To Be a Friend Is Fatal: The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind

To Be a Friend Is Fatal: The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind

Kirk W. Johnson


The “searing” (The New Yorker), “must learn” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) memoir of “one of the few actual heroes of America’s conflict in Iraq” (Dexter Filkins).

In January 2005 Kirk Johnson, then twenty-four, arrived in Baghdad as USAID’s (US enterprise for overseas improvement) simply Arabic-speaking American worker. regardless of his competition to the conflict, Johnson felt referred to as to civic accountability and desired to aid rebuild Iraq. operating because the USAID’s first reconstruction coordinator in Fallujah, he traversed the city’s IED-strewn streets, operating along idealistic Iraqi translators—young women and men in poor health of Saddam, jam-packed with Hollywood slang, and enchanted by way of the belief of a calm, democratic Iraq. It was once to not be. As sectarian violence escalated, Iraqis hired through the USA coalition came across themselves topic to a crusade of kidnapping, torture, and assassination.

On his first short holiday, Johnson, swept into what medical professionals later defined as a “fugue state,” crawled onto the ledge open air his resort window and plunged off. He could spend the subsequent yr in an abyss of melancholy, surgical procedure, and PTSD—crushed by means of having failed in Iraq. sooner or later, Johnson obtained an e-mail from an Iraqi buddy, Yaghdan: People try to kill me and that i desire your help. That e-mail introduced Johnson’s now seven-year project to get support from the U.S. govt for Yaghdan and millions of deserted Iraqis like him.

To Be a pal Is Fatal is Kirk W. Johnson’s “truly extraordinary” (Ira Glass) portrait of the human rubble of warfare and his efforts to redeem a shameful bankruptcy of yank background. “It is hard to visualize a publication extra pressing than this” (The Boston Globe).

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