American Soldiers in Iraq

June 12, 2008

Operation “Iraqi Freedom”: An American Soldiers Point of View

Filed under: Articles — frinqclass @ 4:48 am

As with any conflict there are many perspectives in which it may be viewed. Luckily for most of us we are merely analyzers using whatever resources we deem legitimate to seek and ascertain information from which a personal point of view may be obtained. A soldier has the most authentic source of information; the battle field.

Even among soldiers there are varying opinions as to the rational of the conflict. Some American veterans have even fled to Canada to seek asylum, while some genuinely want to return to Iraq. Due to the United States militaries lax rules for taking pictures and video during combat, and the modern age of technology it is more difficult than ever to keep the stories of individuals in the military and on the front line from surfacing. Videos, interviews, internet blogs and web sites, and even books are being written by soldiers and veterans. Through their first hand experience they all tell a compelling story and a sad complicated one at that.

The following is part of an interview with an Iraqi Freedom veteran named Colby Buzzell. “On way out of my building two weeks ago, I checked my mailbox and found a letter from the Department of the Army with “Important Document” printed in all caps on the middle. I immediately felt sick, so I went back to my room, locked the door, grabbed a beer from the fridge and stared out my window for a while. People outside were all wearing sunglasses and walking about enjoying the sun. I took a picture… I got out of the Army three long years ago, and since then I’ve never really talked ill of the military, the people in it, or expressed any regrets at all about enlisting. If I had to do it all over again, I honestly would have. Granted, I got lucky and made it back with all my body parts intact. If I hadn’t, my answer might be a little bit different than what it is now… As terrible as this might sound, whenever someone asks me about enlisting, I’m tempted to encourage them. I figure that the more people who enlist, the slimmer the chances that I’ll get called back up. But of course this is ridiculous: No one in their right mind would enlist now, whereas I’ve already signed the papers. I’m now going back to Iraq for a second time because people like me – existing service members – are the only people at the Army’s disposal… Many people believe that the draft ended the Vietnam War. I’m convinced that reinstating the draft would definitely end this war. Rich, connected people will always find a way to evade mandatory service, but what about the rest of America? The middle class – people with good jobs and nice lives – would perhaps riot if the government even suggested that it expected from them what the Army expects from veterans.

Almost every soldier in Iraq possesses a digital camera and laptop to send video and pictures via the internet to friends and family back home. The average soldier in Iraq works an 8-12 hour shift. After their shift is over they are free to “recreate” until their next shift begins. Many soldiers use their free time to create and edit digital videos and post them on the internet or send them home. These videos are thousands of stories of war. Most videos are made for the soldier’s family to keep in contact and give them an idea of what their daily life is like. Soldiers can be seen joking with each other in their barracks and enjoying themselves in their free time or send a message via video to whoever wishes to see. Not all videos are constructed in this manner. Soldiers also take their cameras with them when they are on duty. Personal cameras are worn by soldiers, mounted on their vehicles, and even expensive helmet cams are used. When gun fire erupts they simply press record and an eyewitness report is then captured. Through viewing many of these videos it is my personal opinion that they give the true story of the conflict in Iraq. The fact that they do not all agree with each other I think it makes them even more legitimate.

The following is part of an interview with Sergeant Adam Lingo who has made numerous films from footage while serving in Iraq. “There’s a lot of guys that do miss Iraq. There’s guys over there and you want to be part of the team. But once you come back you kind of want to share your experience with somebody. In a way I guess [it’s] therapeutic. Everyone always thinks you’re going to go to Iraq and come back and you are just going to get on with your life and everything will be normal, and it just doesn’t work out that way. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Iraq… Making some of these videos and stuff has been one of the ways I can somehow show them. If a picture is worth a thousand words … how much is a video worth, you know?”

For many returning veterans these videos have become an obsession. Many returning vets are continually looking at new videos posted on the web or watching their own to recall their experiences.

There are thousands of links for Iraq war clips, here are some of them.

http://shock.military.com/Shock/home.do

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1536780/20060720/index.jhtml

http://www.spike.com/collection/2585/channel/warzone

http://youtube.com/results?search_query=iraq+war+videos&search_type=&aq=2&oq=iraq

http://www.liveleak.com/?ogr=1

http://www.mtv.com/overdrive/?id=1536801&vid=97560

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