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The Priorities In This War

An Iraq Vet talks to Celina R. De Leon

My beliefs had changed once we were on the ground. Within days we had seized all of the oil fields in northern Iraq and our primary mission was to protect them. Bush had said this war wasn't about oil, but there I was defending oil fields at all costs in the middle of Iraq.

A lot of the piping and workings of the fields had been destroyed by the fleeing army and before we even started to help the people by fixing the power or water supplies, they had construction crews trying to get everything up and running on the oil fields.

They say this war isn't about oil. How about they go and trade places with one of the soldiers that would love to come home, and see what's going on around the oil refineries and see how much work is being put into them and how little is being put into restoring power and water.

My brother just got back and said they still only have power and water for maybe five to six hours out of the day.

I also worked with a lot of the local hospitals. The whole time we were there, the hospitals kept getting worse and worse. They never had any supplies or new machines installed. Even some of the more simple machinery, like X-ray machines, were never replaced.

Every time I went into one of the hospitals I almost emptied my aid bag so they could have sterile catheters and needles. I couldn't believe my eyes to see that they were having to reuse these supplies because they couldn't get replacement equipment. They didn't even have soap.

All of this helped me to see where the priorities in this war were. Obviously, not in the people.

You have been reading excerpts from "A Soldier Speaks: Zechariah", by Celina R. De Leon. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/e29dc. Thanks to informationclearinghouse.info. We visit often and we hope you will too.

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