This weekend 160 Oregon National Guard soldiers departed for Iraq. This spring 3,000 more will join them. The Guard describes this as the biggest deployment of Oregon National Guard troops since World War II. Many of the soldiers who are preparing to head out have been to Iraq before, some more than once. Some people think they shouldn’t be going at all.
The status of forces agreement between the United States and Iraq calls for an end to occupation of Iraq by the end of 2011. So what will Oregon’s National Guard troops really be doing? How will their tasks be different now that they’ll need permission from the Iraq government before each operation? After a tour of duty in an open-ended war, what’s is like to return to war with an expiration date? And where will you — as family, friend, or employer — feel the impact of this latest deployment?