Speaking from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, President Obama said on Thursday that slowing down the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is "the right thing to do."

"Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be," Obama said, so the United States will leave 9,800 troops in the country through most of 2016. By 2017, about 5,500 troops will remain in a few bases across the country.

Obama said that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan will remain focused on two non-combat objectives: to train Afghan forces and carry out counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida.

The international aid group Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) is calling for an international investigation into what it calls a war crime in Afghanistan — Saturday's U.S. airstrikes that killed 22 people, including medical staff and patients at the organization's hospital in Kunduz.

A map shows where the Navy war training area could be located.
USDA Forest Service

The public has until the end of the week to weigh in on the Navy’s plan to create an electromagnetic warfare range.

The Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range requires permits from the National Forest Service and the State Department of Natural Resources.

Credit Wikimedia Commons

When the Americans entered World War II in 1944, reporters joined their ranks. Women, however, were not allowed.


Ross Reynolds speaks with film maker Don Sellers and Karen Matsumoto, the daughter of World War II hero Roy Matsumoto. 

Roy Matsumoto enlisted in the army to get out of a Japanese American internment camp. He went on to serve  as a translator for the Merrill’s Marauders behind enemy lines in the Burma and won a medal for outstanding bravery.

AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

March 20 marks the 11th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Marcie Sillman talks with Ned Parker, Baghdad Bureau Chief for Reuters, about the state of the country today.

AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

Steve Scher talks with Edward Chaiban, UNICEF's director of Emergency Programmes, about how the conflict in Syria has affected the local children.

UNICEF recently released a report that stated at least 10,000 children were killed in the violence, and almost 3 million children in Syria and in neighboring countries are unable to go to school on a regular basis.

Inside The Real American War In Vietnam

Feb 6, 2014
Nick Turse's book "Kill Anything That Moves."

Steve Scher talks with author Nick Turse about his book "Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam." It is about a detailed account of the widespread sanctioned killings that took place during the Vietnam War.

Homelessness, Pigeons And Life After Injury

Aug 29, 2013

No Home To Go To: Stories From The Homeless And Poor

As many as 3.5 million people in the United States experience homelessness in a given year. We'll hear a few personal stories about homelessness. In 2007, Steve Scher talked with Lisa Gray-Garcia (aka Tiny), journalist, poet and founder of POOR Magazine and the Poor News Network, Neal Lampi, who was living in a transitional housing program, and Renee Gebre, then living at Seattle Union Gospel Mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter.

Pigeons: Rats With Wings Or Symbols Of Peace?

The pigeon used to be considered a symbol of peace and fertility. The birds were also a critical component of wartime communication. Yet, now people often consider them rats with wings. Steve Scher talks with Andrew Blechman, an award-winning journalist and author of “Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird,” as well as Dave Cheney from National Bird Control.

Life After Injury: Stories From American Soldiers

Thousands of American soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last decade. Many suffered physical injury as a result. Today we hear first hand stories from members of our military. Steve Scher talked with Lt. John Arthur, Capt. Jeremy McGuffey and Sgt. Christopher Hoyt about life after injury and coming home from war.

Anthony Swofford's book "Jarhead"

The Art Of Writing About War

War is hard to describe. In his memoir, "Jarhead," Gulf War Marine Anthony Swofford writes, "This is not funny, the possibility of death, but like many combatants before us we laugh to obscure the tragedy of our cheap, squandered lives." Swofford and writers Dave Danelo and Michael Yon joined us in 2008 to discuss the challenges of war and the challenges of writing about it.

Black In Seattle: What It Was Like In 2002

Back in 2002, Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large asked his readers to share thoughts on what it’s like to be black in Seattle. In 2002, living patterns were shifting rapidly, and a few shootings put race on the public’s mind. Steve Scher talked with Large and listeners about what it was like to be black in Seattle.

Director Maggie Greenwald On Making “The Ballad of Little Jo”

Maggie Greenwald is an actress, director and screenwriter. She is perhaps best known for writing and directing “The Ballad of Little Jo,” a film based on the true story of a woman attempting to escape the stigma of having a child out of wedlock by living as a man. Marcie Sillman talked with Greenwald in 1993 about making “The Ballad of Little Jo.”

Flickr Photo/NOAA's National Ocean Service

War Stories

War is often remembered through history textbooks. Shortly before Veteran’s Day 2004, Weekday took a look at war through the eyes of soldiers and their families. Steve Scher talked with two Medal of Honor recipients: retired Air Force Col. Joe M. Jackson and retired Army Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady.

Aggregation: Swarming, Flocking And Schooling

Many of us have experienced "the wave" at a baseball game, and most of us have marveled at fish swimming in schools or starlings whirling around in the evening sky. In 2009, Steve Scher talked with Julia Parish, associate director of the school of aquatic and fishery sciences at the University of Washington, about why animals move together.

David Sedaris On Smoking

In this past month, Washington state cut funding for the smoking cessation hotline. Humorist David Sedaris has a different approach to quit smoking. Instead of calling the hotline, Sedaris moved to Japan. His story "The Smoking Section" is just one of 17 essays in his book “When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Steve Scher talked with David Sedaris back in 2008 about smoking and other tales.

Flickr Photo/Mark Atwood


Olympia And The Transportation Package
When state lawmakers adjourned in June, they left a $10 billion transportation package on the table. Now, senate leaders have announced they’ll hold hearings in the fall on the state’s transportation priorities and how to pay for them. Everett Herald reporter and columnist Jerry Cornfield joins us with details.

Letters Written In Wartime
Wartime letters capture a uniquely vivid history not found in text books. They place us in the author’s shoes. Take this quote from a letter written in 1941: “A man just brought us our gas masks. I don’t know why I’m writing this, because if we’re hit with a bomb they won’t find enough of me — let alone this letter. I imagine it’s to show myself that I can be calm under fire.”  We experience history by reading the letters of those who lived it.

Greendays Gardening Panel
Our gardening panel includes a flower expert, native plant expert and vegetable gardening expert.  They’re on hand to answer your gardening questions. 

D-Day soldiers landing on Omaha Beach. A naked Vietnamese girl running from napalm. A Spanish loyalist, collapsing to the ground in death. These images of war, and some 300 others, are on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in an exhibition called WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath. Pictures from the mid-19th century to today, taken by commercial photographers, military photographers, amateurs and artists capture 165 years of conflict.

Ten years ago today President George W. Bush announced the war on Iraq had begun. On that day Ross Reynolds asked listeners if they were in the military or part of a military family, and what they thought about the then-fresh announcement of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today on The Conversation we play for you our listener reactions to the announcement of the war in Iraq. 

Remembering The Iraq War

Mar 19, 2013
Soldier memorial
Flickr Photo/James McCauley

March 19, 2013 marks 10 years since the beginning of the war in Iraq. A total of 3,489 Americans died in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Nearly another 32,000 were wounded in action. The numbers obscure the thousands of individual stories from the War in Iraq. We hear stories of those who fought, worked and died in the war.