Iraq

photo of David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna
Monika Evstatieva / NPR via AP

An NPR photojournalist and an Afghan translator were killed in Afghanistan this week by Taliban forces. David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna were traveling in Southern Afghanistan when their convoy came under attack. Two other NPR staff were unharmed. David Gilkey is the second American journalist to die in the Afghanistan conflict.

So-called "burn pits" were common at U.S. military outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Legislation in the Senate would create a center to study the effects of breathing their smoke.

Nedda Ibrahim

More than 100,000 Iraqi refugees have resettled in the United States in the past decade. But for the most part their stories are underreported and their life experiences are invisible to the wider American public. An art exhibit on view at William Peace University this weekend tries to change that by shining light on the work of 10 refugee artists whose work represents the rich and storied history of Iraqi art, and the diverse experiences of Iraqi refugees settled in the Americas.

Image of Tommy Sowers
Duke University

Tommy Sowers served two tours in Iraq as a green beret. The Duke graduate earned a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, and he taught at West Point and at Duke.

Sowers ran as the Democratic Party's nominee for Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in 2010 and later became an assistant secretary for the Veterans Affairs. He worked to help veterans gain access to benefits.

Sarita and her family arrived from Nepal in 2008, where they had lived in a refugee camp for many years after fleeing political instability in Bhutan.
Andrea Patiño Contreras

The economy can have a major influence on the history of a city.

Factories once brought folks from the world over to new places with a similar goals in mind - to prosper and make a better life. That is the story of Lynn, Massachusetts. Once the home of General Electric and the countless shoe factories, the city was home to immigrants from Canada, Ireland, Greece, Italy and Armenia. Now, Lynn bears only the vestiges of its industrial success and is economically depressed. Immigration continues but from new areas of the world.

Tommy Rieman in his office at Charlotte Bridge Home, with the action figure that bears his likeness.
Carol Jackson

Under different circumstances, Tommy Rieman could have been charged with a DUI when he got drunk and drove into a tree. But because he's a veteran he was enrolled in the state's first Veterans Treatment Court, a program designed to give support rather than punishment.

This chapter of Rieman's story starts in Iraq, 2003.

"Before the war started we were in Iraq, calling in air strikes you know?" he remembers. "I was 21, 22 years old. You're on top of the world."

Illustration: Ahmed worked with Dick Gordon over 10 days of reporting in Baghdad. They continued to collaborate for several years.
Ahmed Fadaam

Iraqi artist Ahmed Fadaam spent years reporting about the Iraq War for WUNC's The Story with Dick Gordon.

His segment, "Ahmed's Diary," gave listeners the story of the war from the streets of Baghdad while his artwork reflected the instability of a country under fire.

But death threats from within Iraq forced Fadaam to flee the country. His story is now the subject of a documentary, Musings of an Iraqi Patriot.

Creative Commons

Islamic militants are slowly gaining more control of Iraq. 

The group known as the Islamic State is asserting its will in the northern part of the country. It has made Mosul its de facto capital, and has driven thousands of Christians out of the city.

But the battle is not just sectarian, it is political.

The U.S. has been unsuccessful in its push for the Shiite majority to be more inclusive toward Sunnis and Kurds, and some say a one-state solution cannot work.

Blackwater helicopters in Iraq
Heath Powell / Flickr Creative Commons

    

During the early years of the Iraq War, the North Carolina security firm Blackwater received billions of dollars from government contracts with the State Department and the CIA. 

But the business began to suffer in 2007 when Blackwater contractors opened fire in a public square in Baghdad, killing 17 Iraqi civilians. The incident severely damaged American relations with Iraq. Today, four Blackwater guards are on trial. 

Randall Williams

  

North Carolina native Randall Williams says he knew he was going to be a doctor when he was four years old.

Unlike many who think they know their career path, Williams never changed his mind. He started working in the emergency room of his hometown hospital in Burlington as a teenager. He served as everything from a candy striper to an orderly before going to medical school.

He is now a Raleigh physician who has taken 11 trips to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Palestine for medical missions. He ran for mayor of Raleigh in the latest election.

Return From War

Apr 10, 2014
Intrepid Life Coffee and Spirits owner and Marine veteran Matt Victoriano
Carol Jackson

Military veterans face many challenges in combat zones and on battlefields. But what about the struggles they face when they return to civilian life?  

Matt Victoriano
Matt Victoriano

This is the story of two men. Both Marines. Both served in the Middle East. Both struggled when they returned. One Durham coffee shop brought them together and helped them re-connect to civilian life.

Ryan Wetter did two tours in Afghanistan. He conducted reconnaissance, often under cover of darkness. He is the 19th Marine  in his family to serve since the Korean war. He always knew he'd be a Marine. "Its like telling kids not to be a superhero. You see a superhero running around, that's what you want to be."

https://twitter.com/JayinKabul

    

The American military is drawing down forces in Afghanistan.

As troops depart and resources return home, on-the-ground media coverage of the conflict winds down as well. Reporter Jay Price has covered the country on three different tours. He also covered the war in Iraq for the News & Observer and its parent company, McClatchy Newspapers.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Jay Price about his experiences as a war correspondent and his unique perspective on America’s conflicts.

The Durham VA Medical Center
Durham VA Medical Center

The latest research suggests that for veterans, social support is just as important as medical care.

Host Frank Stasio talks with UNC Chapel Hill Associate Professor of Psychiatry Eric Elbogen, about his study showing that vets lacking social and financial stability are more likely to engage in violent behavior than those with posttraumatic stress disorder. Joining the conversation are Pete Tillman, public affairs officer for the Durham VA Medical Center, and Jason Hansman of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America.

The weight of paper files at the VA's Winston-Salem office threatened to collapse the floor.
Office of the Inspector General/Department of Veterans Affairs

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have been waiting months - sometimes years - for their disability claims to be processed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Recently, piled up claims threatened to buckle the floor at the Winston-Salem office. 

Russell Snyder was a patriotic American who joined the Army after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

What he saw in Iraq changed his view of the war and America's role in it. His new book, "Hearts and Mines: A Memoir of Psychological Warfare in Iraq" (Casemate/2012), chronicles his experiences during combat. Snyder joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the book and what shifted his perspective on the conflict.