DEMOND MULLINS DEPLOYED IN IRAQ
As the war in Iraq continues, so do the numbers of dissident veterans continue to grow. Demond Mullins, a dancer, served in Iraq and the experiences there have forced him to speak out against it. Here's some background info on him:
DEMOND WHILE CONDUCTING A SEARCH
Former E-4/ Specialist
Army Natl. Guard Infantryman
Iraq Tour Oct 2004- Sept 2005
Duty: Combat Patrols in Baghdad AO
Member of Iraq Veterans Against the War
The following is an interview with him:
HOLLER!: Demond, what were your initial feelings about the war, and what did you feel when you were told that you were going there?
Demond: Initially I did not support the war effort. I felt it was criminal and unjustified. However when I received my orders I decided I would serve with my buddies because I had been a part of my unit for four years prior to my deployment. So although I opposed the war in ideology I supported my comrades above all else.
HOLLER!: Upon arriving, what were your first impressions of the US armed forces, and what were your impressions of the Iraqi people?
Demond: For the first two weeks there I had not encountered any combat. Therefore I spent my time on missions sightseeing really. I had developed an affinity for the people because I appreciated the beauty of their culture. However after my second week I encountered my first combat situation and the rest of my deployment proved to be stressful and a difficult time. I soon forgot how beautiful Iraq was.
HOLLER!: What is positive about the US presence there?
Demond: I don't see anything positive about an unjustified and criminal occupation of foreign territory.
HOLLER!: You were in combat situations against insurgents. Did you have conflicts about fighting against them?
Demond: I was in combat situations with insurgents and I had no problem engaging in open combat at the time because the fear for my life took precedence over the ethical reasons for my dissent against the occupation.
HOLLER!: How did Iraqi people relate to you? Did they view you differently because you are an African American? Generally, how are African American soldiers' relations with the Iraqi people?
Demond: The average Iraqi local nationals that I encountered in Iraq saw no distinction between the white and black Americans. For them we were all participants in a hostile occupation of their homeland. The images of blacks that Iraqis are familiar with are all entertainment figures such as Michaels Jackson and Jordan, therefore I would often hear ILN's calling me those names. Which became pretty insulting to me after a while.
HOLLER!: Before you were sent to Iraq, you were not engaged in activist activities; how did going to Iraq change that?
Demond: Before I had been sent to Iraq I had not engaged in any activism at all. My fire for anti war activism was fueled and ignited by what I experienced in Iraq, and what I experienced as a veteran returning home to the States.
HOLLER!: In your opinion, what should the US be doing; leave immediately, or stay until...?
Demond: My organization, Iraq Veterans Against the War stands for three things...
1) The immediate withdrawal of the troops from Iraq;
2) Adequate care for the troops upon their return;
3) Reparations for the Iraqi people for the egregious damages caused by the negligence of our government.
HOLLER!: Tell us about the film you were in recently. What kind of responses has it received?
Demond: "THE GROUND TRUTH" Is a film about how some of the troops feel about their experiences in Iraq. Reviews of the film have been given by all national papers and they are largely positive.
HOLLER!: Have you gotten any negative reactions about your anti war position from anyone in the army?
Demond: Actually so far my army buddies are some of my biggest supporters. So as of yet no, I have received no negative reactions from them. What is paradoxical is that I receive more negative criticism from pro-war civilians. Go figure...
HOLLER!: Do you see any differences in U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Demond: I cannot say I have seen any recent change in U.S. foreign policy regarding these occupations. However my activist efforts are based on the hope for future changes.
HOLLER!: How do you think the elections of last week will change the situation in Iraq?
Demond: For the first time since I have come back from Iraq I can say that I am optimistic about the future of this nation. The reason isn't because I believe the Democrats will do a great job changing our current foreign policies, rather it is because America has finally been stirred into action. A change was needed and America went out to the polls and made that change. If the Democrats prove to be as useless as their counterparts then I am confident that America will readjust and respond once again. However I believe that because we have tried both sides of our bi-party system the next change that will be brought about from America's unrest will not be as peaceful.