Live from the war

Robert Birnbaum, of IdentityTheory fame, has an interview with Anne Garrels posted at The Morning News. In this interesting and wide ranging interview Garrels, a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio and author of Naked in Baghdad, discusses the uniqueness of radio as a medium in covering war; what she thinks the situtation is on the ground in Iraq; the odd life of a war correspondent; and more. Here are a few quotes I found interesting:

– On post-war Iraq:

What worries me about Iraq – I would love to go back to Afghanistan – I spent a long time there but I got shifted over in the last year – is the danger that what was a potential threat would turn into a concrete threat. If the security situation is not resolved, if Iraqis don’t begin to have confidence that they can really operate with some modicum of safety and they can work with these people. Many of them would like to work with the United States to build a country. They are scared because people are being targeted. It’s a minority who are doing this, shadowy groups, but they are terrifying. I was in one village recently. A mysterious list emerged of 25 collaborators with the U.S. And one of them was a translator for the military. He was assassinated, shot in the back of the head as he was walking home from work. You just have to kill one person. It’s the tyranny of the shadowy minority who are willing to – they hit oil pipelines. They hit electrical pylons; that’s criminals and saboteurs. They are very clever at going at the heart of the U.S. promise of making life better for Iraqis, or that life would be better after Saddam. Well, it’s not better for most people. Yet.

– On picking the title and writting her book:

It was based on my notebooks but they weren’t in full sentences and in any real coherent form. I had to compose it based on my notebooks, so the publisher was going, ‘We have to come up with a title.’ So while Naked In Baghdad is in some ways undignified, it’s also very truthful because I was unprotected from October on. And there is a double meaning, literal and figurative. I was just winging it and as the clock ticked down making the decision to stay. The bombing wasn’t the issue. It was whether or not the Iraqis would decide to take us hostage. Or use us in a final desperate gamble.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).