WBEZ | war http://www.wbez.org/tags/war Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Vietnam veteran's combat experiences left him disillusioned with the war http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/vietnam-veterans-combat-experiences-left-him-disillusioned-war-110888 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps-141001-Barry-Romo-bh.png" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;One-third of the casualties in Vietnam were because of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), because of bombs and booby traps,&rdquo; Barry Romo, 67, said while recording this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p><a href="http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war/vietnam-war-history/videos/barry-romo">Romo is a Vietnam veteran</a> who lives in Chicago and is associated with the group, <a href="http://www.vvaw.org/veteran/article/?id=189">Vietnam Veterans Against the War.</a> Earlier this week, Romo spoke about how his wartime experiences changed him.</p><p>&ldquo;Part of my job was to pay money to people who would bring back unexploded rounds,&rdquo; Romo said. &ldquo;The U.S. dropped more explosives on Vietnam than in the Second World War and 11 percent of those bombs were duds. And the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese would literally saw them in half, get that explosive and make mines to blow up Americans.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;One day, there was an explosion on the other side of the base, and what had happened was two or three or four Vietnamese children were bringing back a white phosphorous artillery round to get paid a buck and something happened to it just as they were reaching the base and two or three of the children literally ceased to exist. And one little girl was left, somewhere between the ages of 10 and 14. And she was bleeding, and in pain, and her clothes had been burned onto her. And I took off my poncho, wrapped her in that, and put her on the floor of the helicopter.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And we flew to where there was a giant military hospital. I jumped out with the little girl in my arms. And I ran to an attendant. He was a white Caucasian male. And he took one look and said, &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t treat Vietnamese nationals here. You&rsquo;re going to have to take her to the Catholic orphanage.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And we got into the helicopter and I put the girl on the floor again. And she whimpered like a little kitten in pain. The pilot landed and there was a Caucasian woman. And I jumped out, put the little girl in her arms and we flew off&hellip;I don&rsquo;t know whether she lived or she died.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We had been told, &lsquo;You&rsquo;re going to Vietnam to fight for the future, for freedom and democracy.&rsquo; And here was a little girl whose friends had all died. And it didn&rsquo;t matter. The only thing that mattered was the color of her skin and the shape of her eyes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;But the way you deal with combat is: You get through the night and then you get through the day and then you get through the night and then you get through the day. You put those things away, not to revisit them until you get back to the United States.&rdquo;</p><p>Romo lost a nephew, with whom he was close, fighting in Vietnam as well. And the experience of bringing his body back to the United States from Vietnam shook him to the core.</p><p>&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t admit the war was wrong to begin with. It took me a year of doing drugs and drinking and not sleeping.&rdquo;</p><p>Romo survived and became an active member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. But for some veterans, the memories of their combat prove too much to bear.</p><p><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/21/us/22-veteran-suicides-a-day/">According to the VA,</a> an average of 22 U.S. veterans kill themselves each day. <a href="http://veteranscrisisline.net/About/AboutVeteransCrisisLine.aspx">A crisis line created specifically for veterans has fielded more than a million calls </a>since it began in 2007.</p><p>Since Romo finished his military service, the VA has made an effort to address the issue, as evidenced by a <a href="http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/Suicide-Data-Report-2012-final.pdf">2012 report from the Veterans Administration</a> compiling veteran suicide data.</p><p>But Romo is convinced the issue is far from over. &quot;Twenty-two vets a day are killing themselves,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Twenty two vets. And it&rsquo;s important because when the war ends, it doesn&rsquo;t really end for the people who fought it or who are victims of it.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/vietnam-veterans-combat-experiences-left-him-disillusioned-war-110888 StoryCorps: Veteran encourages his kids to be proud of the United States http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-veteran-encourages-his-kids-be-proud-united-states-110484 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Capture_13.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Sam Guard graduated from high school on D-Day, when General Dwight D. Eisenhower launched troops onto the beaches of Normandy. Within two weeks of graduation, he turned himself in to an army post and began his military service. He was sent to the Pacific, earning his first battle star in the Philippines.<br /><br />When Sam visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth with his neighbor and friend Ruth Knack, he described his time in the military as being like a marriage. &ldquo;You think to yourself. &lsquo;This is it. Let&rsquo;s make the best of it.&rsquo; It is a continuous challenge and you need to rise to the occasion.&rdquo;<br /><br />He used the GI bill to go to college, but was soon recalled for the Korean conflict. He earned four more battle stars by being in 270 days of continuous combat. He recalls sleeping in a hole in the ground, without changing his clothes or washing himself. &ldquo;Our sink was our steel helmet turned upside down,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />In the trenches, he was reminded of something his mother would say when he was a kid. &ldquo;No son of mine will ever serve in a war,&rdquo; she would tell her friends. Her husband had served in the military and she believed that it was supposed to be the &ldquo;war to end all wars.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;<br />Sam remembers a time in the 1970s when his kids came home from school in tears.<br /><br />&ldquo;What&rsquo;s the matter?&rdquo; he asked. They said they were ashamed.<br /><br />&ldquo;Ashamed of what?&rdquo; he asked. Ashamed to be Americans, they responded.<br /><br />Kids at school were reacting to news of the Watergate scandal. &quot;And I thought about this,&quot; Sam said. &quot;I spent four years and two wars fighting for my country and my children are ashamed to be Americans?&quot;<br /><br />But Sam felt that the Watergate scandal was a net positive because the country corrected itself, without a revolution. &ldquo;What seems like a great defeat is possibly the highest moment,&rdquo; Sam said. &ldquo;Our greatest insight into the ultimate truth. It&rsquo;s that taking apart that may reveal its true nature.&rdquo;</p><p>He looked into his children&rsquo;s tiny faces and told them &ldquo;that they are witnessing not the disgrace of America but the triumph of our system that works.&rdquo;</p><p>And so, throughout his life there has always been a mixture of pride in his military service and shame in having to explain things to his family.<br /><br />&ldquo;We call them heroes? But what the hell is heroic about dropping bombs on people?&rdquo; To soldiers today he would say: I have some understanding of the price they paid and I wish them well. It is appreciated.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-veteran-encourages-his-kids-be-proud-united-states-110484 Hosting the enemy: Our WWII POW camps http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/hosting-enemy-our-wwii-pow-camps-109344 <p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="290" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/16853521&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Orland Park resident and curious CPA Bill Healy describes himself as a World War II history buff, but he recalls a moment not long ago when his enthusiasm for the subject outstripped his knowledge of it. He was out with some friends after a game of golf, he says, and one of them brought up German prisoner of war camps in the suburbs. Bill was shocked! He&#39;d never heard of these before, so he hit up Curious City with this question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Where were German POW camps located around Chicago during World War II?</em></p><p>Bill&rsquo;s question screamed for a visual treatment, so we put together <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/life-chicagos-german-pow-camps-109344#POWmap">this annotated map</a> that shows the camps&rsquo; locations and a bit more about them. Below, we also provide some context to make sense of it.</p><p>But with Bill&rsquo;s enthusiasm as our guide, we kept a lookout for interesting stories about life in and around the camps. We turned up several: A few were sad, a few were uplifting and a few had even grabbed headlines in decades past. Each is a reminder that Chicago&rsquo;s connection to World War II didn&rsquo;t just involve sending young men and women abroad; political and personal dramas unfolded at home, too.</p><p><strong>German POW camp locations</strong></p><p>The main camp was Fort Sheridan, with 1,300 POWs housed there from 1944 to 1945. Fort Sheridan also served as a sort of processing center and distributor of some 15,000 POWs, with prisoners being sent to smaller &ldquo;branch camps&rdquo; throughout the Midwest, a handful dotting Chicagoland.</p><p>Although nearly 425,000 POWs came to the United States during World War II, 370,000 of them were German. Many were captured while fighting in German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel&#39;s Afrika Corps.</p><p>We brought them to the U.S. for several reasons: First, it was too expensive provide food for prisoners held overseas. Also, camps were overcrowded in Europe, and our ally Great Britain asked for our help. Lastly, POWs could help fill the labor shortage in vital industries such as farming.</p><p>In the Chicago area, another few hundred were based in the Sweet Woods Forest Preserve near south suburban Thornton. They stayed in military-style barracks constructed during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Thornton site later housed a Girl Scout camp and even a high school.</p><p>Estimates suggest that between 75 and 250 POWs worked at Arlington Fields, south of Arlington Heights. Prisoners there were assigned to work at the United States Naval Air Station at Glenview. Also in Glenview, nearly 400 POWs were based at U.S. Camp Skokie in 1943. They worked in nearby orchards and farms, as well as the Naval Air Station. The facility was built by the Civil Conservation Corps and became a military police post before housing the German POWs. After the war ended, most of the facility was demolished, but one was preserved and housed a Girl Scout camp in the 1960s.<a name="POWmap"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="620" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="//www.thinglink.com/card/467079498500669440" type="text/html" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></p><p>About 200 POWs were based in Camp Pine in Des Plaines at the corner of Euclid and River Road. Some of those POWS worked in the greenhouse of Pesche&rsquo;s Flowers, which is still open today. <a name="stories"></a></p><p><strong>The stories: Why Rudolf Velte returned 50 years later</strong><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rudolf_Velte_German_POW_circa_19451946 for WEB.jpg" style="height: 221px; width: 170px; float: right;" title="This photo of Rudolf Velte in uniform was taken by a photographer sent by a church group that visited the POWs. Velte worked at Pesche’s Flowers. (Photo courtesy of the Des Plaines History Center)" /></p><p>Rudolf Velte was a German POW who was held at Camp Pine during the end of World War II, from 1945 to 1946.&nbsp;He had fought in German Field Marshal General Erwin Rommel&rsquo;s Afrika Corps before he was taken prisoner by the French. He escaped. Conditions were abysmal, he said: &ldquo;There was not much to eat and drink and very bad medical care, leading to bad illnesses.&rdquo; Velte ended up turning himself in to English soldiers. From there the American army took over and brought him to the states.</p><p>Curious City&rsquo;s Edie Rubinowitz went to Des Plaines learn more about this POW who picked carnations and made a special delivery more than fifty years later. She also discovered tapes that caught Velte recounting his story to (and being translated by) an American cousin, Art Bodenbender.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/16855476&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong>The stories: Reinhold Pabel&rsquo;s escape to Uptown</strong></p><p><embed flashvars="host=picasaweb.google.com&amp;noautoplay=1&amp;hl=en_US&amp;feat=flashalbum&amp;RGB=0x000000&amp;feed=https%3A%2F%2Fpicasaweb.google.com%2Fdata%2Ffeed%2Fapi%2Fuser%2F103395493521839527756%2Falbumid%2F5955883370124599073%3Falt%3Drss%26kind%3Dphoto%26authkey%3DGv1sRgCKfO2Imck8PCDQ%26hl%3Den_US" height="400" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" src="https://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/picasaweb.googleusercontent.com/slideshow.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="600"></embed></p><p><em>(Press play for slideshow. Press paper icon to see captions)&nbsp;</em></p><p>Not all German POWs had fond memories of their imprisonment in America. Reinhold Pabel&rsquo;s experience was not as idyllic as Velte&rsquo;s. Yes, Pabel did get to take courses he wanted to &mdash; he learned Persian, for example &mdash; but he said the Nazi and anti-Nazi tensions ran high in Camp Grant in Rockford, Ill. Prisoners were forced to pick sides and those who were anti-Nazi could face beatings by the Nazis.</p><p>Pabel was also not enamored with the U.S. government&rsquo;s efforts to &ldquo;de-Nazify&rdquo; prisoners. The audio piece below tells the surprising story of how Pabel learned about the American way of life on his own. (Vocal reenactments courtesy of Peter Spies)</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/124240519&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Edie Rubinowitz is a professor of journalism at Northeastern Illinois University and a former WBEZ news reporter. You can follow her on Twitter @<a href="https://twitter.com/edester" target="_blank">edester</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/hosting-enemy-our-wwii-pow-camps-109344 Drones and Warfare http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/drones-and-warfare-105860 <p><p>American Friends Service Committee and Chicago Area Peace Action will co-sponsor an event with <strong>Robert Namain</strong>, the policy director for Just Foreign Policy, who will talk about his recent trip to Pakistan and on the policy of targeted assassination and drone warfare. This is a subject very pertinent to current foreign policy: the U.S. has pointed to the use of drones as a way to save money and U.S. lives, but it has terrible moral implications, as the many civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan have made clear. AFSC and Peace Action will be embarking upon a national campaign to end use of drones, and this is an excellent opportunity to hear eyewitness testimony and expert analysis before joining these efforts.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AFSC-webstory_5.jpg" title="" /></div><p>Recorded live Thursday, January 17, 2013 at DePaul University.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 09:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/drones-and-warfare-105860 Music Thursdays with Tony Sarabia: Summer Songs http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-summer-songs-100257 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/beach headphones flickr valentina calosci.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNR5l8" width="500"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: left; "><em>The playlist above has been updated to include listener-submitted suggestions, so take a listen!</em></p><p>Well, summer is here. Time for care free days, al fresco dining, Frisbee, outdoor music festivals, road trips and a soundtrack for the season.</p><p>Summer is our focus for this week&rsquo;s Music Thursday. My usual partner Richard Steele is dodging the heat in New Orleans so in his stead we have Mia Park.</p><p>You may be most familiar with Park as creator and host of the kids TV dance music show <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chicagogo"><em>Chic-A-Go-Go</em></a>; there&rsquo;s a famous episode that features a &quot;band&quot; with members Jerome McDonnell, Ira Glass, Peter Sagal and Gretchen Helfrich. Mia is a real musician. She plays percussion/drums in rock bands. Park also produces benefit music shows and theater productions.</p><p>Our task was to come up with a few of our favorite songs either about summer or tunes that remind us of the short season. For Mia, summer music is music that not only rallys activity, but also boosts her mood in an upbeat, positive way.</p><p>Here are Mia&rsquo;s picks:</p><p><em>In general, I think of anthemic songs when I think of summer. Music that not only rallies activity, but also boosts my mood in an upbeat, positive way.</em></p><p><em><strong>&quot;Funky Town&quot; by Lipps Inc.</strong>&nbsp;is the ultimate summer dance song. Grooving to this song, you can easily do the robot, disco, roller skate, pop &amp; lock and play the meanest air violin and air cowbell, ever. Also, this song has great electronic sounds and voices in it that remind me of kraftwerk and their ground breaking electronic music movement of the late &#39;70s.</em></p><p><em>I very much love American music from the &#39;50s and early &#39;60s and spent over a decade immersed in the rockabilly scenes of Philadelphia and Chicago. There are so many faster paced rockabilly songs that are driven by teen angst longing for summertime fun, but <strong>&quot;Sleep Walk&quot; by Santo and Johnny</strong> has that swaggering sway that reminds me of slow walks on hot sticky summer nights under midnight shady trees with someone you can&#39;t wait to kiss.</em></p><p><em>Ohmygawdiloveduranduran! <strong>Duran Duran</strong> was my ultimate high school band. I spent a lot of energy loving this band. <strong>&quot;Is There Something I Should Know?&quot;</strong> is such a great representative of &#39;80s pop new wave that makes me feel summery year round. Thinking of cute British boy musicians always makes me feel giggly summer time girly. I can&#39;t listen to them late at night or I can&#39;t sleep. I get too excited.</em></p><p><em>Kathleen Hanna fronted this great female punk band from Washington state and <strong>Bikini Kill</strong> was my favorite of the riot grrrl groups. Her songs are terribly catchy with smart feminist lyrics. Her &quot;statement&quot; reminds me of the energy of restless youth that the rockabilly&rsquo;s captured so well. Her voice is as bright as the summer sun and <strong>&quot;Statement of Vindication&quot;</strong> is a great summer road trip song for me, especially if the road trip is only an hour and fifteen minutes.</em></p><p>So Mia ends with a reference to road tripping, but unlike Mia, I love a long meandering road trip; pack up and head out without an agenda. One song in particular always reminds me of a summer road trip.</p><p><strong>Joni Mitchell</strong>&rsquo;s &quot;<strong>Coyote&quot;</strong> comes from the album <em>Hejira </em>which loosely means &quot;journey.&quot; All the songs on the album were written while Joni was traveling cross country and &quot;Coyote&quot; hits it on the mark as a chance encounter while on the road. But it&rsquo;s not only Joni Mitchell&rsquo;s usual poetic lyrics (&quot;a prisoner of the fine white lines of the freeway&quot;), but the breezy and spacious&nbsp; feel of the music; the opening tuning of her guitar and the fretless bass playing of Jaco Pastorius; like an open road &ldquo;in the middle of nowhere.&quot;</p><p>Supposedly the song is not about just any chance encounter but a brief affair Mitchell had with playwright Sam Shepard &mdash; oh the intrigue.</p><p>You can&rsquo;t do a show about summer songs and not include<strong><em> </em></strong><em>the </em>Summertime: Gershwin&rsquo;s<strong> &quot;Summertime.&quot;</strong></p><p>The challenge is choosing just one of the many superb versions. I was leaning towards the Billy Stewart&rsquo;s rendition with his rolling of the tongue and scatting. Instead I picked <strong>The Zombies</strong> take on the classic.</p><p>The British Invasion popsters&rsquo; &quot;Summertime&quot; comes from the group&rsquo;s 1965 debut and it sticks to the dirge like quality of the original with some the somber vocals by Colin Blunstone and keyboard work by Rod Argent. Very nice.</p><p>The year was 1975; the month was June when one of the hottest summer singles hit the airwaves. Low Rider was one of two singles released from the seventh studio album by <strong>WAR</strong>. The other single was the title track &quot;Why Can&rsquo;t We Be Friends?&quot;&nbsp;Low Rider went to number seven on the Billboard Pop chart, number one on the R&amp;B chart. One of the lesser known songs is <strong>&quot;Heartbeat.&quot;&nbsp;</strong>It most likely didn&rsquo;t get played on the AM stations because it clocks in at seven-plus minutes.</p><p>The song is a funky workout for the whole band as vocalist and drummer Harold Brown calls out each member to give the listeners a taste of their playing.&nbsp;This is the type of summer song you want to slowly groove to in order not to work up a sweat; pace yourself during those seven minutes.</p><p>Like most of WAR&rsquo;s music, Heartbeat always conjures summer. Heartbeat was a big hit in Brazil when it was released. The song has been sampled numerous times.</p><p>I love the idea of dancing on a beach during the summer months even though I&rsquo;ve never done that myself and Latin boogaloo would be my choice for such an occasion.&nbsp; More specifically the song to start the Latin beach party would be &quot;<strong>Spanish Grease&quot;</strong> by the great percussionist <strong>Willie Bobo</strong>. Like WAR&rsquo;s &quot;Heartbeat,&quot; Spanish Grease is a slow cooker; a &ldquo;sway back and forth maybe a few cha cha steps&rdquo; tune.</p><p>&quot;Spanish Grease&quot; is from Willie&rsquo;s 1965 release <em>Uno, Dos, Tres 1.2.3.</em></p><p>Okay so there you go; some songs of summer that hopefully will allow you to have one of those lazy hazy crazy days&nbsp;between now and September 22nd.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 21 Jun 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-summer-songs-100257 Pittsburgh punk rockers Anti-Flag go on 'General Strike' http://www.wbez.org/story/pittsburgh-punk-rockers-anti-flag-go-general-strike-97301 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-14/anti-flag_by_tony_mott_01.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Pittsburgh punk band <a href="http://www.anti-flag.com/">Anti-Flag</a> is well known for piercing messages against war, imperialism, and human rights. Their new album <em>The General Strike</em> is no exception! Anti-Flag's Pat Thetic joined Jesse Menendez on Vocalo's <a href="http://www.vocalo.org/musicvoxblog">MusicVox</a> to discuss the new album, social activism, and strikes as a tool for political action.</p></p> Wed, 14 Mar 2012 22:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/pittsburgh-punk-rockers-anti-flag-go-general-strike-97301 Rebels storm Gadhafi’s Tripoli compound http://www.wbez.org/story/rebels-storm-gadhafi%E2%80%99s-tripoli-compound-90925 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-23/AP110823117483.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rebels on Tuesday stormed Moammar Gadhafi's fortress-like compound in Tripoli Tuesday after an all-day battle against forces loyal to the longtime leader.</p><p>The sprawling complex, heavily damaged by NATO airstrikes, is the most defining symbol of Gadhafi's nearly 42-year rule and its fall, a day after the rebels swept into the Libyan capital with stunning speed, comes as the opposition faced pockets of resistance and fighting rocked the capital.</p><p>An Associated Press reporter at the scene said the compound's green gates were blasted open and hundreds of rebels were pouring into the complex, some driving golf carts as the area resounded with celebratory gunfire.</p><p>It was not immediately clear whether Gadhafi or members of his immediate family were in the compound when it was breached by the rebels, but the ferocity of the battle led many to speculate that the maverick leader may have been inside.</p><p>Abdel-Aziz Shafiya, 19, walked down one of the main roads of the compound with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher in one hand and a Kalashnikov in another. The teenager, who is from the embattled city of Misrata, said he felt "an explosion of joy inside."</p><p>"I lost friends and relatives and now I can walk into Gadhafi's house," he said. "Many of my friends have died and now all of that meant something."</p><p>The battle for Bab al-Azizya, in which mortars, heavy machine-guns and anti-aircraft guns were used, came hours after Gadhafi's son and heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, turned up free to thwart Libyan rebel claims he had been captured and rally supporters.</p><p>His surprise appearance underlined the potential for Gadhafi to strike back even as his grip on power seemed to be slipping fast.</p><p>Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Russian head of the World Chess Federation who has known Gadhafi for year, also said he spoke Tuesday by telephone with Gadhafi and the Libyan leader remains in Tripoli.</p><p>Ilyumzhinov, who was received by Gadhafi in Libya in July, said in an interview with the Interfax news agency that Gadhafi called him at around 6 p.m. Moscow time on Tuesday and told him that he was "alive and well and still in Tripoli."</p><p>The report couldn't be independently confirmed.</p><p>Gadhafi's former right-hand man Abdel-Salam Jalloud told Al-Jazeera television that he thought the Libyan leader was moving around the outskirts of Tripoli, taking shelter at private homes, small hotels and mosques. Jalloud defected this month.</p><p>Mahmoud Shammam, a Doha-base spokesman for the rebels' interim council, was more cautious.</p><p>"We don't know who is inside Bab al-Aziziya. We believe that there is someone there and that he is leading a fierce battle. It is a symbol. This is the final castle of Gadhafi," he said.</p><p>Street battles between pro-Gadhafi troops and rebels also broke out elsewhere in the city. Thick clouds of gray and white smoke filled the Tripoli sky as heavy gunfire and explosions shook several districts of the city of 2 million people.</p><p>NATO warned the situation in Tripoli remains very dangerous and promised the alliance will continue bombing forces loyal to the 69-year-old Libyan leader if they keep fighting.</p><p>"Snipers, shelling, missiles could do much damage, but they can't change the course of history or the outcome of this campaign," spokesman Col. Roland Lavoie told reporters at a news conference in Naples, Italy. He said NATO had to stay vigilant because of fluidity of the situation on the ground.</p><p>"Most notably, Tripoli is still the site of numerous clashes between pro- and anti-Qadhafi forces, and the tension is far from being over. The situation in Tripoli is indeed very, very dynamic and complex, even today, and we are closely monitoring developments hour after hour," he said.</p><p>NATO officials in Brussels said the alliance's warplanes were flying over Tripoli on Tuesday, but that there have been no bombing runs.</p></p> Tue, 23 Aug 2011 16:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/rebels-storm-gadhafi%E2%80%99s-tripoli-compound-90925 Sebastian Junger and the world’s policeman http://www.wbez.org/content/sebastian-junger-and-world%E2%80%99s-policeman <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-08/American troops_Flickr_M. Ashley Morgan.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-08/American troops_Flickr_M. Ashley Morgan.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 331px; margin: 5px;" title="(Flickr/M. Ashley Morgan)"></p><p>The question of whether the U.S. should be the “world’s policeman” has a particular kind of 1990s ring to it. At least, I hear it that way, probably because I had to answer the question in multiple rounds of high school debate. It was a pertinent question that decade, as the U.S. participated then in at least one military intervention that was deemed successful (Yugoslavia) and at least one that wasn’t (Somalia).</p><p>Today, 10 years after 9/11 and what former President Bush termed the War on Terror, we don’t talk so much about being the world’s policeman.&nbsp; Instead, the geopolitical conversation turns to questions about the potential decline of U.S. influence in the face of rising China, or questions about the role and effectiveness of nation building, how to train the armies of other countries to “stand up when we stand down,” and whether we should intervene in countries like Libya. These are this decade's set of questions about America’s place in the world, shaped largely by everything that’s happened between Black Hawk Down and the Battle of Fallujah.</p><p>One person who has added meaningfully to this conversation over the last two decades is journalist and filmmaker Sebastian Junger. He has spoken up in favor of American intervention, but knows the costs can be high: His friend and partner, photojournalist Tim Hetherington, was killed during the fighting in Libya in April.</p><p>Hetherington’s death gives Junger something in common with the American soldiers they profile in <em>Restrepo</em>, their Oscar-nominated documentary that follows U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan. “They know that as soon as you’re talking about war,” Junger says, “you’re talking about the death of your friends.”</p><p>When Junger spoke in Chicago in June he reiterated his belief that the U.S. should intervene in cases where “doing nothing is amoral.” You can hear him describe the events he’s witnessed that shaped those beliefs – including Hetherington’s death – in the audio above.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from <em>Chicago Amplified’s</em> vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Sebastian Junger spoke at an event presented by the <a href="http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/">Chicago Council on Global Affairs</a> in June.</p><p>Click <a href="../../story/restrepo-view-trenches-afghanistan-88660">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety.</p></p> Fri, 08 Jul 2011 20:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/sebastian-junger-and-world%E2%80%99s-policeman Photojournalist Lynsey Addario on her work in Congo, Afghanistan and being detained in Libya http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-01/photojournalist-lynsey-addario-her-work-congo-afghanistan-and-being-deta <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/addario.jpg.crop_display.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Photojournalist <a href="http://www.lynseyaddario.com/" target="_blank">Lynsey Addario</a> has seen up close the results of repression and injustice. She also made the news last March when she and three other journalists were detained in Libya. Her work in Congo was produced as a fellow for Columbia College-Chicago’s <a href="http://www.colum.edu/Academics/Institute_for_the_Study_of_Women_and_Gender_in_the_Arts_and_Media/" target="_blank">Ellen Stone Belic Institute</a> for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media. For her fellowship, Lynsey was commissioned by the Institute to create portraits of survivors of gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Back in May, she stopped by the studio to discuss her career and work on the Institute’s travelling exhibition called <a href="http://congowomen.org/" target="_blank"><em>Congo/Women Portraits of War</em></a>.</p><p><em>Our discussion today with Lynsey is part of an ongoing collaboration between </em>WBEZ<em> and the</em> Ellen Stone Belic Institute <em>entitled: </em>Gender, Human Rights, Leadership and Media<em>. The Institute works closely developing projects with journalists, artists, human rights workers and activists across the world to investigate related global issues.</em></p></p> Fri, 01 Jul 2011 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-01/photojournalist-lynsey-addario-her-work-congo-afghanistan-and-being-deta GOP finds itself at a 'pivot point' over Afghanistan http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-23/gop-finds-itself-pivot-point-over-afghanistan-88229 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-23/Afghanistan troops_AP_Bebeto Matthews.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Not so long ago, when the question was war, the response on Capitol Hill was an automatic blank check.</p><p>A largely compliant Congress, and presidents and politicians who were fearful of looking "weak on defense" or "unpatriotic," rubber-stamped massive military spending.</p><p>Funny how 10 years, two $1 trillion-and-counting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a budding military engagement in Libya, and a nation mired in unsustainable spending and debt can change what was once a military imperative.</p><p>Americans' growing alarm over the $100 billion annual cost of the Afghanistan conflict while the economy struggles at home has kept President Obama in hot water with his base as he launches his 2012 re-election effort.</p><p>More strikingly, it has increasingly tied Republicans in knots over how or whether to recast their traditionally hawkish stance in the face of overwhelming public sentiment against continued involvement in Afghanistan.</p><p>U.S. combat forces left Iraq last year; about 47,000 American troops remain. A security agreement calls for them to be out by the end of the year, but that's being reconsidered.</p><p>President Obama's speech Wednesday night outlining a troop drawdown in Afghanistan that his advisers characterized as within the zone of what his military leadership had recommended can't have made the GOP's war and foreign policy calculations easier.</p><p>"Republicans are in a transitional phase in the rank and file," said Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center. "Their [foreign policy] views are being formulated right now."</p><p>A Pew survey released this week showed that the percentage of Americans who favoring withdrawal from Afghanistan "as soon as possible" has reached the highest level in the decade-long war: 56 percent.</p><p>And support among conservative Republicans for Bush-style interventionist policy has plummeted.</p><p>"Obviously, America's fiscal situation and deficit are on the minds of everyone right now," said Richard Fontaine at the Center for a New American Security. "There's a new factor in thinking about these wars that wasn't there during the Iraq deliberations when money was not a driving factor."</p><p><strong>Hawk or Dove?</strong></p><p>When the president announced Wednesday that he would draw down 33,000 troops in Afghanistan by next summer and continue bringing home the 68,000 still there by 2014, he also noted the cost of war.</p><p>It's time, he said, "to focus on nation-building here at home."</p><p>It seemed an intentional tweak of Republicans, who have begun defending their once-robust and now flagging support for a continued military presence in Afghanistan as a growing discomfort with, yes, "nation-building" overseas.</p><p>Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, considered the current frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, said in a recent debate that "it's time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can."</p><p>"Only the Afghanis can win Afghanistan's independence from the Taliban," he said.</p><p>Fellow candidate Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has said that she's "tired of Afghanistan and Iraq, too. Let's get them out as quickly as we can."</p><p>Those views have been harshly criticized by other Republicans, most notably Arizona Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.</p><p>Graham asserted that tacking to Obama's "left on Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq" is no path to the GOP nomination. McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee, pondered "what Ronald Reagan would be saying today."</p><p>While rank-and-file Republicans may still largely assert that peace is accomplished through military strength, surveys have suggested that they believe the cost of war is a problem.</p><p>A recent Pew poll found that Americans cited war costs as the biggest factor in the nation's rising debt level — bigger than domestic spending or the effects of the Bush-era tax cuts.</p><p>"This idea of the cost of military intervention overseas is hitting home, and not just for Democrats and independents, but Republicans as well," said the Pew Center's Doherty. The number of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party Republicans and say they support withdrawal of troops as soon as possible from Afghanistan has doubled over the past year, to 42 percent from 21 percent, he says.</p><p><strong>Public Opinion</strong></p><p>Obama's advisers insisted Wednesday in a call with reporters that public opinion "really doesn't play a role" in the president's war calculations. However, they added that the president looks at a range of things, including objectives and "resources," and the cost to the American taxpayer.</p><p>Obama is certainly aware, they said, that Americans want a "responsible end to these wars."</p><p>This is, they said, a "pivot point."</p><p>A recent <em>Washington Post</em> opinion piece with the headline "Republicans for retreat?" suggested that it's clearly a pivot point for the GOP, too.</p><p>It raises the question of how or whether Obama, in the coming election year, will have to protect his right flank on the issue of war after the recent killing of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden and the promised drawdown of surge troops overseas.</p><p>The financial "win" of Obama's withdrawal plan for Afghanistan this year, however, is not yet clear.</p><p>Say you save $10 billion if the military withdraws 10,000 troops this year — the savings likely won't come until next year and "you're still north of the $100 billion a year cost for the war," said Fontaine of the Center for New American Security.</p><p>"I don't know if that's going to feel like a major reduction for people who are watching this and for whom the financial side of this is a big driver," he said.</p><p>The question that will likely play out in coming months is whether Republicans who have made spending and debt the centerpiece of their case against Obama's re-election will be willing or able to make a case that his war policy is too expensive.</p><p>It's a risk that at least some in the party seem ready to take. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. <img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1308830229?&gn=GOP+Finds+Itself+At+A+%27Pivot+Point%27+Over+Afghanistan&ev=event2&ch=1014&h1=Afghanistan,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=137362007&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110623&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Thu, 23 Jun 2011 06:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-23/gop-finds-itself-pivot-point-over-afghanistan-88229