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HomeOpinionA soldier in Iraq asks in despair: Why are we here?

A soldier in Iraq asks in despair: Why are we here?

After watching his roommate fatally wounded in a roadside bombing, an Army Specialist wonders why the lives of good men are being lost when the Iraqis pose no threat to us and don’t want us there.

A soldier in Iraq asks in despair: Why are we here?BAGHDAD, May 12 — My name is Donald Hudson Jr. I have been serving our country’s military actively for the last three years. I am currently deployed to Baghdad on Forward Operating Base Loyalty, where I have been for the last four and a half months.

I came here as part of the first wave of this so called “troop surge”, but so far it has effectively done nothing to quell insurgent violence. I have seen the rise in violence between the Sunni and Shiite. This country is in the middle of a civil war that has been on going since the seventh century.

Why are we here when this country still to date does not want us here? Why does our president’s personal agenda consume him so much, that he can not pay attention to what is really going on here?

Let me tell you a story. On May 10, I was out on a convoy mission to move barriers from a market to a joint security station. It was no different from any other night, except the improvised explosive device that hit our convoy this time, actually pierced through the armor of one of our trucks. The truck was immediately engulfed in flames, the driver lost control and wrecked the truck into one of the buildings lining the street. I was the driver of the lead truck in our convoy; the fifth out of six was the one that got hit. All I could hear over the radio was a friend from the sixth truck screaming that the fifth truck was burning up real bad, and that they needed fire extinguishers real bad. So I turned my truck around and drove through concrete barriers to get to the burning truck as quickly as I could. I stopped 30 meters short of the burning truck, got out and ripped my fire extinguisher out of its holder, and ran to the truck. I ran past another friend of mine on the way to the burning truck, he was screaming something but I could not make it out. I opened the driver’s door to the truck and was immediately overcome by the flames. I sprayed the extinguisher into the door, and then I saw my roommate’s leg. He was the gunner of that truck. His leg was across the driver’s seat that was on fire and the rest of his body was further in the truck. My fire extinguisher died and I climbed into the truck to attempt to save him. I got to where his head was, in the back passenger-side seat. I grabbed his shoulders and attempted to pull him from the truck out the driver’s door. I finally got him out of the truck head first. His face had been badly burned. His leg was horribly wounded. We placed him on a spine board and did our best to attempt “Buddy Aid”. We heard him trying to gasp for air. He had a pulse and was breathing, but was not responsive. He was placed into a truck and rushed to the “Green Zone”, where he died within the hour. His name was Michael K. Frank. He was 36 years old. He was a great friend of mine and a mentor to most of us younger soldiers here.

Now I am still here in this country wondering why, and having to pick up the pieces of what is left of my friend in our room. I would just like to know what is the true reason we are here? This country poses no threat to our own. So why must we waste the lives of good men on a country that does not give a damn about itself? Most of my friends here share my views, but do not have the courage to say anything.

About Donald C. Hudson Jr. 

Donald C. Hudson Jr. is a Specialist assigned to the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. 


Read the Daily Record Article on the author of this letter.

* The original information at Nieman Watchdog stated he was a private however he is a Specialist according to the story above. So  I have updated my information.



  1. Private Hudson…you are there for one primary reason: OIL

    US domestic production of oil peaked in 1970. In 1994 we became a net importer. Today 60% of our oil is imported. As production declines and demand increases, the US will become more dependent of imported oil…and where will that oil come from??? The Middle East, home to 65% of the known oil reserves. After Saudi Arabia, Iraq has one of the largest, most accessible light sweet crude reserves in the world. Its all about oil. Stay safe until America wakes up and realizes that we have sacraficed our brave men and women and destroyed a country filled with innocent women and children for oil and brings you home.

  2. Donald, as alpurple said, a lot of us are trying to get you home. Unfortunately, the Democratic majority we put in place last November hasn’t figured out yet that we weren’t kidding when we said “Support the troops. Bring them home now.” We give you our promise, however, that we won’t stop trying. Your devotion demands our devotion to getting you back here where you belong.

    Meanwhile, you asked why Bush can’t pay attention to what’s going on long enough to understand the situation. The sad fact is, Donald, that he HAS paid attention. He doesn’t care. Read that again, and understand it in your heart: he doesn’t care. Our heroic military is a toy to him, something to play with, to make him feel better about himself. George Bush has never in all his life had to take responsibility for ANYTHING. He’s destroyed everything he ever touched. Unfortunately, you and your brother and sister warriors are paying the price for his criminal negligence. Now he says he envisions the U.S. military being in Iraq for decades to come.

    Again, we’re trying to keep that from becoming a reality, but it’s going to take the American people, and not its cowardly Congress or its coward president to get y’all home. Please encourage your fellow soldiers to speak out. It may be the only voices some Americans hear.

    Blessing upon you, Donald. Stay strong and stay safe. We want you and all those like you, stuck in that hellhole, home as soon as we can get you here.

    God bless America. God bless you.

  3. Dear Donald: I am so very sorry for what you have had to endure and what you may still have to endure. I’m afraid that the key is in the last sentence of your letter: “Most of my friends here share my views, but do not have the courage to say anything.”

    It took over three years to get the U.S. public to speak up against the Bush administration by sending Democrats to Congress. Now, apparently, the Democrats can’t remember that this horrible mess in Iraq is the main reason they were sent there. I think this is all a giant lesson to anyone who thinks they can sit back and let the government run itself without our constant vigilance. Apparently, some of your fellow soldiers are as guilty of that as my fellow citizens back here in the States.

    Thank you for speaking up, Donald. Godspeed to you and the soldiers and to the innocents bystanders in Iraq.

  4. Hi Donald,

    I just have to say something. First, thank you for your service, which is noble, and we can never sufficiently thank your comrades who have have been killed or wounded.

    I agree 100% with the first three comments above. It hurts me to see you have to say the things you are saying. It hurts me because I know it’s the truth and you and others should not have been put in harm’s way unless it was absolutely necessary. An unnecessary war is perhaps the worst act a president can foist upon the American people. I believe in a strong military and we should not shrink from defending ourselves or our allies under attack or from intervening temporarily in situations like Darfur. But the case for Iraq was fraudulent and you see it now while you’re there. On TV, we usually only see servicemen saying how they support the mission and how much good they ar doing for the Iraqi people. I know there’s a germ of truth in that and good men like you are helping people there. But that’s missing the forest for the trees. The big picture is that this was a phony war to begin with and the main reason we can’t “win” it is because it’s phony. At press conferences back in 2002 and 2003, Rumsfeld would jump on and ridicule any reporter who dared ask him questions about the validity of launching this war. It was clear to me then that he was full of it. They had already decided to invade and occupy while they were still telling the people they were hoping they wouldn’t have to. It’s all phony and you and your mates are stuck there. I pray to God that you get home in one piece. God bless you and protect you and your buddies. We care about you back here and woe on us if we don’t push our weak-kneed congressmen and senators to get some backbone and get our forces back home.

  5. Donald, please don’t take this as any form of indictment towards you personally for infact you are one of the very first of our soldiers to express their frustration and loss at their endless service in Iraq. It is a message I want to start voicing that if enough of us civilians back here in the States start realizing that it is OK for our troops to express their feelings and voicing exactly the senseless frustration you find yourself in which you so plaintively state in your piece. I salute your courage and hope you will be the first of many of our troops who are being so “used” by our Political/Military Machine will start speaking out.


    Yesterday was a National holiday established for the purpose of honoring American Service men and women who have given their lives, limbs, sight and sometimes their sanity while members of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln at 1863 Gettysburg, “It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this”. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died in foreign and domestic wars. Regardless of the time or place that any of our wars are fought, the men and women who made that sacrifice have generally been young and at the start of their adult lives. The nature of the wars has changed immensely however and the complex motivations behind young men and women choosing to enter military service are motivations which are still often patriotic but nevertheless are motivations they themselves have to become responsible for because the present war in Iraq is the first war in the twentieth century where there have been large numbers of U.S. dead and injured but where each and every one of those servicemen and women are volunteers to the military.

    It is altogether different when there is a general mobilization and men of draft age were faced with the reality that they had to go, be it by volunteering or by compulsory service. When men are sent to fight and perhaps die for the war elected to be fought by our Nation, as long as there is one man sent who did not voluntarily choose to enter the National Service, then that very Nation takes full and total responsibility for each and every man sent and each and every man killed or maimed and for the families who likewise suffer that incredible loss of one they love deeply. They are heros in everyway.

    The tragic and needless war of the past 4years has substantially changed what responsibilities fall upon the Nation and what fall upon the individual soldier because by all being volunteers, they cannot say that they had no choice in the matter. Each and every one of them has had the choice at one point or another since January 20th or September 11th, 2001 or March 20th, 2003. They have either chosen to enlist, reenlist or to simply follow the orders given to them to board that plane that will take them to the carnage. If that particular individual has enlisted or reenlisted to go especially since the beginning to the Iraq debacle then they share in that debacle since if our military and Army in particular suddenly suffered vast numbers of existing soldiers leaving the Army, Army Reserve or National Guard and if the number of new recruits likewise plummeted, then this senseless and unspeakably costly of wars would have come to a screeching halt perhaps one, two or even perhaps three years ago. Had that happened then our handpuppet president would have had to go to Congress telling them that the Draft must be reinacted. The Congress we had then would have rubberstamped the Act to bring the draft back to our young men and women and with once signed into law, the policial landscape and course of this worthless of wars would have become entirely different. If our young people were suddenly faced with compulsory service, the ghosts of Vietnam, which have remained buried throughout the past four years, would have come out of their graves and reignited the protests against the war on our University and College campusses. The general public over 50 who may have fought in that other senseless and needless war would have awoken to the deja yu of having lived this before and unless they were the staunchest of Bush/Cheney supporters, might have not just altered their acceptance of the war but out of a strong sense of preserving the lives of their sons and daughters nor wishing to return to the wrenching period this Nation went through in the 60’s and 70’s, would have become actively anti war which is something they still hace yet to become. They would no longer buy into the endless propagandizing by our Administration and would have begun demanding this war be brought to an immediate end before their child go to die. Reinstating the draft would have made everything different and we might well have been out of Iraq already and possibly 2000 of the 3500 service men and women who have died would be alive today.

    There is also a degree of responsibility to those who have decided to follow the orders they have received to go or to return to Iraq or Afganistan. If they fervently believe in their mission for whatever reason then they are exactly the men that our military has sought to recruit and develop. While I wished they believed differently, I do not wish to degrade them or their service. If however, a soldier has become disillusioned with the mission, if they do not believe in what they are asked to do or keep doing, then they are complicite with this war going on and on ad nauseum. Regardless of what rights they might have signed away in their enlistment papers, this is not the Soviet Union in 1942 fighting the Nazis where any Red Army soldier who did not advance into the fire of the enemy would have faced the same fire from the political commissars to their rear. Any of the soldiers or guardsmen who have made the choice to board that plane have chosen to support this war no matter what their person feeling or beliefs were. If I am correct in assuming that the majority of our troops in Iraq now or deploying there do not fervently believe in the now nebulous “mission”, then they have a right to say “no Sir, I am not going”. That person might be forced to face court martial like Lt. Eric Watadah and even to serve time in a military prison. If however enough soldiers and guardsmen uttered the same “no Sir, I am not going”, then the very topheavy system built by the U.S. Military machine would collapse upon itself because there is simply no mechanism in place to counter such a popular mass vote of no confidence from within the ranks. The Military Courts system couldn’t process the numbers, the stockades couldn’t hold them and there is not a damn thing Bush, Cheney, Gates, Pace or Patrius could do about it.

    By being volunteers many would say that today’s soldiers have no rights or choices however I firmly believe that with the evidence so far presented concerning the henious lies that mislead the U.S. into beginning this illegal war that no court of law in the land especially the court of public opinion could prosecute any solitary man for saying “this has gone on long enough and it is time that it stopped”. They made a voluntary choice to join and how it is time to make the harder voluntary choice to bring this crime upon both the Iraqi and American people to an end. Lord knows that our politicians can’t do it.

    Heroism, bravery and patriotism can be displayed in many ways and don’t misinterpret me, brave patriotic heroes are found in any war whether just or unjust even today. Iraq has been a breeding ground for bravest of patriots and heroes.. Fighting men and women earn that badge of honor by laying on the grenade to save the lives of their buddies, by giving their bodies to repell an enemy invading their land or to do something much harder…to refuse to fight when that fight is wrong.

  6. Dear Donald, do something, get the hell out. Bush ignored the rule of law. Be aware that international laws that must be applied must be applied ‘blanket-style’ to all troops on the ground in Iraq up to GW Bush, the commander-in-chief. You are an illegal invader and war criminal. First Lieutenant Ehren Watada saw it this way and quit. His trial came to nothing, since there’s double jeopardy. Others should have followed his example. All soldiers in an illegal invasion are war criminals in the eyes of the international law. Read the principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950: http://deoxy.org/wc/wc-nurem.htm

  7. Dear Donald, do something, get the hell out. Bush ignored the rule of law. Be aware that international laws that must be applied must be applied ‘blanket-style’ to all troops on the ground in Iraq up to GW Bush, the commander-in-chief. You are an illegal invader and war criminal. First Lieutenant Ehren Watada saw it this way and quit. His trial came to nothing, since there’s double jeopardy. Others should have followed his example. All soldiers in an illegal invasion are war criminals in the eyes of the international law. Read the principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950.

  8. Why? Why? You are there because King George and his corrupt, deceptive, arrogant administration put you there AND Congress doesn’t have the spine to take on the King and his men. Thank God for guys like you, but we need more like you to step forward and speak out. We also need the silent, clueless majority who disapprove of the King to realize they are getting screwed and put pressure on Congress to change the course. Most in Congress are simply whores looking out for their best interests. The whores need to know that we vote.

  9. By now, Pvt. Hudson has realized that he and his comrades have been subjected to being brainwashed by experts. Patriotism has been held up to them embedded in a network of lies and deceit that most of our military forces have unknowingly aided and abetted by voting the present administration into power. “Support Our Troops” is their mantra- as demonstrated by Abu Ghraib, Walter Reed VA Hospital, hiring mercenary at salaries about ten times what Pvt. Hudson is receiving, and short-changing percentages of disability for our disabled soldiers so that they will receive lower benefits.

    If Pvt. Hudson would dig further he would discover that practically none of any of the present administration’s hierarchy have any of their children or relatives serving in Iraq. That must give him a clue about what they think about the necessity of being in Iraq and the “sacrifices” they are making.

    So, to answer his question- he and his comrades are in Iraq because of the usual suspects- money and power. Are there any more powerful motivations? Just today, our fearless leader has come out with the statement that he thinks we’ll be in Iraq for the next 50 years.

    Lots of luck, Pvt. Hudson. Next election, throw the bums out…

  10. To the Editor of Clarksville Online:

    Thanks for publishing Donald Hudson, Jr’s thoughtful and poignant letter:
    “A soldier in Iraq asks in despair: why are we here? (5-29-07).

    Hudson and the other soldiers and marines are in Iraq because we have a psychopath for a President. A lying psychopath who cares nothing for the troops he pretends to support. A lying psychopath who lies to the troops and the American people because he doesn’t want to admit his own failings.

    The war in Iraq is over. We won. We now have an occupation of Iraq. Occupations cannot be won. Who is going to surrender and sign the
    peace treaty?

    All occupations of foreign countries end by the occupiers going home. It’s long past time for us to leave Iraq and go home.

    Kirk Muse
    Mesa, Az

  11. Dear Clarksville,

    You guys are wonderful. Someone just sent me the letter from Donald Hudson, and I looked at your site, seeing many other important, progressive-agenda topics you are covering.

    Mahalo from Maui, Hawaii
    Mele Stokesberry
    Maui Peace Action

  12. Dear Donald: The war was planned primarily (if perhaps mistakenly, as it turns out) for Israel’s benefit.

    The war continues also primarily for Israel’s benefit: to protect Israel by containing the horrible mess, and to use Iraq as a launch pad for more wars of aggression to advance Israel’s expansionist agenda.

    Any more questions?

  13. Donald,

    It is understandably hard for Americans – impossible for many of us – because of our hard-wiring, growing up in a patriotic, flag-waving nation, to begin to accept that some in the highest reaches of our government could actually be no better than Nazis. Even as I write this it feels as if what I am saying is overblown, exaggerated – But tragically it is true. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, are no better than Hitler or Eichmann. Or further back, the imperialists of the British Empire or the Ceasars of ancient Rome.

    Bush, a mediocre, heartless, totally dishonest man, wants to spread American power around the globe. Do you have any idea how many bases we have in however many countries? And that we strong-arm these countries, not to pay us taxes like the Romans did, but instead to pay us for “protecting” them with our bases on their land.

    We know what happened to Rome. They fought to keep their empire, and lost there own Republic. Britain on the other hand, under duress, gave up their empire and were able to retain their democracy.

    So we have a choice. To continue on the bloody path we have taken, or to realize our folly and save our democracy.

    As for you, Donald, you said it yourself with your questions. It is tragic insanity to be maimed or die in the war that you, yourself, have described. You have one body. One life. Do whatever it takes to save yourself.

    Do you think the friend who died beside you, if he was able to look back, knowing that he had sacrificed his one and only life, would saty, “It was worth it”?

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