Democracy Now! interviews three US soldiers who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and now returned to be campaigning vigorously against them. The interview takes place at the US Social Forum, an event that received very little mainstream coverage:
VICTOR AGOSTO: Well, I think General Petraeus will be less critical of the Obama administration’s plan than General McChrystal was. And I think this shows that there are strong divisions within the administration as to how to proceed. But in reality, there is no good way to conduct this occupation. What needs to happen is an immediate withdrawal of all American troops. The United States needs to pay for the damages, and the Afghan people have to be allowed to determine their own fate.
AMY GOODMAN: Why did you return—refuse to deploy to Afghanistan?
VICTOR AGOSTO: Because the war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with making the American people safer. It’s really about projecting American power in Southwest Asia. And I didn’t want to be part of that.
VICTOR AGOSTO: It just didn’t make sense to me why we were there, why—why these contractors were making, you know, all this money. And eventually, I started making the connections between that and just the idea of empire. And I realized that what I was doing there was just that, just being a soldier for empire, basically, not to make America or Afghanistan a better place, I mean. So I read some books. I read some Chomsky. I realized that there’s absolutely no American moral superiority. There’s no—we were no one to impose anything on the people of Iraq or Afghanistan.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you get a Noam Chomsky book in Iraq?
VICTOR AGOSTO: I ordered it on Amazon.com.
AMY GOODMAN: It’s interesting. Peter Pace was asked on Meet the Press about a former prime minister—I think it was Jaafari—that he said Chomsky was his favorite author, and Pace said, “I hope he has some other books on his bookstand.” So, you came back. You said no.