Tell me about your experience in Iraq.
We had 40 days with no shower, five severe sand storms and a month without ammunition. Everybody else had tents. We didn't. Everybody else had air conditioners. We didn't. The only thing I had to eat for three days was crackers. We ran out of water for a full day. We went through a lot.
A month without ammunition?
Thirty-eight guys and the only thing we had was 210 rounds. And 210 rounds is supposed to be for one person.
I've been interviewing vets on this trip and often hear about the lack of armor and the lack of overall preparation.
The major thing with the military is, when you go through basics, the first thing you learn is how to become a soldier and how to shoot. The second thing you do is to learn your job. A lot of people over there are thinking more about their job and not what they were trained to do. To shoot. To become a soldier. That's what happened with Jessica Lynch. They were trying to do their job instead of being a soldier and shoot first. That's something that Bush needs to get through everybody's head.
A little over 1800 people have died. That's $250,000 per person that we have given out. In October, that's going up to $400,000 in life insurance. I lost a friend in Colorado. He was over there one week shy of a year. He had an affair with a colonel. He brought it home with him. The day before he was supposed to be court martialed, he went down to the local park and blew his brains out. $250,000 life insurance was supposed to go to his family. His family only gets 25 percent since it was a self-inflicted wound.
How has all of this affected you?
I have war syndromes just like everybody else. I have nightmares every single day. An eight-year-old girl holding a four-month-old baby came to my position begging for food and water. The little baby was so hungry, she was trying to nurse off of the girl. What really happened is she pulled a gun on me and I had to shoot her and the little child. When I saw my nephew for the first time, he was sleeping and my sister said, 'Hold him, I need to go to the restroom.' With him just laying there motionless, I started crying and gave him to my aunt. She said, 'What's wrong?' And I said, 'I can't do this.' I walked outside. I didn't hold my nephew for another two hours. It took so many people to try to calm me down. I thought I killed him. That's what happens in my nightmares.
Hat tip to Al Hill