war

  In its earliest days, the American-led war in Afghanistan appeared to be a triumph — a "good war" in comparison to the debacle in Iraq. It has since turned into one of the longest and most costly wars in U.S. history. The story of how this good war went so bad may well turn out to be a defining tragedy of the 21st century — yet as acclaimed war correspondent Jack Fairweather explains, it should also give us reason to hope.

In The Good War, Fairweather provides the first full narrative history of the war in Afghanistan, from the 2001 invasion to the 2014 withdrawal.

  Forty years ago, a majority of Americans were highly engaged in issues of war and peace. Whether to go to war or keep out of conflicts was a vital question at the heart of the country’s vibrant, if fractious, democracy. But American political consciousness has drifted. In the last decade, America has gone to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, while pursuing a new kind of warfare in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Pakistan. National security issues have increasingly faded from the political agenda, due in part to the growth of government secrecy.

Journalist and lawyer Scott Horton shows how secrecy has changed the way America functions in his book, Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America's Stealth Warfare.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

Today we check in with MASS Humanities and learn about “Literature, Medicine and the Experience of War” - a six-month, scholar-led, humanities reading and discussion program for health professionals and staff in medical facilities administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and/or veterans and military service organizations.

  For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11 perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view?

In her book, Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present.

Listener Essay - And Also Our Thanks

Nov 11, 2014

  And Also Our Thanks

One Sunday in Paris with my friends Garry and Martine, we searched for the remains of the old Bastille. What’s left of this fortress today is a few foundation stones, forming an outline of the building in Paris’s cobbled streets. Despite connotations of revolution and war, the Bastille really isn’t all that big.

In no time we had rounded the block to find ourselves in front of a pharmacy. I quickly went in to buy something. I walked out to find my friends talking with an older gentleman on his way to the market. As I was introduced, he asked if I was an American.

“Je suis Américain” I replied in my cobbled-together French.

Then he thanked me for saving France.

"Bring the War Home," which had been a rallying cry of the anti-Vietnam-War movement, was transformed on May 4, 1970 into a macabre irony when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student anti-war protesters at Kent State, killing four and wounding nine. Many, certainly not all, of the anti-war student activists were chauvinist, privileged, white men.

Everyone agrees that our troops deserve a return to productive and creative lives after service. Yet, in spite of billions spent on psychological care and reintegration programs, we face an epidemic of combat-related conditions like PTSD. What's the solution? In Warrior's Return, Dr. Edward Tick reveals what's missing in our approach to helping our veterans acclimate from the battlefield to civilian live.

    Joe Gannon is a writer and spoken word artist. He was also a freelance journalist during the Sandinista Revolution, writing for the Christian Science Monitor and the San Francisco Examiner.

In his new novel, Night of the Jaguar, he takes readers to the land of Nicaragua in the mid-eighties, a place recovering from one conflict and descending into another.

    Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser joins us to discuss the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction?

Drawing on recently declassified documents and in-depth interviews with the individuals who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Schlosser reveals that America’s nuclear weapons have been plagued by accidents, mistakes, and near-misses since their inception and that even the best control systems are no match for human error.

    

  In the spring of 2001, three women enlisted in the Indiana National Guard. Each had her own idea of what a stint in the Guard might mean — free education, a sense of purpose, extra money. But just months after they signed up, the 9/11 attacks occurred and what they thought would be a couple days of drills each month turned into long overseas deployments.

In her new book, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, Helen Thorpe follows the lives of Desma Brooks, Michelle Fischer and Debbie Helton for 12 years.

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