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tv   Women War Correspondents  CSPAN  August 30, 2022 6:14pm-7:41pm EDT

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>> good evening. i'm detert your the program and in my other life a columnist for
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"the los angeles times." we are delighted this evening to welcome me to one of our occasional panels on the professionalism of journalism challenges. the topic this evening is women on warp. reflections from the women who have distinguished themselves as war correspondents from vietnam until the present day. i want to extend a special welcome to our colleagues students and faculty from george washington university and the university of maryland who have joined us as well as the rest of you in the audience including many distinguished former war correspondents. it's appropriate in a week that began with world press freedom day we take a moment to honor out the journalists around the world men and women alike, who voluntarily place themselves in harm's's way to bring truth to light. we especially remember austin ties at the georgetown class of 2012 a reporter was kidnapped in
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2012 and two we believe is imprisoned there today. we the syrian government to take action to secure his release. we have a very distinguished panel this evening. "state of terror" a former "washington post" columnist in cambodia, former pentagon correspondent for "the new york times" whose new book "you don't belong here" inspired us to produce this event and jessica donati a correspondent in afghanistan and now in washington who has just published a book on her reporting, "eagle down" the last special forces fighting the foremver war. sylvia poggioli european correspondent who reported on the war in bosnia and is coming to us late in the evening from rome and panelist and moderator
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deborah amos npr's international correspondent who covered two wars in iraq and he wrote a fine book on thee middle east. on her format you will find somewhere on your screen a q&a tab to send questions at any time. the panel will have the story40 discussion somewhere around 40 minutes and then we will turn to your questions and without it's all yours. >> thank you very much and pick up your questions because we will talk around then we will open it up as many of you especially journalism students will have interesting observations for all of us. if all of you could please turn on your cameras and we will begin our discussion with sylvia jessica and elizabeth. i want to start with elizabeth because i now have listened to this book twice and the second
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time i was happy to do that. i'll tell you what struck me you by all right could have written a memoir. your reportingng was stellar frm cambodia and you kept at it all the way through the trials. but you didn't do that. you did something different. he wrote a piece about three women who changed the course -- and i was curious about your thought process. did you start thinking this is what i'm going to do or was it an evolution? >> thanks deborah and thank you for having us on. deborah you a written several books. my previous editor who we lost a few years ago alex mayhew suggested it's a little more. i realized what's really
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interesting in my life is the women who covered the war who i followed. the truth was figuring out how to put that together. once i figured that out i knew what they would be. they were really obvious and i knew the photographer had to be katrina.ri i needed a journalist knowing that a combat reporter who was my w role model and mentor from australia.a. that was the easy part of doing all the research and writing of the book. >> you start with a story that is in some ways common to everybody as to why they got on that plane. can you just recount why you decided you were going to go to vietnam? >> well i arrived in january
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january 1973 and during the last couple years of the war. i was at the university of washington thinking i knew a lot about asia because i was in graduate school after getting my undergraduate degree in education. then i had a masters, my masters thesis at the same time i turned down anit invitation to -- and seeing a youngish, 25 i did the obvious thing and took my fellowship and took a one-way ticket to cambodia. so the thing here is that i had a friend who i met during my studies and travels in india who had gone on to become a freelancer and get numbing cambodia who i'm sure many of us met and she was trying to get me
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to join her. i saidan no i don't want to get close to the b-52. then when i was in a bind i said why not? so i flew to cambodia. like everybody else i had no idea what i was getting into. every single one of my women boughtht tickets to saigon witht a job withoutit any idea how thy owould survive or make it out. >> i don't think any of us had any idea in the first war. mine was 1982, what were getting ourselves into. because we survived it -- let me ask sylvia you did a lot of work in bosnia. that was a very -- place to work. was there ever any question about being female and not war and was there anything that wasn't pediment to you? >> not really. again i didn't go to war. i was in the balkans covering a
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political story. i went to belgrade in 1988 during the rise of this apparatchik slavitt on milakovich who tried to take the entire yugoslavia. he was basically 2.5 years in belgrade and mccrab and first i was there the day they declared independence in 1991 and the bombs started falling. so the war came to me essentially. and in croatia and bosnia so basically those of us doing political stories found ourselves covering a war story. i think we could say one thing though that essentially their
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croatian war exploded a month or two after the end of the first gulf war. most of the media had >> so much money with tv networks and everything and iraq. it was a early stage of the balkan wars were covered a lot by freelancers and a lot of them were women. i think a lot of women started in the balkans in their first really big experience. i can't say that i had any particular challenger difficulty >> let me ask all three of the best and i think it was true in vietnam and its represents war coverage is a way for women to move up the ranks. we saw that in bosnia. samantha powers was a reporter in bosnia and i wonder if you thought that was true that wars
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that you can get to is a career booster for a female correspondents let me start with elizabeth. >> it was the bridge between world war ii where women weren't allowedd in combat. the women of vietnam had to be very quiet about what they were doing becausein the pentagon stl had a stance against women on the field covering combat. in theory they should have been with the nurses. because the war had not been declared all of the rules about journalism were suspended including a ban on women so the women in f vietnam which were a handful including the frenchog photographer, they convinced the pentagon not to make a big deal out of this.
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if washington knew they couldn't do it. there's the missing link. before vietnam not allowed in after vietnam women automatically got credentialed and media organizations looked at women as staff were during y vietnam the almost never saw staff woman. >> and jessica you were in afghanistan and there were quite a few women in afghanistan. >> i think it would be surprising. you would be judged by america's policy would make comments. i can say i got a job in
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afghan ---- and a journalist who is writing for big american news organization. obviously you have access to women which is half the population and that's one of the problems we were finding you don't have a correspondent there. you wanteded to cover the story and it's something that i tried to do in washington d.c.. t it's not accessible to the lol journaliste. that we have there. >> that's interesting. sylvia did you see the same thing in bosnia? i remember there being lots of
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women there and many of them went on to bigger careers. >> absolutely, yeah and what was also different about the whole croatia and bosnia and later kosovo there were no american troops. there were no officials who could tell us we could or couldn't go. we didn't get credentialed by anybody. frontline was all over thell place. there were factions in bosnia. it was very scary and very dangerous. sometimes it was several times a day and the other different thing is that it was a war where really the target of the war were people. it was ethnic cleansing and women usually were marginal and that was the story. men would write stories about
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men in military strategic things. the ethnic cleansing was the story of the movement to force movement of civilians in the torture and back in the rape had always been a part of war obviously but in the ethnic cleansing there charlie charlie emerged a very specific strategy particularly at the serbs against the muslims and by croats against muslims but maybe serbs against muslims. and that turned out to be obviously an angle in the story that women were in a better position to recover because we had better access in a patriarchal society. it was meant to really destroy that --st and it was for women o cover that story but we had a better asset that most of our male counterparts and they think i can say thanks to the
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reporting allowing in men and women on rape kit was later recognized as a war crimes tribunal and the crime of war and that was the first time that it ever happened. i think we can take some credit for that. >> i covered the war in 91. that was a huge thing and we were -- and that work with elizabeth these three women wrote the story of war, do you think female correspondents covered key things and had a different sensibility about what to h report on? >> specifically first of all i avoid the issue.
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what was particularly different was these were altamed outsiders. they had no credentials and they had no background and they had nothing. they came untrained and they covered the war in the way that they did intuitively. they had college degrees but the photographs were outside her photographs. .. prices in her early 20's, fitzgerald the same thing. all the political and concentration on battlefields. what sylvie was talking about her approach to bosnia. it was in the middle of a war. it changed a recovered combat. but at the same time, especially
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back then women were raised very differently than men nol question. men fought against each other in mail correspondence covered it. you cannot pretend that's not the case. it was a boys club but women were treated by outsiders the jumble just goes just talking about you are different and byy the way you're going to be subject to sexual harassment. but i think because they were outsiders at a broader deeper view of the war. that's what i wrote in the book. next i wonder if a by the time we all come along, or changes too. or it becomes about civilians. vietnam was really not so much -- make it was about civilians but not the way it became about civilians. i wonder if you think that changes the stake it's a
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different way because war changes. >> all the above no question. we react to different situations. >> no question. just got you write some tough stuff quite an eye-opening book. you write about special forces. they are the most mail of all units in the military in my view. they never like it when we show up. but you get deep into their culture and you get deep into the culture of the afghan special forces how did you do that? how did you get them to let you in? >> for me when i was in afghanistan there is a national divide between what that women covered which were the women's
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stories and at the start it needs to be not ton be pigeonholed because access to women i've since i've matured in the war i see men differently. but i wanted to be the same stuff the guys did. why couldn't i if that's where the story was then ater the time the pulling out the story was very much what's happening to afghan troops. i had really great success itam came with me we were able to spend time with afghan commanders. and not by default to work as the green beret but if we could figure out what the americans we get access to both of them.
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i think spending time going out on day and night patrols with afghan soldiers he it was something that even that green berets would not do. again a bit of respect. it was really a step-by-step process. i think the other thing it was so flawed many of the green berets had invested most of their adult life in the war. their families like tried to show in the book also paid the price having their fathers away. so they thought they had been used for political purposes to prevent the obvious. they were used to re- grain the city it was short-lived. so think it's a combination of havinge spent time doing the sae
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things as them and also the fact they were frustrated just help them lock the door. rex think i'm going to have marching band walk-through at my screen someone has at leaf blowr outside at 6:00 p.m. at night. i'm sorry it just made me laugh i had to explain why i was laughing . i want to remind the audience to please send in questions. asked jessica one more question. you start in libya and that was a chaotic war. and then you go on to afghanistan. what was the difference between those two? >> for me i grew up in italy.e i felt close in the sense we are always reading about the impact of us as well. having big ambitions to be a war
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correspondent. i become so involved in funding day-to-day movement when it's a put out they put out my hand. and so they sent me over there. it was complete chaos. we have created to get in and out. you get there there was one security person for like 20 or so. was allowed to roam free i did get briefly and wrestle with the
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steering will and on the side of the highway. ran out the one guy tried to find me and had no idea where i was. it was pretty insane. i but after that i obviously had an appetite for that type of reporting is so much more interesting and i wanted to go to iraq. so we don't need anybody in iraq but afghanistan but it's a war and that's how i got into it. i mean my friends bid me goodbye because it seemed so much worse. but when i got there i was surprised and cobble in you could go out to restaurants where i was worry wasn't, it wasn't such a big concern. >> you know, i signed up in 1982
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for the israeli invasion of beirut. we had to take a ferry too cyprus. it turned out that the crew would chase around all night. and it was a wonder any of us managed. it took yelling and moving. but sylvia i was interested in the notion that you come to a belgrade to cover a political story and you slide into war. you didn't choose to do with the war chose you. was there a moment when you apunderstood i appear to be a wr correspondent and things change and you had to recalibrate how wyou operated, where you went, who you went with. that was really learn on the job. >> absolutely yes. it's absolute like that. and in fact i didn't have bulletproof vest or anything like that. and yes it was tremendous improvisation. i'm not going to say on the
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battlefield i started with a political story the end of the cold war. a year afterward to belgrade for the first time was the fall of the wall and i covered the aftermath of that. and then i covered the revolution. we were there together in the end of communism in hungary. i started covering all that political stuff. so when the wars exploded all of the cold war analysis of the previous years was cute needed to understand you had to find out-of-print books to find out the history because it was really a déjà vu all over again. the ethnic cleansing had been happening over the past central century spirit was unfortunately
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a typical method. to understand the rise of this rabid nationalism -- mccue needed old books. and a lot of report as of the there's vicious, vicious fighting between these three communities during second worldo war. sometimes you go talk to these refugees are people in a town where there just been an attack and they start telling you what happened. all this and you don't understand they are talking about something week 41944. was a very difficult story to cover because of all this history that weighed on an event so much. and then in the middle of that you start learning how to dodge bullets. >> that was one the things that struck me, elizabeth, for reading your book. for the first time reading your
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book i understood what it was like to be a reporter in vietnam. and i cannot decide if it's because you put the female lens on it. but i think much more you describe the day today where you live, what you ate, who you hung out with, how you got on the helicopter. how you walked out of your room and saw there wasn't anybody on the street. it's the beginning of the attack, he understood it for the first time ever. and i have read a lot of vietnam books. there's something very compelling about that but something very terrifying. in your epilogue you talk about you understood you just had to survive. i wonder if you think the violence in vietnam was more m than it was for any of us?s? it was closer and more sustained than it was in other wars. >> i cannot make that judgment because in some ways i look at
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people like jessica, the younger people know when is captured and held hostage. on the other hand, thank you for noticing the daily ness of it. that is the thing that drove me crazy reading that memoirs of people who cover the vietnam war. they did not have families of the road home two. i didn't know what they wore, i knew none of that. and so in my book i wanted to show the whole of the women and thankfully they left a lot for me too use and francis is still alive. that was very much we had families, we had friends, we had love affairs, we had all of that. >> that is part of war. it is as we all know it's the biggest thing you feel all 24/7
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prey wanted that in there but thank you for. >> i love that part. and i realize i had been missing it forever. [laughter] so i did appreciate that. the one thing that's also striking in elizabeth book, jessica, is the fact these women do not really hang out with each other. they pretty much are working a alone. i wonder if it had change for you in afghanistan. did you have female friends? was that important to you?er >> yes there were fewer germans is a very collegial place to work. we knew what they were working on you discuss for advice. it was a really good place to work. ask the rut there were two of us. a big tall sweet and me so hung out together.
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sylvia, there were lots of women. more in bosnia than in belgrade. but the same contingent? >> there were also a lot of women also in belgrade. we were always pretty much the same. who were around the entire region most the time. and we did hang out together absolutely. >> both elizabeth book and jessica's book to something which is very interesting to me. it's the history of yourre own wars. elizabeth, that is the subject of this book, the history of the war. and i had not thought about it in so long that it was really interesting to read that. how long did that take you to figure out what is in, what is out, that seemed like the hardest thing you did. >> you are to janice, thank you. >> i read it twice.
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i knew i could not explain the women without explaining the war. i could not explain compass to tenure war it was american immediate demand and it was the most divisive war since the civil war. the spine had to be the war. fortunately at already written two books on the war. i had enough background sue i knew i could pull the books out of my bookshelf and no new where the research was. it is that pole. i had a good editor said elizabeth, enough and that sort of thing. but i did not want the reader to not know the war. and i presumed none of my readers had memorized it. i i just couldn't see it any other way for.
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>> it's a great piece of history. and just get you do the same thing. i have to tell you, i had no idea this wars mainly about special forces. on that the american government actually started to downplay this war from 2005. are we still in afghanistan? well maybe but let's keep it all quiet. you must've seen that. when did you figure out this was all worth a book we all did not quite get the part? >> is me being a reporter at that time. it was frustrating you can never really tell that part of the war because the soldiers she would get know would never go on the record for one news story. you do not have access to the green berets. and actually came about by accident. a robust story about leaving afghanistan in about leaving my colleagues and friends behind
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and readjusted somewhere it got attention he reached out to me and said hey, you represented and you want to write about it? and i said yes i think so. because of the way things were going. it just really came together over time. the more access i got. and to elizabeth's point if i had known what i had at the end might have been a little differently but came together as i went along. >> do you find for example when the military people ready this book do they call you and say you got it jessica? >> i have had soldiers reach out to me saying exactly, documenting that history because
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there is so frustrating i was coming out with the obama administration and lead the training missions they thought they were advisors. and there's this mess in afghanistan and most in washington because they're not there. so it's coming out in d.c. on people were struggling the combat which is very basic. which is why the party doesn't know anything about war anymore when government does not want to tell the story. >> what are your thoughts about the american withdrawal? >> i think it is difficult. the u.s. has to leave afghanistan at some point. but it was trending in the wrong direction.
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violence was getting worse the taliban control had increased. but they did do trump administration at least there's a series of commitments made. there were folks on the way. it's what they did have they tried to launch their own separate initiative and they stumbled in the conference of 2001. and that fell apart. others no conditions and set an anniversary which is upsetting to soldiers and afghan there is no logic after 20 years anniversary. [inaudible] so, it's really hard to remain hopeful about how things will go. any effort that's underway.
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>> when it goes badly it will get covered? >> hopefully. once american soldiers are gone and western soldiers are gone all people care about afghan war? that was site focus much on the green berets in my book. even though i met a lot of really incredible afghan commanders were equally if not more impressive people. i couldn't believe the american continent would care they cared about the maximize loss. once thehe dust settles and the terrible september but we cover? apparently not that much. >> sylvia, you covered a war where americans were not involved. which is always different than the ones that we covered.
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and i wondered if you have any experiences of people saying thank you for tellingng the truh or you revealed what's really happening or is that just something you just think about years later? >> it basically the topics of all our stories were mainly the refugees are the victims, the civilians. absolute. at times it was difficult, it was feared most people were willing tont talk and i think extremely grateful. and as elizabeth pointed out journalists were very often the targets but up until then war since then during the wars and yugoslavia work journalists were killed and injured that it ever happeneded before. we talked so much now but
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disinformation. but i cannot tell you o how much disinformation it was a propaganda machines from belgrade in particular were absently devastating. and many of these people believe these things. communication on that level was often very, very difficult. definitely theyie were very happy we were telling their story. >> at a journalist at war when americans aren't involved do d u find you do get drawn to the civilians? because you need to find the topic that will get the attention of your listeners. you cannot be an all downer, you cannotot appeal to the way they understand the u.s.. military. in the politics are too complicated for quick spirit note 6:00 o'clock follies. there were no press conferences. through these crazy
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statements made by insane nationalist political leaders tremendous amount of false propaganda.n' but the civilians were the topic.ic there were no battles for the strategic hills or perdiem's or whatever. he didn't write about the military at all. and also there was no real legitimate they were all a bunch of militiamen's. many of the serbs were from serbia. they were basically thugs. it was a very, very scary and disorganized in every sense, difficult to cover a story. but the civilians were the topic. that was it. that is what we talked about. that was the center of the reporting for.
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>> in some ways you had the same task because as a reporter in cambodia the americans were involved from the air.ab and so how did you think about your coverage? well, i thought about it by being sure it went to the u.s. embassy to read american newspapers which is the only place i could find them. i knew what the debate was in the united states. even though they're fighting from the air only congress had restricted them. cambodia it was a huge issue. would have been one of the articles in nixon's impeachment. the supreme court was debating it. expanding the war was enormous we have no information and so forth. something i hadn't realized until i listen to you. all. underneath all of our wars there
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is aas sense of old race-based antagonism that was hard to pull out. i know you don't think about with vietnam. but for instance one of the stories are reported that did not go anywhere was the cambodia communist had a real racial antagonism to the vietnamese communists. and did not trust the vietnamese communists. that got a nice play on the outlook opinion section because we digha into these old societis and what to be fine? jessica founder, sylvia found it a noun the 21st century is taken for granted. we americans are like oh my god. next i can tell you the so wherd were about each other. i went to cozumel for one summer i heard racism like i hadn't
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heard since cambodia. >> is a story reported by two iraqis who were in the white house on the opening of the 1991 war when president bush said i understand there are two muslims there's sunnis and shiites. and they went oh. [laughter] and so yes i think that is correct. jessica, would you go back? >> i want to go back, yes. especially now the few journalists there and there is an opportunity. i just had a baby so i have to stay in the states for a while but i would definitely like to once he's little bit older. >> this is a very interesting topic and i want to ask all three of you about this. in my time war correspondents had babies left the field. kelly mick evers did, but i know
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younger women don't. they go right back out there. i wonder if you agree that our generation estimate although men kept going. that was okay for the men to go back to the war. but now, both sides go. do you notice that as a phenomena? because just on a panel with lindsey. and she said i don't want an editor tell me whether or not i can go back because i'm a mother. i make that decision. i thought that was okay, that makes sense to me. she is taken the responsibility, she makes the decision. they women i wrote about i don't know there so few of us anyhow and none were married much less mothers.
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as an editors we all know. i tended to let the women decide. but i do have to say i let the women decide. quick to study the question for men but you would never say lete the men decide if they have a six month old baby at home. it is not a question for. >> they didn't take maternity leave. >> exactly right. i and so on and so forth. it's a moot question for. >> by bosnia where there are women who are children at home or no? >> i did not know any. offhand i cannot remember anyone that did. >> when i was in baghdad my co- correspondent had a young one in his temple. at 5:00 p.m. every day she would go back then it wasn't zoom and i would hear out of her door,
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up, down, up, don't i know exactly doing she was talking to her child in baghdad. and jessica, where there women in afghanistan who had kids at home? >> no, not really. overwhelmingly there's a lot of mail correspondence in the u.s. but very few. from my perspective went to get married and have a baby the chance of you going overseas because women generally have more of a role at home especially when the babies are young. also it's more difficult to put myself at risk knowing of someone else who depends on the it's a personal choice. i was debating hard going overseas for two or threeh year. and how much of that is a social construct it's completely ingrained that i'm not aware and
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can go overseas as much as they want. >> think this change seems to be it is your choice. and in my generation you didn't do it, nobody did it. you would be seen as a horrible human if you t did. i think what i would like to do is ask to help us with questions. we are getting quite a a few. i wonder, doyle, can youpe begin to open questions from our audience? >> out be glad to do that. because of production limitations you going to give me rendering the questions i will do the best i can to be faithful to them. we saw from her morbidly the first question is from abby donnelly was a student in her journalism program at georgetown. she asks, what do stories like
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that of the often tice the freelancer captured in sierra, what implications do stories fllike that have for the futuref conflict recording? i thought to expand the question a little bit, some of you started by buying a one-way ticket to a combat zone. is that something anyone will ever do again? >> well the oldest one will say i would not do it today. the risk does not come close to the reward for all the reasons we just said. if americans are not fighting the media's not going to buy your work. the respect for a journalist is not what it used to be. from afghanistan how to transfer hospitals with red cross embalmed? i hope they don't..
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>> twenty-five -year-old became men as a player and free fencers and it was not until the beheadings began that everybody had to get very serious about security and how this is going to work in the freelancers would go ahead of the step people and companies would buy their work and there was a moral hazard to that that i think editors began to understand that you are asking for too much of people.
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and if two - 25 coming or not quite making the right decision is so, you saw it tight in overtime but yes, i think that there are people who will get on those planes but i've been thinking about where would you go, what more would you go to now that you would risk your life or in hope that you would start your careerr on cement tht is a question that so entrance of you sent in, she notes that there also access problems and how to get to the front and so if any of you were to advise a young journalist who wanted to be confident reporter, where would you go. >> i knew the reporters in afghanistan who showed up who gradually sold work to big
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organizations and their still going to be some that's pretty easy to get there. and you can get to kabul and then went to get a gavel coming can go anywhere and so i thank you so still possible maybe on advisable perhaps. >> while i agree with what elizabeth said that if the americans are not fighting, there's not going to be at least in the american media is not going to be an interest. >> although yemen is one of those humanitarian crises that is what your story will be and you know it before you get there in her short skinny babies in hospitals and that is your stort as possible to get there but it is so dangerous that for freelancer to get on that plane, without backup is difficult. james ferguson for pbs has a series and she went there and she did exactly that.
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it is just too hard to think of a freelancer going to do that without having 70 watching your back. >> sylvia, you mentioned a job when you first got to bosnia and they came to you and so i wanted to ask all of you whether you had any particular training in conflict reporting before he became a correspondent i know having done that without much training to serve alongside two were veterans of other wars and military service theater had a leg up simply believe they had a leg up do you think that is true. >> again, i'm not so sure them cover like something i'd be is known been very helpful in
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covering bosnia, but i can say that i had absolutely no experience in the balkans are the only wars that are covered and i don't know what the others are like but i really learned on the ground. >> my separation they had hospital environment and they rendered first-aid and then there also ones where you would know what to do if you were kidnapped and sibley help me decide to escape from the taxi when is abducted by the sky and the best time - there was only thing that got me figure, is the right thing to do and i did it and i didn't know if i would've
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made the same decision and so while i like the training the time it actually came in handy. >> they had me talk to a season lift more crime correspond to any was stated he was like yes, you might be able to play tennis because there's a tennis court. >> while i took the training course gosh, maybe five years ago, and i only know that because i have to do it again because it is all about endurance and i thought, really, do i have to do this now, i have been to eight wars by now and there came a moment where they said okay noble sinew and for connecting and i said well i've really been kidnapped twice during really have to do this is a note i don't want to have you trust me up and just know thank you, i have been through it. >> i had the same experience i had to do all of that hostile environment training and came in
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after the second iraq war and as i said, it was for the insurance and i and frankly a very traumatic experience they sent us to england to do it former british soldiers organized it and it was awful is that it never want to do that again animate may relive all of the things that i had somehow repressed obviously in the balkans that i had gotten rid of and it was a horrible very bad experience and am not so sure maybe perhaps if you have the first time in maybe itself over the first-aid was that would be nice to have a before the simulated napping and hostage taking no. >> i heard about that which is why i am not doing ischemic input favor bags under his was very rough and bad and one woman
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fainted not good. >> elizabeth, i remember coming back from a roof in particular and i could not the around fireworks and have a car backfired i would roll into a ball on the street in july we come down from that and wondered if, we were there long time and did you have trouble reinserting yourself into normal america. >> yes, but i didn't know i was having trouble which was normally just thought it was normal to have half of my head was still in cambodian the other half was in the united states and is normal those writing letters is much as i could to beijing and was a for cambodia and then i went back and i have an even more traumatic experience and so i spent a lot of money on therapist because i
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cannot concentrate and this was way before anybody knew about ptsd. and in the process about talking with a look at remember something that really brought home to me, i was lucky they pushed me to the county, a fabulous story and the russians in the area and vietnam vet in those days the work of them considered loneliness under losers and crazy mpc county had for the veterans was outside wrinkling people in the region from the police knew that i had cover the war/a call me in the bureau in dc as i do you want to talk to him give me a phone y number is if you can talk so is okay and talk them down and monsanto the god, he quieted and he started to listen to me and
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they shot and killed him. this whole thing whenever something happening, we were there because even if you're ,making headway, this war was i felt like i was the only one. >> i think you had worst experiences certainly that i ever did in the second time you go to go back to cambodia to kill one of you, you manage that. >> will deborah come i thank you so no accident within a year a r so i was - a beautiful littleha girl and i just thank you so a bad that it had to do something really good braided. >> that's better than therapy. [laughter] >> we actually have a similar
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question process she is a e-mail that has been grappling with reentry i would like to hear from all of you of how you deal with the civil problem of cultural shock coming out at that intensity of world war and what news organization providing any kind reentry help. >> anybody. >> recent experience, in general yes i arrived in washington after four years in afghanistan and i was nonetheless place and there is no memory recall and they would send you a postcard and health insurance even, there
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was no follow-up anything nobody ever asked how you were feeling and i hope group of went over to a secondary attack to cover evolving into the office and i just started to cry but there was no question of i'm are you all right and same when i had that kidnapping experience might editor back in london did not enter did not even know in the security advisor wrote to the company said i don't totallygo where i was going but i had knows another headache because then they wanted me to just get in the car. there's no real effort but my -
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anna reporter and she did a lot of great work and she ended up going to afghanistan and she very obviously was breaking down over her last year. she was vanishing, and as soon as she had substance abuse problems and never did anything at all and they talk about it and another reporter how to be without jeopardizing her career that wasn't in time was found dead. just a few days after that and it felt like it was unique and she was only 34. >> elizabeth, at least two of them women in your book, had
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difficulty in postwar life and sounds as though some things about changed. >> well when kate had horrible ptsd, cut clean spent more time in combat then a lot of folks easily had kate had been captured really about the north vietnamese and she was severely injured in its capitol and kate was the functional alcoholic and help was never offered to her and i talked to her sister telling for the book and she said for kate to acknowledge all the problems, she felt would've fallen apart. you could not talk about it and jessica story, you coming i was just thinking about kate and
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katrina katrine, they never never adapted and kate never settled down in katrine never felt at home anywhere. that is the status of the book that these two really gave up their sanity and well-being for this job although both just before they died said they wouldn't change, theyot were so proud of what they had in katrine said to the summit, i told the story had thus the bittersweet stories, it's a heartbreak. and you remind me of marie copeland who struggled mightily had when she died, many of us said that it was suicide by -
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corresponding and i had the chance to interview the director of the movie made an i put that to him if he thought that is what had happened and i then every single gesture in the tape any clicked any size, and he says, many of her friends wondered what marie would be like if she retired and now no one has to know. >> and i thought that's as close as yes to you get and it is tough and soviet committee differently came back from my fifth. >> out but like elizabeth, i did not know if ptsd did not know it wasn't the time there was no well do not exist people would ask me, is a like and i never
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had great panic or anxiety bosnia a month i had it when i came back is ridiculous moms abscess that i would lead to gas housing would explode with that i would be run over by a bus and the fears will become the finalities of the day, the daily experiences but then i got a real weird fear of heights which i'm told some of the people have i don't know that is been i can't drive over bridges they couldn't put first came back out of nowhere i just couldn't and i talked whether people do this by living the senate. his displaced when they cannot part in is a parking lot, they just can't do it so they can drive over a two lane bridge
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because of nowhere to turn a around and sold a training that you have about what to watch out for justice displaced near to deal with in ways that are like really bensalem afraid of what you are. >> properly subject to peer, and ginger the practical question from neil, when you're in conflict zone, you have to rely on local officials sometimes local militia commanders or local military officers may or may not answer to a higher n authority how do you figure out who trust. >> sylvia montague first. >> yet to play by year and often you cannot get into an area because there will be these
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militiamen who hated reporters of course all sides. and especially if you were an american reporter sometimes you know, a pack of cigarettes would get you would open passes and sometimes it would not. you never know that it was, we do not have this robust problem of credentials and later for sleep last year to enforce it would be the un so-called peacekeepers all over u and they while they were not everywhere and they were more damaging in the end helpful to people in the ground. you play by ear at work and i said don't know, there are no rules that i can think of.
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>> how you trust your sister and you tell them to warn you and most of t the time that works although i do remember being in lebanon and i had a female, this woman who and a very area where these people they were not a kind of them were pretty close we left about with more danger, she or an american and it was pretty much a tossup of the time but i think that you learn to trust them and they can feel when things are going bad. >> you can and often take muslim into a certain area tonight so we were usually groups of reporters together and driving our own vehicles because when crossing line, he would been
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endangering your person by putting them into the enemy territory. >> elizabeth you were in cambodia when there was no fixed minds and no american military to and how to do navigate. >> we had an informal deal among the reporters with them a small residents, there are very few of us who live there so we knew each other and even if we didn't like each other, we knew we would go out with during the day on who would listen to the communist broadcast them literally and he were very good friends with military and intelligence out of the field so, i mean, it was a group effort and yes we would have translators with us you know how to tell when the wind had moved
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when the children printed their did not smell food cooking is have this whole different set of antennas that work in the thing that really broke my heart was with couple of my really close buddies there to japanese journalist, different rules when across to the other side which will wes said we would never do it purposely when across in both killed and so it was in that sense, we took them seriously we never cross filled by never because we knew what would happen. >> jessica i know you cannot get, not only units, how to work when you wanted to accompany an afghani. >> really depended who you're aiming for and you have the
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commanders and trained but you can go with the militias raised up and then the spaces and theys started to appear. [inaudible]. you really just played by your and you would know the journalist you were working with and a lot of times you spent a day walking around and in the second time the americans assisted we really felt that things could go either way we needed to get out of there very quickly really the locals guides to stay safe. >> a courageous question here
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from zero we can who is watching us from brussels, she said she's 37 years old and she told the coming war correspondent. [laughter] >> i was in my 40s when i was covering is some no no tonight i was over the not going to southern turkey i was. >> i think it's hard to start a 372 of you are a journalist now, then you're probably five if you just becoming a journalist, 37, making as much you should probably not start as a war correspondent. >> in a question from brooke kayden, have you return to the war zones that you cover to see how life has changed in jessica's that you would like to
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go back to afghanistan. >> i went back about ten years after the war started and there's peace and ascension everything about the situation was, the balkans are still a bit of a mess lots of corruption. is not in great shape, not in great shape and all. >> i go back a lot, i have been back a lot in the first few times away back, coming up with myet jitters and with the ups ad downs in cambodia, and with vietnam, i find it reminds me is
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just a country from none was owned has history i found very helpful to keep going back. >> brooke everyone back to beirut or baghdad. >> i have come up beirut not baghdad them i wasas there when the pandemic began last year in january and february and i've been going since 1982, so i know the place episodically and this time very sad is only gotten worse with the explosion in the country below thehe poverty line and i used to be the place in some ways is the lisbon is a place where you generals could get a start and there is a huge contingent and there's a lot oft women there. who can jump often do reporting
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from beirut but is so precarious now in lebanon because the economy is tanking, very sad to go there these days in syria i can ago it all that is a story to keep up with. i will go to berlin in january and i will look at the war crime trials heavily in germany and under no, elizabeth your model, can imagine spinning when time i have left is a journalist looking at syria because i was one that any of the best in the fall of the most this people before the war and i was there when war broke out that it is a ten year war is not over yet and so i am still, at some moment you must want to know how will this alternate i feel that way about them anyways and they
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don't feel about all the other ones, went to afghanistan i was in bosnia and i was in iraq i was in iran somehow that one is stuck with me. >> it is hard to know which one get you both out on is the one that is gotten me. >> i look at syria and now i look at one of the stories now, i can't stop looking come there were people are journalists there who very much who are attached to that country. >> we have one or two more questions before i send this back to deb for any final remarks that you may want to make so if you have lightning round question, now is the time to get it and and here is a big question about americans and
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more from joyce, the united states seem to have a patterns funneling afghanistan and getting a divorce without an exit strategy and have as much experience, why are we so bad at this. >> in this book, the first time you did it, vietnam was the first one ine think one of the problems is that we have put too much of our foreign policy in the hands of military. and were expecting the military to do things that we should not vietnam was one of them and i think on the forever and forever yours after it, armies don't bring democracy and cover these issues and armies, they don't do it. ... do is beef up the state department budget. let's go back to diplomacy and
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not put everything in the military. it's grown way beyond belief you must have an eyewitness approach so that one. rex it's a combination with vietnam. and that's exactly the overstretch that going to be able to deliver. with a post, women's rights and justice. they really knew nothing about. who may be new and to fix it. it's just never going to work. >> and this last question, this one i will confess us from me.
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it's very fundamental question. i would love to hear each of you address it. it is one i've tried to explain to students without much success. going out and covering a warro that is a dangerous, it is a draining, it is dirty, it takes you away for most of the o pleasures of normal life. why do you do it? [laughter] deb, why don't you go first. >> i have thought about this. and when i look back at myself might was a pirate i wanted experiences. i was willing to take risks. we don't think i ever said that pretty don't think i ever acknowledged it. i do remember we got ourselves
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to beirut i was beyond happy that we pull this off. there is a moment you get old enough and really should be doing this. if anything bad happens to you friends will all go she should have known better and the truthn is she should have. there's a moment you should probably stop doing it. but the attraction to doing it is you see people at your worse. see people it really their best. surgeons who are in basements during emergency surgery by candlelight. women who step forward and organize the food campaign at the stadium for refugees. you see people do extraordinary things. it is d that heightened sense of life that is enticing.
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ask sylvia, you left of the question. why it brought you joy but. >> i repeat i did look for it came to me i found myself there. you might ask why did i keep going for. eeten years? because at that point i began to understand this part of the world. i had invested emotionally and i wanted to see it through. i'm not sure after the wars if somebody would have said another war. i think byet that time i had doe it enough. i did not have the attraction to cover another war. i was very glad i was there i was glad i was able to be part of that extraordinary story part
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of the european history it was extraordinary. as deborah said the best things come out and people in theco situations. i met a lot of extra new peoplee there. but i would not do it again. >> just at that you do want to go do it again, what keeps you going? >> i couldn't really express it better sent debits the best in the worst in humanity. it's very difficult to walk away from that. for me from afghanistan it feels like a general shortage of people with a lot off experience and conflict to still cover. as tension leads the way i feel it is important to return with what's going with happen. for our newspaper i don't know how many other people would go.
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and so part of it is difficult without. auto food fatherly to cover a new war whether i would be able to go through all the heartache again and start the new war. obviously i started there and it anxious to go back to libya.if i wouldn't want to started to pour because it's just too painful. going to rephrase the in your case you wrote a book about three weeks to renew women why diden they do this? >> they did it because they went to vietnam because there is no more important story in the world. and women at that stage were only allowed -- that media to cover fashion and women's's sections. in this spirit of adventure deborah invention for they all made the commitment that both jessica and sylvia talked about. they start at 66 and they made sure they were there in the end
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and 75. the commitment is full 24/7. you are living like you don't live any other time but yes, you see the worst. and yes you see the worst in yourself as well as the others the best. i was enough for her. and kate continued. i think she went to afghanistan a little bit. but she stayed in asia movingg around and moving around. and katrina went on to the middle east and that's when she won the big award. but i must say to tie it all up with the mother stuff, when thet "new york times" asked me too go to iraq, my kids were teenagers. and i think that's the worst time to leave them so i did not go. i was not anxious to go anyhow i did not look forward to being embedded at my age. but i could not imagine leaving my teenage kids, no, no, no.
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>> that sounds like the onsets. deb, do you have any final questions or wrap up you what to do? >> i just want to say that i think what elizabeth's bookse shows us is what we do is reason enough. you highlighted these three extraordinary women but it took all these years for you to do it. all of us have been the melt war correspondents would like to think we made our mark out there. but it is just another war in some work correspondence will come after us. this is been just terrific to have this conversation with all of you. i do feel like we are a specialb breed because we did these things. but, you know so what. we change things a little bit. and there will be others behind us. it's nice to talk with you about
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all of you tonight. elizabeth becker and placement 100 placement to find placement one find placement one fighting the forever war. i'm placement one winner of the georgetown prize for diplomatic reporting. thanks everybody came. we had a good audience tonight. find placement one find
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placement one and so theor underlying message of this panel so that you and i need to get writing we have some books to show. line placement one edu other programs
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two volumes in the age of reagan series. greatness and patriotism is not enough. but the scholars who change the course of conservative politics. texts and tweets with steven hayward live sunday at noon eastern on book tv on cspan2. ♪ tonight we are so pleased to welcome sarah rose for her new book d-day girls sabotaged the nazis and helps to win world war ii. sarah rose draws on recently declassified files, diaries and oral histories until the three week unknown story of three remarkableay women who destroyed train lines, ember should nazis, plotted prison breaks and gathered crucial intelligence. link the groundwork for the d-day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war. called the 29 a thriller and form of a nonfiction


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