Saturday, June 21, 2014

US veterans of the Iraq wars are shocked by what is currently happening in Iraq


A 'veteran' is someone who once served his/her country in the military.

One of the most stupid decisions in modern American history was when George Bush organized the second war against Iraq by the USA in 2003.  It wasn't just George Bush's decision, however.  Hilary Clinton supported this war as well.  Indeed, the Congress of the United States voted to have this war.  So George Bush, alone, cannot be blamed.

The second most stupid decision made in recent history was when Barack Obama removed all US soldiers from Iraq in 2011.  Now a civil war has started between the two Islamic groups that have never gotten along with each other in the country: the Sunnis and the Shiites.

Many Iraqi citizens died from 2003 to 2011 and many American soldiers died as well (about 5,000).  Many of the soldiers who fought in that war are now shocked and upset about what is happening now.  It looks as if all of their efforts were wasted (were in vain).  They fought in Iraq for 8 years and the situation was not improved. Indeed, the situation is now worse than ever.

Here is an article about how some veterans feel about what is happening now:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/15/us-vets-heartbroken-as-civil-war-overtakes-iraq/10536069/

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

vets - veterans

to be heart-broken - to feel incredibly sad, depressed, disappointed

civil war - a war within a country

to overtake Iraq - to completely take over the country, to overwhelm the country

two tours of duty - two periods of time in the army. After you finish one tour you can either leave or re-enlist.

infantry - these are soldiers who fight directly with other soldiers. They are 'foot' soldiers.

a sergeant - this type of soldier is usually the leader of a small group of soldiers called a squad.  A sergeant had 3 stripes on his uniform:

injured - hurt, wounded

resident - he lives in Warren, Michigan

al Qaeda inspired militants - the USA is claiming that the organization primarily supporting this war, or causing it, is al Qaeda, the organization responsible for the 9/11/2001 attacks in the USA.  A militant is someone who is fighting in a war but he does not necessarily belong to a country's army.

to rampage or go on a rampage - to violently attack and destroy things and kill people

embroiling the country in - causing the country to engage in or become involved in 

a sectarian war - a war between 'sects' or rival or enemy groups

insurgency - the fighters who are against the current government.  This ex-soldier feels that the city of Baghdad will fall soon to the insurgents because the Iraqi army and police cannot 'hold their ground' - stop the insurgents from taking territory

dismay - you feel dismay when you are shocked and saddened at the same time

bitterness -  the opposite of sweetness; you feel bitter about something if things turned out differently from how you wanted them to turn out

Saddam Hussein - he used to be the dictator of Iraq. A dictator is one ruler who controls everything.  When he was the dictator of Iraq he often cause wars with neighboring countries (Iran and Kuwait) but there was no civil war in Iraq.  After he was captured and hanged by the USA, a civil war started and it will not seem to end.  Hussein was a Sunni Muslim.  The current government is made up of Shiites, the enemies of the Sunnis.

a major - this is another rank in the army or marines.  A major is a highly ranked officer who is in charge of leading a large group of soldiers.  Here si the ranking system from lowest to highest:  private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, colonel, general.

the sacrifice we made might be in vain - a sacrifice is when you give up something to get something else.  to be in vain - this means you made an effort but got nothing from it.  i.e.  50,000 US soldiers died in vain in Vietnam since the USA lost the war.

prosperity - wealth, good times, a situation that was generally good

on the verge of collapse - near collapse, to collapse means to fall apart

coalition - the coalition was the group of countries that were stupid enough to fight with the USA in the 2nd Iraq war

wounded - they were not killed but they were seriously hurt

tactics - strategy

to have the stomach for - will tolerate; if you don't have the stomach for something, you really don't want to do it

to oust - to get rid of, to eliminate

a new front - a new area from which to fight

a vacuum - an empty area; in this case a vacuum means there was no strong army left to stop any insurgents; a vacuum is literally an area without any air - empty space

under siege - under attack

misconception - a false belief

they were not stepping up - they were not fighting hard enough

the chow lines - the food lines, a chow line is a line soldiers get into when it is time for them to be served food

been at each others' throats - been enemies of each other, been fighting against each other

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