Iraq War

Courtesy of David Strange

American troops have been in Iraq for nearly three decades. From Operation Desert Storm under George H. W. Bush back in the 1990s, to a U.S.-led intervention that started in 2014 under Barack Obama and continues under our new administration. 

Three Kansas City veterans reflect on their service in the Middle Eastern country, and their lives before and after.

Senior Airman Kerry Steuart

Kerry Steuart joined the Air Force in 1991, a career move reflecting an economic depression in Oklahoma at the time, where Steuart was living.

Courtesy of David Strange

American troops have been in Iraq for three decades, from Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s to today, with civilians trapped in the ISIS-held city of Mosul.

A conversation with three local veterans who have served in Iraq at different times and under different administrations.

Guests:

James Hugo Rifenbark

Kyle Powell died in my arms, November 4, 2006.

That's the first line of Gerardo "Tony" Mena's poem "So I Was a Coffin," which he set to music, added photographs from other members of the United States Marine Corps' 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, and posted on YouTube.

While Whitney Terrell was writing The King of Kings County, a novel based in 1950s Kansas, America was invading Iraq. His strong feelings about the war drove him to embed with reporters in Iraq, and the result is his latest novel about war, companionship and the folly of combat. 

Courtesy Logan Black

Logan Black is an Iraq War veteran and an actor. Last year he moved Kansas City Fringe Festival audiences with Bond: A Soldier and His Dog, a one-act play he wrote about his relationship with a specialized search dog named Diego.

With another run for the show this month, however, Black has faced a tough reality, with implications for the play’s future: Diego hasn't been well.

Black was Diego's handler. Together, they cleared roads of roadside bombs and searched homes and discovered other stockpiles of ordnance.

Her powerful words were enough for the government of Saddam Hussein to declare her an enemy.  For Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail, poetry has charted and changed the course of her life in significant ways. On this edition of Up To Date, we discuss the experience of relaying her personal experiences  into verse and hear some of her stark and poignant poetry.

When you think of Iraq and Afghanistan, you think of American soldiers in uniform, but what may surprise you is how many private contractors are there too. In recent years, the ratio of contractors to  uniformed soldiers has been 10 to one.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with a journalist about the increase in these forces and why relying on them so much might not be a good idea.

Guest:

Frank Morris / KCUR

Nearly two million active duty U.S. servicemen and women are due back home by the end of this year. Many have struggled to reintegrate, but few more profoundly, or more publicly, than Tomas Young of Kansas City.   Young now says he’s ready to take his own life, but not before making one more stand against the war that wrecked his body.