Iraq War Veterans React to Middle East Violence - WBAY

Iraq War Veterans React to Middle East Violence

Iraq War Veterans React to Middle East Violence

In Iraq, a country notoriously known for violent attacks, Bryan Vander Bloomen's job was to create peace.

"When we first got over there, the country was in shambles," said Vander Bloomen.

The U.S. Army Specialist was stationed in Baghdad in 2006. His unit built and trained the Iraqi police and national guard.

"We made a lot of gains, and got a lot of progress," he said. He adds the Americans "really worked with the leaders trying to get a good military and good police system over there so it could be safe for everybody."

But the system failed, just a few years after the United States withdrew troops in 2011.

Islamic militants are invading portions of Iraq and taking control of them.

Iraq war veteran Scott Hammer isn't surprised any of this is happening.

The U.S. Army National guardsman provided convoy security all over the country in 2005 and 2006.

He left knowing his unit did all it could for the people, but he had little confidence in the country's leadership. 
"I didn't feel like the Iraqi army was ever really going to be a force to keep Al-Qaeda and anybody else away from moving in on them," says Hammer, over the phone.  

He adds the power the terrorists have and corruption they cause won't allow for Iraq to prosper.

And the United States should not send troops in. 

"I don't see what good it's going to do," Hammer said. "You know that country's waged war for centuries, they're never going to change."

The men stand proud of their service, but worry about the country's future. Vander Bloomen is also concerned about his Iraqi friends. 

"There's the interpreters that helped us out and if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have been able to get the job done like we did and they also helped keep us safe. So you always think about those guys, and you hope that them and their families are all right," he said.

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