when I get over there I have the feeling they are going to
arrest me just because of the name that I have carried."
Bilal remembers a parting conversation with her son,
31-year-old Sgt. Hasan Karim Akbar, now facing double murder
charges in the “fragging” of three 101st Airborne
(Assault) Division command tents in Kuwait in the early days
of the Iraq invasion.
was never in trouble," said Abdul Karim Hasan, imam of
the Bilal Islamic Center and longtime family acquaintance.
"He was always standing on the outside of any kind of
tussles between kids." Sgt. Akbar sometimes listed the
Bilal Center as his Los Angeles address.
date, we are told only that Sgt. Akbar had exhibited “attitude
problems” and been “acting insubordinate” after the 101st’s
deployment to Kuwait from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in February,
leading superiors to hold him in the rear while elements of
his unit set out for Baghdad.
Doubtless we will learn that he was “troubled” – another
readymade institutional absolution – as when he reportedly
told Army authorities after his arrest, "You guys are
coming into our countries, and you're going to rape our women
and kill our children." Presumably, Sgt. Akbar meant
a bunch of Hajis"
murderously delusional American society and military are incompetent
to judge Sgt. Akbar’s or any other Black soldier’s mental
and emotional bearings. But they are right about one thing:
Sgt. Akbar is not suited for their war. British reporter Mark
Franchetti, embedded with the U.S. Marines during the battle
of Nasiriyah, observed the “jittery aggressors who talked
of wanting to ‘nuke’ the place” – a pathology that most of
white America considers understandable, normal.
Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy,"
said Corporal Ryan Dupre, in the midst of a firefight. "I
am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of
a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill
him." Cpl. Dupre, in Iraq for a little over one week,
is predisposed to race hatred, an essential quality for an
effective American foreign legion.
March 30 account in The Times (UK) continues: “About
100 marines jumped out of their vehicles and took cover in
ditches, pointing their sights at a mud-caked house. Was it
harboring gunmen? Small groups of marines approached, cautiously,
to search for the enemy. A dozen terrified civilians, mainly
women and children, emerged with their hands raised.
just a bunch of Hajis," said one gunner from his turret,
using their nickname for Arabs. "Friggin' women and children,
30 years of fine-tuning the all-volunteer military, the Pentagon
has finally gotten the perfect demographic mix, the human
resources that uniformed brass and corporate civilian war
planners believe will establish a New American Century in
every corner of the globe by force of arms. Sgt. Akbar was
lucid enough to recognize the purposefully hostile environment
that confronted him. The “combat arms” of the U.S. military
are packed with white sons of the South, led by Republican
Confederacy in arms
percent of the U.S. military enlisted from southern states
in 2000, up from 31 percent in 1980. Dixie’s military dominance
dwarfs all other regions – the Northeast accounts for just
14 percent of recruits, the West, 23 percent, and the Midwest,
African Americans comprise 26 percent of the Army (and 22
percent of the combined services), that proportion is halved
among the “combat” specialties such as infantry and armored
gun crews, and sliced further in the elite units that form
the cutting edges of war. The good old boys rule in these
outfits – by design.
as ominously, the 80 percent white officer class has grown
far more politicized than the public at large during the last
few decades, according to the immensely valuable March 30
New York Times article, “Military
Mirrors Working-Class America.”
who warn of a warrior class cite a study by the Triangle Institute
for Security Studies in North Carolina showing that between
1976 and 1996 the percentage of military officers who saw
themselves as nonpartisan or politically independent fell
from more than 50 percent to less than 20 percent,” said the
NYT. “The main beneficiary of this shift has been the Republican
Pentagon and the corporate War Party worked tirelessly to
cultivate the current U.S. military demography, to suit the
purposes to which it is presently deployed in Iraq, and for
future aggressions and occupations throughout the non-white
world. The volunteer force is the product of three decades
of social engineering, designed to prevent a return of the
Pentagon’s worst nightmare: a “critical mass” of Black soldiers
in the combat arms, as occurred in Vietnam.
in the process of properly debunking the “myth” that Blacks
died in disproportionate numbers in Vietnam, the Times and
its favored experts distort history. They have misplaced critical
facts, and depicted causes and effects in reverse, totally
obscuring the central role Black soldiers played in dismantling
the U.S. war machinery in Vietnam by refusing to act as
an imperial army or to die in the numbers that the planners
Black soldiers shut down the war
Times concedes that Black casualties were high “in the early
stages of the American ground war in 1965 and 1966, when there
were large numbers of blacks in front-line combat units.”
Here, the historical revision begins. “Army and Marine Corps
commanders later took steps to reassign black servicemen to
other jobs to equalize deaths, according to Col. Harry G.
Summers Jr. in ‘Vietnam War Almanac.’ By the end of the war,”
said the Times, “African-Americans had suffered 12.5
percent of the total deaths in Vietnam, 1 percentage point
less than their proportion in the overall population, Colonel
Summers and the New York Times are talking nonsense. It is
laughable to pretend that U.S. military brass acted at any
time to limit Black casualty rates - What? In order to increase
white death rates?! Commanders "took steps to reassign
black servicemen" because African American soldiers collectively
resisted Washington's plans to make them the expendable casualties
of Vietnam. They effectively shut down the war from within
- a history that has never been fully told, but one that is
seared in the memories of those in charge of America's current
and future imperial enterprises.
horrendous Black casualties in the early Vietnam years, a
whiter casualty list was the last thing on the Pentagon’s
mind. President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert
McNamara were most concerned about how to pull off a massive
increase in U.S. troop strength without dipping too deeply
into the white middle class youth pool.
in 1966, a year that began with 200,000 men in Vietnam, Secretary
McNamara announced Project
100,000, the most cynical race-class ploy ever lumped
under the umbrella of LBJ’s War on Poverty. As Defense Department
manpower official Dr. Wayne S.
Sellman explained to a congressional committee in February
“The manpower goal of Project
100,000 was to accept 40,000 men under relaxed standards during
the 1st year and 100,000 per year thereafter. Approximately
91 percent of these ‘New Standards Men,’ as they were called,
came in under lowered aptitude/education standards, and 9
percent entered under lowered physical standards.”
With a straight face, Secretary McNamara declared
that Project 100,000 was intended for the benefit of the “poor
of America [who] have not had the opportunity to earn their
fair share of this Nation's abundance, but they can be given
an opportunity to serve in their Country's defense.” Military
testing standards were lowered, high school dropouts became
eligible for service, and draft boards and recruiters were
encouraged to overlook criminal justice offenses.
By 1971, when the U.S. ground war in Vietnam was sputtering
to an end, “354,000 L/A men had entered the Services under
the program,” Dr. Sellman testified. “Of these, 54 percent
were volunteers and 46 percent were draftees. The men who
entered under Project 100,000 were on average 20 years of
age, about half came from the South, and a substantial proportion
(about 41 percent) were minorities.”
This was the infusion that allowed the Pentagon
to boost Vietnam troop strength to 540,000 in the peak year
of 1969, while accommodating massive draft deferments among
the comfortable white classes. Young Black draftees and volunteers
flocked to elite outfits, comprising near or absolute majorities
in “line” units of the 101st and 82nd
Airborne Divisions and the 173rd Airborne Brigade
(all now heavily white and Hispanic, and deployed in Iraq
There was one problem with this Black “street”
army. As a Black lieutenant put it in “Bloods,” Wallace
Terry’s seminal oral history of African Americans in Vietnam,
are the ones who ain't going to take no more shit."
“commanders” that war historian Col. Summers credits with
compassionately reassigning Blacks out of harms way in fact
went to extreme lengths to break the spirits of Black soldiers
and destroy any expressions of Black solidarity. Ultimately,
the military established a mostly Black penal colony in Vietnam
to enforce the terms of its internal race war. An online History
of the Military Police cites 1969 as the “year the US
military prisoner population peaks when 10,450 military prisoners
are confined in Vietnam, most at the United States Army Installation
Stockade at Long Binh, known as the Long Binh Jail (LBJ).”
August 1968, Black inmates burned Long Binh Jail to the ground.
Jimi Childress was 19 years old, locked up for going AWOL
from his unit. He told his story to Cecil Barr Currey, author
Binh Jail: An Oral History of Vietnam's Notorious U.S. Military
can recall at one time they had eight of us in one [6' x 9'x
6' metal] conex box. A slit in the front and a slit in the
back – and that was your air. And if you wanted to urinate,
you had to go to the back to do it because they kept a chain
on the front with a lock on it. This was in heat of more than
115 degrees .... You could see them treating prisoners
that way, but not their own soldiers ....
these guys that was in these conex boxes were black. You see?
White guys in the stockade had fringe benefits. We had none.
It was just a hateful place. Hispanics stuck with blacks,
just for safety reasons, but there was so few you hardly notice.
It was a black prison. I will never forget how
many blacks were incarcerated in that stockade.”
1968, combined Vietnam AWOLs and desertions reached over 150
per thousand soldiers. About 100 Black deserters established
“Soul Alley” in a Saigon neighborhood near Ton San Nhut Airport.
Fully armed Black and white troops faced off at China Beach,
online military police site sketches the rough outlines of
repression and resistance in Vietnam. Some entrees from 1971: