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Military

The Takeaway

Veterans on Continuing Afghanistan Mission

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

We continue our conversation with veterans about what they expect to hear from President Obama in tonight's speech on Afghanistan, and how they think the strategy will play out on the ground. We speak with Jack Jacobs, retired Army colonel and professor of politics at West Point; National Guard Spc. Marco Reininger, who served in Afghanistan in 2008; and retired Army Sgt. Genevieve Chase, founder of American Women Veterans, who served in Afghanistan in 2006.

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The Takeaway

President to Unveil Afghanistan Strategy

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

President Obama will announce his strategy for Afghanistan in a speech at West Point tonight. He is expected to send roughly 30,000 more troops to the war and discuss the criteria for an exit strategy. Besides America and Afghanistan itself, the country that stands to be most directly affected by these next moves is Pakistan. Hassan Abbas, Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society and senior advisor at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University, joins us to discuss our ongoing strategy.

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The Takeaway

Afghanistan Veterans Anticipate Strategy Speech

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

President Obama will make a major announcement tonight from West Point Military Academy, outlining his plans to raise troop levels in Afghanistan. The New York Times reports the president has already issued orders to send thousands of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, raising the number of U.S. forces there to around 100,000.  Tonight's speech is expected to include a timeline for U.S. involvement in the region and give the nation some idea of how he plans to pay for the war. The Takeaway talks to three veterans of the war in Afghanistan and asks what they want to hear from the Commander in Chief.

Maj. Adrianne Dicker Kadzinski is in the Army reserve. She served in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003, and she currently sits on the advisory board of the Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation, which focuses on education there. Ret. Sgt. Steve Husong served in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003. He's the host and producer of a television program that is currently in the works called "Redeployed." And National Guard Spec. Marco Reininger, who served in Afghanistan in 2008, is a spokesman for the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Maj. Kadzinski says the U.S. owes Afghanistan a substantial, long-term presence focusing on rebuilding economic and social structures. Ret. Sgt. Husong wants President Obama to trust the generals who advise him, relying on their military experience to make up for his lack. And Spec. Reininger says whatever the President's decision, the country must be prepared to take care of returning veterans.

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The Takeaway

Fair Trial Possible for Accused Fort Hood Shooter?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and wounding 31 others during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Central Texas. Hasan has been hospitalized at Brooke Army Medical Center since the shooting. Civilan police reportedly shot and wounded Hasan, paralyzing him from the waist down. Trying Hasan in court may seem straightforward to most, but President Obama and several high-ranking army officials made statements in the days after the shooting that some say will prevent Hasan from getting a fair trial anywhere in the country. We talk with Hasan's attorney, Ret. Col. John P. Galligan. Galligan says his main concern is making sure his client is able to find a fair and impartial jury.

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The Takeaway

Thanksgiving With the Troops

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

At a Defense Department briefing on Tuesday, spokesman Geoff Morrell ran down the list of what U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will be eating on Thanksgiving day. It's a feast that includes more than 465,000 pounds of turkey and 61,000 pounds of stuffing. Specialist Naveed Ali Shah is one of the enlisted soldiers who will be taking part in the festivities on base. He's stationed in Balad, Iraq. First Lieutenant Russell Galeti joins us from Germany, where his unit is training before deploying to Afghanistan. And Michael Hoffman, staff writer for The Mililtary Times and a former Air Force intelligence officer, talks about what it's like to be enlisted during the holidays.

 

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The Takeaway

The President's Coming Decision on Afghanistan

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he will soon announce his decision on our strategy in Afghanistan. When he says he intends to “finish the job,” what does he mean? Here to help us answer that is David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for our partner, The New York Times. And to help us see what the consequences of finishing the job will be are Charlie Sennott, executive editor and vice president of GlobalPost, and Nadir Atash, former Afghan government official and author of “Turbulence: The Tumultuous Journey of One Man's Quest for Change in Afghanistan

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The Takeaway

Iraq Election Delay Could Slow US Troop Withdrawals

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

As President Obama nears his final decision about how many more U.S. soldiers to send to Afghanistan, delays in parliamentary elections in Iraq could slow American troop withdrawals from that country.  The resurgence of tribal and ethnic tensions that have previously boiled over into a low level civil war are partly at fault for these election delays.  We're joined by Steven Lee Myers, Baghdad correspondent for our partner, The New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Military Commanders Rethink Terrorist Air Response

Friday, November 20, 2009

It seemed like an essential move after the September 11 attacks: having dozens of fighter jets on alert at all times in case it happened again. But eight years later, military commanders are now questioning such an expensive policy. New York Times reporter Eric Schmitt tells us about the biggest reassessment of the terrorist air threat since the attacks.

Read Eric Schmitt's exclusive story in today's New York Times

 

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The Takeaway

Decades On, Thousands of Troops Still in South Korea

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When President Obama continues his week-long Asia trip today in South Korea, he’ll get a look at the long aftermath of the Korean War. There are still approximately 28,000 United States soldiers stationed in South Korea. That's about 12,00 fewer than six years ago. Joining us now to explain why there are still so many U.S. troops committed is Robert Kaplan, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and a correspondent for The Atlantic.

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The Takeaway

Word of Mouth, Word of Myth: Reporting Fort Hood

Friday, November 13, 2009

In the heat of a breaking story, news media frequently run details which later turn out to be incorrect. One case in point: it's recently come out that it wasn’t actually civilian police officer Kimberly Munley who shot down Hasan, as initially reported, but rather another officer, Sgt. Mark Todd. What else that's come from Fort Hood has been corrected since last week? To discuss and update the reporting thus far, we are joined by Campbell Robertson from our partner The New York Times, who has been reporting in Killeen, Tex. We also have Dave Cullen, author of "Columbine," about the Columbine High School massacre.

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The Takeaway

Dueling Strategies for War in Afghanistan

Friday, November 13, 2009

President Obama has rejected four options for upping troop levels in Afghanistan. A decision on how many troops to send to the war-torn nation had been expected after the president met with his national security team on Wednesday, but a series of cables from the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, warned Obama against deploying more troops in the face of rampant corruption in the Afghan government. We speak to Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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The Takeaway

From War, New Prosthetics for Amputees

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The government has worked to help soldiers who have lost limbs on the battlefield since as far back as the Civil War. More recently, the Vietnam War inspired a huge jump in the development of prosthetics. Grant Elliot, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab Biomechatronics Group, tells us that we're experiencing another big period of advancement as veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan come home. We also speak to Will Borden, who lost his leg in a 1993 car accident and says he's benefiting from this research.

Read a blog post by Takeaway correspondent Femi Oke, who visited a prosthetics lab at the VA Medical Center in New York.

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The Takeaway

The Path to Justice for Suspected Fort Hood Shooter

Thursday, November 12, 2009

At a memorial for victims of the Fort Hood shootings, President Obama said the killer will "be met with justice in this world and the next." We focus on the legal challenges for the alleged shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, in this world. Hasan will probably face a long and complex trial, but only after an equally complex assessment of his mental health. We speak with Eugene Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale Law School and is president of the National Institute of Military Justice. We also speak to New York Times national security reporter Scott Shane, who gives us the latest on the case.

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The Takeaway

The Nation's First Court for Veterans

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last year, Judge Robert T. Russell, Jr. of Buffalo, N.Y., started the nation's first veterans' court to deal with the specific needs of former military personnel accused of minor crimes. Judge Russell joins us to explain how and why he started the court, while Tom Zabarowski, a former Army enlistee, explains how Judge Russell helped him to regain his life.

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The Takeaway

President Obama and the Armed Forces

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

After recent visits by President Obama to Fort Hood, Dover Air Force Base and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, we discuss the relationship the president has with the armed services and service members, and how those relationships might inform his upcoming Afghanistan troop decision. We speak with Leo Shane, Stars and Stripes White House correspondent, and Richard Kohn, professor of military history at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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The Takeaway

Afghan Troop Announcement Imminent

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

As America marks Veterans Day, President Obama is reportedly considering four options for increasing troop levels in Afghanistan, which he will review during a meeting with his national security team today.  David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, writes in today's paper that three of the options before the president range from the deployment of 20,000 troops to the 40,000 recommended by General Stanley McChrystal.  The White House declined to specify an exact troop level associated with the fourth option, which has reportedly been added in the last couple of days.

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The Takeaway

Alleged Fort Hood Shooter Reportedly Wrote to Radical Cleric

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New details are emerging in the case of the suspected Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who shot and killed 13 people and wounded 29 others during a shooting spree last week. Our partner The New York Times reports that Hasan had sent 10 to 20 messages since late last year to a radical Islamic cleric, once a leader at the Virginia mosque where Hasan worshipped and since relocated to Yemen. Scott Shane, New York Times national security reporter, joins us. And for a look at how the community in and around Fort Hood is reacting to the tragedy, we talk to Colonel Chaplain Frank Jackson. He is the garrison chaplain at Fort Hood.

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The Takeaway

Listeners on Religion and Fort Hood Shootings

Monday, November 09, 2009

Last Friday, we asked listeners about the relevance of religion in the discussion of the alleged Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. Is the fact that Hasan is Muslim something to mention or ignore?

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The Takeaway

Mental Health Support in US Military, After Fort Hood

Monday, November 09, 2009

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who allegedly killed 13 people and wounded 29 others during a shooting spree at Fort Hood in Texas last week, is an Army psychiatrist, trained in treating combat stress in soldiers. That has raised questions about how the job of counseling affects military health professionals. Olga Peña, managing editor of The Killeen Daily Herald, joins us with the latest from Fort Hood. Bret A. Moore is a clinical psychologist who served in Iraq for 27 months; he left the Army in 2008 for a number of reasons, among them the growing possibility of burnout. He says that mental health workers in the Army, like all soldiers, are not required to seek counseling, but they do have the choice to seek help if they wish. Nelson Ford is the CEO of LMI Consulting and a former undersecretary of the Army.  He says the Army is doing a fine job of improving its response to mental health problems.

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The Takeaway

Multiple Deployments' Toll on Military Families

Monday, November 09, 2009

The stress of multiple deployments is taking its toll on many military families. In the aftermath of the shootings at Fort Hood, where hundreds of children live, and as we approach Veterans Day later this week, we look at the stress military families live with every day. Lucianne Buch's husband recently retired from the Army after three deployments; her 11-year-old stepson began showing the effects of stress on the day his father was first deployed.  She says multiple deployments are trying on her family and many others at Fort Polk, Louisiana. New York Times Motherlode writer Lisa Belkin also joins us, along with Angela Huebner, a professor of Human Development in the Child and Family program at Virginia Tech, who says that this kind of stress is resting heavily on military families across the country.

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