Tuesday, January 31, 2006


You won't find polytrauma in the dictionary. As the NY Times explains...

To describe the maimed survivors of this ugly new war, a graceless new word, polytrauma, has entered the medical lexicon.

Soldiers and Marines in these new polytrauma centers need daily visits from up to 10 different specialist a day, all with different and sometimes conflicting prognoses. However, only a tiny percent of the over 16,000 injured in Iraq have had access to these facilities. Which, as of now, are only available inside V.A. hospitals in Florida, California, Minnesota and Virginia. The rest are left with inferior care.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Spc. Doug Barber: The life and death of an Iraq veteran who could take no more

Iraq veterans' blogs you should be reading. Soldier For Truth(Douglas Barber's blog), Fight To Survive , One Veteran's Voice

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington and Oliver Duff
Published: 25 January 2006. The Independent.

By his own admission Douglas Barber, a former army reservist, was struggling. For two years since returning from the chaos and violence of Iraq, the 35-year-old had battled with his memories and his demons, the things he had seen and the fear he had experienced. Recently, it seemed he had turned a corner, securing medical help and counselling.

But last week, at his home in south-eastern Alabama, the National Guardsman e-mailed some friends and then changed the message on his answering machine. His new message told callers: "If you're looking for Doug, I'm checking out of this world. I'll see you on the other side." Mr Barber dialled the police, stepped on to the porch with his shotgun and - after a brief stand-off with officers - shot himself in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The death of Mr Barber is one of numerous instances of Iraqi veterans who have taken their own lives since the US-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein in spring 2003. Concern is such that the Pentagon has recently instigated new procedures for monitoring the mental health of returning troops. But his story would not have been told but for a group of determined activists and a British journalism student who was among the handful of people the reservist e-mailed just minutes before he killed himself.

Craig Evans, 19, a student at Bournemouth University, was working on a project about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and had been in regular contact with Mr Barber. But the e-mail message he received on Monday 16 January told him something was terribly wrong. It read: "I have nothing to live for any more - I am going to be checking out of this world." Mr Evans said he tried to contact the US embassy and some of Mr Barber's friends in the US to alert them to what he suspected might happen. "I e-mailed him back and wrote, 'I am going to ring you, don't do anything stupid'.It was an effort in vain: within an hour Mr Barber had used his shotgun to end to his torment.
Mr Evans said: "Doug said he wasn't the same person when he got back [from Iraq] - he was paranoid, had lost his social skills, his marriage was over, he couldn't walk down the street without worrying something was going to blow up. I made a promise to him that I would do everything I could to get his story out there."

Mr Barber was a member of the 1485th Transportation Company of the Ohio National Guard and was called up for active duty in February 2003. He arrived in Iraq in summer 2003, when the initial invasion had been completed and just as the insurgency was gathering strength.

He spent seven months in Iraq, driving trucks and trying to avoid the deadly perils that confronted him. He was haunted by the deaths of his colleagues and by the fear and desperation he saw in the faces of Iraqis. Like many reservists pushed into the front line, Mr Barber said he was not properly trained.

"It was really bad - death was all around you, all the time. You couldn't escape it," he said in an interview after he returned to Alabama with the campaign group Coalition for Free Thought in Media. "Everybody in Iraq was going through suicide counselling because the stress was so high. It was at such a magnitude, such a high level, that it was unthinkable for anyone to imagine. You cannot even imagine it." He was opposed to the war but felt obliged to go because he believed that without the experience his opinion would be invalid.

Friends said that when Mr Barber returned things started to fall apart and he split from his wife of 11 years. He had been prescribed clonazepam, an anti-anxiety drug that can cause depression. One friend of more than 13 years, Rick Hays, a minister from Indiana, said: "He was a really good guy, pretty level-headed ... He liked to have fun. But when he came back from Iraq the difference in him was so sad."

Charlie Anderson, of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said the federal Veterans Administration relied too heavily on the use of drugs for dealing with returning soldiers suffering from stress.

Mr Barber's sister, Connie Bingham, said a funeral was due to take place on Saturday.

'We live with permanent scars from horrific events'

Doug Barber wrote this internet article on 12 January, just before he died

My thought today is to help you the reader understand what happens to a soldier when they come home and the sacrifice we continue to make. This war on terror has become a personal war for so many, yet the Bush administration do not want to reveal to America that this is a personal war. They want to run it like a business, and thus they refuse to show the personal sacrifices the soldiers and their families have made for this country.

All is not OK or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand. We come home from war trying to put our lives back together but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. We kill ourselves because we are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.

Others come home to nothing, families have abandoned them: husbands and wives have left these soldiers, and so have parents. Post-traumatic stress disorder has become the norm amongst these soldiers because they don't know how to cope with returning to a society that will never understand what they have endured.

PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt, dependence, loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.

We are easily startled with a loud bang or noise and can be found ducking for cover when we get panicked. This is a result of artillery rounds going off in a combat zone, or an improvised explosive device blowing up.

I myself have trouble coping with an everyday routine that often causes me to have a short fuse. A lot of soldiers lose jobs just because they are trained to be killers and they have lived in an environment that is conducive to that. We are always on guard for our safety and that of our comrades. When you go to bed at night you wonder will you be sent home in a flag-draped coffin because a mortar round went off on your sleeping area.

Soldiers live in deplorable conditions where burning your own faeces is the order of the day, where going days on end with no shower and the uniform you wear gets so crusty it sticks to your body becomes a common occurrence. We also deal with rationing water or even food. So when a soldier comes home they are unsure of what to do.

This is what PTSD comes in the shape of - soldiers can not often handle coming back to the same world they left behind. It is something that drives soldiers over the edge and causes them to withdraw from society. As Americans we turn our nose down at them wondering why they act the way they do. Who cares about them, why should we help them?

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

Doug's Internet Article (c) 2006 Coalition For Free Thought In Media/Spc. Douglas Barber

Friday, January 27, 2006

Band of the Week: Powderburn

Why Powderburn? Because they produced the best video ever...Now You Know. Oh yeah, would you conform to the belief that nations will benefit more from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals? Sound like your Nation?

See Powderburn live Feb 4th at Hanovers in Pflugerville TX.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bush...You Fuck'n Liar

War was not your last option you chickenhawk douchebag...it was your first. Repeatedly you stressed everything was being done to avoid war but you flat out lied. The first hint of this came from the Downing Street memo. Now more evidence surfaces in the first official history of the $25 billion American reconstruction effort in Iraq.

Basically the report describes what we already knew, the reconstruction effort in Iraq was botched, bumbled and profiteered into irrelevance. But the reason given for why the reconstruction planning went so bad is treasonous...

Until January 2003, reconstruction planning was conducted in secrecy "to avoid the impression that the U.S. government had already decided on intervention," the draft history says.

However, this is not the final draft of the report. Spokesman for the inspector general's office, Jim Mitchell, says "It could change significantly before it is finally published."

I bet it does change, to make the President look better.

John J. Hamre, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says of the report..."It's gutsy and it's honest."

Gutsy indeed, the authors better watch their backs.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Attacks in Iraq Jumped 29% Last Year

From USAToday

I need you to put on your wingnut goggles for this post, so you can realize how truly superexcellent this is. There were 26,496 attacks in 2004, 34,131 in 2005. Yes, car bombs more than doubled to 873, there were 278 more suicide car bombs and individuals wearing suicide vest went from 7 in 2004 to 67 in 2005. Oh yah, Roadside bombs almost doubled to 10,953 incidents as well. But this means they are in the last of the last throes of the insurgency! Soon everything in Iraq will be destroyed and all will be peaceful...uninhabitable, but finally peaceful.

Brig. Gen. Donald Alston says... "It tells me the coalition and the Iraqi forces have been very aggressive in taking the fight to the enemy."

See, the more we attack them, the more they attack us. It's quagmiristic! What's not to like?

Now remove your wingnut goggles. (disclaimer: removing wingnut goggles may cause extreme nausea as reality returns)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Band of the Week: Lucid Dementia

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Would You Buy a Used Car from this Guy?

Rep. Roy Blunt says he has the votes to become majority leader in the House of Representatives. He's smiling so big because all the sludge money will go through him now. Remember when Tom Delay smiled like this? Remember how fun it was to slap that smile off his face? Get ready for round two!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

No Police Allowed

Here in America Police eat free or get substantial discounts at most restaurants, especially donut shops...but not in Baghdad. Police there are turned away at the door.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Message from Cindy Sheehan

Sent to elmo via Amy Branham(Gold Star Mom)

This is from a friend of mine whose son is in the Army, stationed in Baghdad.
And the Peace Community is accused of not supporting our troops???
This is fucking barbaric and we are letting this stuff continue in our names.
Excuse my launguage, but my friend almost became a Gold Star Mom on the 27th....
but for the grace of god or whatever, she didn't.
Our government is creating Gold Star Moms at a very rapid clip and the Iraqi people that they are klling or turning into people who have to fight to survive is obscene.

What are we willing to do to stop the inhumanity and war crimes?

**WARNING** FYI.....This is pretty graphic.....
I was thrilled yesterday to wake to an email from Micah. The last
correspondence I had from him was the email on Dec. 26. Then 2 guys in his
battalion were killed and one wounded on the 27th (the wounded soldier has
since passed away from his injuries). All communications were shut down
until notification of their deaths by the Army to their families....but
still no word from Micah. I knew that he would contact us as soon as he
could...but that didn't make the waiting any easier. He emailed yesterday
to reassure me that he was "fine"....which of course I was glad to hear.
Then he called me later in the day.....

It was wonderful to hear his voice....be able to talk to him. I asked him
about the incident that ended those 3 guys lives.....ages 26, 23, and 20.
He said he hadn't planned on telling me about it, but then knew that I
already knew about it...aware that I had received the email from the
military explaining why we may not be hearing from our soldiers. I asked
him if he knew what happened....he hesitantly told me....."Yes".....he was
there when it happened! That....I wasn't prepared for. He wanted to spare
me the details....but Micah and I can and do talk very frankly about
everything.....I knew he needed to talk to someone about it....so I told him
not to hold anything back. I told him I already know he is in harms way, I
know there are horrible things going on there....things I can't even
imagine.....but I wanted to know....and I wanted him to be able to talk
about it with me.

He said it was their first mission since arriving in Baghdad. A group of
them had to walk through a field to a "destination". He said just in front
of him....about 100 yards was an explosion. Someone had stepped on a buried
mine that exploded.....they were walking in a mine field! He said nothing
was left....except an arm....a leg.....fingers..... They continued
walking....then a second explosion.....the next two victims. They radioed
for a helicopter that was not to come. So they were instructed to turn back
and walk BACK thru the field......9 hours they walked......4 1/2 one
way....4 1/2 back....nothing accomplished.....3 lives lost. The tension and
fear that your next step, placement of your foot would be you.....your
friend at any moment.....

This is our war..........

Why not take a high school class out on the edge of the expressway and have
them run back and forth....who gets hit does...who's lucky enough not
to....well is just lucky.

It was horrifying knowing he witnessed it, knowing he was filled with fear
and images that will stay with him forever.

I asked him about the Iraqis.....the Iraqi soldiers he was with. "Their
crazy" was his reply. He said that morning a dog was running down the
street and an Iraqi man beat it to death with a shovel then threw it on the
side of the road. He said, "That's normal here."

I immediately knew when I started talking to him that he had a cold.....he
said, "Yeah, I do, but I'm ok." I asked if he was eating good....what did
they have for them to eat?....American food....Iraqi food? He said they get
ONE meal a day. A "meal" that is either a 6 inch cold pizza, or well, he
had 5 cold chicken wings one day, oh and a hotdog one day....well a lone
hotdog....no bun. One meal a day!!! Prisoners in this country are required
to receive 3 full meals a day in prison or it's infringing on their
rights??!!! He said they have 2 microwave ovens that are broken and a
toaster oven that doesn't work well....the government is apparently spoiling
them! Our sons and daughters are in the U.S. military.....fighting for our
country.....have committed no crimes and this is what they feed them???
It's like the Twilight Zone or some parallel universe.....a bad dream that
upon waking makes no real sense....

He took his first shower yesterday.....his first since Dec. 20. That was
good he said.

The Army is wondering why no one wants to join??? Why no one wants to go
back??? Are the American people really that dense to think that we are
doing the right thing.....doing good? The government wants to spin this
into that they're protecting us from terrorists.....payback for 9/11. Osama
Bin Ladin is no where near Iraq! So is anyone on his trail?

I know they're in harms way.....thousands of miles away from home and family
but can they for God's sake treat them better than a prisoner....than an
animal? You mistreat an animal in this country and all kinds of
organizations are on your back.....you go to jail. Our government is
mistreating our soldiers and we stand back and watch......well not really
because we don't see THIS on the news. We only see what they want us to

Most of the guys that joined were promised to be able to go to college....on
the government...and could start even while in the military. Micah was
included in this group. He was met with....you don't have time for college
you can go when you get out. But....our prisoners are receiving college
degrees while serving their sentences! Is it me or is it just backwards??
Micah is already skinny as a rail.....how do they expect a 20 yr old boy to
live on what they are feeding them? Guess it doesn't matter much....why
waste food on people you make walk thru mine fields? Doesn't this sound a
little like the Holocaust?

So.....Micah says....he's "ok". I'm sorry to vent but THIS HAS TO STOP!!!!

PLEASE!!!!!! Email, write, call your congressmen, state
representatives....etc. Go to some of the websites I have listed
below....read the stories of the people....one after another..... I will
email the links again to find your state officials. EDUCATE YOURSELF!!

I don't want to wait over the next year for a knock at my door....and I
don't want one more mother, wife, family member to either. These Iraqi
people apparently have no regard for life.....theirs, their women and
children, ours, even animals. WHY ARE WE THERE??

And I voted for Bush.....TWICE! You don't see the Bush twins in Iraq.....no
manicures or shopping sprees.

Don't want to ruin your day.....just want to get you thinking.....and MAD!!!

Send what you can to our troops....they definitely need it...apparently
especially FOOD!!!

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone and everyone you can! I
feel helpless.....I want to jump on a plane like that 16 yr old from Florida
and grab my son and bring him home.....





Gold Star Families for Peace: www.gsfp.org

Military Families Speak Out: www.mfso.org






Friday, January 13, 2006

Band of the Week: Devola

It's Friday the 13th again and I still don't know who's more evil, Bush or Knievel. Well, OK...Bush is. You'll have to give me a break for that oversight, I woke up this Morning Sober. Did you see Bush in Louisiana yesterday? He declared everything peachy, bought a Speedball, then hightailed the fuck out. He never went to the 9th ward...Inside the Wound. "Of course he could not go there, it's an Unclean Spacefull of minorities " Rove said of Bush. They both deserve the Fist. Anyway, here's One More for the Road.

See Devola live Sat. Jan 14th at Headhunters.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cheese Eaters

You would think the wingnuts on the judiciary committee would ask some tough questions of Alito...but nooooooo. Top Alito myths and falsehoods.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Tax Cuts Before Body Armor

Bush gave a speech Friday in Chicago. He's so proud of those tax cuts for the rich. He's also proud of Denny Hastert...

I'm proud to be traveling with the Speaker, Denny Hastert. He's a good, solid American. (Applause.) And he's doing a heck of a job as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

This means, of course, that there is trouble coming down the pike for Denny boy since only slugs get the "heck of a job" complement. Then there was this oldie but goodie...

Just as this economy is getting going, there are some in Washington who want to take the money out of your pocket. They think they can spend it better than you can.

Yah, how are our Soldiers and Marines supposed to get good body armor if their parents and friends don't have the money to buy it for them. We've got to get more money in their pockets and out of the government for the troops. Jeeeeeesus people don't you get it?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Band of the Week: Lust Murder Box

I must have Come Undone if I'm going techno! I'm feeling strange, void of all self Control...and there's this...this...Device of some sort crawling up and down my spine. It doesn't hurt, in fact, it tickles. With a choice of fillet minion or tuna lemon puff for lunch, I picked the Lesser of Two. YUCK! Anyway, where did these pills come from...M.P.H. (scratches head) is it a psychedelic drug? (Gulp) Guess I'll find out soon enough.

See Lust Murder Box live tonight at Austin's gothic and industrial haven, Elysium.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Security...in Iraq?

Bush Says U.S. Forces Will Be Reduced in Iraq, Afghanistan

Bush- "U.S. commanders have recommended the troop reductions because of the improving security situation."

The commanders didn't recommend this, Bush's P.R. team did. Security is improving huh? Security incidents in Iraq, Jan. 5

KIRKUK - A major gas pipeline in Bajwan, 15 km (9 miles) west of Kirkuk, was seriously damaged in a mortar attack on Wednesday night, police said. On Thursday morning the same pipeline was attacked by explosives, causing a huge fire, they said.

BAQUBA - Gunmen ambushed a convoy carrying Lieutenant- Colonel Adel Abdul Karem, head of criminal intelligence in Diyala province, 65 km (40 miles) east of Baghdad, seriously wounding him and killing three of his bodyguards. Police said he had been on his way to his office in Baquba.

KERBALA - At least 50 people were killed and 69 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the shrine of Imam Hussein in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala 110 km (68 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Three car bombs, two of them suicide attacks, exploded in central Baghdad on Thursday, killing two people and wounding six, according to police and Interior Ministry sources.

NAJAF - A roadside bomb killed two U.S. soldiers and two civilians and wounded seven near Najaf 160km (100 miles)south of Baghdad, police said.

RAMADI - A suicide bomb attack in the city of Ramadi killed more than 70 and wounded 65, said Mahmoud al-Dulaimi, a doctor at Ramadi's main hospital.

BAGHDAD - Five U.S. soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle while on patrol in Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

'Huge' Virus Threat Workaround

OK all you picture happy bloggers, you'd better take heed...the latest hole in windows.

Un-register the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer (Shimgvw.dll) on Windows XP Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 2; Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Microsoft has tested the following workaround. While this workaround will not correct the underlying vulnerability, it helps block known attack vectors. When a workaround reduces functionality, it is identified in the following section.

Note The following steps require Administrative privileges. It is recommended that the machine be restarted after applying this workaround. It is also possible to log out and log back in after applying the workaround. However, the recommendation is to restart the machine.

To un-register Shimgvw.dll, follow these steps:

Click Start, click Run, type "regsvr32 -u %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll" (without the quotation marks), and then click OK.

A dialog box appears to confirm that the un-registration process has succeeded. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Impact of Workaround: The Windows Picture and Fax Viewer will no longer be started when users click on a link to an image type that is associated with the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.

To undo this change, re-register Shimgvw.dll by following the above steps. Replace the text in Step 1 with “regsvr32 %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll” (without the quotation marks).
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