He produced the new documentary Truth, War and Consequences (on most PBS stations Thursday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m.) It's about the infighting between the Pentagon, State Department and White House, before the Iraq war, over the intelligence information about weapons of mass destruction.
In 2009, Peter Van Buren joined a team working to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and economy. For the next year, he encountered comically misguided projects, greedy contractors and oblivious bureaucrats. In his new book, We Meant Well, he recounts the ground-level waste and corruption he saw.
Journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran is the former Baghdad bureau chief for The Washington Post. His new book about the Green Zone in Baghdad during the first year of the U.S. occupation is Imperial Life in the Emerald City.
Deputy Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Ginger Cruz oversees the audit, inspection and investigation operations established to prevent waste, fraud and abuse in the U.S. reconstruction of Iraq. Cruz just returned from Iraq.
British diplomat and journalist Rory Stewart walked alone across Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban. The former fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Havard's Kennedy School of Government wrote about it in the memoir The Places in Between. Stewart was later appointed a provincial governor in post-invasion Iraq, and has a memoir about that experience as well.
In October 2003, Mark Etherington became governor of the Shiite-majority Wasit Province in Iraq. Six months later, Etherington, isolated from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, was forced to flee his headquarters in al-Kut, the province's capital.
Two big surprises awaited Paul Bremer when he arrived in Iraq: that the country's chaos made it ripe for insurgency; and that the U.S. government would withhold additional troops. Bremer became the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in May of 2003.
Stuart Bowen is the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. His office has just released its seventh Quarterly Report to Congress. The report documents how $30 billion set aside for Iraqi reconstruction was spent — and how to prevent waste and fraud. Bowen has served in the post since October 2004. Formerly, he served in the White House and was a partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Patton Boggs LLP. Bowen's ties to Bush go back to the early 1990s, when he worked in the Texas governor's office. Bowen was also an intelligence officer in the U.S.
Shadid is Islamic affairs correspondent for The Washington Post. For more than a year now he has reported from Baghdad and has just returned to the United States. He just received the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Before working for the Post, Shadid was a correspondent at The Boston Globe's Washington bureau. He spent nine years with The Associated Press, five of them in Cairo. He is the author of Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats, and the New Politics of Islam.
John Sifton serves as Afghanistan researcher with Human Rights Watch. His articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine and the International Herald Tribune. Since 2001, he has made nine trips to Afghanistan. Sifton is also an attorney.
From May of this year until September, he was in Iraq helping with the reconstruction of the Iraqi police, forming a special enforcement and investigations team, developing informants and arresting individuals on the coalition forces wanted list (those whose faces showed up on the most-wanted deck of cards). Shubbar was born and raised in Baghdad, and fled the country in 1981.
Noah Feldman is a professor of the New York University School of Law with a doctorate in Islamic Thought from Oxford. Until recently he was head of the constitutional team with the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq. He is serving as an adviser as Iraq seeks to draft a new constitution. Feldman is also the author of the new book, After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy. In the book he argues that it is time for Islamic democracies.
Chayes is a former NPR reporter, is now field director of Afghans for Civil Society. It's a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded to promote a democratic alternative and to assist in the development of a civil society. ACS involves the community in reconstruction efforts, from physical reconstruction of a bombed-out village, to organizing a women's income generating project, to launching an independent radio station. The new independent documentary Life After War chronicles the group's efforts. While at NPR, Chayes reported from Paris, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
Friedman will discuss the post-Saddam Middle East. Friedman's best-selling book is Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his coverage of the Middle East.
He is a professor of International Relations, International Law, and Middle Eastern Politics at Boston University. He's also the author of the best-selling book, A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East 1914-1922. The book details how the geography and the politics of the Middle East were shaped by decisions by the Allies during and after World War I.
She is co-director of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She will discuss many of the questions surrounding reconstruction in Iraq, such as the role of the United Nations and Iraqi exiles, the distribution of construction contracts, and the cost of reconstruction.
Mark Malloch Brown heads the United Nations Development Program. He'll discuss their efforts in Afghanistan, the West Bank and Gaza to help with reconstruction. Brown is also the chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee of the heads of all U.N. development funds, programs and departments.