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Green Zone [Copertina flessibile]

Rajiv Chandrasekaran

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Le recensioni clienti più utili su (beta) 4.6 su 5 stelle  211 recensioni
157 di 162 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Where Are Those New Traffic Codes I Asked For? 26 novembre 2006
Di Bucherwurm - Pubblicato su
Formato:Copertina rigida|Acquisto verificato
Here's how it works. You have a degree in, let's say, English Literature, and your resume says that your entire work experience has been working on the campaign of Republican senator Schmurtz. You apply for a job working for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq, and sigh in relief at passing the hardball questions asked of you like, "How do you stand on Roe vs. Wade?", and "Whom did you vote for in the last presidential election?" Finally you end up in Baghdad's green zone, and are put to work designing a new traffic code, or trying to set up a computerized stock exchange.

Maybe your name is James Haveman, a 60 year old social worker. I don't know if we have a job for you. Wait, you are a true party loyalist? How about taking over the Iraqi health care system? Currently we have a gentleman running it named Frederick Burkle, Jr. He's a physician with an MA in public health, postgraduate degrees from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and UC Berkeley. He specializes in disaster-response issues, a subject he taught at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The problem with him is we aren't sure he is a Republican loyalist. So Jim why don't you go over and take his place?

I am definitely not making this up. If this were a novel by, say, Carl Hiaasen, it would be the funniest book of the year. Tragically, this is real life. I finished this book right after reading "Fiasco", and don't know if I can take many more recountings of the disaster that is Iraq.

The folks that were sent to Iraq to build a new nation made all the wrong decisions at just the right time. They were literally trying to turn Iraq into a little USA. The new traffic codes and the new regulations for the stock exchange? The Iraqis read them through, and carefully filed them in the circular file. Another big idea was to sell of the assets of state run companies and attract private investors. Selling an occupied countrys' assets is a clear violation of International Law. And there were no investors in the whole world who were interested in these companies. The CPA eliminated all import tariffs, so Iraqis bought 500,000 cars in the first year of occupation. Of course this meant mile long lines at gas stations, and when you finally got your gas you entered total gridlock on streets that were often full of military roadblocks.

This is another fascinating book on the disaster of Iraq. It'll make you angry and cry out in frustration, but all of us need to know what is going on over there.
315 di 341 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Absorbing--Joins FIASCO, Hubris, Squandered Victory, and End of Iraq 30 settembre 2006
Di Robert David STEELE Vivas - Pubblicato su
Formato:Copertina rigida|Acquisto verificato
This book was so absorbing that it kept me up past midnight. I had to finish it. It is unique, focusing in a very easy to read way on the terrible errors committed that made Bremer's rule a complete failure.

The author documents both the unreality of the Green Zone ("The fear on the faces of American troops was rarely seen by the denizens of the Palace") and the terrible errors that resulted from arrogance, ignorance, and plain bureaucratic in-fighting.

The author opens by concluding that most of those serving in the provisional authority simply gave up and went through the motions. He calls them a motley bunch, most qualified by allegiance to the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party, rather than actually being competent or even relevant. The author makes an informed speculative judgement that fully half of those serving, many callow youths, got their first passport to take the political appointments in Iraq. Great line from one disillusioned staffer: "I'm a neo-conservative who has been mugged by reality."

Bremer screwed this up, but it was Dick Cheney who chose him for the job and got General Garner fired. Dick Cheney also personally directed the removal of Tom Warrick, the only person in the US government that actually understood Iraq in all its nuances, from the Garner team, largely to protect Chalabi--a thief and a liar according to CIA and State, a willing accomplice who sucked up to Cheney--and block objections to Chalabi being installed as the leader.

The author also reports that Doug Feith kept General Garner ignorant in order to promote Chalabi as the one with the answers.

The bottom line within this book comes in four parts:

1) Bureaucratic in-fighting and Pentagon civilian arrogance lost the peace before it even had a chance.

2) Looting destroyed all the ministries while the sanctions destroyed the infrstructure. The US made things worse by insisting on hiring US companies playing by US federal acquisition rules, and ultimately spending 40% of the money on security instead of reconstruction.

3) Bremer single-handedly destroyed any possibilities of peace with his first two decisions--purging the Bathists not only drove 50,000 people, the ones with all the knowledge, underground, it provided the insurgency with its leadership. Dismantling the military and police created an army of insurgents overnight. Finally, in seeking to privatize the Iraqi economy, Bremer and his deputies were in specific violation of international law preventing occupying powers from doing just that.

4) Bremer set aside the inter-agency process (just as Dick Cheney did in Washington) and while the author credits Bremer with zeal, it can safely be concluded that he was the most ignorant, arrogant, destructive pro-consul in modern history. Common sense was killed by the Bremer and his CPA.

From Cheney to Rumsfeld to Wolfowitz to Feith to Bremer, there is a clear-cut culpability for destroying what was left of Iraq, for wasting half a trillion dollars, for losing more US troops to combat than were murdered on 9/11, and for creating 65,000 amputees, all for an elective war and a refusal to listen to the wisdom of the truly experienced officers: Tony Zinni of the Marines and Shinseki of the Army. It does bear mention, however, that the success of these four individuals in doing great harm was made possible by the simultaneous failure of three safety valves: the Congress, the press, and our senior military officers, most particularly General Tommy Franks, who was all to eager to do Rumsfeld's bidding, declare victory, and never mind the transition from hostilities to a stablization & reconstruction phase.

All four books together are a compelling indictment of the Bush-Cheney administration, and confirm my view that between them, Cheney and Rumsfeld, between giving Sadaam Hussein chemical weapons in the 1990's, and lying to America to justify an elective war and then screwing it up with Bremer, have done vastly more harm to the publics and people of America, Iraq, and Iran combined, than have Bin Laden and Saddaam Hussein himself. This is my informed judgement as the #1 Amazon reviewer of non-fiction; they have cost America its moral standing, half a trillion dollars better spent on peace, 65,000 amputees, more US dead that were murdered on 9/11, and have destroyed the lives of millions of decent people around the world and especially in the Middle East and the USA.

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34 di 35 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Fascinating, Frustrating, Eye-Opening Account of Iraq under the CPA 6 gennaio 2007
Di Craig Jacobson - Pubblicato su
Formato:Copertina rigida
While most debates about the Iraq War focus on the strength of the military presence - are there enough troops, etc - Chandrasekaran's inside perspective paints the failure in Iraq clearly as a political and civil failing, where there were not enough officials to rebuild the infrastructure, and those that were there had their positions because of their connections, and not their credentials. While officials continue to insist that the war "will be won," it becomes clear here that the war was lost soon after the statue of Saddam fell, when looting (which was not stopped, because officials had not made it a priority, and orders to protect certain areas were not communicated to troops) destroyed the nation's ministries, and thus their ability to govern. We see an insurgency born not because of differing political philosophies, but because the CPA was completely unable to provide jobs and even the substandard government services that the Iraqi people had under Saddam's reign.

A frustrating book to read as well, as you realize that the insurgency might have been stunted before it took hold had the CPA been either competent or qualified. The desire to have "good Republicans" in key roles as opposed to experienced experts might have cost us this war and a golden opportunity to bring democracy to the region. An important book to read to not only understand why we failed, but also to gauge our chances of success going forward.
29 di 29 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Doh! 15 gennaio 2007
Di Parola138 - Pubblicato su
Formato:Copertina rigida
This book walks you beneath a war that, until now, I had only known via tv, blog, and magazine. I think every american, regardless or left or right wing should read. I am a conservative and noticed that the author seems to take shots here and there about key players being neocons, but also I suppose he's assigning blame where blame is due. What makes this book so scary is how embarassing all of it is. You see how our government pretty much threw their friends and cronies into power, and those friends ruined the direction in iraq. Regardless of what side you stand on politically, you owe it to yourself to read this eye--opening inside account of the Iraq mess. I kept hearing Homer Simpson say, "Doh," in the back of my head while reading.
46 di 50 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Good Stuff 19 settembre 2006
Di Reader - Pubblicato su
Formato:Copertina rigida
This enlightening book is clearly written and very disturbing, a revealing look at what happens when American idealism and bravado mixes with ignorance and incompetence in an already dangerous place. The on-the-ground glimpses of life in the Green Zone give this book the weight of reality, though you'll wish it were fiction.

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