Feelings on military action changed for UP veteran

On Memorial Day I remembered the fallen, and mourned the loss of human life, dignity, liberty, justice, and truth caused by war. As a Canadianborn American who joined the Washington Army National Guard in 2010, I knew nothing about history or geopolitics. Like many young men I wanted to protect people, to compete at a real- life game of skill, and to be an elite member of society.

I was proud when I won the Soldier of the Cycle award in Basic Combat Training, and the Honor Grad award in Advanced Individual Training. I was proud when I volunteered to deploy overseas with the Oklahoma guard, but after serving just one tour through Kuwait and Iraq, I am no longer proud of my service. I didn’t secure a single American freedom or liberate a single Iraqi citizen, and the war itself was unconstitutional.

Although the Iraq War was supposed to end after December 31, 2011, I took part in operations that moved vehicles and equipment into the country that very month. We were told we’d deliver the trucks to the Iraqi government, but we drove them to Mosul. The trucks I equipped were very similar to ones later seen in images attributed to the rise of ISIS, a group whose purported existence was used to justify 17 nations invading Syria with airplanes, and later boots on the ground. It was later revealed boots on the ground were already present, and just like that one war morphed into another, again without a declaration of war by Congress.

Meanwhile the Iraq War still hasn’t ended. As we soldiers went out in 2011, the paramilitary contractors went in, and the American public stopped paying attention. After a century of conflict over control of the fallen Ottoman Empire’s oil resources, the western companies that owned Iraqi oil under the 1928 Red Line Agreement are some of the same ones developing oil fields there now, while operating under a different name.

To echo Smedley Butler in 1937, war is a racket. There are those that pay with their lives and tax money, and those that profit. In this world of suffering, the reduction of suffering is a virtuous act. Ultimately, all soldiers fight for the cause of peace. Only in peace time can any person have freedom, truth, liberty, justice, or dignity. Honor the fallen by opposing the continuing cycle of violence. Oppose all illegal wars for profit and bring all US soldiers home.

Joshua Jongema is the secretary of the Upper Peninsula Libertarian Party, the local affiliate of the Libertarian Party of Michigan. Local party leadership may submit a guest editorial once a month by contacting (906) 207-1899 ext. 1 or emailing bburge@cherryroad. com.