On the fifteenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, Ralph talks about the true costs of war with executive director of Veterans for Peace, Michael McPhearson and un-embedded war correspondent, Dahr Jamail, eyewitness to the battle of Fallujah.
Michael McPhearson joined the Army Reserve as an enlisted soldier at the age of seventeen. He went on to become a field artillery officer in the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division during the first Gulf War and eventually separated from active duty in 1992 as a Captain. Mr. McPhearson is now the national executive director of Veterans For Peace, where he oversees all programs, communication, and administration.
“Representative (Jim) McGovern talked about how Congress is fearful and powerless in not wanting to have these (war authorization) debates, because they’re afraid of what the political fallout would be. And I said to him I think it goes beyond cowardice. I think there’s a level of decadence in it. And the reason I say that is because by not debating and not facing whatever the outcome might be, they’re trying to play it safe and gain from the blood that is spilled by U.S. service members and the Iraqis, Afghans and people around the world that are being killed by U.S. service members, while they continue to stay in power and enjoy the benefits of being a congressperson. And to me, that’s a deep immorality that has set into our political system.”
Michael McPhearson: Executive Director of Veterans for Peace
Dahr Jamail is a staff reporter for the website Truthout and is the author of “The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan” and “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq.” Mr. Jamail reported for more than a year in Iraq, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism among other awards.
“I just always defer to the Iraqi people, and the majority of the people there last time I was in there when I asked them that they said, ‘Well, the U.S. they cannot have a hand. I mean nobody here trusts them. And they absolutely cannot have a hand. The situation has to be left to the Iraqi people to sort out themselves, that we need all of the foreigners outside of the country. And only then can talk about how we try to legitimately fix the situation.’”
War Correspondent, Dahr Jamail on what US policy should be in Iraq