Nick Turse
This has been a gut punch to the morale of the Marine Corps and painful for a lot of families who are saying, ‘I thought my son died for a reason.’

Kael Weston, a former State Department political adviser who worked with Marines for nearly three years in Falluja and the surrounding Anbar Province, following the recent taking of that city by Sunni insurgents.

Falluja’s Fall Stuns Marines Who Fought There - NYTimes.com

I’ll never know why they died. It wasn’t to stop the ‘mushroom cloud’ or to defend the nation after 9/11. It sure wasn’t for freedom, democracy, apple pie, or mom and dad back home.

Iraq War veteran Paul Szoldra from “Tell Me Again, Why Did My Friends Die in Iraq?” in Business Insider.

Imagine how many Iraqis might ask: “Tell me again, why did my friends die in Iraq after Paul Szoldra and the rest of the Americans came?”

The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken… If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace.
Nelson Mandela in 2002, courtesy of Newsweek.
The near future is dark.
Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia religious leader whose Mehdi Army militia fought the US military during the Iraq War, on the state of Iraq from “The near future of Iraq is dark’: Warning from Muqtada al-Sadr - the Shia cleric whose word is law to millions of his countrymen" The Independent
Over 135,000 Iraqi civilians were injured in conflict and violence between March 2003 and March 2013 according to Iraq Body Count, but figures from the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry put the number at 250,000 by May 2012. So far in 2013, the French news agency, Agence France-Presse has documented almost 15,000 Iraqis wounded in violence.
IRIN’s Cathy Otten on the state of the Iraqi healthcare system and what it means for victims of a war that never ends. For the full story, see "Victims of violence struggle for medical treatment in Iraq"
American soldier charged in killings of deaf, unarmed Iraqi teens
Then-Staff Sgt. Michael Barbera is accused of killing Ahmad Khalid al-Timmimi, 15, and his brother Abbas, 14, as they tended to cattle in a palm grove near As Sadah, an Iraqi village about 50 miles northeast of Baghdad in March 2007.

American soldier charged in killings of deaf, unarmed Iraqi teens

Then-Staff Sgt. Michael Barbera is accused of killing Ahmad Khalid al-Timmimi, 15, and his brother Abbas, 14, as they tended to cattle in a palm grove near As Sadah, an Iraqi village about 50 miles northeast of Baghdad in March 2007.

As a prelude to Veterans Day, here’s my (somewhat truncated) review of David Finkel’s Thank You for Your Service in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Finkel has given us an important book about the toll that the Iraq War took on Americans who served there, but we still await books written with the same depth, care, empathy and literary polish as Thank You for Your Service about Iraqi women killed at American checkpoints, Iraqi men killed by local militias, Iraqi boys killed by car bombs, desperate and homeless Iraqi girls forced into prostitution, Iraqi families chased from their neighborhoods - that is, all those people who didn’t travel halfway around the world to invade, occupy and sometimes kill, but nonetheless found themselves traumatized by the war.

As a prelude to Veterans Day, here’s my (somewhat truncated) review of David Finkel’s Thank You for Your Service in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Finkel has given us an important book about the toll that the Iraq War took on Americans who served there, but we still await books written with the same depth, care, empathy and literary polish as Thank You for Your Service about Iraqi women killed at American checkpoints, Iraqi men killed by local militias, Iraqi boys killed by car bombs, desperate and homeless Iraqi girls forced into prostitution, Iraqi families chased from their neighborhoods - that is, all those people who didn’t travel halfway around the world to invade, occupy and sometimes kill, but nonetheless found themselves traumatized by the war.

Members of the U.S. Army Charlie Company pass a secondary explosion en route to Baghdad, Iraq, April 2003. Christopher Morris/VII

Members of the U.S. Army Charlie Company pass a secondary explosion en route to Baghdad, Iraq, April 2003. Christopher Morris/VII

Ropes from the hangman’s gallows are seen in Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad, Iraq, where political and criminal prisoners from the war were held, April 19, 2003. Ron Haviv/VII

Ropes from the hangman’s gallows are seen in Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad, Iraq, where political and criminal prisoners from the war were held, April 19, 2003. Ron Haviv/VII

A mosaic of Saddam Hussein lies in ruins on the road to Basra, southern Iraq, March 28, 2003. Antonin Kratochvil/VII

A mosaic of Saddam Hussein lies in ruins on the road to Basra, southern Iraq, March 28, 2003. Antonin Kratochvil/VII