Quil Lawrence

David Aquila ("Quil") Lawrence is an award-winning correspondent for NPR News, covering the millions of Americans who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as they transition to life back at home.

Previously, Lawrence served as NPR's Bureau Chief in Kabul. He joined NPR in 2009 as Baghdad Bureau Chief – capping off ten years of reporting in Iraq and all the bordering countries. That experience made the foundation for his first book Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East, published in 2008.

Before coming to NPR, Lawrence was based in Jerusalem, as Middle East correspondent for The World, a BBC/PRI co-production. For the BBC he covered the fall of the Taliban in December 2001 and returned to Afghanistan periodically to report on development, the drug trade and insurgency.

Lawrence began his career as a freelancer for NPR and various newspapers while based in Bogota, Colombia, covering Latin America. Other reporting trips took him to Sudan, Morocco, Cuba, Pakistan and Iran.

A native of Maine, Lawrence studied history at Brandeis University, with concentrations in the Middle East and Latin America. He is fluent in Spanish and conversant in Arabic.

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5:07am

Wed August 27, 2014
Health Care

After Inspector General Report, Veterans Want More Than Promises

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 7:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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5:13pm

Tue August 26, 2014
News

VA's Inspector General Finds Faked Data At Hospitals Across U.S.

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 8:07 pm

President Obama addressed the annual convention of the American Legion in North Carolina with a raft of new proposals for vets. The speech comes as the inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department is releasing a report on the scandal over phony wait times at the Phoenix VA hospital.

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3:08pm

Fri August 22, 2014
National Security

First Rule Of This Fight Club: You Must Be A Veteran

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 8:09 pm

Vance, who serves as a coach, founded the group after his own struggle with PTSD. He says it helped him get out of a dark place. He now has a degree in social work.
David Gilkey/NPR

About a dozen military veterans have locked themselves inside a caged boxing ring, in a rough part of San Diego, and they're starting to throw punches. It's therapeutic, they say.

"A lot of people say, 'You guys are punching each other in the face. How is that helpful?' " says Aaron Espinoza, a former Marine. "But it's a respect thing, it's mutual. I have to push him, he has to push me to get better."

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5:05pm

Mon July 28, 2014
Politics

After 5 Weeks Of Haggling, Congress Inks Bipartisan VA Bill

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 7:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:59pm

Fri July 11, 2014
Health

Veterans Kick The Prescription Pill Habit, Against Doctors' Orders

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 6:28 am

Katherine Streeter for NPR

For many people with post-traumatic stress disorder, sleeping can return you to the worst place you've ever been, at the worst possible moment.

"I always see his face," says Will, who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Army. "And in my dreams it's the same thing. ... I always walk over to him, and instead of this Afghani kid that's laying there, it's my little brother."

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5:53pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Shots - Health News

A Growing Number Of Veterans Struggles To Quit Powerful Painkillers

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 7:20 pm

Bryan McDonel and his father, Mike, both served multiple tours in Iraq with the National Guard. Bryan was first prescribed painkillers before his deployment, and his dependence on medication prompted a downward spiral.
Quil Lawrence NPR

There are antlers everywhere on the walls of Bryan and Mike McDonel's place near Pine Bluff, Ark. The house is hardly big enough for all their hunting trophies. Both are good shots with their hunting bows; Bryan and Mike, his father, served in the Arkansas National Guard and deployed together to Iraq, twice.

The McDonel family has served in the military for generations. But Bryan, 35, is out of the service now. He is one of thousands of troops and veterans who struggle with addiction to prescription drugs.

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4:17pm

Mon June 30, 2014
National Security

Obama Taps Former Procter & Gamble Chief To Helm VA

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:01 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

President Obama has decided on his choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. He has nominated Robert McDonald, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble. This afternoon the president introduced him at the VA, here in Washington.

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5:22am

Mon June 30, 2014
Politics

Obama To Nominate Ex-Procter & Gamble Chief To Head VA

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 1:32 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's hear more about that nomination that Cokie just mentioned. Bob McDonald was CEO of Procter & Gamble, and now if confirmed by the Senate, he'll be running the Department of Veterans Affairs. The White House says that agency is under-resourced and is suffering from a, quote, "corrosive culture that led staff to fake their reports about how long veterans are waiting to get health care." Here to talk to us about that more, NPR veterans correspondent Quil Lawrence. Quil, good morning.

QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: Good morning.

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2:44pm

Thu June 19, 2014
Parallels

How The Kurds Could Benefit From Iraq's Crisis

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:01 pm

The Kurdish areas of northern Iraq have remained peaceful despite the recent surge in fighting. Here, a member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces directs traffic at a checkpoint in Kalak, in northern Iraq.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

The current crisis in Iraq has focused on the Sunni-Shiite conflict, but relatively little has been heard from the other major ethnic group in Iraq, the Kurds. And that's just the way the Kurds would like it.

The Kurds have been seeking an independent state for a century but have been stymied at every turn. As the Shiites and the Sunnis slug it out, the Kurds are demonstrating, so far at least, that they can maintain peace and stability in their semi-autonomous region in the northeastern part of the country.

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5:38am

Tue June 17, 2014
Around the Nation

Overburdened VA Shelves Ad Campaign To Attract More Veterans

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 7:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A recent poll shows only one in five Americans has confidence in the care veterans get in the VA - not surprising given the recent scandals about how long veterans have to wait for a doctors appointment. Turns out, that combination of delay in an overloaded system and the scandal surrounding it has caused the department to change the message it's sending to veterans which has left one expensive ad campaign sitting on the shelf at the VA. Here's NPR's Quil Lawrence with more.

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