Drums in the Night

Hello, Drums in the Night team. Here's an interactive timeline of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

2003-03-20 00:00:00

Bush announces the start of the Iraq War

"No outcome but victory will be accepted"

2003-04-09 00:00:00

Baghdad under American control

2003-05-01 21:55:41


George Bush announces, "Mission Accomplished"

2003-08-01 21:55:41


Violence escalates-- after embassy bombings in Jordan, the UN headquarters in Baghdad is bombed, killing 17. Many UN Peacekeeping forces are pulled out of Iraq

2003-10-01 00:00:00


"Be glad of the good news: America is mired in the swamps of the Tigris and Euphrates. Bush is, through Iraq and its oil, easy prey. Here is he now, thank God, in an embarrassing situation and here is America today being ruined before the eyes of the whole world."

2003-11-13 00:00:00


Recovered POW Jessica Lynch speaks out against being represented as American Hero, claiming that much of the Pentagon's media coverage was exaggerated. "I'm still confused why they lied and tried to make me into a legend." "American people don't need to be told elaborate tales" about US forces, she said.

2003-12-01 00:00:00


Saddam Hussein captured

2003-12-01 00:00:00


"I don't think they existed ... I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s." —David Kay, stepping down January 23 as leader of the Iraq Survey Group

2004-04-01 00:00:00


2004-06-01 00:00:00


2004-11-01 00:00:00


Interim Iraqi government teams up with US military to put down insurgents in Fallujah. The Red Cross claims that some 800 Iraqi civilians were killed in the brutal fighting.

2005-01-01 21:27:47


2005-04-01 10:37:27


Death tolls increase due to suicide bombings, as protestors call for US troops to withdraw and Iraqi prisoners be released

2005-05-01 10:37:27


"I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." —Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview on CNN's Larry King Live

2005-08-01 09:12:46


After the death of her son, activist Cindy Sheehan begins holding vigils and protests calling for US troops to withdraw.

2005-12-01 09:12:46


Bush admits problems with US war entrance strategy while affirming the continued importance of US military presence "It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As President, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq — and I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities." —President Bush

2006-03-20 00:00:00


A therapy group I attend at my local clinic is a fitting example: run by a rotating cast of graduate interns who are forced to bring their own office supplies, the group has dwindled recently as veterans have dropped out. Equally troubling is the recent American habit of reflexively lionizing all veterans, referring to anyone who has ever worn the uniform as a “hero.” This cultural tick is rooted in the politics of our time. But on a personal level, it has had the effect of short-circuiting a more open and mature dialogue between veteran and non-veteran. This failed conversation makes veterans feel even more alienated from society and, in some cases, exacerbates their P.T.S.D. The simple fact is that witnessing killing and destruction doesn’t make you feel like a hero. And it is around these questions of moral pollution and loss that one feels the gulf between veteran and civilian at its widest. This gulf is evoked by the awful question that veterans hear from civilians all too often, a question that I’ve fielded more than a few times myself: “Hey bro, so, did you kill anybody over there?”

2006-12-01 21:19:25


2007-01-10 19:30:16

The Surge

"Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not..." -George W. Bush

2007-01-20 00:00:00

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

“Even harder was describing his sense that Shroom’s death might have ruined him for anything else, because when he died? when I felt his soul pass through me? I loved him so much right then, I don’t think I can ever have that kind of love for anybody again. So what was the point of getting married, having kids, raising a family if you knew you couldn’t give them your very best love?” -- Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain

2007-01-20 00:00:00

Billy Lynn's long halftime walk

“Billy tries to imagine the vast systems that support these athletes. They are among the best-cared for creatures in the history of the planet, beneficiaries of the best nutrition, the latest technologies, the finest medical care, they live at the very pinnacle of American innovation and abundance, which inspires an extraordinary thought - send them to fight the war! Send them just as they are this moment, well rested, suited up, psyched for brutal combat, send the entire NFL! Attack with all our bears and raiders, our ferocious redskins, our jets, eagles, falcons, chiefs, patriots, cowboys - how could a bunch of skinny hajjis in man-skits and sandals stand a chance against these all-Americans? Resistance is futile, oh Arab foes. Surrender now and save yourself a world of hurt, for our mighty football players cannot be stopped, they are so huge, so strong, so fearsomely ripped that mere bombs and bullets bounce off their bones of steel. Submit, lest our awesome NFL show you straight to the flaming gates of hell!”

2007-03-01 21:19:25


"I will not see young men and women who have had their lives shattered in service to their country receive anything less than dignity and respect." —Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon, an injured Iraq war veteran himself, testifying during a hearing on the Walter Reed hospital scandal held by a House subcommittee

2007-03-20 00:00:00

Shootout at Restrepo

2007-05-01 21:19:25


For only the second time in his presidency, George W. Bush exercises his veto power by rejecting legislation from Congress to impose an Oct. 1 deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops. A CNN poll later showed that 54% of Americans disapproved of the veto and just one week later, 144 Iraqi lawmakers sign a petition calling for a U.S. timetable for withdrawal.

2007-07-19 19:30:16

The surge succeeds?

"I'm optimistic. We'll succeed unless we lose our nerve." -George W Bush

2007-09-01 21:19:25


"I don't know, actually." —Gen. David Petraeus, when asked by the Senate Armed Services Committee whether the Iraq war is making America safer Read more: http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1967340_1967355_1968075,00.html #ixzz2etlZACvK

2007-09-04 19:30:16

"We're kicking ass"

"We're kicking ass" -George W Bush

2007-12-16 13:29:41


The first thing I did was take off my uniform in the airport parking lot, put on shorts and a T-shirt that my brothers had brought me and then go to the mall. For three hours we bought whatever we wanted, sale or no sale, as if money didn't matter. And what I bought was new pants, a new shirt and new athletic shoes. All in white. Pure white because I wanted to feel clean. Then I went with my brothers and some friends to the Yankee Bar and Grill for the Friday night wet T-shirt contest. I drink beer. I drank tequila. I drank Crown Royal. I drank another beer. I drank a flaming Dr Pepper. I drank something else. I don't even know what the [BLEEP] it was but they put something on fire and dropped it in a beer. I danced with a girl, told her I was home from Iraq. Danced with another girl, told her I was home from Iraq. And then there's water hoses and the girls are soaked from head to toe and dancing through puddles and taking off their T-shirts. And then one of the girls is stepping onto my new white shoes and leaning toward me and pushing her chest toward my face. And then she's climbing onto my lap and standing on my thighs with her wet dirty feet to get onto the strippers' pole, And she's trying to step onto my shoulders. And me, all I can think about was my new white shoes, my new white pants, my new white shirt. But then I remembered it didn't really matter. I had more money. I could buy more clothes tomorrow. So I started laughing and cheering and then someone yelled in the microphone, "Welcome back from Iraq." And then a woman was saying, "I'll give you a ride home tonight." And then we were parked in front of my house, kissing. And then I passed out on her chest, drunk. Done. She woke me up, "Maybe we should do this another night?" "Yeah." I went inside, passed out again and dreamed of an explosion. --From The Good Soldiers

2007-12-16 13:29:41


In April, when Ralph wrote to tell me that Jake Hadgemat died, he didn't go into detail about how. And when I wrote back, I didn't go into detail about painting Easter eggs with the kids. In July, when the 216 was being attacked several times a day, I didn't dwell on my own drama, that the kids and I were driving home from out of state and the car died. And in September, I didn't tell him much about the Colonel's wife who'd approached me and asked. "How are you doing?" "I'm doing OK." "Are you sure?" "Yes." "Are you sure?" "Yes. I'm doing OK." "No you're not. You're not doing OK." It would have been an uncomfortable conversation any time. But making it worse was the setting. The memorial service for the three soldiers. And what am I supposed to say? I'm sick of being a single parent? I'm sick of not having sex? Is that when I say? That life sucks? Instead I keep anything like that to myself. I wasn't going to tell a colonel's wife that. And I'm not going to tell Ralph, who I'm sure needs me to be nothing other than upbeat. Just like there's no way I'm going to tell him how much work these videos are. [AUDIO PLAYBACK] [CHILDREN SINGING "HAPPY BIRTHDAY"] That the boys prefer to be watching TV or playing with friends. That no one would say anything and I had to prompt them with whispered commands. I won't tell him about the branch that just missed the car or the way I attack the ice on the sidewalk with a hammer and a knife because I couldn't find the melter. I won't tell him that before I could find a moment to write him the night had been a parade of footsteps and flushing toilets and coughs. And me, trying to soothe our little anxious boys by saying, "Good night my handsome men." I hate this war and what it has done to my life. I won't tell him that either. Instead, at 12:44 A.M., exhausted, I write, "Hi love. Well guess who loves you? Me and A, J and G. I hope you enjoyed the pictures I sent earlier. Quite a remarkable storm." He'll be home in January. He's due to leave Baghdad in 16 days. I'm worried about January. Who will he be? "I'm proud of you," I write him. Your wife, Stephanie. --The Good Soldiers

2008-01-20 00:00:00

How do we talk about the war?

“...he wonders by what process virtually any discussion about the war seems to profane these ultimate matters of life and death. As if to talk of such things properly we need a mode of speech near the equal of prayer, otherwise just shut, shut your yap and sit on it, silence being truer to the experience than the star-spangled spasm, the bittersweet sob, the redeeming hug, or whatever this fucking closure is that everybody's always talking about. They want it to be easy and it's just not going to be. -Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain

2008-03-20 00:00:00


Enter story info here

2008-06-01 00:00:00

The Yellow Birds

“Or should I have said that I wanted to die, not in the sense of wanting to throw myself off of that train bridge over there, but more like wanting to be asleep forever because there isn’t any making up for killing women or even watching women get killed, or for that matter killing men and shooting them in the back and shooting them more times than necessary to actually kill them and it was like just trying to kill everything you saw sometimes because it felt like there was acid seeping down into your soul and then your soul is gone and knowing from being taught your whole life that there is no making up for what you are doing, you’re taught that your whole life, but then even your mother is so happy and proud because you lined up your sign posts and made people crumple and they were not getting up ever and yeah they might have been trying to kill you too, so you say, What are you goona do?, but really it doesn’t matter because by the end you failed at the one good thing you could have done, and the one person you promised would live is dead, and you have seen all things die in more manners than you’d like to recall and for a while the whole thing fucking ravaged your spirit like some deep-down shit, man, that you didn’t even realize you had until only the animals made you sad, the husks of dogs filled with explosives and old arty shells and the fucking guts of everything stinking like metal and burning garbage and you walk around and the smell is deep down into you now and you say, How can metal be so on fire? and Where is all this fucking trash coming from? and even back home you’re getting whiffs of it and then that thing you started to notice slipping away is gone and now it’s becoming inverted, like you have bottomed out in your spirit but yet a deeper hole is being dug because everybody is so fucking happy to see you, the murderer, the fucking accomplice, that at-bare-minimum bearer of some fucking responsibility, and everyone wants to slap you on the back and you start to want to burn the whole goddamn country down, you want to burn every yellow ribbon in sight, and you can’t explain it but it’s just, like, Fuck you, but then you signed up to go so it’s your fault, really, because you went on purpose, so you are in the end doubly fucked, so why not just find a spot and curl up and die and let’s make it as painless as possible because you are a coward and, really, cowardice got you into this mess because you wanted to be a man and people made fun of you and pushed you around in the cafeteria and the hallways in high school because you liked to read books and poems sometimes and they’d call you a fag and really deep down you know you went because you wanted to be a man and that’s never gonna happen now and you’re too much of a coward to be a man and get it over with so why not find a clean, dry place and wait it out with it hurting as little as possible and just wait to go to sleep and not wake up and fuck ‘em all.” -Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds

2008-06-01 04:03:56


After months of haggling, Congress passes a broad war funding measure that allocates about $163 billion to support ongoing combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through the beginning of 2009.

2008-09-04 19:30:16

The return home

"The Hurt Locker" grocery store scene

2009-02-01 04:03:56


Obama pledges to pull out all troops by 2011, while renewing forces in Afghanistan.

2009-05-01 04:03:56


2009-08-01 04:03:56


"The whole thing is just so disgusting ... They're just psychopathic." —U.S. ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill, as he read reports from embassy staff about damage after truck bombs go off in central Baghdad. Read more: http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1967340_1967379_1973366,00.html #ixzz2etoT3RuV

2010-08-01 04:03:56


2011-06-01 00:00:00

Military Wives Support Group

Watching him leave in his ACU'S & turning to look at you one more time before he gets on the plane is treasured moment. You happen to fall in love with him every single. You know it's gone be hard day by day not being able to see him or touch him but you think in your mind that he is the one for me. Miles away makes you love your Army love even more. Loving military man is worth every minute. He needs me & I need him. He stands up for his country& doesn't complain. I love you Doug! -Military Wives Facebook Support Group

2013-02-01 00:00:00


According to February report, the Veteran Crisis Line has made approximately 26,000 rescues of actively suicidal Veterans to date. "Sometimes it's really hard for me to talk to the 19- and 20-year-olds, because, when my kids started, that's how old they were. And when you have a 19- or 20-year-old who wants to die, that is totally heartbreaking. "One young man, Christopher, I'll never forget him. He had come out of the Middle East — he'd been in full combat — and he had come home to his apartment, and found his girlfriend with another man there. She cleaned his bank account out and he had no place to go. "I had to talk him off a bridge not once, but twice. You could hear the traffic on the bridge, the water underneath. The police came. They agreed to keep him overnight and take him to the V.A. the next morning. "He called about a week later and thanked us. He realized that he was young and he could start over, which was what I was trying to get through to him during the whole call."

Drums in the Night

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