Saturday, September 13, 2008

In the words of our soldiers

I was listening to CBC's As It Happens on Thursday night and not surprisingly they had some programming to mark the anniversary of September 11. The "For the Record" segment has people who are involved in stories speaking for themselves, in their own words. They featured a portion of a piece by Sean Smith of The Guardian newspaper in London entitled Endgame in Iraq. He had spent two months filming the U.S. 101st Airborne Division in Baghdad, who had been involved in heavy fighting Sadr City and Shulla. (Warning: There is a lot of cussing when the soldiers are in combat.)

In the video story, he has soldiers voicing their opposition to the war in a very powerful, rational, reasoned manner. The most horrifying parts of the video showed the soldiers interacting with Iraqi civilians. But the most surprising parts to me was hearing soldiers make the same arguments against the war that I do. Soldiers are imagined as unintelligent drones who follow orders. However, the 101st Airborne is a cut above, both in terms of training and the recruits they attract.

They said things like:

It's just a waste of time now. Too much money. Too many lives lost. Too many families destroyed, like mine. I miss them more than anything.

Basically, I think we're in a stupid pointless war, because a lot of politicians either a) can't admit that they were wrong or b) making a lot of money off this war.

I hate it here. It's hot. You're away from your family. It's very stressful. A limited amount of sleep. It sucks.

This war is stupid and pointless. This is not our country. This is not our war. We're in the middle of a civil war that's been going on for a couple thousand years now. this war is costing my country billions of dollars every month. I think the last count was between four and twelve billion dollars per month. This ware is contributing to the collapse of our economy and the devaluization of the America dollar. This war is stupid and pointless and it's ruining our country.

Iraq doesn't really care about us any more. They don't want our help. This country doesn't really want to change. I believe it's time to go home. It's time to stop losing lives. Stop wasting money. Just carry on with our lives. That's all I really have to say. Not much else. I miss my family. I miss m friends that died, the ones I've left behind. I'm done with it. Done fighting. Tired of it. That's all I got.

If this doesn't make you a peace advocate, I don't know what will.

There were no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was not an imminent (or immanent) threat in 2002. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. If it was about the oil, then it definitely didn't help. The only things that the US has to show for their time are a lot of casualties (both military and civilian) and an enormous permanent base near Baghdad.

It's time to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home.

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