Saturday, November 29, 2008



By Winter Soldiers Testifying this week on Capital Hill by America’s Finest

I, Kevin Anthony Stoda, who have relatives, and children of friends of mine in Iraq conducting the U.S. military occupation this Thanksgiving 2008 feel the need to reprint one of many charges made by several of America’s finest soldiers and officers now testifying in Washington D.C.

I have chosen this particular narration and sets of charges against various U.S. Generals by Army Captain Luis Montalvan, who has worked extensively with General David Petraeus over many months in Iraq.


“I wrote countless memoranda to my superiors requesting more resources and personnel, but they went unanswered. In Iraq, I witnessed many disturbing things. I witnessed waterboarding. I was given unlawful orders by superiors to not offer humanitarian assistance to refugees caught between Syrian and Iraqi borders. I disobeyed those orders. I witnessed and participated in countless massive operations led by American commanders whose metrics for success were numbers of detainees apprehended without regard to the real effects: tribal, ethnic, sectarian strife conducted by American taxpayer-uniformed and–equipped militias the US military calls Iraqi Security Forces.

Most reprehensible was that we have never had close to the amount of troops we needed in Iraq. Yet from 2003 until today, General Sanchez, Casey and Petraeus, among others, did not heed the requests of their subordinate officers for more resources and more troops. Instead, they perpetually painted a rosy picture of the situation to the country, while the country fell into civil war. These generals consistently overstated the strength and number of Iraqi Security Forces to Congress and still do. The misrepresentation of the facts should be grounds for courts-martial and criminal indictments.

I lost many friends in Iraq, American and Iraqi. Many Iraqi friends continue to suffer as refugees inside and outside of Iraq. As a matter of fact, an Iraqi friend, whom I consider a brother, named Ali, is meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in Jordan today to process his application for asylum under the United States Refugee Admissions Program. Recently, Ali contacted me through my website asking for help. As a result, a few of my comrades in the US Army sent him letters of support, since he frequently risked his life to help us in 2003 and 2004. I pray that Ali and many others are quickly helped.

I wish to focus this letter, Ted, on things we struggled—we both struggled with enormously: negligence, dereliction of duty and corruption. You believe Generals Joseph Fil and David Petraeus were negligent and committed dereliction of duty. So do I. In the note you addressed to Generals Petraeus and Fil found by your body that the Army says is your, quote, 'suicide note,' you stated, quote, 'You are only interested in your careers and provide no support to your staff, no mission support, and you don’t care. I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuses and liars. I am sullied no more. I didn’t volunteer to support corrupt, money-grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves.' The members of your family believe this note is a part of a journal entry that was removed and placed near your body. Moreover, they told me that they have not received your journal, among other personal effects.

While at the port of entry at Al Waleed in 2003, among the many memoranda I submitted to my superiors was a report expressing the need for an automated tracking system for immigration and emigration. General Ricardo Sanchez and Paul Bremer sent a delegation to Al Waleed to assess the port of entry for installation of the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System, known as the PISCES, to provide tracking of transnational movement of immigration and emigration. When the team departed, they informed me that the facilities would support installation of the PISCES. By the time my unit, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, left in March 2004, PISCES had not been emplaced.

In 2005, I returned to Iraq for a second tour. Assigned as the regimental Iraqi Security Forces coordinator working for Colonel H.R. McMaster, who has today been slotted for general, among my duties was to oversee the development and security of the northern half of the secured—of the Syrian-Iraqi border at the port of entry at Rabia. On June 2005, Commander Guy Vilardi, working for Multi-National Corps-Iraq, informed me that CPATT, a sub-entity, had possessed a dozen PISCES in containers located in Baghdad. He also informed me that they would install the systems in the near future.

Upon return to western Nineveh province, I informed my superiors, including Colonel McMaster. In August 2005, General Joseph Fil, commander of CPATT, visited Rabiya and briefed us—so that we could brief him on the status of the Syrian-Iraqi Border. We briefed General Fil, who scoffed at the notion of the installation of the PISCES system and stated that the system was no good, and we don’t have them anyhow. I informed General Fil of my conversation with Commander Vilardi, to which General Fil replied, ‘That’s not true, and the PISCES is no good anyhow.’

In January of 2006, shortly before departure from my second tour, Colonel Carl Lammers of the United States Marine Corps Reserve, sent an email on a secure network indicating that, in fact, the PISCES systems were in containers in Baghdad. I was outraged. As of March 2006, when the 3rd ACR departed western Nineveh province, no PISCES or equivalent tracking system had been installed in the Rabiya POE.

From 2007—from 2003 to 2007, no computer systems for tracking immigration or emigration installed—were installed along the Syrian-Iraqi border. This surely contributed to the instability of Iraq. Foreign fighters and criminals were free to move transnationally with little fear of apprehension. It is probable that significant numbers of Americans and Iraqis were wounded and killed as a result of this.

My—I see that I have one minute left, so I’ll skip down to one more important point. I witnessed contractual corruption on the point of Lee Dynamics International. I have written testimony, notes from Brigadier General—then-Brigadier General Bergner, on page four, elucidating the fact that General Petraeus and General Fil had no systems of accountability for thousands of weapons and no standard operating procedures for the procurement, stowage and dissemination of that equipment.
And lastly, I would end that, you know, for the past year and a half, myself and a number of fellow veterans of Iraq have co-authored pieces in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, among a number of other media outlets. And we have beaten our drum to try to raise the issue of the dereliction of duty committed by a number of generals who have been promoted and promoted again and continue to perpetuate the lies and paint a rosy picture of the situation of Iraq.”


The text from Capt. Montalvan’s statement comes from DEMOCRACY NOW.

Capt. Montalvan joins hundreds of rank and file American and British armed force members who have “not find dying in Iraq very honorable” over the past five years. He spoke at the Winter Soldier hearings on Capital Hill this Thanksgiving weekend. [1]

The basic message of Winter Soldier can be summed up in this statement, America. This statement came from Adam Kokesh, who cannot stand any more complicity by America in war crimes.

“At the first Winter Soldier investigation in 1971, one of the Vietnam veterans held up a similar photograph and said, ‘Don’t ever let your government do this to you. Don’t ever let your government put you in a position where this attitude towards death and this disregard for human life is acceptable or common.’ And yet, we are still doing this to service members every day, as long as the occupation continues.”

Kokesh is proud to be a Winter Soldier in America speaking up for his fellow troops--and for destroyed American dreams for us all and our country. [2]

Kokesh summarized the U.S. policy over the past 4 to 5 years as carried out by General Petraeus and America’s most expensive other soldiers, “But what it’s made clear is that this administration has chosen a policy for this country that values looking good over doing right. And as soon as you choose looking good over doing right, you will fail miserably at both. It is what we are doing as a country right now. It is what our leadership is doing. And it is what the Democratic Party has done, since it took power in 2006, when it decided that it would be more concerned with looking good than doing right, in terms of the policy towards Iraq, in order to secure an advantage for the 2008 election. My apologies to members of the Democratic Party in the room, but it is clear to me that that policy of looking good over doing right has been established firmly by this administration and has poisoned not only the military culture but our entire society and political leadership, as well.”


[1] I am referring here to a later set of statements by Winter Soldiers on Capital Hill, whereby one speaker, named Vincent J.R. Emanuele. He stated, “I could also testify to the overwhelming majority of those I served with who did not think dying in Iraq was honorable or acceptable, nor did they enjoy or want to go back to Iraq a second or third time. Unfortunately, because of personal circumstances, whether they be financial or family issues, many indeed were deployed up to three times during their four-year enlistment. In fact, many, including myself, at times did not have intention of helping the Iraqis. Because of the hostile intent, as well as the loss of lives close to us, our best friends, our unit had a general disdain and distaste for Iraqis and their country. Further, our unit, for the most part, did not trust our command and had a general mistrust and distaste of this occupation from its inception onward.

[2] For those in Kuwait who are wondering about how much depleted uranium might be blowing around the Iraqi and Kuwaiti desert, they might listen to or read James Gilligan’s statements, which include: “It was then that we drove on through the day and continued unhindered for most of the next two days, while American air power pounded the hell out of Iraqi armor and buildings with depleted uranium rounds. The amount of destruction was tremendous, and we watched once while in a traffic jam as a pair of Apaches laid rockets and gunfire into the heart of a city a few kilometers in the distance. Without a doubt, I have been in and around buildings destroyed by depleted uranium rounds, as well as vehicles, armored personnel carriers, tanks and corpses.”



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home