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Sept. 11, 2001 is a day that unfortunately many Americans remember very vividly.

It’s a day that thousands of American’s lost their lives to the hands of radical Islamists on U.S. soil. It is also a day that has affected me greatly.

Ten years ago today, on Sept. 11, 2004 I lost both my legs and right arm while fighting in Iraq.

Each of us have our own significant Sept. 11 story, but mine lives on every single day, and begins when I wake up each morning.

I’m a veteran who’s witnessed the Iraq invasion first hand and I’ve seen the horrid conditions that the citizens of Iraq lived in under during the Saddam Hussein regime.

And one of the most horrific things I’ve seen was the damage done to our warriors who liberated the oppressed Iraqi people.

We lost roughly 4,400 American lives, returned home with roughly 30,000 physically wounded, and witnessed the death of more than 100,000 Iraqi’s, to liberate 25 million Iraqi citizens. We’re all proud of what we accomplished when we left Iraq, we helped create the only Muslim nation that elected its own government in the world.

My war wasn’t one you could learn about in a newspaper article or on the news. It’s one that the U.S. government tries to keep controlled and out of the spotlight. My war was seeing the aftermath of so many ruined lives, destroyed bodies, and broken families while I lived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Imagine waking up in a hospital where chunks of people’s heads are blown off, limbs are missing, people can be heard moaning and screaming in pain, and families are crying daily.

And even worse, warriors who made it back alive, only to die on the same ward that I was on. Those are the greatest sacrifices that were made, and those memories are why I become extremely upset with how this administration handled the exit strategy for the war in Iraq.

Brian Kolfage
Brian and his family (2013) Copyright protected

When I see what’s going in Iraq now it makes me angry, not just because this administration lost everything we gained and worked so hard for. But because, every single warrior who lost their life, limb and every single family destroyed, was not even taken into account when President Barack Obama decided to pull out of Iraq. Furthermore, he did this against many of his top general’s advisement. This alone shows his inability to be a leader.

I think we all know the real reason why President Obama wanted to pull out of Iraq so abruptly: He made a promise to have all troops gone from Iraq when he campaigned in 2008. He needed to make good on this promise if he was going to be elected again in 2012.

So instead of being a leader and rolling up his sleeves to get the Status of Forces Agreement completed at no cost, he sat back and allowed it to be used as an excuse. President Obama put his personal agenda first and shifted blame onto the Iraqi Government for not wanting us there.

After we invested over $2 trillion into that country, we should be the ones calling the shots, not them. Any real leader would have made that deal no matter what the cost and mustered up the courage to do what was right for our national security.

That decision forth a catastrophic chain of events that would lead to where we are today. These events were easily predicted by former President George W. Bush in 2007.

It’s déjà vu all over again with the Islamic State.

On January 7, President Obama downplayed the threat of the Islamic State and referred to them as a “JV” team. As the months have passed the Islamic State grew stronger and took over a majority of what our U.S. military fought so hard for.

President Obama squandered it on a personal agenda to further himself and his party.

President Obama, I speak on behalf of all those who were gravely affected by the war in Iraq. You’re inability to perform as a commander in chief and your selfishness, has wasted 10 years of war and every killed serviceman and women has been for nothing.

In hindsight, all this has hinged on one action. You wanted to be re-elected in 2012, and you sir, wouldn’t let anything get in the way.

I’ve seen things you could never imagine from men who placed their lives on the line to keep your daughters free. And how did you re-pay them? By stabbing them in the back, not once, but twice. Because after you destroyed our hard work in Iraq you failed to over haul our Department of Veterans Affairs and now we’re waging a new war against your incompetent corrupt bureaucrats.

You, sir, have failed our veterans. You’ve let us down on every level. As warriors we’re used to having strong leaders who aren’t afraid to take action and do what’s right. We are the world’s most powerful force for a reason, and we deserve to have a commander in chief who respects us and leads us straight.

You, sir, have failed as a commander in chief.

Brian being presented with the Purple Heart medal of September 11, 2004 in Balad, Iraq
Brian being presented with the Purple Heart medal of September 11, 2004 in Balad, Iraq

Brian Kolfage retired from the Air Force after being severely wounded in Iraq and is a 2014 graduate of the University of Arizona’s school of Architecture. Contact Brian at [email protected] Wounded American Warrior

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