Iraq war is a betrayal of
By Matt Howard
Editor's note: Matt Howard gave this statement at a recent
protest at the Statehouse.
Herald" -- - -In 2003 I illegally invaded the sovereign
nation of Iraq with 1st Tank battalion 1st Marine Division. My
commander in chief unleashed the world's fiercest fighting force
upon the country and people of Iraq, and now those of us used
and betrayed by him are demanding justice.
Four and a half years after our opening "shock and awe" Bush's
lies are known throughout the world, and yet he continues to act
with impunity. Four and a half years later the Bush regime has
unleashed a hell upon the country of Iraq that only those who
have been there can truly understand.
As a two-tour combat veteran of this brutal war, I have a
responsibility to speak honestly and openly about what has been
done and what continues to be done in our name. We veterans know
that this war is not the one being sanitized on the nightly
news. It has nothing to do with the liberation of the people of
Iraq; instead it has everything to do with the subjugation and
domination of these people in the name of U.S. imperial economic
and strategic interests.
We did not go to war with the country of Iraq, we went to war
with the people of Iraq. During the initial invasion we killed
women. We killed children. We senselessly killed farm animals.
We were the United States Marine Corps, not the Peace Corps, and
we left a swath of death and destruction in our wake all the way
Let me say again so that there is no misunderstanding. I stand
here today as a former U.S. Marine saying we are killing women
and children in Iraq. This is the true nature of war. War lends
itself to atrocities. Don't think you can use an organization
designed to kill other human beings for anything humanitarian.
That has never been our mission. That was crystal clear from the
moment I was forced to bury the crate of humanitarian food given
to me in Kuwait.
Four and a half years later we as soldiers, sailors, airmen and
marines are done. We are done being told under threat of court
martial to run over children that get in the way of our speeding
We are done raiding and destroying the homes of innocent Iraqis
on a nightly basis.
We are done abusing and torturing prisoners.
We are done being hired thugs for the 160,000 contractors and
U.S. corporate interests in Iraq.
We are done being poisoned by depleted uranium, the unspoken
Agent Orange of this war.
We are done coming home broken, from two, three, four tours of
duty – only to find our commander in chief has actually tried to
CUT funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs. To find our
doctors being told to diagnose us with pre-existing personality
disorders instead of post traumatic stress syndrome.
We are done killing for lies.
So Iraq Veterans Against the War is taking back our history –
the history that has been robbed from us. We are dispelling the
myth that the Vietnam war ended when the Democrats started
voting against it. Instead we are spreading the truth about how
the American War in Vietnam ended.
The Vietnam War ended when soldiers put down their weapons and
refused to fight; when pilots dropped their bombs in the ocean.
We are re-educating the public to let them know that the power
ultimately lies with the people. Just take a look at the
thousands of pages of internal documents from the Department of
Defense explicitly detailing how at the end of the Vietnam war
the military had collapsed. It was literally in a state of
mutiny. And that movement is slowly starting again. Because
ultimately in every war waged throughout human history, those
forced to fight quickly realize they have much more in common
with those they are being told to kill than with those telling
them to do the killing.
And we are re-educating the public about the true nature of
sectarian violence. No, the middle east is NOT inherently
violent. In fact, in the 1,400-year schism between Sunnis and
Shias – there has NEVER been a civil war fought. They have
always lived in the same neighborhoods and even intermarried.
The United States has caused this civil war using the classic
colonial techniques of divide and conquer.
George Bush is a war criminal who has violated international
law, the Geneva convention and the Nuremburg standards and needs
to tried accordingly for crimes against humanity.
I ask every red-blooded American today: What would you do if
your homeland was savagely invaded and occupied by another
country? The Iraqis will continue to resist and fight until the
last American has left their homeland. Period. End the violence
in Iraq? End the occupation.
We veterans are speaking out to stop the violence being
perpetrated in our name. When we voted in the Democrats on an
anti-war mandate, the Bush regime expanded the war. As we are
marching against further occupation, the Bush regime is making
threats against Iran.
And we will not continue to be silenced by the mainstream media.
Top generals and bottom privates are all speaking in unison now.
We know the truth about the slaughter of upwards of one million
Iraqis. Why is no one listening? We will not stand by as this
regime tricks the country into thinking that if you oppose the
war you do not support the troops. We ARE the troops and we have
never felt support from this administration. Stop mindlessly
supporting the troops. Start demanding that we come home – and
maybe think about apologizing to us when we get back.
Matt Howard attained the rank of corporal in the United
States Marine Corps. He is head of the Vermont chapter for Iraq
Veterans Against the War.
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