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Iraq War

55 articles
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Casualties of War

A couple’s only son is killed in Iraq.

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The Killer Elite

Published across three consecutive issues and later adapted into the book (and mini-series) Generation Kill, the story of bullets, bombs and a Marine platoon at war in Iraq.

Previously: Evan Wright on the Longform Podcast.

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The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret

How killing by remote control has changed the way we fight.

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The Invisible Army

The expansion of private-security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan is well known. But armed security personnel account for only about sixteen per cent of the over-all contracting force. The vast majority—more than sixty per cent of the total in Iraq—aren’t hired guns but hired hands. These workers, primarily from South Asia and Africa, often live in barbed-wire compounds on U.S. bases, eat at meagre chow halls, and host dance parties featuring Nepalese romance ballads and Ugandan church songs. A large number are employed by fly-by-night subcontractors who are financed by the American taxpayer but who often operate outside the law.
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The Mystery of Why Marine Noah Pippin Went AWOL

The search for a missing soldier.

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The Last Tour

A decorated Iraq war veteran with PTSD kills his brother and himself after a high-speed chase near the Grand Canyon.

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Beyond The Battlefield: Afghanistan's Wounded Struggle With Genital Injuries

"I remember lying on my side, dust everywhere, and I looked down and saw my arms were split open and squirting blood and I had just two bloody stumps above my knees," said Marine 1st Lt. James Byler, 26, who was blown up a few weeks before Mark Litynski. "My first coherent words to my Marines were, 'Hey! check my nuts!'
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At Home, Asking How ‘Our Bobby’ Became War Crime Suspect

From a small Ohio town to Afghanistan, a portrait of the perpetrator of a massacre.

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Scott Ritter's Other War

How the former U.N. weapon’s inspector and “loudest and most credible skeptic of the Bush administration’s contention that Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction” ended up embroiled in an Internet sex scandal involving underage girls.

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In the City of Cement

As U.S. troops departed, Baghdad in ruins.

Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. While on assignment for the New York Times, Anthony Shadid died today in Syria.
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Searching for the Wounded Platoon

A reporter makes it his mission to track down all 42 members of a platoon after their service in Iraq.

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Two Soldiers

Specialists Solomon Bangayan and Marc Seiden fought together in Bravo Company’s 3rd Platoon in Iraq. Both were killed.

Here’s how they made it home.

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The Girl Who Tried to Save the World

The life and death of Marla Ruzicka, a 28-year-old aid worker in Baghdad.

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Guantanamo: An Oral History

On Thanksgiving weekend, I received a phone call informing me that we had just captured approximately 300 al-Qaeda and Taliban. I asked all our assistant secretaries and regional bureaus to canvass literally the world to begin to look at what options we had as to where a detention facility could be established. We began to eliminate places for different reasons. One day, in one of our meetings, we sat there puzzled as places continued to be eliminated. An individual from the Department of Justice effectively blurted out, What about Guantánamo?
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The Shot That Nearly Killed Me

War photographers tell the stories behind their most harrowing images.

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Mercenary

The story of a professional assassin.

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The Fifty-First State?

A prescient take on what the US invasion of Iraq would mean for both countries.

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A Soldier's Tale: Lynndie England

The author interviews England in prison:

By now, people all over the world have heard of Lynndie England. She's the "Small-Town Girl Who Became an All-American Monster," as one Australian newspaper headline described her, or "the girl with a leash," as Mick Jagger calls her in the song "Dangerous Beauty." Yet England remains a mystery. Is she a torturer? A pawn? Another victim of the Iraq war? While the world weighed in, England said very little.

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Martyrdom and 9/11

An essay on the evolving narrative of martyrdom in the Islamist and secular worlds.

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Army vet with PTSD sought the treatment he needed by taking hostages – but got jail instead

The story of Robert Quinones:

Fifteen months of carnage in Iraq had left the 29-year-old debilitated by post-traumatic stress disorder. But despite his doctor’s urgent recommendation, the Army failed to send him to a Warrior Transition Unit for help. The best the Department of Veterans Affairs could offer was 10-minute therapy sessions — via videoconference. So, early on Labor Day morning last year, after topping off a night of drinking with a handful of sleeping pills, Quinones barged into Fort Stewart’s hospital, forced his way to the third-floor psychiatric ward and held three soldiers hostage, demanding better mental health treatment.

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The Agony and the Ecstasy

A clinical test is underway to evaluate MDMA—ecstasy—as a treatment for PTSD.

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Death in a Box

The truth and consequences of reporting from a war zone.

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Vetville

Alan Beaty’s Tennessee farm serves an unofficial halfway house for Marines struggling with their return to civilian life.

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The Unquiet Life of Franz Gayl

The story of a Marine who saved innumerable lives, then got fired.

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The Man Who Would Be King

The first five years of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s tenure have been marked by a dangerous consolidation of power.

According to political allies and Western diplomats who have worked with Maliki, he isn't so much power-hungry as deeply cynical and mistrusting. The Dawa Party, which Maliki joined as a young man, was hunted by Saddam's Baathist regime. Even those living in exile -- like Maliki, who lived in Syria and Iran for more than 20 years -- organized themselves into isolated cells to protect against the regime's spies and limit the information that any one member might divulge if he were captured or compromised. Maliki's early career was saturated in perpetual suspicion.

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The Secret History of Iraq’s Invisible War

In the early years of the Iraq war, the U.S. military developed a technology so secret that soldiers would refuse to acknowledge its existence, and reporters mentioning the gear were promptly escorted out of the country. That equipment—a radio-frequency jammer—was upgraded several times, and eventually robbed the Iraq insurgency of its most potent weapon, the remote-controlled bomb.
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How Corporate Branding Has Taken Over America

What happened when the U.S. Military decided to take its lead from America’s biggest brands.

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Just Desert

On the life of an American soldier AWOL in Canada:

I asked him what it's like to have the entire U.S. Army after you, and he thought for a moment and said slowly, "It's like I'm carrying a heavy rock in my backpack." This is as close to introspection as McDowell gets.

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The Hot-Money Cowboys of Baghdad

On the investors betting big on the Iraqi economy, which they believe has nowhere to go but up.

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The Fort Carson Murder Spree

All told, the military acknowledged this summer, 14 soldiers from the base have been charged or convicted in at least 11 slayings since 2005 — the largest killing spree involving soldiers at a single U.S. military installation in modern history.
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The City of Broken Men

Nearly every American soldier injured in Iraq or Afghanistan is treated—for a few days at least—at a single hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

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Operation Iraqi Vacation

From the Tower of Babel to the birthplace of Abraham, from Saddam’s ruined palaces to fortified blast-proof checkpoints, a diary from a nine-day, eight-night tour of Mespotamia/Iraq.

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Exposure

A profile of Sabrina Harman, the soldier who took many of the notorious Abu Ghraib photographs.

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Aftershock: The Blast That Shook Psycho Platoon

In January 2009, a U.S. platoon came under rocket attack in Iraq. Two years later, how the event changed the soldiers’ lives.

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The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Omar Mohammed (most certainly not his real name), a former Iraqi cop, is widely believed to be the most skilled and prolific terrorist hunter alive. Recently, he personally killed two of Al-Qaeda’s senior commanders in Iraq. He has already been shot and blown up, and with U.S. forces on their way out, his chances of survival in Baghdad are slim.

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Tuesdays with Saddam

The diary of a Scranton, PA National Guardsmen tasked with guarding the highest profile prisoner in U.S history: a surprisingly amiable Saddam Hussein.

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The Toppling

The story behind the fall of Saddam’s statue in Baghdad.

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Oh! What a Lucrative War

How to spend $1.2 million per month on your laundry in Kuwait; the system of kickbacks and non-competitive contracts that made Halliburton/KBR the near-exclusive contractor in the Iraq war zone.

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Double Exposure

A profile of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, published at the height of the controversy.

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A Protocol of Barbarity

400,000 Wiki-leaked reports that confirm the minute-by-minute misadventures of a “military at war with its own inner demons” in the unforgiving terrain of Iraq.

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Jesus killed Mohammed

How the U.S. Army went evangelical and turned a war into a crusade.

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Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy

The boyish CEO of America’s largest and most controversial mercenary force, Blackwater, also happened to be a C.I.A. agent.

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The War Logs: View is Bleaker…

Selections from the leaked documents about the war in Afghanistan portray a military effort that is ineffective and frequently absurd. (Part of the NYT War Logs series.)

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The Things That Carried Him

The pain and beauty of U.S. military funerals. The author follows fallen soldier Joe Montgomery from field to grave.

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Kill Company

The shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later culture of the 101st Airborne Division, an execution of captured Iraqi prisoners, and how far up the chain of command responsibility lies.

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Out of Iraq

A war correspondent decides to rent a house in Baghdad to save money. Complications ensue.

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He Knew He Was Right

How Christopher Hitchens, a former socialist, became one of the most vigorous defenders of the war in Iraq.

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Tales of the Tyrant

The daily life of Saddam Hussein.

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My Long War

A mission in Baghdad to let a photojournalist get a shot of an insurgent corpse ends up getting a Marine killed.

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Iraq’s Walking Dead

Kurdistan is the safest and most stable region in Iraq and at the center of its modern history is Amna Surak Prison, ground zero for both a genocide and an uprising.

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Pat Dollard’s War on Hollywood

He was just another coked-up agent (repping the likes of Steven Soderbergh) when he disappeared into Iraq, shooting heaps of footage he would attempt to package into a pro-war documentary. And that was just the beginning.

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The Heavy Footfalls of Doc Hullender

An acquaintance dies in Iraq and a writer investigates. “How did Michael come to inspire such loyalty? And how did he come to die on the floodplain of the Euphrates? I looked closer and saw they were the same.”

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The Professor of War

David Petraeus, father of the surge and the uncontested “most competitive” man in the military.