• Profiting from Government Service: Zalmay Khalilzad Sucks the Bone Dry

    November 19, 2012

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Democracy, Embassy/State, Iraq, Other Ideas

    One of the many things the State Department was up my butt about was that by writing a book about their failures in Iraq, I somehow wrongly “profited from government service.”

    Leaving aside how lowly first-time authors are treated in the contract world (I signed away rights to all the Beatles’ early songs), let’s instead drop in on former State Department employee Zalmay Khalilzad. Zal, as he is known to many, was former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United Nations during the glory years of the Bush Decade o’ Horrors. That’s Zal in the photo, on the right.

    Given that, you’d expect Zal might be at a mountain top Zen (or Zal) monastery, seeking forgiveness. Instead, he runs Gryphon Partners, a consulting firm that, among other things, goes after US Government contracts in Afghanistan. He sits on the boards of the American University of Iraq in Suleymania, and the American University of Afghanistan. None of this could possibly be a conflict of interest, nor anything close to profiting from his government service.

    (An aside. My old boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, must be proud of her daughter Chelsea. Chelsea, age 31 and a grad student, has been working on the board of Barry Diller’s media company, a gig that pays $50k a year with a $250,000 stock signing bonus. None of this had anything at all to do with Mom and Dad’s government service. I’m having my daughter send off a resume today).

    Back to Zal. Zal has the stones to write a “think piece” on Foreign Policy bitching about losing a contract to the Chinese in Afghanistan, whining that “flaws in the Pentagon-backed process mean that state-owned Chinese companies are at an advantage over private companies.

    Private companies such as his own firm.

    Balls, the man has balls. Maybe I should hire his consulting firm to represent me on my next book deal, for the win!

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  • Recent Comments

    • Andrey said...


      “Some animals are more equal than others”, I guess.

      11/19/12 2:07 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Somewhere between the “IN” and “OUT” of the Government/Corporate/Wallstreet revolving door, someone needs to leave an IED. A BIG one.

      11/19/12 3:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “I somehow wrongly “profited from government service.”

      Yes, by writing the truth. It makes the rest of the lying bastards who sell out look bad. Shame on you.

      11/19/12 3:35 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      When will Bradley Manning write a book? Here’s a good introduction:

      “We Nobel Peace Prize laureates condemn the persecution Bradley Manning has suffered, including imprisonment in conditions declared “cruel, inhuman and degrading” by the United Nations, and call upon Americans to stand up in support of this whistleblower who defended their democratic rights. In the conflict in Iraq alone, more than 110,000 people have died since 2003, millions have been displaced and nearly 4,500 American soldiers have been killed. If someone needs to be held accountable for endangering Americans and civilians, let’s first take the time to examine the evidence regarding high-level crimes already committed, and what lessons can be learned. If Bradley Manning released the documents, as the prosecution contends, we should express to him our gratitude for his efforts toward accountability in government, informed democracy and peace.”

      11/19/12 3:48 PM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...



      11/20/12 8:07 AM | Comment Link

    • Jack Smith said...


      The threat of a good example no doubt?

      11/22/12 9:02 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyle Long said...


      Zalmay Khalilzad is not, and has never been, a member of the board of trustees of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. http://auis.edu.iq/board_of_trustees

      01/26/13 5:34 AM | Comment Link

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