US Soldier Calls for End of An Occupation Based on Lies
By Tim Predmore
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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 Husseins sons, the U.S. 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 U.S. military) of two young children brought to a U.S. 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, theytwo childrenwere denied care by two U.S. military doctors. A soldier described the incident as one of many atrocities on the part of the U.S. military he had witnessed.
Thankfully, I have not personally been a witness to atrocitiesunless, 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? Iraqs 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 nations natural resource. Oilat least to meseems 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 causeto 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 leaders interest?
The Guardian (UK), September 19, 2003