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WWL: The Wounds of War
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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A shooting yesterday at Fort Hood in Texas has left 13 people dead - and it has America thinking about the effects of war


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49:01 minutes (23.53 MB)
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A shooting yesterday at Fort Hood in Texas has left 13 people dead – and it has America thinking about the effects of war.

The shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, is a psychiatrist, who reportedly did not want to be deployed overseas – after counseling scores of colleagues coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and helping them cope with their post-traumatic stress disorder.

Today, where we live, we’ll talk with an Iraq war veteran, who talks about his experiences in the Middle East and how he uses writing to deal with the wounds of war.

Also National security expert Scott Bates was scheduled to be in Afghanistan as an election observer. Coming up, he'll talk about the canceled elections and the future of Afghanistan, as well as his recent trip to Iraq.

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Listener Email from Ken

I originally called in about Afghanistan.

I wanted to comment that the situation there seems like our own wid west. The good guys and bad guys are citizens and know each other intimately. They are not always shooting at each other or fighting but live in constant tension.

We are like the Cavalry, coming in as outsiders and no matter how good our intentions, we have no investment in the area. The soldiers are not trained to build alliances. They are removed from the people and they have very little understanding of the intricacies of the local relationships.

I recently watched an account of some soldiers in Afghanistan trying to communicate with the locals they are trying to protect. The had no effective translator and were like the British during our revolution. Standing out in the open getting sniped at.

In Iraq there may be a similar analogies.

But I want to comment on your second guest. He has my total support. he is the majority of the Armed forces these days. They are trained to fight and want to do their very best for this country but are put into ambiguous situations. They sign up to protect the homeland and are then removed from here to fight a confusing war with dubious justifications.

People say that to die for your country is the ultimate sacrifice. That may be true, but to kill for your country is a close second. And when you are forced into a situation where you are killing people you are not certain are the enemy, you have to live with the sacrifice long after the politicians who put you there have forgotten.

The best way to support the troops is to never ask them to KILL or DIE unless it is absolutely necessary. Is the counterinsurgency part of either war absolutely necessary to our country's security?