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Interview with Iraq Vet Patrick Resta

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    Interview with Iraq Veterans Against the War Patrick Resta: sent into combat unequipped and unprepared Kevin Zeese* May 4, 2005 www.uruknet.info?p=11539 The
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7 1:32 PM
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      Interview with Iraq Veterans Against the War Patrick Resta:
      'sent into combat unequipped and unprepared'
      Kevin Zeese*
      May 4, 2005
      www.uruknet.info?p=11539

      The voices of veterans who have served in Iraq is among the most
      important in convincing the public and government officials that the
      war in Iraq is wrong and the occupation must be ended. The interview
      below is with Patrick Resta of Iraq Veterans against the War. Patrick,
      who served as a combat medic in Iraq, is 26 years old and been married
      for five years. He grew up in central New Jersey and now lives in
      Philadelphia. He is a full time nursing student at the Community
      College of Philadelphia. His aunt and uncle were killed in the World
      Trade Center on September 11th and about three weeks later he was
      called to active duty as part of homeland security. He served for one
      year at Ft. Jackson, SC. Then when he began to get his life back to
      normal and less than one year after leaving Ft. Jackson he found out
      that he was being deployed again, this time to Iraq.

      Zeese: Why did you join the National Guard?

      Resta: I joined the National Guard for assistance with school. My
      parents made it clear that they weren't in a position to help me with
      school so I began considering my options when I was about 16 years
      old. In New Jersey the National Guard pays for tuition, books, and
      fees to any state school. If you add on to that a few hundred dollars
      every month it sounded like a good deal to a 17 year old kid.

      Zeese: Were you surprised when you were sent to Iraq?

      Resta: I wasn't surprised at all that I was sent to Iraq. What did
      surprise me though was how my unit and myself were sent into combat
      unequipped and unprepared and it didn't seem to bother anyone. I was
      hearing as early as October 2001 that Iraq would be invaded no matter
      what. Also interesting to me is the fact that some people have been to
      Iraq two and three times, yet you still have some people that haven't
      been there once.

      Zeese: Where were you based in Iraq, what was your role there?

      Resta: I served as a combat medic in a tank battalion. My job varied
      from day to day, but basically it was doing on of these three things:
      going on convoys to other camps to get supplies, going on patrols of
      towns or highways, or working in our three bed ER where we saw
      everything from the cold/flu to sprained ankles to gunshot wounds.

      Zeese: What did you see in Iraq that convinced you that the U.S.
      should leave?

      Resta: Pretty much everything I saw in Iraq convinced that US forces
      needed to leave. The in your face hypocrisy of this occupation was the
      most disturbing thing for me. Being told I was risking my life to help
      the Iraqi people and then getting over there and being told the
      Pentagon had set policy so no Iraqi could be treated unless they were
      about to die. The hypocrisy of the occupation was evident when I was
      told we were going to help rebuild Iraq and then watched as the only
      things being rebuilt were Saddam's military bases to prepare for a
      permanent US military presence. Every reason this administration gave
      to justify our presence in Iraq was the exact opposite of what was
      going on. While in the towns I would talk to Iraqis hoping to hear
      something that would make the sacrifices of my fellow soldiers worth
      it. What I found is that we are neither wanted nor welcome. The Iraqi
      people don't trust us and they don't want us there. Poll after poll
      has made that clear.

      Zeese: The major argument for staying in Iraq is if the U.S. leaves
      there will be greater chaos. How do you see this -- is the U.S.
      minimizing the chaos in Iraq?

      Resta: I always ask people to describe the situation now. Is it not
      chaos? To me the definition of a civil war is when people from a
      country kill other people from that country. That's what happening now
      in Iraq. US troops are the problem, not the solution. We are reliving
      the Vietnam War now and it's sad. We're reliving it because the people
      in power didn't learn anything from that event. They were too busy
      dreaming up ways to dodge the draft.

      Tank battalions will never rebuild power and water purification plants
      no matter how long they stay in Iraq. Halliburton and Bechtel didn't
      build Iraq, so why are they rebuilding it? If you really want Iraqis
      to have democracy let them run their own affairs. When you break
      something in a store you don't sit there with crazy glue trying to
      piece it back together. And you most certainly don't run around with a
      bat breaking more things. What you do is apologize, write them a
      check, and get out before you do anymore damage.

      Zeese: Did you get any sense when you were in Iraq that the U.S. is
      planning a long-term stay in the country or are we planning a brief
      stay until things calm down in the country?

      Resta: If you go back and look you can see members of this
      administration talking about an invasion and long occupation of Iraq
      as long as a decade ago. As I said earlier I saw plenty of bases being
      built for a permanent US military presence. Things like barracks like
      you would see back here in the States. While I was in Iraq the Air
      Force opened up what was referred to as a "million dollar gym" at a
      base outside Baghdad. I never saw the receipts, but it sounds about
      right to me. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools. It was incredible to
      watch it happening and then hear the spin from the American press. You
      can even go to www.globalsecurity.org and find the specifics of the
      plan, including what units are going to Iraq for the next few years.

      Zeese:: Describe the purpose of Iraq Veterans Against the War, how
      many members you have, what some of your upcoming projects are.

      Resta: Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW, www.ivaw.net ) has a
      pretty simple platform. It's ending the occupation, making sure our
      government gives the veterans of this conflict the care that they are
      owed, and real aid for the people of Iraq. We have about 300 members
      ranging from privates to colonels. Some are still active duty, others
      are current members of the National Guard and Reserve, and some have
      just gotten out of the military. Those of us that are comfortable
      speaking out do so often. We're working in a lot of other areas as
      well, like ending stop loss, counter recruiting, and trying to create
      a fair and honest conscientious objector process within the military.


      * Kevin Zeese is a director of DemocracyRising.US. You can comment on
      this blog by visiting his blog spot at http://www:DemocracyRising.US

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