From a small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, a raw and powerful documentary WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM follows the four-year journey of childhood friends, their families, and their town. At its heart a story about growing up, the film is an intimate look at the young men who fight our wars, where they come from, and their struggles when they return and try to fit back into their previous daily routines. On the podcast, HEATHER COURTNEY, producer/director of the documentary, is joined by DOMINIC FREDIANELLI, one of the young veterans she follows in the film.
Heather Courtney has directed and produced several documentary films including award-winners LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE and LOS TRABAJADORES. She was recently named one of Film Independent’s Top 10 Filmmakers to Watch. LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE was the Closing Night film at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2006. LOS TRABAJADORES won the Audience Award at SXSW and the International Documentary Association David Wolper award. She spent eight years writing and photographing for the United Nations and several refugee and immigrant rights organizations, including in the Rwandan refugee camps after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Just a quick reminder that the Indie Spirit Award-nominated film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM is now available on DVD, and if you order today, you’ll get it by Christmas!
You can go to http://www.wheresoldierscomefrom.com/dvd.php or see info below for more info on ordering, to read some reviews and to watch the trailer.
MALOU INNOCENT is a Foreign Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute, and her primary research interests include Middle East and Persian Gulf security issues and U.S. foreign policy toward Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China. Following dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago, she has appeared as a guest analyst on CNN, BBC News, Fox News, Al Jazeera, CNBC Asia, and Reuters, and has published in journals such as Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal, Asia, Christian Science Monitor, Armed Forces Journal, the Guardian, and the Huffington Post.
Join us as we talk about Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Middle East, the cost of foreign adventures to domestic well-being, and hopefully some issues and areas that I haven't even thought of yet.
Could the consequences of the Gulf oil spill end up as catastrophic as Chernobyl?
Just because we have the power, the technological know how, and the financial incentive to tap into a huge and powerful stream of crude oil a mile under the ocean, and pull that oil up through that ocean to the surface - does that in any way mean we should do it?
How is it that we humans do such things? How is it that this society at this moment is willing to act with such hubris and such arrogance and ultimately so little wisdom.
Here we are engaged in a nearly ten year war in Afghanistan, a nearly eight year war in Iraq, a collapse of our financial systems here and abroad, in which the life's work of millions of families has been wiped out, and where money that could have been used to deal with enormous problems we face around the globe has basically gone to conspicuous consumption of a small rapacious elite and otherwise disappeared.
Thomas Homer Dixon has written a couple of books one entitled THE INGENUITY GAP in which he asks whether we have the ingenuity to solve the problems created by our ingenuity. In that book he basically was hopeful that we do. In his next book THE UPSIDE OF DOWN, he had become a bit more cautious, and predicted that even if we do, we were unlikely to turn things around until we crashed. Are we now witnessing and participating in that crash?
In AMANDA LITTLE'S new book, POWER TRIP, she travels thousands of miles looking at the past and future of energy and she ends up optimistic. I'm going to ask her to share what she's learned and why she feels that way.
Malalai Joya is an Afghan politician who has been called "the bravest woman in Afghanistan." As an elected member of the Wolesi Jirga from Farah province, she has publicly denounced the presence of what she considers warlords and war criminals in the parliament.
The daughter of a former medical student who lost a foot while fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Malalai Joya was 4 years old when her family fled Afghanistan in 1982 to the refugee camps of Iran and later Pakistan. After the Soviet withdrawal, Malalai Joya returned to Afghanistan in 1998 during the Taliban's reign. As a young woman she worked as a social activist and was named a director of the non-governmental group, Organisation of Promoting Afghan Women's Capabilities (OPAWC) in the western provinces of Herat and Farah
Title of Joya's autobiography "Raising My Voice", which was published in the US/Canada under the title of "A Woman Among Warlords" was published in October 2009
Noam Chomsky writes: "Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this inspiring memoir is that despite the horrors she relates, Malalai Joya leaves us with hope that the tormented people of Afghanistan can take their fate into their own hands if they are released from the grip of foreign powers, and that they can reconstruct a decent society from the wreckage left by decades of intervention and the merciless rule of the Taliban and the warlords who the invaders have imposed upon them."
A former Marine captain with combat experience in Iraq, Matthew Hoh, also served in uniform at the Pentagon, and as a civilian in Iraq and at the State Department. This summer he was the senior US civilian in Zabul province, a Taliban hotbed. In September Hoh became the first US official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war.
His four page letter of resignation explains that he became convinced that our war in that country will not only inevitably fail, but is fueling the very insurgency we are trying to defeat.
He points out that "next fall, the United States' occupation will equal in length the Soviet Union's own physical involvement in Afghanistan."
"I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end."
The Pentagon’s own 2004 report concluded: "Negative attitudes and the conditions that create them are the underlying sources of threats to America's national security . . . Direct American intervention in the Muslim world has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for Islamic radicals."
"American families," Hoh said at the end of his letter of resignaton, "must be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, love vanished, and promised dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can be made any more."