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Source (Guardian UK)

Get the REAL news from outside America's repressed media bubble from the  Guardian.

More from U.S. soldiers below the fold:

From's recent Counter Filibuster:

Peter G., New York:  

Well I would have felt much better if I was deployed to Afghanistan.  Realistically it was an Al Qaeda group in Afghanistan that attacked my home town and killed a lot of American citizens.  They try to make people believe that Iraq was in some way connected to Afghanistan and a lot of us troops when we were first deployed there honestly believed it.  

I wasn’t opposed to it at the time. I didn’t really know very much about the Middle East. I was a little bit naïve in that sense.  When you got there you started to realize that the theologies of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were totally incompatible with each other, so there was really no link per see between the situation over there in Afghanistan with Al Qaeda and I started to see that and a lot of people who worked directly inside of Iraq with the people of Iraq started to realize that the two didn’t mix and they were not the same situation.  

The American people, the Iraqi people, the troops – I mean we’ve all given so much and we’ve given this administration a number of opportunities to come up with a viable plan.  They’ve pushed everything aside; they have their own short-sided ideology and that’s how they’re going to do it.  And frankly they can no longer be trusted with the lives of our service members.  

We have to do what we can to pressure our law makers to oppose their surge plan. While there are no great options to end this thing – we have to find a way to bring it to a responsible redeployment and if that includes diplomacy and other options then we have to do that.  I mean this is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.  If there was ever a manual written on how not to fight a war, it would be this administration’s playbook.

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Andrea J., North Carolina

On 19 March 2003, the day Operation Iraqi Freedom began, I was stationed on a destroyer in the Persian Gulf.  My deployment should have ended 6 weeks before, but because of the war the entire battle group's deployment was extended.  
I was part of the Tomahawk launch team, and over the first four weeks of the war we emptied our launchers.  The hours were brutal. We could and did launch missiles at all hours of the day and night.  It became so commonplace to see them fly that CNN even stopped covering it.  

I finally came home on from the war on March 19th, the same day President Bush stood on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared major combat operations over in Iraq, in front of a banner that read "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED."   Since then, my personal year has revolved towards and away from the 19th of March. It is my own Ash Wednesday, a Yom Kippur that I mark with no one but myself.

In military circles, you don’t speak of regretting your part in a war, and it feels disloyal besides. I know, I'm brainwashed. It happens. I am not overwhelmingly depressed this year, thanks be to God for small mercies that I probably don't deserve. I am mournful, I am contemplative. I wish for forgiveness from myself, I wish I could feel right with God again, but these things may take a while and for the most part, I am at peace.

Less than a year from now I will finally take off my uniform for the last time, and be out of it all for good. Next year on the 19th of March, I can go to one of the protests marking the anniversary of the start of the war, and not feel like a damned hypocrite or a spy. Next year when I renew my membership in Iraq Veterans Against the War, I will check the box that says "I am willing to speak publicly" and if they ask me to speak, I will go, and I will tell the audience about how all members of the military carry wounds and scars and scabs on the soul, not just the ground forces. I will speak of the choices you make, the things you do to stay out of prison and earn that honorable discharge and the benefits that come with it. I will speak of the nights I have woken up in a cold sweat, clutching a worried dog like a lifeline, with nightmares of the people I have killed arriving, one by one, at my front door in a line that stretches longer than I like to admit.

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I wonder, sometimes, why I ended up like this and other people on my Tomahawk team did not. Firing Tomahawks is a triumph of military engineering, designed to kill a maximum number of the enemy while causing the least amount of potential trauma to the firing team. It includes any number of factors that will make it easier for a person to kill, including the extremely long range of the weapon, the shared responsibility (an average Tomahawk team includes at least seven people), and lack of decision-making (targets are selected for you). All of these factors should have buffered all of us, kept us safe from accepting personal responsibility for our choices.

Why did my brainwashing, so firm in other matters, fail me when I most needed it? I mean, I compulsively check to make sure the buttons on my shirt, the buckle of my belt, and the overlap of the zipper on my pants are neatly lined up throughout the day. My military bearing is rather impeccable when I'm in uniform, if I do say so myself. Bark at me in an authoritative voice and I am liable to follow the order first and think about it later. All the basics are there, but somehow the higher functions didn't install. DOS works, but the Windows-level brainwashing just failed to take, and while on the one hand I'm proud of my ability to retain some level of independent thought, on the other hand entirely I wish like hell I could just buy into the party line and not ... not think, not wonder, not accept that I made the choice to kill rather than to go to prison, even though I thought in 2003 that our reasons for going to war were complete rampaging bullshit dressed up like truth and sent out to walk the halls of the UN.    

It's different this year, at least, and for that I am grateful. This afternoon I played in the sunshine with my dogs, and came in and snuggled the kitties in a sunbeam in the library. I must pause, periodically, in my typing to massage the ears of a grey dog who keeps shoving her head in my lap. I have explained to her that I am a mass murderer in the service of the government. She doesn't much care and wants to know if more ear rubbing will be forthcoming. She doesn't understand why her doomed attempt to be a lap dog made me cry a little today. But maybe this is where being ok starts: with the one creature in this world who will forgive me any human failing at all. I'm not right with myself and I'm not right with God, yet, but I am right with Dog and that's a start, isn't it?

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

Originally posted to EmilyD on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 01:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We Should All (16+ / 0-)

    plaster this video by the Guardian's Sean Smith everywhere we can. This footage shows in no uncertain terms what is going on in Iraq. It's showing the non-stop stress our soldiers are under, the fear, fatigue, and relentlessness of the ill-conceived, under-funded mission. It shows the troops trying to fix what is patently not a military situation with a lack of equipment and personnel. It shows, what a disaster Bush's war in Iraq really is. No spin can undo these images. Please share it around. Thanks.

    When good people of conscience give up the fight for justice, all is lost. Therefore you must not give up.

    by EmilyD on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 01:01:36 PM PDT

  •  i sent this video to (3+ / 0-)

    my congressman and asked him for a response -- being the bushbot that he is, i don't expect any response...

    •  Excellent sc kitty (3+ / 0-)

      We should all send this to our Congressdrones. Here's a link everyone can use:

      I'm doing it myself right now!

      When good people of conscience give up the fight for justice, all is lost. Therefore you must not give up.

      by EmilyD on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 01:29:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Done! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sc kitty, trashablanca

        Sent this messege to Ted Poe

        Since I see no catagory for the Iraq War, I chose the the catagory that comes closest to describing it, "Crime".  Please paste the above web address into your web browser and watch this video on YouTube.  It is a video of soldiers in Iraq.  Please, please do something to stop this insanity and bring our troops home - NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." Robert F. Kennedy June 6th, 1968

        by enough already on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 01:52:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you enough already! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enough already, trashablanca

          I was interested to note that all three of my reps now have a category for Iraq in their pull down menu webform but they didn't last year.

          When good people of conscience give up the fight for justice, all is lost. Therefore you must not give up.

          by EmilyD on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:30:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Ahhhh that felt good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, Phil N DeBlanc

    I wrote the following to my two Senators and Congresswoman:

    Dear Senator,

    I want to thank you for voting to redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq last week and for speaking out on the floor of the Senate. Please help Majority Leader Reid keep the  pressure on your doubting Senate colleagues so that we can end this disastrous war.

    I am a Democratic blogger from Northern California and thought you might find a recent post I did helpful in making your case to reluctant Democrats. Please feel free to share this with them or anyone else you think might benefit from it. It consists of a video from the Guardian U.K., quoted text from two soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and two powerful still images. I hope you find it useful:

    Keep fighting for us, we need you to be strong. Thank you.

    When good people of conscience give up the fight for justice, all is lost. Therefore you must not give up.

    by EmilyD on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 01:43:49 PM PDT

  •  Anyone Who Wants To (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, Unique Material

    can take anything they find in this any any of my other diaries and send it to their Representatives. Whatever tools you need, whatever might help, use it, do it! Let's end this monstrous war!

    When good people of conscience give up the fight for justice, all is lost. Therefore you must not give up.

    by EmilyD on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 01:44:50 PM PDT

  •  Dear God! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What have we done!

    Forgive us.

    I'm the person your mother warned you about.

    by Unique Material on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 04:55:52 AM PDT

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