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March 21st, 2013
12:11 PM ET

Iraqi refugee: 'mistake for American army to leave'

By Jonathan Binder, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @jbinder

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(CNN) - Musadaq Alsamawi was able to escape Iraq with his family in 2009.  He lived there all his life and, before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, he was a farmer and veterinarian living in southern Baghdad.

Ten years ago, he supported the U.S. mission in Iraq because, he says, he felt his country would be better off with out Saddam Hussein:

[1:10] "All the people welcomed America to help us to release this dictator from our country. All the people thinking very good about America. They are welcome to come to our country to release our country from this regime."

Musadaq even became an interpreter for the U.S. military. At first, he volunteered to work for free but eventually received payment. He then went on missions with troops across the country for six years.

But it became too dangerous to stay in Iraq. His home and farm were destroyed. Terrorists from Al Qaeda kidnapped his son, who was safely returned for a ransom. It was not the  country he loved anymore and says it no longer felt like his home:

 [4:03] "Our country now is going to be a very bad country. It's worse – worse than 2003."

Musadaq was recently invited to a discussion about the situation in Iraq at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he now now lives. Someone in the audience brought up one of the most popular criticisms of the war:

[3:45] "One of them said it’s a big mistake for our army to go to Iraq.  I said it’s a big mistake for American Army to leave Iraq."

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