OUR VETERANS HAVE SPOKEN–II
While I haven’t always agreed with The Nation, I have long valued its writing, and in fact was a subscriber while serving in Iraq. This makes it all the more disappointing that the lengthy interviews I gave to Laila Al-Arian for “The Other War” [July 30/Aug. 6] resulted in my quotes being taken out of context. It reflects poorly on me personally and makes me question whether Al-Arian and Chris Hedges are guilty of poor analysis or of using my quotes to their own ends.
For example I stated, “I mean, you physically could not do an investigation every time a civilian was wounded or killed because it just happens a lot and you’d spend all your time doing that.” That quote was used to illustrate the premise that unjustified shootings of civilians were rampant and almost never investigated. But that was not what I was responding to. I was referring to the fact that civilians mistakenly shot by Americans, clearly in the course of legitimate self-defense, was the overwhelming source of civilian casualties. I made no judgment about whether shootings under questionable circumstances were investigated, because I had such little exposure to such issues. Al-Arian didn’t ask me about such circumstances, yet she portrays my statement as if it directly reflects on these types of events. I am not naïve enough to assert that no troops in Iraq have deliberately done wrong. However, I categorically disagree that any of my statements or experiences would support the authors’ assertion that there has been a pervasive and chronic trend among US forces in Iraq to deliberately wound and/or kill innocent civilians.
Captain, US Marine Corps Reserves
I, too, was a contributor to this piece. I respect the position of the other contributors and don’t deny that in war bad things do happen. But in an effort to disclose all truths the following should also be known to readers:
I was personally outraged, appalled and horrified while reading this article–and not because of the alleged findings, the alleged truths that it supposedly uncovered. I was in complete disbelief at how inaccurately my statements were portrayed and how conveniently they were selected to support the thesis of the authors. I suspect that I’m not the only veteran of the fifty interviewed who shares these sentiments. I’m sickened and ashamed to be, in any way, associated with this article.
Captain, National Guard
I was one of the veterans interviewed for “The Other War,” and I want to say unequivocally that nothing about what I had to say was taken out of context or distorted. I was told exactly what the article was about and the questions were very direct. My interview was taped, as I imagine the others were.