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FROM THIS EPISODE

America's nuclear arsenal has been subject to a terrifying number of accidents, miscalculations and inexplicable blunders, without a devastating catastrophe—so far. On this archived edition of To the Point, we talk with investigative reporter Eric Schlosser about how close we've come, how little the public's been told, and whether we're safer now than we used to be. Also, moderate Republicans fight harder against their own right wing, and a conversation with David Finkel, whose book, Thank You for Your Service, provides extraordinary access to the thoughts and emotions of Iraq-war veterans struggling with PTSD.

Banner image: Various nuclear missiles. Photo: tommytex2001

Producers:
Evan George
Sonya Geis

Today's Talking Point Author David Finkel on the Long Road Home from Iraq 10 MIN, 48 SEC

tp131111Finkel-bk.jpgDuring the so-called 2007 "surge" in Iraq, the Washington Post's David Finkel embedded with the 2-16 Battalion in East Baghdad. He produced a book about the realities of warfare. Then he embedded again — with the soldiers as veterans, along with their families. They spoke to him with a degree of candor and openness that makes his new book read like a novel. Thank You for Your Service is being hailed as a masterpiece of its kind, not just by reviewers but by people who try to help those veterans of combat who are forced to struggle to get their civilian lives back together.

Guests:
David Finkel, Pulitzer Prize-wining journalist

Making News Moderate Republicans Fight Harder against Their Own Right Wing 7 MIN, 13 SEC

In the aftermath of Republican defeats last week in Virginia and Alabama elections, moderate Republicans are strategizing to resist the pressure from their own right wing to run Tea Party candidates. Is it a new level of Republican civil war?  Manu Raju is senior congressional reporter for Politico.

Guests:
Manu Raju, Politico (@mkraju)

Main Topic The Threat to America — from Our Own Nuclear Weapons 32 MIN, 12 SEC

During the Cold War, atomic bombs fell out of the sky over North Carolina. A missile tipped with a hydrogen bomb blew up in Arkansas. Most Americans never knew about 700 "significant" incidents that could have produced historic catastrophes — here in the US. Investigative reporter Eric Schlosser spent five years searching declassified documents to discover how often dumb luck made the difference. We talk with him. How much safer are today's weapons' systems? What are the prospects for reducing nuclear arms?

Two men involved in the Damascus incident, Ronald Gray and Greg Devlin, were interviewed for "The Missileers." That story, produced by Eric Molinsky and Bob Carlson, is part of the program UnFictional, which is produced and broadcast here at KCRW in Santa Monica.

Guests:
Eric Schlosser, investigative reporter and author (@FoodChainsFilm)
Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution (@steven_pifer)

Command and Control

Eric Schlosser

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