tv PBS News Hour PBS May 25, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: the fight for iraq. government forces and militias strive to beat back islamic state fighters good evening on this memorial day. i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is away. also ahead: what's next for rules governing u.s. surveillance after the senate fails to extend key provisions. plus, the week ahead in politics with amy walter and tamara keith. and... ♪ (horn playing "taps") >> woodruff: we mark this holiday with several perspectives on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and the impact on loved ones left on the homefront.
>> those that really have in some ways suffered the most are those that are the families, and that's the kids the wives, the husbands, the parents. >> woodruff: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial. you're in charge.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: for the first time in 14 years, no american troops were involved in major ground combat on a memorial day. president obama took note of that in his appearance at arlington national cemetery. he laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns, and said the site is "more than a final resting place for fallen heroes." >> each simple stone marker, arranged in perfect military precision, signifies the cost of our blessings. it is a debt we can never fully repay, but it is a debt we will
never stop trying to fully repay. by remaining a nation worthy of their sacrifice. >> woodruff: another wreath- laying in kabul, paid tribute to more than 2,200 americans killed in the afghan war. some 10,000 are still stationed there as advisors and trainers. vice president biden sought to reassure iraq's prime minister today after a dust-up over fighting the islamic state group. in a statement, white house officials said the vice president's phone call, "recognized the enormous sacrifice and bravery of iraqi forces." that came after defense secretary ash carter had blamed the loss of ramadi on iraqi troops who ran away. >> they withdrew from the site. and that says to me, and i think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the
iraqis to fight isil and defend themselves. >> woodruff: iraqi leaders condemned carter's statement and a top commander in iran charged today that, in fact, the u.s. lacks the will to fight isis. there's word that cleveland has reached a settlement with the justice department over alleged police abuses. "the new york times" reports it involves a pattern of excessive use of force and unconstitutional actions. on saturday, a judge acquitted a white cleveland officer in a shooting barrage that killed two unarmed black suspects. the governor of texas declared disasters in two dozen counties today, after a weekend of catastrophic flooding and tornadoes. and, the severe weather continued early today, as a storm blasted a mexican town just across the texas border. the people of ciudad acuna awoke to the ravages of a tornado that tore through just after
daybreak. authorities reported more than a dozen people were killed. farther north, lightning lit up the kansas sky overnight, and outlined a twister moving across the open plain. together, they were the latest outbreaks from a massive weather system that stretched all the way from the gulf of mexico to the great lakes. in its wake, came not only tornadoes, but severe flooding. >> oh my god. >> woodruff: central texas bore the brunt, with creeks and rivers rapidly swelling sweeping cars away. at least a dozen people were missing after flash flooding sent the blanco river rising 26 feet in an hour. >> we do have 12 missing persons we are actively searching for. we have additional concerns where we are gathering information from reporting parties to make sure that residents, are missing or are
not missing. >> woodruff: across texas hundreds of homes were destroyed, and nearly 2,000 people were forced to move to higher ground. >> they've lost everything. their cars, their furniture, everything. and, it's just amazing. i can't even begin to let it all sink in. i don't think i want to know just yet. >> woodruff: severe flooding also hit the dallas area, and the governor warned texas is not out of the woods yet. >> powerful message to anyone in harms way over entire state of texas as we see ongoing rain and that is the relentless tsunami type power that this wave of water can pose for people. >> woodruff: and the rain did keep falling, in houston and elsewhere, further damaging apartments and homes that had been torn open by a tornado on sunday.
the storms are blamed for at least three deaths in oklahoma and texas. in india, there was no break in extreme heat that's killed more than 500 people in recent weeks. temperatures in one northern state reached 116 degrees on sunday. people suffering from dehydration inundated hospitals that were battling power outages. and, streets in several major cities were abandoned as people sought out shade. national police in malaysia report they've found 139 mass graves, and signs of torture, in more than two dozen camps where traffickers once held migrants. investigators carried away body parts today from one site at the border with thailand. it's believed rohingya muslims who'd fled myanmar were kept there. china sharply criticized the u.s. today in a diplomatic row over the disputed south china sea. beijing complained after a u.s. reconnaissance plane flew over the spratly islands, where the
chinese are building bases despite international protests >> ( translated ): the u.s. military aircraft's spying on china's islands could easily cause miscalculation, and was very dangerous and irresponsible. i want to emphasize that china's determination to protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity is as firm as a rock. >> woodruff: a tabloid owned by the chinese communist party's official newspaper went even further. it said war with the u.s. is "inevitable," unless washington backs off. former israeli prime minister ehud olmert was sentenced today to more jail time. he got eight months in prison for taking illegal payments from a u.s. businessman. it happened when he was mayor of jerusalem. olmert had already received a separate six-year sentence for taking bribes. back in this country, anonymous threats targeted airliners bound for new york. u.s. fighter jets escorted one air-france flight to kennedy
airport, after claims of a chemical weapon on board. that plane was eventually searched and cleared. then, authorities searched a flight from saudi arabian airlines because of another call. an american airlines flight from england was also threatened. and, comedian anne meara died over the weekend, after a long career in tv, movies and the stage. meara and husband jerry stiller were a hit comedy duo in the 1960's before she went on to a series of acting roles. in 2006, she joined son ben stiller in the movie "night at the museum." anne meara was 85 years old. still to come on the newshour: the fight to beat back islamic state forces in iraq. what's next for rules governing u.s. surveillance. the week ahead in politics with amy walter and tamara keith. why start-up tech entrepreneurs are moving business to pakistan. plus, three stories for this memorial day, on the longest war
in u.s. history, the struggles at home for loved ones of soldiers redeployed, and memorizing the names of the fallen in afghanistan. >> woodruff: we turn now to the fight for iraq, and the growing tensions the rise of the islamic state has roiled up. joining me is douglas ollivant. a former military planner in iraq who served on the national security council under president obama and president george w. bush. he's now a senior national security fellow at the new america foundation and partner at mantid international. doug ollivant, welcome back to the "newshour". we have the comments from the secretary of defense over the weekend saying iraqi troops ran away, that they didn't have the will to fight. but then today you have the
vice president biden calling the iraqi prime minister to say, no, iraqi troops are doing a great job. which is it? >> just a few weeks ago we had secretary kerry saying that he was sure that ramadi was going to be reclaimed. so clearly we have secretary carter as an outlier in the u.s. government position which sometimes just means you're saying inconvenient things people continue want to hear. clearly problems with the iraqi earnings they need to be addressed, but the counterpoint is also true, the iraqi army was in ramadi for a year and a half and did fight off the islamic state there for a year and a half, and if we're to believe the accounts, really we're at the receiving end of a well-planned well-executed attack by the islamic state that involved a number of very, very large explosive car bombs, some of which were said to be the sides of those in the oklahoma city bombing leveling blocks or at least large buildings an assault any military force would have a hard time with. so there is some truth to what
the secretary is saying but, at the same time the indignation on the part of the iraqis is very valid. some of these soldiers have fought very well. >> woodruff: in terms of whether they were well supplied whether they had the training they needed, where is the answer to that? because we've looked at the u.s. has been providing support and yet these troops still are not able to do the job. >> that's undeniably true. there has been a lot of support given. these troops in mohammedy had not been trained by the united states, but you would hope the iraqis would be able to generate their own training devices at some point. but there are clearly problems with leadership. we heard rumors the soldiers had not been paid. very systematic problems with the iraqi government still. it's a relatively new government, only been around for a decade or so, only truly sovereign for the last three years since we departed and they're still learning how to do this. >> woodruff: we know there is
criticism coming up from all quarters in terms of whether the administration approach is the correct one and whether the traition ought to be -- the administration ought to be doing more or something different. how do you read all this? >> certainly, there's a lot of criticism. anytime you have setbacks criticism is inevitable. it is clear the islamic state had a good weekend last weekend in the retaking of ramadi and of course, that does call for you to reflect. but i think in general the administration is on the right path. we need to be training we need to be arming, we need to be supporting. we may need to do a little more of all of that but in general we need to continue to work through the iraqis to get the islamic state out of iraq, having us do it might be more efficient but there are so many negative second order effects of that, that it's just undesirable. >> woodruff: so, douglas ollivant, is it just a matter of being patient? >> i think in some ways that's exactly it. it's going to take time to get
the islamic state pushback out of iraq. prime minister abadi said he's going. take ramadi back in days, i think that's an exaggeration, but it wouldn't surprise me if they took it back in four to eight weeks, the time they used in the tikrit attack. we've had a series of successes in tikrit and other areas. you've had the various iraqi security forces and/or militias pushing back the islamic state out of the key bourbon areas. >> woodruff: i think it's hard for people to keep track of where shings stand with regard to the sunni-shia split that exists in iraq, put do you have the sense that prime minister abadi is doing the best he can to get the sunnis engaged with this fight, or is there still this sort of unbridgeable divide between the two? >> well, i think prime minister abadi is very much reaching out to the sunni, trying to reach
across the aisle, trying to make the deal, so much so that he's often accused by his shia arab base of aband abandoning them and their concerns and being more concerned about the 20% minority of arab sunni than the 60 or 65% that are arab she. i can't but he is reaching across. the question is does he have the political capital to continue doing that and can he hold his own base while reaching across the aisle. >> woodruff: what's the thinking in terms of what more the u.s. could do to help these iraqi troops? >> i think continuing to provide weapons, continuing to get more missiles. the iraqi forces in ramadi didn't have the anti-tank missiles they needed to stop the vehicles, the explosive car bombs from attacking their positions. it wouldn't hurt to have more unarmed surveillance drones. if we were to push those then the iranians wouldn't have to provide them, that's a way for us to use a chess move against
the iranian influence in iraq which we need to be concerned about. so there are app series of things we can do, but essentially it's more of what we're doing -- equipping training and intelligence support. >> woodruff: douglas ollivant, thank you. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: now, we look at what's next for the rules governing u.s. surveillance. over the weekend, the senate failed to extend three key provisions of the patriot act set to expire in a week. they left town for a recess, leaving little time left to come to consensus. to help us understand what lies ahead, newshour political director lisa desjardins. so, lisa, what happened? there into the wee hours saturday morning and this is the patriot act hanging by a thread? >> this is a test for new majority leader mitch mcconnell, he took a strategic risk something that worked in
the past both sides and set a high stakes vote when congress was going out of town. it dipped not work this time blocked by rand paul sand some democrats particularly one from oregon and other conservatives as well. it came to the midnight vote and they could not get 60 votes for any one kind of agreement. it is important to note that on the major votes that happened in the midnight session, one vote turned out better than the other, the vote for the revised version of the surveillance powers, one that would limit what the n.s.a. could do, the freedom act. that was a few votes short verse an extension with 15 votes short. the division in the republican party on these votes was on geographic lines. we looked at southern senators midwestern senators wanted a straight extension. you looked at senators in the southwest, they were willing to revise. >> woodruff: clearly, mitch
mcconnell didn't want this to happen. what went wrong? >> i think it was really just a showdown over how the senate works. rand paul was able to use the power of a single senator and a few other senators. the truth is a single senator can hold up the senate for three or four days. mitch mcconnell could have kept the senate going for three or four days and run the clock but he didn't. >> woodruff: quickly they will come back sunday and have a sunday session at the end of the memorial week break. what needs to happen then and, meantime, the government has to start planning to cut back on surveillance. >> first of all senators need to buy their plane tickets and senators who are coming back sunday at 4 need to plan now. but we have talks starting wednesday, thursday, to see if they can come up with a deal. judy, there's no known solution right now. it's possible we could see the provisions expire at least for a short time. completely unknown now. >> woodruff: we'll be watching, lisa desjardins. thank you.
>> you got it. >> woodruff: the patriot act is one of handful of topics popping up this week in the presidential race. so no better time for politics monday. joining me our weekly wrap are regular guests, amy walter of the "cook political report," and tamara keith of npr. welcome to you both and thank you for being here on this memorial day. so the patriot act, i've just been talking to lisa about what happened in the coming, but it's also something the presidential candidates have to deal with. amy, how much are they talking about this or are they talking about this out on the campaign? >> yeah, they are talking about it in relation to one person in particular, the person that lisa brought up, rand paul. rand paul is on an island by himself now. the one person saying we need to get rid of this program altogether. he is a known libertarian, somebody who has been taking this cause on for a good long time. and the other candidates are trying to show sort of their hawkish muscles of accusing him of being soft on terrorism. >> woodruff: is that working,
tamara? >> one thing that is working for rand paul is that while he was doing his filibuster, while he was doing in, he's fundraising. he's obviously being intellectually consistent here. this is an issue he cares about and has cared about. also excellent for raising a presidential candidate's profile and he had young people taking selfies of themselves, watching him on television, and tweeting that out saying they stand with rand. his campaign was sending around a petition to get people to sign on saying they supported his position on this so he's leveraging it. >>it. >> woodruff: so most of the candidates think it's important to have a position on this at this point? >> they have to have a position. they had to vote on it. what you're seeing is it's interesting, of the three tea party candidates, they came in in 2010, ted cruz, rand paul. rand paul is off by his own. ted cruz wants to reform but not get rid of the program
altogether. marco rubio the most muscular saying not only keep it going but even stronger. chris christie and jeb bush also have been talking about having a very strong surveillance system, how important it is for trim. if you're -- how important it is for terrorism. if you're chris christie, governor of a state impact bid 9/11, it gives you an opportunity to talk about how the governor had to deal with terrorism and security issues. >> woodruff: the other thing, the lead story, talking about i.s.i.s. and the criticism from the defense secretary and a little bit of what sounds like repair work done by the vice president does point to the difficulties the administration is having now with dealing with the islamic state. the candidates are now talking about this. how much -- we're clear that -- we know where rand paul is on all this. he's the least excited about having american troops on the ground. but there's an array of opinions
among these republicans. >> including people like lindsey hilsum who are being very specific saying we should send 10,000 ground troops over right now. then there are other people just taking the safe position which is just criticize the obama administration. that is the safest thing a republican candidate can do, criticize the president but don't get particularly specific about what you would do differently. the reality is this is tough. there isn't a good, right answer. if there was a good right answer, the senate and the congress would have already passed an authorization for the use of military force. this is something that's just been sitting in congress, waiting for action because, well, nobody wants their fingerprints on it. this is tough. >> that's right. i think it was the "new york times" that wrote republicans are hawkish but hesitant. that's a perfect way to describe this. they all want to show they're stronger on national security than barack obama. at the same time, they know that
if they go too far and get over their skis on this issue they will turn off swing voters in a general election. you look at where the republicans are, should we put ground troops on to fight i.s.i.s., +*6 0% say yes. across the board is more evenly divided. >> woodruff: makes me curious how much they feel they need to have a flushed-out opinion on this at this point. we'll talk about that next week. there are three more candidates jumping into is it race this week. you've got two republicans, tamara -- rick santorum and george pa tacky for those who may not remember, the former governor of new york. then saturday the former governor of maryland running for the democratic nomination. let's talk about each one of them. rick santorum, how does he fit into the growing roster of republicans? >> he was the runner up to the runner up last time around. he actually won iowa.
he held on for a very long time gave mitt romney a lot of headaches. he was sort of the socially conservative crusader. this time around, he's still obviously very much socially conservative but also doing this man of the people thing. he's very concerned. he feels like republicans need to have a strong message on the working class and middle class and helping people out. so that is his new lane. he's got a lot of competition through the people who supported him last time around. >> woodruff: what would you add? >> no, i think that's exactly right. he does introduce himself by saying -- you know, a lot of times republicans nominated the person who came in second. so look at me. in iowa, the place where he carried the caucus, you have the sense that he's like the used car and new car lot. everybody's looking and saying we liked it but we have all these other choices now.
puts him in an awkward position. >> woodruff: just one more moment. i want to get to george pataki and governor o'malley. >> george pataki was the governor of a big state in new york. beat mario cuomo, one of the big upsets in 1994. so he had real credentials. and i don't know maybe you do, what his message is beyond the fact he was a big state governor. >> yes. >> woodruff: all right we'll leave it there martin o'malley former governor of maryland, tamara? >> yes, former governor of maryland. he will be announcing in baltimore where he also was mayor. one of the challenges are the riots that broke out in baltimore and some say his policing strategies when he was mayor led to some of the deep-seated conflict. >> this is an unanswered question for martin o'malley. how aggressive will he be
against hillary clinton? will he be out there going full force at her or is he going to lay back a little bit? hillary clinton should want and needs to have a sparring partner. she should not want to go into a general election without any warmup at all. she has a lot of questions to answer. republicans want to ask her a lot of those questions. if they don't get a chance martin o'malley will. >> woodruff: she welcomes the question. >> i'm sure she does. >> woodruff: amy walter, tamara keith politics monday. thank you. thank you. >> woodruff: tonight we begin a series of reports from pakistan a nation that's been gripped for years by political instability, sectarian violence, natural disasters, and poverty. the country is also home to one of the world's largest populations of young people. special correspondent fred de same lazaro recenty met with some innovators in the capital karachi who are hoping that generation will fuel pakistan's
rise to becoming a high-tech powerhouse. the story is part of our "agents for change" series. >> reporter: it's one of asia's fastest growing tech start-up companies. this team of website developers is on a project for coca cola. >> reporter: umair aziz, the founder, can name-drop other blue chip american clients. >> sears, amazon, microsoft. >> reporter: one secret to his success; actually its pretty much a secret, period, is where this company, called creative chaos, is located... karachi. the teeming and indeed chaotic commercial capital of pakistan. a country beset by terrorist violence and political instability, a city that ranks as one of the world' most
violent. >> we don't want to be out of the race by advertising that we're based in pakistan. there's a very negative stigma attached to the country reporter: prospective customers first see on creative chaos' website, complete with an american 1-800 number. they soon learn that, aside from a small office in san francisco the workers are all in pakistan. once hired, aziz says his company has never been removed from a job. >> people in the u.s. really don't know that there's a world outside of taliban, and there's a world outside of, you know everything that they hear on cnn and bbc all the time. >> reporter: it's in that world that aziz carved out a profitable niche. back in 2000, he was fresh out of college in ohio and working for a boston tech firm when he decided to return to his native karachi. >> i knew there were hundreds and thousands of people like me
who could join, you know, my organization. it was a risk, but i was betting on the talent. >> reporter: his is one of a handful of thriving pakistani start ups-designing websites databases and applications for global clients. the tech sector is seeing a healthy 35% annual growth and aziz expects his firm to grow five fold by 2020. in raw numbers, though, that talent pool could be a lot larger, says jehan ara, herself a tech entrepreneur >> the country is about 200 million people, and 70% of them below the age of 30. so it's a very young population. the potential is amazing. how to channel that potential is something that we are all sort of thinking about. >> reporter: ara is leading an effort to scout that talent- trying to create what the
technology business calls an ecosystem to foster creativity and new business. >> this is the nest, a so-called incubator. here, 13 teams of techies chosen from more than a hundred applicants are working on what a panel of judges decided were the most promising business ideas. >> we are looking for young people who've developed a minimum viable product themselves, while at home, or at university. we know that they are committed to doing this. and then once they get here then we can help them further. >> reporter: for pakistan, this is a rare work environment and not just because it's offered for free to these would-be tech titans. they have reliable power, broadband and hardware many could not afford on their own, plus a connection to global resources from donors to the facility, including google and samsung.
they practice their pitches in speed dating-type sessions, the classic silicon valley approach to lure investors. and they subject each other to sometimes withering critiques this argument was about the website of a start up by 23- year-old shoaib and a partner. it's a kind of local angie's list that provides certified workers vetted not just by competence but, critical in this crime-ridden city-background check. >> it's just so cluttered. >> reporter: we asked rumaisa mughal to explain her reservations about the site in english. >> what would you like to see, in it specifically? less clutter and, as we talked about, their brand personality. it's very hard for me to see what kind of conceive what kind of what the brand stands for: is it casual, is it corporate? can i trust them can i not? if their website is so messed their organization is also messed up, right? >> i think she is right in many ways but i would disagree with due respect on many points. >> reporter: mughal's own start up is in the design business called artboard. her presence in this mix also is
significant. >> i.t. and the new economy are certainly opening doors for women. the progress sadly is slow, but definitely more women are coming in this field. >> reporter: while the nest has attracted some investment from abroad, ara says pakistan's own business community has been slower to provide the venture capital that's fueled so much of information tech business globally. >> it's only when the local investors get really interested that the industry is going to take off, the start-up industry is going to take off. >> reporter: one big worry is pakistan's precarious security situation, which she fears could drive many entrepreneurs to take off-for jobs overseas. in fact we'd interviewed sabeen mahmud for this story. she was social activist and one time tech entreprenur, who ran a performance space for the arts and sometimes controversial political debates. days later, she was assasinated by gunmen who have yet to be
identified. for the pbs newshour in karachi pakistan, this is fred de sam lazaro. >> woodruff: you can see fred's next story from pakistan later this week. fred's reporting is a partnership with the under-told stories project at saint mary's university of minnesota. >> woodruff: now, we mark this memorial day with three different looks at the recent wars that have shaped our nation in this this century. they've taken the lives of more than 6,800 americans. we'll look at the toll that's had on the loved ones at home. and one man's mission to memorize the names of the dead. but first, we focus on afghanistan, the longest military conflict in u.s. history. here's william brangham. >> thanks, judy. american forces have been in afghanistan for 14 years now and with the taliban starting
spring offensive, the u.s. forces will again be under fire to. better understand the larger context of our involvement in afghanistan we turn to charles stinnett who reported for the "boston globe," as co-founder of the international reporting site global post, for the pbs "newshour" and the ground truth project, a journalism nonprofit training the next generation of international reporters. ground truth just published foreverstan, afghanistan on the road to ending america's longest war. here's a clip. ♪ >> the ring road, 1300 miles of highway that circles afghanistan. this road was built by international donors including the u.s. and the world bank with a praying of more than $3 billion. it's also carried a higher cost.
since the u.s.-led invasion in 2001, hundreds of soldiers and civilians were killed along this highway, the targets of roadside bombs and ambushes by the taliban. the ring road provides a metaphor for the u.s. presence here, an effort to link the major cities in the country badly fractured along ethnic lines and through decades of brutality. our journey along the ring road starts in the northern city of mujar sharif. the ring road circles and comes to the town. this is where one of the biggest battles happened in the immediate days after september 11, 2001, and this is
where america suffered its first casualty in what would become america's longest war. the longest road we looked at a girls school and how the return of the taliban threatened advances in education. we looked at millennials the young people born after 1980 the year the soviet invasion got underway a generation that's known only war but also the best educated generation in afghan history. and we looked at the military handover, how the u.s. is handing the war off to afghan troops and what that means for the future of afghanistan. for those fighting in this war and those trying to live through it it seems to go on forever.
>> welcome back to the "newshour". the power stories you tell about the girls school, the young millennials in afghanistan and the afghan forces help me understand why did you pick those three stories? >> we wanted to go right into the future of afghanistan. this has become america's longest war and feels like we have been there forever. but we wanted to look at what happens when it ends, what happens after all these years of fighting, what is there. so we thought, beginning with the girls school is very important because that is one of the great accomplishments of the u.s. presence in afghanistan, one fiercely defended by most of the afghan people who want to see the schools stay long after the u.s. forces pull out. we also wanted to, of course, look at the handover because that is such an extraordinary moment about the fate of this country, how will the new afghan army and the new afghan national
police take over in the future? so our photographer has done years of documenting that and i think it really comes through just how perilous a moment it is. right now it's this handover, hopefully will take place next year, 2016. of course we wanted to look at millennials because that is the generation that is the future of afghanistan, so we really wanted to key in on not just government officials but also artists and school teachers and people who are even construction workers, people who do all walks of life in afghanistan what what does their future look like? >> speaking of that future, the founder of the girls school you feature, she said at one point in the film -- this is a woman who powerfully believes in the importance of education for afghan girls -- she sails she thinks the u.s. will never leave or at least not for a long time. is she right? >> i think she is right. we've seen reason for her to feel that way. certainly, the washington
mention has been that this pullout will happen any day now and we've heard this for years. literally, it's been postponed time and time again, so i think we can understand where she's coming from in that sentiment. i think it's also an expression of a yearning that the u.s. won't leave. getting to know her for years, you hear the united states forces are needed to protect the schools because there is a great fear the taliban will return. >> over obviously spent a great deal time of time and upony to train afghan forces to taken over when we leave. we've seen a lot of examples of iraqi forces whom we've spent money and training on to get them up to speed and that hasn't worked out well. what is your sense of how well the afghan forces can do if we leave? >> they're worrisome. the afghan national army and the assessment of the reporters on
the ground will be they're very ill prepared. i think that's borne out every day. it's not for lack of trying and certainly not for lack of spending money. many would argue there's been profited waste of money put toward training the forces given where they are. that said, i think there is improvement but you come away from that experience. ben brody, our photographer, spending years with these forces wondering are they ready, and the sense is a they're not. i think that's a fair assessment from the ground as a reporter. i also think there's a need for the afghan national police to really step it up. corruption is a big issue, and we're going to have to just be sure we stay on these troops to make sure they're able to take over pause nay are the future of afghanistan. >> after your reporting and all your colleagues have done, what's your sense of the future? if you think afghanistan is on
the right path? >> that's a hard question. i think that question depends on where you are in afghanistan. the ring road we focused on in the north. in every corner of that ring road i would say to you there's a different story. you know, kabul recently, the security situation is disintegrating. kandahar, almost impossible. harat, relatively safe. mazar sharif, they're stepping up attacks, the attack on the courthouse there. coming back to the northern corner of afghanistan, i was amazed at the progress -- new airport smoothly-paved roads and a lot of progress in trade. so it is definitely a mixed
sense of what the future holds. i think there's some room for hope. >> charlie sennott, the ground truth project. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now we turn our focus closer to home. >> sreenivasan: while more than two million men and women serve in the country's all-volunteer military force, a new documentary, "the homefront," focuses on the additional three milllion husbands, wives, sons and daughters who remain behind. they carry on their lives while a loved one is overseas for months, even more than a year and sometimes on multiple deployments. this is part of pbs's military voices initiative. >> i'm a specialist, i'm in the army reserve. i joined hoping that i could get a deployment as quick as i could
because i want to do things for my country. the only thing i have trouble with is leaving my family. my mom, i know she's not going to want to see me go. and my dad, he's going to have a really hard time with it, too. but they're all proud of me. that's all that matters. bye. >> bye. these wars are very different than the ones we've fought in the past. when we first started we had not deployed for an extended period of time. then the length of deployment is 12 months and in some cases 15-month deployments. then going back for second, the third and the fourth time, the impact it has on our families was significant. >> it's definitely true if the whole family serves. you're asking kids to move frequently. you're asking kids and spouses to be without the other spouse
for long periods of time. the deployments have been tough on families. >> this is the first generation of military kids that have grown up experiencing mom and dad being gone for multiple deployments and we're working hard to understand what the implications of this lifestyle is for children. we're not likely to really fully understand until later. >> we are engaged in the longest combat operations in our country. it is being done for the first time in our history, we're an all-volunteer professional military force. that takes a great toll on our families. it's been a struggle. >> every day you wake up, you know the person you love is in harm's way and there's a lot of praying going on. >> when i travel around to visit troops, i will often ask them how many are oon your first deployment? your second, third, fourth,
fifth? i'll generally get up to six seven, sometimes eight, and i think some young men and women actually have to decide for themselves. which one is the real world? is it the world that they experience with their battle buddies and wing men and swing buddies in combat or is it the world at home? >> bob woodruff was severely wounded in 2006 while covering the war in iraq. he suffered traumatic brain injuries and spent 36 days in a medically induced coma. he since raised millions of dollars to help wounded generates through the bob woodruff foundation. he's the toast of "the homefront" airing later on pbs late there are evening and joins me now. when you started working with this documentary you have been covering the story for a while. what struck me from the clip is the whole family serves. that's an interesting idea in
these wars comparatively. >> the hard thing to get inside the pentagon is to get the families to talk to the forces. that was a big accomplishment. the other thing close to my heart, those who have been on the sand we get all of the attention and the care but those who really have in some ways suffered the most or have just lived more are the families, and that's the kids, the wives the husbands the parents, all of them never get much information out there about what their lives are like. and we had this very interesting, unique way to do it. >> sreenivasan: so you've talked to the families of so many members of the armed services for so long. she said something interesting, what are the long-term consequence force the children. what happens if you literally don't see your mom or dad for several months in a time for those formative years.
>> one to have the important things people don't think about, in previous wars, largely they're single-deployment wars. world war i and vietnam, to large degree. people would come out and either volunteer like now or drafted before, probably before they actually have a family. the families are formed largely when they came back, especially after world war ii. but in this case, some go before there's a kid or they volunteer after they have kids and families and go back and forth and back and forth. sometimes they come back, have another kid go back again. and because the kids get older after 13 years of war, these kids are now understanding the world, you have to explain why dad or mom's going back again and it makes a much very different kind of war than it was before. >> sreenivasan: there actually was the threat of what happened after they come back for good, with the increased cases of ptsd
and sadly the number of suicides. but there are also the economic consequences of them picking their lives back up and you would think they would have a job, a lot of them are unemployed. >> they don't just come back with wounds or ptsd but just generally the military life. it's one thing to take a year off to serve and your company say welcome back when you come back. but every time there's a risk. you're really talking about those who are really not fully active still. for them, they have to convince their company they're really going to stay, but they're not always going to stay. so the jobs and the economic issue is very complicated for the military families. >> sreenivasan: since all the work you have been doing with different wounded warriors charities and the money you have been raising, is there a consistent theme that resonates year after year when you have the foundation events?
>> well, one is don't forget. there is an in a strange way the wars are coming to an end-ish. it's not the same as eight years when they were peaking out in terms of violence and injuries. but we want people to know there are issues that are still there. and since our foundation deals with those that are largely badly wounded, we're trying to see what's needed in the future. in the beginning we're helping a lot of programs with the i.c.u. levels, where people are still injured in the hospitals. then we move on to where they're dealing with them a lot, and they're coming back to their community, where they can disappear and not be ignored all the time. now we're trying to figure out the long-term help for their recovery, getting jobs, getting a great function, veterans helping veterans. a lot more into it it and
legitimate programs that exist out there. >> sreenivasan: bob woodruff "the homefront." thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now our final story on this memorial day, a personal tribute to american soldiers who have died in the afghanistan war. it comes to us from the united services automobile association or u.s.a.a., an insurance and financial services company serving those that have served in the military and their families. they produced this look at navy veteran ron white, who's taken the extraordinary step to memorize the names of all those killed in afghanistan, and will write them all on a wall. when i returned from afghanistan, this was one of my thoughts, the general public have no idea of the scope of sacrifice so many families and heros made. if i was a painter, i would have painted a portrait. if i was a singer i would have written a song. it only made sense to use any
memory. i memorized every one who died in afghanistan and i memorized them in the order of their death. 2300-plus people rank, first and last name. it's over 7,000 words. it's just my way to honor them to say you're significant, your life is important and we honor and won't forget you. every few hours somebody will walk by that wall and remind me this is not just 7,000 words. this is their son our or daughter. february 28th, 2013 was the first time i had ever done this. i was writing on on the wall and i heard the name austin stags. i kept writing. i heard someone say the name again. i kept writing. i turned around and said, ma'am, that's a name on my wall.
do you know austin stags? >> she said, yes my grandson i came to watch you write his name. i said it will be about four hours. she said, i'll wait. we got her a chair and she moved the chair down behind me for four hours. i got to three minutes to writing his name and i said i'm sorry i took so long. she said i'm glad you did it gave his ma'am time to get here. so i wrote his name with the mom and grandmom sitting behind me. it was very emotional and i gave them a hug. the mother said thanks for for not letting people forget about my son. i do do it to keep their memory alive. that's the primary reason, but i am a better person of learning the stories. i've heard so many different stories. i don't know the name specifically. i was so distracted.
i said is this the wall? i said yes and i pointed her to the wall. she said my brother was a big, strong guy. my brother was a medivac and when they would go out he would carry his backpack and my opinion brother's backpack because my brother was a little guy. he would walk in front of my brother. because he did that, my brother is alive today and he lost his life. i was so caught up in the role i didn't really focus on the name. she left and i thought about it. i thought, man, i wish i knew that guy's name! then it hit me later on that night, it doesn't matter that i don't know the name because that's the story of all of them. all of them carry the backpacks all of them went before us and all of them made that sacrifice so that we can live.
♪ >> woodruff: on the newshour online, two more stories that pay tribute to the sacrifices made by u.s. military men and women in our nation's history. there have been more than 1.1 million americans have died in all u.s. wars going back to the revolution against the british. our data team totaled the number of fallen from each of those conflicts. and see how "uncle sam" inspired young men and women to do their part for the war effort. we have a photo gallery of vintage u.s. propaganda posters from world war one. you can see both of those stories on our home page, that's at pbs.org/newshour. tomorrow on the newshour vietnam's developing contemporary art market. here's a preview: >> it wasn't that this wasn't a sophisticated, artistics
culture. it is very sophisticated. but from 1930 to 1980 they're documenting all these wars. so it was after the war ended, all of a sudden, there were no more wars to document and that was really the beginning and when the fire really started, the road to contemporary. >> woodruff: that story tomorrow night. >> woodruff: tune in for that story tomorrow night. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff, we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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