I met and thanked several young Iraq Veterans Against the War. They were powerful speakers, and impassioned advocates for sensible policy and the return of our troops from Iraq.
For the most part, they told the same stories: enlisted to fight for our country, for the “Noble Cause”, got to Iraq and saw poverty, saw the effects of 10 years of sanctions and the depleted uranium left by our bombs in the first gulf war, saw Iraqi children with no water or food while the mess tents for US forces fed all they could eat, saw the anger and the desperation of the Iraqi people, realized they had been sent there for a lie, saw the deaths of their friends, suffered exposure to depleted uranium and god knows what else themselves…. They were wounded or mourning, they were angry, they had come to believe that this war was being waged for the benefit of a few, at the expense of the many, and with total disorganization and total lack of concern for order and security.
One of the vets hails from Agoura. He’s lovely and charming, and his dad’s been involved with Eyes Wide Open since he took a trip to Baghdad a couple of years ago. While I did remember to find him and say goodbye, I did not remember to give him my card, so I hope I will run into him again, but have no way to get in touch with him. I want to find him a nice girl.
Have I mentioned, yet, how humbling it is to be in the presence of such bravery and dedication? As much as I wanted to, I couldn't sit for hours and ask these young men for their full stories. I was simply too shy, too inadequate, to demand much of their time and energy. They are beautiful.