Anne Garrels on Iraq and Afghanistan

I’ve been listening to Anne Garrels on NPR for years. Yesterday, at a WNPR function in Hartford, Connecticut, I got a chance to put a face to a voice. She is best known for her riveting Iraq war coverage, but has covered other Middle Eastern subjects, Russia, and other topics during her 22 years working on NPR’s foreign desk.

She spoke to a packed room that was hanging on every word she said. It wasn’t that we hadn’t heard or read the things that she shared about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the subsequent wars in the Middle East, the corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ineptitude of the US military, and other sordid events. It was the way she said it. In person, with an intensity that can’t be described, she passionately explained how bad things were and remain.

I couldn’t help but think how big the disconnect is from the average US citizen to what goes on in those countries. I was slack-jawed and that doesn’t happen too often, especially when I’m not surprised by the news. Again, it wasn’t what she said, but the force with which she said it. She was so convincing. Naturally, she is presenting her perspective, but let’s be real, she is a professional journalist with a serious pedigree. She is very credible. To once again hear how ignorant our political and military leadership was during those years that she was in Iraq, is downright depressing. She remains pessimistic about the future of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’m going to get her book, Naked in Baghdad to learn more. It was great to have Anne Garrels back in Connecticut and I hope that she keeps sharing her tales and doesn’t change a thing about her delivery. It was spot on.

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