Iraq Vet: Keep My Fellow Soldiers Safe
This was written by David Mann, SPC US Army 2003 & 2005
For two years, I risked my life in the Iraq war. I'm writing to invite you this weekend to see what I saw over there and take action to keep my fellow soldiers safe.
This weekend, MoveOn members all across the country are opening their homes to screen a powerful new film, called Iraq for Sale, about the big corporations that are endangering soldiers' lives and ruining the chance for peace.
I'm asking all of you to go see this groundbreaking movie and to bring as many friends as you can. There is a screening near you. To find the closest one and RSVP, just click here.
When you see what's in this movie, you're going to want to do something about it--and you can. At these same parties, we'll be calling key voters through MoveOn's Call for Change program and reminding them to get to the polls. The calls are simple and easy, and--speaking as someone who has seen the consequences of Republican misrule first hand—they're well worth it.
Why do I know this film is so powerful? Because I'm in it. Here's a little more about my story.
I am the child of a career Army man, and when it came time to decide what to do after high school, I knew I wanted to follow the same path. In 2003 and then again in 2005, my unit was deployed to Iraq.
As a maintenance unit, we were responsible for repairing everything and anything soldiers used to do their jobs and stay alive: weapons, radios, trucks, computers--you name it. So you can imagine our shock, weeks after getting to Iraq, when we were ordered to hand our mission over to private contractors employed by Halliburton.
But there's a catch: Halliburton had neither the training nor the equipment to take over our mission. Most of the contractors had no previous knowledge at all of our equipment before coming to Iraq. One of the contractors I "trained" was not even remotely familiar with radio systems, but had been a missile systems repairman while he was in the Army.
Because our unit no longer had a mission, we were forced into other things that we weren't trained to do. Mechanics found themselves on guntruck missions escorting convoys between bases. Many of us were forced onto guard duty while the contractors fumbled through our old jobs, getting paid way more than any soldier. I spent months checking ID cards at the Post Exchange and Recreation facility.
I felt helpless and awful, like I was letting down my fellow soldiers while they're being put into life-threatening situations with unsafe equipment, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Since I returned to the States, I've learned more about why all that happened—about how the Republicans gave Dick Cheney's old company all these huge contracts and didn't care at all how it endangered us soldiers. And now, there is something I can do about it--I can speak out.
This weekend, there's something you can do about it, too. You can come and bring your friends to watch this amazing movie, (my story is just one small part of this shocking film), and spread the word about what's really happening. And while you're there, make a few simple reminder calls to progressive voters in key districts to help win these elections. Please find a party near you and RSVP right here.
I've come to realize that the only way we can keep our soldiers safe is by electing leaders who will put our safety above the profit of their corporate friends. I hope you'll join me at a screening this weekend to help do just that.