The Green Zone, Baghdad, 2003: in this walled-off compound of swimming pools and luxurious amenities, Paul Bremer and his Coalition Provisional Authority set out to fashion a new, democratic Iraq. Staffed by idealistic aides chosen primarily for their views on issues such as abortion and capital punishment, the CPA spent the crucial first year of occupation pursuing goals that had little to do with the immediate needs of a postwar nation: flat taxes instead of electricity and deregulated health care instead of emergency medical supplies.
In this acclaimed firsthand account, the former Baghdad bureau chief of The Washington Post gives us an intimate portrait of life inside this Oz-like bubble, which continued unaffected by the growing mayhem outside. This is a quietly devastating tale of imperial folly, and the definitive history of those early days when things went irrevocably wrong in Iraq.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran's damning, in-depth report on life in Baghdad's Green Zone--the cordoned-off section of the city that was the seat of the U.S. military command as well as of the Coalition Provisional Authority--reveals case after case of a stunningly mismanaged post-invasion occupation. Chandrasekaran looks at a large number of people--military and civilian both--and credits those who tried to help, but also reports on outrageous behavior that was at times inept and, at other times offensive. The Coalition Provisional Authority failed to restore Iraq's infrastructure, and it was staffed, the author claims, with politically connected people who had little interest in Iraqi culture and who only made things worse. Chandrasekaran describes a surreal city-within-a-city and an occupying force in a state of collective denial about the realities just outside its perimeter--none of which escaped the notice of the Iraqi population, and which, Chandrasekaran asserts, fueled the insurgency. Selected by the New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of 2007.
- Political Science, History
- International Relations / General, Middle East / General
- September 11, 2007
- September 11, 2007
- Rajiv Chandrasekaran