CAIRO — Growing increasingly disillusioned about the war, many US troops are getting more doubts about the reason for fighting and their ability to succeed against an elusive enemy, a leading American daily reported on Thursday, July 27.
"No one wants to be here, you know, no one is truly enthused about what we do," Sgt. Christopher Dugger, leader of the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, told the Washington Post.
"We were excited, but then it just wears on you -- there's only so much you can take," he said.
"I want to fight in a war like World War II. I want to fight an enemy.
"There is no enemy, it's a faceless enemy. He's out there, but he's hiding," said Dugger.
There are 130,000 US troops currently deployed in Iraq.
A recent poll has showed that the vast majority of US troops want to withdraw from Iraq within a year.
The Bush administration has invaded Iraq on claims of possessing weapons of mass destruction; the claim never proved true.
A recent US presidential report revealed that the administration was "dead wrong" on Iraq’s alleged WMD and its officials made the case for invading the oil-rich country despite intelligence doubts and strong voices of dissent.
"The first time somebody you know dies, the first thing you ask yourself is, 'Well, what did he die for'?" said Spec. Steffey.
Army Staff Sgt. Jose Sixtos was not less irritated about the mission.
"Think of what you hate most about your job. Then think of doing what you hate most for five straight hours, every single day, sometimes twice a day, in 120-degree heat," he told the American daily.
"Then ask how morale is." Frustrated? "You have no idea," Sixtos added.
A US study has revealed that US troops returning from Iraq have the highest rate of mental health consultation and psychological problems compared to other troops returning from Afghanistan and other trouble spots.
Many US soldiers have doubts about the cause they have been fighting for in Iraq, said the Washington Post.
"The first time somebody you know dies, the first thing you ask yourself is, 'Well, what did he die for'?" said Spec. Joshua Steffey, 24.
The company's commanding officer, Capt. Douglas A. DiCenzo, and his gunner, Spec. Robert E. Blair, were killed by a roadside bomb in May.
"The commanders in Baghdad and the Pentagon are looking at the big picture all the time, but for us, we don't see no big picture, it's just always another bomb out here," said Steffey.
Other soldiers echoed similar doubts.
"You lose a couple friends and it gets hard," said Spec. Tim Ivey, 28, a muscular former backup fullback for Baylor University.
"Honestly, it just feels like we're driving around waiting to get blown up. That's the most honest answer I could give you."
Some 2,565 US soldiers have been killed in the three-year US occupation of Iraq, according to an AFP tally based on Pentagon figures.
"I mean, if you compare the casualty count from this war to, say, World War II, you know obviously it doesn't even compare," noted Spec. David Fulcher, 22, a medic.
"But World War II, the big picture was clear -- you know you're fighting because somebody was trying to take over the world, basically. This is like, what did we invade here for?"
An "insatiable appetite for knowledge" and reading about the war and the infamous Abu Ghraib sex abuse scandal has led an "exemplary" US officer to refuse service in Iraq, becoming the first Army officer to be court-martialed for so doing.
Spec. Steffey said he wished "somebody would explain to us" what we're working for.
He said he could not care less "if Iraq's free" or "if they're a democracy."
The Bush administration claims it has sought to topple the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to bring "freedom and democracy" to the people of Iraq.
But many US soldiers are increasingly doubtful of the claim.
"They say we're here and we've given them freedom, but really what is that," Fulcher asked.
"You know, what is freedom? You've got kids here who can't go to school. You've got people here who don't have jobs anymore. You've got people here who don't have power," he said.
"You know, so yeah, they've got freedom now, but when they didn't have freedom, everybody had a job."