US soldiers speak from the front -- scary
Celso Alvarez Cáccamo
lxalvarz at UDC.ES
Fri Apr 4 02:49:16 UTC 2003
These are excerpts from a piece written from Iraq by Caroline Glick, one of
the journalists "embedded" (their terminology) in the US and British armies
to report (under a strict code of 19 rules, according to accounts). Glick
interviews several young US soldiers. Her description and their ignorant
words are scary. Taken from The Jerusalem Post on the Internet,
Mar. 27, 2003
Why they fight, By Caroline B. Glick
By CAROLINE GLICK
. . .
" . . Pt. David Faulkner of Virginia, a 19-year-old infantry man from one
of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle crews.
I spoke with Faulkner and his crew mates outside their Bradley as they fed
six wild puppies Beef Teriyaki and Salsa Chicken from their combat rations
on Wednesday morning.
The crew with Faulkner included David Youngston, 20, from South Carolina,
Jason Shawn, 18, from Houston, Texas, Doug Glazer, 24, from Brooklyn, New
York, Rickey Lewis, 23 and Ryan Bigley, 20, both from Virginia.
To describe the looks of these young men is to describe the faces of all
young soldiers. They are beautiful even when the grime of the desert makes
their faces black with dust. They are sweet even as they speak of war and
killing. They are strong and tough and innocent. They are young men who
have chosen to be warriors and guardians of their countrymen.
. . .
Saturday afternoon the sensation of invincibility was reinforced as the
forces met for the first time with civilian population lining the highway
along the banks of the Euphrates, smiling and waving. Just an hour later
these civilians turn to combatants as they set an ambush for the same
forces they were previously cheering.
Youngson: That first battle really reminded me of Somalia. There our troops
went to help those people. We were on a peace-keeping mission. first they
smiled and cheered us and then they started to kill our soldiers and drag
them through the streets. It was like the Israelis in Lebanon.
Glazer: I think that the initial drive through the desert was like giving a
big middle finger to the enemy. But we can't be cocky. They may hate
Saddam, although they probably don't, but I assume that 90 percent of them
hate us just as much. I don't trust any of these people. It is clear to me
that they do what we tell them to do because we are pointing our guns at them.
Many of the soldiers have been troubled by the cries of the EPWs and their
families. One officer commented to me on Monday, "We want them to like us.
That's the American way. We're good people. The problem is that probably
everything they tell us about how they feel about us is a lie and we have
to get used to it.
Faulkner: Some of the Iraqis came to look for their families in the EPWs
camp, a few begged to be allowed in and said they would be killed by the
Iraqi army if they went back to An Najaf. They kept asking us to take them
to America. It was hard to take until we saw all the pictures of Saddam in
these guys' barracks. These men have been brainwashed to love that man and
hate America for the past 12 years.
Glazer: I don't allow emotions to play a role in my actions as a soldier. I
make a separation. There is home and there is here. No matter what you do
for these people they are going to hate us because they are jealous of what
we have. These people haven't made a decent contribution to humanity for
over a thousand years. They hate us for our accomplishments.
Shawn: If you're soft on the EPWs you'll be killed or your buddy will be
killed. I am here to fight a war. I am not here to make friends.
Glazer: And for all that look at how we treat our prisoners and look at how
they treat us. We feed them our food, give them our water and let them
sleep on our cots. Then they execute us and drag our bodies through the
streets of Baghdad. How can anyone doubt who the good guys are in this war
or who needs to win?
Bigley: The Iraqis are trying to mess with our minds and hurt our families.
Glazer: We will stop this soon enough. We just have to crush, to totally
destroy his armies. Nothing can be retained.
Shawn: The EPWs we got who tell us they hate Saddam would no doubt be
partying if the tables were turned. They'd be killing us.
[QUESTION] CBG: The picture you guys paint doesn't lend itself to an easy
or quick solution to this war. You really need to believe in what you're
doing to persevere in the midst of the Iraqi hatred you described. Why do
you think you are here fighting?
Youngson: A lot of people think this is a religious war but I'm a Christian
and I don't believe that. The US army has soldiers from all religions
fighting side by side. It isn't a religious issue. We're fighting here for
the safety of our families back home. Who knows if we weren't here that our
children or our brothers wouldn't get blown up on a public bus or a school
field trip like they are in Israel? They are using terror and guerrilla
tactics against us here. If we let this fester they'll do the same thing to
us back home. So I'm here to protect myself and my family back home.
Shawn: It's our job. We chose to do it. But if we don't put a stop to
Saddam and bin Laden, they will keep bombing our buildings. The more of
these people we put away, the less terror there will be.
Lewis: I'm here to make the future terror-free for my baby daughter.
Faulkner: I am here to do this job so that I can go home.
Glazer: I'm here to start and finish a job that should have been done 12
years ago and make sure that incidents like September 11 never happen again.
Shawn: That's true for me too and also to make sure that my sons won't have
to come back here in 10 years.
Glazer: I think we need to be here doing what we're doing for another
reason, too. We have to show that you can't just bomb the US and get away
with it. These guys are lucky we didn't come here a year ago, when we
should have been here after they cheered the attacks on our cities.
September 11 was worse than the Pearl Harbor attack.
[QUESTION] Have you thought about the possibility that the US could lose
Bigley: The US cannot lose this war. We will win this war. If worse comes
to worst and we sustain mass casualties, we'll still do whatever it takes
to win. The US can't lose. We have too much at stake and too much pride to
ever accept defeat.
I asked the men what they think of the anti-war protesters.
Shawn: I expected it. Anytime there is a war you get those people out there
screaming because they are afraid.
Bigley: These people refuse to understand what would happen if we let
Saddam stay out on the loose. And the thing is that it is our families who
are most afraid, who sacrifice the most and they understand why we are here.
Faulkner: I think that if they could see what we see, the nasty,
underhanded way this enemy fights us then they would think differently
about this war. I think the reports on the way they are treating our POWs
can make it clear to a lot of protesters that this is an evil that must be
defeated. I can't imagine that they could see what is happening to our guys
and still believe that this isn't a necessary fight.
[QUESTION] What do you guys think about the French and Russians opposing
the US decision to go to war?
Glazer: Who are the French? we don't need the French. We fight for freedom
and security. they only care about their money. What is really upsetting is
that the US will probably end up paying the French and the Russians
whatever the Iraqis owe them to buy their support for freedom.
Bigley: They don't seem to understand about terrorism in France. They don't
seem to understand that terrorism must end. The Russians understand this
and yet they are still selling these guys arms. That has to stop. The
Russians have to start thinking about the consequences of their actions.
Glazer: Not that I care, but I assume that the UN will follow us
eventually. The UN members are too scared to support us upfront, but
everyone will join the bandwagon once we win.
[QUESTION] How long do you think this war will last?
Shawn: I think we'll finish it fairly quickly but that we'll be here for a
Bigley: The US can't leave the public eye in Iraq, otherwise another Saddam
will take power a few weeks after we leave. These people don't understand
what freedom is. They need to understand freedom before they can begin to
expect or demand it.
Youngson: It will be really hard though. I heard on the radio about all the
different religious groups here. I know that whoever doesn't end up leading
here will rebel against whoever is in charge. They did that to the Turks
and they will do it again. It will be very hard."
. . .
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