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Catholic 'Desert Storm' veteran speaks out

By Matt Abbott
Catholic Online

John Grasmeier is a 42-year-old Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm.

"I was in two different Army units, but the unit I served with in Iraq was the 3/24 INF," said Grasmeier (via e-mail), a traditional Catholic who maintains the website.

On a recent thread, Grasmeier posted the following (edited):

"I take my brother veterans one at a time. I've known some really golden guys and some not so golden, so if I 'support our troops,' it comes with certain qualifiers.

"Most of my friends when I was in [the Army] would have died for me if given the chance, as I would have for them. That's support. Then there were the tankers that ran over a dead Iraqi so many times that the only way I was able to identify the pile of mess in the middle of the road was because of the mangled hand that stuck out.

"I certainly don't support them in any way.

"In Iraq, I finally understood part of the reason why the military hierarchy demands such discipline: It's because war is such a wonton, mad and evil venue that they are just trying to have a structure which will hopefully maintain some semblance of order once the insanity begins. They figure if they go in with something truly orderly, trained and polished, what's left after the breakdown will be just a little better than a totally uncontrollable FUBAR.

"This is what happens when you have young men just out of childhood, give them beastly, destructive arms and equipment, and shove them into a lawless environment in which they realize they might not be alive the next day.

"I was able to keep my mind and soul intact -- didn't get the brunt of what some did -- and it still took me a long time to come back down to earth when I got back. There are, however, some things I won't ever forget, and it's an experience that changed my outlook on life profoundly."

Regarding the current conflict in Iraq, Grasmeier told me the following:

"All wars are a culmination of our collective sins. They're the result of an infection of human evils that comes to a head and proves how savage we can be to each other.

"Satan loves each and every one of them and they should never, ever be fought unless every imaginable alternative has been exhausted."


(Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic journalist and commentator. He is a columnist for and/or contributor to Catholic Online,,,, and He is also an occasional contributor to "The Wanderer" Catholic newspaper. He can be reached at


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