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Military

The Takeaway

Stimulus funds to pay debt to Filipino WW II vets

Monday, February 23, 2009

During World War II, thousands of Filipinos fought for the US military. They were promised benefits from the US, but denied them after the war. But finally, after decades of fighting for their pay, Filipino vets are finally getting what they are owed from a provision in the new stimulus bill. World War II veteran Amadeo Urbano and Eric Lachica, an advisor to the advocacy group American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, joins John to talk about their decades-long struggle for compensation.

What else is in the stimulus bill? Follow the dollars online and tell us how the stimulus plan is playing out in your community. We're sharing your stories online and on air, and we'll continue the investigation with your help.

ShovelWatch is a joint project of the non-profit investigative outfit ProPublica, the morning news program The Takeaway and WNYC, New York's flagship public radio station. With investigative reporting, interactive features and help from you.

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The Takeaway

U.S. advisors secretly aiding Pakistani military

Monday, February 23, 2009

Our partner, the New York Times, has an exclusive story today on a secret American unit training the Pakistani military to fight al Qaida and the Taliban. To discuss the story and its implications, we are joined by Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist and author of Decent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia and Eric Schmitt, the New York Times reporter who wrote the article.

For more, read Eric Schmitt's article, U.S. Unit Secretly in Pakistan Lends Ally Support , in today's New York Times.

Here is Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke's interview on Charlie Rose clarifying the Obama administration's position on Pakistan and Afghanistan:



"Pakistan presents a much more difficult conundrum for the Obama administration and the review that it is carrying out. Afghanistan is a question of sheer neglect."
— Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid on U.S. troops in Pakistan

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The Takeaway

Guantanamo detainee returns to Britain

Monday, February 23, 2009

Former British resident Binyam Mohamed is being released from Guantanamo today and returning to the UK. His case is controversial because he alleges that he was tortured while in CIA custody, and a British court says that classified documents support his claim. BBC Security Correspondent Rob Watson joins John with a look at Mohamed’s story, and what it says about how the Obama Administration is handling detainees and the alleged abuses of the Bush Administration.

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The Takeaway

President Obama sends troop surge to Afghanistan

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In what he described as an urgent bid to stabilize a deteriorating and neglected country, President Obama is sending 17,000 troops to Afghanistan. This deployment will double the number of American combat brigades in Afghanistan at a time when tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan are weakening. We turn to Emal Pasarly of the BBC for more.

For more of The Takeaway's recent coverage of Afghanistan, click here, here, and here.

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The Takeaway

Military to recruit skilled temporary immigrants

Monday, February 16, 2009

In a new program the U.S. military will begin recruiting skilled immigrants who could become citizens in as little as six months in exchange for three to four years of service. It’s the first time since the Vietnam War that enlistment in the armed forces will be possible for temporary immigrants. Julia Preston, national immigration correspondent for The New York Times, joins The Takeaway to explain the program and the reaction it's getting.

For more, read Julia Preston's article, U.S. Military Will Offer Path to Citizenship in the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Afghanistan looms large for Obama administration

Friday, February 13, 2009

President Obama has no shortage of challenges before him on the home front. But overseas, no problem looms larger than that of Afghanistan, where Taliban militants continue to gain ground and popular support. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke is in Kabul on what has been called a fact-finding mission. And the Obama administration is expected to announce a troop surge soon. For in depth look at the situation in Afghanistan, The Takeaway is joined by Parag Khanna, a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation and author of The Second World. The BBC's Martin Patience remains to provide his insight.

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The Takeaway

The fate of U.S. military air base in Krygyzstan remains unclear

Friday, February 06, 2009

While most Americans may wonder where in the world is Kyrgyzstan, the U.S. military is very aware of it this week. The United States and NATO have longed use a base in Kyrgyzstan as a vital stopover in the supply route for their operations in Afghanistan. That may be changing though, because Russia offered the country two billion dollars in aid if Kyrgyzstan agreed to close the base. For more, we turn to the BBC's Olexiy Solohubenko.

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The Takeaway

The other Guantanamo

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One of President Obama's first acts in office was to begin the process of closing the United States military prison at Guantanamo Bay and work to either release or bring to trial the 245 detainees there. But in Afghanistan, 600 prisoners from the war on terror await the Obama Administration in a cavernous, makeshift American prison at the Bagram military base north of Kabul. Eric Schmitt of the New York Times joins us to discuss the fate of these prisoners.

For more, read Eric Schmitt's article, Afghan Prison Poses Problem in Overhaul of Detainee Policy in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

A closer look at the suspension of trials in Guantanamo

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

As one of his first acts in office, President Obama asked for a 120-day suspension of the military trials of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. We turn to the BBC's defense and security correspondent, Rob Watson, for a look at the significance of the move and the difficulties facing the new administration over those still being held at the prison.

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The Takeaway

The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A new film illuminates the celebrated and controversial life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb. The Takeaway turns to filmmaker David Grubin for a look at the lessons 21st century America can learn from the trials and tribulations of this 20th century legend.


Don't forget to watch David Grubin's film "The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer" when it airs on The American Experience on January 26th.

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The Takeaway

President Obama orders suspension of Guantanamo trials

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Late last night the brand-new President of the United States asked to suspend the military trials of terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The request to suspend trials for 120 days will be heard by two judges on Wednesday. The move was made so that the administration can re-examine the trial process. President Obama has said he wants to close the controversial center. To explain what this suspension means, we turn to Walter White an international human rights lawyer, former chair of the Human Rights section of the American Bar Association, who is currently at the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School.

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The Takeaway

A fragile peace in Gaza

Monday, January 19, 2009

There is a two-day old cease-fire in Gaza and everyone is hopeful that that the fragile peace will hold. As Israeli troops withdraw, Gaza residents begin to rebuild. The borders to Gaza have just opened to the foreign press and we now turn to Charles Levinson, the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, who joins us from Gaza.

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The Takeaway

They paved the way for the new President

Monday, January 19, 2009

Barack Obama has explicitly credited the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of elite African-American World War II pilots, for helping to pave the way for his presidency. Their performance in combat encouraged President Harry Truman to desegregate the military in 1948. All the surviving members of the group were invited to the inauguration and over two hundred are expected to attend. Val Archer, a Tech Sergeant with the Tuskegee Airmen, will tell John and Adaora what this occasion means to him.

For more on the Tuskegee Airmen, watch a clip of them in action courtesy of Youtube user Historystartsnow:

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The Takeaway

A tentative cease-fire in Gaza

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Israeli army reports that there was a second night of peace after Israel and Hamas reached a tentative cease-fire. Israeli troops have started pulling out of Gaza, although the army isn't saying how long the process will take. In Gaza, residents are beginning to pick up the pieces after being bombarded for more than three weeks. For more on this situation, we turn to BBC Correspondent Bethany Bell.

Watch Al Jazeera's report on the behind-the-scenes diplomacy that lead to this cease-fire.

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The Takeaway

A separate peace: Israel and Hamas agree to a cease-fire

Monday, January 19, 2009

Israel began an offensive in Gaza three weeks ago with the hope of ending Hamas' ability to fire rockets into Southern Israel. A week later Israel sent in tanks and ground troops, but Hamas has continued to fire rockets and mortars into Israeli territory. Palestinian medical officials say more than 1,300 Palestinians have been killed during the military action. Under mounting diplomatic pressure from the international community, the two parties have agreed to a cease-fire and Israeli troops are withdrawing from Gaza. For more we turn to the BBC's Jonathan Marcus.

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The Takeaway

Israel wants a cease-fire, but there are stipulations

Friday, January 16, 2009

For three weeks Israeli forces have gouged deep into Gaza in an attempt to rout out Hamas operatives who are accused of firing rockets into Israel. Their offensive has raised the ire of the international community and the pleas for peace have intensified as civilian casualties mount up. Egypt, the United Nations, and the United States have all been working to craft a cease-fire. Today, Israeli government officials are spreading around the world bringing new hope for an imminent cease-fire. But what does Israel need for a durable and lasting peace? To answer that we turn to Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli government who joins us from Jerusalem.

"Our goal is a long, sustained, durable quiet in the south that is ultimately good both for Palestinians and Israelis."
— Israeli spokesman Mark Regev on Israel's goals for their offensive in Gaza

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The Takeaway

Renewed hopes for a cease-fire in Gaza

Friday, January 16, 2009

As Israel's offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip heads into its third week, international cries for peace have intensified. The U.S., the United Nations and Egypt continue what has been described as a feverish round of telephone tag in an effort to forge a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas on the 21st day of fighting. For more on what it might take to create a lasting cease-fire between the parties, we turn to Hanan Ashwari, a Palestinian legislator, activist, and scholar for her insight into the ongoing assault in Gaza.


Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

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The Takeaway

Britain's foreign secretary calls "war on terror" a mistake

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In today's issue of The Guardian newspaper, Britain's foreign secretary, David Milliband, called the "War on Terror" a mistake. He wants a review of the tactics used to combat terror and calls the current strategy misleading and mistaken. These remarks were repeated in a speech he made in Mumbai today. For more on this we are joined by Naomi Grimley, the BBC's political affairs correspondent in London.

David Milliband was on Charlie Rose several months ago discussing Britain's foreign policy and America's evolving role in the world.

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The Takeaway

Shinseki heads to the Hill

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Five years ago, then-General Eric Shinseki made headlines for clashing with the Bush administration on Iraq war policy. His now-famous statement on the numbers of soldiers required for the Iraq was belittled and eventually he was ousted over it. Fast forward to today, where he's expected to have a smooth Senate confirmation hearing in his bid to lead the Veterans Affairs Department under Barack Obama. For more, we go to Larry Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration.

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The Takeaway

Shifting balances in hope for Middle East peace

Monday, January 12, 2009

An Israeli government spokesman says Israel is "very close" to achieving its three key goals for starting the military action in Gaza. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the elements of a cease-fire "are there." Cease-fire or not, this conflict has shown a profound shift in power in the Arab world when it comes to war and peace in the Middle East. Michael Slackman is covering this story from Cairo for our partner, the New York Times, and he joins us now.

Read Michael Slackman's article, Crisis Imperils 2-State Plan, Shifting a Balance in today's New York Times.

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