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Combat means death for some soldiers. For others it's wounds, not just to the body but to the mind as well. On this Memorial Day, we hear about the nature of wars most Americans don't think about very much and what life is like for soldiers who get to come home. Also, support wanes for the War in Afghanistan, and the US intelligence establishment is ready to spend big money on a "metaphor machine" to convert language into underlying truths about different cultures."

Banner image: Iraq war veteran Bradley Hammond (R) kisses his wife Dani Hammond in Denver, Colorado. Hammond struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after his experiences in Iraq, where he was nearly killed several times and once was involved with the accidental shooting of an Iraqi family by US troops. Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Making News Support Wanes for the War in Afghanistan 7 MIN, 46 SEC

Osama bin Laden is dead and American support for the war in Afghanistan appears to be fading fast. In the Congress last week, a measure requiring a plan and a time frame for early withdraw failed in a close vote — 204 to 215 — and it had the support of 26 Republicans. Charles Hoskinson reports for Politico.

Charles Hoskinson, Politico.com

Main Topic Bringing the War Home: The War after the War 36 MIN, 21 SEC

When combat soldiers come home from Iraq or Afghanistan, life is not just about survival any more. For some, it loses its meaning. That's especially true when there are disconnections, not just between war and the politicians who make it happen, but between the soldiers and those they come home to. To better understand the nature of war itself, Pulitzer-Prize winner David Finkel of the Washington Post was embedded for eight months with 800 Army soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas. His book, The Good Soldiers, recounts the experience of these young men and women deployed in a violent suburb of Baghdad, where 350,000 Iraqis lived. On this Memorial Day, we try to connect our listeners with the realities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have gone on so long they've become background noise to most Americans.

David Finkel, Pulitzer Prize-wining journalist
Luis Carlos Montalvan, former Army Captain
Charles Hoge, Retired Army Colonel and psychiatrist

The Good Soldiers

David Finkel

Reporter's Notebook Intelligence Analysts Look for Deeper Meaning in Language 6 MIN, 50 SEC

US intelligence agencies want to know how people use language, people who speak not just English but Spanish, Russian and Farsi. Specifically, it wants computer programs developed that can provide keys to how people think by the way the use metaphors. The ultimate grant could run to nine figures. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, IARPA, is a small research arm of the US intelligence establishment. It's ready to spend big money on The Metaphor Program, to analyze common turns of phrase to learn "in a deep and fundamental way [how] humans make sense of the world." That's according to Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic magazine.

Alexis Madrigal, Atlantic (@alexismadrigal)

Powering the Dream

Alexis Madrigal

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