The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020

WikiLeaks: A Soldier and a Veteran Comment


An Army specialist who did a recent 10-month tour in Afghanistan, McIntosh said today: "It is a surreal experience looking at the WikiLeaks reports. I searched on date and region and then our unit, Dragon Hammer, unit 333. You can follow our steps as we sent out SITREPs [situation reports] as a situation developed and we radioed out what was happening. And MEDEVAC [medical evacuation] when they had to helicopter out American and ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] soldiers. It can be an amazing bridge for people who were not there to get a taste of what this war is about. There are gaps, I think some records are missing, events that don't seem to be here -- the Army loses records. Some reports were filed inaccurately for protection, such as documenting that escalation of force was used when it wasn't. And these reports were conducted on the ground on the day of the incident and can therefore under-report battle damage." McIntosh just posted links to his unit's reports to his Facebook page

Manzel is a former board member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and is executive director of GI Voice, which operates Coffee Strong near Fort Lewis in Washington State. He deployed to northern Iraq from 2004 to 2005 where he worked as a driver, machine gunner and vehicle commander. He was in the Army infantry from 2002 to 2006.

He said today: "I'm not surprised from the material I've seen via WikiLeaks, but that's because I lived through a similar situation in Iraq. I think it's important for people to be looking at this. Bear in mind that field reports are great, but they are not holy script. There's a lot of covering up of civilian deaths. I saw weapons planted on bodies and saw what those reports looked like. I was also pressured to inflate and invent reasons for why we were holding prisoners. It is just important to be realistic."

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