A Decade Later, A 360-Degree View of the Iraq War Through Personal Stories
This week marks the 10th anniversary since the U.S. invaded Iraq. Over 4,000 American servicemembers died in that decade of conflict. A recent study said that, in total, the Iraq War may have cost 190,000 lives and $2.2 trillion dollars. Those numbers are difficult to swallow, much less comprehend.
The Truman National Security Project and Center for National Policy wanted to do something to reflect on the Iraq War—and in doing so, bring a personal perspective to it.
The Iraq 10 Year Project is an initiative to record the stories, photos, experiences, and lessons learned of a generation of top-flight national security leaders. It represents the Truman/CNP community—from Veterans who served multiple tours on the battlefield, to political professionals who get strong national security candidates into office, to policy professionals who shape our defense strategy and foreign policy.
In total, more than 90 stories and photos have been gathered into one place. The writers are former battlefield commanders, Congressional candidates, clean energy advocates, foreign aid practitioners, cyber security experts, and more.
Together, they represent a rare 360-degree view of the Iraq War. The stories show us that, even if you did not serve, you could be galvanized and inspired by the war. They give names, faces and feeling to the losses that America (and the world) dealt with. The collection looks forwards—and, sometimes, at a difficult past.
As the Editorial Chief of the Truman Project and Center for National Policy, it was my privilege to have read every single word of the 27,000 that came in.
Sentences like, “I found his leg. I remember it was much heavier than I thought it should have been,” made me gulp.
Others made me realize the wide-ranging impact of the war abroad: “There’s no way to tell a cab driver in five Chinese sentences what it means to be American. I struggled with that. I felt it important to say I disagreed with the decision, not just because it was true, but because it showed that the U.S. tolerates differing views.”
Watching the stories flood my inbox from across the country, I came away with a sense of pride and honor. I also learned more than any book could teach me. Now you can read the same stories, and learn these lessons, too.
As one Army Officer—who today, is a Harvard Kennedy School graduate, an entrepreneur and a non-profit executive—wrote: “Ten years later, our mistaken invasion of Iraq has taught me three things: questioning the value of the fight is never unpatriotic and is crucially necessary; I personally own the actions of my government and I must stay engaged; and investment in education and economies prevents conflict. I hope we’ve learned the same lessons as a country. The cost is far too high to learn them again.”
Take a look at the stories. Whether you served or not, you’ll feel Iraq like never before.
Daniel Gaynor is the Editorial Chief of the Truman National Security Project and Center for National Policy.
Photo credit: Sean Smith, The Guardian
An Overlooked Contributor to Climate Change: Leaky Pipes These tricked-out, air sensor-equipped Google cars are helping to identify dangerous natural gas pipelines.
Me No Want Cookie! Sesame Workshop puts the junk food industry on notice. The effort to re-brand fruits and vegetables for kids now has some cute, furry and iconic allies.
How Artists Got a Flock of Extinct Birds to Invade a Museum "Eclipse," now showing at MASS MoCA, commemorates the centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon.
Parks We're Crushing On Hang out in a sick park (while at your desk) The coolest greenspaces—old and new—as spotted by an intrepid network of photographers around the globe
Your Groceries Don't Need Their Own Bus Seat, Thanks Facebook's Jet Burrows and the Analog Lab team have created the much-needed 10 Commandments of Transit.
Why This Teen-Created Police Accountability App Rules Five-O, a new police accountability app created by three Georgia teens, is the most comprehensive tool of its kind.
Exit Through the Riverbed Olafur Eliasson's new museum exhibit will leave you thinking and splashing.
How Do You Compete With a Flying Toilet? The Savvyloo toilet is a bold step forward in the world sanitation crisis.
Elementary Schoolers Imagine Street Carts of the Future These prototypes show how a group of students from Brooklyn think street vendors and mobile service stations should look in 30 years.
City Park Showdown Who’s winning in the quest for the perfect urban oasis? Looking at which U.S. cities are investing most in parks and how it’s evolved over time. #GoodCitiesProject
Today We Humans Used Up the Ecological Resources We Had for the Year Earth Overshoot Day once again appears earlier on the calendar.
The Secret World of Dinosaur Smuggling Mongolia battles the black market to preserve its natural history