Monday, August 08, 2005



No one could tell us better what a real nightmare Iraq is than a brave soldier who fought there. Sgt. Bruhns says he and our country were misled by Bush and the media. Excerpts of his letter were read in the U.S. House by Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio on July 19, 2005.

Letter to Salon from Army Sgt. John Bruhns.

Various Excerpts:

After 9/11, comments like these proved to be a successful scare tactic to use on the American people to rally support for the invasion. Members of the Bush administration created an image of "wine and roses" in terms of the aftermath of the war. Vice President Dick Cheney said American troops would be greeted as "liberators." And there was a false perception created that we would go into Iraq and implement a democratic government and it would be over sooner rather than later. The White House also expressed confidence that the alleged WMD program would be found once we invaded.

I participated in the invasion, stayed in Iraq for a year afterward, and what I witnessed was the total opposite of what President Bush and his administration stated to the American people.

During my year in Iraq I had many altercations with the so-called insurgency. I found the insurgency I saw to be quite different from the insurgency described to the American people by the Bush administration, the media, and other supporters of the war. There is no doubt in my mind there are foreigners from other surrounding countries in Iraq. Anyone in the Middle East who hates America now has the opportunity to kill Americans because there are roughly 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. But the bulk of the insurgency I faced was from the people of Iraq, who were attacking us as a reaction to what they felt was an occupation of their country.

So while President Bush speaks of freedom and liberation of the Iraqi people, I find that his statements are not credible after witnessing events such as these. During the violence that day I felt so much fear throughout my entire body. I remember going home that night and praying to God, thanking him that I was still alive. A few months earlier President Bush made the statement "Bring it on" when referring to the attacks on Americans by the insurgency. To me, that felt like a personal invitation to the insurgents to attack me and my friends who desperately wanted to make it home alive.

I left Iraq on Feb. 27, 2004, and I acknowledge a lot may have changed since then, but I find it hard to believe the Iraqi people are any happier now than they were when I was there. I remember the day I left there were hundreds of Iraqis in the streets outside the compound that I lived in. They watched as we moved out to the Baghdad Airport to finally go home. The Iraqis cheered, clapped and shouted with joy as we were leaving. As a soldier, that hurt me inside because I thought I was supposed to be fighting for their freedom. I saw many people die for that cause, but that is not how the Iraqi people looked at it. They viewed me as a foreign occupier and many of the people of Iraq may have even preferred Saddam to the American soldiers. I feel this way because of the consistent attacks on me and my fellow soldiers by the Iraqi people, who felt they were fighting for their homeland. To us the mission turned into a quest for survival.

In closing, I ask that we never forget why this war started. The Bush administration cried weapons of mass destruction and a link to al-Qaida. We know that this was false, and the Bush administration concedes it as well. As a soldier who fought in that war, I feel misled. I feel that I was sent off to fight for a cause that never existed. When I joined the military, I did so to defend the United States of America, not to be sent off to a part of the world to fight people who never attacked me or my country. Many have died as a result of this. The people who started this war need to start being honest with the American people and take responsibility for their actions. More than anything, they need to stop saying everything is rosy and create a solution to this problem they created.


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