Active-duty GI speaks out against occupation
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Sep 19 07:33:47 MDT 2003
We are facing death in Iraq for no reason
A serving US soldier calls for the end of an occupation based on lies
Friday September 19, 2003
For the past six months, I have been participating in what I believe to be
the great modern lie: Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After the horrific events of September 11 2001, and throughout the battle
in Afghanistan, the groundwork was being laid for the invasion of Iraq.
"Shock and awe" were the words used to describe the display of power that
the world was going to view upon the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It
was to be an up-close, dramatic display of military strength and advanced
technology from within the arsenals of the American and British military.
But as a soldier preparing to take part in the invasion of Iraq, the words
"shock and awe" rang deep within my psyche. Even as we prepared to depart,
it seemed that these two great superpowers were about to break the very
rules that they demanded others obey. Without the consent of the United
Nations, and ignoring the pleas of their own citizens, the US and Britain
invaded Iraq. "Shock and awe"? Yes, the words correctly described the
emotional impact I felt as we embarked on an act not of justice, but of
From the moment the first shot was fired in this so-called war of
liberation and freedom, hypocrisy reigned. After the broadcasting of
recorded images of captured and dead US soldiers on Arab television,
American and British leaders vowed revenge while verbally assaulting the
networks for displaying such vivid images. Yet within hours of the deaths
of Saddam Hussein's sons, the US government released horrific photographs
of the two dead brothers for the entire world to view. Again, a "do as we
say and not as we do" scenario.
As soldiers serving in Iraq, we have been told that our purpose is to help
the people of Iraq by providing them with the necessary assistance
militarily, as well as in humanitarian efforts. Then tell me where the
humanity is in the recent account in Stars and Stripes (the newspaper of
the US military) of two young children brought to a US military camp by
their mother in search of medical care.
The two children had, unknowingly, been playing with explosive ordnance
they had found, and as a result they were severely burned. The account
tells how, after an hour-long wait, they - two children - were denied care
by two US military doctors. A soldier described the incident as one of many
"atrocities" on the part of the US military he had witnessed.
Thankfully, I have not personally been a witness to atrocities - unless, of
course, you consider, as I do, that this war in Iraq is the ultimate atrocity.
So what is our purpose here? Was this invasion because of weapons of mass
destruction, as we have so often heard? If so, where are they? Did we
invade to dispose of a leader and his regime because they were closely
associated with Osama bin Laden? If so, where is the proof?
Or is it that our incursion is about our own economic advantage? Iraq's oil
can be refined at the lowest cost of any in the world. This looks like a
modern-day crusade not to free an oppressed people or to rid the world of a
demonic dictator relentless in his pursuit of conquest and domination, but
a crusade to control another nation's natural resource. Oil - at least to
me - seems to be the reason for our presence.
There is only one truth, and it is that Americans are dying. There are an
estimated 10 to 14 attacks every day on our servicemen and women in Iraq.
As the body count continues to grow, it would appear that there is no
immediate end in sight.
I once believed that I was serving for a cause - "to uphold and defend the
constitution of the United States". Now I no longer believe that; I have
lost my conviction, as well as my determination. I can no longer justify my
service on the basis of what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies.
With age comes wisdom, and at 36 years old I am no longer so blindly led as
to believe without question. From my arrival last November at Fort
Campbell, in Kentucky, talk of deployment was heard, and as that talk
turned to actual preparation, my heart sank and my doubts grew. My doubts
have never faded; instead, it has been my resolve and my commitment that have.
My time here is almost done, as well as that of many others with whom I
have served. We have all faced death in Iraq without reason and without
justification. How many more must die? How many more tears must be shed
before Americans awake and demand the return of the men and women whose job
it is to protect them, rather than their leader's interest?
(Tim Predmore is a US soldier on active duty with the 101st Airborne
Division, based near Mosul in northern Iraq. A version of this article
appeared in the Peoria Journal Star, Illinois)
Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org
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