US Soldier: "We Are Facing Death in Iraq for No Reason"

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat Sep 20 17:51:41 MDT 2003


Does Tim Predmore hail from Peoria?

*****   We are facing death in Iraq for no reason

A serving US soldier calls for the end of an occupation based on lies

Tim Predmore
Friday September 19, 2003
The Guardian

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 hypocrisy.

 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.

<http://politics.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,9115,1045360,00.html>   *****

--
Yoshie

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