Iraq

Politics & Government
2:59 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Former President Carter backs U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq, but not Syria

Former President Jimmy Carter supports U.S. air strikes in Iraq, but he doubts similar attacks on ISIS in Syria would be effective.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Former President Jimmy Carter told a Grand Rapids audience Monday that he supports U.S. military air strikes against Islamic extremists in Iraq, though he’s less supportive of similar air strikes in Syria.

The U.S. launched air strikes against ISIS in Syria last night.   This follows a series of air strikes against military targets in northern Iraq.  

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Families & Community
10:10 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Dearborn Muslims rally against ISIS, pray for family of James Foley

Several clerics spoke to the crowd on the steps of Dearborn's City Hall.
Credit Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Muslim clerics held a vigil in Dearborn last night to show their opposition to ISIS, and to pray for the family of James Foley, an American reporter killed recently by the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria.

The small crowd held candles and signs saying “Muslims against ISIS.”

Sara Albusaid immigrated to Dearborn from Iraq.

She says her husband and son are still in southern Iraq, where they're being inundated with people fleeing the violence in other parts of the country.

"I mean, it's not just my country. I'm very worried about all the world. It makes me cry a lot, because I see you know, innocent people [have] died. I have to raise my voice" said Albusaid.

Albusaid says she’s frustrated with U.S. forces for leaving Iraq and creating the political vacuum that has allowed ISIS to spread.

"I feel very angry because, you know, when they go inside Iraq they said we are the big help for Iraqi people, and then after that, they don't care," she said. "Or there is something they wanted from Iraq, and they take it and they leave."

More than one cleric told the crowd they have to publicly stand up against any group that commits violence in the name of Islam.

Politics & Government
4:48 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Michigan congressman worries about future U.S. military action in Iraq

“I think that before we would ever commit troops again (in Iraq) the president would have to present a case that we would have to sign off on,” says Rep. Fred Upton (MI-R)
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, says President Obama should be more open about his plans for U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

The U.S. has been dropping bombs on Islamic militants in northern Iraq for a week.

The group, commonly known as ISIS, has been expanding its hold on the region and destabilizing the Iraqi government and forcing Christians to flee.

Congressman Fred Upton is concerned President Obama may expand the U.S. role in Iraq without congressional approval.

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Politics & Government
1:35 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Kildee fears Obama's possible support of Iraq might tempt U.S back into war

“Obviously my main concern is that we do not act in a rash manner,” says Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint)
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee is concerned the current crisis in Iraq might pull the U.S. back into that country.

Sunni militants have seized control of several northern Iraqi cities and are threatening to attack Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.

The Obama administration recently hinted at possible options to help support the Iraqi government.

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Culture
11:59 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Veterans Day celebrated in Flint this morning

Retired Master Sergeant Tom Salvador salutes the flag during a Veterans Day ceremony at Flint city hall
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

It's Veterans Day, and all across Michigan, small ceremonies are taking place honoring the nation's military veterans.

A light rain fell in Flint as a small ceremony was held at 11 a.m.

Veterans Day has it's roots in the Armistice that ended World War I. Under the terms of the armistice, that war ended at "The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month."

Vietnam era veteran Raul Garcia told the small group assembled in front of Flint city hall of his pride of being part of a military family.

"To me, it's just a great pride to wear this uniform knowing that we are the greatest nation around," Garcia said. 

There are more than 650,000 military veterans in Michigan.

Economy
3:48 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Michigan's immigrant population is declining — except for one group

Welcome to Michigan.
user JMR_Photography Flickr

Fewer immigrants are choosing to make Michigan their new home, according to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security.

Last year, Michigan’s immigrant population dropped 4.6% — the second-lowest level in the past 12 years.  

That decline doesn’t fit with current immigration trends in the Midwest. Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio have all seen an increase in immigration. Only Michigan and Wisconsin are experiencing a drop.

But while the number of newcomers coming to the state is on the decline, one immigrant group continues to flow to Michigan — Iraqis.

“Michigan is just second to California in terms of its attraction of Iraqi immigrants,” said Kurt Metzger, director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit.

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Offbeat
3:45 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Small community attempts to 'make it right' for Michigan soldier whose medals came late

Boyscouts line up to shake Wright's hand and thank him for his service.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Update 5/29/13: This story has been corrected to reflect Wright’s rank as Specialist, not Sergeant. Wright misrepresented his rank during the formal event.  

Memorial Day was particularly special for an injured Iraqi war veteran from Allegan.

Hundreds huddled close at Oakwood Cemetery Monday morning. Some wept as Amy Wright finally pinned a Purple Heart on her husband’s uniform. He kneeled so his 7-year old daughter Torin could pin on the other one.

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Military
5:13 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

After Afghanistan, one unit's new mission: cope as civilians

MSU Professor Adrian Blow will lead the study on military families
Kurt Stepnitz Michigan State University News

After a year's deployment in Afghanistan, 600 members of Michigan's National Guard are coming home. They'll join the ranks of 19,00 local Guardsmen and women who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But this particular unit will soon embark on a new mission. And this time, they're bringing their families.

For 3 years, the veterans, their spouses, and children will be part of a Michigan State University study on how families cope with life after combat.

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Politics
9:01 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Detroit's Chaldean community fears for Middle East Christians

Iraqi Christians mourn following a 2010 attack on a Baghdad church that killed dozens
AP Photo

The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Arab Spring revolutions have meant a year of anxiety for Metro Detroit’s Arab Christian community.

Most members of that community are Chaldean, mostly Iraqi Catholics. Southeast Michigan is home to the largest Chaldean population outside Iraq.

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Politics
5:07 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Iraq War ends, 159 Michigan soldiers killed, Senator Levin asks for reflection

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks at a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq. "The cost was high. The blood and treasure of the United States and also for the Iraqi people," Panetta said.
screen grab from NYTimes video

Today, the U.S. government held a low-key ceremony to mark the end of military involvement in Iraq.

159 Michigan soldiers were killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave remarks to U.S. troops at a heavily fortified Baghdad International Airport.

Tim Arango reported for the New York Times:

After nearly nine years, some 4,500 American fatalities and about $1 trillion, America’s war in Iraq is about to end. Officials marked the finish Thursday with a modest ceremony at the airport days before the last troops traverse the southern highway to Kuwait, going out as they came in, to conclude the United States’ most ambitious and bloodiest military campaign since Vietnam.

Iraqis will be left with a country that is not exactly at war, and not exactly at peace.

At a Shiite ceremony in Baghdad, one Shia member was thankful to the U.S. for one thing only:

"We are only thankful to them because they got rid of Saddam Hussein. They didn't bring any hope, any construction, any electricity, any water or any infrastructure."

Michigan Senator Carl Levin released this statement today:

“I hope every American will take some time today to reflect on the immense courage and selflessness of our men and women in uniform and their families over the last eight years. Over repeated deployments, in difficult and dangerous conditions, hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines served in Iraq with honor. Beyond their service, they gave our nation unity – the unity of a people who, though divided over the decision to go to war, supported the men and women who fought it.”

Economy
12:03 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Michigan companies closer to part in Iraq projects

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A consortium of Michigan companies says it's eager to oversee the building of a new city near Baghdad that draws on the skills of Iraqi immigrants living in Michigan.

Officials from the National Investment Commission of Iraq were announcing Tuesday that they've signed a memorandum of understanding with the consortium, MICH Development, to plan and
build a new city of 500,000 on the outskirts of Baghdad.

The agreement gives the consortium what it needs to take the next step - raising billions of dollars from banks and private investors to get the project under way by late 2012.

Although much of the building is expected to be done by Iraqi workers, Michigan companies could win as much as $1.5 billion in contracts.

Veterans Day
5:17 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

The "unfinished business" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Master Sergeant Orlando Garcia featured in a story by Britain's Channel 4 News on PTSD in the U.S. Army.
Britain's Channel 4 News screenshot

Earlier today I posted the stories of two young veterans who had served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Multiple tours overseas is common in today's military. Re-enlistments helped keep these wars supplied with soldiers over the last ten years.

The problem, as Bernard Rostker of the Rand Corporation put it, "the more you go the more you’re exposed, the more likely you will eventually have some adverse psychological reactions."

Rostker is a former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and a former senior policy advisor on recruitment for the Secretary of Defense.

He said the propensity to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is cumulative. And with soldiers serving multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, they're more at risk than a soldier serving a single tour.

PTSD can show up much later in life.

"This is going to be a huge concern for the military," said Rostker.

"Rand did a study, it was a random telephone interview of large numbers of vets using screening techniques for PTSD, and came to the conclusion that there was a huge number of unreported cases. It was controversial with the Department of Defense who looked at the number of people being treated versus those identified with PTSD and noticed lots were going untreated," said Rostker.

In 2010, Britain's Channel 4 News did an excellent piece on the challenges facing today's military.

You can view it here:

 

Bernard Rostker said the military has come a long way in its understanding of the psychological effects of war.

"We’re much more aware of it today, but it’s still the unfinished business of this war," said Rostker.

Iraq Draw Down
4:01 pm
Sat August 27, 2011

Michigan National Guard Units returning home

About a thousand Michigan Army and Air National Guardsmen will spend the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend back home, after spending the past year in Iraq and Kuwait.  Two battalions of guardsmen have been arriving in cities and towns across Michigan during the past few days.  

Captain Aaron Jenkins is a Michigan National Guard spokesman.    He says moving the troops from the Middle East to Michigan is complicated by the need to bring their equipment back with the troops.   

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War
12:15 pm
Fri July 8, 2011

204 - the number of Michigan soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq thus far

A screenshot of CNN's interactive map showing 45 Michigan soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
screenshot of CNN website

More than 6,000 U.S. servicemen and servicewomen have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to iCasualties.org.

Several media outlets track this information and break it down by state.

CNN.com has an interactive map that lists the casualties separately from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their maps show where the soldier was from, and where they were killed.

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