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books... - The Villages

hutch0
Date: 2008-01-18 23:14
Subject: books...
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:calmcalm
Music:genesis
I gave up on The God Delusion and instead read Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life In The Emerald City, which is a clear-eyed, meticulous and very entertaining - if I can use the word in this context - account of what went wrong in Iraq after the initial invasion. Much of the blame seems to be laid at the door of a turf war between the State Department and Department of Defence (sorry, Defense) about who was running the reconstruction effort. The rest of it is down to the fact that nobody appears to have known what they were doing, and those who did appear to have been sidelined as soon as they spoke up.
Chandrasekaran was the Washington Post's Baghdad bureau chief and he writes like a master. It's an object lesson in good, clear journalism. And apparently it's now being filmed.
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jmward14
User: jmward14
Date: 2008-01-19 03:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Haven't read the books in question, but for those of us on the ground in the Pentagon and State, the problem was Iraq needed the equivalent of a Marshall Plan on steroids. Unfortunately, the powers that be weren't interested in investing in democracy. They wanted quick and easy pickings. Based on my acquaintances among the politicals who were getting medals for their so-called reconstruction work, nobody bothered to study recent Iraqi political history, much less the root causes of its sectarian strife.
Hugs and headshakes,
Jean Marie
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-01-19 15:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Also, with the end of Bush's first term coming up and the US elections looming, there was enormous pressure to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis as a sign that everything was okay, so plans were truncated, rushed through, or simply dropped.
According to Chandrasekaran, there weren't enough people, there wasn't enough money, there wasn't nearly enough planning, and completely unsuitable people were put in charge of things simply because they had connections to Bush or Cheney or Halliburton, or were Bush loyalists.
Good book.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-01-19 17:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As a tangential note, it's a crying shame that, even in the few years since Chandrasekaran was doing all this excellent stuff for the Washington Post, the newspaper that could once boast about busting open Watergate has not just gone downhill but plummeted: a lot of it these days (or, at least, by time I gave up reading it a year or so ago) seems to have become the sort of loyal-transcription-of-Administration-spin you expect from the Murdoch tabloids. A real tragedy for US journalism -- and, I'd suggest, for US democracy -- that we've lost one of the best.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-01-19 18:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I dunno. The Post isn't what it was, but it continues to do valuable reporting. Their recent and ongoing investigation into Walter Reed and the state of healthcare given to returning service personnel was as good as anything I've seen anywhere, and vitally important.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-01-19 19:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Do you subscribe (it's free) to Media Matters for America? If not, I'll dig out the details of where to sign up, if you'd like.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-01-20 23:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That sounds interesting. Yes, I'd like to have a look at that.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-01-20 23:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've sent you samples off-list. If anyone else reading this is interested, the thing to do to sign up (it's free) for daily round-ups and a weekly "op-ed" is go to http://mediamatters.org and look for the box near top right.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-01-20 23:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thanks for that; I'll look at those tomorrow, if I may. I've been copy-editing for twelve hours and I'm starting to see little green dragons everywhere. I'm off to bed.
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