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Dear Mike, Iraq sucks

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    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2004
      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

      Dear Mike, Iraq sucks
      "The Guardian"


      From: RH
      To: mike@...
      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


      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

      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

      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 www.guardian.co.uk/bookshop.



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