war | Connecticut Public Radio


Flickr Creative Commons, The U.S. Army

If you had to tell the story of 10 years ago today, the story of our invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, what story would you tell? How hard would it be to assemble a narrative?

Today we'll look at that story through the lens of collective (or collected) memory, a fascinating branch of history that looks at the way people and societies assemble and preserve factual narratives.

 We'll also look at one high school history teacher's attempt to teach the Iraq War even as it hovers on the cusp that separates contemporary issues from history.

U.S. Air Force photo - Tech. Sgt. Rick Sforza (Creative Commons)

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. Throughout the day, we're looking back at what has changed over the last 10 years both there and here at home. It was a war that cost trillions of dollars and more importantly, thousands of lives.

Sikorsky Aircraft

The war in Iraq has had a profound effect on Connecticut’s economy in the last decade. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it has vastly increased the importance of the defense industry.


Connecticut has always had a strong reliance on the Department of Defense, but Pentagon spending here acquired a new importance in recent years.


“You’ve seen about a threefold increase since  2003. That’s an enormous number and it’s an enormous part of our state’s GDP.”


Photo by Chion Wolf

The state's Commissioner of Veterans Affairs is applauding news that the military is ending its ban on women serving in the infantry and other ground combat. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil has more from Vietnam veteran Linda Schwartz.


Do people care about their own history?

Movie box office reports would suggest that they care about vampires approximately three times as much as they care about Lincoln and the end of slavery. Most people in Connecticut, I'm convinced, know almost nothing about the history of Connecticut and can only be persuaded to care by great exertions -- such as the one we're about to make.

But writer Robert Sullivan offers a novel approach. If you really want to connect with history, figure out where it happened, and go there, and have your own adventures.

Kevin Burkett (Flickr Creative Commons)

An Exceptionally Deadly War

Jun 29, 2012

The American Civil War was an exceptionally deadly war that lasted longer than either side anticipated.  A particularly fatal set of battles was the Seven Days Battles at the start of the war, which set the tone for things to come. The Seven Days Battles lasted from June 25 to July 1, 1862 and were the culmination of Major General George B. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign, an unsuccessful attempt to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.   

Custer's Commander

Jun 22, 2012

On June 25, 1876, over two hundred men serving under George Armstrong Custer were wiped out by a combined force of Lakota and Cheyenne warriors at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in present-day Montana. Custer’s Seventh Cavalry was part of a larger military operation intended to round up the remaining free Plains Indians and force them onto reservations. This larger force was led by General Alfred H. Terry, Commander of the Department of Dakota.


Apr 7, 2012

Following the Union disaster at Bull Run in July 1861 additional regiments were raised throughout the north to continue the struggle. Among these was Connecticut’s Thirteenth Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Though organized in New Haven, the unit boasted recruits from many parts of the state when it sailed for the Gulf coast in March 1862.

Dario Lopez-Mills

NPR listeners have heard Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reporting from around the Middle East for years. Her reports have led the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to recently grant her the Edward R. Murrow Award for her outstanding contributions to public radio. She's now based in Jerusalem, we spoke with her last week from NPR's studios in Washington.

Iraq War Veteran Returns to Teach Dance

Mar 29, 2012

More than six years after being deployed to Iraq, one Connecticut veteran is returning to that country. This time he is leaving his gun behind and taking his dance shoes.

Chion Wolf

In late January, the city of St. Louis did something unusual. Actually, in the America of 2012 it was more than unusual...it was extraordinary...they held a parade to honor those who fought in Iraq.

Fighting Sons of Erin

Mar 16, 2012

On battlefields from Virginia to Louisiana, the soldiers of Connecticut’s Ninth Regiment Volunteer Infantry marched into combat against Confederate forces under a regimental flag unlike any other: a blue banner emblazoned with a golden harp on a field of emerald green dotted with shamrocks and bearing the motto “Erin Go Bragh.” The symbols and the slogan proclaimed the unit as Connecticut’s “Irish Regiment,” composed of 1,200 first- and second-generation Irish for whom fighting to preserve the Union was a demonstration of their loyalty to an adopted land that had more often than not treated

Returning To Iraq

Mar 14, 2012
USAG-Humphreys (Flickr Creative Commons)

Roman Baca entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 2000 and was eventually deployed to Iraq. He returned to Connecticut and struggled to adjust to civilian life. He finally found purpose in his life...in dance. Baca started the Exit 12 Dance Company and is the artistic director there. He’s getting ready to embark on a trip back to Iraq later this month where he will teach dance to local children there.

Hamed Masoumi (Flickr Creative Commons)

Iran is back at the top of the news, over its nuclear program, a death sentence, and a raft of rescued sailors.

Winter Wonderlands

Dec 23, 2011

The Canadian-born printmaker Kerr Eby is best known for his depictions of combat during World War I and World War II.  He is one of a very few artists who served during both conflicts.  Less well-known but equally impressive are Eby’s stark and lovely landscapes of Connecticut in the winter.

Families who have lost a loved one killed while serving their country were honored today at the State Capitol. It's the second year for the ceremony organized by the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation 

Powerful Message

Nov 23, 2011

Ever since I was a young girl I had loved art and I was always immersed in some project which, to my mother’s dismay, left my clothes stained with paint or my room carpet singed from hot glue. With this being said, my obvious choices for classes were all art related and I was educated on the masters and taught to create oils paintings of still-life’s.  However, my training was purely traditional and I thought that the better one could replicate a still-life or portrait with a certain medium, the better an artists they were.

Returning Home

Nov 11, 2011
HarshLight / Creative Commons

Last month, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. will withdraw troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. 100,000 troops have already been removed and the latest withdrawal will bring the last 40,000 home. Today, where we live, as we celebrate Veterans Day a conversation about the transition from military life to civilian life for the thousands of Veterans who have and will return from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Robert Gates

Nov 8, 2011
Chion Wolf

Robert Gates was defense Secretary for two Presidents – one Republican and one Democrat. 

Gates also oversaw two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, getting mixed reviews from defense experts for his handling of those conflicts.  

He’s also been sharply critical of the types of wars that were left to him, pointing to a Future US strategy that avoids “big land wars” in places like the Middle East.

The Connecticut Health Investigative Team's senior writer Lisa Chedekel published a report on Massachusetts-based veterans who say they were exposed to Agent Orange in the United States. Read her article here.

In the years since they flew together out of Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts in the post-Vietnam War era, Wes Carter and Paul Bailey have stayed in close touch, swapping information about families, jobs, and their former crewmates in the 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

This year, the conversation took a strange turn: Bailey, who lives in New Hampshire, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. Two months later, Carter, a former Massachusetts resident who now lives in Oregon, got the same diagnosis.

Bates on Libya

Aug 23, 2011
Chion Wolf

People around the world are watching the ongoing battle for control of Libya.  Yesterday, President Obama - like most observers - seemed ready to say that rebel forces had taken control of the country, displacing Muammar Gadhafi.

Creative Commons

As we get ready to consider an end to the war in Afghanistan, it's not just soldiers who've paid the price in American wars.

American society is just beginning to seriously consider the emotional trauma of fighting war. But what about reporting it?  The deaths of two photojournalists in Libya this year sparked fresh conversation about the emotional and psychological — and not just physical — health of reporters and photographers who cover conflict.

ISAF Public Affairs

Last Friday marked the 60 day mark of U.S. military involvement in Libya. That's significant because without Congressional authorization for the military presence in Libya, President Obama is in violation of the War Powers Act. We talked to the Washington Correspondent for the Connecticut Mirror, Deirdre Shesgreen. 

Read CT Mirror Article:

Some in Congress growing restive over U.S. involvement in Libya 

Flickr Creative Commons, familymwr

Just a few days ago, the First Two Ladies on the United States, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden announced a national initiative called Joining Forces. The idea is to combine as many elements of society as possible -- communities, individuals, nonprofits and businesses -- to make life a little less stressful for military families.

A never-before-told World War II story of Jewish soldiers on a dangerous mission within the Third Reich—a tale of adventure, espionage, love, and revenge.

Finding Pete

Feb 1, 2011

When Natural Resources Play A Role In War

Oct 29, 2010
Sommerkom, Wikipedia

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies is hosting a panel discussion Monday afternoon on the role of forest management in the Afghanistan conflict. It’s not unusual for valuable natural resources, such as timber or diamonds, to play a role in military conflicts. For example, about a decade ago, the regime in  cut down forests and used the money from timber sales to buy weapons.

In the Vietnam War, the United States destroyed trees, using the herbicide Agent Orange, as a way to deny the enemy cover.