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Image-for-WWLA.jpgTen years ago today, bombs started falling on Baghdad and American troops crossed the border from Kuwait to Iraq. Marines from Southern California were there on the first day and were crucial to the war effort and even the capture of Saddam Hussein. Now, more young veterans live here than any place else in the country. We hear about their service — and problems with the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Why does it take two years in Los Angeles to get the best medical care in the world?  Also, an Iraqi refugee who came to Southern California along with his family. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, how a deceptive rationale, poor planning and worse execution turned Americans against the war in Iraq.

Banner image: Octavio Sanchez (L) and Aaron Mankin are medically retired Marines who have had multiple surgeries through Operation Mend, which provides plastic reconstructive surgeries to disfigured service members. Official US Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Ethan E. Rocke

Main Topic The War in Iraq and the Role of Southern California 25 MIN, 13 SEC

The war in Iraq is a local story in Southern California. Octavio Sanchez was a Marine staff sergeant deployed to Iraq from Camp Pendleton. In July of 2005, while on patrol in Ramadi, his vehicle struck a roadside bomb. Two comrades died in the incident, but Sanchez survived to undergo 40 surgeries at Veterans' facilities and at UCLA. He's the married father of four, who lives in Fontana. Southern California is home not to just to veterans — wounded and otherwise, but to people left behind by the war. Military widow Nicole Hart, who met her late husband when they were 12 years old, has gone back to school where she's studying to be a photographer.

Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times (@LATsandiego)
Aaron Glantz, Center for Investigative Reporting (@Aaron_Glantz)
Moses Maddox, The Mission Continues (@momo1313)

The War Comes Home

Aaron Glantz

Reporter's Notebook An Iraqi Refugee Starts Over in San Diego 4 MIN, 4 SEC

Hazam Khashin grew up in Baghdad and stayed when others fled after the US invasion.  But he and his family are Mandaeans, a pre-Christian religion based on the teachings of John the Baptist. When Baghdad became too dangerous, they fled to Syria and then found sanctuary in the United States. They're now living in San Diego, where the is a large Iraqi refugee community.

Hazam Khashin, Iraqi refugee

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