WBEZ | Afghanistan http://www.wbez.org/tags/afghanistan Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Kunduz and the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-10-05/kunduz-and-fight-against-taliban-afghanistan-113188 <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/AP_495614235373.jpg" title="(Photo: Associated Press/Unattributed)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227053567&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Kunduz residents face uneasy choice between Taliban or corrupt officials</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>A hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, was bombed over the weekend in Afghanistan. In a press conference with reporters earlier today American General John Campbell suggested that American Special Forces personnel with the Afghan forces may have had a role in coordinating the strike. Doctors Without Borders said they are &quot;disgusted&quot; by the justifications for an &quot;abhorrent attack&quot;. We&#39;ll speak about the incident ,and how it fits in the larger context of the conflict with Sarah Chayes , a senior associate in the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-15de2713-39a7-4c39-8b95-9696d5dedaaa">Sarah Chayes is a senior associate in the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She&rsquo;s the author of </span><a href="http://www.thievesofstate.com/">Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227053871&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">The new Pearson Institute to inspire next generation of policy makers</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>The University of Chicago has created a new institute to address the rise of violent conflict around the world. The Pearson Institute, which will be housed at the Harris School of Public Policy, will focus on data driven research and look for new approaches to conflict resolution that will address the kinds of conflicts we see today- everything from the rise of groups like the Islamic State to sectarian violence. Daniel Diermeier, dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, joins us to discuss what the Institute hopes to accomplish.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-15de2713-39a9-9fe9-8719-200d1e78c1f0"><a href="http://twitter.com/danieldiermeier">Daniel Diermeier</a> is the dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. </span></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227054167&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Sectarian violence returns to the Central African Republic</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>A motorcycle taxi driver&rsquo;s recent murder incited riots in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital. The man was rumored killed because he was Muslim. In response, Muslims attacked a Christian neighborhood, followed by reprisal attacks by Christian militia. The unrest has left dozens dead and will delay elections, slated for October 18th. The violence comes just as the country tries to heal from two years of sectarian and civil war that left thousands dead and millions in dire need of humanitarian aid. We&rsquo;ll get an update from Lewis Mudge, a researcher in Human Rights Watch&rsquo;s Africa Division.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong><em>&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-15de2713-39ae-00cf-b1c0-bb4a91e6b23f"><a href="http://twitter.com/LewisMudge">Lewis Mudge</a> is a researcher in the Africa Division of <a href="http://twitter.com/hrw">Human Rights Watch</a>. He specializes on Central African Republic (CAR), Rwanda and Burundi.&nbsp;</span></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 15:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-10-05/kunduz-and-fight-against-taliban-afghanistan-113188 Doctors Without Borders calls US bombing of its hospital a crime against humanity http://www.wbez.org/news/doctors-without-borders-calls-us-bombing-its-hospital-crime-against-humanity-113189 <p><p dir="ltr">The Pentagon changed its story today, and the humanitarian group demanded an independent international inquiry.</p><p dir="ltr">Doctors Without Borders is calling the incident a crime against humanity.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Under the rules of international humanitarian law, a hospital is a hospital and the people inside are patients &mdash; to target a medical facility in this way is a violation of that, whatever the circumstances,&rdquo; Vickie Hawkins, executive director of the UK branch of Doctors Without Borders, tells The Takeaway. &ldquo;The statements that have been coming out of the Afghan government in the past 24 hours would lead us to believe that there was some kind of intent behind the attack. We can only presume, on this basis, that that constitutes a war crime.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The US&nbsp;says&nbsp;the strike in Kunduz, which is under investigation, was issued after Afghan forces came under fire near the hospital and then called for help.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck,&rdquo; &nbsp;the American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.defense.gov/Video?videoid=426645" target="_blank">said during a press briefing</a>&nbsp;Monday. &ldquo;This is different from the initial reports which indicated that US&nbsp;forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Though the aid group repeatedly said that there had been&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/MSF/status/650757799119593476" target="_blank">no fighting around the hospital</a>, the building was hit over and over again, despite the fact that Doctors Without Borders sent the US&nbsp;military the precise GPS coordinates so the hospital could be avoided.</p><p>&ldquo;When the bombing started, we were indeed in contact with military representatives in both Kabul and in Washington, but the bombing continued for another half hour to 40 minutes after those initial calls were made,&rdquo; says Hawkins.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Doctors%20react%20in%20an%20Afghan%20hospital%20hit%20by%20an%20airstrike%20Saturday%20in%20Kunduz%2C%20Afghanistan..jpeg" style="height: 304px; width: 540px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Doctors react in an Afghan hospital hit by an airstrike Saturday in Kunduz, Afghanistan. (Doctors Without Borders handout, via Reuters)" /></p><p dir="ltr">The hospital is the only facility of its kind in the northeast region of Afghanistan, and Hawkins says the compound where it sits was &ldquo;precisely targeted,&rdquo; adding that the intensive care unit and the emergency room were hit the worst. For four years, Doctors Without Borders has been using this facility to provide free high level trauma care to civilians in the area.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;For our medical staff, it was an absolutely terrifying experience,&rdquo; says Hawkins. &ldquo;The hospital itself had been very busy over the previous days [before the airstrike] &mdash; there&rsquo;s been an uptick in the conflict around Kunduz, and we&rsquo;ve had 400 patients over the last four days or so.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">According to Doctors Without Borders, more than 22,000 patients received care at the hospital in 2014, and more than 5,900 surgeries were performed during the same time period. When the hospital was hit, medical workers were in midsts of caring for patients.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;After the attack was over, we found one of our patients that was killed still on the operating table,&rdquo; says Hawkins. &ldquo;You can imagine for the medical staff that&rsquo;s going about their night&rsquo;s work, this is an absolutely a devastating experience for them.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The group is now planning to leave the area, something that could be devastating to civilians in the area &mdash; Hawkins describes the trauma center as a &ldquo;vital lifeline&rdquo; for the community.<br />&ldquo;A hospital should represent a place of sanctuary &mdash; it&rsquo;s where people come when they&rsquo;re at their most vulnerable,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Given the fact that the intensive care unit was targeted, we can presume that the most sick and vulnerable of our patients have been killed.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&mdash; <a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-05/doctors-without-borders-calls-us-bombing-its-hospital-crime-against-humanity" target="_blank"><em>via The Takeaway</em></a></p></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/doctors-without-borders-calls-us-bombing-its-hospital-crime-against-humanity-113189 Worldview: Afghan president Ashraf Ghani speaks to Congress http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-03-25/worldview-afghan-president-ashraf-ghani-speaks-congress-111767 <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/AP219940207055.jpg" style="height: 448px; width: 620px;" title="Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/197665227&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333" face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px;">Afghan president Ashraf Ghani speaks to Congress</span></font></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-e03b6006-5292-89ab-e500-933828d110b7">Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is on a four day &nbsp;visit to the United States. This morning he spoke to Congress. Earlier this week he met with President Barack Obama, who announced the US will keep its current level of 9800 troops in Afghanistan through the end of the year, rather than reduce them. Meetings this week have been focused not only on security issues but also on corruption. President Ghani has said corruption hurts women, many of whom are the head of households in Afghanistan. While the Afghan president presides over diplomacy in the US, protests have taken place in Afghanistan, demanding justice for a woman beaten to death by a mob over false allegations she had burned a Quran. Manizha Naderi, </span>&nbsp;executive director of Women for Afghan Women, joins us to talk about the policy decisions being made this week and their impact on Afghan women.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-e03b6006-5293-065a-5d61-98c4fa55e8c3">Manizha Naderi </span>is the Executive Director of <a href="http://www.womenforafghanwomen.org/">Women for Afghan Women.</a></em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/197665909&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px;">The struggle of Parmigiano-Reggiano in modern day Italy</span></p><p>Food in Italy seems so blessed that even Pope Francis misses going out for pizza. But the country&rsquo;s acclaimed olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano are under threat by climate change, imitators and natural disasters. Joining us for a first-hand report from Umbria is Italian food author Elizabeth Minchilli, and in studio WBEZ food contributor Louisa Chu.</p><p><strong>Guests:&nbsp;</strong></p><p><em><a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu">Louisa Chu</a>&nbsp;is the co-host of the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng">Chewing the Fat</a> podcast.</em></p><p><em><a href="https://twitter.com/eminchilli">Elizabeth Minchilli</a> is the author of &quot;Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City&quot; and many other books on Italy. She blogs at&nbsp;http://www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com/&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/197666302&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333" face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px;">Solo flamenco guitarist Juanito Pascual</span></font></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-89bb2960-52b3-f4b3-a34f-810b79a1a768">This week on Global Notes, Alexandra Salomon and Tony Sarabia welcome flamenco-jazz artist Juanito Pascual. &nbsp;Pascual takes flamenco is many different directions- Indian and Baltic, jazz and funk- while still upholding the music&rsquo;s traditions. He&rsquo;s scaled back his line up for his latest release New Flamenco Trio which allows more of his virtuosity to shine through.&nbsp;</span></p><div><strong>Guests:&nbsp;</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em><a href="https://twitter.com/wbezsarabia">Tony Sarabia</a> is the host of <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZmorning">WBEZ Morning Shift</a>.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em><a href="https://twitter.com/JuanitoPascual">Juanito Pascual</a> is a solo flamenco guitarist.&nbsp;</em></div></p> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 15:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-03-25/worldview-afghan-president-ashraf-ghani-speaks-congress-111767 Russia's economic dilemma http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-08/russias-economic-dilemma-111200 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP24510104665.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Russia&#39;s oil production strategy and Western sanctions have led to a decline in the value of the Russian ruble. Jan Kalicki, a public policy scholar for the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, joins us to explain the problems the Russian economy is facing.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-russia-s-economic-dilemma/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-russia-s-economic-dilemma.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-russia-s-economic-dilemma" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Russia's economic dilemma" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-08/russias-economic-dilemma-111200 Compromise in Afghanistan http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-10-03/compromise-afghanistan-110889 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP924681251725.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Ashraf Ghani was declared the winner of the Afghan presidential elections, contender Abdullah Abdullah refused to accept the result. He said he believed the vote was rigged. After months of tension the two candidates agreed to a power sharing deal. We&#39;ll take a look at what happened.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-compromise-in-afghanistan/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-compromise-in-afghanistan.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-compromise-in-afghanistan" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Compromise in Afghanistan" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 11:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-10-03/compromise-afghanistan-110889 Political unrest in Iraq http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-08-11/political-unrest-iraq-110629 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP911464245376.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, is due to be replaced, but is fighting for a third term despite his loss of support in Iraq and internationally. As the U.S. pressures Al-Maliki to peacefully step aside, it continues airstrikes against ISIL near Erbil.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-political-unrest-in-iraq/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-political-unrest-in-iraq.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-political-unrest-in-iraq" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Political unrest in Iraq" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-08-11/political-unrest-iraq-110629 Indonesian Elections http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-08/indonesian-elections-110457 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP209901388978.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Wednesday, Indonesians will head to the polls to choose their next president. Joko Widodo, the governor of Jakarta, is running against Prabowo Subianto, a former army general.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-indonesian-elections/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-indonesian-elections.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-indonesian-elections" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Indonesian Elections" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 11:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-07-08/indonesian-elections-110457 'Valor Games' for disabled veterans to begin http://www.wbez.org/news/valor-games-disabled-veterans-begin-108375 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Vets 130812 AY.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Hundreds of veterans and service members are set to compete in the annual Valor Games Midwest.</p><p dir="ltr">The event for the disabled begins Monday and ends Wednesday. Competitions include cycling, archery, powerlifting and indoor rowing.</p><p dir="ltr">The event is geared toward veterans or active service members who have been wounded or are ill. The first Valor Games started in Chicago two years ago, with events spreading to San Francisco, San Antonio and Durham, North Carolina.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s sponsors include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Chicago Park District. Organizers say about 220 participants have registered for this year&rsquo;s games. Among those participating is Air Force Sergeant Israel Del Toro, or DT.</p><p>A bomb exploded under his truck eight years ago in Afghanistan. Del Toro lost fingers on both hands, had over 130 surgeries, got skin grafts for most of his body and wears a brace on his right leg. But for the next few days, he&rsquo;s cycling, powerlifting, and competing in the discus and shotput contests.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought all throughout my therapy, I could never work out at free weights, and when they encouraged me, &lsquo;Come on DT, try it, try it,&rsquo; I ended up winning gold in it,&rdquo; &nbsp;Del Toro says. &ldquo;That first Valor Games, I always say, that was the first time I actually got under a bench and started working out again.&rdquo;</p><p>Four years ago, Del Toro was the first disabled airman to re-enlist. For veterans who have left the military, he says the games can help them regain part of that experience.</p><p>&ldquo;They can start acting like they&rsquo;re back in the military, tell the same jokes they used to, pick on each other, &lsquo;cause that&rsquo;s just the camaraderie you don&rsquo;t get anywhere else,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Howard Wilson, a retired Marine Corps veteran, agrees. After leaving the Marine Corps, he lost most of his vision through glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve. He has competed at all three Valor Games in Chicago, and says despite the competition, everyone was working together at his first competition.</p><p>&ldquo;You had competitors, but everybody was still on the same side. We egged each other on, we made such each other do our best,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The disability just opened up a new chapter in my life. I knew my vision was getting worse, I got depressed, started thinking about what I couldn&rsquo;t do. You see things slipping away: driving, your independence, you don&rsquo;t have to stop yourself from doing what you were doing initially, you just have to find other ways of doing it.&rdquo;</p><p>He says he is reinventing himself through sport, and hopes to qualify for the US Paralympic wrestling team.</p><p>Sport makes it easier to cope with injuries and depression, says retired Army Sergeant Noah Galloway. He was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq and lost his left arm above the elbow and his left leg above the knee. He has since run two marathons and a series of races, including two <a href="http://toughmudder.com/">&ldquo;Tough Mudder&rdquo;</a> obstacle course races. He gets sponsored to run, but doesn&rsquo;t call himself a professional athlete. He says veterans just need to start participating.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been at the bottom. I&rsquo;ve suffered the depression. I wanted nothing more than to have my arm and leg back, but when I accepted the fact that this is who I am, and I got up, and I got back in shape, and I started taking care of myself, everything turned around,&rdquo; Galloway says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not looking for Paralympian athletes, we&rsquo;re looking to take care of our veterans.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/Alan_Yu039">@Alan_Yu039</a></em></p></p> Mon, 12 Aug 2013 08:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/valor-games-disabled-veterans-begin-108375 Quinn mourns death of U.S. diplomat killed in Afghanistan http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-mourns-death-us-diplomat-killed-afghanistan-106543 <p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he&rsquo;s mourning the death of a U.S. diplomat from Chicago&rsquo;s western suburbs.</p><p>Anne Smedinghoff, 25, died Saturday in Afghanistan when the group she was traveling with was attacked by a suicide car bomber. The group was on its way to donate textbooks to students.</p><p>Quinn said Smedinghoff was brave and devoted to improving the lives of others.</p><p>&ldquo;She understood that social justice is why we&rsquo;re here on this Earth. That&rsquo;s why she was so far away in Afghanistan trying to help everyday people, especially children,&rdquo; Quinn said Sunday. &ldquo;So her loss is a loss for our whole world.&rdquo;</p><p>Quinn noted that Smedinghoff graduated from his alma mater, Fenwick High School.</p><p>Federal officials haven&rsquo;t released the names of the four others killed in the attack that killed Smedinghoff. She is the first American diplomat to die on the job since last year&rsquo;s attack in Benghazi, Libya.</p></p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 14:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-mourns-death-us-diplomat-killed-afghanistan-106543 A Forest Park vet struggles to keep others out of homelessness http://www.wbez.org/news/forest-park-vet-struggles-keep-others-out-homelessness-105502 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79127553&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>When I met Homer Bizzle in his tiny food pantry in west suburban Forest Park, the lights were off.</p><p>Even though the pantry, called America Cares Too, had been open all day, Bizzle said the darkness was typical.</p><p>&ldquo;We just trying to conserve lights, cause, non-profit, you know,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Bizzle started the service project for vets and their families in 2011 after leaving the Army Reserves. He&rsquo;s been running the project on volunteer labor and financing it with small donations and cash out of his own paycheck.</p><p>&ldquo;I just wanted to give back to my fellow veterans and their families,&rdquo; Bizzle said.</p><p>By day, the 33-year-old native of the Austin neighborhood is an advocate for people with disabilities. In the evenings, he heads over to the his spare storefront on W. Harrison St. to meet up with the vets who come here seeking support.</p><p><strong>The battle at home</strong></p><p>In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama announced that 34,000 troops will be home from Afghanistan by this time next year. That&rsquo;s a little over half the remaining troops in what most consider America&rsquo;s longest war.</p><p>But when they get here, many military vets face new, even longer battles - battles with trauma and homelessness. Many come home with mental or physical disabilities, and all come home to a slouching economy. Unemployment among veterans is higher than the national average, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/discrimination-against-our-countrys-heroes-103510" target="_blank">veteran status itself can be a stigma in a job search</a>. One in three men living on the streets is a veteran (although <a href="http://www.usich.gov/resources/uploads/asset_library/USICH-_Report_to_Congress_on_Homeless_Veterans.pdf" target="_blank">those numbers have declined in recent years</a>). And a recent study estimates that 22 vets commit suicide every day in the U.S.</p><p>All of this is familiar to Bizzle.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7008_009-scr.JPG" style="float: right; height: 169px; width: 320px;" title="The America Cares Too storefront in Forest Park (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" /></p><p>&ldquo;Some of them suffer from PTSD, some anxiety, some have flash backs, shell shock...&rdquo; Bizzle said of the vets he serves.</p><p>While the VA does offer mental health services, Bizzle said traumatized vets who don&rsquo;t feel they can trust the government aren&rsquo;t left with many options.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s kinda hard for a soldier that&rsquo;s coming off active duty to get those kinda treatments in the civilian world because everything costs money, unfortunately,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>He believes the best solutions can come from veterans themselves.</p><p>&ldquo;No offense to politicians but they don&rsquo;t understand the veterans situation, and by me being a veteran I could understand our own situation, the problems we deal with,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The main room at America Cares Too contains a donated TV and a desk with no phone (Bizzle uses his cellphone to run the project because the ComEd bill was too high).</p><p>Three computers sit on folding tables donated by a recovery group that meets next door. And in the back there&rsquo;s a spare office where Bizzle keeps vets&rsquo; files. The walls are lines with boxes of donated toys and socks and underwear purchased with TJ Maxx and Target gift cards. Bizzle&rsquo;s appeals to local government bodies and the VA for financial support <a href="http://austintalks.org/2013/01/former-austin-resident-starts-veterans-nonprofit/" target="_blank">have been unsuccessful so far</a>.</p><p><strong>A chronic lack of support</strong></p><p>This month Esquire reported that the Navy Seal who shot Osama Bin Laden is jobless and living without health insurance. The headline: <a href="http://www.esquire.com/features/man-who-shot-osama-bin-laden-0313" target="_blank">&ldquo;The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden...Is Screwed.&rdquo;</a> Although Esquire&rsquo;s story can&rsquo;t be independently verified - the man in question chose to remain anonymous for his own safety - it reflects a widespread disappointment in the services provided by the state for vets, especially younger vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the case of &ldquo;the shooter,&rdquo; as he&rsquo;s called in Esquire, the Navy Seal retired after 16 years of service. That meant no pension, and no more health care for his family. The cutoff point for long-term support is 20 years of service.</p><p>Bizzle&rsquo;s located just a couple miles from the Hines VA Hospital, which helps thousands of vets each year. The Hines complex includes housing for homeless vets, and a network of social service providers. I called them to ask how a vet would end up at a little joint like Bizzle&rsquo;s.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the predominant reasons are, there are a small cohort of veterans who just do not want to be in any system,&rdquo; said Anthony Spillie, the head of social work at Hines.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7009_015-scr.JPG" style="height: 214px; width: 380px; float: left;" title="Homer Bizzle reorganizes his small food pantry for veterans. (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" />There are an estimated 18,000 homeless vets in the greater Chicago area, and he says that despite offering extensive services, some people just fall through the cracks. Groups like Bizzle&rsquo;s can help catch them.</p><p>&ldquo;There is no wrong door approach,&rdquo; Spillie said. &ldquo;You know most of the time you think of accessing services through the front door. Well, we&rsquo;ll open whatever door we can possibly open for veterans to end and treat their homelessness.</p><p>Bizzle wants to hire veterans to be case workers and counselors, and one day turn his own Bellwood home into a transitional housing center for <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-27/returning-home-presents-different-challenges-female-veterans-89707" target="_blank">female vets</a>.</p><p>But the lack of support is frustrating - and so is seeing what his fellow vets go through.</p><p>&ldquo;It be times I wanna throw that uniform in the garbage,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisPants" target="_blank">Lewis Wallace on Twitter</a>.</p></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 10:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/forest-park-vet-struggles-keep-others-out-homelessness-105502