Doubts Grow as G.I.’s in Iraq Find Allies in Enemy Ranks
BAGHDAD — Staff Sgt. David Safstrom does not regret his previous tours in Iraq, not even a difficult second stint when two comrades were killed while trying to capture insurgents.There is indeed a civil war going on in Iraq but more dangerous to the US soldiers on the streets there is also an anti imperialist war. Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr realizes this and there are reports that he is reaching out to the Sunni insurgents. He talks more like an Iraqi nationalist than a Shiite Cleric. The good news is he hates al-Qaeda as much as he hates the US.
“In Mosul, in 2003, it felt like we were making the city a better place,” he said. “There was no sectarian violence, Saddam was gone, we were tracking down the bad guys. It felt awesome.”
But now on his third deployment in Iraq, he is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this past February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber’s body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.
“I thought, ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. “We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”
His views are echoed by most of his fellow soldiers in Delta Company, renowned for its aggressiveness.
The brave US soldiers continue to fight but what for?
To Sergeant O’Flarity, the Iraqi security forces are militias beholden to local leaders, not the Iraqi government. “Half of the Iraqi security forces are insurgents,” he said.
As for his views on the war, Sergeant O’Flarity said, “I don’t believe we should be here in the middle of a civil war.”
“We’ve all lost friends over here,” he said. “Most of us don’t know what we’re fighting for anymore. We’re serving our country and friends, but the only reason we go out every day is for each other.”
Cross Posted at Gun Toting Liberal