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tv   Q A  CSPAN  December 8, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am EST

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years ago dustry 43 and funded by the local cable and satellite provider. now you can watch it in hd. > david finkel, at what point did you decide to call this book, "thank you for your service"? the game me late in after i turn in the manuscript and we were searching around for title. i had another one in mind which was the suicide room. mentioned that to the publisher, she said that is just terrific title. are you trying to put us out of business?
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she said, i would read that book. she said that's not the right this book. we sat and batted it around. there's something about this phrase. worried because it would come across as judgmental in almost bitterly ironic. that wasn't the intention. meaning ch simpler which comes down to -- and this is what i got comfortable with the book f you read and you get to know the people inside the book and hear their stories, you'll have a better -- if you save this ubiquitous phrase, thank you for your service. clearer idea of who you're thanking and what for. e thanking them >> that seemed to be a good title at some point. >> how many of the people you're book were in the first book about iraq, the good soldiers. the others amed, were kind of circling around the edges and not named. these are all people i have gotten to know during the
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reporting of the first book, baghdad, during the surge. infantry army battalion if i could fill it in quickly. these guys went to the part of the world called the surge. months inthere for 15 a lousy neighborhood in east baghdad. i was with them to write about the first book. not about me, but to live with and write about them. got to know them all. with them when bad things happened. stayed in touch, they became the book. people of the new >> where was their base? >> ft. riley, kansas. >> think of the moment. i know it seems like history at this point. history.t is but the war had been through point. versions at that and, you know, the common perception was the thing was all but lost. and it was edging up to what i described as the tragic moment
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war.e and into that moment went this battalion, 800 guys. most deploying for the first time. and full of a young m man's invincibility. off they went. that i had a tough time. average age?he >> 19, 20? like i said, most hasn't been out of the country before, much deployed into a war before. were -- they were -- they remarkable because if they weren't filled with the perfect of what we might describe as patriotism, they certainly had a sense of large mission in mind. going to win the thing. and, you know, what happened is happens in war. the war is bigger than anything. came home time they and they had lost guys and they injuries and their psychological wounds were
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beginning to cement in to what turned into now, of course they were changed. now they get to deal with it for a long, long time. how do you select the battalion that you -- was it a country or a battalion? >> it was a battalion. now i know the difference when i started this thing. a military family. i didn't know a brigade from a battalion or a company. were on the chart. these were the guys going into it. "the washington post" had been a roer and editor for 23 years report a story on this next group going to the next thing. the hile i was reporting post story, the battalion commander said, you know, you to visit us in some point in our deployment and see hat we're doing and maybe, who knows, do another story at the see what happened to out of that came the idea of taking a leave from the post, go guys and write a book about -- not the iraq war, but there had been so many books
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that point.r at not a policy book. but use the war, really, to intimate story about being such a -- in such a moment, what happens to a young man? that's what i did. >> you have a photo that's used on the cover of this book. seen it before. where did it come from? >> damon winters' photo from the new york times. title e had selected a and decided to go with this, my wife recalled this image. s soon as she showed it to me on the computer, just knocked me out. publisher, the creighton and she was fascinated. i look at this photo all the time. it in terms ook at of how much the same these guys look. you look closer and see how they sometimes i look at it and think of where i was sitting on -- on hat kind of plane when i was leaving the war after my -- my time on the ground with them.
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at that i look photograph and it just seems to image, give me for the in rows of headstones arlington. >> how long do they sit in that position? on?hey have their backpacks >> most of their gear is bundled the back on these pallets. you're full kit. body armor. all of your eye probe, you're supposed to wear in the war you wear on the plane as you exit it for the final time. what do you see? see six years-- i of what this story has felt like. pursuing this thing since 2007. and i've gotten to know these gotten to know those planes and positions and, again,
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the transition from invincibility to -- to a in -out weariness recognition of so this is how it turned out. >> what's the difference between was ood soldier which published in 2009 and this new book, "thank you for your service". the new book is volume two. these guys came home. the good soldiers came out. that was it. i had done my job as a journalist. i was proud of the book. i got it i got -- right. here -- i paid attention to their corner, not just the big policy stuff, but their corner of the world. i told their story well. i thought i was done. in touch egan getting with me by e-mail, by phone call and saying things aren't going so hot. feeling quite right. not sleeping well. some guys talked of anxiousness, epression, a couple of suicide attempts. and i had read widely enough
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war. the effects of and some of this is common sense that i thought i had done half let's get busy and do the second half, which is the new book. guys at war. is the second one is they come home families and trying to adjust to what life is after the war. read it to know why i am asking this question. but you quote specifically throughout this entire book what are saying, soldiers, wives, all that stuff. were you present for all of quotes? >> well, yes. almost all. journalism i do is guess it's emerging journalism. it doesn't depend so much on an interview after the fact to find out what happened. depends on being present and being present enough so that the just into the type of reporting when you're just there. questions.have to ask you don't want to ask quells. you just want to see what's
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you. ning in front of >> they have to say in advance or sign anything that anything you could use? >> at this point in the evolution of journalism, we used the benefit of the doubt when i started this kind of thing. but not so much anymore. down with people. i explain what i want to do, style of reporting is. i might give them a couple of amples of previous works so they can make some kind of informed decision about whether they want to be involved. they say yes, off we go. >> video from "the washington voiced bsite that you over. was this back in 2007 or 2008? have been when these guys, the 216 infantry attalion, this is one of the convoys. this is what they did. this is what the war was. convoys going around this vicious neighborhood get to know the
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populous. idea of the in counterinsurgency strategy. ut basically they were driving around waiting to get blown up. at night, they would search for guys that were blowing them up. >> what does two dash 16 mean? it's the designation for this infantry battalion. hey have numbers and identifiers. it's just what this one is called. t's all part of the first infantry division. then you go down the hill from there with more and more numbers the unit. identify >> here's the video. >> okay. tourniquets, bandages, 240 rounds of ammunition and carry an all of them assault rifle, some carry good luck charms. some sit in one foot in front of the other so if a roadside bomb went off, they might lose one two.instead of sometimes they joke about what the last words would be. would get in, they the humvees and off they would go.
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this day, it was from one base eastern baghdad to another. a long road. they drove at 10 miles per hour, increase chances of finding a bomb before it went off. finally, almost there, the first turn right off of the main road. you can see it in the distance right now. and then -- >> this might be a nonquestion, but why did we do that? humvees wouldhese be blown up? >> well, well they were trying to et from here to there carry out their corner of the war, right? and along the way, in this part baghdad -- forgive me, i aven't seen that video in a little while. it's in that part of baghdad, shiite area a little south the weapon was an explosive device
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called an efp. be simple, it's known as a shape charge. explosives d with and attached to one end, typically was some kind of disks, perhaps the size of a dinner plate. end wasng out the other a wire. oing to some guy in the shadow waiting to hit the trigger when a convoy of soldiers reached a certain aiming point. if there was a broken light pole in the distance. once the convoy hit that, boom, goes. it and what happens with these things is the copper plate is forward at such a high becomes semimolten. it's can see it, described as tadpole shaped. it burns through whatever it hits. if it's aimed well, and it is often, it would burn through the armored door of an expensive humvee we were giving
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soldiers as at that point. it would burn inside and cause complete chaos. >> did you shoot that? a helmet video. the soldiers recorded a lot of things. lot of information about this war. a lot of documentation that comes from individual diaries, lot of photographs, from helmet cams, the whole deal. and >> would you ride -- is that a humvee or an mrap? >> they came later. those guys were waiting for him. holese those had v-shaped that might deflect these things a little better and did. ut they were awfully slow in coming and they didn't reach these guys until the very end of their deployment. in hey were going around humvees. these were, what, 12,000 pound things? a lot of money. >> would you ride in a convoy like that? sure, sure. i mean, if i'm going to be honest about it, at first, you these -- i was with them on the ground for about eight months.
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maybe a month, six weeks a it a time. and at first, i was going out all the time. by the end, i -- you know, forgive me, but i had become by the enough experience, by -- by the explosions and everything else on that i only went out when i knew there was a good chance of seeing something new. the perfect way to do journalism. you want to just always go out, available for the serendipity of what a day might bring. enough days ng out and, yeah, i got a little reluctant toward the end. the middle of to your book. and one of the soldiers that you about fairly prominently, we'll show a photo on the screen, adam schuman. why did you focus on him? and where is he today? >> okay. schuman, you're going to think i'm not capable of a short answer. adam do need to explain
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schuman. one day while i was doing the reporting for the first book. here was a relatively quiet time and i was asking around, who do you all regard as a great soldier? i need to meet? and somebody mentioned this guy, schuman. i hasn't heard of him, i hasn't met him. a few days passed and i went -- i went in search of him. walked into a room and it's -- this photograph is later. another photograph in the book of what i saw when i walked into his room. great soldier was man. gaunt, haunted-looking and i introduced myself. and he said, i guess i know why here. i said i want to write about you. soldier, u're a great he laughed and he said he feels leaving the war that day, he was done. and what had happened was -- this guy -- this guy was on the third deployment. little older so guys looked up to him.
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he was a leader. great soldier. three deployments. by his count, he had been in 1,000 days.t i'm in the middle of reading this rick atkinson book now world war ii. and that went through a passage where -- where even in that -- that great war where there was a sense of morality to it the mission. in that case, if guys had been in combat for 200 days, they them off of the front lines for a while. so here's a guy, 1,000 days, a things had happened. and he cracked open. he couldn't do it. see him ere did you when you first talked to him. >> in his room waiting to go to the helicopter to leave the room. stayed with him. and we talked for a while. helicopter and the guy was not thinking of all the -- how well he had done, performing someone else's policy. done well. >> who was he?
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>> he was just cloaked in shame he went to the hell copter? >> what was his ranked? >> sergeant. a staff sergeant. there he went. you know, out of the war on a helicopter with a big red cross the side. he was embarrassed about it. he came home as i said with a guilt that he and ad to leave the war and that define once of his life since. it's not logical, brian. done well. but in the conversation he feels having in his head about himself reason -- for whatever ashamed and came home and is busy trying to recover. did you go back to him for this book. >> after the first book came him.i kept in touch with he said something one day -- i'm going to get the quote a little wrong. but it was something like, i was
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normal guy and i got sent to iraq where i became crazy so they sent me back to america to now it's mal and america that's driving me crazy. and i didn't know what that the sound of iked it and i was curious about it. nd then as i got more calls from more people who were having a difficult time, he became the centerpiece of the new book. you might jump in, i'll read some of it back to you, fill in blanks, page 86. over -- these are your words, me time, the war came to less and less until it meant nothing at all. other n meanwhile, the soldiers meant more and more until they came to me -- until they came to mean everything. right. >> what's the point? >> the point is and anyone who's tell you the ll same thing -- over time, war oesn't become about policy or mission or really winning or losing. it's about the guy next to you. taking care of the guy next to you.
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and i have to tell you, the between soldiers is if you ever need a definition of tenderness, there it is. these guys are taking care of each other. is it golumbe? >> yes. >> who is he? one of schuman's soldiers. and after a day in which another by one of these bombs i described and died, schuman was supposed to be along on that mission. but for various reasons, he was base.back at the so he didn't go. schuman's the guy i described guys always found the bombs. he wasn't there that day. bomb went off. a guy named james goccer died. said to schuman, let me the hrase to keep out profanity. this wouldn't happen if you were
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there. as a compliment. schuman in this degrading transition. degrading l transition heard it one more guilty, ithould feel was an indictment. the guy would have been alive if there. been it wasn't a compliment. >> his name was christopher gullanby. and in that soldier's way, just adam m loved doster, schuman, doster was killed, he had loved him. in soldier in combat was constantly.ove and then doster was dead. do? what did adam he flew away alone, came home alone, and even with -- how do pronounce his wife's name? >> saskia. zoey and zach are his children. they have felt alone every
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since. adam's wife who as adam was walking to the helicopter that day to come and he called d her and said he was on his way nd at one point in the conversation, she said, i'm a little afraid of what you might do to me. assured her he wouldn't do anything and he hung up. and he said, i don't know what's going to happen. do.n't know what i'm going that's just one more mystery. military wife, i think, at the end of a thisyment, well, actually, wasn't the end. he was coming home ill, she had set of expectations. she was going to come home, he safe, they would heal together. everything would be as it was. hat's how it started out for her. but over time as the centerpiece f this family became this psychological wound, she -- very went from on, she pure compassion to irritation to
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anger to fury that they couldn't get better. so this is one example of a family trying to heal. >> where do they live now? end of the book. so much of the book takes place n kansas, they've moved to north dakota. the marriage didn't survive. the end of the book, it's a rather, i think, a lovely kind hopeful moment as adam experiences his second omecoming from war, this time coming home from a treatment program. on and know, life went they realized there was just too raise children to raise them.nt they're separated -- divorced but live near each other. us the moment l when she thought he feels going to commit suicide? >> there were several, and you know, you asked earlier, was i
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present for everything? i was not present for this scene nd how could i really be present? i had been in kansas and i came back to washington to do some reporting here. started to get texts from the fan ying it's hit now. what had happened -- in this so r war, things escalate quickly. just a moment that can be so loving can turn and flip and be out of control. one of the days that it adam packing to leave and zaskia going through his and seeing a handgun and saying what's the deal? saying i'm going to take this to sell it. to need some money. on top of all of the other pressures, they have no money. and she just held the gun and he went in the room and came out really tried and to jam it at her.
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goate would -- and get her so much that she would pull the trigger and kill him. as i described in the book, what zaskia described it after, she wanted to -- she wanted it over. she wanted to not only pull the trigger once, shep wanted to pull it twice. had come to.t instead she steps out on the screams something like just, just, be a man! and she goes on the porch and in and a few minutes later, he's nowhere in sight. searches all through the house. she goes down, stares into the asement of the horrible -- the worst room in the house, the furnace room where adam work.imes would do some and there he was there in wa his chin.ainst it went on for a while until she to lly -- finally got him put the gun away. one more day in their lives,
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right? i know i'm supposed to be a completely distanced from this. but i know these people. care about them. i feel -- if you don't mind, the expression -- i feel privileged having written about them and glad, obviously, that he's still alive. > a lot of stories about adam and zaskia. were you present, were you in the car with them? >> yeah, yeah. that's one scene i wasn't there. i had to do back reporting. i was rything else present for. >> they let you write it down. did you record it or write it down? to remind people what the relationship is here that -- yes, i want to see everything nd hear everything and be present. but it's for a book. i'm not their private confessor. and so, there's always a notebook or digital recording or
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visual representation of what the relationship is. but the credibility, brian, came from the first book. they had read it, they knew what i did. i knew these folks. nd i said i wanted to do this, i was yards ahead. it wasn't an act of introducing myself. credibility was established because of the first book. they -- they want people to know what's going on. > i ask you to see the relevance of a bliek this. the first book -- do you know how many copies i sold in. think maybe 150. it did pretty well. it's still selling. it's not been retired. an active book. >> was that what you expected. >> i expected the book to disappear. i expected it to sell five copies. nd those would be my five copies, right? hese are not the most popular
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wars. but there's something about the first book, it found its place, resonate. it was a word of mouth thing and it spreads and sells well. head of the the army, now the head of the administration. >> right. right. >> a speech of some of the things they're talking about. reaction to it. >> of more than 30,000 suicide year, fullyntry each 023% of them are acts by veterans. on average, 18 veterans commit suicide each day. of those veterans are under care at v.a. veterans who are in treatment every month and then not having the shot at the 13 who for some reason haven't come under our care we have a lot of work to do. >> what do you think -- what
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to of a grade do you give veterans' administrations for dealing with suicide? you'll hate this answer -- these are -- these are some of is strengths of these books that they're free of my opinion. i don't want to -- i don't want to mess that up now by giving a grade or an opinion. reflect the n experiences of what i saw. and then maybe that will help decision. their own >> let me ask you maybe a different way, how much have you military and the eterans' administration are worried about suicide. of the people -- readers the newend time with in book is pete corelli. he had a four stars in the army, helped to run the iraq war, came chief of oted to vice staff of the army. part of it was mental health
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wounds and more importantly, we've read this, the number of suicide in active guard reserves is rising. they're authentically concerned. what's going on? what can we to? so corelli had an idea of meeting. a monthly >> he feels number two in the army? >> he was number two. e came out for the monthly meeting. 20 guys around the conference table. to various nkups posts around the world. and for two hours, they would through suicide after suicide. each suicide got five minutes, what happened, what lessons have we learned. and if anybody knows corelli, smart guy and he is
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and obsessive. he wanted nothing less than changing the culture of the army. for suicide, but for people to say i've got a psychological wound and get past a thing.a of such he didn't do this. no one, arguably, changes the culture of the army. but he went at it hard for three years. and he didn't shy away from these meetings. and these were pretty brutal affairs. zanseki said they were dying at the rate of 18 a day. 2010, that was. the number has gone up? editedof the reporters i at "the washington post" looked at that number and some other eople -- he didn't determine this. he found people within the va system who were studying it hard. o now the number works out to about 22 a day. day?2 a >> not just iraq and afghanistan -- these are anybody ho served, who's in the va system. and so, of course, you look at the numbers, a lot of these are
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guys.m and the hard part seems to be that, yes, they've committed suicide, but they've had years, decades of other life experiences since serving. so you can say, yes, it was a suicide. yes, it was a guy who served. but i don't think it's a clean there's no way to have a clean line to say he was a war y related to experience. mr. chairman, you have him meeting with one of his o-called best friends, steven in the middle of all of this. they had lunch with the wives. i'm sureted to read -- you'll remember this, where they met again a few years later when were as home and both trying to recover in the ft. riley wtu. what's that? warrior transition units, or warrior a wtb
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transition battalion as the psychological injuries, as the something es there's going on here. they created the special units, attention, to try in get back to guy his unit or make the transition life. civilian that's the intent of these. >> you write -- they decided to to each their wives other. and at first at dinner, things were rolling along just fine, pitched il stephen forward and began trembling, horrified.hed worse, stephen's wife, christina, who was in the middle kept on with tory it until she saw the look on saskia's face -- he'll get up, said, with the calmness of someone who had seen this before. he's fine. >> right. right. he got up. were you there for that one? >> i was not there. where s another instance this came out of a conversation,
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a reporter conversation with saskia. and, yeah, he -- stephen had a well.deployment as and he has some injuries to deal with. that is something that happened day. and he got up and they continued. and -- you know, these are hard ms. >> did you go on to talk about what seemed to be an interesting money, the is -- the $11,000? >> well -- >> yeah, well, well -- story. that >> well, it's more of a way to get across how hurt and jilted i think adam and saskia were shebang, y the whole the whole system, that they were really in the midst of everything, they were just by, trying to find money. and stephen called up one day reason they some had just found a bunch of money in the checking account that ame from the government, $10,000, $11,000. it's just one more thing that saskia feel lousy about what their life had come
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to. so if you read it in the book, little section where they good o be angry at the luck their friends had gotten, it was a way of saying how hurt hey were becoming by nothing working out for them. and they -- and, of course, like any of us, they wanted things to out. >> how did they make friends under these circumstances? the time you wrote -- they were living near ft. riley? >> right. right. book, re's a line in the something like if the truth of turns out to be your final you, the uy next to truth in the after war is you're pretty much on your own. came back and he came back and had this family, he -- isolated.ore and more in this shameful conversation he's been having with himself. there's a thing i described in the book. michael hemry.ed >> was going to get to that.
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chapter. in the same >> so emery was the guy early in his deployment was shot in his head. top, and the sniper got a clean shot to his head. >> in iraq? >> in iraq. they went down on a roof top. they needed to get him down three flights of stairs. adam schuman put emery on his back and huffed and puffed his the stairway. don't want to get too graphic here is what happened is much of the blood coming out of emery's wound kind of drained adam's mouth and on the day i met him six months later when he feels -- when he you know, the taste of this blood was still something that was quite fresh. read what you wrote just quickly. he remembered the taste of blood, the smell of blood, the blood, and the wet of the blood as it spilled down his chin and on to his uniform through his uniform and on to his skin.
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>> yeah, so that's what he remembered. emery was pened was medevaced out and should be but somehow is alive. >> how old was he? >> he's a little older. to remember, brian. young 30s at that point? where was this? and -- in -- sergeant schuman's there in iraq? >> well, again, this was schuman's third tour, okay? beginning of the third tour. they were out on a mission. 2007.s april of and guys like -- i wasn't on that roof top, i was a block happened. his >> did you talk to him after that? > schuman, no, i didn't meet him until he feels leaving six months later. i was walking around -- going getting the rs radio reports of all of the shootings and the injuries that particular mission. emery is, i guess, a version of
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talking army keeps about as resilience. he's alive, he walks, he talks. missing a good chunk of his brain. specially the part that regulates emotions. and he's had a tough go of i9. georgia he's a great guy. he's -- he's pretty much on his own. and -- >> entirely? was he married? well, yeah. he was taken care of by a woman bethesda. she kept saying i love you, i you. he was barely walking and talking. she stuck with him. and couldn't ted control his anger, it reached a point where he had his wife and to a different state because he had gone a little berserk one day and he couldn't help himself. >> lived in a double wide
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trailer. >> they went away to another state. and his kid wouldn't -- as i wouldn't in the book, a man such as th himself. that's the best he could do. ne day he got in touch with schuman by facebook and they found each other and said i wanted to come visit. schuman hasn't seen him since the day he was on his back. nd so adam is going through what he's going through here in kansas. emery is over here in georgia. for a y get together weekend and honest to god, it describe enderness i between soldiers, here it is, here it is right in front. see this? >> yes. >> you were there? >> yeah, yeah, yes. it was the most heart breaking, imaginable. kend >> explain that. a hotel mery stayed in or motel.
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>> schuman who was incapable of to his family in any kind of tender way would go knock on the door, and realize emery needed help on, getting ace dressed. just the way they behaved toward each other. see.s quite something to >> but it was -- sergeant's wife watched and what was her reaction. >> capable of this and capable of me. it's just -- it's a three dimensional -- it's so many going on in moves any interaction. a know what it was like in way? there was a point reporting the realize all at you of the levels of mistrust and interpretation going on. this stance, here goes convoy of soldiers out to a neighborhood. they see a kid waving. you're supposed to do. make friends. the kid see? they're seeing here come the
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americans. this e americans are in armored -- up armor humvee behind thick window. no skin showing because hey're so protected from bomb blasts and the waving hand is not even a hand, it's a glove. kid sees.t the maybe what the soldier sees is a waving kid. he's he's waving or maybe signaling to somebody, hit the trigger now. that's the war. to figure out what's going on. what's the motivation for any action. is in the after war, when to have her ger family healed and moved by what's going on between her soldier is other feeling hurt and jealous by what's going on between her husband and this soldier. this is not as -- it's not a long book. it's 256 pages. >> right. one was how long? >> a little longer, maybe 280 pages? >> and who decided that you're to keep it short?
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relatively short. >> i did. though everything i had say and then thought, i'm done. > how did you go about the writing of this? when did you write this new book? >> reported this new book on and years.r a couple of last year, i guess, i sat down notes and it's a to do, take a pile of chronology and engage and shape it. telling.story it's not just documentation, i'm telling a story about these people. to engage with the material day and shape it to the narrative. to figure out the beginning, out the outline all of the things that happen in the middle, that took year. a and it was a pretty good thing to do. >> what's your technique of writing. where do you write? the beginning, first sentence.
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and when i'm satisfied with it, one.write the next it's slow -- i don't know another way to do it. i just write and rewrite my way the end. when i write the last sentence, i'm pretty much done. >> your first sentence is in the prologue, you could see it in his nervous eyes. ow long does it take you to decide to write that sentence? >> well, you know, that's a lift from the first book. from the ue comes first book, "the good soldier," to establish the character of he left the war and saw that the helicopter he was leaving on is a red cross defeating and how that was to him. just a very short prologue that introduces -- this is an after war book. this is a guy who left with some sense of shame. page and then the new book is under way. and the first line of the new years later, adam drops the baby. and we go forward from there. let's go to the end, then. end.on't give away the
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i want some people to buy this book. then.won't, that is a fair trade. let's go back -- beginning them the and the end -- then thanks for coming by. > there's a lot of copy in there. >> i'm sorry. to the go back dedication page. for phyllis beakman who taught me of damage and recovery. is she? >> my mom. know, the first book was a tough book because it was physically scary. second book got into intimate painful psychological territory. while i wasn't really prepared in some ways to know what war was like in the first book, i did know what mental damage is from growing up in a family where my mom battled this for a while.
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so i went into this book with ome understanding of what the families were going through when uicide was an everyday presence. >> is mom still alive? >> no. the first alive for book. >> what was her reaction. >> she was glad i was safe and she feels glad that my allowed me to finally write something that instead of dismissing, i was proud of. the w close were you in country did you come close to did get ired on or fired on? >> everybody was there. on.rybody got fired it happened. i want to be careful, because if i re's a soldier watching, don't want any to think that i'm aligning myself at all with what soldiers are going through. and they had to carry weapons,
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hey didn't get to leave when ever they wanted to take breaks, things like that. nonetheless, they were on the round for 14 months and i was there for a little more than eight months. things happened, i was there. in gs happened that i was the midst of as well. but the good thing about that showed up, of course soldiers didn't want a reporter in their midst. a they didn't know what reporter was. they thought i had an agenda. liberal press. every reporter thinks a soldier a war criminal, every soldier is a s a baby killer, etc., etc. i didn't call them together and by saying, herwise, staying, siting but then by staying and being in the midst of some bad things and the clearing and the soldiers see me at the edge taking
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not becoming a problem for them, then that's where the credibility came from book and for the new book. >> you dedicate this to helen saying okay? yes, my wife, when i asked her to marry me, she said okay. did she know what she feels going to get? >> does anyone? what did she think of you going to harm's way. >> she's okay with it. i make a lame joke. i'll make this lame joke that marriage, one of day i said do i have a war to go to or something like that. -- of course she feels worried. but do we have a marriage where we allow each other the things to do? and she knew i wanted to do this. so i did. >> let's go back to the writing part of this? okay. >> where do you write a book
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about this? room of my house, good view of the back lawn, nice colors, good windows. i spent my time. it's pretty fun. first of all, it was helpful to stuff. with the but also, i wasn't in the office. i would wake up, go downstairs, write a sentence. liked the sentence, i would walk into the kitchen, i'd grab a cookie. come back, write a sentence. grab a cookie. this is not the worst year of my life. you write it quickly? >> no. i mean, do you get into where things are coming at you? cookie u really eat a between every sentence. >> well, i ate a lot of cookies. thing. a systematic i kind of been taught by people who do this. i looked up to them. think are better at this than me. most seem to have an end point in mind and work backwards and make calculations. i knew if the book was due in so many months, i had a tight -- i
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outline.ry good i knew what my chapters were going to be and the points i wanted to hit in the chapter. math, three weeks per chapter. busy.o get and i think having deadlines allows me to live with some sentences that otherwise i would rest of my for the life. i can -- i can pick up the first book and randomly open to any point to the sentence and i do this sometimes and i think what was i thinking on that one? nonetheless, the cumulative effect was i got this story right. the reasons i know that is because of the reaction has ldiers since that book come out. writing e-mails saying a version of -- i was in moore, came home, everyone wants to know what it's like. don't want to talk about it. can't talk about it.
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i read your book. the book and ple say read this thing. they'll know what it was like it.why i can't talk about it's a good endorsement that the i told is not some naive journalist story. listening in this and and gaining credibility and gaining their trust, i wrote a book that pretty much mirrors their experience. that was the intent to describe -- these are wars.icant and there had been policy books. there had memoirs, by not been this journalistic far nt of the ground level end of policy if that makes sense. and that's what the first book was. can add to the archive this is what's going on of ently with people, some the people, who have been in those wars. assume something by asking this question. when were you the most aspect of with some the military or the u.s.
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government getting in your way, being helpful? >> no, i got pretty lucky. this -- the forward operating base where these guys that uch a lousy place there were no public affairs officers. so it was pretty much on my own. explain the difference between having a public affairs officer there or not. time, i should be careful. the p.a.o. for these guys, a guy.t he was also in another place. so he wasn't present. he wasn't, how's it going, what are you up to? how can i help? i was pretty much on my own. the battalion commander said you a over, i'll give full run. he was good to his word. that was a huge break. i got to decide every day what i to do, what i wanted to see. the only barriers to reporting up i put i didn't put them up. it was full guns ahead. > what's the -- you do this in the book, what's the women --
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the wife, the girlfriend side of this story that people miss? there aren't many women in the first book because battalion.fantry nfantry, for now, is an all enter price. to i made the decision follow it to the new book, i'm not talking about women who have with and are dealing these things. that's not this book. that's another book. book are in this widows, wives, girlfriends. they're the people who were back here. war has shifted and you know you can just forgive the corniness, but it's like the front lines have become their
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war part. this after and they're what you would expect. better.t things to be but they're not -- they're not though by any sense even in some ways they have been victimized by the war experience. strong, re interesting -- interesting people. own set ng with their of problems as they realize this andg wasn't just over there now it's back here. now i have to deal with this. >> what other spouse in your find had the most interesting story? >> oh, you know, they all did. >> not the most interesting, just pick one of them. is an askia schuman amazing person. doster, whose husband died. >> jim doster? >> yeah, james doster. we talked about him earlier. he was the one who died on the didn't go on the mission.
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and his wife, his widow, three later, is still missing -- thoroughly that it's on -- on a given day, she ight be driving in smalltown kansas and be stopped at a the light and look at the pest ontrol truck next to her, this happened to her. and here was her husband driving truck. it all made such sense to her in that moment. he left the war, didn't want to got a e, came home, he job driving a pest control truck. laying low, oney, sometimes soon he's going to come home and ring the bell and home.'m after years of this, in an inability to move on and friends patience with her, then on et to see amanda doster the day -- as an attempt at closing a previous chapter out, take some of her benefit money from his dying and the house where she promised she would be when he
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ame home, the last place she saw him. the place they rang the doorbell to say he was dead and the act down the two miles treat to the new house was supposed to be an attempt at healing for her. interesting to me. >> there's a lot of scenes that about where walls walls and a go into lot of damage done. were you there when that happen? >> yeah. yeah. yeah. >> which one? >> which one i wasn't there for, if i can. if i can switch a little bit. i want to talk about this one soldier to help get across the are of what these folks dealing with. if i can do it quickly. there's a guy named ietti. humvee one up in a day. i was there that day. i was not in the convoy. station when id they brought him in. and so, there he is, like right explosion. and five guys in the humvee, he
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on his face. five guys in the humvee. the thing is blown intup the -- blown up in the air, hard.down he has a broken leg. gets out of the humvee. realizes there's still guys inside. to the s way back humvee, pulls out other wounded guys. o one, no one gets the driver, the 19-year-old who burns to death in his seat as the thing rounds go off.d so i remember meeting him at the station and being with him when he found out the other guy died. what happened after this -- this brian, i think if you were in that war on that day, you would like to behave as behaved. samoan. -- >> american samoan. to have the dream, not
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the guy who died, not the guy who helped save. the guy who died, the guy on ire saying why didn't you save me. so a couple of years after this apart, destroys his apartment, has to be hospitalized for a little bit. is put in a ptsd program run by the va. happens to him in that program and what happens to others who try to get in that i describe in the book, it -- it gets at one of the results of these wars is we now have a system in help to at least try to psychologically wounded folks ut their experiences show what an overwhelmed and in many ways to ed system these guys get heal in. >> is there another book in this? you think?what do >> i don't know. guys go to war. home. ome >> what is your sense when you
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finish this? there's a third book that years from now? >> i wanted there to be. i didn't want to give up this story. know, i'm not seeing it. i'm not seeing what the third book is. will be there. but i don't know how -- i mean, a business, right? and i may want to tell a story, it doesn't mean i'll publish when i want to publish it. couple of seconds, though. why have you done a very strenuous book tour? tour?k because i'm trying -- as hard as i can to get people interested in this story. of course, i want to sell books. something underneath it. know -- now i understand what these folks have been through. to i got to see it and i got tell it. so -- so i want to go around and do what i can to get people to accurate sense of what's going on, not over there
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nymore, it's here, but it's happening coast-to-coast and it's not the worst thing to pay attention to it. i don't have any more time left, but i notice you're a resident for and the center of american security? >> i was. yes. more? >> no. i was in writer in residence and they supported the book by my travel. >> david finkel, back to the of r shot of what you have the new york time's photographer. what kind of plane is that? c-5, c-17. >> god, here goes -- c-17, the props.ot the yes. >> the name of this book by finkel is "thank you for your service" a follow-up to the book "good soldiers." thanks. >> thanks, brian.
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you>> i got upset with the president because they covered and then health work they never showed up anymore. i met this woman who was a rest agent. carter, think of it is not a sexy issue. but we toured theou


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