New York Times Op-Docs: The Army We Had

Nearly 20 years after their deployment to Iraq, Veterans grapple with their younger selves and try to make sense of the war.

Directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, produced in partnership with the Eurasia Group Foundation (now known as the Institute for Global Affairs)

This Op-Doc was released by The New York Times on March 15, 2023.

This month marks twenty years since the start of the Iraq War—a war which cost the lives of more than 4,000 American servicemembers and many more Iraqis. In the United States, this anniversary has reanimated discussions about the war’s legacy and its lessons. It’s also been a moment to reassess the high-level decision-making which led to the invasion in 2003. But for many Americans who served in Iraq, the war’s legacy is something they continue to live with daily. 

IGA partnered with filmmakers Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein to produce the documentary, The Army We Had, published in The New York Times. Michael and Petra are the directors of “Gunners Palace.” Michael shot that film in the early months of the war while embedded with the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment in Baghdad. 

Nearly twenty years later, Michael visited these soldiers. Now as veterans, these same soldiers reflect on their service and how the war continues to shape their lives.

You can watch this full documentary in The New York Times.


This post is part of Independent America, a research project led out by IGA senior fellow Mark Hannah, which seeks to explore how US foreign policy could better be tailored to new global realities and to the preferences of American voters.

A brighter future for all