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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A View On Iraq From A Soldier Who Decided To Stay

Andrew Slater served three tours of duty in Iraq, and now teaches English at the American University of Iraq. (auis.edu.iq)

Andrew Slater served three tours of duty in Iraq, and now teaches English at the American University of Iraq. (auis.edu.iq)

Iraq War veteran Andrew Slater teaches English at The American University of Iraq – Sulaimani. He tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that his students are not anxious for U.S. troops to return to Iraq.

“There’s a humanitarian disaster that’s about to happen if the government doesn’t retake control of those areas.”

“I don’t think anybody’s happy about that idea. I think people are willing to take security from whichever direction it will come from,” Slater said. “People are turning out for recruitment drives for the Iraqi Army. Shia militias are forming in the south. I think Baghdad wants to handle this problem internally if it can. I think people are asking for American assets more than American troops.”

The current crisis has revived the debate over whether the Iraq War was worth it. Slater thought the 2003 invasion was a mistake but he says that’s not where attention should be focused today.

“It almost seems like we have to deal with the situation at hand in Iraq and how to prevent Iraq from descending into chaos instead of getting back into old arguments. I think there’s a humanitarian disaster that’s about to happen if the government doesn’t retake control of those areas. The biggest thing we should be thinking about is not America’s geopolitical position. It’s what is happening today and what is happening in those areas that are controlled by ISIS. The Sunnis that have been under ISIS rule know that nothing good is going to happen. It’s going to be a nightmare for the people that are living in those areas right now.”

More Conversations With Andrew Slater

Guest

  • Andrew Slater,  served three tours during the war in Iraq and now teaches English at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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