December 21, 2003

Letters the Troops Have Sent Me... by Michael Moore

More names for the John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...They
deserve more than death by attrition and a fake turkey
help up by a fake President...

Letter from a US soldier to Micheal Moore: “You'd be surprised at how many of the guys I talked to in my company and others believed that the president's scare about Saddam's WMD was a bunch of bullshit and that the real motivation for this war was only about money. "

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

Friday, December 19th, 2003
Letters the Troops Have Sent Me... by Michael Moore

Dear Friends,

As we approach the holidays, I've been thinking a lot
about our kids who are in the armed forces serving in
Iraq. I've received hundreds of letters from our
troops in Iraq -- and they are telling me something
very different from what we are seeing on the evening

What they are saying to me, often eloquently and in
heart-wrenching words, is that they were lied to --
and this war has nothing to do with the security of
the United States of America.

I've written back and spoken on the phone to many of
them and I've asked a few of them if it would be OK if
I posted their letters on my website and they've said
yes. They do so at great personal risk (as they may
face disciplinary measures for exercising their right
to free speech). I thank them for their bravery.

Lance Corporal George Batton of the United States
Marine Corps, who returned from Iraq in September
(after serving in MP company Alpha), writes the

“You'd be surprised at how many of the guys I talked
to in my company and others believed that the
president's scare about Saddam's WMD was a bunch of
bullshit and that the real motivation for this war was
only about money. There was also a lot of crap that
many companies, not just marine companies, had to go
through with not getting enough equipment to fulfill
their missions when they crossed the border. It was a
miracle that our company did what it did the two
months it was staying in Iraq during the war…. We were
promised to go home on June 8th, and found out that it
was a lie and we got stuck doing missions for an extra
three months. Even some of the most radical
conservatives in our company including our company
gunnery sergeant got a real bad taste in their mouth
about the Marine corps, and maybe even president

Here's what Specialist Mike Prysner of the U.S. Army
wrote to me:

“Dear Mike -- I’m writing this without knowing if
it’ll ever get to you…I’m writing it from the trenches
of a war (that’s still going on,) not knowing why I’m
here or when I’m leaving. I’ve toppled statues and
vandalized portraits, while wearing an American flag
on my sleeve, and struggling to learn how to
understand… I joined the army as soon as I was
eligible – turned down a writing scholarship to a
state university, eager to serve my country, ready to
die for the ideals I fell in love with. Two years
later I found myself moments away from a landing onto
a pitch black airstrip, ready to charge into a country
I didn't believe I belonged in, with your words (from
the Oscars) repeating in my head. My time in Iraq has
always involved finding things to convince myself that
I can be proud of my actions; that I was a part of
something just. But no matter what pro-war argument I
came up with, I pictured my smirking
commander-in-chief, thinking he was fooling a nation…"

An Army private, still in Iraq and wishing to remain
anonymous, writes:

“I would like to tell you how difficult it is to serve
under a man who was never elected. Because he is the
president and my boss, I have to be very careful as to
who and what i say about him. This also concerns me a
great deal... to limit the military's voice is to
limit exactly what America stands for... and the
greater percentage of us feel completely underpowered.
He continually sets my friends, my family, and several
others in a kind of danger that frightens me beyond
belief. I know several other soldiers who feel the
same way and discuss the situation with me on a
regular basis.”

Jerry Oliver of the U.S. Army, who has just returned
from Baghdad, writes:

“I have just returned home from "Operation Iraqi
Freedom". I spent 5 months in Baghdad, and a total of
3 years in the U.S. Army. I was recently discharged
with Honorable valor and returned to the States only
to be horrified by what I've seen my country turn
into. I'm now 22 years old and have discovered America
is such a complicated place to live, and moreover,
Americans are almost oblivious to what's been
happening to their country. America has become "1984."
Homeland security is teaching us to spy on one another
and forcing us to become anti-social. Americans are
willingly sacrificing our freedoms in the name of
security, the same Freedoms I was willing to put my
life on the line for. The constitution is in jeopardy.
As Gen. Tommy Franks said, (broken down of course) One
more terrorist attack and the constitution will hold
no meaning.”

And a Specialist in the U.S. Army wrote to me this
week about the capture of Saddam Hussein:

“Wow, 130,000 troops on the ground, nearly 500 deaths
and over a billion dollars a day, but they caught a
guy living in a hole. Am I supposed to be dazzled?”

There are lots more of these, straight from the
soldiers who have been on the front lines and have
seen first hand what this war is really about.

I have also heard from their friends and relatives,
and from other veterans. A mother writing on behalf of
her son (whose name we have withheld) wrote:

“My son said that this is the worst it's been since
the "end" of the war. He said the troops have been
given new rules of engagement, and that they are to
"take out" any persons who aggress on the Americans,
even if it results in "collateral" damage.
Unfortunately, he did have to kill someone in self
defense and was told by his commanding officer ‘Good

"My son replied ‘You just don't get it, do you?’

"Here we are...Vietnam all over again.”

From a 56 year old Navy veteran, relating a
conversation he had with a young man who was leaving
for Iraq the next morning:

“What disturbed me most was when I asked him what
weapons he carried as a truck driver. He told me the
new M-16, model blah blah blah, stuff never made sense
to me even when I was in. I asked him what kind of
side arm they gave him and his fellow drivers. He
explained, "Sir, Reservists are not issued side arms
or flack vests as there was not enough money to outfit
all the Reservists, only Active Personnel". I was
appalled to say the least.

"Bush is a jerk agreed, but I can't believe he is this
big an Asshole not providing protection and arms for
our troops to fight HIS WAR!”

From a 40-year old veteran of the Marine Corps:

“Why is it that we are forever waving the flag of
sovereignty, EXCEPT when it concerns our financial
interests in other sovereign states? What gives us the
right to tell anyone else how they should govern
themselves, and live their lives? Why can't we just
lead the world by example? I mean no wonder the world
hates us, who do they get to see? Young assholes in
uniforms with guns, and rich, old, white tourists!
Christ, could we put up a worse first impression?”

(To read more from my Iraq mailbag -- and to read
these above letters in full -- go to my website:

Remember back in March, once the war had started, how
risky it was to make any anti-war comments to people
you knew at work or school or, um, at awards
ceremonies? One thing was for sure -- if you said
anything against the war, you had BETTER follow it up
immediately with this line: "BUT I SUPPORT THE
TROOPS!" Failing to do that meant that you were not
only unpatriotic and un-American, your dissent meant
that YOU were putting our kids in danger, that YOU
might be the reason they lose their lives. Dissent was
only marginally tolerated IF you pledged your
"support" for our soldiers.

Of course, you needed to do no such thing. Why?
Because people like you have ALWAYS supported "the
troops." Who are these troops? They are our poor, our
working class. Most of them enlisted because it was
about the only place to get a job or receive the
guarantee of a college education. You, my good
friends, have ALWAYS, through your good works, your
contributions, your activism, your votes, SUPPORTED
these very kids who come from the other side of the
tracks. You NEVER need to be defensive when it comes
to your "support" for the "troops" -- you are the only
ones who have ALWAYS been there for them.

It is Mr. Bush and his filthy rich cronies -- whose
sons and daughters will NEVER see a day in a uniform
-- they are the ones who do NOT support our troops.
Our soldiers joined the military and, in doing so,
offered to give THEIR LIVES for US if need be. What a
tremendous gift that is -- to be willing to die so
that you and I don't have to! To be willing to shed
their blood so that we may be free. To serve in our
place, so that WE don't have to serve. What a
tremendous act of selflessness and generosity! Here
they are, these 18, 19, and 20-year olds, most of whom
have had to suffer under an unjust economic system
that is set up NOT to benefit THEM -- these kids who
have lived their first 18 years in the worst parts of
town, going to the most miserable schools, living in
danger and learning often to go without, watching
their parents struggle to get by and then be
humiliated by a system that is always looking to make
life harder for them by cutting their benefits, their
education, their libraries, their fire and police,
their future.

And then, after this miserable treatment, these young
men and women, instead of coming after US to demand a
more just society, they go and join the army to DEFEND
us and our way of life! It boggles the mind, doesn't
it? They not only deserve our thanks, they deserve a
big piece of the pie that we dine on, those of us who
never have to worry about taking a bullet while we
fret over which Palm Pilot to buy the nephew for

In fact, all that these kids in the army ask for in
return from us is our promise that we never send them
into harm's way unless it is for the DEFENSE of our
nation, to protect us from being killed by "the

And that promise, my friends, has been broken. It has
been broken in the worst way imaginable. We have sent
them into war NOT to defend us, not to protect us, not
to spare the slaughter of innocents or allies. We have
sent them to war so Bush and Company can control the
second largest supply of oil in the world. We have
sent them into war so that the Vice President's
company can bilk the government for billions of
dollars. We have sent them into war based on a lie of
weapons of mass destruction and the lie that Saddam
helped plan 9-11 with Osama bin Laden.

By doing all of this, Mr. Bush has proven that it is
HE who does not support our troops. It is HE who has
put their lives in danger, and it is HE who is
responsible for the nearly 500 American kids who have
now died for NO honest, decent reason whatsoever.

The letters I've received from the friends and
relatives of our kids over there make it clear that
they are sick of this war and they are scared to death
that they may never see their loved ones again. It
breaks my heart to read these letters. I wish there
was something I could do. I wish there was something
we all could do.

Maybe there is. As Christmas approaches (and Hanukkah
begins tonight), I would like to suggest a few things
each of us could do to make the holidays a bit
brighter -- if not safer -- for our troops and their
families back home.

1. Many families of soldiers are hurting financially,
especially those families of reservists and National
Guard who are gone from the full-time jobs ("just one
weekend a month and we'll pay for your college
education!"). You can help them by contacting the
Armed Forces Emergency Relief Funds at (ignore the rah-rah military
stuff and remember that this is money that will help
out these families who are living in near-poverty).
Each branch has their own relief fund, and the money
goes to help the soldiers and families with paying for
food and rent, medical and dental expenses, personal
needs when pay is delayed, and funeral expenses. You
can find more ways to support the troops, from buying
groceries for their families to donating your airline
miles so they can get home for a visit, by going here.

2. Thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed by
our bombs and indiscriminate shooting. We must help
protect them and their survivors. You can do so by
supporting the Quakers' drive to provide infant care
kits to Iraqi hospitals—find out more here: You can
also help the people of Iraq by supporting the Iraqi
Red Crescent Society—here’s how to contact them:, or you can make an
online donation through the International Federation
of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies by going

3. With 130,000 American men and women currently in
Iraq, every community in this country has either sent
someone to fight in this war or is home to family
members of someone fighting in this war. Organize care
packages through your local community groups, activist
groups, and churches and send them to these young men
and women. The military no longer accepts packages
addressed to “Any Soldier,” so you’ll have to get
their names first. Figure out who you can help from
your area, and send them books, CDs, games, footballs,
gloves, blankets—anything that may make their extended
(and extended and extended…) stay in Iraq a little
brighter and more comfortable. You can also sponsor
care packages to American troops through the USO:

4. Want to send a soldier a free book or movie? I’ll
start by making mine available for free to any soldier
serving in Iraq. Just send me their name and address
in Iraq (or, if they have already left Iraq, where
they are now) and the first thousand emails I get at will receive a free copy of
"Dude..." or a free “Bowling…” DVD.

5. Finally, we all have to redouble our efforts to end
this war and bring the troops home. That's the best
gift we could give them -- get them out of harm's way
ASAP and insist that the U.S. go back to the UN and
have them take over the rebuilding of Iraq (with the
US and Britain funding it, because, well, we have to
pay for our mess). Get involved with your local peace
group—you can find one near where you live by visiting
United for Peace, at:
and the Vietnam Veterans Against War: A large demonstration is
being planned for March 20, check here for more
details: To
get a “Bring Them Home Now” bumper sticker or a poster
for your yard, go here:
Also, back only anti-war candidates for Congress and
President (Kucinich, Dean, Clark, Sharpton).

I know it feels hopeless. That's how they want us to
feel. Don't give up. We owe it to these kids, the
troops WE SUPPORT, to get them the hell outta there
and back home so they can help organize the drive to
remove the war profiteers from office next November.

To all who serve in our armed forces, to their parents
and spouses and loved ones, we offer to you the
regrets of millions and the promise that we will right
this wrong and do whatever we can to thank you for
offering to risk your lives for us. That your life was
put at risk for Bush's greed is a disgrace and a
travesty, the likes of which I have not seen in my

Please be safe, come home soon, and know that our
thoughts and prayers are with you during this season
when many of us celebrate the birth of the prince of


Michael Moore

Posted by richard at December 21, 2003 09:55 AM