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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" »

August 13, 2010

Michael Winship: The Wall and the Mosque: Divide and Unite

(Photo by Robin Holland)

Below is an article by Public Affairs Television senior writer Michael Winship.

The Wall and the Mosque: Divide and Unite

By Michael Winship

The current fight over the building of an Islamic study center near Ground Zero here in Manhattan is reminiscent of another battle nearly thirty years ago. Then, too, ignorance, rage and prejudice threatened to destroy the creation of something intended to help mend a grievous wound and foster understanding and reconciliation.

In May 1981, a jury of architects and sculptors announced the results of a nationwide competition to design a Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. Congress had authorized the setting aside of three acres of National Park Service land near the Lincoln Memorial. More than 1400 design submissions came in, so many they took up more than 35,000 square feet in a hangar at Andrews Air Force Base outside the capital. Each entry was numbered so that the identities of those submitting remained anonymous.

Continue reading "Michael Winship: The Wall and the Mosque: Divide and Unite" »

November 20, 2009

A Tale of Two Quagmires

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers looked back some four decades to his experience as a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s administration. At the time, Johnson made a series of fateful decisions to escalate the war in Vietnam, where eventually over two million American military personnel would serve. Estimates indicate that nearly 60,000 U.S. troops – and more than a million Vietnamese – were killed during the course of the conflict.

With an eye on President Obama’s deliberations on whether to deploy more U.S. troops in addition to the 68,000 already in Afghanistan, Moyers presented a montage of recorded conversations and his personal memories of President Lyndon Johnson’s decisions to escalate the war in Vietnam. He said:

“Our country wonders this weekend what is on President Obama’s mind. He is apparently about to bring months of deliberation to a close and answer General Stanley McChrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan. When he finally announces how many, why, and at what cost, he will most likely have defined his presidency, for the consequences will be far-reaching and unpredictable. As I read and listen and wait with all of you for answers, I have been thinking about the mind of another President – Lyndon B. Johnson. I was 30 years old, a White House assistant, working on politics and domestic policy. I watched and listened as LBJ made his fateful decisions about Vietnam... Barack Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, Afghanistan is not Vietnam and this is now, not then. The situation is different. But listen – and you will hear echoes and refrains that resonate today.”

The nation is divided about America’s mission in Afghanistan. In a new WASHINGTON POST – ABC News poll, 55% of respondents expressed confidence that President Obama will pick a strategy that will work, but 52% said that the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting given the costs versus the benefits.

What do you think?

  • How does the history of the Vietnam War compare to the present situation in Afghanistan?

  • What decisions do you think Obama should make regarding Afghanistan? What do you think he's actually going to do? Explain.

  • November 5, 2009

    War and its Aftermath

    This week, the JOURNAL presented a shortened version of a new documentary film, THE GOOD SOLDIER, which explores how the experience of combat irrevocably changed the lives of four veterans of America’s various war efforts.

    One of those featured, Jimmy Massey, who served in Iraq earlier this decade, described what it was like for him to return to the United States:

    “You first come home and you immediately forget about everything. You go to McDonald’s and you go to all your favorite restaurants and you do all your favorite things and you’re having a great time, and you know… And then all of sudden you wake up one day and you’re like-- wait a minute. I’m not having a good time any more. I’m starting to think about this, and I’m starting to think about that, because all the newness has worn off. You’re home. I’m alive. I got my arms, I got my legs, I’m alive. But then the mind, the mind starts catching up with everything else. I found myself going through my gear, prepping like I’m getting ready to go to combat. I mean I even look for suicide bombers, you know, anything out of the ordinary. Once you’ve reached that level of your senses being that heightened, it’s hard to turn it off. It’s like being a caged tiger.”

    What do you think? Have you or a loved one ever been in combat? What were your or their experiences of war?

    August 22, 2008

    UPDATE: Alive in Baghdad: Iraqi Children Speak Out

    UPDATE: Brian Conley, of Alive in Baghdad, has recently been detained by the Chinese authorities while reporting on pro-Tibet demonstrations in Beijing. Family members, who have not heard directly from Brian, believe that he has recently been sentenced to 10 days of detention for "upsetting public order".

    Read more at The New York Times and Boing Boing.

    And read more about China and human rights here.

    This week on THE JOURNAL, NPR's Deborah Amos, just back from Damascus, explains:

    I keep saying I cover Iraq - I just don't ever go there. But to do Lebanon, Jordan and Syria is essentially to cover Iraq, because the issues that are roiling Iraq are the same issues that now are playing out. Everything is hooked to everything else.

    And according to a recent mid-year review by the International Organization for Migration:

    Iraq is experiencing the worst human displacement of its history, with almost 2.2 million persons displaced within its borders and an additional two million who have fled the country to the surrounding region. This mass displacement is fast becoming a regional and ultimately international crisis.

    Continue reading "UPDATE: Alive in Baghdad: Iraqi Children Speak Out" »

    December 7, 2007

    Bill Moyers Rewind: Barbara Tuchman (1988)

    In 1988, Bill Moyers sat down with noted historian Barbara Tuchman to discuss politicians, advertising and whether our country has learned from the Vietnam War. An advocate of the notion that it's worth knowing where we've been, Ms. Tuchman, throughout her distinguished career, examined the changes in America since the days of Washington, Adams and Jefferson.

    Now almost 20 years after their conversation, on the brink of a new Presidential election, Ms. Tuchman's words still ring true and inform the discussion of how technology has affected American politics and the candidates we elect.

    (To watch this interview in full, click here)

    We invite you respond to this interview by commenting below.

    November 12, 2007

    Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace

    On this Veterans day, we invite you to take a look back at Bill Moyers' interview with author, Maxine Hong Kingston, originally broadcast on Memorial day of this year:

    For the past 15 years, Kingston has been working with veterans - more than 500 soldiers from World War II, from Vietnam, and now, from Iraq - as well as other survivors of war to convert the horrors they experienced into the words and stories that Kingston believes will help them cope and survive. Read excerpts from the collection of writings by veterans and their families.

    Photo: Robin Holland

    November 8, 2007

    Bill Moyers Rewind: Henry Steele Commager (1974)

    Back in 1974, on the first season of BILL MOYERS JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with American historian Henry Steele Commager about the Presidency, impeachment, and the Constitution, on the the eve of Nixon's resignation. Here's an excerpt from the interview:

    Click here to watch this interview in its entirety. To watch Bill Moyers recent impeachment panel featuring conservative scholar Bruce Fein and journalist John Nichols, click here.

    We invite you to respond by commenting below.

    June 1, 2007

    Bill Moyers asks...

    In his interview with former Senator, Bob Kerrey, Bill Moyers asks:

    I think just about everybody I know, including critics of the President, critics of the war, acknowledge that a unilateral withdrawal would lead to more murder, more mayhem. But how many lives should we expend? How many lives should we sacrifice to reach a state of equilibrium?

    If you were in Kerrey's seat, how would you answer this question?

    Bill Moyers Essay: Listening to History

    Watch the video

    The other day, I received an email from another journalist, Greg Mitchell who runs the magazine EDITOR AND PUBLISHER. He forwarded me the tape of a conversation between my old boss, Lyndon Johnson, and the White House National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy. I'd never heard it before -- although it occurred while I was in the White House 43 years ago.

    The year was 1964. The month was May. The President and Bundy were talking before the Gulf of Tonkin Resoluton, that LBJ later used as a green light to escalate, before the campaign against Barry Goldwater in which the President said, 'We seek no wider war,' and before the fatal escalation of troops a year later. When this conversation took place, there were, if memory serves me, sixteen- to twenty-thousand Americans in Vietnam, only we called them advisors. At the time, the war in Vietnam was only a small dark cloud on the very distant horizon. Here’s an excerpt from that conversation:

    LBJ: I would tell you...the more that I stayed awake last night thinking of this...and the more that I think of it...I don't know what in the hell...we...looks like to me that we're getting into another Korea. It just worries the hell out of me. I don't see what we can ever hope to get out of there with...once we're committed... I believe that the Chinese communists are coming into it...I don't think we can fight them 10,000 miles away from home and ever get anyway on that area...I don't think that it's worth fighting for...and I don't think that we can get out...and it's just the biggest damn mess that i ever saw.

    Bundy: It is an awful mess.

    LBJ: And we just got to think about...I'm looking at this sergeant of mine this six little old kids over there...and he's getting out my things...and bringing me in my night reading and all that kind of stuff...and I just thought about ordering...ordering those kids in there...and what in the hell am I ordering them out there for? It's damn easy to get into a war, but it's...going to be harder to ever extricate yourself if you get in...

    That was May 1964. Two hundred and sixty Americans had been killed in Vietnam by then. Eleven years and two presidents later, when U.S. forces pulled out, 58,209 Americans had died, and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese.

    May 24, 2007

    Poetry and War

    Tomorrow on The Journal, author Maxine Hong Kingston talks with Bill Moyers about poetry and war:

    "My hope is that through art, through telling their stories, by having people hear what they went through, it changes them again," Kingston tells Bill Moyers. "There's the coming home from war, being broken, feeling losses, but then there is a wholeness that takes place if the person were able to write their story, to write their poem, to have people hear them and listen and understand. Then they are changed again."

    For nearly 15 years Maxine Hong Kingston has led writing-and-meditation workshops for veterans and their families. This poem is one of the many works created by the veterans:

    Poem for Têt
    by Ted Sexauer, medic, 173rd Airborne

    Lang Cô village, Viêt Nam
    Lunar New Year, 31/1/1995

    This is the poem
    that will save my life
    this the line that will cure me
    this word, this, the word word the one

    this breath the one I am.

    (more from "Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace")

    Feel free to share your stories with the blog community below.

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