Graner listed his full-time occupation as construction worker. But not long after, he would be activated to deploy in support of Operation Desert Storm, where he would serve as a guard at a prison camp:
KDKA-TV reporter Ross Guidotti served with Graner in a military police company when both were members of the Marine Corps Reserve. For about six weeks in early 1991, both were guards at a prison camp for Iraqis captured during the Gulf War.His first child was born while he was in Iraq.
They moved to Uniontown and had two children, Brittni Stacia, born Jan. 21, 1991, and Dean Charles Graner, born two years later on Feb. 9, 1993.That may be the first evidence of Graners fascination with photography.
One night, Staci Morris awoke to find then husband Charles Graner holding a large knife to her throat and openly pondering whether to kill her. In subsequent days, he pretended nothing had happened.His civilian career as a prison guard ended at about the same time as his marriage
The night before she went back to court, she said he crouched and hid in her laundry room until she walked by, then jumped out to scare her.But when one door closes, another opens, as they say. Graner joined the Army National Guard in 2002, and met Lynndie England. Shortly thereafter, she brought him home to meet her folks (no word on the whereabouts of Lynndie's husband at this time).
England brought Graner home with her to Fort Ashby in early 2003. With a foul mouth and pierced nipples (they saw those later), he didn't make a good impression. That day, recalls Terrie, he stood in their living room and slowly looked around.They grabbed their cameras, and off they went to the beach.
Worth says that in addition to photos of inmate abuse, investigators found photos of England topless on a beach. Also, one photo showed a soldier sleeping as a male soldier (he thinks Grainer) held his penis near the sleeping soldier's head. In another photo, England leans topless over the same soldier, with her breasts near the sleeping soldier's head.
In Baghdad, US Soldiers confronted Iraqi army units in civilian clothes, foreign fighters who'd come for the jihad, and another group:
At Abu Ghraib, the most notorious prison, 150 inmates were crammed into cells designed for 24. The torture chamber was next to the hanging chamber, whose clanging iron trap doors were a vivid reminder of the fate awaiting those who refused to pledge loyalty to the regime.Here's one reason:
The enemy kept coming. Soldiers and civilian gunmen were arriving now in every available mode of transportation-hatchbacks, orange-and-white taxis, police cars, ambulances, pickups, big Chevys, motorcycles with sidecars. Major Nussio, the battalion executive officer, opened fire on a huge garbage truck with a soldier at the wheel. He was thinking to himself as the soldier keeled over and the truck crash-landed: A garbage truck? These people are so stupid - stupid but determined.Chaos and carnage, as described in the book Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad, and encouraged by none other than Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf - dubbed "Baghdad Bob" he had become a source of comic relief to many. Few will forget his insistence that there were no Americans near Baghdad, a claim delivered straight-faced as US battle tanks rumbled in the background.
But he was an integral part of the plan for the defense of Baghdad - a long, bloody siege, fought by soldiers in civilian clothes on streets crowded with actual civilians. With no hope of military victory, the leadership in Iraq wanted to create a global outrage, fueled by media reports of civilian casualties (actual and otherwise) and other atrocities, to the point where the US would ultimately withdraw humiliated. Far from being humorous, the claims of Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf - made willingly or witlessly - had a deadly serious purpose: maximize the number of real civilians on the streets along with those soldiers posing as the same. The goal? Photographs of mounds of civilian corpses splashed across front pages and news broadcasts worldwide.
But they hadn't expected tanks in Baghdad.
Suddenly they were rolling into a traffic circle - Qahtain Square in the Yarmouk section of Baghdad. Gruneisen radioed the captain: "Did you go through a traffic circle?"However, not everyone ran:
Gruneisen ordered Peterson to speed through the circle. There wasn't enough time to back up and turn around. He wanted to just plow through the circle, past the trucks and soldiers, and head back the way they had come. The soldiers scattered out of the way. Gruneisen couldn't tell whether anyone was firing at them. As they rolled into the circle, Hernandez saw yellow pickup truck speeding toward them with two men in the front seat. There wasn't time for a warning shot - no time to determine whether these were wayward civilians or militiamen trying to ram them. Hernandez got off a burst from the M-240. He saw a spray of blood stain the windshield and watched the passenger go down. The driver hit the brakes and the pickup spun and went into a skid.In other news of the day from Baghdad:
Freed journalists tell of eight-day Iraqi prison ordealBut not for long. For in the chaos following the fall of the regime, the walls literally came down:
Looters had a field day. They stole all the doors, the windows and in some locations, they took the bricks out of the walls and the tile off the floor. They even pulled out the wiring.Which seemed to be the end for Abu Ghraib.
Prior to the beginning of hostilities, planners estimated 30-100 thousand enemy prisoners of war would need to be secured, segregated, detained, and interrogated. The 800th MP Brigade was given the mission to establish as many as twelve detention centers, to be run by subordinate battalion units. As of May 2003, BG Hill reported that only an estimated 600 detainees were being held -- a combination of enemy prisoners and criminals. As a result, additional military police units previously identified for deployment were demobilized in CONUS. The original plan also envisioned that only the prisoners remaining from the initial major combat operations would require detention facilities, and they would eventually be released or turned over to the Iraqi authorities once justice departments and criminal detention facilities were re-established,Unfortunately, there were few prisoners because many of those soldiers had fled to fight another day - alongside the foreign fighters who were already in place, and ready for the jihad.
In June 2003, a group of about 20 soldiers, including England, Graner, Specialist Sabrina Harman, Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick II, and Specialist Joseph M. Darby, were deployed for duty in Iraq. The first stop: the Hilla camp, 58 miles south of Baghdad, where the army was training new Iraqi police officers. The American forces took up residence in an abandoned date-processing factory, a big, open space, like an airplane hangar, but screaming hot and full of bird shit.But soon they would be forced to leave leave their pets behind. Orders to a new location were on the way.
More to follow.
Posted by Greyhawk / November 27, 2006 1:12 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
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Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
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