Radio Baghdad

Listen To Live Radio
Now Playing
Mar, 24 2018
Popular Articles

Iraqi Economic Development Strategies

Part IAs Iraq moves through its next developmental phase...27845


Basic Outline of a Vision By Bishop Mar Sarhad Y. Jammo  I-...9368

Iraqi Dentist Suhair al-Qaisi, The Most Beloved Media Face in the Arabic Speaking World Screen!

Introduction: Suhair al-Qaisi was born in 1985 in Baghdad, Iraq...8962

The Iraqi-British Architect Zaha Hadid

“I am the product of an amazing Iraqi environment and an...7706

RXTE - Black Holes & Pulsars - Oh My!

Black holes and pulsars are two of the most mysterious (and...6770

Who Killed Soad Hosny?

The family of the late Egyptian actress, the Cinderella of Arab...6527


Review of Amer Hanna-Fatuhi:THE UNTOLD STORY OF NATIVE IRAQIS:...6426

Greek Company Wins $26.8M Hospital Deal

Greek company TERNA has reportedly been awarded a $26.8m...6236

Why Worry about Your Vitamin D Level?

For decades, vitamin D has been known to help our bones absorb...6039

Healthy Food

Like any other product, healthy foods need to be marketed...5779

A New Rare Guest At Baghdad Zoo

Baghdad’s municipality has announced the birth of what it says...5678

Iraqi Parliament Denies a Local Detroit Winner (Christian) of the Iraqi National Flag Contest!

The Iraqi Government is working on adopting a new National Flag...5458

Train to Basra

An Amazing Journey in Iraqi-Middle Eastern Traditional MusicUR -...4867

Iraqi Economic Development Strategies, Part II

DIVERSIFICATIONIraq is currently a rentier state. By...4650

Oil exports decline to cause deficit in 2014 budget, says Sa’ad

Baghdad ( Member of the parliament Oil &...4571

Muhammad Ali funeral: Thousands line route for farewell

Thousands have attended a farewell procession for boxing legend...4383

Unesco & Iraq - Best Practices In Education Reform

UNESCO Office for Iraq In the framework of the Iraqi Public...4239
A Clinton bounce, a Trumpian...
The moment American Muslims...
Iraqi Parliament Denies a...
Obama endorses Clinton as...
Ansbach explosion: Bomber...
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.25 (6 Votes)
Hanna ... count me in

Another Veterans Day has passed, yet we—the civilian contractors who joined the mission known as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)—are still not recognized as veterans.



The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

GS13 Hanna & Major General Anderson,
US Army

Another Veterans Day has passed, yet we—the civilian contractors who joined the mission known as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)—are still not recognized as veterans.

We willingly volunteered to serve our country overseas, endure hardships, and work in hostile environments.
We shared the same Army combat uniform, ditches, military transportation vehicles, rules of engagements, food and drink, and participated in the same missions as the Soldiers we served.
We endured the same amount of risk, have been bruised, shot at, and have even shed our blood. We faced the same possibility of kidnapping and the same dangers of so-called “friendly fire.”
We have shared the same shelters, sleeping “hooches” and tents that were vulnerable to all kinds of enemy fire, including mortars, launched grenades and rockets.
Most of us lived at least three (and some of us five) years in Iraq, separated from the comforts of home and from our family members and loved ones.

Brothers & Sister for Life
(GS13 Hanna, MSG Jackson, & CH COL Ames)

We spent those long days and murky nights under unbelievable pressure every time we heard the siren alerting us to the threat of attack. We will likely never forget two of the most common phrases in our daily life: “incoming” and “duck & cover”, which by repetition became as familiar to us as the Ten Commandments we memorized as youth.

Following are two anecdotes out of the thousands that could be related to show how our brothers and sisters of the US military regarded my fellow contractors and me:

The first occurred one day as I was walking and sharing thoughts in Baghdad’s International Zone (affectionately referred to then as the “Green Zone”) with a high-ranking member of our strategic engagement team. All of a sudden, he stopped, looked at me, and said, “Amer, I would not hesitate to take a bullet for you, anytime!” I was surprised, because I felt that was supposed to be my line! After I regained my composure, I asked, “Why is that, chaplain?” His answer was laden with sincerity and the deep appreciation that can only result from a relationship forged in the fires of danger. He said, “Simply because, you would not hesitate to do so for any member of the team. I’ve been watching you for almost a year, and every word you said, every move you made during our engagements inside the Red Zone, proved to me that although we’ve had our professional soldiers and armed guards to protect us, you were the real protector of the team.” I was almost overcome with emotion, and I will never forget his words.

GS13 Hanna  & CH COL Garrison GZ Baghdad

The second occurred in March 2010, when I was humbled to learn that I had been nominated by my supervisors to receive the 235thArmy Birthday “Strength of the Nation” Award. This strategic, national-level award is given to one “who engages in exemplary public service that makes a substantial contribution in completing the army's mission”. While I did not end up receiving the award, I was nonetheless extremely grateful, honored, and proud to be perhaps the only army civilian contractor nominated for such a high honor in the history of the award.

Most of the DoD contractors who joined the mission in Iraq from an Iraqi background, whether they were Chaldeans (the indigenous people of Iraq), Arabs, Kurds, Mandaeans, Turkmen, or Yazidis, experienced many of the same situations as did the uniformed members of the US Armed Forces. A number of contractors were maimed. Others were viciously killed, leaving behind grieving family members, including even infants and unborn children, as well as other relatives and friends. No doubt, it has been especially difficult for those families whose loved ones were kidnapped and have yet to be recovered.
Then, there are the unseen scars of war. I have to agree with Jose Narosky, an Argentinean writer, who penned the words, “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” While not physically wounded myself during my service as a contractor in Iraq, my fellow contractors and I will always bear the invisible wounds of that conflict, in a manner similar to the U.S. military warriors with whom we served.

GS13 Hanna  Joins prayers with CH LTC Houck before heading to a mission

Mr. President, despite the fact that we were born in Iraq— the place known to many as the “Cradle of Civilization,” we proudly and bravely served our adopted country, the United States of America, the greatest nation on Earth.

We urge you, Mr. President, to look into this matter and have the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Hagel, present you with a brief of all the exceptional accomplishments that contracted linguists, cultural experts, and strategic advisors (like myself) have accomplished to protect the United States of America and further the missions of our great military. We do not ask for the same rights or benefits that our traditional veterans—our uniformed service men and women—have earned. We simply want to be recognized and appreciated for our service and to be included in the collective term “OIF Veterans.”

Though I have served as an army civilian contractor, I have done all I could to assist in completing the Army’s mission, and will continue to do so as long as I live. Then, when I finally do face death’s door, I will proudly die “Army Strong.”

Mr. President, it is time to call us Veterans.



Most Respectfully,

Amer H. Hanna
Visual Artist & Historian
Former Senior Adviser for the Army on Middle East Ethno-religious Affairs
235th Army Birthday, Strength of the Nation Award Nominee

Add comment

Security code

Sun, Rain, & Loving Heartbeats The Art of Annie Salatyan
When it comes to life, Iraq is the first and the final frontier for all humanity. This is a fact no maters how many [...]
  A New Achievement by the Historian & Visual Artist Amer Hanna Fatuhi   The Eastern Aramaic Font | The [...]
The Art of AMER HANNA FATUHI Artist, Poet, & Professional Writer - Short Bio
Amer Fatuhi - Interview June 2017 by Annie Salatyan
DoD Linguists' recruitment With Amer Fatuhi
اعتراف - Confession by Amer Fatuhi
شكرا - Thank You by Amer Fatuhi
دال - Dal by Amer Fatuhi
موهومه - Delusional by Amer Fatuhi
On President Donald Trump's order, two Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea fired salvos of Tomahawk [...]
The Yale University Art Gallery is celebrating the 175th anniversary of the field of Arabic studies at Yale [...]
دندنه - Dandana by Amer Fatuhi
UPDATE: On Tuesday night, Santana walked back his comments against Beyoncé in a Facebook post: "I would like to [...]
Iraq, in an area once home to some of the earliest civilisations, became a battleground for competing forces after the [...]
More Articles

Life Wins - Amer Hanna Fatuhi

When it comes to life, Iraq is the first and the final...1595

A New Achievement by the Historian & Visual Artist Amer Hanna Fatuhi

  A New Achievement by the Historian & Visual Artist Amer...634

Carlos Santana Pokes Beyhive, Says Beyoncé ‘Not a Singer’

UPDATE: On Tuesday night, Santana walked back his comments...856

Russia's Putin calls leaked Trump memos 'utter nonsense'

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described allegations his...812

US election 2016 results: Meet President Trump's possible cabinet

It's Washington DC's favourite new parlour game - guessing who...1269

US election: Trump presidency 'dangerous', says UN rights chief

Donald Trump's "deeply unsettling and disturbing" views make...955

Hurricane Matthew: Strongest storm since 2004 nears Florida

Hurricane Matthew has strengthened as it nears a "direct hit"...1016

New Jersey train crash: Many injured at Hoboken station

A commuter train has crashed into a rail station in the city...1117

Remembering September 11th

We Will Never Forget … We Will Never Forgive Please Tell...1032

Trump pledges big US military expansion

Donald Trump has said he will expand all areas of the US...1100



Islam Karimov: Turkey announces Uzbek leader's death

Uzbek President Islam Karimov, one of Asia's most...1164

Rio Olympics 2016: Did Brazil pass or fail its big test?

Billed beforehand as the "Carnival Games" full of happy fans,...1102

Oil price gushers as OPEC brings bulls back into market

Oil prices surged dramatically in the last two weeks thanks to...1120

Trump to lay out plan for combating radical Islamic terrorism

Donald Trump on Monday will lay out his strategy for defeating...1153

Putin offers Turkey's Erdogan closer ties

Russia is ready to restore economic co-operation and other...1543

Trump is ‘chagrined' and realizes his campaign is in trouble, Steve Forbes says

Donald Trump has an opportunity to get his campaign back on...2313

Yusra Mardini: Refugee swimmer off to flying start after Pope Francis sends letter

(CNN) Ahead of competing at the Olympic Games in Rio de...1135

Here's what the real unemployment rate looks like

The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in July,...1410

Emirates plane crash-lands at Dubai airport

An Emirates plane has crash-landed at Dubai International...1193

A Clinton bounce, a Trumpian weekend: How the race looks now

Donald Trump just suffered through a brutal weekend. by Ben...1418

The moment American Muslims have been waiting for, Khizr Khan

Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee, has proposed...1581

Obama endorses Clinton as political heir

US President Barack Obama has delivered a stirring speech at...1215

Ansbach explosion: Bomber pledged allegiance to IS

A video showing the Syrian man who blew himself up in Ansbach,...1095