Date(s) - 07/02/2019
8:00 am - 10:00 am

Sands Regency Hotel

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If you find you are unable to attend the presentation, please

email Patty at We are charged for no-shows.

Please RSVP for this upcoming National Security Forum Program

Sand’s Regency Hotel Casino

345 N. Arlington

“War Narratives”

Shaping beliefs, blurring truths in the Middle East

A Presentation and Discussion with

Caleb Cage

Iraq War veteran and local author

July 2nd 9:00 am at The Sands Hotel & Casino

“People hold well-informed beliefs about these wars [Iraq and Afghanistan] that differ from others, who also hold well-informed beliefs.” (Caleb Cage, “War Narratives,” Texas A&M University Military History Series No. 163)
The National Security Forum is honored to have Caleb Cage, local author, Iraq war veteran, and Nevada Homeland Security Director, join us for a thoughtful retrospective and prospective look at the Iraq War. Caleb examines the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of the Iraq War from the perspectives of narratives created and shared by U.S. military and Administration leaders, soldiers involved in combat, and policy-makers and pundits. Professor George T. Cage, will join Caleb to provide an introduction into how war narratives contribute to our national security by crafting a lens for us to understand the perspectives of heroes, villains, and victims of war.

Rooted in experience gained during two tours in Iraq, Caleb reflects on the role war narratives, both fiction and nonfiction, play in weaving historical events into the context of contemporary attitudes and political agendas. Narratives are also a means for those with war experience to pull up from on-the-ground realities of combat to share insight about how war affects individuals, drives societal opinions, and frames decision-making during and following conflicts.

Narratives are used by all sides in a conflict to set the stage for confrontation and to justify military actions that may, in more peaceful times, be judged differently. “Truth” in any given narrative is defined by the author based on which ‘facts’ are included or omitted. In his most recent book, “War Narratives”, Caleb explores political narratives that have been used to shape opinion of the war inside and outside the United States along with personal narratives used to communicate experiences on the front line to those removed from the stark realities of combat.

In his presentation and discussion with NSF, Caleb will highlight key narratives promoted by both the George W. Bush Administration and Islamic extremists, that helped shape public opinion after the 9/11 attacks and set the stage for the U.S. declaring war on Iraq in 2003. Fifteen years on, it is insightful to reflect on where we as a country were in 2003 and how our different perspectives of the war have been influenced by the stories we heard and the stories we told. He will discuss how narratives about the surge in Iraq of 2006 elevated Gen David Patraeus to near superhero status, initiated a blame-game about the subsequent rise of the Islamic State and Iran in the region, and now provide a framework for evaluating future military action.

Caleb will also explain how fiction, especially novels and short stories penned by war veterans, provide new insight into the war experience that transcends factual accounting of events captured by journalists and authors of memoirs and oral histories. This growing body of literature about the wars both Iraq and Afghanistan opens a window into realities of war that is often obscured by political, social and cultural perspectives underpinning nonfiction narratives. Caleb’s insight into war narratives will illustrate how the “truth” about the Middle East is blurred in our own minds, and hence in U.S. policies and operations, by the political, social and cultural attitudes of our times and by our long-held system of beliefs. Moving through this blur to see a clearer vision for the future is the responsibility of all Americans, not just those in power or those commanding ‘boots on the ground’ or those engaged in the fight.

For more background, I strongly recommend reading Caleb’s book before or after his NSF presentation. It is available on Amazon and at Texas A&M University Press at: War Narratives

Caleb S. Cage, was appointed as Nevada Chief of the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Advisor on July 6, 2015 by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, and a veteran of the war in Iraq. He was commissioned in 2002 as a Field Artillery officer and assigned to the 1st Infantry Division in Bamberg, Germany. During this period, he served as a company executive officer and later as a motorized rifle platoon leader in the city of Baqubah, Iraq. He also served a second tour of Iraq in 2006 as a Corps Information Operations battle captain. After separating from the Army in 2007, Cage served as Senior Policy Advisor to Nevada Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki and in was appointed to serve as Executive Director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services (NOVS) in 2010. Cage also established Nevada’s Green Zone Initiative, an effort to improve outcomes for veterans. He is the author of several books including, “War Narratives” and “Desert Mementos: Stories of Iraq and Nevada” and co-author of “The Gods of Diyala: Transfer of Command in Iraq.” He holds a Bachelor of Science in American History from United States Military Academy, West Point, and a Master’s in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School. He lives in Reno with his wife and three children.

A full breakfast will be served ($20 Members, $30 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII Veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee, and conversation. Breakfast service and registration open at 7:45 a.m.

Please RSVP below. Membership forms will be available at the forum, though you can also access the application form by clicking HERE. For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.


Bookings are closed for this event.