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Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (2006)
Finalist for the National Book Award, this is the startling portrait of an Oz-like place where a vital aspect of our government's folly in Iraq played out. In this unprecedented account, the Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief, Raviv Chandrasekaran, takes us with him into the Green Zone, headquarters for the American occupation of Iraq. In this bubble, cut off from wartime realities, where the task of reconstructing a devastated nation competed with the distractions of a Little America were a half-dozen bars stocked with cold beer, a disco where women showed up in hot pants, a shopping mall, and a parking lot filled with shiny new SUV's, much of it run by Halliburton. The country is put into the hands of inexperienced twentysomethings chosen for their Republican Party loyalty. Ignoring what Iraqis say they want or need, the team pursues irrelevant neoconservative solutions and pie-in-the-sky policies instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity. Their almost comic initiatives anger the locals and fuel the insurgency. Most Iraqis were barred from entering the Emerald City for fear they would blow it up.
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