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March 4, 2005 | Page 6

On trial in Argentina
The other U.S. occupation

The pressure on recruits

I RECENTLY found out about an incident on February 8 in which a Marine recruit, Jason Tharp, drowned during a swimming exercise. The day before, the same recruit was filmed as a drill instructor struck him, then grabbed him in a threatening and intimidating manner, while other instructors watched and let the abuse go on without intervening.

Tharp had made objections to doing the swimming exercise on the basis of being a bad swimmer and he didn't feel comfortable doing the exercise. Apparently, that was enough "cause" for the instructor's behavior.

On the day of the drowning, it was said that Tharp voluntarily went into the pool. While there is no proof that any instructor was linked to the drowning, it is hard to believe that in such an environment, there was no one around who could have saved the recruit. Five instructors have been suspended. The military has acknowledged that the abuse violated regulations and is looking into the incident.

If this is the pressure recruits are put under during training, one can only imagine how troops are being treated overseas.
Bernie Kuszewski, Northampton, Mass.

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On trial in Argentina

WE MET at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in January.

Since we returned to Argentina, we've been in the midst of intense political activity. We are preparing for the March 19-20 global mobilization against the occupation of Iraq. We were involved in the recent strike of the Buenos Aires subway workers, which was a very important strike for the working class in our country, winning a 20 percent salary increase and strengthening the anti-bureaucratic and combative leadership of the workers delegates.

We have found out that on February 22, our comrade Martín Ogando, and Sergio Salgado, a member of another socialist group, Partido Obrero (Workers Party), will face an oral judgment because they were charged in connection with their participation in a 1999 student strike against fraudulent student elections at the University of Buenos Aires under the Radical Party government of former President Fernando de la Rúa.

Last August 4, the capitalist courts tried to bring them to trial, but the strike, the marches and mobilizations, and the support of the people, forced the judge to postpone them. Now, the courts are trying to bring a conviction against our young comrades. Already, 40 activists have been imprisoned and more than 5,000 have been charged.

We ask for your solidarity and for your internationalist and communist support. Messages of support can be sent to [email protected] Thank you very much.
Agustín Valdés, Socialismo Revolucionario, Argentina

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The other U.S. occupation

WITH BUSH trumpeting the "success" of the recent elections in Iraq as a symbol of the benevolence of the U.S., it is important that we not lose sight of Bush's other "success" story--Afghanistan.

In October 2001, the Bush administration launched a war on the impoverished country of Afghanistan, as part of the "war on terror," which toppled the Taliban regime. Bush drummed up support for this war by talking about how horrible the Taliban regime was: how they oppressed women and how they kept the Afghan people in poverty.

Shortly after the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, an election was held that supposedly ushered in a new, brighter future for the Afghan people, with a loyal U.S. stooge acting as president. However, a recent Human Development Report from the United Nations (UN) paints a very different picture.

More than three years after the first U.S. soldiers set foot in Afghanistan, that country now boasts one of the world's worst rates of life expectancy, conditions for women and children, and literacy, according to the UN report. One out of five children die before the age of five, and an Afghan woman dies of pregnancy-related illness every 30 minutes. Half the population lives in poverty. Afghanistan currently has one of the world's worst education systems because 80 percent of schools have been destroyed due to war--including the recent U.S. invasion.

While the U.S. is spending $1 billion a month on the so-called "war on terror," the Afghan people have received almost nothing from their would-be "saviors." They are victims of U.S. empire.

The Iraqi people can expect to find a similar fate unless they kick the U.S. out of their country as soon as possible and use their wealth and resources for their own development.
Keith Rosenthal, Boston

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