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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Straight Out of Cold Storage?

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi reportedly arrested in Iraq

04.01.2005, 07.18

DUBAI, January 4 (Itar-Tass) - Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation authorities declared to be the "target number one" in Iraq, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources. Al-Zarqawi, leader of the terrorist group Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad, was recently appointed the director of the Al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq.

The newspaper's correspondent in Baghdad points out that a report on the seizure of the terrorist, on whom the US put a bounty of 10 million dollars, was also reported by Iraqi Kurdistan radio, which at one time had been the first to announce the arrest of Saddam Hussein.

There have been no official reports about the arrest of the terrorist. Al-Zarqawi, 38, a Jordanian, whose real name is Ahmad al-Khalayleh, aims to turn Iraq into a "new Afghanistan". According to Arab press data, Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad group has divided Iraq into several emirates. The group's independent subdivisions at a strength of 50 to 500 militants operate in the cities of Al-Falluja, Al-Qaim, Diala, and Samarra.

The personnel of the group is on the whole 1,500-strong and includes Iraqis and citizens of Arab and Islamic countries. There are demolition experts and missilemen among them.

The group has depots of weapons and explosives in various parts of the country. It intends to frustrate the upcoming parliamentary elections that are scheduled for the end of this month. Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad threatens to do away with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and members of the interim government.

NOTE:29 July 2004, Thursday:

Al-Zarqawi Captured - Report

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the "wild card" in US pack of wanted men, has reportedly been arrested in Western Iraq.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of the group suspected of beheading two Bulgarian hostages, has reportedly been arrested in Western Iraq.

Al-Zarqawi has been arrested by Iraqi police and US military close to the border with Syria, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing information posted on the Internet.

Zarqawi was dressed in a white T-shirt and blue jeans. Reports claim that he didn't oppose the arrest.

A blood sample has been sent to Baghdad for DNA tests.

A group linked to Zarqawi is suspected of carrying out a wave of attacks in late June that killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds more in attacks in five Iraqi cities.

Zarqawi is also said to have been involved in the beheading of an American contractor, Nick Berg, shown on a video released on 11 May.

In 2003, he was named as the brains behind a series of lethal bombings - from Casablanca in Morocco to Istanbul in Turkey.

The US is now offering a USD 25 M reward for the capture of Zarqawi, the "wild card" in its pack of wanted men.

The remains of one of the Bulgarian hostages, Georgi Lazov, killed by the Zarqawi's terrorists have been transported back home early on Thursday.

The 30-year old Bulgarian truck driver Lazov and his colleague Ivaylo Kepov, 32, were abducted June 29 near the northern city of Mosul. A group affiliated with al-Zarqawi said it kidnapped the Bulgarians and demanded Iraqi detainees be released in exchange for their lives. The group later sent a tape to Al-Jazeera television that showed Lazov being killed. His death was officially confirmed July 22.

Kepov's fate is still not clear though Bulgarian media cited an Iraqi official who said that the Bulgarian is dead and his body has been found. Bulgaria's authorities have not been able to confirm Kepov's death.


ALSO, NOTE:7/30/2004 6:00:00 PM GMT

Report: Zarqawi captured on Syrian-Iraq border
7/30/2004 6:00:00 PM GMT

Reports in Kuwait on Friday said a man assumed to be Abu Musab Zarqawi has been captured.

Source: Al Bawaba

Reports in Kuwait on Friday said a man assumed to be Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi has been captured near the Syrian border.

The report claimed that the man was captured during a joint operation by U.S. occupation forces and Iraqi police, Al Siyasah newspaper, quoting Iraqi sources, said Friday.

It also said that the suspect was caught in a white shirt and jeans, and he gave no resistance when he realized his hideout was besieged, according to Iraqi police.

The U.S. and Iraqi investigators are trying to identify the captive and has sent his DNA sample for testing, the unconfirmed report indicated.

Zarqawi is the most wanted suspect in Iraq and has a U.S. bounty of $25 million on his head.


AND:July 30, 2004
11:05 p.m. Eastern

Report: Al-Zarqawi
captured near Syria
U.S. put $25 million bounty
on top al-Qaida leader in Iraq

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – al-Qaida's No. 1 leader in Iraq – has been captured near the Syrian border, according to an unconfirmed report today.

The man presumed to be al-Zarqawi was captured during a joint operation by U.S. forces and Iraqi police, reported the Al Siyasah newspaper, quoting Iraqi sources.

The Pentagon, however, told WorldNetDaily late this afternoon it had no confirmation.

"We heard a rumor yesterday and another iteration of it today," said Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Venable. "But I have nothing upon which to validate its accuracy."

Asked if he believed he would have had some confirmation by now if the report were true, Venable said, "Yes."

According to the popular Arab television news network al-Jazeera, the newspaper cited Iraqi police reporting the suspect was caught in a white shirt and jeans, and offered no resistance. Al-Zarqawi

In an effort to prove that the accused is indeed al-Zarqawi, investigators for the U.S. and Iraqi are sending a DNA sample for testing, according to the unconfirmed report.

The Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi is the most wanted terror figure in Iraq and the U.S. government has placed a $25 million bounty on him.

According to the intelligence news service Geostrategy-Direct, Pakistani officials say al-Qaida is becoming more decentralized and its top leader, Osama bin Laden, may not be running the organization.

Instead, growing evidence indicates that al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahiri may be in charge of the terrorist network, with al-Zarqawi emerging as the No. 2 leader of the group.

Al-Zarqawi's faction has claimed responsibility for many terror attacks as well as the beheadings of foreigners, including American businessman Nicholas Berg, South Korean translator Kim Sun-il and Bulgarian truck driver Georgi Lazov.

© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

Will Bill & George Sr. Be Making the Official Request?

Congress expects $100 billion war request

WASHINGTON — Congress expects the White House to request as much as $100 billion this year for war and related costs in Iraq and Afghanistan, congressional officials say.
It would be the third and largest Iraq-related budget request from the White House yet, and it could push the war's costs over $200 billion — far above initial White House estimates of $50 billion-$60 billion. So far, the Iraq war has cost about $130 billion, according to the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

War costs complicate President Bush's plans for initiatives such as overhauling Social Security. They also threaten his pledge to halve the record $413 billion federal budget deficit.

Jim Dyer, chief of staff of the House Appropriations Committee, traditionally the first stop in Congress for any official request for money, said he expects a funding proposal from the Bush administration by Easter that "could be around $100 billion," the vast majority of it for Iraq.

In the Senate, Bill Hoagland, the top budget aide to Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, agreed: "Based on current spending profiles, it would not surprise me if ... (a bill) approaching $100 billion is requested early this year." That would be equal to almost one-quarter of the Pentagon's $417.5 billion 2005 budget.

Both expect the proposal to come as a "supplemental" spending request, a move that would keep it out of the budget Bush will submit in February.

The White House budget office declined to comment on the number. "It's too early to say what our needs will be," spokesman Chad Kolton said. He said the Iraq request is being kept out of the budget to provide time to get a more accurate cost estimate and to make it easier to reduce funding when U.S. troops are eventually withdrawn.

Members of Congress expect a big price tag for Iraq this year.

"I hope they ask for something big," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Look, this is a test of wills. We need to show our enemies that we are not going to do this on the cheap. "

But there is growing annoyance with the White House for refusing to treat the cost of the military operations in Iraq — roughly $5 billion a month, according to the House Appropriations Committee — as part of the annual budget.

"There is a feeling among a lot of members that ... this war has become enough of a routine that they should be able to build it into their annual budgeting and not have to come back to us for supplemental funding of that size," said Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., head of the House Appropriations panel that oversees spending on foreign operations.

"The annual budget proposal we've been given by the White House falsely portrays the bottom line," said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

Peronet Despeignes, USA TODAY

The Victims of the Tsunami Pay the Price of War on Iraq

US and British aid is dwarfed by the billions both spend on slaughter

There has never been a moment like it on British television. The Vicar of Dibley, one of our gentler sitcoms, was bouncing along with its usual bonhomie on New Year's Day when it suddenly hit us with a scene from another world. Two young African children were sobbing and trying to comfort each other after their mother had died of Aids. How on earth, I wondered, would the show make us laugh after that? It made no attempt to do so. One by one the characters, famous for their parochial boorishness, stood in front of the camera wearing the white armbands which signalled their support for the Make Poverty History campaign. You would have to have been hewn from stone not to cry.

The timing was perfect. In my local Oxfam shop last week, people were queueing to the door to pledge money for the tsunami fund. A pub on the other side of town raised £1,000 on Saturday night. In the pot on the counter of the local newsagent's there must be nearly £100. The woman who runs the bakery told me about the homeless man she had seen, who emptied his pockets in the bank, saying "I just want to do my bit", while the whole queue tried not to cry.

Over the past few months, reviewing the complete lack of public interest in what is happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the failure, in the west, to mobilise effective protests against the continuing atrocities in Iraq, I had begun to wonder whether we had lost our ability to stand in other people's shoes. I have now stopped wondering. The response to the tsunami shows that, however we might seek to suppress it, we cannot destroy our capacity for empathy.

But one obvious question recurs. Why must the relief of suffering, in this unprecedentedly prosperous world, rely on the whims of citizens and the appeals of pop stars and comedians? Why, when extreme poverty could be made history with a minor redeployment of public finances, must the poor world still wait for homeless people in the rich world to empty their pockets?

The obvious answer is that governments have other priorities. And the one that leaps to mind is war. If the money they have promised to the victims of the tsunami still falls far short of the amounts required, it is partly because the contingency fund upon which they draw in times of crisis has been spent on blowing people to bits in Iraq.

The US government has so far pledged $350m to the victims of the tsunami, and the UK government £50m ($96m). The US has spent $148 billion on the Iraq war and the UK £6bn ($11.5bn). The war has been running for 656 days. This means that the money pledged for the tsunami disaster by the United States is the equivalent of one and a half day's spending in Iraq. The money the UK has given equates to five and a half days of our involvement in the war.

It looks still worse when you compare the cost of the war to the total foreign aid budget. The UK has spent almost twice as much on creating suffering in Iraq as it spends annually on relieving it elsewhere. The United States gives just over $16bn in foreign aid: less than one ninth of the money it has burnt so far in Iraq.

The figures for war and aid are worth comparing because, when all the other excuses for the invasion of Iraq were stripped away, both governments explained that it was being waged for the good of the Iraqis. Let us, for a moment, take this claim at face value. Let us suppose that the invasion and occupation of Iraq had nothing to do with power, domestic politics or oil, but were, in fact, components of a monumental aid programme. And let us, with reckless generosity, assume that more people in Iraq have gained as a result of this aid programme than lost.

To justify the war, even under these wildly unsafe assumptions, George Bush and Tony Blair would have to show that the money they spent was a cost-efficient means of relieving human suffering. As it was sufficient to have made a measurable improvement in the lives of all the 2.8 billion people living in absolute poverty, and as there are only 25 million people in Iraq, this is simply not possible. Even if you ignore every other issue - such as the trifling matter of mass killing - the opportunity costs of the Iraq war categorise it as a humanitarian disaster. Indeed, such calculations suggest that, on cost grounds alone, a humanitarian war is a contradiction in terms.

But our leaders appear to have lost the ability to distinguish between helping people and killing them. The tone of Blair's New Year message was almost identical to that of his tear-jerking insistence that we understand the Iraqi people must be bombed for their own good. The US marines who have now been dispatched to Sri Lanka to help the rescue operation were, just a few weeks ago, murdering the civilians (for this, remember, is an illegal war), smashing the homes and evicting the entire population of the Iraqi city of Falluja.

Even within the official aid budgets the two aims are confused: $8.9bn of the aid money the US spends is used for military assistance, anti-drugs operations, counter-terrorism and the Iraq relief and reconstruction fund (otherwise known as the Halliburton benevolent trust). For Bush and Blair, the tsunami relief operation and the Iraq war are both episodes in the same narrative of salvation. The civilised world rides out to rescue foreigners from their darkness.

While they spend the money we gave them to relieve suffering on slaughtering the poor, the world must rely for disaster relief on the homeless man emptying his pockets. If our leaders were as generous in helping people as they are in killing them, no one would ever go hungry.

George Monbiot
You can join the campaign against global poverty at: www.makepovertyhistory.org - www.monbiot.com

Copyrighjt: The Guardian

Ugly Truths About Guantanamo

Somewhere in the U.S. government is the person who came up with the idea of fusing the wail of an infant with an incessant meow from a cat food commercial to torment detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Detainees were also subjected to popular songs by the likes of Eminem and Rage Against the Machine. What Liberace would have done to an observant Muslim, I can only imagine, but it is a mad genius who realized that ordinary American culture can, with repeated exposure, be nearly lethal. God help us all.

In George Orwell's novel "1984," it was rats, as I recall, that were used to torture Winston Smith. It was not that the rats could do real physical damage; rather it was that Smith was phobic about them -- "his greatest fear, his worst nightmare" -- and so he succumbed, denounced his beliefs and even his girlfriend, and went back to his pub where he wasted his days drinking gin. This was Orwell's future, our present.

The term "Orwellian" is much abused, and back in the actual year 1984 I thought Orwell himself overrated. The essential novelist of the 20th century, I thought then, was Kafka, who realized that there is no more efficient murder weapon than what the critic George Steiner called "the lunatic logic of the bureaucracy."

Orwell, however, was off by only 20 years. With immense satisfaction, he would have noted the constant abuse of language by the Bush administration -- calling suicidal terrorists "cowards," naming a constriction of civil liberties the Patriot Act and, of course, wringing all meaning from the word "torture." Until just recently when the interpretation of torture was amended, it applied only to the pain like that of "organ failure, impairment of body function, or even death." Anything less, such as, say, shackling detainees to a low chair for hours and hours so that one prisoner pulled out tufts of hair, is something else. We have no word for it, but it is -- or was until recently -- considered perfectly legal.

The administration's original interpretation of torture was promulgated by the Justice Department, under John Ashcroft, and the White House, under its counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales. The result has deeply embarrassed the United States. Among other things, it produced the abuses of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which we were assured were an unaccountable exception. My God, if only higher authorities had known.

Now we all know. The International Committee of the Red Cross has complained that some of what has been done at Guantanamo -- Guantanamo, not Abu Ghraib -- was "tantamount to torture." The American Civil Liberties Union has complained, but that you would expect. So, though, have the FBI and military lawyers, former and current. Just about across the board, the Bush administration has raised itself above the law. It pronounced itself virtuous, but facing a threat so dire, so unique, that Gonzales found the Geneva Conventions themselves "obsolete." Such legal brilliance does not long go unrewarded. He has been nominated to become attorney general.

The elevation of Gonzales is supposed to be a singular American success story. This son of Mexican immigrants bootstrapped his way to Harvard Law School and from there to Bush's inner circle, first in Austin, then in Washington. There he came up with a brilliant definition of torture, one so legally clever that only the dead could complain and they, of course, could not. Everyone was off the hook. Is it any wonder the Senate will probably soon confirm him? By next year, he will undoubtedly receive a cherished Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to those who successfully serve the president but dismally fail the nation. In the audience, unseen but nonetheless present, Orwell and Kafka look on.

The revelations coming out of Guantanamo are hideous. The ordinary abuse of prisoners, the madness instilled by gruesome incarcerations, the incessant lying of the authorities, plus the mock interrogations staged for the media, in which detainees and their interrogators share milkshakes -- all this soils us as a nation. It's as if the government is ahistorical, unaware of how communists and fascists also strained language and ushered the world into torture chambers made pretty for the occasion. We now keep some pretty bad company.

The Bush administration has fused Orwell with Kafka in the same way someone fused the cry of an infant with that of a cat from the Meow Mix television commercial. The upshot is Gonzales, ticketed maybe for the Supreme Court because he winked at torture and yessed the president. He's Kafka's man, Orwell's boy and Bush's pussycat. Know him for his roar.


Richard Cohen
Tuesday, January 4, 2005; Page A15
Washington Post

Military's Test at High Schools Brings a Salvo of Concerns

A few days before her holiday break, South River High School junior Emily Hawse took a three-hour standardized test offered by military officials that suggests possible careers for students while helping to identify promising recruits.

Hawse, 16, of Davidsonville said she did not realize until the day of the exam that it had a military link. She said students were told not to go to the Edgewater school that morning if they didn't want to take the test, called the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

"We couldn't go to class if we wanted to," said Hawse, who is undecided about her future but said it doesn't include the military.

Emily Hawse, a junior at South River High School, said she didn't know until the day she took the aptitude test that it was part of a Defense Department program.
(Sun photo by Elizabeth Malby)

At a time of heightened awareness of military recruitment, the aptitude test offered free by the Defense Department is drawing criticism.

Although Baltimore area school districts have made the test available for years, some Anne Arundel County students and their parents complained recently when the test was scheduled during class time at some schools, and it was unclear to some students that they could opt out.

The tests have also raised concerns in other places. In a Buffalo, N.Y., suburb, a high school junior refused to take the exam. And critics of the program say they field inquiries from all over the country. They say military recruiters use the test to identify students with skills that would be useful in the armed forces.

"You're getting hot leads as opposed to cold leads," said Oskar Castro, an associate with the Youth and Militarism Program of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group.

Area school and military officials defend the test as a valuable career-planning tool.

"This is actually a community service that the Department of Defense provides to help every generation of youth find where they fit in the world about them," said Chris Arendt, deputy director of accession policy at the Pentagon.

In the Baltimore area, nearly 1,400 Anne Arundel students took the test last school year, along with about 1,000 from Baltimore County, nearly 500 from Baltimore, 181 from Carroll County and 573 from Howard County. In Howard, three schools with ROTC programs offer the test, school district officials said.

Baltimore administers the test to seniors on a voluntary basis, generally at career and technology schools, and at schools with ROTC programs. Baltimore County makes it available to students who request it.

Anne Arundel County school officials say the test is not mandatory but acknowledge that the message might not have been clear to all students, given the many standardized tests they must take.

"This is one of the first times where kids get to choose whether they take a test," said Jonathan Brice, spokesman for the Anne Arundel schools. Next year, officials said, they will emphasize that the test is voluntary.

The test, which has been given to recruits since 1968, measures verbal and math skills, and knowledge in areas such as automotive maintenance and repair, electronics and mechanics. It was expanded to schools at the urging of the federal Labor and Education departments, Defense Department officials say.

Military recruitment of high school students has come under scrutiny recently with the war in Iraq continuing. Such efforts were criticized in the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11.

In addition, the federal No Child Left Behind Act requires schools that receive federal funding to provide military recruiters with students' names, addresses and phone numbers unless parents have opted out. Schools also must allow recruiters to have the same access to campuses that colleges have.

The military's vocational aptitude test is not part of the No Child Left Behind requirement, and the test's "career explorations" Web site says students who agree to take the test aren't making any obligations.

Nationwide, 722,450 students took the test during the past school year, according to the Defense Department. That includes more than 8,700 Maryland students from 175 schools.

The assessment has evolved several times since it was developed from tests used by branches of the military, said Arendt, a Navy captain. He said he remembers taking an early version of the test while he was in high school in the 1970s.

"It gave me, as a student, a good idea about what I could and could not look forward to in careers," he said.

Students or parents who are concerned about how information about them is used have options, he said. One is to indicate on the test that they do not want their results released to military recruiters.

"They get the results, and it's transparent to us," Arendt said.

Some students and their families aren't aware of that option, Castro said. For more than 18 years, the committee has answered questions about the test from families who encounter it in their schools.

As for casting the test as a career-planning tool, he said, "We think it's a disingenuous use of the test."

Area school officials say the tests can suggest opportunities in military and civilian jobs.

"It's a career-interest inventory," said Rhonda C. Gill, Anne Arundel's director of pupil services. "It's not done in any way, shape or form to focus kids on going into the military."

In Carroll County, all seven high schools have made the test available to students since the late 1970s, said Barbara Guthrie, the school system's guidance supervisor. Typically, a handful of students sign up for it at each school, she said, but at Winters Mill High School, 70 students took the test this year.

"It's helpful to students and parents as well, but you use it in combination with lots of other assessments in schools to help students figure out future plans and what their abilities are," Guthrie said.

Although some Anne Arundel schools administer the test more formally than schools in other counties, officials noted that students aren't required to take it. Of 250 South River juniors, 70 chose not to take the test on one of the two days it was offered last month.

While ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders were taking the PSAT countywide in October, a little more than half of the seniors at Broadneck High School took the military test, said guidance counselor Joe Kozik, as did seniors at North County and other high schools. At Broadneck, several parents called to get more information about the test.

"I think the Iraq war has certainly raised concerns on multiple levels," said Broadneck Principal Cindy Hudson.

The test serves a purpose for military recruiters. Kozik noted that recruiters are especially interested in the test results of five Broadneck students this year.

Because of the reporting requirements of No Child Left Behind, Kozik said, "whether you take this test or not ... we by law have to provide your name to the federal government."

At South River High School, some juniors left their classes to take the test two weeks ago. Others remained in class or went to school later rather than take it.

Emily Hawse said knowing the test's military connection earlier would not have kept her from taking it. "I was thinking that this might help me for college," she said.

Her mother, Monica M. Hawse, agreed that the test would be useful but added, "I think everybody - kids, parents, teachers - should know it's affiliated with the military."

Megan Lloyd, 16, a junior from Edgewater, said she learned about the test when a military recruiter spoke to her class. She was interested in anything that could help her decide what path to pursue and was not concerned about the military connection.

"The man who came into our social studies class made me feel comfortable about it," she said after classes one day.

"It's not like they're going to hound you about it," said fellow Edgewater resident Charlie Fischer, 16, who is considering the armed forces and college.

"Or at least, we hope not," Lloyd said.

Sun staff writers Athima Chansanchai and Laura Loh contributed to this article.

Liz F. Kay
© Copyright 2004 Baltimore Sun

Invisible Soldier

A perilous journey from New York to Falluja and back leaves one soldier out in the cold.

Four nights before Christmas, former Army specialist Herold Noel huddled for warmth in front of a fire he built for himself in Brooklyn's Prospect Park as temperatures slid toward the single digits. Plagued by nightmares and unable to hold a steady job or get the assistance he needed, he was on the verge of losing his wife and three young children. It wasn't the homecoming he'd expected after serving in Iraq last year.

"There was one time," he recalled, "when me and my battle buddies made a fire and we were sittin' out there in Iraq and talking about when we get home we're gonna be looked at as heroes. We're gonna be in the history books. Man, half the guys I came back with are going through the same thing I'm going through."

According to the Pentagon, 955,000 U.S. troops have already served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The experiences of Noel and others like him have many observers worried that the country will be inundated by a wave of returning veterans with no place to go and reeling from psychological trauma, as happened toward the end of the Vietnam War. According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, up to 17 percent of troops returning from Iraq "met the screening criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety, or PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]."

"The Bush administration didn't plan going into the war," says Paul Reickhoff, Executive Director of Operation Truth, a growing online organization of Iraq veterans. "And they haven't planned for the back end of the war and the social services that will be needed. It's an extension of a flawed plan." Ricky Singh, of the Brooklyn-based Black Veterans for Social Justice, is also alarmed. His group was helping three Iraq vets a year ago. Now, he says it's assisting 30 Iraq vets, 18 of whom are homeless, including Noel and his family and a pregnant woman who is expected to give birth this month.

"We know this is the tip of the iceberg, because vets tend to be a group that doesn't seek out help," Singh told The Indypendent. The New England Journal study found that of the veterans who met the criteria for a mental disorder, less than 40 percent reported receiving professional help in the past year.

Nationally, there are signs of the same problem. In Cincinnati, Ohio, Charles Blythe, director of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, says his group is already assisting three homeless Iraq and Afghanistan vets, and he expects many more to come. "Once they start bringing them home, we're going to be flooded with them, just like with Vietnam," says Blythe, a Vietnam-era veteran.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, nearly 300,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and almost half of those are Vietnam vets.

A Soldier's Story

Noel, 25, was born and raised in Flatbush. He was attending New York City Technical College and working as a medical-claims processor when he enlisted in the Army in September 2000. He was attracted by both the promised benefits and the chance to "see some new scenery." Noel served in the 3rd Infantry Division 7th Cavalry as part of the original invasion force, working in fuel resupply. He witnessed the human carnage wreaked by U.S. bombs soon after he crossed into southern Iraq. He also watched friends lose life and limb as his unit was repeatedly ambushed by rebels near Falluja. He left Iraq in August 2003.

Combat experiences such as Noel's have a strong bearing on whether a veteran develops PTSD. The New England Journal study found that among troops who engaged in more than five firefights while deployed in Iraq, the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder was more than 19 percent. In contrast, the rate of PTSD among Vietnam veterans is currently 15 percent. "It was about that oil that was spilling from the streets. If you saw the way we slaughtered those people, it was disgusting," Noel said of the war's beginning. "There would be little kids laying down on the floor. Two- or three-year-olds caught in the crossfire. It was sickening."

While Noel was trapped in a war zone, the army mistakenly listed him as AWOL and cut off his pay, causing him to lose his home in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Upon returning, he moved into a trailer off-base with his wife, Tamara, and their three young children. When their car died and he was no longer able to get to work, they decided to move back to New York.

However, Noel was a changed man and found it difficult to keep a steady job, and his family slipped through an almost nonexistent safety net. Tamara started to notice changes in her husband about a month after they were reunited. "He'd get upset easily. We were arguing all the time. One time we got in an argument and he put me in the car and drove me to some bushes and he said he would kill me if I kept arguing with him. I was really scared. He was never like that before."

Noel still struggles with his rage, but now he disappears when he feels like he is going to explode. "I don't know where he goes," Tamara says. "He tells me sometimes he has to get away from it all." "I have an anger problem. I still got that war mentality," Noel says. "You got that anger in you being around all that death. I still have nightmares. I'm still paranoid sometimes to walk the street, thinking something is going to happen... It's hard to be in a working situation. You're always on your guard."

While Herold sleeps outside and crisscrosses the city looking for assistance, Tamara is temping as a clerk at a hospital and staying at her sister's home with the kids. Both Tamara and Herold are uncertain of what to do next or even if their marriage will survive. Both refuse to have their children stay in the city's squalid shelter system. "We're willing to work," Tamara says. "We just need something temporary so we can get on our feet."

"They are in a very fragile situation," says Singh, who is trying to fast-track their case so they can get an apartment. "My wife can't take it anymore," says Noel. "This whole ordeal is breaking up my family. She's like she needs to move on with her life. I don't know what to do.

"I walk around crying every day. I feel lost in my own land. The land I fought for I feel lost in. I don't know what to do no more. Sometime I just feel like picking up a gun and calling it quits ? know what I'm saying? But, something's got to get better. I didn't just risk my life for nothing." Noel paused, unsure if he still believed what he was going to say next. "There's a God out there ? somewhere."

John Tarleton is a reporter and editor at The Indypendent an award-winning bi-weekly newspaper published by the New York City Independent Media Center.