What US Veterans Say About The Iraq Fiasco: "When I Left In 2009, I Said In 5 Years There'll Be A Civil War"

Tyler Durden's picture

With Iraq having succumbed to sectarian violence worse than anything observed in recent history, which accordint to many was merely exacerbated by US neocon ambitions to feed the ravenous military industrial complex, one can easily discard the opinion of all those on both sides of the argument - first those who said a US intervention was critical, as well as those who demanded a pull out. In fact, the only person who has preserved any credibility, and has not been "surprised" by the recent developments - is the man who said to never get involved in the first place - Ron Paul.

But what about those who were tasked with implementing US foreign policy, flawed as it may have been: America's veteran troops.

The WSJ has compiled several opinions of precisely those men and women who served in Iraq during the invasion and occupation. At least for some of them what is happening now is hardly surprising. "When I left in April 2009, I said, 'In five years there'll be a civil war,'" said Keith Widaman, a former Marine staff sergeant who helped train Iraqi law enforcement during his deployment. "The Sunnis were stockpiling weapons and they weren't using them against us. They were just holding on to them."


Mr. Widaman, who currently lives in Washington, was stationed near the Syrian border, in Al Qaim, and said that area was mostly calm. But even there he noticed that the central government didn't have the support of the local populace. In Mosul the situation was even worse.


"There was just so much resistance, they never got it under control," he said.

Former Marine Staff Sgt. Keith Widaman in Washington on Friday. Lance Rosenfield/Prime for The Wall Street Journal

Others are just disappointed by the local army's response:

Matthew Sinsigalli's infantry battalion with the Army's 101st Airborne Division was part of the invasion in March 2003. He then spent most of his yearlong tour in Mosul, where his unit's duties included training Iraqi military and police. 


"For them to just drop and flee, that's disheartening to see after all the effort put into it when we were over there," he said. "To see that fall, a place where we lost friends, that's really a blow," said Mr. Sinsigalli, who left the Army in 2004.

Yet others believe that America's mistake was simply refusing to make Iraq yet another colony of the US global empire:

Several of the veterans said the U.S. had a responsibility to stay involved. Chris Schuster, 34, a Navy veteran who served two tours in Iraq in 2003 to 2005, said he had mixed feelings watching reports this week about the developments in Iraq. "Once you're involved, you have a responsibility," he said. He is now a student at Clemson University in South Carolina.

At least one person realizes that the entire US approach of solving global conflict through the imposition of Pax Americana, and even more military involvement, especially where US interests are at stake, needs a major rethink:

William "BJ" Ganem, who lost part of his left leg and suffered traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2004 after an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle while on patrol, said he hopes the U.S. thinks hard about its approach, and takes a "holistic" view.


"I'm not sure we're understanding the problem happening in the Middle East," said Mr. Ganem, who lives in Reedsburg, Wis. "We need to spend time, step back and think about what the best approach is, what the root of the problem is."

However with so much corporate money at stake, the last thing the US mega-corps, for whom even the slightest delay in promoting re-escalation and not letting yet "another crisis go to waste" means lost revenue, can afford to do is wait.

Finally, while it is handy to poll the invaders, be it those sitting behind desks or wielding an M-16, all of whom hide behind the idealistic banner of "democratic liberation", perhaps the real answer should come from the Iraqis themselves what they want: was it their vision of a better world one which involved US armed presence in their (and neighboring) country, and one which has pushed sectarian violence and brutality to unseen levels.

And not just Iraq but Libya, Egypt, Ukraine, to name just a few from the past few years alone.

Sadly we will never get the real answer.

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NotApplicable's picture

I said the same thing in 2003 (only without a time-frame).

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I did NOT think that way in 2003, and I was very wrong.

StacksOnStacks's picture

No cheat codes for this game.  The only way to win is by not playing.

Anusocracy's picture

The untermenschen in control don't want peace because they expect to benefit from the outcome of their actions.

The play-pieces they are maneuvering must not embrace something like the Christmas truce of WWI.

0b1knob's picture

< America doesn't give a shit what happens to Iraq.

< America dossn't give a shiite what happens to Iraq.

12ToothAssassin's picture

It is a mistake to think that whats happening now with ISIS/ISIL is by mistake. Its all long since been planned to happen this way.

Colonel Klink's picture

The US and TPTB, reducing the world's useless eaters one nation at a time.  Was there any doubts?

Stuck on Zero's picture

No-one has ever won a war.  Ever.  A nation may declare a victory but the seeds of resentment will germinate in the future and start it all over.


SilverRhino's picture

Tell that to the Romans after they finished with Carthage.

The Romans had no more troubles from them .... ever.

11b40's picture

We have not had too much trouble out of England for a while, and Ho Chi Minh is pretty sure his war with the French, and then the Americans, went his way.

Frankie Carbone's picture

By their standards, you are a useless eater, as am I. They'll save the toughest resistance for last, and brainwash our own countrymen to do the dirty work for them.  

Pladizow's picture

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."  - ?????

McMolotov's picture

We'll be saved if the next president is Jeb, the Smart Bush™ .

ParkAveFlasher's picture

Because Florida is awesome, and you like sunshine!

Miles Ahead's picture

No, the Smart Bush was/is Marvin!  You don't know him?  My point exactly.  Had to be smart to plan all this...



kliguy38's picture

I'm voting for McCain and Lindsey Graham......they're swell.......

DaveyJones's picture

Harry Reid because .. it's all just whores, gambling and insanity

corporatewhore's picture

No, it's HRH Hillary! to the rescue (sarc).  The coronation will begin shortly.  The only time I've seen less wrinkles was on a baby's ass.

ChanceIs's picture

Am looking for the /sarc_off on that one.

McMolotov's picture

Research indicates that 83.5% of my posts are sarcastic.

pods's picture

But 110% awesome!


lotsoffun's picture

my european friends doubted me on bush2 - obama 1 i couldn't have imagined, obama 2 - saw clearly.  and going back 6 years - my european friends still don't believe me.  mega life support for bush 1 - he has to be around to see it.  92+ no matter.  'royalty'.  3 bush-whackers in the same family as presidents - they have to make it happen.  somehow - they believe this stuff like pharoahs.

 bush is in.  it's a lock. 

yellowsub's picture

The danger lies in the ignorance of the citizens...  

Cthonic's picture

 Here is tragedy—and here is America. For the curse of the country, as well of all democracies, is precisely the fact that it treats its best men as enemies. The aim of our society, if it may be said to have an aim, is to iron them out. The ideal American, in the public sense, is a respectable vacuum. ~ HL Mencken

foodstampbarry's picture

The truly frieghtning thing is, is that every morning I walk out the door, I know that every other person I meet supports Obama. That fact scares the hell out of me a lot more than Obama himself.

williambanzai7's picture

The Stepford Jives, Pee Wee Herman and Joe the Gub Employee are your neighbors?

Uncle Remus's picture

According to the inter-webs, it was translated into English from an article in the Prague newspaper Prager Zeitung. The quote came from the Former Premier of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus.

Gaius Frakkin&#039; Baltar's picture

In other words...

A society always gets the leaders it deserves.

McMolotov's picture

H.L. Mencken: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

ChanceIs's picture

Also from H.L:

'Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.'


'I hate sports the way somebody who loves sports hates common snese'

Why did I post that one?  Thnk who loves hoops, NCAA brackets and platys a lot of golf - and is probably still in Palm Springs.  Get it?  Get it?

BlindMonkey's picture

Have you noticed that none of the World Cup games have been a draw?

Colonel Klink's picture

Well according to Flackmeister, you've just quoted a German so you must be a Nazi Communist sympathizer.

ChanceIs's picture

Keep Charles de Gaulle at bay by taking us off the gold standard again in order to fund more Military Industrial Complex projects and maintain LBJ's Great Society - because once you give it to them, you can never take it away and get reelected.

11b40's picture

Guns & Butter, bitchez!


Or was that supposed to be Guns OR Butter?  Um, um, somebody call Krugman for me.

mjcOH1's picture

"What would Nixon do?"

I'll take Operation Linebacker, and 155,237 tons of unguided air delivered bombs for 100, Alex.

BlindMonkey's picture

Stay dead. If he knows what is good for him.

Bingo Hammer's picture

Actually the long term covert and now overt assymetrical (political, social, chemical, electronic, spiritual, educational) assault on the American people, their Constitution, their way of life is what has brought the American citizenry to this sad and sorry state of affairs.

Yes O is just a frontman puppet of his master's but don't be too quick to blame the currently sedated, misinformed, abused and assaulted masses because they/we have all been the long term victims of their relentless and ruthless conditioning program.

Just as I don't think you can blame a child born unto 2 drug addicted, sado-masochistic paedophiles who then get's ritually abused for the 1st 15 years of his life for not having the knowledge wisdom and strength to overcome his torturers; so it is with most of the US and world's citizenry of today.


Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I didn't think that way then either. Or course I was still a teenager then. I confess leading up to the 2008 elections I loved everything ron Paul said until he got to foreign policy. On those things I thought he was crazy and unrealistic. By the end of the year I had done some reading and was on board. We all wake up in our own way and in our own time. I feel like a fool for it taking me several years to realize what was going on after I started paying attention, but it's better late than never

11b40's picture

My favorite saying - We are too soon old, and too late smart.

The truth of that wisdom will become more apparent with every passing year ;)

lotsoffun's picture

carl - which is why i don't like people denigrating our soldiers that served there and later saw something.  life is about learning, learning to survive, learning.  sure - lots of these guys bought the flag and old glory and 'democracy'.  but - they went, they did what they thought was right, and some of the saw, thought and then realized. 

just because they volunteered 'mistakenly' in the first place doesn't mean they are hopeless to learn in the future.  they did.  give them credit. 

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

In 2003 I warned W not to do it (go to war).  And if he did, to do it another way... a way that would not cost us the lives or money, but still had Iraqis depose Saddam.

But clearly that did not satisfy the Banksters, the MIC, nor the hawks in the Knesset.  All of whom had different ideas and plans for Iraq and the region.

Vietnam started the destruction of America, the Afghanistan/Iraq wars will complete it.  The former Non-Aligned countries and the EU have lost ALL respect in the vision and virtue of America's gangsta leadership, no matter what their blackmailed leaders pretend.

If MENA burns, the rest of Eurasia will go on, as will the rest of the world.  We just gotta keep the psychos contained in their region, instead of letting them in under bullshit "humanitarian" pretenses.  How about we start worrying about the "humanitarian" issues at home, and let MENA sort itself out?  PRIME DIRECTIVE, baby, Prime Directive.

Rootin&#039; for Putin's picture

I said we would be there for 20 years and all my coworkers laughed and said it would be over in a few weeks.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

Boy you guys are on a roll peddling the mainstream press. Starting to get vomit inducing. IS there a need for state department money or NGO money to supplement ad revenue here?


This isn't a civil war. ISIS and their ilk are victims of foreign ideology ( Saudi Arabian Wahhabism ), funded by Saudis, armed by the West and trained by the west.


Enough with this horse shit. This is no more a civil war than is Syria.


You wonder why the majority of western jihadis come to ISIS? Because in every european country the Saudi controlled mosques recruit them. Enough of forwarding this phony narrative.

localsavage's picture

All easiy paid for with the increase in oil rices....win win for them

ZerOhead's picture

You hear Obama, Kerry and the Ukrainians screaming at the Russians to stop sending tanks, weapons, and nuclear bombs (soon) to the terrorists holed up in their part of the country yet...

NOT A WORD to the Saudis about the disgusting behavior of their Fine Young ISIS Cannibals.

Figure it out.