PLEDGE NOW
Pulling Back in Iraq: Reflections

President Obama lays out plans to withdraw combat units from Iraq at month’s end. We get a boots-on-the-ground perspective on the sweep of the war.

In this June 29, 2010 photo, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Richard "Ross" Coffman, left, talks to a village sheik in al-Bailona, Ninevah province. (AP)

When President Obama took office, there were 144,000 troops in Iraq. By the end of August, there will be 50,000 left.

Yesterday, the President said combat missions are ending. As the U.S. pulls back – and eventually out – of Iraq, we’re reflecting on the meaning of that toil, sacrifice, service and bloodshed. What it means for regular Iraqis, and for the armed forces who gave much, and lost comrades.

Today, we hear two in-depth war accounts, from a soldier-author and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Guests:

From Baghdad, we’re joined by Anthony Shadid, Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times. His latest book is “Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War.”  

David Finkel, Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer for the Washington Post. His book “The Good Soldiers,” chronicling a battalion that was part of the U.S. “surge” in Iraq, is now out in paperback. You can read an excerpt. You can watch some video, narrated by him, about his time in Iraq.

Matt Gallagher, former Army captain who served in Iraq from 2007 to 2009. His memoir of his days in Iraq is “Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War.” You can read an excerpt.

More:

It’s worth listening back to our show this year on “The Hurt Locker,” where we spoke with real-life bomb squad members, and our segment with NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling on troops coping with brain injuries.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 8, 2016
Sign stands outside property for rent Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in south Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

If it feels like rents are sky-high, you’re right. Some now paying more than half their income on rent. Some say crisis. We’ll dig in.

Feb 8, 2016
Legendary film critic  Roger Ebert in an archival image from his early days at the Chicago Sun-Times. (Flickr / WikiCommons)

The critic speaks. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott on how to think about art, pleasure, beauty and truth.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

 
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 5, 2016
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Spread the word — we FINALLY have both a new website (in beta) and a new newsletter. Sign up, visit and see what’s happening in the On Point digital universe.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #3: Jeb Bush — Cry for Me, America!
Thursday, Feb 4, 2016

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) asked a New Hampshire audience to clap for him — and our own Jack Beatty was there to hear it.

More »
Comment