Out Of Iraq
More than eight years after U.S. military forces invaded Iraq, President Obama announced Friday that all U.S. troops will come home by year's end. The administration and the Iraqi government failed to reach an agreement to keep a limited number of troops in Iraq beyond the current December deadline. Many critics call the move a disaster — arguing that Iraq is still far from stable, that the loss of U.S. forces will leave the country vulnerable to sectarian violence and to influence from Iran. Others insist the announcement is long overdue, and that it's time to put Iraq's security in the hands of Iraqis and that a continued U.S. presence would be a drain on resources better used to deal with economic problems at home. Host Neal Conan talks with Ted Koppel, Bob Woodward, Ret. Army General John Keane and others about the president's decision to pull out of Iraq.
Oscar-Winner Guillermo del Toro's Monsters
Few have as intense a professional relationship with monsters as Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. In his movies and books, he combines elements of reality, fantasy and horror. Pan's Labyrinth, his dark fairy tale film, imagined monsters both fantastical and human, and his best-selling The Strain novels re-imagined the vampire as anything but romantic. In the final book of the trilogy, del Toro's super-human vampires have taken over the Earth, and a ragtag group of survivors fight to reclaim the planet. Del Toro joins host Neal Conan to talk about his new book, The Night Eternal and his long-running obsession with monsters.
In the months following 9/11, naysayers warned of a decline in cities; that people would no longer want to live and work in highly concentrated places and tall buildings. Julia Vitullo-Martin wrote in a recent opinion piece for USA Today that even though people proved the critics wrong and flocked back to cities, many government officials "deface" public spaces in a misguided attempt at safety. In cities like New York and Washington, D.C., she complained, law enforcement and city planners install jersey barriers, chain-link fences, concrete planters and other "ugly measures that evoke fear rather than safety." It's a problem she calls "militarized urbanism." Vitullo-Martin talks with host Neal Conan on this week's Opinion Page about her piece, "'Militarized urbanism' chokes U.S. cities."