1. Today’s interview is with Tim Arango, the Baghdad Bureau Chief for the New York Times.  Arango has been reporting from Iraq for nearly five years, and has served as bureau chief since 2011, the year the U.S. completed its troop withdrawal from Iraq.  He’s watched the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and he’s covered the Iraqi government, which under the leadership of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, was seen as corrupt and sectarian, persecuting Sunnis. 
 

TERRY GROSS: Do you think that ISIS would’ve existited if not for the American invasion of Iraq?
TIM ARANGO: No, absolutely not. 
GROSS: How did the American invasion help create ISIS?
ARANGO: The Americans come to invade Iraq and I think it’s partly because the Sunnis are going to be out of power. The Americans come in and topple Saddam Hussein, who was Sunni, and there’s been a Sunni elite governing Iraq for centuries and they come in, the Sunnis realize they’re going to be left out of this, they’re not going to be running the country anymore, so resistance movements sprung up. The other thing the Americans did was disbanding the Iraqi army which created a whole group of would-be potential insurgents. So al-Qaida in Iraq is formed and many of the things that the Maliki government has done to alienate Sunnis they learned from the Americans. The Americans taught them how to exclude Sunnis from political life with de-Baathification and things like that. The other thing Maliki has done is these mass arrests of Sunni men and of suspected terrorists and that’s exactly what the Americans did. So as the Americans tried to fight these guys they would do these mass arrests and they could put them in places like [U.S. detention facility] Camp Bucca, most of the leaders of ISIS were in Camp Bucca and they got know each other, they got to plan, they got to hang out, and so every turn in the Iraq story now is the American legacy and the epic American failure in Iraq.



Photo:  Kurdish pesh merga fighters on Tuesday battled ISIS at a point east of Mosul secured with the help of United States airstrikes. Credit:  Jm Lopez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images View in High-Res

    Today’s interview is with Tim Arango, the Baghdad Bureau Chief for the New York Times.  Arango has been reporting from Iraq for nearly five years, and has served as bureau chief since 2011, the year the U.S. completed its troop withdrawal from Iraq.  He’s watched the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and he’s covered the Iraqi government, which under the leadership of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, was seen as corrupt and sectarian, persecuting Sunnis. 

     

    TERRY GROSS: Do you think that ISIS would’ve existited if not for the American invasion of Iraq?

    TIM ARANGO: No, absolutely not. 

    GROSS: How did the American invasion help create ISIS?

    ARANGO: The Americans come to invade Iraq and I think it’s partly because the Sunnis are going to be out of power. The Americans come in and topple Saddam Hussein, who was Sunni, and there’s been a Sunni elite governing Iraq for centuries and they come in, the Sunnis realize they’re going to be left out of this, they’re not going to be running the country anymore, so resistance movements sprung up. The other thing the Americans did was disbanding the Iraqi army which created a whole group of would-be potential insurgents. So al-Qaida in Iraq is formed and many of the things that the Maliki government has done to alienate Sunnis they learned from the Americans. The Americans taught them how to exclude Sunnis from political life with de-Baathification and things like that. The other thing Maliki has done is these mass arrests of Sunni men and of suspected terrorists and that’s exactly what the Americans did. So as the Americans tried to fight these guys they would do these mass arrests and they could put them in places like [U.S. detention facility] Camp Bucca, most of the leaders of ISIS were in Camp Bucca and they got know each other, they got to plan, they got to hang out, and so every turn in the Iraq story now is the American legacy and the epic American failure in Iraq.

    Photo:  Kurdish pesh merga fighters on Tuesday battled ISIS at a point east of Mosul secured with the help of United States airstrikes. 
    Credit:  Jm Lopez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

  2. ISIS

    Iraq

    new york times

    tim arango

    fresh air

    interview

  1. New York Times congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman joins Fresh Air to talk about the “least productive Congress in history.” 

"If you turn on C-SPAN now, in the United States Senate, you’re more likely to see nothing—nothing is happening. They’re just running out the clock for the latest judge to be confirmed and it has completely turned the Senate into a joke. It’s a silent chamber."


Photo - JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images View in High-Res

    New York Times congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman joins Fresh Air to talk about the “least productive Congress in history.” 

    "If you turn on C-SPAN now, in the United States Senate, you’re more likely to see nothing—nothing is happening. They’re just running out the clock for the latest judge to be confirmed and it has completely turned the Senate into a joke. It’s a silent chamber."

    Photo - JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images

  2. congress

    senate

    c-span

    jonathan weisman

    politics

    new york times

    fresh air

    interview

  1. The thing that I really thought about the most and will for the rest of my life is taking risks that affect other people — that have consequences for other people… [it’s] on my shoulders forever….

    And that’s what I can take out of that, as small as that is: to know when enough is enough, to know when to leave, to listen to the people around you — local people who know more about the place than you do. If they say it’s time to go, then go, because if you stay and something happens to them, that’s a horrible, horrible thing that’s not reversible.

    — 

    Photojournalist Tyler Hicks 

    He spoke to Terry Gross about what he learned from his experience being kidnapped in Libya with three other journalists. 

  2. tyler hicks

    photojournalism

    photography

    war

    terrorism

    new york times

  1. New York Times National Security Correspondent David Sanger sees cyber-espionage as a whole new “field of conflict” on the global stage — and that the U.S. isn’t having an open discussion about it:

"The Obama administration has pressed more leak investigations, conducted more leak investigations, launched formal inquiries, or in some cases, criminal cases, than all previous [administrations] combined. And these investigations all have a chilling effect on later stories that you do even if the later stories are on completely different subjects.
I think there’s a lot more concern inside the U.S. government right now about being found to be talking to reporters, even if you’re talking about something that is unclassified. … It’s understandably difficult to get American officials to talk about their plans for potential cyberattacks of cyberdefenses. I understand that, but it’s also very difficult to get officials to talk about our policy about using these cyberweapons as a tool of American power. And that’s what worries me, because in a healthy democracy, I think the American citizens have to be at least informed of — and maybe participate in the debate about — how we want to use these weapons since we are vulnerable to them ourselves.”
View in High-Res

    New York Times National Security Correspondent David Sanger sees cyber-espionage as a whole new “field of conflict” on the global stage — and that the U.S. isn’t having an open discussion about it:

    "The Obama administration has pressed more leak investigations, conducted more leak investigations, launched formal inquiries, or in some cases, criminal cases, than all previous [administrations] combined. And these investigations all have a chilling effect on later stories that you do even if the later stories are on completely different subjects.

    I think there’s a lot more concern inside the U.S. government right now about being found to be talking to reporters, even if you’re talking about something that is unclassified. … It’s understandably difficult to get American officials to talk about their plans for potential cyberattacks of cyberdefenses. I understand that, but it’s also very difficult to get officials to talk about our policy about using these cyberweapons as a tool of American power. And that’s what worries me, because in a healthy democracy, I think the American citizens have to be at least informed of — and maybe participate in the debate about — how we want to use these weapons since we are vulnerable to them ourselves.”

  2. cyberwar

    cybersecurity

    espionage

    david sanger

    NSA

    obama

    new york times

    interview

    fresh air

    dave davies

  1. Hear Fresh Air’s interview with poet Kevin Young here.

  2. poetry

    kevin young

    book of hours

    new york times

    interview

  1. Painting by Jemima Kirke via New York Times

“This is the daughter of a friend of mine. She is 6 years old and was not in the least bit uncomfortable with me painting her. Most kids aren’t, and naturally, they are actually quite bored by the process. But, what was interesting about Sasha is that she actually seemed to understand why I was painting her. She showed up in a beautiful white dress that she picked out herself, and had a lot of say in how she posed for the painting. She even helped me decide which size canvas. We really worked together on this one and took each other seriously. I was interested in her maturity and her poise.” “Sasha,” 2013
View in High-Res

    Painting by Jemima Kirke via New York Times

    “This is the daughter of a friend of mine. She is 6 years old and was not in the least bit uncomfortable with me painting her. Most kids aren’t, and naturally, they are actually quite bored by the process. But, what was interesting about Sasha is that she actually seemed to understand why I was painting her. She showed up in a beautiful white dress that she picked out herself, and had a lot of say in how she posed for the painting. She even helped me decide which size canvas. We really worked together on this one and took each other seriously. I was interested in her maturity and her poise.” “Sasha,” 2013

  2. painting

    jemima kirke

    art

    new york times

    girls

  1. Has Privacy Become a Luxury Good?

    Reporter Julia Angwin spoke to Fresh Air last week about the extreme measures she took to escape the clutches of data scrapers. "I want all the benefits of the information society; all I was trying to do is mitigate some of the risk," she says. You can read her recent opinion piece in the New York Times

    LAST year, I spent more than $2,200 and countless hours trying to protect my privacy.

    Some of the items I bought — a $230 service that encrypted my data in the Internet cloud; a $35 privacy filter to shield my laptop screen from coffee-shop voyeurs; and a $420 subscription to a portable Internet service to bypass untrusted connections — protect me from criminals and hackers. Other products, like a $5-a-month service that provides me with disposable email addresses and phone numbers, protect me against the legal (but, to me, unfair) mining and sale of my personal data.

    In our data-saturated economy, privacy is becoming a luxury good. After all, as the saying goes, if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product. And currently, we aren’t paying for very much of our technology.

  2. privacy

    julia angwin

    fresh air

    new york times

  1. New York Times Mideast Correspondent David Kirkpatrick went to Benghazi after the 2012 attack on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission that killed 4 Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.  Today he shares some of the questions he hoped to answer in his investigation:

The killing of Ambassador Stevens had become a major issue in American politics and also just a murder mystery. There was an astonishing number and variety of theories about how and why he had died on the night of Sept. 11, 2012 at the American Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi.
Part of what was so astounding about the debate and the variety of the theories is that it was an event that took place more or less in the open. It wasn’t like someone surreptitiously stuck a car bomb under his car, or quietly assassinated him with a sniper’s bullet; this was an event that drew a crowd, a crowd that grew all night, where there were dozens or hundreds of witnesses to the main events.
When I visited Benghazi in the immediate aftermath, I got the feeling that a lot of people in Benghazi actually had a pretty good idea of what went down. So I felt, and my editors felt, like that — given that this was a pressing question of political consequence and public interest in the United States — the least we could do is spend some time in Benghazi asking the people who actually live there what happened.



photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images via NPR View in High-Res

    New York Times Mideast Correspondent David Kirkpatrick went to Benghazi after the 2012 attack on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission that killed 4 Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.  Today he shares some of the questions he hoped to answer in his investigation:

    The killing of Ambassador Stevens had become a major issue in American politics and also just a murder mystery. There was an astonishing number and variety of theories about how and why he had died on the night of Sept. 11, 2012 at the American Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi.

    Part of what was so astounding about the debate and the variety of the theories is that it was an event that took place more or less in the open. It wasn’t like someone surreptitiously stuck a car bomb under his car, or quietly assassinated him with a sniper’s bullet; this was an event that drew a crowd, a crowd that grew all night, where there were dozens or hundreds of witnesses to the main events.

    When I visited Benghazi in the immediate aftermath, I got the feeling that a lot of people in Benghazi actually had a pretty good idea of what went down. So I felt, and my editors felt, like that — given that this was a pressing question of political consequence and public interest in the United States — the least we could do is spend some time in Benghazi asking the people who actually live there what happened.

    photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images via NPR

  2. benghazi

    terrorism

    david kirkpatrick

    new york times

    world news

    libya

    christopher stevens

  1. New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lipton joins us today to talk about lobbying and how corporations have found new ways to influence congress and public opinion. In the interview he explains how lobbying groups have changed: 

If you look at the over all number of lobbyists who were former government officials, it’s increased tremendously over the last 15 or so years. Almost half of all lobbyists today are former government officials. It used to be a much smaller percentage…


In the last three or four years the amount of money spent on registered lobbyists and the number of lobbyists has declined, and that’s in part because there’s been such division in congress that congress is getting very little done and so the corporations aren’t spending a lot of money to try to influence congress. What it has meant recently is that it’s a much smaller circle. The former staffers and the lawmakers and the current staffers, they socialize together, they golf together, they go to each other’s weddings… it creates a very clubby atmosphere in which the people who are in it have advantages that the people outside of it don’t. It makes special interest [able] to influence the process in ways that people who don’t have those kinds of connections wish they could.




photo via mashabale View in High-Res

    New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lipton joins us today to talk about lobbying and how corporations have found new ways to influence congress and public opinion. In the interview he explains how lobbying groups have changed: 

    If you look at the over all number of lobbyists who were former government officials, it’s increased tremendously over the last 15 or so years. Almost half of all lobbyists today are former government officials. It used to be a much smaller percentage…

    In the last three or four years the amount of money spent on registered lobbyists and the number of lobbyists has declined, and that’s in part because there’s been such division in congress that congress is getting very little done and so the corporations aren’t spending a lot of money to try to influence congress. What it has meant recently is that it’s a much smaller circle. The former staffers and the lawmakers and the current staffers, they socialize together, they golf together, they go to each other’s weddings… it creates a very clubby atmosphere in which the people who are in it have advantages that the people outside of it don’t. It makes special interest [able] to influence the process in ways that people who don’t have those kinds of connections wish they could.

    photo via mashabale

  2. eric lipton

    interview

    new york times

    lobbying

    congress

  1. Fresh Air’s Dave Davies spoke to New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore about how special interest groups are creating single-party states. Here he explains why funneling money into local and state races can be a better investment for donors: 

Look to Washington and you’ll see that there’s not much happening there. It is ceaseless trench warfare where neither party has an advantage and there’s lots of money and lots of special interests trying to dig in.
What’s different at the state level is that cash can go further if you’re a donor or a special interest. You can put some money into the states and see huge return in the partisan tilt of the government and, therefore, in the policies it pursues. So the return on investment is really quite good. There’s more of a chance to have a one-party situation in the state capitols, where both houses — the assembly and the state senate —and the governor’s office are all controlled by the same party. Once you have that, it’s amazing what a Democratic Party or a GOP in a state can accomplish on policy.



image of the Texas state capitol 

    Fresh Air’s Dave Davies spoke to New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore about how special interest groups are creating single-party states. Here he explains why funneling money into local and state races can be a better investment for donors: 

    Look to Washington and you’ll see that there’s not much happening there. It is ceaseless trench warfare where neither party has an advantage and there’s lots of money and lots of special interests trying to dig in.

    What’s different at the state level is that cash can go further if you’re a donor or a special interest. You can put some money into the states and see huge return in the partisan tilt of the government and, therefore, in the policies it pursues. So the return on investment is really quite good. There’s more of a chance to have a one-party situation in the state capitols, where both houses — the assembly and the state senate —and the governor’s office are all controlled by the same party. Once you have that, it’s amazing what a Democratic Party or a GOP in a state can accomplish on policy.

    image of the Texas state capitol 

  2. fresh air

    nicholas confessore

    new york times

    politics

  1. 
"Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, the arms designer credited by the Soviet Union with creating the AK-47, the first in a series of rifles and machine guns that would indelibly associate his name with modern war and become the most abundant firearms ever made, died on Monday in Izhevsk, the capital of the Russian republic of Udmurtia, where he lived. He was 94."

—- C.J. Chivers, war correspondent for The New York Times
Fresh Air’s Terry Gross spoke with C.J. Chivers in 2010 just after he wrote his book, The Gun. The book traces the migration of the AK-47 across the world, detailing the consequences of its spread.
One of the first true assault rifles, the AK-47, or Kalashnikov, was designed for soldiers who have to endure terrible conditions on the battlefield: It’s light, it can carry a lot of ammunition, and it can withstand harsh weather and poor handling. In the past few decades, the AK-47 has become one of the weapons of choice among small-arms dealers — and one of the most commonly smuggled weapons in the world.
Photo via Natalia Kolesnikova / Reuters View in High-Res

    "Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, the arms designer credited by the Soviet Union with creating the AK-47, the first in a series of rifles and machine guns that would indelibly associate his name with modern war and become the most abundant firearms ever made, died on Monday in Izhevsk, the capital of the Russian republic of Udmurtia, where he lived. He was 94."

    —- C.J. Chivers, war correspondent for The New York Times

    Fresh Air’s Terry Gross spoke with C.J. Chivers in 2010 just after he wrote his book, The Gun. The book traces the migration of the AK-47 across the world, detailing the consequences of its spread.

    One of the first true assault rifles, the AK-47, or Kalashnikov, was designed for soldiers who have to endure terrible conditions on the battlefield: It’s light, it can carry a lot of ammunition, and it can withstand harsh weather and poor handling. In the past few decades, the AK-47 has become one of the weapons of choice among small-arms dealers — and one of the most commonly smuggled weapons in the world.

    Photo via Natalia Kolesnikova / Reuters

  2. mikhail kalashnikov

    AK-47

    C J Chivers

    New York Times

    Fresh AIr

    The Gun

  1. A Trip to the E.R.

    Read the latest story from New York Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal in her series on healthcare, “Paying Till It Hurts.”

    Rosenthal was on Fresh Air to talk about her first two pieces where she covered joint replacement and birth costs in the U.S. compared to abroad.

    Here, she talks about the E.R. visit:

    SAN FRANCISCO — With blood oozing from deep lacerations, the two patients arrived at California Pacific Medical Center’s tidy emergency room. Deepika Singh, 26, had gashed her knee at a backyard barbecue. Orla Roche, a rambunctious toddler on vacation with her family, had tumbled from a couch, splitting open her forehead on a table.

    On a quiet Saturday in May, nurses in blue scrubs quickly ushered the two patients into treatment rooms. The wounds were cleaned, numbed and mended in under an hour. “It was great — they had good DVDs, the staff couldn’t have been nicer,” said Emer Duffy, Orla’s mother.

    Then the bills arrived. Ms. Singh’s three stitches cost $2,229.11. Orla’s forehead was sealed with a dab of skin glue for $1,696. “When I first saw the charge, I said, ‘What could possibly have cost that much?’ ” recalled Ms. Singh. “They billed for everything, every pill.”

    Read Rosenthal’s article here.

  2. fresh air

    elisabeth rosenthal

    new york times

    paying till it hurts

    healthcare

  1. Ari Shavit’s new book, “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel,” is a gale of conversation, of feeling, of foreboding, of ratiocination. It takes a wide-angle and often personal view of Israel’s past and present, and frequently reads like a love story and a thriller at once. That it ultimately becomes a book of lamentation, a moral cri de coeur and a ghost story tightens its hold on your imagination.

    Dwight Garner of the New York Times reviews Ari Shavit’s book, “My Promised Land.” Listen to Shavit’s interview with Fresh Air here.

  2. fresh air

    interview

    ari shavit

    new york times

    review

    israel

    palestine

  1. New York Times political correspondentJonathan Martin joins Fresh Air to talk about the “civil war” going on in the Republican party and how the internet has made politics more uniform across state lines:

You have to point to the power of technology and the rise of the internet. It really has made the world more connected and changed the way politics happen… The states themselves are no longer islands that are driven by their own quirky traditions and their own culture, it’s a much more homogenous political culture, people, especially the political activists who participate in the primaries, they watch the same channels, they read the same publications online, and they’re driven by similar factors if they’re in Concord, New Hampshire or if they’re in Waterloo, Iowa, and I think that to me is the biggest difference. The walls have come down. People now operate much more uniformly across the country in terms of their political actions.


Read more highlights and hear the full interview here View in High-Res

    New York Times political correspondentJonathan Martin joins Fresh Air to talk about the “civil war” going on in the Republican party and how the internet has made politics more uniform across state lines:

    You have to point to the power of technology and the rise of the internet. It really has made the world more connected and changed the way politics happen… The states themselves are no longer islands that are driven by their own quirky traditions and their own culture, it’s a much more homogenous political culture, people, especially the political activists who participate in the primaries, they watch the same channels, they read the same publications online, and they’re driven by similar factors if they’re in Concord, New Hampshire or if they’re in Waterloo, Iowa, and I think that to me is the biggest difference. The walls have come down. People now operate much more uniformly across the country in terms of their political actions.

    Read more highlights and hear the full interview here

  2. fresh air

    interview

    jonathan martin

    new york times

    politics

  1. A lot is in flux right now with Saturday Night Live.  Seth Meyers (right) is leaving to host Late Night in February and there has been a massive cast turnover (Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg have all left). Now the show is on the cusp of something new.
Cecily Strong (left) most known for her sketch “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party" was a rising star in her first season at SNL. Executive producer Lorne Michaels said right away “she exploded” in her performances. The plan is that Cecily Strong will co-anchor Weekend Update with Seth Meyers until his departure, and then will take over.
The times are a-changin.

View in High-Res

    A lot is in flux right now with Saturday Night LiveSeth Meyers (right) is leaving to host Late Night in February and there has been a massive cast turnover (Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg have all left). Now the show is on the cusp of something new.

    Cecily Strong (left) most known for her sketch “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party" was a rising star in her first season at SNL. Executive producer Lorne Michaels said right away “she exploded” in her performances. The plan is that Cecily Strong will co-anchor Weekend Update with Seth Meyers until his departure, and then will take over.

    The times are a-changin.

  2. saturday night live

    seth meyers

    cecily strong

    weekend update

    lorne michaels

    new york times