STAFF & GUEST BLOG

Be a Part of the “Iraq: Faces of the Returning Troops” Project

September 21st, 2010, byStaff

On August 31st, when President Obama announced the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom — the U.S. combat mission in Iraq — he was marking the end of a 7-year war that had taken the lives of more than 4,400 troops and cost U.S. taxpayers $750 billion.

While Iraq is still plagued with insurgent attacks, sectarian violence and political turmoil, most of the 144,000 U.S. troops that were in Iraq when Obama took office had already been withdrawn by the time he delivered his remarks from the Oval Office in August. 50,000 will remain to “advise and assist” Iraqi security forces until the end of 2011.

With reports that more than 35,000 Iraq vets have been seriously wounded during service and that a third of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are reporting symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression or traumatic brain injury, we are left to wonder, what are the real stories of the service personnel returning from Iraq?

So, we want to hear from you. To share your story and be a part of our “Iraq: Faces of the Returning Troops” project, please e-mail the following to returningtroops@gmail.com:

1. A photo of yourself. *
2. Name
3. Age
4. City and State of residence
5. Service/Rank
6. Dates of Deployment
7. Have you had any war injuries or needed medical treatment? If so, what has been your experience with treatment?
8. What have been the biggest challenges since you left Iraq?
9. Have you received adequate support?
10. What would you like your fellow Americans to know about life after serving in Iraq?

*By submitting your photo, you are granting us permission to use it on PBS.org and saying that you have the rights to do so. We can give credit if you supply us with the name of the person who took it. Please send as large a file as possible.

For more on the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, check out Tavis’ recent conversations with London bureau chief for The New York Times John Burns, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post David Finkel and (Ret.) U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark.

  • TOM

    My son joined the army before 9/11 and went to Iraq. I agree with him that the U.S. being there was pointless except in transferring american taxpayer dollars into the hands of contractors and removing a disobediant US-installed dictator from power so as to show future US-installed dictators in other countries that disobedience will not be tolerated. People still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with blowing up the World Trade Center. Our government has let people go on believing that he did, for their own convenience. Many politicians ranted about W and said that he should be impeached but nobody had the guts to do anything about it, espceially Pelosi, who was in a position to. Now I realize that Dems are just republican lite, and the U.S. as a country has no principles. Freedom and Democracy are nothing more than Madison Avenue slogans from a bygone era. The troops died for nothing, had their limbs blown off for nothing, except maybe Halliburton.

  • Adrienne

    My son was in the Marines when they went in to Iraq in 2003….I was proud of him as a man but not proud of this war which was at the whim of a president bearing a grudge and with ties to big oil interests.The company line was that he was fighting for our “freedom” and way of life…I went to work every day with people who didn’t know or care about this war, only about where they were going out drinking and who won the football game, who bot a BMW and who traded their audi, was Lindsay Lohan going to jail…etc etc…The America I saw late at nite coming home from work was downtown streets filled with homeless youth, alcoholics passed out in doorways, people struggling to make ends meet and keep their jobs…I could go on and on…my thought was that if my son was going to put his life on the line let it be for a country that walked its talk and really did set an example…I had to reconcile myself to the idea that my son put his life on the line because he was a soldier and that’s what soldiers do. It changed him profoundly….he came home, jobs were not to be found, he faced a bankruptcy, pulled himself back together but has no tolerance for those around him who he feels are so very spoiled and take for granted what they have here…thinking they are entitled…he knows that what he was fighting for was big business way of life and politicians with big business interests….the harsh reality of that hit when he and his men were nearing Baghdad and they had no ammo or food…because the business interest that was supposed to have supplied them hadn’t gotten it to them in time (but still got paid).

  • Lora

    Well put Tom, well put. I agree with you 100% on every point, and sadly believe the country we knew is a bygone era. I recently watched a documentary called Iraq For Sale:The War Profiteers, and it made me physically ill. I can live with a lot of the wrongs and try my best to be vocal and prevent these wrongs from further escalating or continuing to happen. I cannot live with the fact the their are parents in this country that lost their children, and whose lives will never be the same. If if smells like crap, it probably is.

Last modified: May 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm