• Thanks to George Washington University

    April 4, 2012

    Posted in: Iraq

    My thanks to the nice folks at the Elliot School, George Washington University in DC, for giving me the chance to speak to a group of close to one hundred students and faculty. The group included a number of international development professionals, as well as grad students in that field, whose informed questions made it all the more obvious why sending amateurs from the State Department to reconstruct Iraq could not possibly end in anything but the failure we experienced. Note to US Government: Please budget for adult supervision in our next rebuilding/reconstruction effort abroad.

    One question from the audience stood out.

    A student asked who in the State Department had spoken to me about the contents of my book, the errors and mismanagement I wrote about. The answer of course was no one. Not a single person in the entire State Department has asked me about what I saw and chronicled. Kind of a poor showing for an organization that purports to represent free speech abroad and dissent within in its own ranks.

    On the other hand, since the publication of this book, my commentary has appeared in the New York Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Foreign Policy, Rolling Stone, TomDispatch.com and elsewhere. I have been interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air and All Things Considered, as well as Democracy Now. I have spoken with with journalists from the UK, Russia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Japan, and at several major universities, the National Press Center twice and with Army units deploying for Afghanistan. I have appeared on camera in two documentaries and am now working with Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker James Spione (Incident in New Baghdad). My book is also assigned reading in a course taught at George Washington University.

    The audience noted the discrepancy.

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  • Recent Comments

    • jim at ranger said...


      Were you officially debriefed orally and in writing after your Iraq assignment?

      04/5/12 12:38 AM | Comment Link

    • Administrator said...


      Nope. No one from the State Dept was interested, even after I tried to get appointments to talk to folks both in Baghdad and again in Washington. The only person I spoke with that might count as a debrief was an Army historian, though he was mostly interested in my take on events that happened with the units I was embedded with and not so much on the PRT/reconstruction side.

      04/5/12 1:00 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      What, no invitation from Georgetown U, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service?

      04/5/12 1:16 PM | Comment Link

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