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September 22, 2010

The JOURNAL's Emmy Nominees

Update: THE GOOD SOLDIER WON the Emmy Award! Three JOURNAL programs have been nominated for Emmy Awards: "LBJ's Path to War: A Tale of Two Quagmires," Bill Moyers' interview with writer and producer David Simon and the JOURNAL's presentation of the documentary THE GOOD SOLDIER. You can watch ""LBJ's Path to War" and the David Simon interview in their entirety online below. You can watch an excerpt from THE GOOD SOLDIER too.

And, if you're in New York City you can view THE GOOD SOLIDER at the Quad Cinema, from September 24 through September 30, (34 W. 13th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 212-255-8800, Showtimes: 1:00, 2:40, 4:20, 6:00, 7:40*, 9:40*)

Continue reading "The JOURNAL's Emmy Nominees" »


January 15, 2010

Peace Through Education

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with humanitarian Greg Mortenson, best-selling author of THREE CUPS OF TEA and STONES INTO SCHOOLS, about his work promoting education and building schools in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mortenson said:

"I really think that fighting terrorism is based in fear, but promoting peace is based in hope... Peace is about hope, it's about compassion, it's about love. It doesn't mean we just go around the world holding hands and drinking tea and having peace. But I really do believe that there's a lot of power behind love and compassion and respecting and listening to people. Obviously there are atrocities happening, and we witness and hear about them daily. One thing I noticed, having met some former Taliban, is even they as children grew up being indoctrinated. They grew up in violence. They grew up in war. They were taught to hate... One thing we do is hire former Taliban to teach in our schools... They've become now our greatest advocates for education. They're willing to go out into the most volatile areas and promote education."

Other voices have emphasized that the Taliban still represent a dangerous threat to the region. Another humanitarian working in Afghanistan, Sarah Chayes, told Bill Moyers a year ago that she believes many troops are necessary to protect Afghan civilians and maintain stability. She said:

"At this point the Taliban kind of military campaign plan is effective enough that you do need troops to prevent them from making military encroachments that are really dangerous. You also need troops to protect the population from the Taliban. There are people who don't like the Taliban but may kind of knuckle under to them because, on the one hand, the government isn't doing anything better for them. And the Taliban are going to kill them if they don't visibly divide themselves away from the government. So you need to be able to protect people from that kind of an intimidation campaign, and that takes troops."

What do you think?

  • Do you believe Greg Mortenson's work building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan will contribute to achieving peace in that troubled region?

  • Do you think that missions like Mortenson's to promote education can affect other problems elsewhere in the world? Explain.


  • October 30, 2009

    WEB EXCLUSIVE: Glenn Greenwald

    Acclaimed blogger Glenn Greenwald, recipient of the Park Center for Independent Media Izzy Award, spoke with Bill Moyers this week for the special web-exclusive conversation below.
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    October 20, 2009

    Web Exclusive: More from Mark Danner

    The taping of last week's interview with journalist Mark Danner included more valuable insights and analysis than we could fit into the JOURNAL broadcast. In the web-exclusive video below, Danner shares his thoughts on the nature of evil:
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    May 15, 2009

    A Prescription for Pakistan?

    (Photos by Robin Holland)

    This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with historian Juan Cole and journalist Shahan Mufti about what’s next for Pakistan as violence between Taliban rebels and the Pakistani army continues to roil the country’s northwest and displace hundreds of thousands of civilians.

    Cole, who blogs at Informed Comment, suggested that government and media reports portraying the Pakistani Taliban as a major threat are exaggerated:

    "To take this threat – which is a threat locally to the federally administered tribal areas [and] to parts of the northwest frontier province – and to magnify it and say, 'Whoa, the Pakistani army is six months from falling, the Taliban is going to get their hands on nuclear weapons,' the kinds of things that are being said in Washington are just fantastical, [like] some sort of science fiction film... I think it’s cynical, and I think it’s a way for Washington to put pressure on the Pakistani civilian and military elites to do what Washington wants them to do... Saying that Pakistan is unstable, or it’s about to fall, or the nukes are in danger – all of this sort of thing – is a signal to Islamabad that you had better get serious about this because it matters to us, so this is Washington strong-arming Pakistan."

    Mufti, who reports on Pakistan for GlobalPost, agreed and said that the Pakistan’s military offensive against the Taliban rebels is likely at least partially due to American pressure:

    "The Pakistani army feels strong pressure to show that they are performing. So whether they’re being heavy handed [or] they’re using a lot of fireworks, it’s to prove a point to the United States. The government as well as the army, who are recipients of large American aid but also clients of the American military, feel an obligation to perform [or] at least to put up a show that they are performing, and that they’re performing well... People are obviously concerned with how their lives are changing, but this threat of the state failing – nobody in that country takes that too seriously."

    What do you think?

  • Are Washington and the media exaggerating the threat posed by the Pakistani Taliban? Why or why not?

  • What strategy, if any, should the U.S. pursue in Pakistan and Afghanistan?


  • June 6, 2008

    Ask Greg Mitchell...

    We'd like to thank Greg Mitchell, author of SO WRONG FOR SO LONG, for his comments below and for agreeing to answer your questions. His responses are in bold below.

    Please note that the views and opinions expressed by Greg Mitchell are not necessarily the views and opinions held by Bill Moyers or BILL MOYERS JOURNAL.

    From Greg Mitchell, author of SO WRONG FOR SO LONG:

    So what do you feel about the latest revelations in Scott McClellan’s book and a new Senate report that the U.S. was led into war against Iraq based on false pretenses? McClellan flatly calls the administration’s case “propaganda” and accuses the media of being “complicit enablers.”

    This week’s segment with Bill, which probes all of this, felt like a kind of “reunion” for me, even though I had never before met fellow guests Jonathan Landay and John Walcott. But I have been hailing their work for more than five years, going back to the “run-up” to the attack on Iraq in 2003. They were among the few to repeatedly, and accurately, probe the administration’s case for war in the most crucial period.

    At the same time, I returned to the scene of my last sit-down with Bill, in April 2003, just days before the U.S. entered Baghdad. Even then, we were warning that this was only the beginning, not the end, of our stay in Iraq (less than a month later, President Bush delivered his “Mission Accomplished” speech). A transcript of that session with Bill and a lengthy tribute to his 2007 BUYING THE WAR program appear in my new book, SO WRONG FOR SO LONG: HOW THE PRESS, THE PUNDITS – AND THE PRESIDENT – FAILED ON IRAQ.

    In this week's program, Landay and Walcott explore the evidence for war (or lack of) while I focus on the media sins of omission and commission. I have found appalling, if not surprising, the media’s general refusal to truly come to grips with their failures on Iraq, even after five years of war. Most in the media, in response to the McClellan charges, defended their pre-war work, which is stunning.

    Actually, one of the best lines of this past week came from Stephen Colbert. He said that he couldn’t understand why McClellan was saying reporters were not doing their job in the run-up to the war. “What is McClellan complaining about?” Colbert asked. “They were doing HIS job!”

    I am wondering what viewers think of all this – where the fault really lies for the U.S. getting “misled” into war, and if they think the policymakers, and the journalists, have learned any lessons.

    Got a question for Greg Mitchell? Please post below.


    February 22, 2008

    Policies for the "Forgotten War"

    (Photo by Robin Holland)

    Conversing with Bill Moyers on this week’s JOURNAL, former NPR journalist Sarah Chayes discussed many of the complex challenges on the ground in Afghanistan, including what she suggests is a fundamental contradiction in American strategy:

    “We’re paying a billion dollars a year to Pakistan, which is orchestrating the Taliban insurgency. So it’s actually U.S. taxpayer money that is paying for the insurgents, who are then killing – at the moment – Canadian troops... It’s been very clear to me, watching since 2002, that Pakistan has been buying us off by a well-timed delivery of an al-Qaeda operative, which has then caused us to look the other way about the Taliban... so this is why 99 % of the people in Kandahar believe that we are allied with the Taliban. Everybody thinks that America is allied with the Taliban.”

    What do you think?

  • Should the United States remain in Afghanistan? Why or why not?

  • If the U.S. should remain, what should our mission be? Counter-terrorism? Democratization? Nation-building?

  • How do you suggest reformulating U.S. policy and strategy to realistically pursue that mission?

    Note: We’d like to thank Sarah Chayes for adding to the discussion on the blog. Her responses are in bold below.


  • January 18, 2008

    Democratization, U.S. Foreign Policy, and The Middle East

    In his conversation with Bill Moyers on this week’s JOURNAL, journalist Craig Unger said:

    “It does seem at times we don’t seem aware of the consequences of our actions. We go around talking about democracy, but the Saudis, of course, are a brutal theocracy. There’s not much in the way of human rights there. The whole vision of democratizing the Middle East, I think, really, in practical terms, has fallen by the wayside. And America’s objectives really, when it comes down to it, seem to be Israel’s security and oil... The whole vision is in tatters right now. And it’s very unclear what options the United States has... Our policies are so full of contradictions. And I think if you go back to the roots of it, it was built on so many misconceptions that a lot of this is coming home to roost.”

    What do you think?

  • Is Unger correct that Israel’s security and oil are the foundations of America’s policies in the Middle East?

  • Does U.S. involvement with and support of non-Democratic regimes undermine the goal of “democratizing the Middle East?” Is that an appropriate objective of American foreign policy?

  • How would you reformulate American foreign policy to fit the world of 2008?

    (Photo by Robin Holland)


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