USA: veteran denounces horrors of occupied Iraq

Bush and Iraq war, cartoon by Steve Bell

From the News Tribune in the USA:

August 12th, 2006

Soldier explains why he disappeared

By Angie Leventis / News Tribune

TACOMA, WA — Sgt. Ricky Clousing went to Iraq to fight for freedom.

He said what he found was an occupation.

He described seeing U.S. troops shoot livestock and smash cars for fun.

He said he saw the people he was supposed to help detained for weeks without cause.

And he won’t forget watching a fellow soldier shoot and kill a young Iraqi civillian without repercussions.

It was not so much the individual episodes that disturbed the 24-year-old from Sumner.

It was the realization that they were the rule rather than the exception, he said.

“Wearing a uniform demands subordination to your superiors and the orders passed down,” he said.

“But what if orders given violate morality, ethics and even legality?”

Clousing, who served as an Army interrogator in Iraq, spoke against the war Friday at a Veterans for Peace convention at the University of Washington.

His speech was the highlight of the national gathering, as a thick crowd of fellow veterans cheered him on.

One Korean War veteran offered to take Clousing to Costa Rica if he “needed a little vacation.”

Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, an Iraq war veteran from Miami Beach, offered some words of comfort.

See also poem here.

State Radio’s song is about Sgt. Camilo Mejia, who in 2003 spent six months in combat in Iraq, but then refused to return from a two-week furlough because he objected to a war that was “illegal” and “immoral”: here.

Abu Ghraib and Italian Vogue fashion photographs: here.

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