Sunday, October 7, 2007

Week 3 part 1

Part 1

1) Summarize what you've read as if you were creating a Spark Notes version of the memoir.

Chapter one-The author, Rajiv Chandresekaran, narrates the story. The cafeteria in the republican palace has very American food. Everyone has a very patriotic mood and nobody questions America's role in Iraq. The cooks are all either Pakistani or Indian. All of the people working in the palace separate themselves into cliques and that is how they seat themselves in the cafeteria. The customer service liaison from Halliburton makes sure that everyone feels more or less at home in the palace. The Palace was the headquarters for the Coalition Provisional Authority or CPA. The CPA was Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004. They did everything a government would do. The palace was Versailles on the Tigris. It was very luxurious. As many jobs that could be outsourced as possible were. The green zone quickly became Baghdad's little America. The coalition staffers lived in trailers outside the palace. The area around the trailers had many shops and restaurants. The law in the green zone was strictly American and was enforced by military police. Mark Schroeder comments on how much it feels like America. He explains how all of the amenities they have make it seem a lot like home. Mark Schroeder is an analyst who is working for the CPA in Baghdad. In the first few weeks of the occupation, it was safe enough to drive around the streets of Baghdad alone. When leaving the green zone one had to be escorted by two cars, both of which had to have machine guns in them. The author would go around the city outside the green zone to do activities that the people inside the green zone would deem unimaginable. The people inside the green zone would never experience the real Baghdad, the one just outside the walls. The Iraqis who wanted to enter the green zone all had very different stories. A bombing of a Shrine in central Baghdad killed many people, but the Americans didn't discuss a word of it.

Chapter two-Shortly after American tanks had toppled the statue of Saddam in front of the Palestine hotel, the author got his first look inside the green zone. Looters had attempted to get inside the green zone, and some succeeded. The looting was kept under control by a Lieutenant named Joe Peppers. He showed Rajiv around the palace. Pres. George Bush gave the order to start planning for the war in Iraq a few months after September 11. He put Doug Feith in charge of the planning. Feith then put a man by the name of Jay Garner in charge of post-war planning. Garner assembled a group of his old buddies to help him with the planning. He was making a plan for Iraq but, at the same time a group at the pentagon was doing the very same thing just in case Garner's plan wasn't good enough. Garner arrived in Kuwait a month before the invasion to prepare for his move into Iraq. When he could finally get a palace -the Republican Palace- he was able to start organizing his forces to run Iraq.

Chapter three-In the days immediately following the liberation of Baghdad, looters were everywhere in the city causing chaos. They looted nearly all of the ministries where Garner and his staff had been planning on using as offices. This created a problem with where they were going to work. Finding no better place, they eventually decided on using the Republican Palace due to it's massive size. Tim Carney, who was called in to help Garner, had been a diplomat in many exotic places. Seeing as though the ministry of industry was thoroughly bombed, the ministers met at the state company for batteries. Employees of the factory wanted non-baathist leaders and held up banners outside the factory that said the same. The post-war planners made efforts to put some political exiles, which had been chosen by the U.S., into power in a temporary government. The CPA staffers who needed plenty of amenities, were ignored by the military who wanted to supply only the true necessities. Tim Carney had been prepared and brought things which proved their usefulness over time. Carney wrote in a journal every night and sometimes write his doubts about the U.S.'s plan for Iraq. In order to create a fair and balanced council-which would decide on the government-the CPA had a conference at the convention center where they picked out individuals they saw fit to be in the council.

Chapter four-The man put in charge of post-war Iraq was Paul Bremer. He visited a school and promised to supply it with money, teachers, and security. He toured around Baghdad doing this with other establishments promising to bring them supplies and others things like that. Bremer had doubts about the number of troops that were deployed in Iraq. He was made viceroy and was given very absolute power. He made sure that all staffers responded to him and only him. He wanted to keep total control. Bremer's past made him a very good candidate for viceroy. He had served many years in the military and even more as a diplomat. He implemented a plan for "de-baathification" which was the elimination of baath party members in the government. This plan was viewed as foolish and even stupid by almost everyone, but Bremer had the authority and acted on his plan. His plan nearly destroyed the ministries in which it was acted on and made the upper levels of the government shaky at best. The armies of Iraq were mostly neutralized before the war even began. American planes dropped leaflets telling soldiers in the Iraqi army to disband and return to their normal lives. This worked for the national army, but the Republican guard stayed intact and still fought the U.S. and coalition forces. The national army was needed again later to police the city, but having all of the soldiers return to their barracks could have disastrous effects. Bremer's next action disbanded all soldiers from all branches of the military. This had the soldiers in an uproar because they had no jobs and therefore had no money. This became a problem later, because many of the soldiers later became insurgents.

2) Research the author of your book and write a short biography in your own words. Cite your sources. Leave internet links to your sources. DO NOT COPY AND PASTE. Include a photo of the author and cite the source for the photo.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran is an American journalist. He is currently working as assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, where he has been working since 1994. Born in the San Francisco bay area, he got a degree in political science from Stanford, where he was editor-in-chief of The Stanford Daily. At The Washington Post, he has worked as bureau chief in Baghdad, Cairo, and Southeast Asia, and as a correspondent covering the war in Afghanistan. In 2004 he was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a journalist-in-residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. I found my facts at this site (Picture included above right) Photo taken by David Shankbone

Part 2

1) Write a journal entry post of the entire book up to this point. Discuss the book's strengths and weaknesses in your mind; talk about your feelings about the issues brought up; relate the book to real life and perhaps your own life; make predictions; discuss your feelings related to the book.
The book's strengths are very apparent as you read into the book. The story picks up relatively quickly and once it gets going doesn't stop very often. A weakness is that the story skips around from time to time. It has sort of a flashback feel with the story sometimes switching story lines mid-page. This is however a good way to keep the story changing. Another strength would be the fact that there is a lot of information which is mostly unbiased. Considering a journalist wrote the book, I am surprised at how unbiased it is. Another weakness of the book would be that, without any background knowledge, the information can go right over your head and you will have to re-read some parts. All in all there are many weaknesses of the book but the strengths outweigh the weakness, making it a very good book so far. The book has really opened my eyes to how badly the situation in Iraq was handled and it really explains why all the stuff that's going on in Iraq is happening. Reading the book has really had me questioning why we went into Iraq so quickly and once there why we didn't have enough troops to handle the city of Baghdad. This book relates to real life because, we are in the Iraq war and it is a continuously growing problem.

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