Seven years ago I was one of the anxious Americans standing by a television set watching the first few hours of the War in Iraq unfold. Unlike many of my friends at home, I was surrounded by soldiers; we were watching while we prepared to deploy to this same war. In less than two short months I was patrolling those same streets we watched news networks stream around the world.
My experiences on the streets of Baghdad changed me in countless ways, and seven years later I have learned that it changed many of my fellow veterans as well. We learned first hand about the causes, conduct and consequences of war and came home only to struggle to make sense of it all. As the political debate rocked previous anniversaries, many of us began to find our voices. We stood up to fight to ensure that our fellow troops had the body armor they needed, that wounded warriors were getting taken care of, and that military families received the credit they deserved for their sacrifice.
One issue, more than any other, is bringing together Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and that is the belief that we must stop funding both sides of the wars we are fighting!
We learned that the Improvised Explosive Devices and mortars we faced on the battlefield are being funded by the ONE BILLION DOLLARS we send overseas each day to pay for our addiction to oil. Earlier this year the Truman National Security Project released a report, Oil Addiction - Fueling Our Enemies outlining this fact.
Hundreds of veterans around the country have joined Operation Free, a coalition of national security and veteran organizations, to stand up and fight to secure America with clean energy.
We believe that one of the best ways to ensure that we will never again be celebrating the seventh anniversary of an ongoing war in the Middle East is to break this addiction through clean energy. This year we want to ask Americans around the country to stand up with us to ensure that our troops never again have to face bullets funded here at home.
Help us spread the word so that the sacrifice so many of us made will, at the very least, push our nation's leaders to secure America with clean energy and, in the words of US Marine General James Mattis, "Unleash us from the tether of fuel."