This lieutenant said Sergeant Jimmy Massey was crazy when
he said the US Army was commiting genocide and sent
Jimmy Massey back to the states to be poked at by the
shrinks for "psychhological counseling"
Guess they want to prove him crazy and deny that genocide exists
Ex-Marine speaks out against Iraq war
NEW HAVEN, Conn. There isn't a waking moment when I don't think about what we've done over there, said ex-Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey. The 32-year-old North Carolina native visited New Haven last week as part of a series of speaking engagements, in hopes of revealing the facts about the war in Iraq.
"A lot of people ask me why I'm speaking out. I've been called a traitor, looking for fame, you name it," Massey told a group at a local church. "But I'm doing this to heal myself and to help other Marines who feel the same way I do. I also believe U.S. taxpayers have a right to know what's going on."
Massey is one of a growing number of U.S. military personnel who have returned from Iraq disillusioned with so-called Operation Iraqi Freedom. Massey holds President Bush personally responsible for the debacle, which has resulted in the death of more than 1,000 U.S. troops, 20,000 Iraqi civilians and an ever-growing number of civilian contractors.
The president of the United States is the one who authorized it, said Massey, who served with the Third Battalion Seventh Marines Weapons Company Cap One, and was part of the initial invading force in Baghdad.
Bush is the one that gave us the case to go to war and we went to war backing him. We were supposed to go there and set up a democracy, but all we did was cause chaos and now they're, mad and they have a right to be.
Originally, Massey said, We were getting intelligence reports from higher command saying that the Fedayeen and Republican Guards were trading in their uniforms for civilian clothes and mounting attacks against U.S. soldiers and Marines using guerrilla-style tactics and suicide bombings, explained Massey. Anxiety from those reports, coupled with lack of sleep, triggered his platoons initial response when civilian vehicles neared military checkpoints.
We didn't know who the enemy was, so when they didn't heed our warning shot we were lighting them up, discharging our weapons into their vehicles, he said.
When there was no return fire, his troops searched the vehicles for weapons.
There were none, said Massey. They were just scared civilians, trying to flee out of Baghdad.
However, it was when a child died in his arms that Massey began to completely reconsider the case for war.
The father came up to us at a checkpoint with a young child and said that the bombs killed him, said Massey. The response I got from my command was, well, better them than us, but his father was standing there looking at me like, Why did you kill my son?
According to Massey, the invasion soon dissolved into chaos. In one incident, intelligence had identified a group as members of the Iraqi military. Massey's platoon opened fire, massacring what turned out to be unarmed, peaceful demonstrators.
I had several of my younger troops come to me in private and say that some of these incidents were affecting them, he confessed. I said, "Listen, you're here to do a job and provide democracy, not to play politician. Go back out there and do your job," but it was affecting Massey as well.
Finally, he told his lieutenant the U.S. was committing genocide in Iraq. The lieutenant's reaction was to report Massey to his commanding officer, who immediately ordered him stateside to receive psychological counseling.
That's when things really got ugly, Massey said. He had to hire a lawyer, because the Marine Corps told him they would bring suit against him.
Their main concern was whether or not I was a conscientious objector. I told them that I believed in war when it's helpful for humanity, but I do not believe in killing innocent civilians. So, I said if they wanted to charge me for disagreeing with them about killing civilians, then I'd see them in court. Instead the Marines honorably discharged him last December after 12 years in the military.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After returning home to Pennsylvania, Mike Hoffman founded Iraq Veterans Against the War. "You realize that the people to blame for this are not the ones you are fighting."
More and more U.S. soldiers are speaking out against the war in Iraq -- and some are refusing to fight.
By David Goodman
October 11, 2004
Learn more about the antiwar movement within the military by visiting Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out.
In the service? Get answers to the questions you can't ask your commanding officers from the GI Rights Hotline at 1-800-394-9544.
Breaking Ranks: An Interview with Mike Hoffman
MIKE HOFFMAN would not be the guy his buddies would expect to see leading a protest movement. The son of a steelworker and a high school janitor from Allentown, Pennsylvania, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1999 as an artilleryman to blow things up. His transformation into an activist came the hard way on the streets of Baghdad.
When Hoffman arrived in Kuwait in February 2003, his unit's highest-ranking enlisted man laid out the mission in stark terms. "You're not going to make Iraq safe for democracy, the sergeant said. You are going for one reason alone: oil. But you're still going to go, because you signed a contract, and you're going to go to bring your friends home." Hoffman, who had his own doubts about the war, was relieved he'd never expected to hear such a candid assessment from a superior, but it was only when he had been in Iraq for several months that the full meaning of the sergeant's words began to sink in.
"The reasons for war were wrong," he says. "They were lies. There were no WMDs. Al-Qaeda was not there, and it was evident we couldn't force democracy on people by force of arms."
When he returned home and got his honorable discharge in August 2003, Hoffman says, he knew what he had to do next. After being in Iraq and seeing what this war is, I realized that the only way to support our troops is to demand the withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq. He co-founded a group called Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and soon found himself emerging as one of the most visible members of a small but growing movement of soldiers who openly oppose the war in Iraq.
Dissent on Iraq within the military is not entirely new. Even before the invasion, senior officers were questioning the optimistic projections of the Pentagons civilian leaders, and several retired generals have strongly criticized the war. But now, nearly two years after the first troops rolled across the desert, rank-and-file soldiers and their families are increasingly speaking up. Hoffman's group was founded in July with 8 members and had grown to 40 by September. Another organization, Military Families Speak Out, began with 2 families two years ago and now represents more than 1,700 families. And soldier-advocacy groups are reporting a rising number of calls from military personnel who are upset about the war and are thinking about refusing to fight; a few soldiers have even fled to Canada rather than go to Iraq.
In a 2003 Gallup Poll, nearly one-fifth of the soldiers surveyed said they felt the situation in Iraq had not been worth going to war over. In another poll, in Pennsylvania last August, 54 percent of households with a member in the military said the war was the wrong thing to do; in the population as a whole, only 48 percent felt that way. Doubts about the war have contributed to the decline of troop morale over the past year and may, some experts say, be a factor in the 40 percent increase in Army suicide rates in Iraq in the past year. That's the most basic tool a soldier needs on the battlefield: a reason to be there, says Paul Rieckhoff, a platoon leader in the New York National Guard and former JP Morgan banker who served in Iraq. Rieckhoff has founded a group called Operation Truth, which provides a freewheeling forum for soldiers views on the war. "When you can't articulate that in one sentence, it starts to affect morale. You had an initial rationale for war that was a moving target. [But] it was a shell game from the beginning, and you can only bullshit people for so long."
With his baggy pants, red goatee, and moussed hair, Mike Hoffman looks more like a guy taking some time off after college than a 25-year-old combat veteran. But the urgency in his voice belies his relaxed appearance; he speaks rapidly, consumed with the desire to get his point across. As we talk at a coffee shop in Vermont after one of his many speaking engagements, he concedes, "A lot of what I'm doing is basically survivor's guilt. Its hard: I'm home. I'm fine. I came back in one piece. But there are a lot of people who haven't."
More than a year after his return from Iraq, Hoffman is still battling depression, panic attacks, and nightmares. "I don't know what I did," he says, noting that errors and faulty targeting were common in the artillery. "I came home and read that six children were killed in an artillery strike near where I was. I don't really know if that was my unit or a British unit, but I feel responsible for everything that happened when I was there."
When he first came home, Hoffman says, he tried to talk to friends and family about his experience. It was not a story most wanted to hear. One of the hardest things when I came back was people who were slapping me on the back saying, "Great job," he recalls. "Everyone wants this to be a good war so they can sleep at night. But guys like me know it's not a good war. There's no such thing as a good war."
Hoffman finally found some kindred spirits last fall when he discovered Veterans For Peace, the 19-year-old antiwar group. Older veterans encouraged him to speak at rallies, and steadily, he began to connect with other disillusioned Iraq vets. In July, at the Veterans For Peace annual meeting in Boston, Hoffman announced the creation of Iraq Veterans Against the War. The audience of silver-haired vets from wars in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II exploded into applause. Hoffman smiles wryly. They tell us we're the rock stars of the antiwar movement.
Several of Hoffman's Marine Corps buddies have now joined Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the stream of phone calls and emails from other soldiers is constant. Not long ago, he says, a soldier home on leave from Iraq told him, "Just keep doing what youre doing, because you've got more support than you can imagine over there."
Members of IVAW led the protest march that greeted the Republican convention in New York, and their ranks swelled that week. But the protest's most poignant moment came after the march, as veterans from wars past and present retreated to Summit Rock in Central Park. Joe Bangert, a founding member of Vietnam Veterans of America, addressed the group. "One of the most painful things when we returned from Vietnam was that the veterans from past wars weren't there for us," he said. "They didn't support us in our questioning and our opposition to war, and I just want to say," he added, peering intently at the younger veterans, "we are here for you. We have your back."
There was no Iraq veterans group for Brandon Hughey to turn to in December 2003. Alone and terrified, sitting in his barracks at Fort Hood, Texas, the 18-year-old private considered his options. He could remain with his Army unit, which was about to ship out to Iraq to fight a war that Hughey was convinced was pointless and immoral, or he could end his dilemma by taking his own life.
Army private Brandon Hughey is one of six U.S. soldiers seeking refugee status in Canada.
Desperate, Hughey trolled the Internet. He emailed a peace activist and Vietnam veteran in Indianapolis, Carl Rising-Moore, who made him an offer: If he was serious about his opposition to the war, Rising-Moore said, he would help him flee to Canada.
The next day, there was a knock on Hugheys door: His deployment date had been moved up, and his unit was leaving within 24 hours. Hughey packed his belongings in a military duffel, jumped in his car, and drove north. As he and Rising-Moore approached the Rainbow Bridge border post at Niagara Falls, Hughey was nervous and somber. "I had the sense that once I crossed that border, I might never be able to go back," he recalls. "It made me sad."
Months after fleeing Fort Hood, the baby-faced 19-year-old still sports a military-style buzz cut. Sitting at the kitchen table of the Quaker family that is sheltering him in St. Catharine's, Ontario, Hughey tells me about growing up in San Angelo, Texas, where he was raised by his father. In high school he played trumpet and loved to soup up cars. But when his father lost his job as a computer programmer, he was forced to use up his son's college fund, so at 17, Hughey enlisted in the Army, with a $5,000 signing bonus to sweeten the deal.
Quiet and unassuming, Hughey grows intense when the conversation turns to Iraq. "I would fight in an act of defense, if my home and family were in danger," he says. "But Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. They barely had an army left, and Kofi Annan actually said [attacking Iraq was] a violation of the U.N. charter. It's nothing more than an act of aggression." As for his duty to his fellow soldiers, he insists, "You can't go along with a criminal activity just because others are doing it."
So far, only six U.S. soldiers are known to have fled to Canada rather than fight in Iraq, but in 2003, the Army listed more than 2,774 soldiers as deserters (military personnel are classified as having deserted after not reporting for duty for more than a month), and many observers believe the actual number may be even higher; the Army has acknowledged that it is not aggressively hunting down soldiers who don't show up. The GI Rights Hotline, a counseling operation run by a national network of antiwar groups, reports that it now receives between 3,000 and 4,000 calls per month from soldiers seeking a way out of the military. "Some of the callers simply never thought they would see combat," says J.E. McNeil, director of the Center on Conscience and War, "but others are turning against the war because of what they saw while serving in Iraq, and they don't want to be sent back there. "It's people learning what war really is," she says. "A lot of people are naive, and for a while, the military was portraying itself as being a peace mission."
Unlike Vietnam, when young men facing the draft could convincingly claim that they opposed all war, enlistees in a volunteer military have a tough time qualifying as conscientious objectors. In the Army, 61 soldiers applied for conscientious objector status last year, and 31 of those applications were granted. "The Army does understand people can have a change of heart," notes spokeswoman Martha Rudd, "but you can't ask for a conscientious objector discharge based on moral or religious opposition to a particular war."
Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey may be the most unlikely of the soldiers who have come out against the war. A Marine since 1992, he has been a recruiter, infantry instructor, and combat platoon leader. He went to Iraq primed to fight. "9/11 pissed me off," he says. "I was ready to go kill a raghead."
Jimmy Massey went to Iraq a gung-ho Marine, but returned shaken after killing civilians.
Shortly after Massey arrived in Iraq, his unit was ordered to man roadblocks. To stop cars, the Marines would raise their hands. If the drivers kept going, Massey says, "We would just light 'em up. I didn't find out until later on, after talking to an Iraqi, that when you put your hand up in the air, it means Hello. He estimates that his men killed 30 civilians in one 48-hour period.
One day, he recalls, there was this red Kia Spectra. "We told it to stop, and it didn't. There were four occupants. We fatally wounded three of them. We started pulling out the bodies, but they were dying pretty fast. The guy that was driving was just frickin' bawling, sitting on the highway. He looked at me and asked, 'Why did you kill my brother? He wasn't a terrorist. He didn't do anything to you.'"
Massey searched the car. "It was completely clean. Nothing there. Meanwhile the driver just ran around saying, 'Why? Why?' That's when I started to question."
The doubts led to nightmares, depression, and a talk with his commanding officer. "I feel what we are doing here is wrong. We are committing genocide," Massey told him. He was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and given a medical discharge.
Back in his hometown of Waynesville, North Carolina, Massey got a job as a furniture salesman, then lost it after speaking at an antiwar rally. Two or three times a week, he puts on his Marine uniform and takes a long walk around the nearby town of Asheville carrying a sign that reads: I killed innocent civilians for our government. The local police now keep an eye out for him, he says, because people have tried to run him over.
When asked what he would say to someone who thinks the way he did before the war, Massey falls uncharacteristically silent. "How do you wake them up?" he finally responds. "It's a slow process. All you can do is tell people the horrible things you've seen, and let them make up their own minds. It's kind of the pebble in the water: You throw in a pebble, and it makes ripples through the whole pond."
Jeffry House is reliving his past. An American draft dodger who fled to Canada in 1970 (he was number 16 in that years draft lottery), he is now fighting to persuade the Canadian government to grant refugee status to American deserters.
"In some ways, this is coming full circle for me," says the slightly disheveled, 57-year-old lawyer. "The themes that I thought about when I was 21 years old now are reborn, particularly your obligation to the state when the state has participated in a fraud, when they've deceived you." A dormant network has been revived, with Vietnam-era draft dodgers and deserters quietly contributing money to support the legal defense of the newest American fugitives.
Houses strategy is bold: He is challenging the very legality of the Iraq war, based on the Nuremberg principles. Those principles, adopted by a U.N. commission after World War II in response to the Nazis crimes, hold that military personnel have a responsibility to resist unlawful orders. They also declare wars of aggression a violation of international law. House hopes that in Canada, which did not support the war in Iraq, courts might sympathize with the deserters claims and grant them legal refugee status; the first of his cases was to be heard by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board this fall.
On an August afternoon, I follow House as he darts through Toronto traffic on his way to see a new client, a young American who had been living in a homeless shelter for 10 months before revealing that he was on the run from the U.S. Navy. He disappears into a run-down brown brick building; moments later, a thin, nervous young man in shorts and a T-shirt emerges onto the sidewalk and introduces himself as Dave Sanders. Over dinner at a nearby Pizza Hut, he tells me his story.
Sanders dropped out of 11th grade in Bullhead City, Arizona, in 2001. He got his GED and was hoping to study computers, but couldn't get financial aid. "The only reason I joined the military was to go to college," he says. That was late 2002, and I ask Sanderswhether if he then considered he might end up in combat. "I was told," he says, "that everything would be ended by the time I got out of boot camp."
Dave Sanders, age 20, left his Navy unit because he felt that Iraq was "a very unjust war."
Sanders completed boot camp in March 2003, two days before the United States began bombing Iraq. He started training as a cryptologist; in his spare time he surfed the web, reading news from the BBC and Al-Jazeera. He was growing skeptical of the administrations motives in Iraq. "Stuff wasn't adding up," he recalls. "Bush was trying to connect the terrorists with Iraq, and there was no proof for that. I was starting to think that we kind of put the blame on Iraq so we could go over there and make money for companies." He considered what his job might be if he were deployed; as a cryptologist, he could have been handling information leading to raids and arrests. "I didn't want to be a part of putting innocent people in prison," he says. "I felt that what we were doing there was wrong."
In October 2003, Sanders learned that his unit was headed to Iraq. For several weeks he agonized over what to do; then he bought a one-way Greyhound ticket and headed to Toronto. He picked up odd jobs and kept quiet about his predicament, fearing that authorities might send him back to the United States. Finally, he read an article about Jeremy Hinzman, another deserter who had fled to Canada and was being represented by Jeffry House. When I spoke to Sanders, House was helping him file for refugee status.
As we talk, Sanders keeps tapping his feet and twisting his long fingers. "Sorry if I seem nervous," he finally blurts. "I never really talked to the media before. I'm a shy person." I ask if he surprised himself by defying his orders. He nods. "I never really thought I could stand up to a whole institution."
Though Sanders has kept away from the spotlight, other deserters have attracted headlines around the world and drawn criticism from the wars supporters. Fox's Bill O'Reilly called their actions insulting to America, and especially to those American soldiers who have lost their lives fighting terrorists.
But Sanders says he doesn't actually consider himself a deserter. "I don't think I did anything wrong by turning down an illegal order," he says. "I don't know what it's called. I think its Nuremberg? That's what I followed by leaving." When I ask if he would call himself a pacifist, he says he is not sure what the term means and asks me to explain. Then he shakes his head. "I believe if you're being attacked you have a right to defend yourself, but right now, we are not the ones being attacked. That's a reason I think this is a very unjust war."
Sanders is an only child; his father served in the Marines for 13 years. "My family is pro-war, pro-Bush, pro-everything that's happening," he says. "They would really not support what I'm doing." He has emailed them to tell them that he's alive, but they have not replied. "I miss them," he says, his eyes welling. "I love them, and I hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me."
Sergeant John Bruhns is sharply critical of soldiers who go AWOL. "I feel that if you are against the war, you should be man enough to stay put and fight for what you believe in," he says, but he also doesn't believe in making a secret of his opinions about the war. "I'm very proud of my military service," he tells me from his post with the Army's 1st Armored Division in Fort Riley, Kansas. "But I am disheartened and personally hurt, after seeing two people lose their limbs and a 19-year-old girl die and three guys lose their vision, to learn that the reason I went to Iraq never existed, and I believe that by being over there for a year, I have earned the right to have an opinion."
Bruhns returned in February from a one-year deployment in Iraq. He is due to complete his Army service next March, but his unit may be stop-lossed, their terms extended beyond their discharge dates to meet the Pentagon's desperate need for troops. Critics have called this a backdoor draft, a way to force a volunteer military into involuntarily serving long stints in an unpopular war. A California National Guard member has filed a lawsuit challenging the policy, and Bruhns has considered joining the case.
"I'm really a patriotic soldier," the 27-year-old infantryman tells me; he addresses me as sir and stops periodically to answer the squawk of his walkie-talkie. He signed up as a full-time soldier in early 2002, after serving five years in the Marine Corps Reserve. "I was really upset about what happened on 9/11," he recalls, "and I really wanted to serve. I lost a buddy of mine in the World Trade Center. I believe what we did in Afghanistan was right."
But what he saw in Iraq, Bruhns says, left him disappointed. "We were fighting all the time. The only peace is what we kept with guns. A lot of stuff that we heard on the news that we were fighting leftover loyalists, Baath Party holdovers. That wasn't true. When I arrested people on raids, many of them were poor people. They weren't in with the Baath Party. The people of Iraq were attacking us as a reaction to what the majority of them felt that they were being occupied."
Among his fellow soldiers, Bruhns adds, a majority still support the war. But, he notes, This is a new generation. "We have the Internet, discussion forums, cable news. Soldiers don't just march off into battle blindly anymore. They have a lot more information."
Vietnam figures prominently in soldiers conversations about Iraq. Nearly every one of the Iraq veterans I spoke with has relatives who served in the military, and nearly every one told me the same story: When they grew cynical about the Iraq war, the Vietnam veterans in their family immediately recognized what was happening, that another generation of soldiers was grappling with the realization that they were being sent to carry out a policy determined by people who cared little for the grunts on the ground.
"Resistance in the military is in its infancy right now," says Hoffman, whose cousins, uncle, and grandfather all did their time in uniform. "It's growing, but its going to take a little while.
"There was a progression of thought that happened among soldiers in Vietnam. It started with a mission: Contain communism. That mission fell apart, just like it fell apart nowthere are no weapons of mass destruction. Then you are left with just a survival instinct. That, unfortunately, turned to racism. That's happening now, too. Guys are writing me saying, 'I don't know why I'm here, but I hate the Iraqis.'
"Now, you realize that the people to blame for this aren't the ones you are fighting," Hoffman continues. "It's the people who put you in this situation in the first place. You realize you wouldn't be in this situation if you hadn't been lied to. Soldiers are slowly coming to that conclusion. Once that becomes widespread, the resentment of the war is going to grow even more. "
What do you think?
David Goodman is a Mother Jones contributing writer.
Thursday 14th October 2004 :
Veterans For Peace Newsletter, Fal 2004
He trolled for teenagers in North Carolina high schools, barked orders at recruits in boot camp, and pulled charred civilian corpses out of cars in Iraq. Now Jimmy Massey is making good on his promise to tell the whole world what he learned as a Marine. For the first ten years, Massey loved being in the USMC.
With a quick mind and an easy manner he and his superiors knew hed make a great recruiter, and by the luck of the draw, he was assigned to the area around Asheville, NC, not far from where he grew up.
"It was an advantage being a recruiter in this area. I understand the mentality of mountain people. When we'd talk about topics like the economy and industry around here, I knew what people were talking about, and too, people here usually don't open up to strangers."
Contrary to what some believe, Marine Corps recruiters don't get paid commissions for going over quota, the 32 year-old former Staff Sergeant explained. "My monthly quota was three in the summer and two in the winter. You could get five one month, but still go from hero to zero next month when you started over again." Recruiters do get Special Duty Assignment pay "an extra $475 a month, when I was in," he said, to offset the higher cost of living in the civilian economy. "An E-5 recruiter would make about $1500 every two weeks including SDA pay. But being a recruiter is expensive.
"There's extra costs, like taking a guy to Hooters for some wings. The government gives me a credit card but it's in my name, and the bill comes to me. I have to pay it and then get reimbursed. You have to have a nice car, you can't go rolling down the street in some old family wagon. You can't be talkin' to a kid about financial stability and drivin an old Ford Ranger."
Massey drove a Mustang, and Army recruiters he knew drove "decked-out Expeditions with 20-inch rims." And not just a fat ride, he added, "You have to have a little bling (gold, jewelry, etc.) on you...that kind of thing. I made sure I always dressed nice when I was off duty. You gotta play the part. Young kids are really materialistic minded."
Often the biggest enticement a recruiter can offer young men and women trying to escape poverty is the promise of job training. Conversely, not getting the job a recruiter "guarantees" can be a source of real discontent among the troops. "The Marine Corps can guarantee you a job all day long," Massey said, "but that doesn't mean you're going to actually get it. There's a whole network within the community to enable recruiters to make their quotas, the sheriffs department, police department, schools...all the way up to the local congressional office."
"A recruiter is like a private eye," Massey said. "They know everything about the kids they're recruiting." For example, he learned the names of virtually every graduating high school senior in his seven-county district-about 1,000 youngsters annually in that largely rural area.
And high school students weren't the only people he got to know well. "We knew the names of the District Attorneys in every county, and went to them to get certain things [charges] reduced or dismissed on kids we were recruiting."
Massey explained the Marines Systematic Recruiting method that includes use of a working file of Prospective Applicant Cards on which information is routinely entered. "I'd put all the information down that I knew...maybe Johnny Smith had some problems with the law. Thats when I'd go to the D.A. and ask if Johnny was salvageable. If he was, I'd tell the D.A., well I talked with Johnny and hes thinking of going into the Marine Corps. More likely than not the response would be, 'Oh yeah? Well, that's just great!'"
While the "Systematic Recruiting" method concentrated on a kid's social weaknesses, it might ignore a potentially life-threatening medical condition, say, asthma. "I'd ask an applicant concerned about his asthma if he uses an inhaler. If he answered yes, I'd tell him that if he controlled it with an inhaler then he really didn't have it. Then I'd tell him to give me 10 pushups. If he did that with no trouble, I'd say, 'See, you don't have asthma!'" By 2000, his last year as a recruiter, Jimmy Massey got "...tired of lying. I felt like I was close to a nervous breakdown. I was diagnosed with major depression and put on medication. I wrote a letter to my commanding officer about how Marine Corps recruiting should be more ethical."
The Recruiter Instructor who once monitored Masseys work, told him he thought it was one of the best statements anyone had ever written about recruiting practices. Massey decided to quit being a recruiter, but also to reenlist to get back to "the regular Marine Corps duty" he enjoyed.
Soon he felt "good enough to get off anti-depressants." Then came his orders to northern Kuwait, and within two months, he was invading Iraq with 130,000 other U.S. troops. As they made their way north towards Baghdad, through the towns of Safwan and Basra, Massey said his units "main job was to set up roadblocks. We had permission to fire on anyone who got through them. In one 48-hour period, we killed over 30 civilians. We just lit 'em up with gunfire. But when we went to pull the charred corpses out of the cars we never found any weapons. They were just civilians. I could start feeling the depression come back. I knew what it was from."
In a meeting one day his Lieutenant asked if he was feeling okay, and Massey replied, "No. We're committing genocide, and leaving enough depleted uranium around to continue genocidal activity for a long time."
"Do you really believe that," the LT asked.
"Yes," replied Massey, "or I wouldn't have said it." At that point, Massey knew his career in the Marine Corps was over. Two months after the invasion, Massey was sent to a Navy psychiatrist in Kerbala, Iraq, rediagnosed with major depression, and PTSD, and told that he would be medevaced out. Since his honorable, medical discharge from the Corps, Jimmy Massey has been applying the hard lessons of war to the cause of peace. He is a founding member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and has started writing a book about his experiences. When asked what advice he would give to a teenager when visiting a military recruiter, Massey thought a moment and answered, "Take a veteran with you to the recruiter. Were never going to stop that kid bound and determined to play Rambo, but getting the facts out, educating kids.. that's why I keep speaking out."
Indeed, Massey put the Marines on notice just before he left. Speaking to a Colonel he pledged that, "the moment I get out of here, I'm going to tell the whole world what I've learned."
by : Mike Ferner
FREE KEVIN WALSH home Page
Kevin Walsh was a political prisoner who was jailed in a mental hospital by the Secret Service for his anti-Bush statements. Kevin Walsh had committed no crimes and the Secret Service had no evidence to charge Kevin Walsh with any crimes.