Vermont Conversation: The human cost of America's forever wars

Jasper Craven, left, and his new book. Images courtesy of Jasper Craven

The Vermont Conversation with David Goodman is a VTDigger podcast that features in-depth interviews on local and national issues with politicians, activists, artists, changemakers and citizens who are making a difference. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify to hear more.

“Support our troops” is a familiar slogan heard when American troops are deployed abroad.

But are returning soldiers supported when they return home? Nearly half of troops returning from post-9/11 deployments report having reintegration problems, almost double the number reported by earlier veterans. Former President Donald Trump tapped into this vein of discontent and won 60% of the veterans’ vote in 2016. Political radicalization among veterans has been a growing problem, and a shocking number of veterans were among the insurrectionists at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Investigative reporter Jasper Craven has been exploring veterans’ and military issues for publications including the New York Times, Mother Jones, The Atlantic and VTDigger. In a 2018 investigative series for VTDigger, he exposed the toxic culture of the Vermont Air National Guard, leading to Gov. Phil Scott to call for a review of Guard policies. This spring, he wrote an expose for Mother Jones on neglect and abuse at Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania, a prestigious school that counts among its alumni Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, architect of the first Gulf War. Craven also writes a newsletter, Battle Borne, about veterans’ issues.

Craven, who is originally from Vermont, has a new book, “Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs,” co-written with Suzanne Gordon and Steve Early. The book explores the impact of military service and the challenges that veterans encounter when they return to civilian life. 

“The full cost of war has rarely been considered, or properly calculated, by architects of the forever warfare that continues today,” Craven and his co-authors concluded.

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David Goodman

About David

David Goodman is an award-winning journalist and the author of a dozen books, including four New York Times bestsellers that he co-authored with his sister, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, New York Times, Outside, Boston Globe and other publications. He is the host of The Vermont Conversation, a VTDigger podcast featuring in-depth interviews about local and national topics. The Vermont Conversation is also an hour-long weekly radio program that can be heard on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on WDEV/Radio Vermont.

Email: [email protected]

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