Words from the front-lines
“We do not fire on anybody unless we feel that our life is threatened. We don't just kill for the fun of it. Have you ever killed anybody? It sucks! … I have lost two very good friends of mine in an RPG attack a few months ago. Having to help put them in body bags is an image I will never forget." – Joshua Matthews, 101st Airborne Division, northern Iraq.
“I don't need friends like this. They smile in your face during the daytime and they try to kill you at night." – Sgt. Derek White, 299th Engineer Battalion.
"[The Iraqis] seem to have gotten pretty aggravated with us being around. I asked my interpreter if the Iraqi people are mad at us. He said that 90 percent of Iraqis hate us, and the other 10 percent have left Iraq.” – Private T.J. Knight, the driver of White's humvee.
“We shouldn't be here and we should never have been sent here. And maybe you can tell me: why were we sent here?” – Military policeman, near Abu Ghurayb.
“Before I came over, watching the news I was rah-rah and here we go. Now I am just thinking, this needs to stop and go away. When talking to my wife at home, you know, people just hear about a few casualties a day and it doesn't sound like a big deal. But when you see a 19-year-old kid with his leg barely hanging on, that one alone is a big deal.” – Major Gordon Olsen, orthopedic specialist, Heber City, Utah where the most seriously injured from Iraq go for treatment.
“I don't give a damn about Rumsfeld. All I give a damn about is going home. The only thing his visit meant for us was we had to clean up a lot of mess to make the place look pretty. And he didn't even look at it anyway.” – Specialist Rue Gretton, on Rumsfeld’s visit to Tikrit.
"If I got to talk to Rumsfeld I'd tell him to give us a return date. We've been here six months and the rumor is we'll be here until at least March. This is totally, totally uncalled for.” – Sgt. Green, Tikrit, Iraq
"I'm definitely getting out. To heck with the Army.” – Corporal José Alvarez, Iraq.
“When will the worldwide fight against terrorism be over? I mean, should I get my 3-year-old ready for air assault school?” – Question from solider from the 101st Airborne Division to Rumsfeld during his visit to Iraq.
“I missed Vietnam. I thought about retiring after Desert Storm. I should have. [Iraq is] classic FUBAR. … A mission without a goal. An engagement without rules. The intel was pure FUBAR. No exit strategy. We’re going to be there for a long, long time. Maybe people are right. Maybe it is another Vietnam. We were in Vietnam for 10 years. … I’ve been a professional soldier most of my adult life. I’ve been proud to serve my country even when I thought we might be wrong. But I’m not proud now. And that makes me want to puke.” – Anonymous reservist after returning home from Iraq.