News / Middle East

As US Mission Ends, American Soldiers, Iraqis Reflect on Pain of War

Sharon Behn

In a few days the U.S. military will end its presence in Iraq after almost nine years. American soldiers and Iraqis view the withdrawal with a mixture of emotions. Our correspondent reports from Camp Adder near the southern Iraqi town of Nasriyah.

By the end of the year, American flags will be lowered in this base in southern Iraq. It will mark the end of almost nine years of American military presence in Iraq.

Command Sgt. Maj. Butler Kendrick Jr. of the 20th Engineer Brigade was one of the first into Iraq in the initial invasion of  2003. He served multiple tours, and returned again this year, making him one of the last to leave.

He's anticipating a new life at home.

“I look forward to spending time with my daughter and my wife, and just being able to enjoy the simple things in life," said  Sgt. Maj. Kendrick.

But Sgt. Maj. Kendrick is taking some hard memories home with him. The loss of his company commander Major James Ahearn four years ago, killed by a bomb in the summer of 2007, is something he cannot forget.   

“Uhhh … He was hit with an IED. And I wasn't on the patrol with him, and that's who, out of all the fallen comrades, that's the one I remember the most, because he was my battle buddy," he said.

More than 4,400 Americans died in Iraq. Many more were injured. The U.S. says it was a fight to replace a dictatorship with democracy.

General Jeffrey Buchanan says there has been progress, but the future is now up to the Iraqis.

“As somebody who has served here for many of those eight years, it's been very inspirational to watch the progress, but at the the same time I never forget the cost and the sacrifice," said General Buchanan. "I think that the Iraqi people now have a tremendous set of opportunities that they never had before. My greatest hope is that take advantage of the opportunities that they have.”

Some Iraqis are not so sure the U.S. invasion that left tens of thousands of Iraqis dead was worth the cost.

Heba Hisham's older sister was one of the ones who died. She died at the age of 22 in a Baghdad hospital. Doctors there were unable to save her because they had run out of  proper supplies.

“It doesn't matter how tough life was before Saddam, before the war," said Heba Hisham. "But I think was it worth killing that many people, was it worth young people dying? I don't think it was worth it. I really, really don't. And the problem is, we don't see any change. It's like, there are still explosions, there are still bombings, people are still dying.”

Eight and half years of war has left deep scars on the Americans who served and the Iraqis who endured it.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid