Arizona veterans angry, saddened to see chaos in Iraq

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Veterans of the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, are watching Islamic extremists seize cities they helped liberate with great sadness.

"Seeing what's going on over there now is angering and disheartening," Andrew Jones told 3TV. Jones served as a Marine in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost friends in the fight.

"Now you can't help wondering if it was worth it," Jones said.

Jones helped treat his severe post-war depression by writing a book called, "Healing the Warrior Heart." He now has major concerns about his fellow veterans in wake of the instability in Iraq.

"There's going to be a lot of veterans out there who are going to take blame for it. A lot them are going to feel guilty," he said, explaining that those who helped train Iraqi forces are taking the news especially hard.

Families of soldiers who died in Iraq have a different perspective.

"There's a lot of different emotions that it stirs up. Obviously the first one I think of is my son, who sacrificed his life over there," Debbie Lee of Surprise told 3TV.

Her son, Marc, became the first ever Navy SEAL to die in Iraq in 2006.

"It's just moment by moment we're losing more and more of that country, and that's just heart-wrenching to me to see that happen," Lee said.

After Marc's death, Lee started America's Mighty Warriors, an organization which supports military veterans and families. She, too, fears veterans will suffer emotional or mental setbacks watching the cities they fought in fall to extremists.

"So many of them are struggling with PTSD, and when they hear this, it takes them back," she said.

Both Lee and Jones provide various kinds of support for veterans.

Lee's website is

Jones can be contacted through Facebook at