AirTalk for June 22, 2010

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General McChrystal gets called to the (Oval) office

The White House has summoned the top commander in Afghanistan to Washington over derogatory comments he made about senior members of the Obama administration. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Gen. Stanley McChrystal spoke dismissively about senior officials including Vice President Biden and Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to the region. McChrystal has apologized for his remarks, saying the article was "a mistake reflecting poor judgment." What's next for Gen. McChrystal, and how will it affect President Obama's war strategy?
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It’s no surprise to anyone when drug addicts end up in the emergency room. But a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that an increasing percentage of overdoses are from prescription drugs, not illegal substances. ER visits resulting from misuse of prescription painkillers rose 111% between 2004 and 2008. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, abuse of prescription meds is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem – and several recent celebrity deaths have underscored the point. What’s behind the increase in pill-popping? Physician neglect, patient scamming – or is it the easy availability of gourmet painkillers and do-it-yourself prescription pads through the internet? Who’s to blame when patients mix, match and over-medicate? And what can the government due to cure our prescription addiction?
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American Hubris: The Icarus Syndrome

In The Icarus Syndrome, Peter Beinart examines three examples from the past century where America overestimated its power- World War I, Vietnam, and Iraq. In each case, a new generation came about during eras of success with no memory of the nation's past mistakes. Every time the country suffered the same fate as Icarus, the mythological Greek figure who perished by flying too close to the sun. But in each instance, says Beinart, America gained new wisdom and learned to reconcile its ambitions with the realities of the world. He joins David Lazarus to discuss the history of American hubris and how an understanding of its risks can shape foreign policy.
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A federal judge will decide tomorrow whether President Obama’s six month moratorium on new deepwater wells can continue. To the surprise of many watching footage of gushing oil and empty shrimping vessels, Gulf coast residents are some of the most vocal critics of the temporary drilling ban, since oil and natural gas industries play a major role in the local economy. Should the moratorium continue until additional safety checks are completed on existing wells? Or does the Louisiana economy need all the help it can get? UPDATE: US District Court Judge Martin Feldman has overturned the moratorium on drilling new deepwater wells.
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Will the United States ever realize its dream of a peaceful, democratic Middle East? Not without a paradigm shift in U.S. foreign policy in the region, according to Middle East expert Stephen Kinzer. Kinzer sees America’s diplomatic focus on Saudi Arabia and Israel as outdated and ineffective. Instead, he proposes a “power triangle” between the United States, Iran and Turkey based on our shared democratic values. Guest host David Lazarus talks with Kinzer about his unique blueprint for securing American interests in the troubled region.
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