‘That Dream Turned Into Nightmares’
These are the words of Kristofer Goldsmith, who said he dreamed his entire boyhood of joining the Army.
“That dream turned into nightmares. I joined the Army to kill people. I joined the Army to kill Iraqis, to kill Muslims. To kill people that were a skin tone other than mine and inhabiting the Middle East. On September 12, 2001, I remember standing up as a 16 year-old boy — I was still in high school when this happened — the day after September 11, and talking about how we should use biological weapons, or chemical weapons, on the entire Middle East, to make it so that religious land, the Holy Land, is not an issue that harms America.
“I want to state that I have since changed. I am no longer a racist. I am no longer filled with hatred like that. But that is what drove me, even harder, to join the Army and to fight in combat.
“I joined as a forward observer and trained to use artillery, some of the most destructive weapons that the Army has. When I deployed to Iraq in 2005, I was not authorized artillery because we had drawn a truce with Moqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Mahdi militia, and the prophet to some across all of Iraq, especially those in Sadr City.”
Goldsmith asked for a slide to be presented to the members of Congress listening to him. As I’m on a train listening to streaming audio of the testimony, I don’t know what it shows. He said it’s of a photograph he took.
“That blue Arabic graffiti right there is on the side of a school somewhere in Sadr City. I didn’t know until three days ago when I had a good friend of mine who is Iraqi translate it for me, but in 2005, an Iraqi spraypainted that. And it translates directly to, ‘Welcome, America, to the Second Vietnam.’ Vietnam and Iraq have been compared not only by Iraq Veterans Against The War and Vietnam Veterans Against The War, but by the very people in Iraq who Americans think are too ignorant to realize what’s going on in the world. These are smart, educated people that are dying every day.”
He continued to the next slide, which showed more graffiti this time in English. THE US AND ALLAWI ARE TERRORMEN.
“That is the feeling in Sadr City. They feel they have been let down by America and by their own government that George Bush’s administration put in power.
“Before I go on I want to say that I do not blame you, as Congress-members, for not ending the war, as many Americans do. I do not blame the president for not ending the war. I blame the people of America and their apathy, because they are — you are responsible for following what they say. And they have not done a good enough job to convince the rest of your peers — namely Republicans — to fight to bring our troops home and save lives in both America and Iraq.”