Jessica Lynch. Tommy Franks. 'Chemical Ali.' Tony Blair. Hans Blix. Ten years ago, as the war in Iraq began, these were names on front pages everywhere. Find out what has happened to them – and 10 other headliners associated with the conflict – since.
U.S. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks holds up a pack of playing cards with pictures on each of Iraqi's wanted by the U.S. on April 11, 2003. The deck will be issued to coalition troops to help them remember the faces of personalities they can "pursue, capture or kill."
Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks (U.S. Army spokesman)
When America and its allies launched their 2003 invasion of Iraq, the world was hungry for news. And there to provide it — or, at least, the U.S. Army’s version of it — was Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, the spokesperson for the U.S. Army Central Command (CENTCOM), based in nearby Qatar.
Brooks, an unflappable Alaskan, became a daily presence on network shows and live cable-TV briefings, in part because his superior Gen. Tommy Franks was uncomfortable dealing with the media (and, of course, was much consumed with the progress of the war).
Born in Anchorage, Brooks attended West Point, where he was the first black brigade commander, and graduated first in his class in 1980. He later earned a master’s degree from the School of Advanced Military Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and to study at Harvard University as a national security fellow.
Lt. Gen. Vincent Brooks talks to members of the media during the Gulf Defence Conference (GDC) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Feb. 16, 2013.
After the initial media frenzy had subsided, Brooks moved back to the U.S. in May 2003, where he was appointed deputy director for the war on terrorism, a unit of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to a bio on the Army’s Web site, in July of 2004 he became deputy chief of public affairs for the Army, followed six months later to promotion as chief of the office. In May 2005, he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by the New England School of Law.
After about 18 months in the U.S., Brooks found himself back in the Iraq, becoming deputy commander of the Multi-National Division-Baghdad and the 1st Cavalry Division (which is based in Ft. Hood, Texas).
He was soon back in America, moving to the giant Fort Hood facility between Dallas and Austin, Texas. In February 2008, Brooks hosted Dick Cheney as the then-vice president welcomed home 9,000 members of the 1st Cavalry when they returned from Iraq.
Brooks spent most of 2010 in southern Iraq as Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division for the national elections and the transition from Iraqi Freedom to Red Dawn. He became commander of the Third Army and Army Forces Central in 2011 and was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Commanding General of US Army Pacific, a position which has been elevated to a four-star command.
IRAQ TEN YEARS LATER: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
- Jessica Lynch
- Hans Blix (UN arms inspector)
- Colin Powell
- Tariq Aziz (Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister)
- Ahmed Chalabi (Iraqi exile leader)
- Tony Blair
- Gen. Tommy Franks
- Josh Rushing (Marines spokesman)
- Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks (Army spokesman)
- Paul Bremer (Iraq administrator)
- Farris Hassan (teen journalist)
- Lynndie England (Abu Ghraib)
- Mohammed Al-Rehaief (aided Jessica Lynch)
- Ali Hassan Al-Majid (‘Chemical Ali’)
- Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf (‘Baghdad Bob’)