The private security guys (from a company called Custer Battles) who guard Baghdad International Airport usually get along fine with the U.S. military personnel stationed there—except when Nancy happened to be taping, and a huge fight broke out.
A former military man, Hank was hired by Custer Battles to clean up one of its other Iraq operations, guarding businessmen. He has a very clear idea of who he wants working for him: "flat-bellied, steely-eyed professionals." Instead, he's trying to tighten up a outfit whose workers once engaged in an extended firefight at a Baghdad hotel—against each other.
The Green Zone is where the Coalition Provisional Authority has set up its headquarters, and the former seat of Saddam Hussein's government. Nancy ends up at a hidden restaurant by a helipad, with workers for Fluor Corporation, who have just arrived in Iraq to fix power plants.
On their way out to a power plant, Nancy and Lee, a supervisor for Fluor in Iraq, get shot at by men in a BMW. When they finally get to the plant, Nancy learns why it's been so difficult to get power plants running again in the country.
Karen Hahn, who works for Custer Battles at the airport, started out there screening women passengers—and learned a lot from their handbags. Unlike most people Nancy met in Iraq, Karen is not a former military person, she doesn't work with guns or big machines, and she's never been happier in her life.
Hundred of Iraqi police officers have been killed since the United States invaded Iraq. One Boston cop, Jerry Burke, is trying to keep them on the job, and train them in Western police practices.
Nancy finally gets Hank, the Custer Battles employee, to answer the question of whether he ever has any reservations about his mission—or the country's mission—in Iraq. (3 minutes)John Kimbrough composed original music for this week's show.
Two women in a small town find themselves on opposite sides of a protest. One is for the war in Iraq, one is against it, but despite this, they cross enemy lines and become friends.
Adam Davidson reports from Baghdad on the charismatic, ambitious young Americans who want to bring freedom and hope to Iraq, if only the Iraqis would listen to them. There is a ominous information gap between the U.S. officials running the country and the Iraqi people being governed.
Host Ira Glass talks to Anthony Swofford, a former marine sniper and author of the Gulf War memoir Jarhead. He explains what he's seeing when he watches this new war with Iraq on television.
Issam Shukri is an Iraqi man living in Canada. He lived in Baghdad when it was bombed during the first gulf war.
Tice Ridley is a first lieutenant in the Army. He's been sending regular emails from Kuwait City, where he's stationed, about what it's like to wait for the war to begin, and what it's like to actually fight it.
Host Ira Glass talks with a Lance Corporal from the Marines' Eighth Communication Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, about what his superiors told him about Iraq at his pre-deployment briefing to go overseas.
Anthony Swofford reads an excerpt from his memoir, Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles, about his experience fighting in the first Gulf War in 1991, as a Marine sniper.
Host Ira Glass tells the story of a report by the U.S. intelligence community back in October 2002 that declared that the likelihood of Saddam Hussein using weapons of massive destruction was very low for the "foreseeable future"...unless the U.S. were to launch a military attack on Iraq. In other words, the war to stop him from using weapons of mass destruction would probably cause the thing it was designed to prevent.
Ira speaks with Gordon Jondroe of the newly-created Department of Homeland Security, trying to get answers to Senator Graham's questions. It doesn't go so well.
For an Iraqi perspective on the war, we hear from Iraqis who've just crossed over the border into Jordan. It's the only open border with Iraq and 150,000 Iraqis live in Amman.
It's possible that the most compelling arguments against the war with Iraq, and the most compelling arguments for the war with Iraq, are arguments you've never heard. Ira talks with journalist Nicholas Lemann from The New Yorker magazine about two ways of seeing the war: The so-called Hawks' view, and the so-called Realists' view.
Ira interviews three of the people involved in making the documentary How's Your News?, about a team of developmentally disabled people who travel across the country doing man-on-the-street interviews. He talks to two of the developmentally disabled reporters, Susan Harrington and Joe Simon, and to the film's non-disabled director, Arthur Bradford.
During the Persian Gulf War, John Brasfield was an army scout. He went on dangerous missions, in which he was exposed to enemy fire with little protection.
We hear the story of the Persian Gulf war, as told by Issam Shukri, a family man from Bagdad who was drafted into Saddam's army against his will. He had to explain to his three-year-old son why those usually civilized Americans were bombing their city night after night.