A scene from the early days of the fighting in Iraq in the spring of 2003. In one incident, three members of an Iraqi family were killed. A U.S. Marine involved in the shooting recently tracked down the family to ask for forgiveness.
Credit James Hill / Courtesy of The New Yorker
Dexter Filkins earned a George Polk award in 2004 for his coverage of Fallujah. His book, The Forever War, is about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On April 8, 2003, in the early days of the Iraq War, the Kachadoorian family found themselves in the middle of a firefight at a major intersection in Baghdad.
They had approached the intersection in three cars and didn't respond to Marines' warnings to stop and turn around; so the Marines opened fire, killing three men and shooting a young woman in the shoulder, not realizing that the people in the car were civilians.
This episode of Top Goon featured the Syrian president on the left, a member of the security forces on the right, and a photo of the former president, Hafez Assad, who is the father of the current leader.
Syrians opposed to President Bashar Assad have been posting YouTube videos mocking him. The episodes are called Top Goon, and the Syrian president goes by the name Beeshu. The work is done anonymously because those behind it fear they could face retribution from the Syrian government.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:07 am
"I'm not crazy," the figure says, standing alone in a dark room, as if trying to convince himself.
"I'm not crazy?" almost a question this time.
"I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy!" he yells, finally making up his mind.
And, of course, he sounds crazy.
Meet Beeshu, an avatar of the embattled president of Syria, Bashar Assad, rendered in papier-mache and mounted on someone's finger. He's the star of the show Top Goon and the inspiration for its title.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:44 am
We're zeroing in on eight "tossup" states where the race is too close to call, but where the election will likely be decided. Try your hand at gaming out the electoral vote possibilities at npr.org/scorecard.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:11 am
From now until Election Day, the U.S. might as well consist of just eight or so states, not 50.
Those are the battleground states where President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, their running mates and spouses will be spending much of their time in what remains of the 2012 race for the White House.
It's all about amassing the 270 electoral votes required to be elected president. NPR's analysis of the race at this point suggests the eight states that are most in play are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Demonstrators clash with riot police in Athens while protesting the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 9. The euro crisis is one of several issues that came up little, if at all, during the U.S. presidential debates.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 11:13 pm
It's possible that the presidential debates will be remembered mainly for trivia — Big Bird, binders and bayonets.
But Mitt Romney and President Obama did discuss issues of paramount importance, including taxes, entitlements and the role the U.S. should play in the Middle East.
Those issues — and above all else, the economy — dominated discussion throughout the debate season. That meant other important topics such as immigration were barely mentioned, while others never came up at all.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:11 pm
Update at 6 p.m. ET:
Our original headline on this post was "U.S. Pledges Exceed Pakistan's Spending On Its Own Flood Relief." As we reported, the Christian Science Monitor has looked into the details of a Congressional Research Service report and concluded that U.S. aid to Pakistan for flood relief exceeded that country's own spending.
But Ben Edwards, a spokesman at the U.S. Agency for International Development, tells us in an email that:
Each fall, hundreds of little-known bands descend on New York City for the annual CMJ Music Marathon. As festivals go, it's one of the best for surprises, since so many of the acts are new and emerging. For the artists, it's a chance to be seen and heard and, hopefully, loved. For the rabid music fan or journalist, it's an overwhelming flood of musical discoveries.
No, the Nite Moves strip club in Latham, N.Y., can't claim that lap dances, pole performances and other moves in its ladies' repertoire are "art" and therefore exempt from sales taxes, New York State's highest court ruled today in a 4-3 decision.
The Tuscon, Ariz., band Calexico has made a career out of warping genres and musical traditions together into an eclectic, clever, original mix. Drawing upon jazz, alt-country, post-rock and a wide-ranging variety of Latin styles from mariachi to cumbia to Tex-Mex, Joey Burns and John Convertino (along with an ever-rotating cast of supporting players) have crafted a uniquely inclusive vision of indie-rock Americana.