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Iraq

The Takeaway

A Soldier and A Soldier's Mother on Leaving Iraq

Monday, October 24, 2011

President Obama's announcement that U.S. troops in Iraq will be home by the holidays hit home for thousands of soldiers and families across the country. After 8 years and 4,400 American deaths, the U.S. will completely pull out of Iraq by the end of the year, with the exception of a force remaining to guard some U.S. facilities in the country. The conflict in Iraq changed the definition of what it means to be a soldier in the U.S. military, and what it means to be a reservist. More reservists were used in combat and support roles in Iraq than ever before in history.

U.S. Troops to Leave by Year's End:  One Soldiers' Mother Reacts

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The Takeaway

10 Years and Billions of Dollars Later, Vets Say Afghanistan Not Worth the Cost

Thursday, October 06, 2011

On Wednesday, the Pew Research Center released a poll indicating that only a third of American servicemen and women believe the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been worth the costs. All of these complicated factors weigh on American efforts to withdraw troops from the country. The findings came only two days before the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is now the recipient of the largest amounts of aid in the world, accruing $33 billion over the past decade. But the country is still struggling, facing an unprecedented drought and appealing for food aid for the nearly ten million people who are suffering because of it.

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The Takeaway

'Losing the Battle for Hearts and Minds' in Iraq

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The U.S. put much of its global credibility on the line with its invasion and occupation of Iraq. The reconstruction program of subsequent years has been marred by violence, instability in the Iraqi government, the influence of Iran, and millions of American dollars either unaccounted for or wasted. In 2009, Foreign Service employee Peter Van Buren spent a year in Baghdad working for the State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team, where he oversaw efforts to rebuild Iraq's economy and infrastructure.

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The Takeaway

American Hikers Freed from Iranian Prison

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The two Americans who have been kept in Iran's notorious Evin prison for the past two years were freed yesterday. Shane M. Bauer and Joshua F. Fattal, who were arrested by Iranian border guards in 2009 and sentenced to eight years in prison for illegal entry and espionage, were brought to Oman, where they await their return to the United States.

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The Takeaway

U.S. Reports Zero Fatalities in Iraq for August

Friday, September 02, 2011

For the first time since the U.S. invasion there began in 2003, American troops in Iraq experienced no fatalities for the entire month of August. Officials credit this remarkable fact as the result of unilateral American action, and Iraq focusing its attack efforts on Iranian-backed Shiite militias. While this is unprecedented in the war, it may not signify the imminent arrival of a secure Iraq.

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The Takeaway

Deadly Attacks Rattle Iraqis and Families of American Troops

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday was the deadliest day of the year in Iraq. Insurgents waged 42 coordinated attacks across the country, leaving almost 100 civilians and security forces dead, and hundreds injured. The attacks came ahead of America’s planned withdrawal from Iraq. Can Iraqis handle their own security and should America focus on our own problems here at home? 

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The Takeaway

Where is Iraq's $6.6 Billion?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More than $6 billion of Iraq money is missing, and U.S. officials for the first time saying it could possibly be due to theft. At the start of the Iraq War back in 2003, the U.S. held billions of dollars of Iraq funds seized during the invasion. Once Saddam Hussein was ousted, President George W. Bush had billions of dollars in cash flown from the Federal Reserve currency repository in New Jersey to Baghdad to help rebuild infrastructure and the support of the Iraqi people. In all the chaos of the beginning of the war, records were not meticulously kept, and it was first believed the $6.6 billion was lost because of an error in accounting. It is now believed the funds were stolen, and the Iraqi government is threatening to sue if the money is not found.

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The Takeaway

US Faces Looming Deadline on Iraq Withdrawal

Monday, June 13, 2011

At Senate confirmation hearings last Thursday, Secretary of Defense designate Leon Panetta said he expects the Iraqi government to request that some U.S. troops stay in Iraq. Combat operations in Iraq ended nearly one year ago but 47,000 U.S. troops remain in the country. In the coming weeks, the U.S. military will begin turning off the lights on the Iraq mission, and the logistical and political implications could be profound. 

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The Takeaway

Iraq: The Dangers of Drawdown

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Monday was the deadliest day for U.S. troops in Iraq in months as an insurgent attack killed five U.S. soldiers stationed in Baghdad. The country is still a dangerous place to be even as the United States prepares to begin the final withdrawal of American troops from the country. "There are people out there who are trying to kill you," says John Kamin, who was in the Army when he was deployed iwht the Louisiana National Guard in March, 2010. He says "to me it's reminiscent of the earlier days in the war." Kamin is a member and spokesman of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

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The Takeaway

US to Hire 5,000 Contractors to Protect Americans in Iraq

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Almost 50 thousand U.S. troops remain in Iraq who are supposed to be out of the country by the end of the year. However, Iraq remains a very a dangerous place and The State Department announced that it will  hire over 5,000 private security contractors to fill the void and protect military hardware and diplomats who will remain in the country. Reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Nathan Hodge says there's more than one way you can solve this problem. One way, of course, is not to be in the country. Another is to use the State Department's diplomatic security service, but it is not nearly big enough for this situation.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Obama in Europe, Economy and Oprah

Monday, May 23, 2011

President Barack Obama arrives in Ireland today, as he begins is week long trip to Europe. His stops include the UK, France, and Poland. Jason Stallman, editor for the national desk at The New York Times, looks at what we can expect in the week ahead on this trip. 

As the president journeys through Europe, a number of key economic indicators is set to be released, including GDP figures. Charlie Herman, economics and business editor for The Takeaway and WNYC, crunches the numbers for us and tells us if good things are ahead for our economy.

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The Takeaway

Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Back in News at Panetta Confirmation Hearing

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Since the shooting death of Osama bin Laden, the news has been dominated by stories of the former al-Qaida leader; but, the country’s foreign policy priorities do not end with the discover of his Abbottabad compound. By the time that Leon Panetta takes the stand for his Senate confirmation hearing, politicians on the Left and the Right will be clamoring for their chance have their foreign policy issues back in the limelight. To preview some of the issues we that will make their way back into the news we speak with David Sanger, chief White House correspondent for The New York Times.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Backstory: Protecting the Tigris River in Iraq

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Tigris River is one of the most important bodies of water in the Middle East, but years of extensive toxic dumping and gravel mining have severely compromised its ecosystem. We’ll speak with Humbolt Baykeeper Executive Director Pete Nichols and Nature Iraq founder Dr. Azzam Alwash about efforts to clean up the river and the newly founded group, Upper Tigris Waterkeeper.

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The Takeaway

Syria: Next Big Flashpoint in Middle East?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Syria's cabinet passed a draft law on Tuesday lifting the country's 48-year emergency rule, the unfairness of which has been a rallying cry for those in the country who want reform. The cabinet was under pressure to ease the emergency rule, but immediately after the supposed concession, the body passed a law that requires Syrians to seek permission to protest from the Interior ministry. The political upheaval sweeping across North Africa and the Mideast has been compared to a contagious virus, but Syria just may be the most contagious country of all. Syria is centrally located, bordering Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon.

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The Takeaway

'Day of Rage' in Iraq

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Iraq, in what they are calling a "Day of Rage." The protesters are calling for more accountability from elected leaders, expressing anger and frustration with corruption, instability and a continued lack of dependable public services. The BBC's Jonathan Head reports from Baghdad.

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WNYC News

NY National Guard Looks to Document Soldiers' Stories for History's Sake

Friday, February 18, 2011

WNYC

A history project that seeks to chronicle the stories of New York Army National Guard soldiers and veterans who've served in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is getting underway.

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It's A Free Blog

Revolution in Egypt, Evolution in Iraq

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On the front page of Tuesday's New York Times: Democracy protests in Iran, Yemen and Bahrain. But I want to talk about Iraq. As I mentioned on this page last week, the U.S. miscalculated badly there, spending hundreds of billions of dollars trying to bring democracy to the Middle East. But, in an ironic twist, as the winds of change sweep through the region, true democracy has not come to Iraq.

History teaches that real change is organic and comes from within; it cannot be imposed from without.

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The Takeaway

Reflecting on Donald Rumsfeld's Storied Career

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

This week, Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense for much of the George W. Bush administration, released his memoir, "Known and Unknown." The former Secretary of Defense is known for his phrasing and we take a listen back to his language, and his unapologetic legacy.

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The Takeaway

Defining Our Enemies, Defining Ourselves

Thursday, January 27, 2011

From Germany in World War I to Germany and Japan in World War II, to the Taliban and Al-Qaida today, the faces of America’s enemies have shifted over time. But how we define our enemies defines our nation in turn. We assume to be what they are not. How has this pattern affected the way nations see themselves and each other?

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The Takeaway

Tony Blair Faces Inquiry, Again

Friday, January 21, 2011

Former prime minister, Tony Blair, is the again a subject of an inquiry into the British involvement in the Iraq war. Blair has been called back to defend his decision to keep secret the division within the British government concerning the legality of entering the war. Blair pledged his country's support to George W. Bush early on, but says he stressed his desire to work with the United Nations. The BBC's Rob Watson has the latest.

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