Iraq War veterans are sending a message to President Obama: Don’t intervene in Iraq, it will only result in more lost lives, both U.S. and Iraqi.
After the nightmare of more than a decade of war, many Iraq veterans see the destabilizing U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq as the reason for the crisis the country finds itself in. They point to the futility of further U.S. military action and the likelihood that airstrikes, rather than benefiting the Iraqi people, will continue to bring them death, destruction and dislocation, while also putting U.S. service members in further danger.
Today, Iraq veterans and family members are calling on the Obama administration to stay out of the brewing civil war; to provide humanitarian aid to refugees; and to pursue international diplomacy towards reconciliation for the people of Iraq.
ROSS CAPUTI is a Marine Corps veteran of the 2nd siege of Fallujah in November and December of 2004, considered the bloodiest battle of the U.S. war in Iraq. Today he is on the Board of Directors of ISLAH (www.reparations.org) and he is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
“The many American lives that were lost in Iraq cannot be made meaningful by propping up an unpopular government with violence. Any further actions taken by the U.S. to arm the Maliki government in Baghdad or support it through military intervene:tion and airstrikes would be completely unacceptable and immoral, as Iraqi civilians will surely suffer the most.“
MATT SOUTHWORTH is an Iraq War veteran who in 2004 was stationed near the strategic town of Tal Afar, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad, which was captured by Sunni militants this week. He has expressed his sadness and outrage in an article for Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), where he works. Matt is a member of Veterans For Peace, an organization that represents thousands of U.S. veterans.
“With nearly 5,000 U.S. troops killed, over 30,000 wounded, hundreds of thousands of Moral Injuries and millions of Iraqis killed, wounded and displaced, today I wonder for what? Never until this moment have I felt so much like it was all for nothing…. The human costs are incalculable, but will the trillions of dollars spent on war and veteran care do any good whatsoever for the U.S., Iraq or the world? A decade after the invasion, almost no positive effect of our involvement in Iraq remains intact and yet the talk is almost exclusively around military intervention. Why?”
TIM KAHLOR is the father of medically retired Sgt. Ryan Kahlor. His son served over 24 months in 2 tours in Iraq. He and his wife Laura live Murrieta, CA.
“People want to believe that when your loved ones come home from war, it’s all good. End of story. Yet seven years after our son’s last deployment and getting him diagnosed with TBI and PTSD, we are still fighting to make sure our son is alive and well and getting the treatment he needs for all his injuries. Now I know the wounds of war will never heal completely and our son like so many others continue to be in mental combat every day.”
RAY MC GOVERN served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer during the early Sixties; was then a CIA analyst for 27 years. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
“Already too much carnage in Iraq has been ‘justified’ by ‘unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent’ intelligence(Senate Intelligence Committee, June 5, 2008). 100 years ago as WWI loomed, Rudyard Kipling pulled strings to get his (under-aged) only son, John, into the army. Filled with remorse when young John was killed a year later, Kipling put the following words in his dead son’s mouth: ‘If they question why we died, tell them because our fathers lied.’ The soil of Iraq is caked with blood borne of lies — lies that persist and poison public discourse. We are all responsible for this chaos. No more war!”
“U.S. intervention will give new energy to current fightersand likely draw a whole new group of people to fight against the U.S.,” said Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace. “The U.S. does not need to create new enemies. This will make a political solution even more difficult, while endangering the lives of Iraqis and Americans. It is time for the U.S. to move away from war.”
Veterans and military families will participate in a White House rally at 1 pm this Saturday,June 21, in conjunction with demonstrations around the country.