Iraq war veterans talk about current crisis

(CNN) — American war veterans are sounding off across the country about the situation in Iraq, some upset that insurgents are undoing all the sacrifices war heroes made.

CNN spoke with four Iraq war veterans to get their take.

Together in one group were Andrew Bartholomew, who served in Iraq in 2009 with the Marine Corps; Ford Sypher, deployed there with the Army three times and Daniel Gorman, a National Guardsman, did two tours in Baghdad and then returned to work with security teams.

They served at different times, in different capacities, in different parts of the country. As veterans, they have a vested interest in how the United States will respond to the crisis in Iraq, and they agree on this point:

“I think any intervention needs to be extremely limited in scope,” said Bartholomew. “It needs to be controlled, it needs to be transparent.

“It needs to be immaculately defined, like there can be no question, no ifs, ands or buts about exactly what we are going to do, for how long we are going to do it,” he said.

After eight years in Iraq, the last U.S. troops withdrew from the country in 2011.

“It was sigh of relief to never have to see another news clip that said ‘soldier killed in Iraq from a roadside bomb’ and to finally see if the Iraqi government was capable of organizing itself,” said Army veteran and National Guardsman Matt Pelak.

Watching the violence escalate again feels personal for Pelak.

“To see what our friends died for, what we fought for, what we worked so hard for so long, blood, sweat and tears sort of go to waste,” he said.

When asked what the Iraq war veterans wanted to hear from the president, Bartholomew said “I want to hear President Obama acknowledge that America has a moral obligation to that country.”

“Yeah, I do believe President Obama should stay engaged diplomatically, humanitarian-ly,” Gorman added.

“If we do intervene in Iraq, and that intervention manifests itself in the form of air strikes or boots on the ground, when we disengage, the problem is still going to be there,” said Bartholomew.

“Yeah, we’re not going to solve that problem,” Gorman said.

“I think one thing that is very clear is that we had different experiences in our service within Iraq, and different experiences within the branches,” Sypher said, “(and) we all agree that the Iraqis deserve peace.”

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