Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Trusted America the Most
Journalist George Packer is out with an article in the New Yorker about the Iraqis who gave up everything to help the Americans in Iraq. They now fear for their lives and the U.S. has refused to help.
Packer was on Fresh Air with Terry Gross this morning.
Millions of Iraqis, spanning the country’s religious and ethnic spectrum welcomed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But the mostly young me and women who embraced America’s project so enthusiastically that they wer prepared to risk their lives for it may constitute Iraq’s smallest minority. I cam across them in every city: the young man in Mosul who loved Metallica an signed up to be a translator at a U.S. Army base; the DVD salesman in Naja whose plans to study medicine were crushed by Baath Party favoritism, and wh offered his services to the first American Humvee that entered his city. They ha learned English from American movies and music, and from listening secretly t the BBC. Before the war, their only chance at a normal life was to flee th country—a nearly impossible feat. Their future in Saddam’s Iraq was, as th Metallica fan in Mosul put it, “a one-way road leading to nothing.” I thought o them as oddballs, like misunderstood high-school students whose isolation end when they go off to college. In a similar way, the four years of the war create intense friendships, but they were forged through collective disappointment. Th arc from hope to betrayal that traverses the Iraq war is nowhere more vivid tha in the lives of these Iraqis. America’s failure to understand, trust, and protect it closest friends in Iraq is a small drama that contains the larger history of defeat.