Iraq

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We're talking with Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel about his work covering the lives of Iraq War veterans -- their experiences in war and returning home, where they often face what Finkel calls the "after-war." 

This program was originally broadcast on 12/3/14.

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More than ten years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the issue still dominates American foreign policy. We’ll speak with Retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who was there from the beginning, serving as chief of staff to then Secretary of State Colin Powell. We’ll get his thoughts on the factors influencing American decision making in Iraq, including money.

helenthorpe.wordpress.com

In her new book, author Helen Thorpe tells the tales of three female National Guard members, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Thorpe traces their stories: from their expectations joining the Guard before 9/11, to their experiences going off to war, and then troubles on the home front.

GUEST:

  • Helen Thorpe - journalist and author from Denver, CO. Her most recent book is "Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War."

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Credit AP PHOTO/NICOLE TUNG, FREEJAMESFOLEY.ORG

At the beginning of today's show, we checked in with the AP's northern New England correspondent, Rik Stevens. He has been covering the video released yesterday showing James Foley's beheading. (digital post by Faith Meixell)

HIGHLIGHTS:

Amanda Loder / NHPR

New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators say they support actions being taken in northern Iraq to combat Sunni militants advancing toward the Kurdish capital of Irbil.  

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen says she supports the dual mission of stopping the advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and providing humanitarian relief to thousands of Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar.  But she’s wary of expanding U.S. involvement in the conflict.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

A Nashua man who will be awarded the Medal of Honor next month says the recognition does not belong to him, but to his unit, and his fellow servicemen who died in battle.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts will receive the medal during a White House ceremony next month.

He is quick to deflect any credit, and says the award is a memorial to those who have laid down their lives in battle.

Karim Kadim / AP via NPR

A powerful group of radical Islamists has been overwhelming Iraqi cities and towns. The stunning onslaught has the capital Baghdad now girding for battle and the U.S. grappling with how best to deal with the threat. We’ll look at the situation there and at American options.

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This week on Foodstuffs, we connect the Granite State to the food traditions of Iraq.

Nawal Nasrallah of Salem is author of the book Delights From The Garden Of Eden, which not only includes Iraqi recipes but traces the history of the country’s cuisine. Saveur magazine named it one of the top 10 cookbooks of 2013.

twaffles via Flickr Creative Commons

A full decade into the drone war in the Middle East, we’re still asking questions: what does an unmanned military mean for the future of warfare?  Who chooses who lives and who dies? What does it mean to pull the trigger on a target half a world away?

And what is like being a veteran of the drone war?

Matthew Power is a freelance print and radio journalist and a contributor to GQ Magazine, where he wrote a profile of former drone operator and Airman First Class Brandon Bryant.

via Monadnock Lyceum

Drawing on Dietrich Bonhoeffer's concept of "cheap grace," Andrew Bacevich exposes the chronic defects in the current U. S. approach to waging war.  He explains why the world's most powerful military doesn't win and why the nation's reliance on professional soldiers has turned out to be such a bad bargain. When American soldiers deploy to places like Iraq and Afghanistan, what is the cause for which they fight?  The patriotic answer is this:  they fight for freedom.  Challenge that proposition and you’ll likely pick a quarrel.

In March of 2003, the U.S. began air strikes in what officials said would be a short war. Eight years later, our forces pulled out with a death toll of more than 4000 Americans and 100,000 Iraqis.  We’ll talk with Granite Staters who served in Iraq, what they experienced and their reflections a decade later.

Guests:

Beverly & Pack via Flickr Creative Commons

When we call dogs ‘man’s best friend’, we’re typically referring to their value as companions and protectors - but canines have a long history of helping people with affairs far more solemn that playing fetch.  For centuries, dogs have played a pivotal role in aiding the disabled, in hunting, for search and rescue operations, and for their service in police and military applications.  After a long hiatus, U.S. bomb-sniffing dogs were re-introduced to the battlefield in 2007.  There are now some six-hundred military dogs deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.