NOW with David Brancaccio begins airing on most PBS stations tonight:
Women in the U.S. military assaulted and raped by fellow soldiers - a shocking investigation. Next on NOW Roughly one in seven of America's active duty military soldiers is a woman, but a NOW investigation found that sexual assault and rape is widespread. One study of National Guard and Reserve forces found that almost one in four women had been assaulted or raped. Last year alone, almost 3,000 soldiers reported sexual assault and rape by other soldiers. On Friday, September 7 (check your local listings), in one of the only national television broadcasts of the issue, NOW features women who speak out for the first time about what happened. One woman recounts her ordeal of rape by her superior officer. Many more don't report the incidents for fear of how it will affect their careers. The shocking phenomenon has a label: military sexual trauma, or MST. NOW meets women courageously battling to overcome their MST, bringing light to an issue that's putting the army in shame. A NOW exclusive investigation.
The NOW website at www.pbs.org/now will offer the latest statistics on MST and insight into the challenges of reporting sexual abuse in the military
NEXT WEEK: A NOW HOUR-LONG SPECIAL, "Third Time Around" (NOW #337)
On the heels of a much-anticipated progress report in Washington, NOW travels to Iraq for an exclusive, hard look at the war through the eyes of the U.S. men and women fighting an elusive enemy that prefers roadside bombs to pitched battles. We first met the Third Infantry's First Brigade from Georgia's Ft. Stewart in January, only weeks before they headed back to Iraq for the third deployment in four years. They left behind newborn babies, young children, fiancées and wives. As the long months of the "surge" unfold, we see them fighting in the country's volatile Anbar province, while back at home their newborns become toddlers, and birthdays and anniversaries come and go.
"I think my biggest hope for this next year is just for it to go quickly and smoothly. I don't want anything major to happen to any of my guys or the rest of the squad or platoon," Soldier Michael Murphy tells NOW.
"My biggest concern is just to make it home with ten fingers and toes."
What are the personal and political costs of constant redeployment? Is the war effort at a turning point, or a breaking point?
"Do American soldiers think that this is a war worth fighting? Do they think this is a war we can win?" Andrew Krepenevich, a former army officer who now runs a Washington think tank told NOW.
"In a sense, you're battling not only for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, but the heart and mind of the American soldier."
"Third Time Around", an hour long NOW special, airs Friday, September 14. (Check local listings).
* A preview of the September 14 special: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGC9IrhOC90
* The original NOW episode where we first meet the soldiers: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/303/
* A web-exclusive video extension featuring Ft. Stewart soldiers and their spouses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi9zazc0plA
Kara notes Marilou Johanek's "Bush's PR campaign in Iraq won't sway public opinion on war" (Toledo Blade):
THE publicity from Iraq was custom-ordered by the White House. It showed the commander in chief in shirt sleeves standing with troops cheering "hooah." President Bush was smiling broadly with an arm around a beaming soldier in a military base in the heart of the Anbar province.
The heavily fortified facility, about 120 miles west of Baghdad, is home to roughly 10,000 American troops. Mr. Bush was pictured bonding with some of those he sent to the sandbox from hell. The intent of his surprise visit was to impress the world with a personal appearance with soldiers in the war zone - which contrasts with a competing worldwide impression that he is their worst enemy.
But just days before Congress hears from Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on how well the so-called troop "surge" is working, the Bush Administration is preoccupied with image-making. Anything - like surprise presidential visits - that deflects reality in Iraq is fair game.
No, the p.r. won't sway the people. But the people do not appear to be represented in Congress.
It's going to be really interesting to see Dems campaigning for election to Congress offering promises of what they will do when the public is very aware that they were given control of both houses in the November 2006 elections and that they chose to do nothing. Repeatedly.
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now with david branccacio