Morning Joe | December 12, 2012
>> following this over the years. tell us about it.
>> i was there during the civil war and this was my first african civil war and it was uniquely terrifying. of course i'm a journalist and that's mostly what i do, but in this case after i finished my assignment, a few years later i thought i would try to write fiction for a journalist. it seems like a no go zone. i thought i would give it a try. this is taking my experience that is already seeing how i react and how other people would react. watching it play out in a fictional way.
>> the overhappen happelap is through the protagonist of the book?
>> it's a short story. maybe it's a book in the internet sense, but i just downloaded it. i was reading it.
>> how is it?
>> it's -- daniel is a jung reporter. we have known these people and the story seems to be going the way of most realistic stories. the veteran photographer in a war zone where you don't know who is on what side and dangerous occupation covering wars. i will see what happens, but i don't want to ask because i don't want you to tell me that story. the topic of covering this is so much different than it was certainly in vietnam and certainly the first gulf war .
>> as in syria and libya in my tim was last clear, you are not quite sure who is who. one of the scariest things about being there in 2003 was that you forget about the enemy. you weren't even sure if you could trust the people you were with. drugged out teenagers. it's terrifying and a completely different thing. you just have to knock it out by the enemy. it's simple. what actually happened was on the way back from the frontline, i was in a jeep with soldiers and we were stopped by rebels at a check point. they stepped out with guns and they were going to shoot us. i spent 15 minutes getting myself ready to die. they didn't. it felt like it got really close.
>> things have gotten much more difficult for troops in afghanistan . a country you know so much about. unfortunately even on the military bases , u.s. troops are walking around every day wondering if the next afghan soldier they walk past is going to draw a gun and put a bullet in their head.
>> it's the military equivalent you have as a journalist working in a civil war in the mideast. you don't know if you can trust the person you are talking to. for a soldier or a journalist, you are always prepared and never relax.
>> that's the state of mind our troops are in right now in afghanistan . it's got to have a horrific impact and you talked about the impact wondering whether you are going to be shot by a sniper every second of every day. strange things we do to the mind. this state you are talking about seems to make it almost impossible for the troops to carry out their mission effectively.
>> i haven't been there in a while, but it's sort of last call. the lights went out and everyone knows they are going home . i think the guys want to make it through in piece and probably aren't thinking that much about the overall mission. that's my guess.
>> while we are looking at the "new york times" article on afghanistan . one out of 23 are ready. how do you think that impacts the mission in terms of morale and the guys who have been there again and again and again. yet we are only at this point.
>> it's probably very, very frustrating. i know from being with american forces over there, they really do think probably correctly they provide their own security. i never saw anyone count on the afghan forces. any american soldiers count on them in a firefight. the embedded trainers, i think they develop a personal feeling for those guys and think it must be frustrating to them to see it not go very well. again, we are leaving. the main thing in a soldier's mind is getting home alive . if the war works or not is secondary. it's not up there with am i going to get home.
>> i have a question just to come back to the characters in the book and your friend tim . camera men and photographers cannot hide. why do they keep going back.
>> every assignment i have been on, they work side by side . if they are writing about something and it's not photographed, they have to work together. the writers are running about the same risks. overall what drives them to take risks, i think there is a sense of commission that this is important. if the world does not see what's happening, the world will be a worse place. there is also personal ambition. it's an impressive job. people are impressed by it. that drives people. doing that job when they come back to a desk job in new york , forget it. it's not going to happen. it's a mix of those things.
>> in these increasingly listly defined war zone in places like syria and libya and egypt where it's not really a war zone , but there is so much contentiousness. there no navy corps men that can you call. tell us about your saving of these programs.
>> after tim died, he was wounded and he bled out. he didn't have to tie. i called it reporters and saving colleagues. the website is risk training.org. we raise money to train free lance war reporters. 90% is done by free lancers. they are usually young. you have to have been in a war zone . it's a free three-day course in new york three times a year. the lodging is free and the training and the medical kit . we are training up the hundreds of reporters who are covering the war zones.
>> the ebook is a world made of blood. you can read it on our blog. sebastian junger .
>> download it right now.
>> there on his new toy.