WBEZ | Iraq war http://www.wbez.org/tags/iraq-war Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Lisa Buscani on Benjamin Colton Barnes and the War that isn't over http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-13/lisa-buscani-benjamin-colton-barnes-and-war-isnt-over-95532 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-13/lisabuscani.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-13/lisabuscani.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 225px; height: 300px; " title="Lisa Buscani at a previous 'Machete' experience">The War in Iraq might be over, but those who have returned from it are haunted by its memories. So argues performance legend Lisa Buscani, who weaves&nbsp;a tale from the perspective of Benjamin Colton Barnes, an Iraq War Veteran. Barnes was&nbsp;suspected of killing a Mount Rainier National Park ranger. He died in last week in the woods, trying to evade authorities.&nbsp;Read an excerpt of her thoughts, or listen below:</p><p><em>"Going in, Benjamin Colton Barnes was prepared. The army may not give as much as it takes, but no one can ever say that it doesn't prepare a soldier for the rigors of war. The solid six pack from the punitive punches, the right-angle shoulders from the 50 pound pack, the sense memory from the tear gas tank. Barnes' self esteem was shattered, and then patched back up as he conquered miles of mud crawl. He was ready for the heat, for 110 degrees that threw its sweaty arms around him like a drunken buddy at a pub, for the sand that mingled with the air at the wind's slightest provocation, for the 24-7 eyes of hostile hosts, for the constant smell of burning."</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483853-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/2012-01-07-papermachete-lisa buscani.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a>&nbsp;<em>is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.org/thepapermachete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 16:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-13/lisa-buscani-benjamin-colton-barnes-and-war-isnt-over-95532 As Iraq War ends, no parade for U.S. troops in the cards http://www.wbez.org/story/iraq-war-ends-no-parade-us-troops-cards-95167 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-27/ticker.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Americans probably will not be seeing a huge ticker-tape parade anytime soon for troops returning from Iraq, and it is not clear if veterans of the nine-year campaign will ever enjoy the grand, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue homecoming that the nation's fighting men and women received after World War II and the Gulf War.</p><p>Officials in New York and Washington say they would be happy to help stage a big celebration, but Pentagon officials say they haven't been asked to plan one.</p><p>Most welcome-homes have been smaller-scale: hugs from families at military posts across the country, a somber commemoration by President Barack Obama at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.</p><p>With tens of thousands of U.S. troops still fighting a bloody war in Afghanistan, anything that looks like a big victory celebration could be seen as unseemly and premature, some say.</p><p><img alt=" In this May 1, 2003, file photo, President Bush declares the end of major comba" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-27/RS4744_alt_34.jpg" style="margin-right: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; float: left; width: 280px; height: 420px; " title=" In this May 1, 2003, file photo, President Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq. (AP)">"It's going to be a bit awkward to be celebrating too much, given how much there is going on and how much there will be going on in Afghanistan," said Don Mrozek, a military history professor at Kansas State University.</p><p>Two New York City councilmen, Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo, have called for a ticker-tape parade down the stretch of Broadway known as the Canyon of Heroes. A similar celebration after the Gulf War was paid for with more than $5.2 million in private donations, a model the councilmen would like to follow.</p><p>Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week that he was open to the idea but added, "It's a federal thing that we really don't want to do without talking to Washington, and we'll be doing that."</p><p>A spokesman for the mayor declined to elaborate on the city's reasons for consulting with Washington. Ignizio said he had been told by the mayor's office that Pentagon officials were concerned that a celebration could spark violence overseas and were evaluating the risk.</p><p>Navy Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said that he has not heard that issue raised and that New York has yet to make a formal proposal. He also said officials are grateful communities around the country are finding ways to recognize the sacrifices of troops and their families.</p><p>The last combat troops in Iraq pulled out more than a week ago. About 91,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are in Afghanistan, battling a stubborn Taliban insurgency and struggling to train Afghan forces so that they eventually can take over security. Many U.S. troops who fought in the Iraq War could end up being sent to Afghanistan.</p><p>A parade might invite criticism from those who believe the U.S. left Iraq too soon, as well as from those who feel the war was unjustified. It could also trigger questions about assertions of victory.</p><p>Mrozek noted that President George W. Bush's administration referred to military action in the Middle East as part of a global war on terror, a conflict that is hard to define by conventional measures of success.</p><p>"This is not a war on a particular place or a particular force," he said.</p><p>Bush himself illustrated the perils of celebrating milestones in the war, Mrozek said, when he landed on an aircraft carrier and hailed the end of major combat operations in Iraq behind a "Mission Accomplished" banner in May 2003. U.S. troops remained in Iraq for 8½ more years, and Bush was criticized over the banner.</p><p>The benchmarks were clearer in previous wars. After World War II, parades marked Japan's surrender. After the Gulf War, celebrations marked the troops' return after Iraqi forces were driven out of Kuwait.</p><p>The only mass celebrations of U.S. military activities since Sept. 11, 2001, were largely spontaneous: Large crowds gathered in Times Square and outside the White House in April after Osama bin Laden was killed.</p><p>At the same time, Iraq veterans aren't coming home to the hostility many Vietnam veterans encountered. The first large-scale event honoring Vietnam veterans was not held until 1982, when thousands marched in Washington for the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Parades were later held in New York in 1985 — 10 years after the war ended — and in Chicago the next year.</p></p> Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/iraq-war-ends-no-parade-us-troops-cards-95167 As war winds down, organization helps Iraqis who risked their lives helping the U.S. http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-25/war-winds-own-organization-helps-iraqis-who-risked-their-lives-helping-u <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-21/iraq1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Several years ago, west suburban native Kirk Johnson, a former USAID official in Baghdad and Fallujah, received a call for help from a former colleague.&nbsp;</p><p>Johnson’s colleague, Yaghdan Hameid, worked with him at USAID in 2005 and was receiving death threats in Iraq. His life in danger, Hameid tried desperately to leave the country for the U.S., but he couldn't get anywhere. &nbsp;The complicated and convoluted process of earning refugee status in the U.S. was too slow and unresponsive. &nbsp;</p><p>So Johnson stepped in.</p><p>In December 2006, Johnson penned an op-ed in the <a href="http://www.thelistproject.org/coverage-lat_oped.html" target="_blank"><em>Los Angeles Times</em></a>&nbsp;that garnered the attention of his former colleagues and other U.S. government employees in the Middle East. They recognized Hameid’s struggle through their own work with Iraqi civilians and reached out to Johnson for help. &nbsp;</p><p>“They all started sending me their info,” Johnson said.</p><p>Soon thereafter, the List Project was born.</p><p>Today, The List Project bills itself as the home of "the largest list of Iraqis who are imperiled because they helped America." &nbsp;The non-profit's purpose is to aid in the resettling of Iraqis whose lives are endangered as a result of their aid and service to the U.S. - through the military, private contractors, the State Department, NGO's or media outlets.&nbsp;</p><p>“We’re getting new applicants to the list every hour at this point - more than we can handle," Johnson told Jerome McDonnell during an interview on WBEZ's <em>Worldview</em>.</p><p>In response to the growing number of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan whose lives were in danger because of their work with Americans, the U.S. government instituted the Special Immigrant Visa program in 2008. It supposedly allows 5,000 Iraqi refugees who worked with U.S. forces and contractors to resettle in the U.S. each year.</p><p>“That program -- as excited as we were when it was established -- has been an utter failure,” Johnson said. He said that only a small percentage of Iraqis who meet the program’s requirements have been allowed to settle in the United States. If implemented to its fullest, Johnson said, the Special Immigrant Visa program could clear his list of almost 3,000 Iraqis and still have placement spots available.</p><p>For many, the process is extremely frustrating. In addition to letters of recommendation, each candidate must have a professional email for the Americans with whom they worked.</p><p>“It’s absurdity for anyone who wades into this mess,” Johnson said. If they don’t have the correct email from a job from five or six years ago, they won’t qualify, he added. “All of these people have ID badges and have undergone polygraph tests. These are the most well-documented refugees in the history of refugees.”</p><p>Much of the hold-up for these refugees is due to security concerns. Earlier this year, two Iraqi refugees were arrested in Kentucky on charges they planned to send weapons to insurgents in Iraq. The safety concern, Johnson said, could be alleviated if the government relocates refugees to somewhere like Guam before clearing them to enter the country. This idea is nothing new. After the first Gulf War, some 6,000 Iraqi Kurds were brought to Guam.</p><p>It’s a matter of the Obama administration making refugee protection a priority, said Johnson.</p><p>“Do you think people were happy about bringing over Vietnamese refugees after that war?” Johnson asked. “But we did it, because our president said we have to do this.”</p><p>As the U.S. prepares to drastically reduce its troop presence in Iraq by the end of the year, time is of the essence. As Johnson explained, you don’t need a vivid imagination to imagine what will happen to those who worked with the U.S. when the troops leave.</p><p>“We finally have a window of time to prevent a massacre from happening,” he said. But, he added, “We have zero contingency plans to protect these Iraqis.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 25 Nov 2011 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-25/war-winds-own-organization-helps-iraqis-who-risked-their-lives-helping-u Veteran Bryan Anderson isn’t slowed down by war injuries http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-09/veteran-bryan-anderson-isn%E2%80%99t-slowed-down-war-injuries-93885 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-09/SgtBryanAndersonHome112206.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When<a href="http://www.andersonactive.com/" target="_blank"> Bryan Anderson</a> returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq, he embarked on another journey--13 months of rehabilitation. The U.S. Army Sergeant from Rolling Meadows lost both of his legs and one of his hands in a roadside explosion in 2005. As a result of his injuries, he was awarded a <a href="http://www.purpleheart.org/" target="_blank">Purple Heart</a> and recognition nationwide. In many ways, Anderson’s life is more action-packed now than it was before he entered the Army. He recounted his experiences in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/No-Turning-Back-Inspiring-Determination/dp/0425243559" target="_blank"><em>No Turning Back: One Man’s Inspiring True Story of Courage, Determination and Hope</em>.</a> Richard Steele recently sat down with Anderson who began by talking about his life before entering the Army.</p><p>Anderson’s show, <a href="http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=1,64,1&amp;programid=19945501" target="_blank"><em>Reporting for Service with Bryan Anderson</em></a>, begins Thursday at 9:00 p.m. on <a href="http://www.wttw.com/" target="_blank">WTTW Channel 11</a>. The show uncovers hidden heroes making a difference in communities around the region.</p><p><em>Music Button: Charles Lloyd/Maria Farantouri, "Requiem", from the album Athens Concert, (ECM)</em></p></p> Wed, 09 Nov 2011 15:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-09/veteran-bryan-anderson-isn%E2%80%99t-slowed-down-war-injuries-93885 Obama: All U.S. troops out of Iraq by end of year http://www.wbez.org/story/obama-all-us-troops-out-iraq-end-year-93367 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-21/AP110910139812.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all American troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.</p><p>Obama's statement put an end to months of wrangling over whether the U.S. would maintain a force in Iraq beyond 2011. He never mentioned the tense and ultimately fruitless negotiations with Iraq over whether to keep several thousand U.S. forces in Iraq as a training force and a hedge against meddling from Iran or other outside forces.</p><p>Instead, Obama spoke of a promise kept, a new day for a self-reliant Iraq and a focus on building up the economy at home.</p><p>"I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year," Obama said. "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."</p><p>Obama spoke after a private video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and he offered assurances that the two leaders agreed on the decision.</p><p>The U.S. military presence in Iraq stands at just under 40,000. All U.S. troops are to exit the country in accordance with a deal struck between the countries in 2008 when George W. Bush was president.</p><p>Obama, an opponent of the war from the start, took office and accelerated the end of the conflict. In August 2010, he declared the U.S. combat mission over.</p><p>"Over the next two months our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home," Obama said. "The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops."</p><p>More than 4,400 American military members have been killed since the U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq in March 2003.</p><p>The Associated Press first reported last week that the United States would not keep troops in Iraq past the year-end withdrawal deadline, except for some soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy.</p><p>In recent months, Washington had been discussing with Iraqi leaders the possibility of several thousand American troops remaining to continue training Iraqi security forces.</p><p>Throughout the discussions, Iraqi leaders refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans refused to stay without that guarantee.</p><p>Moreover, Iraq's leadership has been split on whether it wanted American forces to stay.</p><p>When the 2008 agreement requiring all U.S. forces to leave Iraq was passed, many U.S. officials assumed it would inevitably be renegotiated so that Americans could stay longer.</p><p>The U.S. said repeatedly this year it would entertain an offer from the Iraqis to have a small force stay behind, and the Iraqis said they would like American military help. But as the year wore on and the number of American troops that Washington was suggesting could stay behind dropped, it became increasingly clear that a U.S. troop presence was not a sure thing.</p><p>The issue of legal protection for the Americans was the deal-breaker.</p><p>Pulling troops out by the end of this year allows both al-Maliki and Obama to claim victory.</p><p>Obama kept a campaign promise to end the war, and al-Maliki will have ended the American presence and restored Iraqi sovereignty.</p><p>The president used the war statement to once again turn attention back to the economy, the domestic concern that is expected to determine whether he wins re-election next year.</p><p>"After a decade of war the nation that we need to build and the nation that we will build is our own, an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we've restored our leadership around the globe," Obama said.</p></p> Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/obama-all-us-troops-out-iraq-end-year-93367 Coming home from war http://www.wbez.org/content/coming-home-war <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-09/RS2642_Afghanistan troops_AP_Bebeto Matthews.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In the ongoing national conversation about the legacy and impact of 9/11, there are inevitably conversations about the two wars that have followed the shocking events of that day, and of the impact these wars have had on the lives of the men and women who continue to serve. &nbsp;</p><p>The nearly 1.7 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, their 1.2 million spouses and 900,000 children, often describe how re-entry into civil society can sometimes be more challenging than the experience of war itself. This has been especially true for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries, which some describe as the “signature injury” of these wars.</p><p>In March, the University of Chicago convened a panel of writers and veterans to talk about their experiences with re-entry. Panelists included Jack Fuller, the former editor and publisher of the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>, and Michael Sullivan, the Illinois State Director of Student Veterans of America. &nbsp;Fuller is a veteran of the Vietnam war and Sullivan is a Marine Corps veteran who has served in Kosovo, Haiti and Iraq.</p><p>During the panel, Fuller and Sullivan compared notes on how they were received by their friends and society at large when they returned. They agreed that although much has changed, things haven’t necessarily gotten any easier. You can hear their conversation in the audio above.</p><p><em><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from </em><em>Chicago Amplified’s</em><em> vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Jack Fuller and Michael Sullivan spoke at an event presented by <a href="http://www.uchicago.edu/index.shtml">The University of Chicago</a> in March. Click <a href="../../story/war-follows-everyone-home-86427">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety. </em></p></p> Sat, 10 Sep 2011 08:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/coming-home-war What’s next in Iraq as U.S. continues troop drawdown http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-26/what%E2%80%99s-next-iraq-us-continues-troop-drawdown-91107 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-26/iraq5.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483668-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/wv20110826a.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>The end of the war in Iraq is finally in sight, though the terms of disengagement are still very vague. It’s expected that by the end of this year, the U.S. and Iraq will reach a new “status of forces” agreement, leaving approximately 10,000 to 15,000 American troops in Iraq. If they don’t come to an agreement, all U.S. troops will have to leave the country by December 31, 2011.</p><p>Today, we reflect on the current state of U.S. involvement in Iraq with <a href="http://www.mei.edu/Scholars/JosephK%C3%A9chichian.aspx" target="_blank">Joseph Kechichian</a>, a Middle East policy expert. Joseph is the CEO of Kéchichian &amp; Associates, a consulting group that provides analysis on the Arabian and Persian Gulf regions.</p></p> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 17:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-26/what%E2%80%99s-next-iraq-us-continues-troop-drawdown-91107 Rumsfeld: Bush Let Too Many Voices Have Say On Iraq Policy http://www.wbez.org/story/donald-rumsfeld/rumsfeld-bush-let-too-many-voices-have-say-iraq-policy <p><p>Among the most talked about stories of the morning are the early peeks in <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/02/AR2011020205505.html?hpid=topnews" target="_blank"><em>The Washington Post</em></a> and <em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/us/politics/03rumsfeld.html?partner=rss&emc=rss" target="_blank">The New York Times</a> </em>at former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's memoir, which goes on sale next week.</p><p>A few highlights from the <em>Post</em>'s report:</p><p>— Rumsfeld "goes so far as to depict former President George W. Bush as presiding over a national security process that was marked by incoherent decision-making and policy drift, most damagingly on the war in Iraq."</p><p>— "Rumsfeld remains largely unapologetic about his overall handling of the Iraq conflict and concludes that the war has been worth the costs. Had the government of Saddam Hussein remained in power, he says, the Middle East would be 'far more perilous than it is today'."</p><p>— "Addressing charges that he failed to provide enough troops for the war, he allows that, 'In retrospect, there may have been times when more troops could have helped'."</p><p>The <em>Times</em> begins its story with Rumsfeld's account about being told by Bush, two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, to prepare review the Pentagon's plans for a war with Iraq. According to the Times:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"Two weeks after the worst terrorist attack in our nation's history, those of us in the Department of Defense were fully occupied," Mr. Rumsfeld recalls. But the president insisted on new military plans for Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld writes. "He wanted the options to be 'creative.' "</p><p></blockquote></p><p>Reactions are starting to come in.</p><p><a href="http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2011/02/sen-john-mccain-fires-back-at-donald-rumsfeld-memoir-thank-god-he-was-relieved-of-his-duties.html" target="_blank">On ABC's <em>Good Morning America</em></a>, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said of Rumsfeld: "thank God he was relieved of his duties and we put the surge in otherwise we would have had a disastrous defeat in Iraq." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1296742927?&gn=Rumsfeld%3A+Bush+Let+Too+Many+Voices+Have+Say+On+Iraq+Policy&ev=event2&ch=103943429&h1=Donald+Rumsfeld,National+News,Politics,Foreign+News,George+W.+Bush,Iraq+war,The+Two-Way,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133459807&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110203&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=133459843,127602855,127602596,127602464,126945001,126942353,103943429,133370727,132733823,130215202,129828651,133309068,133188445,125938785,103537970,129828651&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 03 Feb 2011 07:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/donald-rumsfeld/rumsfeld-bush-let-too-many-voices-have-say-iraq-policy