300: What's In A Number?
- We're a nation at war, but it hardly feels like it. That contrast is especially jarring for people like Hannah Allam, who just returned home to Oklahoma after two years in Baghdad running the Knight-Ridder Newspapers bureau there. Host Ira Glass talks with Hannah and Army Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss about what it feels like to come home from a war that nobody's paying much attention to. (5 minutes)
- About a year ago, a John Hopkins University study in the British medical journal The Lancet estimated the number of civilian casualties in Iraq. It came up with a number—100,000 dead—that was higher than any other estimate, and was mostly ignored. This week, Producer Alex Blumberg tells the remarkable story of what it took to find that number, why we should find it credible and why almost no one believed it. (The original Lancet study is online; free registration is required). (38 minutes)
- Captain Ryan Gist was given a particularly tough assignment in Iraq: To build relationships with a town where U.S. bombs had killed twelve innocent people. But first he has to apologize to the families of those who were killed. We hear the apology, captured on tape by a journalist working in Iraq, and talk to Captain Gist about what things have been like since. (10 minutes)
- So if, in fact, 100,000 Iraqis died because of the war—and that number is a year old—what do we do with that number? It instantly brings you to all these imponderable questions about what's worth 100,000 dead. In a way, this doesn't seem like a helpful question to think about. So Ira turns to Nancy Sherman, who writes about the military and its values. She's a professor of philosophy at Georgetown University and was the Distinguished Chair of Ethics at the U.S. Navy Academy. She also wrote Stoic Warriors. (3 minutes)