A member of a veteran’s group that’s shared a platform with controversial congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is saying he invented claims that he’d sabotaged the weapons of allied troops in Iraq — because he’s being investigated for the alleged crimes and could face life in jail or even lethal injection.
Kristofer Goldsmith is an Iraq war veteran turned anti-war activist, who’s now responsible for policy and government affairs with the Vietnam Veterans of America. VVA has worked with socialist rabble-rouser AOC, who’s claimed that the Veterans Administration doesn’t need an overhaul — “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” — a position that few veterans agree with. VVA, however, has sided with the VA leadership against its members.
- While veterans in general lean Republican, Goldsmith swings strongly the other way. He’s outspoken in criticizing the last two Republican administrations — especially that of George W. Bush, which sent him to Iraq. Goldsmith claims that Republicans forced hundreds of thousands of Americans to commit atrocities while deployed to Iraq.
- The problem with Goldsmith’s criticism of Bush militarism is that he claims he volunteered to join the Army so he could kill Iraqis, Muslims and “people of a different skin tone to myself.” The actual mission in Iraq was to liberate the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime — not to kill them.
- That doesn’t seem to have mattered to Goldsmith, though. In 2008, he claimed that he’d sabotaged the weapons of Iraqi government troops while they slept, removing critical parts so they wouldn’t fire. This means our Iraqi allies were going out on patrol with rifles that didn’t work; if they were attacked by terrorists, they were defenseless.
- Former Army lawyer LTC J.W. Kastl says that if Goldsmith really did that, his crimes could include attempted murder and manslaughter. Noting that “whatever you think of the Iraqis, they were our allies,” he said crimes like this could call for the maximum punishment — and if allied soldiers died because of the sabotage, that might mean the death penalty.
- Goldsmith is now claiming that he imagined the sabotage, but there will be questions about why he’s changed his story when lawyers are starting to look at it more closely. Even if he did make it up to impress other anti-war activists, claims like this coming from American soldiers are going to make our allies wonder how reliable a friend we really are.
- Goldsmith is also heavily involved in a campaign to get full veterans benefits — including free college — for people who were given less than honorable discharges from the military. Goldsmith himself was less than honorably discharged from the US Army in 2006 after deliberately missing his flight back to Iraq.