In war, there are always things left behind.
“When the American troops left Iraq three years ago, they left behind a fragile country that collapsed into civil war. They also left behind the detritus of soldiers’ lives that, in the ensuing years, was left untouched, frozen in time,” according to the New York Times.
U.S. troops sent back to Iraq recently because of the expanding control by Islamic State forces are often re-occupying abandoned buildings and bases, like Camp Taji, that American forces previously used.
“One Marine major in Anbar, who has been in Iraq before and had just returned from Afghanistan in September when he was ordered back to Iraq, said it was ‘eerie’ and ‘spooky’ to return. Another said the place looked like ‘a train wreck,'” reports the New York Times.
At Camp Taji, the things left behind mingle with new artifacts, like a marked-up copy of a recent issue of Foreign Affairs, which included a very relevant article on “What Have We Learned? Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq.”
American officers and soldiers read, observe, and analyze the conflicts in which they are involved. Their perspectives on the Iraq War and its material culture should be considered in political and strategic assessments of the ongoing conflict, as well as in historical analyses of the war.
The New York Times reports on the Iraq War.