Tuesday, 19 June 2007

RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN's "Imperial Life in the Emerald City"

Even after the years of absurdity in Iraq, the Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran and his book, "Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone" somehow manages to surprise and horrify in equal measure.

From the official site, here are a couple of excerpts from the book's description:
"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 reconstructing a devastated nation competed with the distractions of a Little America—a half-dozen bars stocked with cold beer, a disco where women showed up in hot pants, a movie theater that screened shoot-’em-up films, an all-you-could-eat buffet piled high with pork, a shopping mall that sold pornographic movies, a parking lot filled with shiny new SUVs, and a snappy dry-cleaning service—much of it run by Halliburton. Most Iraqis were barred from entering the Emerald City for fear they would blow it up."

And insight into the work of Paul Bremer:
"In the vacuum of postwar planning, Bremer ignores what Iraqis tell him they want or need and instead pursues irrelevant neoconservative solutions—a flat tax, a sell-off of Iraqi government assets, and an end to food rationing. His underlings spend their days drawing up pie-in-the-sky policies, among them a new traffic code and a law protecting microchip designs, instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity production. His almost comic initiatives anger the locals and help fuel the insurgency."
Here is the VBS tv interview with Rajiv:

The book has recently won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction and is published by Random House.

Official Site
Excerpt from the book
The Washington Post
BBC Article
Guardian Article
Random House

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