Local Iraq War Veterans React To Crisis In Iraq


It was nearly a week ago that an al-Qaida splinter group, which is also fighting in the civil war next door in Syria, began its swift advance in Iraq with the capture of the country's second-biggest city, Mosul.

As militants rampage across Iraq and the government has lost control of much of the country, is this what members of the 10th Mountain Division and other military personnel fought so hard for and sacrificed so much?

"This is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, absolutely," said Iraq war veteran Joe Gilbert.

Gilbert served three tours in Iraq and is now writing a book.

It will not be kind to our current leaders.

"They wanted to say they won or they wanted to say they got out of Iraq. They ended the war without the geopolitical thought of what happens next," said Gilbert.

"Anguish" - that's the word being used by many military veterans as they watch their sacrifice apparently go for naught.

"Just the lives that were lost there - friends, brothers, fathers, mothers - there was a price paid," said Sonny Mitchell, who is a retired sergeant major who served at Fort Drum.  

Should the U.S. have left some troops in Iraq instead of pulling out? 

North country Congressman Bill Owens says that's all in hindsight.

"I think unless the Iraqi people have bought into the idea that they are going to support a government made up of Shia and Sunni, I don't know how you avoid this," said Owens (D. - 21st District).

So where do we go from here?

Congressman Owens says he is dead set against American boots on the ground and he says the debate in Washington will heat up this week.

Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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