Share Your Iraq Stories with War on the Rocks Readers
Editor’s note: Charlie Mike is our military and veterans blog, and we want to hear from veterans from the Iraq War about their experiences and the strongest memories they have from their deployments.
As I’m sure has been the case with many OIF veterans, I’ve watched with a powerful mix of emotions in recent days as the ISIS assault has sent Iraq careening toward insecurity, political instability, and chaos. The reaction of vets has been mixed—ranging from criticisms that poor strategic planning has diminished the impact of the sacrifices of our brothers and sisters in arms to a sense that despite the failings of the current government of Iraq our service members did their jobs and did them well. But the simple fact that vets are weighing in with their thoughts on Iraq’s current crisis is indicative of the level of connection many of us feel with the country.
I follow events in Iraq closely from a professional perspective, in my capacity with War on the Rocks and as a PhD candidate in Middle East Studies. But the sudden surge of media attention to the country has had me looking at the country through a more personal lens, setting off waves of emotions that I thought had settled. Seeing the TV coverage conjures up strong memories I hadn’t thought much about in years. The sky in the live shot in Baghdad looks exactly the way it looked every summer day in 2008 (except for the dust storm days, of course). The Iraqi policeman’s uniform is the same one worn by those at the joint security station in Rusafa that had the bakery next door (still the best bread I’ve ever had). And I could swear that the kid following the TV reporter around was one of those that used to ask me for money (not a chance, kid) or cho-co-la-ta (Arabic evidently doesn’t lend itself to unpronounced vowels) or pens (never verbally, but by tapping their forearms where our ACUs had that ridiculous bank of pen slots) or soccer balls (my God, we flooded that country with a lot of soccer balls).
Each of us that deployed to Iraq has similarly strong memories, and War on the Rocks wants to hear about them. What are the defining or evocative memories, large or small, that have stuck with you? As you watch the current crisis unfold, which of them come to mind? Email your stories and the name you’d like us to use (first name, full name, call sign…your choice) to Charlie.Mike@warontherocks.com. We’ll publish all of them on our new military and veterans-oriented blog, Charlie Mike.
John Amble is the Managing Editor of War on the Rocks.
Photo credit: The U.S. Army