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A Gulf War Veterans Words

Iraq war is a betrayal of American democracy

November 11, 2007 By MATT HOWARD

Editor's note: Matt Howard gave this statement at a recent protest at the Statehouse.

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 to Baghdad.

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 convoys.

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.