A former Marine corporal who fought in Afghanistan testified last week on Capitol Hill and urged lawmakers to oppose President Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Rick Reyes said the war has turned into a “big mistake.”
Rick Reyes: “In some respects, this entire occupation has become counterproductive. As a Marine, I was willing to give my life for my country and still am. But invading and occupying Afghanistan, sending more troops to solve what is a political problem, is not the answer. I urge these senators to rethink Afghanistan, while there is still time. I can almost guarantee that sending more troops will mean more civilian and US troop casualties, not for war, but for occupation. Sending more troops will not make the US safer; it will only build more opposition against us. I urge you on behalf of truth and patriotism to consider carefully and rethink Afghanistan. More troops, more occupation is not the answer.”
Former Marine Corporal Rick Reyes also said the US occupation has unjustly targeted innocent Afghan civilians.
Rick Reyes: “Because our mission was to capture suspected Taliban and had no successful way of being able to distinguish them, we had no other choice but to suspect the entire civilian population, innocent or not. One day we stopped at gunpoint, detained and beating and nearly killing an innocent man only to find out he was just traveling down the road to deliver milk to his children. Because of that day, those kids went without a father. There were hundreds of incidents like this one. Almost 100 percent of the time, we would find that suspected terrorists turned out to be innocent civilians. It began to feel we were chasing ghosts.”
At the same hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Retired US Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich said an escalation of troops will worsen the situation in Afghanistan.
Andrew Bacevich: “We may not believe that we are invading and occupying countries, but the people on the other end viewed, view themselves as being invaded and occupied. So, to some degree, to some measurable degree, in places like Afghanistan, increasing the US presence actually increases the dimensions of the problem.”