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Monday, December 26, 2011

Iraqis In The US Reflect On The War’s End

This month marked the end to U.S. operations in Iraq. But some Iraqis say the war isn’t over for them. Days after the U.S. troops left the country, renewed violence broke out.

Today we get the view of the war from two Iraqis living in the U.S.

Alaa Majeed

Alaa Majeed fled Iraq in 2005 after working for western news organizations in Baghdad. She says she and her family were targeted because she worked with Americans. Now she is living in New York with her American husband, their two children, and other family members.

“I speak with my family on [a] daily basis and they still see dead bodies thrown out on the streets,” Alaa told Here and Now‘s Monica Brady-Myerov. “We still don’t have electricity, we still don’t have water.”

Although she and her family are now in the United States and she has American citizenship, “I don’t think my future will be here” she said.

Her children are still having trouble adjusting. When they walk down the street in Brooklyn and see a pen on the ground, they warn each other not to pick it up, in case it might be a bomb. “I have been taking both of them to counseling since … we got here,” she said.

She would like to return to Iraq, provided it has a stable, non-sectarian, and non-corrupt government. “We can’t forever blame the U.S. presence in Iraq, now that they’re leaving. We have to deal with it as it is now.”


Hayder worked as a translator for the 82nd Airborne in Iraq. He was shot in the leg while trying to save an American soldier and his leg eventually had to be amputated. After waiting a year and a half, Hayder was fitted for a prosthetic in Jordan and applied for UN refugee status there. Since 2008, he has been living in Virginia.

Hayder had a very positive image of Americans from the media. “We had this idea, Yeah, America is going to come inside of Iraq, America is going to bring its companies, America is going to support the Iraqis for good jobs,” Hayder told Here and Now‘s Monica Brady-Myerov. Instead of a democracy, he says that Iraq is a nation where people are killed because of their religious beliefs. Hayder says he’s not eager to see the American troops leaving. “I think Americans inside of Iraq should have stayed to gain control … to be that middle power inside of Iraq to stabilize it,” he said.

Nobody won the war, he says, because although Saddam Hussein was removed from power, religious leaders have now filled the political void.


  • Hayder, an Iraqi living in the U.S.
  • Alaa Majeed, an Iraqi living in the U.S.

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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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