If I had known all this at the time, I would have written about it in The Post. I started reading on a Friday night and could not put it down until on reaching page 274 I simply couldn't keep my eyes open. What it means, however, is that they are, to some extent, also as cut off from ordinary Iraqis as the Americans who live there. Seriously, people need to be in jail, starting at the very top and working on down to the lowliest Republican crony. We contracted many people who had little to no experience in post-conflict rebuilding and some with no qualifications for the project they were hired to run.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the author and narrator of Life in the Emerald City, describes his experience in the Green Zone of American occupied Baghdad, Iraq. In 2004, he was journalist-in-residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His underlings spend their days drawing up pie-in-the-sky policies, among them a new traffic code and a law protecting microchip designs, instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity production. Actually, also, under the very odd conditions of Arabia, your practical work will not be as good as, perhaps, you think it is. They refused them funds, and even threatened violence against at least one State rep. Do they locate you, once the word was on the street that you were writing a book, or was it easy for you to locate them? It was, you know — they were going to build this shining city on the hill, this secular Jeffersonian democracy with the freest of free markets, and that was what they were coming to create. It impedes the entire effort in Iraq.
Where other people who may have never been in the midst of a disastrous, chaotic situation e. . How many people enter and leave it daily? They just wanted to reopen the way they were, and then make changes in an evolutionary way. One need never leave, and many never do. In the prologue to the book, Chandrasekaran states that his work does not take a side for or against the United States' invasion of Iraq, simply treating it as a given, and instead focuses purely on examining how the post-invasion occupation was handled.
And, perhaps most important, U. Out of nineteen, fifteen were from Saudi Arabia. By early 2004, I joked that I had a small militia working for me. However, after the Americans invaded, it was used as the headquarters for the American military. The result is a Catch-22 like atmosphere without the laughs.
At the same time, they haven't encouraged me to emphasize one element of the story, or one side of a story, over another. The picture is not pretty, and ties in with arguments advanced by other books on Iraq written of late. Regardless of how the war ends, Iraq is not Vietnam. They didn't know how to achieve this goal, but set about it by cocooning their staff in Saddam's luxurious palace complex, giving lots of press conferences in English and, most importantly, by only sending people who had been vetted for the 'right' political leanings. As the security situation deteriorated, I hired more guards and bought them more powerful weapons. All we really need to do was take a step back, but instead we dictated the terms of the rebuilding.
In other words, if 10% of what Chandasekaran writes is 10% true, then this was the greatest con job in the history of the American Republ Alternate Titles for this book could have been: 1. The result is a Catch-22 like atmosphere without the laughs. This is a clearly written, blessedly undidactic book. Where there any Iraqis among them? Some of his examples are particularly poignant. Fortunately, Warrick is now working closely with the U.
Future chicken table against my request. They served pork bacon for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, porkchops for dinner. Southern Efficiency in the Middle East 5. Rajiv Chandrasekaran: Well, the Kurdish north is operating reasonably well, but they've been largely autonomous since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Chandrasekaran describes how people were hired, not because they were qualified, but for their connections, starting with the top, Jerry Bremer was tied to Henry Kissinger.
It is only when seen together that the gross misconduct and the sheer negligence and dereliction of duty by the American State Department, defense contractors and Provisional Government really shines through. It continues to be shocking. However, this can, at the same time, make for a confusing narrative. One of the benefits of this endeavor could have been providing a better life for the Iraqis, but it's like Katrina on a larger scale. Loyalty to and the Republican Party was apparently the prime criterion for getting work at the C.
Halliburton brought in scores of brand new Chevy Suburbans, which people would drive around on flat wide streets. He also was employed by the U. The occupation lasted for less than 9 months. Rajiv Chandrasekaran: Bremer was among those most frustrated with the recruitment process. The lessons he draws from all of this seem to be the following: 1. America was indeed lucky to have such men at such desperate times. How will things be organized in terms of infrastructure in a year or two, given the present chaos? Chandrasekaran obviously wonders if fewer mistakes would have led to a better outcome.