Iraq veterans respond to current clashes in the country

This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. The Islamic militant group that seized much of northern Iraq has posted photos that appear to show its fighters shooting dead dozens of captured Iraqi soldiers in a province north of the capital Baghdad. Iraq's top military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi confirmed the photos’ authenticity on Sunday and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of Iraqi soldiers. (AP Photo via militant website)
This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. The Islamic militant group that seized much of northern Iraq has posted photos that appear to show its fighters shooting dead dozens of captured Iraqi soldiers in a province north of the capital Baghdad. Iraq's top military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi confirmed the photos’ authenticity on Sunday and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of Iraqi soldiers. (AP Photo via militant website)

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – No veteran is the same. They have different views, their recoveries aren’t the same, and they have different experiences. Local veterans of the Iraq War have different words to describe the current clashes in the country.

“Disheartening,” Marine Corps veteran Troy Bader said.

“It’s scary,” Army veteran Jason Sapp said.

“Somewhat concerning,” Army veteran Justin Howton said.

However, there is one thing about the fact that the Sunni militant group ISIS is fighting against the Shiite government the veterans do agree about.

“I knew it was kind of inevitable,” Bader said.

Combined, Bader, Sapp and Howton served six tours in Iraq.

Bader served in the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Almost ten years later, Bader watched the news to see ISIS had taken the city of Fallujah.

“It’s hard to see something that you felt like you left a piece of yourself in that is all of a sudden gone now,” Bader said. “It’s back where it was originally.”

“As a soldier, it is kind of difficult because it seems like it was all in vain,” Sapp said.

Sapp said he thinks his day-to-day activities in Iraq may end up being in vain, but he said not one of the 4,000 deaths from the Iraq War is in vain. Bader and Howton agreed.

“I don’t believe that the lives that were lost from our end of it were a complete waste,” Howton said. “I believe there was purpose.”

“You can’t take away from what we did because we did a lot of good things,” Bader said. “When we were there for the elections, I saw how appreciative the Iraqis were.”

So, how should the U.S. intervene?

“I just believe that we spent 10 years there,” Howton said. “Maybe, or maybe not, we did pull out too soon. But the bottom line is until [the Iraqis] stand up for themselves, we can’t keep going back to rescue.”

“I do feel like America should do something because we don’t want a cesspool of terrorism involved in a place that we basically gave up on,” Bader said.

All three veterans are keeping up with the clashes in Iraq as more information becomes available. Even after leaving Iraq several years ago, all are trying to get back to their lives in different ways.

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