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SERIES OVERVIEW

THE FOREVER WAR will take a raw, unflinching look at America’s controversial wars in the Middle East, using a multilayered, nonlinear approach to storytelling. This is the comprehensive story, told from multiple perspectives, revealing hidden connections and untold stories that often go ignored.

The invasion of Afghanistan, in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks, achieves immediate success with the downfall of the Taliban – but it has become America’s longest ongoing war. The Iraq War, intended to bring freedom to Iraq in a brief burst of military dominance, sends shockwaves of chaos around the world and it gives birth to ISIS. The war divides Americans as its murky motives come into question – bad intel, misinformation and outright lies about oil and weapons of mass destruction.

Since 2001, In the caves of Afghanistan and the sun-blasted cities of Iraq, thousands of Americans have died fighting authoritarian regimes, fanatical insurgents and terrorists. We have seen the horrific images from these wars: burned, mutilated corpses hanging from a bridge. Soldiers and civilians alike killed by suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices. Too often, the questions behind these images go unanswered in a war that seems like it will never end. After 17 years, we have paid the price in trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. Tens of thousands of veterans have come home broken, suicidal and suffering from PTSD. Has it all been worth it? As told by the men and women who lived them, THE FOREVER WAR will stun viewers with the reality of why these wars began and why they are still being waged.

SERIES STRUCTURE

The Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan, and the other conflicts in the War on Terror cannot be understood from just one perspective. They are complex, multifaceted events that involve a wide range of people: from politicians to soldiers to reporters to civilians. Debates in Washington create life-or-death situations in Iraq. If you focus on just one facet, you miss the bigger picture.

THE FOREVER WAR will use dramatic reenactments, interviews and archival footage to focus on a handful of characters from all sides of the conflict, in a multilayered, nonlinear style reminiscent of films like Traffic or Babel. A reporter bearing witness to horror in Kabul and Najaf. A CIA official, once marked for death by Osama bin Laden, now willing to go to any extreme to bring him down. A Shiite cleric living in the shadow of his martyred father, leading a violent insurgent army. A general searching for a way to win an unwinnable war. As their stories intersect and intertwine, THE FOREVER WAR will connect the dots between disparate locations and events to give viewers the first full picture of the wars that have defined the 21st century.

MAIN CHARACTERS

JOURNALISTS

DEXTER FILKINS

MICHAEL YON

JILL CARROLL

SHAH MARAI

GOVERNMENT

PAUL WOLFOWITZ

MEGHAN O’SULLIVAN

AHMAD CHALABI

COFER BLACK

MICHAEL MORELL

MILITARY

GENERAL
DAVID PETRAEUS

GENERAL
STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL

COLONEL
H.R. MCMASTER

GENERAL
JAMES MATTIS

MAJOR GENERAL
SEAN MACFARLAND

SERGEANT
LEIGH ANN HESTER

THE ENEMY

MUQTADA AL-SADR

ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI

ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI

EPISODES

EPISODE 1: DANGERS GATHER

2001-2003

In the wake of the horrific attacks on 9/11, the US invades Afghanistan to hunt down the terrorists responsible. But as one war rages, the Bush administration plans another one: an invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power and finish the job started by the 1991 Gulf War.

EPISODE 2: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

2003

As American troops march on Baghdad, thousands of smart bombs and missiles rain on the Iraqi capital in a “shock and awe” campaign. After just six weeks of fighting, America overthrows Saddam Hussein’s oppressive regime. But as Bush declares “Mission Accomplished,” Baghdad descends into anarchy.

EPISODE 3: HEARTS & MINDS

2003-2004

The fall of Saddam’s regime leaves a massive power vacuum in a country with no tradition of democracy. Liberation becomes occupation as American forces struggle to contain a violent insurgency they never prepared for.

EPISODE 4: STRESS POSITION

2004

Fuel is added to the insurgent fire with revelations of abuse and torture by American soldiers and intelligence operatives. The war reaches a crescendo as American forces try to take back the insurgent-controlled city of Fallujah.

EPISODE 5: INCREASE LETHALITY

2005-2006

Despite Iraq’s first free elections and the execution of Saddam Hussein, America is losing a conflict that is quickly becoming a civil war. Things aren’t any better in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is staging an insurgency of its own.

EPISODE 6: THE SURGE

2007-2008

President Bush sends a surge of over 20,000 new troops to Iraq to bolster the rapidly deteriorating war effort. But as the surge starts to have an effect, devastating terror attacks in Yemen and Pakistan serve as a reminder that Osama bin Laden is still out there – and the war in Iraq is bringing him new followers.

EPISODE 7: CHAOS-ISTAN

2009-2010

As the war in Afghanistan overtakes Vietnam as the longest in American history, new President Obama sends in 30,000 more troops, with outspoken general Stanley McChrystal in command. Chaos reigns as US forces battle insurgents in remote mountain ranges, and McChrystal butts heads with his commander-in-chief – but America is also closing in on Osama bin Laden.

EPISODE 8: GERONIMO

2011

After nearly ten years of hunting for bin Laden, the CIA finally believes they may have found him hiding in Pakistan. If they’re wrong, the covert mission to kill or capture him could become an international catastrophe – but if they’re right, America could finally bring down the man responsible for 9/11.

EPISODE 9: ARAB SPRING

2011-2012

As American troops prepare to leave Iraq, revolutionary uprisings topple dictators and authoritarian regimes across the Middle East. But just as in Iraq, violence follows in the wake of liberation, including an attack on a US diplomatic compound and CIA station in Benghazi, Libya, that leaves four Americans dead and touches off a political firestorm.

EPISODE 10: HOUSE OF WAR

2013-Present

In Syria, the rebellion against the government turns into a brutal civil war, and a deadly new player enters the fight. As ISIS takes over territory in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond, Americans once again find themselves on the ground in Iraq – this time fighting an enemy created by a war on terror that seems destined never to end.

AREAS OF CONFLICT

AFGHANISTAN

American forces invade Afghanistan in October 2001, after the country’s Taliban rulers refuse to give up Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. America succeeds in removing the Taliban from power, but bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders escape to Pakistan. The tasks of rebuilding the nation, hunting for al-Qaeda and fighting a Taliban insurgency keeps US troops in Afghanistan for 16 years and counting. In recent years, ISIS has claimed territory and staged attacks in Afghanistan, adding another front in the longest war in American history.

PAKISTAN

When al-Qaeda’s leaders flee Afghanistan, they find refuge in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of northwestern Pakistan. There, in remote, rocky hills and canyons, they plot a resurgence. But al-Qaeda’s leadership also hides in plain sight. In 2010, the CIA discovers that Osama bin Laden may be living in a house in Abbottabad, near the Pakistan Military Academy.

IRAQ

The US leads a small coalition of nations in an invasion of Iraq in March 2003, in an attempt to overthrow the regime of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, suspected of harboring terrorists and possessing weapons of mass destruction. Though those charges turn out to be exaggerated, the destruction of Saddam’s administration touches off an insurgency and a war that officially lasts another eight years, though the rise of ISIS has ensured that Iraq remains a crucial battleground.

LIBYA

Led by terrorist-sponsoring dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya erupts in violence in 2011 as rebels try to overthrow the “Brotherly Leader”’s regime. Gaddafi is killed in October 2011, ending a 42-year reign. A year later, an attack on a diplomatic compound and CIA station in Benghazi, Libya, leaves four Americans dead and ignites a political scandal in the US.

SYRIA

Rebels rise up against oppressive president Bashar al-Assad in 2011, sparking a civil war that continues to this day. As US leaders struggle with the question of whether to intervene, a new threat rises: ISIS, claiming Syrian territory for its worldwide caliphate.

YEMEN

In October 2000, al-Qaeda attacks a US Navy destroyer in the port of Aden. Over the next decade and a half, the country has become the site of multiple terror attacks, a civil war, and the base for one of al-Qaeda’s main branches.

KEY PLAYERS

BILL CLINTON
GEORGE W. BUSH
BARACK OBAMA
DONALD TRUMP

DICK CHENEY
DONALD RUMSFELD
COLIN POWELL
CONDOLEEZZA RICE
HILLARY CLINTON
JOE BIDEN
TONY BLAIR
MICHAEL FLYNN

SADDAM HUSSEIN
UDAY & QUSAY HUSSEIN
HAMID KARZAI
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF
OSAMA BIN LADEN
KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED
MUAMMAR GADDAFI
GRAND AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI

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