Indy Iraq veterans react to insurgent gains

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A local veteran who served two combat tours in Iraq as an intelligence officer said he’s disappointed about the Islamic insurgents taking back so much of the territory American armed forces fought so hard to win.

“It’s not a surprise that this happened. But it’s disappointing that it happened so quickly,” says Chuck Brewer.

Brewer is a Lt. Col in the Marine reserve. He also owns the Potbelly sandwich shop on the circle in downtown Indianapolis.

“These guys go whatever way the wind blows. And they are just people, looking to provide for their family,” he says about most of the insurgents in Iraq.

Brewer says simply put, insurgency pays.

“An Al-Qaeda cell would say listen, we’ll pay you $100 a day to fight US coalition forces and then we’d capture them and they would say, ‘Well I’m getting paid $100 a day to do this, if you pay me, I’ll work for you,’” said Brewer.

Mike Hagan, an IT Engineer at 24-Hour News 8 served two terms in Iraq. One was with the Marines and the other was a few years later with the Army.

“You know, we lost a lot of good people out there. What for nothing. I don’t know how to feel yet,” says Hagan.

Hagan said the collapse of Iraqi security forces is not a surprise.

“As we were there and you look around and you see the mindset of the Iraqi soldiers themselves, it was due to crumble. And we knew that as we were fighting,” he said.

“I don’t think we’re going to change the minds of Iraq. I really don’t,” Hagan said of the future.

“You can’t stay there forever. There’s the strain on the forces that you have to deal with and then there’s the political willingness of the American people to have their sons and daughters overseas,” Brewer said.

Brewer also believes it’s likely troops will end up back in Iraq. He said when diplomacy doesn’t work, the only way to end an insurgency is force.

Both Brewer and Hagan say as trained combat veterans, they don’t let the politics get involved. They fight where they are sent and needed.

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