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News ::
Vet for Peace on Operation Iraq Liberation (english)
31 Mar 2003
Operation Iraq Liberation
...they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
Tom Baxter,
Day Job Reference Librarian
Real Life Father, Husband, Friend of the Kurds
United States Army Vietnam 1967-1969

I opposed the war with Iraq. I still do. I’ll continue to be out on the street with my sign, NO BLOOD FOR OIL. When I came back from Vietnam in 1969, I was challenged by peaceniks as to the justice of my county’s actions there. I’ve spent the last 30 years studying our history trying to find out why. I see the same deception and the same bloody quagmire coming in Iraq as we faced in Vietnam, the Philippines and Nicaragua. I don’t support Saddam Hussein, never did. I opposed our foreign policy when Saddam Hussein was one of Ronald Reagan’s, George 41's and Dick Cheney’s favorite dictators. He is one of the most brutal, murderous thugs the U.S. has ever armed and supported. I oppose our National Command Authority's support of dictators today. The Iraqi infitada has started before we’ve completed the conquest. Just like the Israelis in the conquered territories they rule by force of arms in violation of UN resolutions, if we wait till the violence is over, we’ll never leave.

Does anyone believe that our National Command Authority will allow an Allende, Arbenz, Bhutto, Big Minh, Bosch, Lumumba, Mossadegh, Sihanouk, Sukarno or any vaguely anti-American government in Iraq? An Anti-American government, I define, as one that listens to their public and takes their public’s interest above ours and questions sometimes the wisdom of our National Command Authority, as Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Turkey and most of the world’s peoples and governments do.

Or will we install murderous thugs like Batista, Diem, Saddam Hussein, Ky/Theiu, Lon Nol, Mobutu, Noriega, Pahlavi, Palma, Pinochet, Somoza, Saud, Suharto, Trujillo and Ziaulhaq. Gangster minions we selected, installed and supported for their loyalty to our interests in total disregard for their own people’s interests and rights.

We are bringing “democracy” to Iraq with the support, overt or covert, of the dictatorships of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmanistan and Uzbekistan. Also any other government our National Command Authority can bribe or browbeat into ignoring their peoples’ wishes. For $50 billion, I'd be tempted.

Our National Command Authority started believing its own propaganda. It thought the Iraqis would cover our tanks with flowers while the Iraqi army and Republican Guard came marching to our lines with their hands in the air waving white flags. Our three divisions have taken control of most of the Iraqi desert, bypassing major population centers. Now, early April, we are surrounding Baghdad, awaiting another 100,000 troops to protect our supply lines from the conquered in our rear.

We brag of using “precision weapons” to kill 200 high level non military Baath party members. The rest of the world sees it as the murder of 200 Iraqi noncombatants. The 3rd Infantry Division lost four good men to a suicide bomber driving a taxi. A few minutes later, trying to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, the 3rd destroyed three other taxis along with an unknown number of Iraqis, because all taxis look alike in Iraq. I expect our conquest of Bagdad to be bloody and long. I was in Hue and Qui Nhon a few days after Tet ‘68 and saw blocks of piles of rubble and smelled the stench of not quite fully buried bodies.

After we conquer Bagdad and the rest of urban Iraq, we will face Iraqi patriots, whose hate for Saddam Hussein is matched only by their hate for the invaders. Iraq, where gun ownership is legal and whose civilian populace per capita has as many firearms as we do. We’ve stopped letting vehicles approach our troops, because they may be car bombs. Our soldiers will never walk Iraq’s urban streets without fear, but will sit behind armor or in holes, waiting for the next pot shot or hand delivered poor man’s “precision weapon.” We will control as much land as we did in Vietnam or Afghanistan today, small enclosures protected with mountains of barbed wire and machine guns, and almost everything within pistol range of our boots. The number of troops who die in our conquest of Iraq will be far exceeded by the deaths in our occupation.

I weep. I weep, not for myself, I have too much work to do. Fellow veterans in my cohort are dying every month. I see their names on the list serves. My number is coming up quickly. At best, we have a decade or two left. I weep for my child and my children, all the children of the world.

As my President George W. Bush’s favorite philosopher said, “ Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” If only he would have learned from the “Prince of Peace.” God save us all.
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