Report: U.S. Veterans Struggle with Resurgence of Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Some U.S. veterans who fought and watched their fellow soldiers killed in Iraq are having difficulty coming to grips with al-Qaeda’s resurgence in the country, the Washington Post reported. 

“Could someone smart convince me that the black flag of al-Qaeda flying over Fallujah isn’t analogous to the fall of Saigon?” former Army captain Matt Gallagher asked, according to a Jan. 10 article by in the Washington Post. “Because. Well.” 

The fall of the Iraqi city Fallujah to al-Qaeda militants turned his stomach. 

Capt. Gallagher has been forced to accept that the peace he and his fellow service members fought for has been short lived.  

The Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, located in the western Anbar province, have been overrun by al-Qaeda militants. 

“It brings back a lot of anger,” said U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Paul, who served in the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. “I feel like it’s been a big waste of time. It’s kind of like, why the hell did all my buddies die there for? There’s no purpose to it.”

He was identified by first name only because he now serves in a special operations unit. 

Mark Hertling, a former three-star general who served in Iraq, has also been disheartened by the resurgence of al-Qaeda in the country. 

He still keeps photos of the 257 soldiers who died in Iraq under his command, the Post noted. 

“You bounce back and forth between: Was it a complete failure, or did we do the best we could and handed it over to them when things were relatively calm?” said Hertling. “Every person who served in Iraq or Afghanistan never loses that part of them when they come home. It becomes part of their soul.”


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