Ever wondered what you might do with 18 days of rest after serving 15 months in combat? Reporter David Finkel followed one group of soldiers in Iraq for 15 months, and reported all of it in his book The Good Soldiers. Here is our radio version of one of the chapters in his book, where we hear actors read aloud what soldiers and families of soldiers told David about their break.
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Allen Wigington, former Chief Deputy at the Pickens County Sheriff's department, now magistrate judge, tells the story a soldier killed in Iraq—Specialist David Collins—arriving back home in Georgia to be buried.
Alex Blumberg talks to Lt. Col.
Host Ira Glass talks to Anthony Swofford, a former marine sniper and author of the Gulf War memoir Jarhead. He explains what he's seeing when he watches this new war with Iraq on television.
Tice Ridley is a first lieutenant in the Army. He's been sending regular emails from Kuwait City, where he's stationed, about what it's like to wait for the war to begin, and what it's like to actually fight it.
Shant Kenderian reads from his memoir 1001 Nights In the Iraqi Army: The True Story of a Chicago Student Held as a POW By the Americans During Desert Storm. During the first Persian Gulf war, Shant (reluctantly) fought for Saddam Hussein.
When an Arkansas National Guard Unit is sent off to Iraq, they assume they're going to help rebuild the country, since they're trained as an engineering unit. But once they arrive, they find themselves in a combat zone, unprepared and ill-equipped.
This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story of Conrad Crane, the head of the U.S. Army Military History Institute.
A former military man, Hank was hired by Custer Battles to clean up one of its other Iraq operations, guarding businessmen. He has a very clear idea of who he wants working for him: "flat-bellied, steely-eyed professionals." Instead, he's trying to tighten up a outfit whose workers once engaged in an extended firefight at a Baghdad hotel—against each other.
Last summer when Nancy Updike was reporting in Iraq, Sarah, an Iraqi woman in her 40s, was her interpreter. But it wasn't the first time Sarah had had that gig.
Dal LaMagna made a fortune selling high-quality grooming products. And after retiring, he wanted to do some good in the world.
To understand where we are today in Iraq, we tell the story of one Iraqi, Saad Oraibi Ghaffouri Al-Obeidi, also known as Abu Abed—a man who fought alongside the US during the surge, and is now in exile—and what he saw, and was part of, over seven years of the war.
When he was a teenager, Haider Hamza worked in the Iraqi Ministry of Information. He was specially trained to talk to visiting dignitaries and foreign reporters, and he loved his job.