Iraq Vets Speak at Vermont Impeachment Bush Event
Adrian Kinney worked in the Army reserve for 10 years as an Arabic linguist. She served in Baghdad.
This story is from the Bennington Banner:
"Four years ago, our sources were giving us false information," said Kinney. "They wanted anything that they could show you to make you believe that Iraq was evil. And any one of us who questioned the veracity of the intelligence was accused of turning our backs on our mission and the military."
Kinney spoke of her work at a veterans hospital and how the number of soldiers they see has grown exponentially in the past year because the Department of Defense can't keep up with the demand for space.
She also said that "what's happening at Walter Reed is not new, and it happens everywhere."
Last Friday, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey unexpectedly stepped down after reports of substandard conditions for wounded U.S. soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center outpatient facility led to a public outcry.
Howard presented the audience with a speech against the war in Iraq, starting with the treatment he claims he received from a supervising officer when he gave out humanitarian rations to impoverished Iraqi children.
"The First Sergeant in my unit put an M-16 in my face and said, 'I dare you to give out those rations,'" said Howard. "They later ordered us to bury all our humanitarian rations," he added.
Howard also decried the lack of protection U.S. soldiers in Iraq are given, describing how soldiers during his tour of duty were routinely sent to battle without body armor and drove around in Humvees with canvas doors, "that you could poke a pencil through," Howard said.
A grim picture of the desperate conditions in Iraq was presented by Howard, conditions caused in large part, in his opinion, by the U.S. "The hospitals are now morgues, sewage is running in the streets ... all of the basic human services are in ruins," said Howard.
Despite facing angry supporters of the war at the Statehouse on Friday after saying that the U.S. was killing women and children, Howard praised the citizens who had expressed their beliefs so strongly.
"I wish everyone was as angry as they are now that I'm saying these things," said Howard. "This is the truth and it's ugly, but you have to hear it because it's being done in your name. 655,000 Iraqi people have died. That's the entire population of Vermont," Howard said. "Now can we start to conceptualize this number?" He stressed that Americans could not continue to separate the country of Iraq from its people.
"There is no way you can go to war against a country and not go to war with the people of that country," said Howard. If the U.S. truly cared about the well-being of the Iraqi people, he argued, the military would leave Iraq.
"That country will never be stabilized until we leave," said Howard.