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Archive | Iraq Dispatches

A collection of Dahr Jamail's reporting on US-occupied Iraq between 2003 - 2009.

Cultural Cleansing in Iraq: Why Museums Were Looted, Libraries Burned and Academics Murdered

1 April 2010

Battle to destroy hearts and minds

The dismantling of Iraqi intellectual life may have been a deliberate strategy, Roger Matthews learns

(Dahr Jamail contributed a chapter to this book.)

I first went to Iraq in 1984 to work on archaeological excavations near Mosul. Our workers were Yezidis from the neighbouring villages and together we worked long hours in the hot sun. Over the following few years I lived in Iraq as resident director of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq and worked on projects all over the country. We suspected then that we might be living the last years of a golden age of Mesopotamian discovery, uncovering Iraq’s uniquely rich and important cultural heritage in collaboration with colleagues from Iraq and many other countries. Continue Reading →

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BNet Reviews ‘Will to Resist’

Praising The Will to Resist as “an eminently readable account that, once started, cannot be put down,” online business journal BNet provides a short write-up:

Award-winning independent journalist Dahr Jamail’s The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan is the true story of those within the U.S. military service whose consciences prompt them to resist the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. From battalions that refuse orders, to active-duty soldiers who sign antiwar petitions, individual soldiers who refuse redeployment, those who dare to take a public stand against the occupation, and more, The Will to Resist is a fascinating examination of what motivates such opposition amid the United States’ loyal defending force. The Will to Resist is not a politically neutral book; chapters reflect a decidedly negative and critical view of the American occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the heart of The Will to Resist is not its politics, but rather the true stories of the men and women who serve–and who choose to resist what they perceive as unjust, whether it be sexism, discrimination, or apparent crimes of war. An eminently readable account that, once started, cannot be put down.

Order the book from Amazon.

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Tomgram: Michael Schwartz, Twenty-First-Century Colonialism in Iraq

One of the earliest metaphors President George W. Bush and some of his top officials wielded in their post-invasion salad days in Iraq involved bicycles. The question was: Should we take the “training wheels” off the Iraqi bike (of democracy)? Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, for example, commented smugly on the way getting Iraq “straightened out” was like teaching your kid to ride a bike:


“They’re learning, and you’re running down the street holding on to the back of the seat. You know that if you take your hand off they could fall, so you take a finger off and then two fingers, and pretty soon you’re just barely touching it. You can’t know when you’re running down the street how many steps you’re going to have to take. We can’t know that, but we’re off to a good start.”

That image (about as patronizingly colonial as they come) of the little pedaling Iraqi child with an American parent running close behind, was abandoned when around the first corner, as it turned out, was an insurgent with an rocket-propelled grenade. Many years and many disasters later, though, Americans, whether in the Obama administration, the Washington punditocracy, or the media are still almost incapable of not being patronizing when it comes to Iraq. Take a typical recent piece of “news analysis” in the New York Times by a perfectly sharp journalist, Alissa J. Rubin. It was headlined in print “America’s New Role in Iraq Prompts a Search for Means of Influence” and focused, in part, on Vice President Joe Biden’s recent trip there supposedly to “assuage” Iraqi feelings that they are being “moved to the bottom shelf.” Continue Reading →

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Iraqi Doctors in Hiding

Seventy percent of Iraq’s doctors are reported to have fled the war-torn country in the face of death threats and kidnappings. Those who remain live in fear, often in conditions close to house arrest. Dahr Jamail and Jason Coppola speak with doctors in a Baghdad hospital about life during war and occupation.

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