News: Rachel Maddow Show broadcasts live from Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan
Story by Sgt. Rebecca Linder
By Sgt. Rebecca Linder
CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan — It’s not common when TV stars, celebrities or even news hosts come to a war zone, but Afghanistan was in for a treat when Rachel Maddow, the host of “The Rachel Maddow Show” of MSNBC, broadcasted her show live, July 7 and 8, from Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Maddow and her crew traveled around different parts of Afghanistan for nearly a week to report on the war effort and talk with servicemembers about their mission here. The show chose Camp Phoenix as a prime location in the capital to report the stories they covered during their visit.
Maddow is well known for her liberal viewpoint on news, but after watching her show, one Soldier had a different impression of her war coverage.
“I thought she was very genuine in her approach and her views,” said Lt. Col. Andy Gerlach, support operations officer for the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, South Dakota Army National Guard.
Gerlach not only had the chance to watch part of the show, live, but also visited with Maddow after the show.
“I was really impressed with her knowledge of not only the military, but also Afghanistan. She has a really good understanding of military operations, the importance of it and the political aspects of the mission here,” he said.
Maddow traveled to different cities throughout Afghanistan including Kabul and Kandahar and learned about the military’s counterinsurgency strategy of gaining the support of the Afghans by helping them develop governance, security and a partnership with U.S. forces.
“She has a good grasp of the military and the Taliban and she knows what the Taliban is trying to do in terms of controlling the hearts and minds of the people. But she also talked about our COIN doctrine and that we are trying to do the same thing,” said Gerlach. “She understands that this isn’t only a military operation, but also grasps all the aspects of the people; including civilian and political aspects.”
During one of the live broadcasts, Rachel hosted International Security Assistance Force Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall, where they talked about Afghan security forces and if they will be ready to take over the responsibility from U.S. forces on the expected drawdown date of July 2011.
“We will be here as long as we need to be to be able to support them,” said Hall. “There needs to be mutual trust between the Afghan and U.S. forces.”
Although the U.S. plans on being here for another year, “The confidence of Afghan soldiers is at a confidence level I’ve never seen before,” said Hall.
After traveling around Afghanistan for a week, Rachel and her show have come and gone. However, she said she plans on playing more footage of her journeys in Afghanistan on her show.
“The show was a success,” said Capt. Anthony Deiss, director of public affairs for the 196th Public Affairs section, who helped coordinate the set up for the show. “It was a great opportunity to work with Rachel and her crew. She was very appreciative, thankful and supportive for our efforts in Afghanistan.”