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Preview — Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone
The Washington Post’s former Baghdad bureau chief Rajiv Chandrasekaran takes us with him into the Zone: into a bubble, cut off from wartime realities, where the task of rec...more
The title, “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” reflects the author’s opinion that the Green Zone was "a combination of the fantastical Wizard...more
Although Chandrasekaran begins with a narrative "I," he never really identifies himself, and then launches into details about things like relationships between State department members and Pentagon members back in Washington, making one wonder where the information is coming from. There is little direct quotation, and his presentation and interpretation of events are so mixed that it's diffic...more
1. How not to rebuild a nation you just bombed the sh*t out of
2. How to F*ck up everything you touch, the Neocon way
3. Corruption, cronyism and good old fashioned incompetence on an unforeseen scale
4. Southern Efficiency in the Middle East
5. A Confederacy of Dunces
6. Beavis and Butthead Do Iraq
You get the message. 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...more
The Coalition Provisional Authority sets up shop in one of Saddam's palaces and creates a little bubble of Americana called the Green Zone surrounded by a Baghdad teetering on and, subsequently, falling into an abyss.
The author, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, restrains hims...more
The gist of the book is that as so...more
Rajiv Chandrasekaran is with the Washington Post; he has spent time in both Afghanistan and Iraq since the American missions in both places. His experiences in Iraq as well as his interviews with those in Iraq during the time of the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority, under the control of Paul Bremer) and the precursor organization (under Jay Garner)provide important bases for this work. The picture is not pretty, and ties in with ar...more
Now I know why stories of reconstruction were so fuzzy and few. Tommy Thompson (Secy of Health and Human Services) provides a photo-op for a new hospital --- opened in the Green Zone but not presented as such. Now I know how Casey (son of Cindy) Sheehan (and 7 others) died --- Bremer closed Moqtada al-Sadr's paper without alerting the US patr...more
Beyond defeating Saddam there were few other identifiable victories during the period covered by the book. Post-war planning occurred organically, as messes developed strategies were eventually devised to co...more
This is a shocking, damning picture of the idealogically driven attempts of the Coalition Provisional Authority to rebuild Iraq after the fall of Sadaam Hussein. The utter naivity of some at the highest levels is sad, but unforgivably there is also deliberate refusal to engage with the country's actual situation in lieu of creating a utopian America of the Middle East.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, assistant managing editor of the Washington Post and its former Baghdad bureau chief, knows the landscape in Iraq as well as anyone, having spent two years in-country as a reporter. His careful, evenhanded reportage amplifies the seriousness of the problems that America still faces in Iraq. As Adam Dunn points out, "the Iraqis don't fare much better than their occupiers" under Chandrasekaran's judicious gaze. The book covers ground similar to that of Larry Diamond's Squande...more
At times the author was contradictory. Criticizing in earlier chapters that some things moved too quickly, the author would, in later chapters, criticize t...more
I'm sure some will question the author simply because he works for the Washington Post. But, if you look at exactly what he talks about, it has nothing to do with where he works. The real sins in the book are the facts. While Stephen Colbert reminds us that "facts have a liberal bias" - let's put that aside.
Here's what I question: how can we as a nation allow bri...more
Like many American books, this one didn't really describe the roles and relations...more
Real value comes not from merely reciting the facts, but from illustrating ideas from which we can learn:
- Should we never h...more
At The Post he has served as bureau chief in Baghdad, C...more