I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Iraq; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped.
As a veteran and one who felt this anger, I would like to talk about it. We are angry because we feel we have been used in the worst fashion by the administration of this country.
So many of those best men have returned as quadriplegics and amputees, and they lie forgotten in Veterans' Administration hospitals in this country which fly the flag which so many have chosen as their own personal symbol.
We found that the Iraqis, whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image, were hard-put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.
They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Iraqi insurgents, loyal baathists or American.
We found also that, all too often, American men were dying in those deserts for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime.
We watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Arabs.
We listened while, month after month, we were told the back of the enemy was about to break.
We watched while men charged into insurgent strongholds because a general said that it has to be taken, and, after losing one platoon, or two platoons, they marched away to leave the area for reoccupation by the insurgents.
Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of "Iraqization" the Iraqis.
Each day, to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Iraq, someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake.
We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We're here to ask where are Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned? These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded. The Marines say they never even leave their dead. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude.
We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us.
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