We are happy to see that this week, National Public Radio is interviewing Americans who have been working on the ground in Iraq. Every morning on the “All Things Considered” hour, listeners hear from Americans across a spectrum that includes international development workers, military service members and others.
Monday’s interview featured Lt. Col. Robbie Robbins, an Army reservist from North Carolina where he is an assistant school principle. He shares his experiences as an overseer of Iraqi national police training. He says that Iraqis believe in their country and want to create a free and democratic Iraq. Just to be trained for the Iraqi national police they must risk their lives and enter an environment where “it’s at least 50/50 that they’ll get killed that day,” says Lt. Col. Robbins. Although it is shadowed by the dire situation in Iraq, the Army reservist’s own optimism is evident. “When I left, I felt like I left a country that, if it survived, it’d be the best think in the world for all of us.”
Tuesday’s “All Things Considered” featured an interview with Karen Diop, an aid worker in the Iraq program of America’s Development Foundation (ADF). Karen was forced to shut down the Iraq program after the U.S. failed to provide enough funding. She believes that Iraq will fall apart and that organizations such as ADF need to be present in order to help people cope with the situation. However, Karen also believes that there must be a “critical mass of Iraqis [who] need to decide to move their country forward.” A U.S. military presence along with development organizations could “keep the democratic space open” in order to reach that critical mass and to rebuild the country.
We are delighted to see NPR’s interviews with those who have worked on the ground, which complement our own Ground Truth Interviews, which you can read here. Stay tuned to NPR all week to hear more from people Lt. Col. Robbins and Karen Diop.