Monday, June 16, 2014

Insurgents Overrun of Iraq rankles U.S. Veterans

Veterans of the Iraq War and their families are watching with dismay and alarm as Sunni insurgents overrun large swaths of Iraq, including cities like Mosul where hundreds of U.S. troops died.
Sgt. Ben Rothman of the Iowa Army National Guard
in Iraq in December 2003.(Photo: Military Times)
"I completely disagreed with the decision to walk away from Iraq," said former Army Sgt. Kenneth Mancanares, who served in both Ramadi and Baghdad. "Now, to be honest, I'm trying to think if there's even a way I could get back out there. I'm sure there are a lot of guys feeling that way. I really wish that I could sign up on something tomorrow and join a volunteer group that's going there to stand up for these people."
Mancanares spent more than two years in Iraq, first in Ramadi and then in Baghdad.
Army Sgt. Maj. Rob Bowman served in Mosul and died
of cancer in early 2013 after returning home. His wife,
Coleen Bowman, said he would be among those angry
and frustrated about the new insurgency in Iraq
(Photo: Military Times)
"I lost countless friends; I've seen quite a bit of bad stuff over there," he said. "It's not about my personal feelings, about, 'Did I waste my time,' or 'did my buddies die in vain.' I have met those people over there and I became friends with them and I recognize their humanity. That's one of the things that is lost here ... it's so political, no one is really saying how bad it is for those people."
A militant standing in front of a burning Iraqi army Humvee
in Tikrit.
...Steven Jerome, a former Army sergeant who served in Tikrit, is especially disappointed with events in Iraq because he remembers the euphoria Iraqis felt during the 2005 referendum on the country's constitution.
"We see those kinds of events here in the U.S. all the time, but these were a first for the Iraqis," Jerome said in an email. "It was exciting to see them take to it with zeal, and satisfying knowing we helped give them that chance. Today, it seems like they lost that drive and just gave up rather than fighting for it. Maybe that was our fault by essentially handing it to them rather than them having to take it."
Militants walk through the captured Al-Sharqat military
Former Marine Maj. Lamar Breshears felt the Iraqis were appreciative for being granted freedom from Saddam Hussein, but they were not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to live free on their own.
"This is something that ... we all kind of thought would happen eventually," Breshears said. "So it doesn't come as a surprise. It is painful to watch knowing how much effort and time and money we put into that — lives, blood sweat and tears...
Read the full story HERE.

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