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Erwin Soldier Says It’s Time to Leave Iraq

Posted March 19, 2008
Updated March 20, 2008

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— President Bush defended the Iraq war Wednesday as U.S. troops began a sixth year of combat. Bush's motto has been to "stay the course," but an Erwin soldier who recently returned from the conflicted region is not convinced that is the best option.

Richard Kolath was 14 when the Iraq war started.

“I was young, (and) I remember hearing it on the news,” Kolath said.

Last week, the Harnett County native came home to a hero's welcome after serving in Iraq.

“It's not every day (that) people have a parade that's honored for them ,and I thought it was very special,” he said.

Kolath went to Iraq in January 2007.

“Every day progress was happening, and at the same time something else was going on that kind of set it back,” he said.

Kolath's setback happened a month before his unit was scheduled to come home. His Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb.

“I looked down, (and) my leg was in the truck. The bottom half of my leg was laying flat in the truck,” Kolath said.

After everything he has seen, the soldier said he believes five years in Iraq is long enough.

“It's time to get us out of there (Iraq)," Kolath said. "There are guys in my unit who did four tours over there."

The cost is just too great to continue a war that he believes will be difficult to win, Kolath said.

“They do deserve to be free, but at the same time our troops are dying over there every day and losing limbs,” he said.

Kolath also said that despite losing his leg, he has no regrets.

“I love my country, love it more than anything in the world,” he said.

Kolath will soon go back to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to complete his yearlong rehabilitation. So far, he has undergone 15 surgeries on his leg.

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  • btruds Mar 21, 2008

    I would like someone to explain to me how "WRAL loves some Obama." Just wondering...

  • HockeyRules Mar 21, 2008

    "Sometimes you guys remind me of bullies. Only you use your words to beat up people who don't submit to you."

    Then I would suggest you go back and read the posts by the person you so much wanted to defend. His use of venom and hatred to describe anyone that he disagrees with is much more in keeping with the behavior you describe. Maybe you should direct your comments toward him.

  • oldrebel Mar 20, 2008

    Wow..I am impressed. This blog has reallybrought out some good opinions, going off toward the horizon line in both directions and all points in between. Thankyou to all. I've had a time reading through most of them earlier today.

  • MeatHead Mar 20, 2008

    First there is no war.The Iraq army was defeated years ago.What the politicians will not tell you is the soilders don't know who their fighting.Even the kids are blowing up soilders.No uniforms,so how do you identify your enemies.Like I said the war was won,but what is this?

  • justwondering2 Mar 20, 2008

    Whay did WRAL deem this guys story important when there are lots of injured soldiers that have come home. And Many more who never make it home that, if mentioned on the news at all is given about 30 sec air time. In my opinion, its because OBAMA (blah blah blah) is on the subject of war and soldiers. And its plain to see that WRAL loves some OBAMA. JMO

  • atozca Mar 20, 2008

    Defending someone's right to say something doesn't mean I agree with what they say. One should never assume... it makes an aSSofUandME.Sometimes you guys remind me of bullies. Only you use your words to beat up people who don't submit to you.

  • HockeyRules Mar 20, 2008

    " I said that the poster has a right to consider his action treasonous which according to M-W Online is 1. to betray trust and 2. the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family."

    Ok, then, tell me what of this soilders actions here would you consider falling in that category? Sure, Now has a right to make this claim, he always does. Using his logic, and logic that you apparently agree with, anyone that voices an opinion against the war is treasonous and Anti-American. All I would like to hear from you is what this soilder did that you would consider as treasonous. Simple question.

    Believe me, I don't waste anger on someone like Now. It is more pity that someone can be as full of venom and hatred as he can be. But if you want to condone that, that is your "right" as well.

  • Ken D. Mar 20, 2008

    "I can't see an end coming in the same fashion we saw a beginning."

    You had me at "I can't see an end coming".

    If a consensus should emerge after, say, ten years of conflict that we made a mistake and should get out of Iraq, are the citizens who reached this conclusion after only nine years still "surrender monkeys"?

  • Obscurite Mar 20, 2008

    "I said that the poster has a right to consider his action treasonous which according to M-W Online is 1. to betray trust and 2. the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family." atozca

    I won't put words in your mouth. Your words speak for themselves. Tell me how this one soldier's opinion meets any of the criteria you mentioned. Tell me where he betrayed his country in anything he said in the article. Tell me where there is ANY justification for calling a service member who served and paid a HUGE sacrifice in blood for his country (and will continue to sacrifice for the rest of his life for his service)...a treasonous.

    “I love my country, love it more than anything in the world,” Richard Kolath (from the article).

    Tell me how THAT meets your definition and I'll understand how you can defend Now.

  • Obscurite Mar 20, 2008

    "It is the least we can do for the soldiers that are fighting for us and them." Now

    Including the ones who have lost their legs? are disgruntled? and treasonous?

    (c:

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