An event in Des Moines Wednesday that was supposed to make a political statement didn’t quite go as planned. The event was supposed to highlight how Democrat John Kerry would support the military if elected, and was to feature two Iowans who’ve recently served in Iraq. Trouble is organizers didn’t realize the area in front of Camp Dodge in Johnston where they were holding the event is government property. An Iowa National Guard lawyer told organizers that it is against state and national policy for soldiers in uniform to speak at or participate in any political event. The two soldiers said they were not aware of the rules and said they would not comment on anything political. One of the soldiers, Army specialist Curtis Garhart of Des Moines did agree to talk about his 15-month experience in Iraq. Garhart says he’s reenlisted in the Army and says he loves it. As for Iraq, he says he doesn’t know if he’ll be sent back. He says going there is a danger that all soldiers accept. Garhart was asked if he felt he had the proper equipment to do his job. He says, “more or less, yah, we were always supplied with whatever we need, water, food.” Garhart says he feels U.S. soldiers have made a difference in Iraq.He says “we really are helping the people in a lot of ways.” He says in one sector of Baghdad where his unit provided security and the people stayed safe as he says they always had soldiers available to prevent looting and keep the people safe. Garhart came back home earlier this month, and says his reception as a returning soldier has been good. He says a lot of people want to shake his hand. He says it’s kind of awkward as he says he’s just doing his job.
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