Japan Peace Conference 2004
Former U.S. Marine
A long time ago, I understood why it was necessary for the United States to have bases strategically placed around the world. Times have changed since then but more importantly, technology has changed tremendously. Back then, if and when an international emergency broke out or in the time of war, we did not have the capability of reaching some of these countries in a sufficient amount of time. Today, we have advanced technology in the air and in the water. If supplies or weapons need to be delivered, the United States could get it there by aircraft, naval vessel, or submarine in a very short amount of time.
I believe it is time for the United States to end their occupation in the form of military bases around the world. America has a hunger for imperialism and a thirst for colonization. In my opinion, the people of Okinawa have seen the worst of this act of greediness. Not only have we taken most of the good real estate and turned it into military bases, but on the outskirts of the cities, there is a very large prostitution ring that serves the United States military personnel. The indigenous people who have been subjected to these things, have a right to reclaim their territory and their lives.
There are two places I think the United States should have military bases: Hawaii and Guam. These places are US territory and I believe they are strategically placed so that if there ever were an international emergency, we could use all of the advanced technology we have through the air and water to deliver supplies or whatever in a sufficient and timely manner. The occupation of military bases in foreign countries is absolutely unnecessary and should be stopped immediately.
With that being said, I want to move on and tell you about the atrocities I witnessed and took part in during my time in Iraq. I was stationed with third battalion, seventh marines infantry unit out of Twenty-nine Palms, California. We deployed to Kuwait in January 2003 and stayed there until we invaded Iraq in March and I was medevaced out of the country May 15th, 2003.
Ladies and Gentleman, the Iraqi's let us in their country. We did not have to fight for it like the media said we did. The United States military was dropping propaganda from the air telling the Iraqi's that we were there to help them and that they should go on with their normal everyday lives. The leaflets told them to keep the schools open, keep the hospitals open, and to go to work everyday. And, that is just what they did. The Iraqi's cooperated with the US military completely until we started killing innocent civilians. That was the point when all of these "insurgents" started to appear.
We were getting intelligence reports on a daily basis that painted every Iraqi as a potential threat to us and/or terrorist. From the very beginning, we were told that the Iraqi military were loading ambulances and regular vehicles down with explosives. So, with that in mind, we set up check points. We had imaginary zones set up. When a vehicle would enter the green zone we would hold our hands up in the air giving them the sign to stop and fire warning shots over the top of the vehicle. If the vehicle did not stop and they entered into the red zone, we discharged our weapons into the vehicle. Each time this happened, we searched the cars and found nothing. We found no explosives, no weapons, and no evidence what so ever that could link them to any sort of terrorist activity. All we found were innocent men, women, and children.
There is one incident that sticks out in my mind and haunts my dreams quite often. I like to call it the Red Kia incident. My unit was at a check point and this Red Kia came speeding into our area. The vehicle entered the green zone and we fired the warning shots and told them to stop, but they did not. The car came into the red zone and we discharged our weapons. The car came to a stop in front of my humvee and we searched the vehicle as usual. There were four passengers in the car, all of them very well dressed young men. Some higher power had been watching over the driver of the Kia that day because he was untouched by any bullets, there wasnﾕt even a scratch on him. Unfortunately, the other three were expiring very quickly. I called for the corpsman to come and take them to the battalion surgeon to see if there was anything we could do. The entire time this was going on, the driver of the car was sitting on the curb crying with his head in his hands. I could tell he was very distraught. A few minutes passed and the corpsman, along with some other marines, came back with the three other men that had occupied the vehicle. The corpsman informed me that the battalion surgeon said there was nothing we could do for the gentlemen. The driver began running around and screaming "Why did you kill my brother? We're not terrorists!! We didn't do anything to you!! Why did you kill my brother?" I had no idea what to say to him.
Incidents like these happened over and over, day after day. If you saw someone you loved, an innocent human being, murdered in cold blood by the United States military, you would want revenge too, wouldn't you? I cannot think of anyone who wouldn't want revenge except for maybe the Pope or Mother Theresa. So, when someone wants to know about all these insurgencies and why they are happening, the Red Kia incident is one of the many reasons.
I have often asked myself why the Iraqi's did not stop when we held our hands up and fired the warning shots. I did not find out why until I was attending a conference in Boston earlier this year. After I was done giving my speech a lady came up to me and asked me what sign we gave to the Iraqi's signaling them to stop and I showed her that it was the national sign of palm out and then firing warning shots in the air. She looked at me with the saddest look on her face and said that the signal we held up means hello in the Iraqi culture and then she asked me something that I will never forget. She said, "What do you always see Saddam doing on television? Firing a gun in the air right?" All I could do was nod and she said "Yes of course that's all you see because firing a gun in the air to Iraqi's means a celebration." I will never forget that conversation as long as I live.