John Walker Lindh, The Story

It is a name that many people have already forgotten, but when the US invaded Afghanistan after 9/11, his capture made headlines around the world. “American Taliban” they called him, and everywhere you looked there was a photo of him looking all evil and dangerous.  He was imprisoned at facilities for some of the most dangerous criminals in the US.  It seemed the public, much like the media, had accepted the story that he hated the US, he trained with the Taliban, and was therefore rightfully imprisoned and this most despicable type of terrorist.

I hadn’t thought much about John Walker since those first years of his imprisonment, though like alot of the lackluster reporting on the activities of the US military, I’d long figured we were only informed about a fraction of the full story.

So last friday when DemocracyNow interviewed John Walker Lindh’s parents, I was curious to hear the parents account of how John got to be who, what and where he was.  Some will say “well they’re parents, they want to defend their son”, which is fine to keep in mind. But when you read about how he became interested in Islam after watching Spike Lee’s Malcolm X Film, and later went to Yemen with the goal of becoming fluent in Arabic. Then comes the part where he consults his parents for their support for him to study the Koran in Pakistan. Even these few steps show alot about where his interests were and how he found himself in that part of the world.  Even if it isn’t 100% true and doesn’t excuse his actions later, my point and the larger point is that the story of John Walker isn’t as simple as they painted it years ago.

Perhaps it isn’t interesting to you to hear the testimony of two parents all these years later, who actually don’t seek to portray their son as some kind of saint or martyr.  However I feel their words are compelling and very much worth hearing.

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bm201 Jason Burke on Afghanistan

He has been traveling and writing about Afghanistan since before most western media decided it was important. He has seen first hand what is going right and what is going wrong in the battle to create present day Afghanistan. Journalist and Author Jason Burke joins me.

His book, On the Road to Kandahar

We Discuss:
-His visits there during Taliban rule
-The three different phases
-Situation in various villages
-What people need from government
-If the military left?
-Soldier’s relations with the public
-Who’s doing business in the country
-Military commitments from Europe and North America
-Working as a journalist there
-Media’s commitment to Afghanistan

 

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bm185 GI Janes Return from Afghanistan

It was over a year ago that GI JAne first appeared on this program, discussing the problems and concerns of her upcoming delpoyment to Afghanistan. Today, thankfully, she has returned to the US and to this program, and with plenty to say about her experience and the state of the military.

We discuss:
-Her tasks in Afghanistan, daily life
-Other militaries, the differences from the US
-Getting into trouble for strange reasons
-Support for Afghanistan?
-Predictions for what will happen and what needs to happen
-Political awareness of soldiers
-What media do soldiers use?
-The national budget and a soldiers finances
-Contract Clauses
Listen to the show to hear the full list.

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bm153 Kitschification of 911

The Kitschification of 911. The words of Phillip Roth as quoted on a recent episode of radio open source. In this program I discuss how the events of that day have been used and abused in the poorest of taste for the most shameful of activities. I also remember and asess numbers, in terms of cost of lives and resources.

On Point Episode with Howard Zinn on the Utility of War

Open Source on 9-11 literature

 

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