Afghan war vet tells Congress rethink sending troops there

WASHINGTON -- Afghan war veteran and retired Marine Corporal Rick Reyes testified before U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on his opposition on the war in Afghanistan. Reyes served as part of the first deployment to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 U.S. terrorist attacks. Born of humble beginnings, Reyes joined the Marines soon after finishing high school to proudly serve his country.

Reyes is one of five panelists invited to speak before the Senate committee. Reyes used his personal expertise to discuss the Afghan war and reasons for nonmilitary solutions.

While stationed in Kabul, Cpl. Reyes, along with his squad, were given the mission of seeking out and capturing members of the Taliban during nightly missions. After following dozens of leads, all suspected Taliban would in the end be released because they were found to be innocent civilians. In the meantime, during their excitement to capture Taliban, squads of Marines would often injure Afghans who mostly turned out to be innocent civilians.

'We were destroying people's homes and injuring Afghan civilians for no reason. I witnessed first hand how we began creating enemies out of innocent civilians. I saw how Afghans began hating us. As a marine, I began loosing sight of why I was there,' said retired Afghan war vet Reyes.

During his stay in Afghanistan, -- all suspected terrorists captured turned out to be innocent civilians.

'Almost 100 percent of the time, we would find that suspected terrorist turned out to be innocent civilians. I started to feel like we were chasing ghosts. I love this country. I would give my life for it. But we as a country have to rethink Afghanistan, after eight years of US military intervention, we have yet to identify our mission for being there,' Reyes said.

These experiences led Reyes to take a strong against the war on Afghanistan. Reyes is currently working with Brave New Foundation's Rethink Afghanistan to send a strong message to Congress that there are many questions that must be answered about this war. Escalating troops is not the solution for solving a political problem.

To learn more about Rick Reyes, visit: .

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will be hearing testimony from Afghan vets and current members of the military and policy experts on their views the US war on Afghanistan. This comes as Obama requests a war time supplemental of $83 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For more information on the campaign or to host an interview or speaking engagement with Robert Greenwald director of Rethink Afghanistan or Rick Reyes, please contact: Martha De Hoyos at310.402.9048.