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My Journey from Iraq to Working on Wall Street to Occupying Wall Street

An Iraq vet shares the story of the journey that brought him from the streets of Fallujah to the Occupy protests.

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Everyone in the Occupy movement has a different set of grievances. I personally believe that we must spend less on offensive wars and more on education—I'm going back to school on the GI Bill, and its value is immeasurable.

But more fundamentally, if Occupy has taught me anything it is that we must live up to our own values. There is nothing you could write on a sign that could offend me more than seeing police take away someone's right to free speech. What we do as soldiers is meaningless if our government takes away those freedoms while we are sent to supposedly defend them. Americans applaud protest throughout the world as a legitimate way for people to express their thirst for democracy. Is it really possible that everyone has a point except those who protest here?


Derek McGee served two tours in Iraq. He is the author of When I Wished I Was Here: Dispatches From Fallujah (The Crumpled Press).

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