[News] Dear Mike, Iraq sucks

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Wed Oct 6 08:46:47 EDT 2004


Dear Mike, thank you, Iraq sucks, said US soldiers to Michael Moore 
Fahrenheit after 9/11

Dear Mike, Iraq sucks
Civilian contractors are fleecing taxpayers; US troops don't have proper 
equipment; and supposedly liberated Iraqis hate them. After the release of 
Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore received a flood of letters and emails from 
disillusioned and angry American soldiers serving in Iraq. Here, in an 
exclusive extract from his new book, we print a selection

Tuesday October 5, 2004
<http://www.guardian.co.uk>The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1319718,00.html


From: RH
To: mike at michaelmoore.com
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2003 4:57 PM
Subject: Iraqi freedom veteran supports you
Dear Mr Moore,
I went to Iraq with thoughts of killing people who I thought were horrible. 
I was like, "Fuck Iraq, fuck these people, I hope we kill thousands." I 
believed my president. He was taking care of business and wasn't going to 
let al Qaeda push us around. I was with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 3rd 
Infantry division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia. My unit was one of the 
first to Baghdad. I was so scared. Didn't know what to think. Seeing dead 
bodies for the first time. People blown in half. Little kids with no legs. 
It was overwhelming, the sights, sounds, fear. I was over there from Jan'03 
to Aug'03. I hated every minute. It was a daily battle to keep my spirits 
up. I hate the army and my job. I am supposed to get out next February but 
will now be unable to because the asshole in the White House decided that 
now would be a great time to put a stop-loss in effect for the army. So I 
get to do a second tour in Iraq and be away from those I love again because 
some guy has the audacity to put others' lives on the line for his personal 
war. I thought we were the good guys.

From: Michael W
Sent: Tuesday July 13 2004 12.28pm
Subject: Dude, Iraq sucks

My name is Michael W and I am a 30-year-old National Guard infantryman 
serving in southeast Baghdad. I have been in Iraq since March of 04 and 
will continue to serve here until March of 05. In the few short months my 
unit has been in Iraq, we have already lost one man and have had many 
injured (including me) in combat operations. And for what? At the very 
least, the government could have made sure that each of our vehicles had 
the proper armament to protect us soldiers.

In the early morning hours of May 10, one month to the day from my 30th 
birthday, I and 12 other men were attacked in a well-executed roadside 
ambush in south-east Baghdad. We were attacked with small-arms fire, a 
rocket-propelled grenade, and two well-placed roadside bombs. These 
roadside bombs nearly destroyed one of our Hummers and riddled my friends 
with shrapnel, almost killing them. They would not have had a scratch if 
they had the "Up Armour" kits on them. So where was [George] W [Bush] on 
that one?

It's just so ridiculous, which leads me to my next point. A Blackwater 
contractor makes $15,000 [£8,400] a month for doing the same job as my pals 
and me. I make about $4,000 [£2,240] a month over here. What's up with that?

Beyond that, the government is calling up more and more troops from the 
reserves. For what? Man, there is a huge fucking scam going on here! There 
are civilian contractors crawling all over this country. Blackwater, 
Kellogg Brown & Root, Halliburton, on and on. These contractors are doing 
everything you can think of from security to catering lunch!

We are spending money out the ass for this shit, and very few of the 
projects are going to the Iraqi people. Someone's back is getting scratched 
here, and it ain't the Iraqis'!

My life is left to chance at this point. I just hope I come home alive.

From: Specialist Willy
Sent: Tuesday March 9 2004 1.23pm
Subject: Thank you

Mike, I'd like to thank you for all of the support you're showing for the 
soldiers here in Iraq. I am in Baghdad right now, and it's such a relief to 
know that people still care about the lemmings who are forced to fight in 
this conflict.

It's hard listening to my platoon sergeant saying, "If you decide you want 
to kill a civilian that looks threatening, shoot him. I'd rather fill out 
paperwork than get one of my soldiers killed by some raghead." We are 
taught that if someone even looks threatening we should do something before 
they do something to us. I wasn't brought up in fear like that, and it's 
going to take some getting used to.

It's also very hard talking to people here about this war. They don't like 
to hear that the reason they are being torn away from their families is 
bullshit, or that their "president" doesn't care about them. A few people 
here have become quite upset with me, and at one point I was going to be 
discharged for constantly inciting arguments and disrespect to my 
commander-in-chief (Dubya). It's very hard to be silenced about this when I 
see the same 150 people every day just going through the motions, not sure 
why they are doing it.

[ Willy sent an update in early August ]

People's perceptions of this war have done a complete 180 since we got 
here. We had someone die in a mortar attack the first week, and ever since 
then, things have changed completely. Soldiers are calling their families 
urging them to support John Kerry. If this is happening elsewhere, it looks 
as if the overseas military vote that Bush is used to won't be there this 
time around.

From: Kyle Waldman
Sent: Friday February 27 2004 2.35am
Subject: None

As we can all obviously see, Iraq was not and is not an imminent threat to 
the United States or the rest of the world. My time in Iraq has taught me a 
little about the Iraqi people and the state of this war-torn, 
poverty-stricken country.

The illiteracy rate in this country is phenomenal. There were some farmers 
who didn't even know there was an Operation Iraqi Freedom. This was when I 
realised that this war was initiated by the few who would profit from it 
and not for its people. We, as the coalition forces, did not liberate these 
people; we drove them even deeper into poverty. I don't foresee any 
economic relief coming soon to these people by the way Bush has already 
diverted its oil revenues to make sure there will be enough oil for our SUVs.

We are here trying to keep peace when all we have been trained for is to 
destroy. How are 200,000 soldiers supposed to take control of this country? 
Why didn't we have an effective plan to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure? Why 
aren't the American people more aware of these atrocities?

My fiancee and I have seriously looked into moving to Canada as political 
refugees.

From: Anonymous
Sent: Thursday April 15 2004 12.41am
Subject: From KBR truck driver now in Iraq

Mike, I am a truck driver right now in Iraq. Let me give you this one small 
fact because I am right here at the heart of it: since I started this job 
several months ago, 100% (that's right, not 99%) of the workers I am aware 
of are inflating the hours they claim on their time sheets. There is so 
much more I could tell you. But the fact is that MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of 
dollars are being raped from both the American taxpayers and the Iraqi 
people because of the unbelievable amount of greed and abuse over here. And 
yes, my conscience does bother me because I am participating in this rip-off.

From: Andrew Balthazor
Sent: Friday August 27 2004 1.53pm
Subject: Iraqi war vet - makes me sound so old

Mr Moore, I am an ex-military intelligence officer who served 10 months in 
Baghdad; I was the senior intelligence officer for the area of Baghdad that 
included the UN HQ and Sadr City.

Since Bush exposed my person and my friends, peers, and subordinates to 
unnecessary danger in a war apparently designed to generate income for a 
select few in the upper echelon of America, I have become wholeheartedly 
anti-Bush, to the chagrin of much of my pro-Republican family.

As a "foot soldier" in the "war on terror" I can personally testify that 
Bush's administration has failed to effectively fight terrorists or the 
root causes of terror. The White House and the DoD failed to plan for 
reconstruction of Iraq. Contracts weren't tendered until Feb-Mar of 2003, 
and the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (the original 
CPA) didn't even come into existence until January 2003. This failure to 
plan for the "peace" is a direct cause for the insecurity of Iraq today.

Immediately after the "war" portion of the fighting (which really ended 
around April 9 2003), we should have been prepared to send in a massive 
reconstruction effort. Right away we needed engineers to diagnose problems, 
we needed contractors repairing problems, we needed immediate food, water, 
shelter, and fuel for the Iraqi people, and we needed more security for all 
of this to work - which we did not have because we did not have enough 
troops on the ground, and CPA decided to disband the Iraqi army. The former 
Iraqi police were engaged far too late; a plan should have existed to bring 
them into the fold right away.

I've left the military. If there is anything I can do to help get Bush out 
of office, let me know.

From: Anthony Pietsch
Sent: Thursday August 5 2004 6.13pm
Subject: Soldier for sale

Dear Mr Moore, my name is Tony Pietsch, and I am a National Guardsman who 
has been stationed in Kuwait and Iraq for the past 15 months. Along with so 
many other guard and reserve units, my unit was put on convoy escorts. We 
were on gun trucks running from the bottom of Iraq to about two hours above 
Baghdad.

The Iraqi resistance was insanity. I spent many nights lying awake after 
mortar rounds had just struck areas nearby, some coming close enough to 
throw rocks against my tent. I've seen roadside bombs go off all over, 
Iraqis trying to ram the side of our vehicle. Small children giving us the 
finger and throwing rocks at the soldiers in the turrets. We were once lost 
in Baghdad and received nothing but dirty looks and angry gestures for hours.

I have personally been afraid for my life more days than I can count. We 
lost our first man only a few weeks before our tour was over, but it seems 
that all is for nothing because all we see is hostility and anger over our 
being there. They are angry over the abuse scandal and the collateral 
damages that are always occurring.

I don't know how the rest of my life will turn out, but I truly regret 
being a 16-year-old kid looking for some extra pocket money and a way to 
college.

From: Sean Huze
Sent: Sunday March 28 2004 7.56pm
Subject: "Dude, Where's My Country?"

I am an LCPL in the US Marine Corps and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 
Mr Moore, please keep pounding away at Bush. I'm not some pussy when it 
comes to war. However, the position we were put in - fighting an enemy that 
used women, children, and other civilians as shields; forcing us to choose 
between firing at "area targets" (nice way of saying firing into crowds) or 
being killed by the bastards using the crowds for cover - is indescribably 
horrible.

I saw more than a few dead children littering the streets in Nasiriyah, 
along with countless other civilians. And through all this, I held on to 
the belief that it had to be for some greater good.

Months have passed since I've been back home and the unfortunate conclusion 
I've come to is that Bush is a lying, manipulative motherfucker who cares 
nothing for the lives of those of us who serve in uniform. Hell, other than 
playing dress-up on aircraft carriers, what would he know about serving 
this nation in uniform?

His silence and refusal to speak under oath to the 9/11 Commission further 
mocks our country. The Patriot Act violates every principle we fight and 
die for. And all of this has been during his first term. Can you imagine 
his policies when he doesn't have to worry about re-election? We can't 
allow that to happen, and there are so many like me in the military who 
feel this way. We were lied to and used. And there aren't words to describe 
the sense of betrayal I feel as a result.

From: Joseph Cherwinski
Sent: Saturday July 3 2004 8.33pm
Subject: "Fahrenheit 9/11"

I am a soldier in the United States army. I was in Iraq with the Fourth 
Infantry Division.

I was guarding some Iraqi workers one day. Their task was to fill sandbags 
for our base. The temperature was at least 120. I had to sit there with 
full gear on and monitor them. I was sitting and drinking water, and I 
could barely tolerate the heat, so I directed the workers to go to the 
shade and sit and drink water. I let them rest for about 20 minutes. Then a 
staff sergeant told me that they didn't need a break, and that they were to 
fill sandbags until the cows come home. He told the Iraqis to go back to work.

After 30 minutes, I let them have a break again, thus disobeying orders. If 
these were soldiers working, in this heat, those soldiers would be bound to 
a 10-minute work, 50-minute rest cycle, to prevent heat casualties. Again 
the staff sergeant came and sent the Iraqis back to work and told me I 
could sit in the shade. I told him no, I had to be out there with them so 
that when I started to need water, then they would definitely need water. 
He told me that wasn't necessary, and that they live here, and that they 
are used to it.

After he left, I put the Iraqis back into the shade. I could tell that some 
were very dehydrated; most of them were thin enough to be on an 
international food aid commercial. I would not treat my fellow soldiers in 
this manner, so I did not treat the Iraqi workers this way either.

This went on for eight months while I was in Iraq, and going through it 
told me that we were not there for their freedom, we were not there for 
WMD. We had no idea what we were fighting for anymore.

Will They Ever Trust Us Again? Letters from the Warzone to Michael Moore by 
Michael Moore, to be published by Allen Lane on October 7 at £12.99. 
Copyright © Michael Moore 2004. To order a copy for £12.34 with free UK 
p&p, call the Guardian Book Service on 0870 836 0875, or go to 
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/bookshop.>www.guardian.co.uk/bookshop<http://www.guardian.co.uk/bookshop.>.

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