In Iraq, Hundreds of Inmates May Have Escaped After Suicide Bombers Attack Prisons

A dozen suicide bombers targeted two prisons outside of Baghdad over the weekend. Hundreds of inmates, including al-Qaida militants, are believed to have escaped. Across Iraq, the death toll due to sectarian violence has been on the rise since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Judy Woodruff reports.

A sobering look at the Iraq War, ten years after the fall of Baghdad.

Tags: Iraq ten years

The first chords of the Iraq War struck ten years ago on March 19, 2003, in the form of airstrikes on Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace in Baghdad. There was no formal “declaration” of war, but President George W. Bush had made clear two evenings earlier in an address to the nation; Saddam had to go.
American forces came home in December 2011. 4,487 troops had given their lives and nearly 40,000 were wounded. Of the Iraqis, the surveys vary but agree that at least 100,000 civilians died in the war and strife. Iraqis have a government of their own choosing, and the rights afforded citizens in a democracy, but the struggle for safer, better lives goes on.
What lessons can we take from the Iraq War? Tell us what you think here.

The first chords of the Iraq War struck ten years ago on March 19, 2003, in the form of airstrikes on Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace in Baghdad. There was no formal “declaration” of war, but President George W. Bush had made clear two evenings earlier in an address to the nation; Saddam had to go.

American forces came home in December 2011. 4,487 troops had given their lives and nearly 40,000 were wounded. Of the Iraqis, the surveys vary but agree that at least 100,000 civilians died in the war and strife. Iraqis have a government of their own choosing, and the rights afforded citizens in a democracy, but the struggle for safer, better lives goes on.

What lessons can we take from the Iraq War? Tell us what you think here.

Tags: Iraq World

More U.S. Troops Died by Suicide Than in Afghanistan Combat in 2012

After a decade of war, more servicepeople died by their own hand last year than were killed in action with the enemy. Watch Ray Suarez’s interview with Dr. psychiatrist and retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis; interview highlights below.

Q: Why now? Why is the suicide rate going up when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been winding down?

A: We have seen this before. We saw it 20 years ago in the first Gulf War. We even in some ways saw it after Vietnam. I mean, the issues of medical health, of personal stress, of family stress, in fact, go up after the actual fighting has stopped and the soldiers redeploy, they’re back in garrison, because the force is still under a lot of stress.

And we find now, in fact, that the military is about to get into this phase of downsizing. Probably 100,000 or so Army soldiers and Marines will be leaving the military. There are going to be budget cuts. And all these things are putting great burden on the leadership and great burden on the soldiers on the front lines.

And that accumulates and builds, and it ends up that you have got that group that, in fact, will have — will commit suicide as their expression of that stress.

Q: If someone reports they are having trouble, are they given long-term treatment, or are they removed from the service first?

A: Well, both. Interestingly, and sadly, over half the people who commit suicide have already seen mental health clinicians…These are tough problems. The soldiers have…really been affected by a number different stresses.

It’s not just the emotional stress of combat and seeing their fellow soldiers killed and maimed. They have been exposed to IED blasts, have concussions. Their sleep patterns are very disturbed, which causes in of itself some sort of psychiatric and psychological difficulties.

They’re exposed to toxins. They come home to family situations. And they’re young people. And young people have a lot of ups and downs. So there’s lots of different factors here. And no one is the real particular cause for these suicides.

Q: So, what should we be on the lookout for? Is there any way that’s reliable to keep an eye on people who may be in real trouble when they come back from active duty?

A: There’s not one real technique or tactic you can use. What we should recognize is that this is an epidemic, in the sense that it’s across the Army. The whole Army has been — and Marine Corps and the other services under — have been a lot of stress. And the focus, I think, is on changing the culture and making and bringing the spotlight on to the individual and everyone being concerned for the kinds of stresses that they’re showing and that may lead to the various problems.

I mean, there are problems with misconduct, with family abuse, with drug and alcohol abuse, with sexual assaults. There’s all sorts of things that really end up being the signals of these 10 years of war and stress on the individuals.”

Related:
Transcript
Video: The Wilderness After War — Living with PTSD 

"

The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al-Qaeda.

This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.

"

— Excerpt of President Obama’s upcoming 7:30 p.m. ET speech from Afghanistan, as prepared for delivery. Stream the speech live.

"In 2008, Congress passed a law allowing up to 5,000 Iraqis who’d worked with Americans to come to the U.S. with their families as refugees each year. But the process of issuing visas has been slow. In no year has the number exceeded 1,500. And, since 2009, it’s been falling."
Thousands of Iraqis Who Helped Americans in War Caught in Visa Holdup

"In 2008, Congress passed a law allowing up to 5,000 Iraqis who’d worked with Americans to come to the U.S. with their families as refugees each year. But the process of issuing visas has been slow. In no year has the number exceeded 1,500. And, since 2009, it’s been falling."

Thousands of Iraqis Who Helped Americans in War Caught in Visa Holdup

(Source: http)

"…Oftentimes, the only acknowledgment I get is somebody handing me a handshake and saying, "Thank you for your service."
And I personally feel, if you are really grateful, go do something for a vet. Go volunteer for a charity. Go start one. Go help in some capacity.”
Four Iraq war veterans share their experiences and reflect on the personal impact of the nine-year war.

"…Oftentimes, the only acknowledgment I get is somebody handing me a handshake and saying, "Thank you for your service."

And I personally feel, if you are really grateful, go do something for a vet. Go volunteer for a charity. Go start one. Go help in some capacity.”

Four Iraq war veterans share their experiences and reflect on the personal impact of the nine-year war.

Several thousand Iraqis, including many who helped the United States during the Iraq war, are caught in a grim race between death threats in their own country and the cumbersome process of obtaining a visa.
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(PHOTO: An interpreter speaks with Kurdish villagers in Al-Hamdaniya district, Iraq. Photo by Warrick Page/Getty Images.)

Several thousand Iraqis, including many who helped the United States during the Iraq war, are caught in a grim race between death threats in their own country and the cumbersome process of obtaining a visa.

MORE

(PHOTO: An interpreter speaks with Kurdish villagers in Al-Hamdaniya district, Iraq. Photo by Warrick Page/Getty Images.)


"We didn’t think we had changed. We thought we were back from war and we  were good to go,"

—24-year-old combat veteran Dominic Fredianelli.
Go watch “Where Soldiers Come From” for a look at how intricately war is interwoven into the experience of small communities across the country.
Full video
Interview with the director and two of the soldiers from the film

"We didn’t think we had changed. We thought we were back from war and we were good to go,"

—24-year-old combat veteran Dominic Fredianelli.

Go watch “Where Soldiers Come From” for a look at how intricately war is interwoven into the experience of small communities across the country.

Full video

Interview with the director and two of the soldiers from the film

"Our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays," President Obama said today when announcing a complete troop withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the year.

Here’s the video if you missed it.

More here