playlist

War stories

We need to talk about war. These powerful, crucial talks come from soldiers, politicians, journalists and others who've seen the reality of war firsthand.

  1. 23:22
    Thomas Barnett Let's rethink America's military strategy

    In this bracingly honest talk, international security strategist Thomas Barnett outlines a post-Cold War solution for the foundering U.S. military that is both sensible and breathtaking in its simplicity: Break it in two.

  2. 11:53
    Janine di Giovanni What I saw in the war

    Reporter Janine di Giovanni has been to the worst places on Earth to bring back stories from Bosnia, Sierra Leone and most recently Syria. She tells stories of human moments within large conflicts — and explores that shocking transition when a familiar city street becomes a bombed-out battleground.

  3. 14:27
    Wes Moore How to talk to veterans about the war

    Wes Moore joined the US Army to pay for college, but the experience became core to who he is. In this heartfelt talk, the paratrooper and captain—who went on to write "The Other Wes Moore"—explains the shock of returning home from Afghanistan. He shares the single phrase he heard from civilians on repeat, and shows why it's just not sufficient. It's a call for all of us to ask veterans to tell their stories — and listen.

  4. 16:43
    James Stavridis A Navy Admiral's thoughts on global security

    Imagine global security driven by collaboration — among agencies, government, the private sector and the public. That's not just the distant hope of open-source fans, it's the vision of James Stavridis, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of the US European Command. Stavridis shares vivid moments from recent military history to explain why security of the future should be built with bridges rather than walls.

  5. 8:09
    Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Inside a school for suicide bombers

    Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy takes on a terrifying question: How does the Taliban convince children to become suicide bombers? With her camera, she visited one training camp. A shocking vision.

  6. 16:31
    Bobby Ghosh Why global jihad is losing

    Throughout the history of Islam, says journalist Bobby Ghosh, there have been two sides to jihad: one, internal, a personal struggle to be better, the other external. A small minority (most recently Osama bin Laden) has appropriated the second, using it as an excuse for deadly global violence against "the West." Ghosh suggests that, now that bin Laden's worldwide organization has fragmented, it's time to reclaim the word. (Filmed at TEDxGeorgetown.)

  7. 19:02
    Alberto Cairo There are no scraps of men

    Alberto Cairo's clinics in Afghanistan used to close down during active fighting. Now, they stay open. At TEDxRC2 (the RC stands for Red Cross/Red Crescent), Cairo tells the powerful story of why — and how he found humanity and dignity in the midst of war.

  8. 17:36
    Deborah Scranton An Iraq war movie crowd-sourced from soldiers

    Filmmaker Deborah Scranton talks about and shows clips from her documentary The War Tapes, which puts cameras in the hands of soldiers fighting in Iraq.

  9. 16:05
    P.W. Singer Military robots and the future of war

    In this powerful talk, P.W. Singer shows how the widespread use of robots in war is changing the realities of combat. He shows us scenarios straight out of science fiction — that now may not be so fictitious.

  10. 13:08
    Sebastian Junger Why veterans miss war

    Civilians don’t miss war. But soldiers often do. Journalist Sebastian Junger shares his experience embedded with American soldiers at Restrepo, an outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley that saw heavy combat. Giving a look at the "altered state of mind" that comes with war, he shows how combat gives soldiers an intense experience of connection. In the end, could it actually be "the opposite of war" that soldiers miss?

  11. 11:25
    Gayle Tzemach Lemmon Meet the women fighting on the front lines of an American war

    In 2011, the US Armed Forces still had a ban on women in combat — but in that year, a Special Operations team of women was sent to Afghanistan to serve on the front lines, to build rapport with locals and try to help bring an end to the war. Reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells the story of this "band of sisters," an extraordinary group of women warriors who broke a long-standing barrier to serve.

  12. 17:10
    Peter van Uhm Why I chose a gun

    Peter van Uhm is the Netherlands’ chief of defense, but that does not mean he is pro-war. At TEDxAmsterdam he explains how his career is one shaped by a love of peace, not a desire for bloodshed — and why we need armies if we want peace.

  13. 17:46
    Zainab Salbi Women, wartime and the dream of peace

    In war we often see only the frontline stories of soldiers and combat. At TEDGlobal 2010, Zainab Salbi tells powerful "backline" stories of women who keep everyday life going during conflicts, and calls for women to have a place at the negotiating table once fighting is over.

  14. 20:02
    Rory Stewart Time to end the war in Afghanistan

    British MP Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan after 9/11, talking with citizens and warlords alike. Now, a decade later, he asks: Why are Western and coalition forces still fighting there? He shares lessons from past military interventions that worked — Bosnia, for instance — and shows that humility and local expertise are the keys to success.