The Public News Project

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Iraq: One Winter Soldier’s Tale

This video explores the horror of war and what it does to the mind of those that serve. Jon Michael Turner sits on a platform speaking, at times a glimpse of anger blistering below the surface as he recounts the shame of what war has made him and his comrades do. He shows us graphic pictures of death and explains how and why he killed. He goes on to explain how his company commander congratulates him on his first kill and how if he stabs someone to death the prize is a 4 day pass. He makes sure we know that when press was embedded with his squad they followed the book.

He tells us about the raids at 3am how they terrorized families. If the men put up resistance he slammed their head into the wall or worse. Clearly the boundary lines are blurred between enemy and innocent. Although illegal he tells us along with his peers they fire rounds into a mosque because they were angry. Imagine a holy place where worship is peaceful and good now a target range for bewildered soldiers.

As the video ends he rips off his medals and throws them saying, “I don’t work for you any more”. He is resentful for what war has made him do. He apologizes to the people he hurt and killed and sadly, bitter, anxious and dazed he returns civilian life.