My Iraq War

On March 20, 2023 the New York Times published Iraq, 20 Years Later: A Changed Washington and a Terrible Toll on America. The anniversary of the start of the Iraq war came and went without much attention. American society has moved on from the Iraq war, it is a part of history now. But, the article resonated with me. The anniversary inspired me to finally write about my experiences.

With this project I intend to reconsider my personal war experience. People's memories are faulty, so I will not focus on recounting what I remember to have happened. I will use journal entries, letters, and other writings as the basis for a reflection. Those reflections may include incongruities between my memories and these primary sources.

I don't yet know what I might discover through this process. I intend to publish vignettes that reflect what I was experiencing on that day twenty years earlier. Because I will be publishing as I discover, it is unlikely that one post will flow seamlessly into the next. But, maybe that reflects the reactionary nature of my experience, and perhaps in retrospect some of those gaps can be better understood.

I want to say that this project is timely. The world is engulfed in war again. Russia has invaded Ukraine, Israel might invade Gaza, and there are probably other invasions in progress that are not on the nightly news. I want to say this is timely, but the reality is that war is ever present. At any point in time there is a high chance that military activities are being carried out somewhere in the world.

Sustained peace across the world would be amazing. Unfortunately, the reality is that so long as there is one person who is willing to start a war to advance their agenda, the rest of us must maintain a level of vigilance. As much as I personally yearn for universal peace and prosperity, I realize that unilateral disarmament is unlikely to further that goal. The world is a complicated place, and humans have not yet evolved past violence.


  • 07 April 2003

    I was doing a screen share with a colleague in Germany when Tom told me I should wrap up my call. The confusion caused by the unusual request was only heightened when Tom said, "we're getting a TV set up, you should see this." On a small staticky screen we watched large passenger planes crash into a New York City sky scrapper. The clips of the tragedy were on loop, on every station. It took a short eternity to realize that this was not an accident. More planes had crashed, and the incidents were related. Once I understood what had happened, I was certain that my National Guard unit was going to be activated and deployed. …

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  • 16 August 2003

    On 14 August 2003 the Northeastern United States and Canada experienced a massive blackout which started right here in Akron, Ohio. Two days later I received a call from my sergeant, and based upon an almost manic journal entry, I may have been working on creating my own personal blackout. I learned that I would be activated and deployed to support the Global War on Terrorism. Rather than doing easy time guarding the Perry Nuclear Plant, I was destined for an overseas deployment. And, by the time my pen hit paper that day I was apparently fully engulfed in the second stage of grief. …

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  • 21 September 2003

    I was worried that deployment would wreck my home. It's not an unreasonable fear, that outcome is a high probability event. A lot of things need to happen in order for a family not to be destroyed by a deployment, the sundry details fall into one of three conditional categories. The people left behind have to hold everything together with one less contributor. The person deployed has to make it through the deployment. And, the expeditioner must successfully re-integrate into society. This last item is often taken for granted. Most assume that surviving the war is surviving the hazardous part. …

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