‘No Tears Shed’: Iraq War Veterans Cheer Qasem Soleimani’s Death

**ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, AUG. 3 AND THEREAFTER** Sgt. J.R. Salzman, a five-time world log rolling champion, and wife, Josie, sit in their apartment in Menomonie, Wis., Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008. Salzman lost his right arm when his Humvee was hit by EFP, an explosively formed penetrator, while leading a fuel …
Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

As politicians and pundits bickered over the Trump administration’s killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani, another group quietly cheered his demise: the Iraq War veterans who saw close-up the effect of his brutal campaign against them.

Many of those veterans experienced his work firsthand.

Army veteran J.R. Salzman was leading a convoy through Baghdad, Iraq, on December 19, 2006, when his Humvee was struck by a particularly lethal Iranian-made weapon known as the EFP, or the “explosively-formed penetrators.” The shrapnel entered through his window, amputated his right arm, tore through his left, and gave him a traumatic brain injury.

He landed at Andrews Air Force Base that Christmas Eve and was at Walter Reed Medical Center for nine months. Salzman refused to let his injuries get the best of him and continued to win world titles in log-rolling and today owns a successful woodwork business.

But after hearing about Soleimani’s death, he sent his friend, radio show host and Marine veteran Jesse Kelly a message: “I’m so fucking happy right now. Best Christmas present ever.”

“I felt like we got a bit of justice,” Salzman said in an interview with Breitbart News. “That those of us who are forever scarred or wounded finally got a bit of justice.”

During the Iraq War, the Quds Force under Soleimani’s command began flooding Iraq with EFPs, as well as other deadly weapons, that were responsible for nearly 20 percent of all U.S. combat deaths in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal told the New Yorker in 2013 “there was zero question” where the EFPs were coming from. “We knew where all the factories were in Iran. The E.F.P.s killed hundreds of Americans.”

American officials even considered crossing into Iran to attack training camps and bomb factories. “Some of us wanted very badly to hit them,” one senior American officer told the magazine.

Matt Swanson, an Army veteran, said he has personally had friends killed by EFPs and was glad to see Soleimani go:

One of the things I did as an NCO while I was awaiting my medical retirement from combat injuries was escort a young soldier from my unit whose body had been nearly cut in two by an EFP. He, along with my company commander were killed that day. Because of the condition of his body I had to do the casualty escort mission twice over the space of a couple months to take remains back to his family.

So to answer your question, I have no issue with the strike to kill Soleimani, either as a retired soldier or as an average American. Soleimani would never step on the battlefield against us in Iraq so I’m glad to see Trump being willing to reach out and touch him.

A Marine veteran told Breitbart News that he personally knew three Americans killed in Iranian-connected attacks in Iraq. One of those was Marine Maj. Megan McClung, who was killed in 2006 by a roadside bomb in Ramadi, Iraq.

He tweeted to CNN’s Jake Tapper:

“I was satisfied that for a change an Iranian official actively pulling strings in Iraq had been made to pay for their arrogance. And with zero collateral damage,” he said about Soleimani’s death.

Many other veterans took to Twitter to comment on his death, speaking of “justice” being delivered.

Even veterans on the left, or those who said they were not particularly fond of the president, celebrated Soleimani’s death:

Swanson said Trump was not his top choice for president, but said Democrats’ criticism of Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani has made it difficult for him to support a Democrat for president in 2020.

“In my opinion, and the opinion of most of the veterans and every day Americans I know, the Dems have done nothing but damage to their brand with their opposition and public statements about the strike,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate that something that should be viewed as a win for the United States (at least within the United States) should be sullied by one political party’s dislike for the President,” he added.

Salzman said those who suggest that Trump’s killing of Soleimani somehow derailed “a good working relationship with Iran” are forgetting about the more than 600 Americans killed, and the hundreds more more injured in the Iraq War at the hands of Iranian weapons.

“It’s like we don’t even exist,” he said.


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