MILITARY MATTERS: CSU History Professor Previews Iraq War 20th Anniversary Event at Infantry Museum

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 1:43 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - This month marks 20 years since the start of the Iraq War, where many Fort Benning troops were involved. We got some insight from a local military history professor about how questions are getting answered on this war, at an upcoming special event in Columbus.

“The Iraq War was the 1st war where the U.S. fought with an all-volunteer military that lasted a significant amount of time,” CSU Chair of Military History Dr. David Kieran said. “Under what circumstances should the U.S. use military power? The Iraq War is very controversial and remains controversial.”

20 years ago, in March of 2003, the nearly decade-long Iraq War began, a war that had a huge impact on the Chattahoochee Valley with tens-of-thousands of soldiers deploying from Fort Benning.

“Columbus State and Columbus GA are uniquely positioned to be a regional if not national leader in the field of military history, " he added.

Dr. David Kieran, a nationally renowned military history scholar, has been teaching at Columbus State University since last Fall, including a class on the Iraq War, where students are documenting the Fountain City experience during that conflict, including chats with veterans.

“What stories do they (veterans) have to tell us? What lessons do they have to teach us?,” Dr. Kieran said.

“We’re really just trying to go into the community and really understand the impact of the war on the community, and how every aspect of life was changed,” CSU history student Katherine Samuelson said.

This Army daughter’s teacher, Dr. Kieran, is one of the organizers and moderators for a free event called The Iraq War: A 20-Year Retrospective Symposium. It is happening this Friday and Saturday, March 10-11 at the National Infantry Museum – the site of a Global War on Terrorism Memorial honoring 7,000 killed.

“A group of about 30 leading scholars, veterans of all kinds, military leaders and Iraqi civilians to talk about the lessons, the legacy and the history of the Iraq War,” Dr. Kieran said.

On stage together, they will share their diverse perspectives and answer questions about the Iraq War’s purpose, military strategies, successes and failures, plus the costs during and after the war.

“How do we think about what impact the war has had on the way people around the world view the United States?,” Dr. Kieran said. “How do we understand the consequences of this war so that we can make a good decision about what we ask our military to do in the future?”

And answering those questions in 2 days of roundtable discussions will be some big hitters.

“Our keynote speaker, the former vice chief of staff for the Army to members of special forces who deployed upwards of 9-10 times to Afghanistan,” Dr. Kieran told us.

The symposium, which starts this Friday, is open to the public but to attend, people need to pre-register on the National Infantry Museum website