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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 28, 2012 8:00am-9:00am EST

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since. she now weighs nearly a thousand pounds. malee is doing quite well. our new house and exhibit overall is quite incredible and there is rex. rex is our new african oliphant. he is 43 years old. he has just moved here from canada. i tend to think he is quite handsome. i like his rugged good looks. it doesn't matter what i think. we are hoping that malee's mother and aunt think he is equally as handsome because he would like to see them have a brother or sister or cousin real soon. sosa eight to keep supporting one of the world's greatest news. i mentioned earlier that we have created a 80 or have a talented
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twentysomethings adoptions about where to live are choosing to live in oklahoma city. while you're eating lunch today, the oklahoma city under an ounce russell westbrook ascended new long-term contract oklahoma city. [applause] so congratulations. we appreciate everything you do for us. thank you. >> welcome to c-span2's booktv. every weekend we brung you 48 hours of books on history, biographies and public affairs by nonfiction authors. >> i do believe that the west for all of its historical shortcomings -- and i am scawting in my book -- scathing in my book in discussing these shortcomings because they have to be admitted -- for all of these shortcomings, the west
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still today represents the most acceptable and workable, universeally workable political culture. >> in 1991 the united states was the only global superpower. today how to restore its status in the world from former national security adviser brzezinski on his strategic vision, tonight at 10 eastern on "after words." also this weekend on booktv, did fdr use world war ii as a cover to create a more powerful executive branch? burton and anita folsom later as 11. and sunday night at 10, the new privacy is no privacy. lorry andrews on how your rights are being eroded by social networks. booktv, every weekend on c-span2. up next, william doyle tells the story of captain travis patriquin which greatly reduced the influence of al-qaeda in
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iraq. the captain was killed by a roadside bomb l that same year. this is about an hour. >> hi, everyone, thanks for coming. we're here to hear from william doyle, the award-winning author of "american insurrection" and "inside the oval office," and he's here talking about his new book, "a soldier's dream." >> thanks very much, and thanks to the lillian vernon writers' house for having me. i'd like to talk a bit about my book, "a soldier's dream," and then ask darin and the audience for questions about it. this book came about as the result of my reading a newspaper article in the summer of 2007 about a young american soldier who was being hailed as a martyr by iraqis.
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and when i read that story, i thought, boy, that sounds interesting. how did that happen, who is this man? and he had died in an ied attack. the man's name was captain travis patriquin, and in the history of the iraq war, i'd never heard of such a thing, about an american soldier being hailed as a martyr. this happened in the city that was then the epicenter of the iraqi insurgency. and, in fact, at the memorial service, army specialists, a delegation of iraqi sheikhs and army and security officers came in to pay their respects to the fallen americans and to offer islamic prayers of mourning for them which was a striking scene in the history of the iraq war. i had to find out more about this story, and as i interviewed scores of travis patriquin's american and iraqi colleagues, i came to realize that perhaps his
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story is critical to understanding america's role on the world stage in the post-bin laden, post-arab spring era, and maybe even to discover more about what it truly means to be an american. the historical impact of what travis and his colleagues did was rather striking. in fact, i came to realize that patriquin was a key player at a key moment in the iraq war. in fact, the war began to turn around in mid 2006, months before the famous surge started happening, as patriquin and his military and intelligence colleagues helped iraqis launch manager that was call -- something that was called the awakening, a sunni be tribal revolt against al-qaeda. al-qaeda, of course, has nebraska really conquered -- has never really conquered and held large pieces of territory in the world. there are some exceptions, but what happened in anbar province was al-qaeda basically
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conquered the province, and they set up a parallel government. sharia law, courts, parallel ministries even of government. and the rule of this version of radical, radical islam or anti-islam i would call it was so offensive, that the local iraqis rebelled against it, and we helped them, and the awakening was born. the awakening facilitated the surge, and both turning points helped save iraq from what was a total collapse and a total full-scale civil war in 2006 to a different kind of outcome which is still terribly dangerous, but it's transformed in the last five years. and i, first, wanted to though who travis patriquin was. who is this man who iraqis said helped shape the course of the iraq war. he was actually born in the midwest, and he joined the army on the day he finished high school in 1993. he was a devout catholic and
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christian who happened to believe that -- he refused to believe that his religion was right and other religions were wrong with. in fact, he studied the koran very carefully and concluded that authentic islam was our greatest ally, america's greatest ally in conquering al-qaeda and helping to lead and inspire the world. and i thought that was a radical insight that certainly changed my views on islam and how we behave on the world stage. he was fascinated with arab history, arab culture, arab food, arab poetry. he learned arabic thanks to the military for a year, over a year. he studied arabic intensively. and he traveled to the middle east, to kuwait, to jordan and plunged into middle eastern culture, and he loved it. he became a special forces support soldier, and he went to
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afghanistan in 2002 in the first wave of american soldiers to strike back at al-qaeda and the taliban after 9/11, and he won a bronze star for leading troops in combat there. now, in 2005 he was assigned to be the tribal affairs officer for the u.s. military in ramadi, iraq, which was one journalist called it the most fucked up place on earth. reporters would scamper through the ruins of ramadi and say this reminds me of images of hiroshima and dresden and stalingrad. it had collapsed completely. the provincial capital of anbar province and basically the headquarters of the caliphate they were attempting to launch in iraq. right away three things were obvious to travis patriquin and his colleagues; they had to attack al-qaeda forces with firepower, and they also had to rebuild the shattered local iraqi police force and reach out
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to the remaining tribal sheikhs, a lot of whom had fled the horror of. and there weren't many left. and although he was only a junior officer, patriquin became the keeley yea son between the sheikhs and the movement that helped transform the war. i think travis patriquin is a symbol not only of the americans who served in iraq, but the americans who have died there and the many americans who have helped the iraqis try to build a new nation out of the horror of this war. perhaps the best way of understanding who patriquin was was to hear what iraqis say about him, what they told me. in the words of a sheikh, the man who created the awakening movement, travis patriquin was, quote, an extraordinary man who played a very, very important role. he was my brother. he spoke arabic x he looked like an arab man. when we, when he came at the start of the awakening, we needed someone like him.
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he was humble and friendly, and he was always helping me. he helped us with weapons and ammunition, he helped deliver food to people who needed help, who were in trouble, and he defended women and children against the terrorists. he was very, very important in building rapport between the u.s. and the sheikhs. captain patriquin was extraordinary. one baghdad-born interpreter told me patriquin was in love with iraq. of he was addicted to the culture, he was obsessed by it. he loved the food, the people, he loved everything about iraq, and another baghdad-born interpreter told me iraqis can like you, but they loved him for a lot of reasons. he had a magical personality and a trustful face. his presence was noted immediately. iraqis loved to talk to men with a moustache x he had a moustache, a suntan, dark skin, and a big, muscular body. he looked like an arab. besides that, his heart was connecting to these people. for the average american soldier, iraqis can be hard to
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sit down and talk to, but they could telepath rick enjoyed eating with his hands, and he didn't fake it. he gave iraqis the most honorable and honest picture of the american people and the american military in particular. they thought he was the true american heart. and this iraqi-born interpreter concluded, my god, there is no one in the world who could have formed a closer connection with the iraqi people than travis did. they adored him. a former iraqi air force general told me americans haven't appreciated the lesson of what patriquin and his colleagues did. it was a miracle, an absolute miracle. america has not learned the lesson it should have. we need people like patriquin in the american military shot just for iraq, but for all the middle east, afghanistan, pakistan and elsewhere, people who are principled and can win the
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hearts and minds of the people with their culture and their minds, not their weapons. patriquin thought we had to reach out to the grassroots who were in iraq, that we couldn't try to do things from the top down because the iraqi government was nonexistent or horribly dysfunctional, and many american policymakers were trying to force things from the top down. that was not working. he also thought we should reach out to insurgents. he thought we should identify insurgents who were reconcilable and negotiate with them and talk to them and try to flip them over to our side to fight al-qaeda because the insurgency, of course, was very factionalized. and patriquin also thought we had to be humble and show respect to iraqis and deal with iraq on its own terms rather than try to make us more like -- make them more like us. i think that's a tremendous insight for how america does business in the world. he said, if you want to stabilize things, you're going
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to have to cut the crap on all this idealism and deal with the sheikhs. now, the sheikh who was his iraqi part they are in all this who launched the awakening, who really created all this was, some people thought the tony soprano of western iraq. he was an alleged gangster, a really rough character. but he was also a inspiring leader it turned out. he was only in his late 30s, and he was the man who declared war on al-qaeda. his closest american contact in this war was travis patriquin, and patriquin told anybody who would listen, the key to ramadi, the sheikh. nothing will work without him. he's huge, he's the center of gravity for us. maybe he can change everything. this might be the way out of iraq for us. and it turns out to have largely occurred the way patriquin wanted it to because the sheikh
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proved to be very e effective in fighting al-qaeda in this period, and tribes began to flip from neutral or pro-al-qaeda to the coalition side. in my book there are a few scenes of patriquin in action. one of them was when he first met the sheikh, and patriquin shows up with a moustache, he speaks arabic, slang iraqi arabic, and when he shakes hands and peats him -- meets him, he says what part of iraq are you from? are you from the north or the south? and patriquin would say something like, no, i'm from chicago. i'm an american. and they, many iraqis were befuddled by that because they thought he might be an iraqi who had left iraq as a child, gone over here and grown up and then came back with a funny midwestern accent. and, um, they met and quickly became very close allies in this struggle. he was, patriquin was a junior officer.
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he was only 32 at the time, and his commanding officers, lieutenant colonel -- [inaudible] in fact, patriquin moved into the sheikh's house basically for three months at the end of all this. that became his headquarters. and they let patriquin sort of run with this relationship. this was very difficult at the time because their bosses, their u.s. military bosses -- some of them -- were saying don't deal l with this sheikh. he's a killer. find somebody without blood on their hands, and patriquin and his colleagues would say, what, are you crazy? there's nobody without blood on their hands this iraq, we have to deal with the people who are here. hundreds of young iraqi men started joining the police force, eventually thousands did, and the order of battle in this combat zone was turned against al-qaeda, and al-qaeda was largely eliminated in anbar province, tanly eliminated as of the beginning of 2007. it was a remarkable achievement,
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a positive achievement in this war. there was another scene of patriquin in action dealing with islam, a fascinating subject to patriquin. the sheikh introduced patriquin to a moderate, authentic sunni cleric in rah mad day. -- ramadi. they were discussing how they could all team up to expel the radical imams who had hijacked the mosques in the city. the cleric asked patriquin, what are you going to do, what are your ideas? do you have a plan? you came here in 2003, the americans did, and you had no plan. do you have one now? patriquin was very impressed by the dynamic clergyman, a former commando in the iran/iraq war, and he saw an example of mainstream, tolerant islam. he told the cleric, yes, we have a plan, we're working together with the sheikh to make it happen to free you from al-qaeda in the province and to free iraq from terror im. terrorism. the friendly conversation turned to religion, and patriquin said
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i respect islam as a religion. i respect muslims. i have worked with many muslims through my life and career. i have no problem with us ram whatsoever. al-qaeda is causing great confusion among the people by calling us crusaders and infidels fighting a religious war. we're not here to fight for religion or to fight islam. we are here to fight people who use islam as justification to do evil things. as patriquin once refer today al-qaeda in a meeting with iraqi sheikhs, quote, these people, al-qaeda, are not muslims. they say they are, but they're perverting the religion for evil purposes. personally, i think if americans haven't learned that fundamental insight that patriquin realized in the years since 9/11, i think it's a terrible tragedy because i think it's a very important way of looking at all this. the islamic scholar replied approvingly to patriquin, there are many incidents when christians helped muslims and muslims helped christians, and
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the two discussed the eminent position of jesus christ and islamic theology, the ascension of into heaven and various other points of scripture, and patriquin left that meeting convinced that one of the keys to success in this city was if they could wrest control of the mosques from al-qaeda, then islamic clerics could issue religious fatwas or decrees that could help bring peace to the city, and that's exactly what happened in a few months. the last interview i did for this book was on skype, actually, with a sheikh of a tribe of rah rah mad -- ramadi. the sheikh told me this: i consider the captain to be the martyr of al anbar province. he deserves all of god's mercy
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because he was working from a pure heart. he felt our ago think, and he wanted to help us. he gave his life so iraqi men and women could live in peace. i still think of him often x it's like he's right in front of me. i still remember his laughs, his moves, his broken arabic, the single wors he used to say. patriquin's arabic was really very weak, he said. you had to be a genius to put it all together and understand what he was saying, but he put his ideas across clearly, and i could understand what he meant. i consider him my iraqi brother. as tribal chiefs, we are the toughest of the toughest men. that's why we fought the terrorists. when we lost a brother like him, it was just like cutting our arm off. when he died, the sheikh and i shed so many tears. we don't usually cry for fallen soldiers. i lost 17 of my tribal men in battle, and i did not shed a tear, but i cried for patriquin. we considered him our brother. i don't consider him american, a
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u.s. occupying force, he was an iraqi by blood. even though i served only a short time with him, it was a great time. when i looked at him making all these personal connections with iraqis, it seemed like he was planning to live here forever. i wish i could bring him back again, but his soul and spirit live with us here. he's one of the few americans who knew how to deal with tribal chiefs, he was the smart power that helped us win the battle in ramadi, and these days whenever i have tough times, i think i wish patrick were with me and that gives me peace. what did we learn, finally, from travis patriquin? two lessons occur to me, and i think they're very important for americans to consider. first, perhaps the most important lesson of his life is that one of the greatest forms of patriotism for an american can be the ability to connect to other cultures, to be humble with them, to learn from them. and together with them to inspire each other to do great
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things on the world stage. and to do them not just through our words, but through our actions and our character and our example. there's one more lesson that occurs to me. maybe, just maybe, america should embrace islam on our own terms. what if america embraced islam? what if americans studied the faith carefully to understand the good in it as well as the evil of those who would pervert the religion to evil ends? what if americans got to know muslims intimately, sat down with their religious leaders, studied the koran, maybe even in its original arabic to understand the full, true, authentic messages of islam? there was an amazing american who did all this. his name was travis patriquin. he was a u.s. army officer who volunteered to join the first wave of american soldiers to strike back at al-qaeda in afghanistan after 9/11, and in 2006 using not only his
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experience as a warrior, but his knowledge of islam, his arabic language skills and his intense love for arabic culture helped shape the course of the iraq war by helping iraqis crush al-qaeda in the capital of the iraqi insurgency. and when he died, iraqis hailed him as an american martyr. and just before he died, travis patriquin wrote: god's plan is unknown to us, but there is a plan. i believe that with all my being, and we're all a part of it. and sometimes i think to myself, you know, maybe he was right. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. i actually -- there's so many questions after hearing that. so i have so many questions after hearing all that. um, the first one is how does
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one go about winning hearts and minds? i mean, why is it so hard? you kept mentioning the moustache. [laughter] is the key growing a good moustache? [laughter] i mean, how do you replicate that sort of, that peace-keeping mentality? because it can't just be this one guy who had the secret, right? >> right. there are thousands of u.s. military personnel who behaved, well, who did great and glorious things for our country from any measurement. but we rarely get to hear these stories. i mean, they're 22-year-old kids running cities in iraq until recently, running water distribution, sewage plants, factories, trying to somehow build a society out of the rubble of this nightmare. patriquin, i think, is a symbol of a lot of people who did great things for us in iraq and afghanistan. in impossible conditions. but to answer your question, how do you win hearts and minds?
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the lesson i get from patriquin is you deal with the world as it is, not as america wants it to be. you learn from the rest of the world. you're humble with it. that's the thing that iraqis kept telling me, it was humility. that he projected. and i think humility is a hell of a strong asset to deploy. i think it's one of our potentially strongest ones, but americans are very proud of our country, and quite rightly so. for example, there's a big conflict in the military. when military officers sit down with people from other countries, they often behave like u.s. military officers. they have the an agenda, they have bullet points, they want to go bang, bang, bang. i was told this by many military officers. let's get things done, okay? the half hour's over, let's go. and in a culture like iraq, that's the opposite for being effective. you need to sit down for hours and hours. you smoke thousands of cigarettes, you drink oceans of tea, you hold hands, you man
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kiss, you talk about the red sox, and you talk about your chicago high school. and maybe in a couple of weeks people will feel comfortable, you can get things done. that was a big problem in iraq. the military learned it and is adapting to that, but i think it all comes down to americans being, projecting themselves properly on the world stage. that's one of patriquin's great assets. >> he does seem like a special case. you mention his love of all things arabic. did that start with 9/11? did he want to -- is that how he saw his mission after that, or did he always have an interest in the arab world? >> well, you know, patriquin was kind of an oddball, and i mean that in a positive way. he, he was not high and tight. he was sort of stocky, you know, he didn't miss too many meals. he was, um, you know, he was a red-blooded, red meat-eating,
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republican-leaning special forces support soldier. you know, this is not a marshmallow by any means. but he saw arabic culture as a source of endless fascination. he loved mythology since he was a little child. he saw the world in a very heroic kind of terms, and he saw islam as a source of endless fascination to him. he had a koran, there's a picture if you look closely of him at his work desk, if you look closely, you'll see a koran he picked up in jordan ten years earlier in original area big so he could study and understand the full, accurate picture of islam. not, you know, what somebody sends you in an e-mail, an excerpt from the koran, you know now, he hated islamic radical islamists who were conspiring to kill you and be i in our homes.
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i mean, he understood the threat, and he fought them. but he realized that authentic islam was potentially our greatest ally if americans took the time to understand it and have the courtesy, for example. i mean, so many americans have an opinion on islam, and i think they should. but how about stopping by the local mosque, calling up ahead of time and say, hey, mr. imam, do you mind if i sit in the back during the friday prayer? i'm just curious. they'll say, sure, come on in, most likely, and you're going to hear -- i tell you, if mosque i live next door to on 96th street where i've done this is any indication -- i don't know if it is, but if it is, you might sit in the back of that mosque occasional hi and want to cry because the message is so christian and so jewish and so ecumenical about love and compassion and charity, it'll blow your mind. it has mind. so my point is that let's
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develop strong opinions and know who the enemy is -- radical terrorists who want to kill us -- but let's have the courtesy to distinguish between the true enemy and the 99.9% of islam that is potential hi a great ally for us. if we took the time to understand it. >> informed opinion. >> yeah. >> um, patriquin has been called not only by you the lawrence of iraq or the lawrence of arabia of this war, how conscious was that on his part, and are the similarities to lawrence and faisal, the original lawrence and faisal in world war i and patriquin and the sheikh? >> well, the lawrence of arabia connection is inescapable. on the one hand, it's potentially cheesy, overreaching, and i have no desire to be lowell thomas or patriquin to be misperceived by history, but it's a way to start thinking about patriquin, and it's inescapable because patriquin went to the remote desert in jordan to a spot if
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you remember lawrence of arabia, the opening scenes were shot in the most spectacular, interplanetary desert scenery you've ever seen. it's where travis patriquin journey inside 1999 to sleep under the stars and commune with the spirit of lawrence of arabia. it was the greatest night of his life. the stars were shining, and patriquin -- and i got this from people who were with him on the roof that night -- i'm in the spot where lawrence of arabia was 90 or 90 years -- 80 or 90 years before, this is unbelievable. that's one of the points where he connect with the the soul of arabic culture. >> that was two years before 9/11. >> yeah. >> how did these two men, the sheikh and patriquin, a non-senior officer and an initially lowish-level tribal sheikh, end up playing such a
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big role? how did they do it in geopolitics? >> great question. quite rightly, you read about petraeus and the great things he accomplished. what other soldiers do we remember from iraq and afghanistan? maybe pat tillman, maybe a handful of others who have written books. i can't think of too many names. the fact is patriquin and the sheikh -- in the sheikh's case it was because all the other sheikhs had been slaughtered by al-qaeda or they ran away like i would have done because ramadi was such a hell hole. patriquin was put there, total accident of history, and they realized in each other that we can get things done now. the sheikh thought i can trust this guy to deliver on his promises -- i speculate, that's what i got from people who worked with him -- and patriquin is on record as having said the sheikh is the key to ramadi, the key to anbar province, and he might be the way for us to leave iraq with some semblance of
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logic to our departure which is happening in a couple of days. in 2006, of course, it looked like hell on earth was basically opening up there, and there was no chance of anything other than civil war and unrestricted slaughter. that's a different environment. the awakening happened, petraeus launched the sons of iraq program where we basically paid former insurgents to go out and patrol on behalf of the coalition, and the -- and it all gave enough breathing room for things to not fall apart. now, that's a hell of an achievement. ..
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so his political ideology was prior to meeting patriquin. four members of his family were killed by al qaeda. a lot of it is local feuding too. americans will never penetrate. i don't think any american has or ever will. in terms of the al qaeda coalition, they are imprecise. if there is a vendetta reason, he was very skilled at telling americans what they wanted to hear. if george bush is the father of a free iraq i want to meet with george bush and americans would leave the room laughing. fat chance. he is a country bumpkin.
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here's what happened. in september of 2007 a great picture, sitting down with george bush almost as an equal partner in an american air base. a year later catarrh was killed as was patriquin. they achieved that dream. he became very outspokenly pro u.s. and didn't care who wanted to come after him. i am ready for you. i am a fighter. >> where they immediately warm to each other? >> i am giving you observations that the translator, the colleagues and to extend i am speculating, and first cut car appeared to be a number of potential allies to patriquin. they hit it off the first few meetings. those are in the book.
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it took awhile for them to warm up because they were skeptical. and katar was skeptical about americans making promises. they had done that before and things blew up and americans rotated out to get a new cast of characters. he was skeptical at first and wanted to test patriquin by saying send me a couple hundred gallons of fuel, can you send the small shi'ah enclave in ramada a few truckloads of sugar to help you guys -- and patriquin would deliver these promises and sometimes have fights with fellow americans saying you got to make it happen. if you don't do what you say you are going to do you are not a man. we can't make promises we don't keep so that was -- by september and october and november and december a critical period in the awakening, these two guys were littered with the blood
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brothers. catarrh gave him an iraqi tribal name. come back here and keep the house and your mind and get you set up and patriquin said i am already married but thanks. patriquin wanted to come back to iraq after things had stabilized. >> with the sunni awakening have worked the way it did without the surge? how important, how connected where they? >> the big picture here. i don't know this. i am speculating. the real history will be written by iraqis. what appears to have happened is the sunnis were so sick of arcata's command of murder and preventing people from smoking, things a lot of iraqis are delighted to do and patriquin
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thought americans looked like fools because we didn't understand the difference between radical perverted islam and authentic islam. islam is tolerant and that is a distinction very visible in the on bar province where hardly anybody wanted a radical islamic state. not the way al qaeda they find it. the question is the big picture, labor sick of al qaeda and had their back to the wall. the central government in baghdad for good reason and being a potential enemy and iran coming in and conquering them. the awakening had been betrayed to a large extent. it is a tragedy unfolding that thousands of young sunni men who were awakening fighters and sons of iraq fighters have not been absorbed in iraqi security
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forces and they are unemployed and angry and might look back to the radical -- just to get $200 a month as many were doing in the first place and in terrible danger. we have 15,000 state department people going to iraq. they should forget everything they're doing and figure out a way to help the awakening fighters first. >> what you said about al qaeda it is hard to extricate from the tribal stuff you were talking about. how prevalent was al qaeda there before the war? and how did they take control? you said they were running and set up courts. who was running at before the awakening? was there a person acting as the mayor? what about before the war and after the war? >> there was no al qaeda prior to 2003. we created al qaeda in iraq.
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we didn't conditions out of our invasion did. that happened. we can't change that. there were sporadic strategically insignificant contacts with a few al qaeda personalities that did not amount to much but who was ruling al qaeda? it was being run by ivan of our colleague --ayman al zarqawi. he took charge of the key battle, moved into the area and attempted to wipe out the awakening. very unusual strategy which was light infantry. foot soldiers. dozens of foot soldiers launching a boots on the ground attack pivotal to the awakening. they came within a hair of doing it.
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the calculus might have been shuffled differently and all comes down to a moment when travis patriquin is looking at the jumbo screen at the fight is getting wiped out. our forces can't figure out who is who. there are aircraft overhead trying to kill the terrorists and patriquin says in arabic take off your shirts and wave them in the air. take anything you got. handkerchiefs, pants and shirt. that way we will know who is to on the battlefield and help sort this out. they did that. the rags pop up on the screen. and the battle turned into a sunni tribal joint victory with american forces and that was the high water mark. one of the high water marks of al qaeda in iraq is they had to withdraw. the strategy failed. came within inches of succeeding.
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the momentum shifted in favor of the iraqi government and -- >> patriquin developed the strategy of having them take their shirts off. what was his feeling about the war itself because he mentioned in some way the american presence in iraq helped create al qaeda in iraq. how did patriquin feel about the way president bush was waging the war? >> he thought we should have gone in stronger with more special forces, he had a lot of problems the way of the war was prosecuted. i don't think he saw it as his job to say publicly or even to his friends whether or not we should have gone in. he believed in the mission to help iraqi eliminate terrorism and build a new nation. he believed that. that was the agenda.
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he voted for bush, but by 2006 he realized in an e-mail to his brother as long as george bush is running this war we won't get anything accomplished. we won't do anything right. i think he thought big mistakes made by george bush, gold rumsfeld, dick cheney, those men, he held personally responsible for mismanagement and flagrant incompetents in creating this set of conditions. that is what i know of his view but he really -- the iraqi war could be won or at least brought to lower levels of violence which is what happened. in part what he and his colleagues did. >> the awakening to me seems
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similar to the arabs spring. do you see a similarity? >> you can say this was a moment--the prebirth of the arabs spring in that it was a popular revolt against an arab dictatorship. i don't think there is much connection beyond the symbolism. i don't think anybody is looking at what happened in iraq as inspiration. that we some how facilitated the arabs spring. it is happening to the arabs sold. iraq is a model to no one at this point. i think the iraqis will try -- iraq is a proud, brilliant people. will blow to hell and it might. they will surprise us all. >> just today the islamists
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claim to mandate egypt. it is still up for grabs and there is something we can do. we don't want to too heavily influence again, to speculators do you think there is something we could do that might help iraq get where we want to go? >> in most cases we should stay out of arab politics. when we can. in libya things went right, we can help facilitate things behind-the-scenes. the answer to your question is a much larger spiritual question we should ask as americans. can we all try a little harder to understand the difference between islamists and the muslim brotherhood? and al qaeda. until we understand the multifaceted civil war where the
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mind going on across the arab world can we take the time to understand it fully? once we start doing that we have a chance, a presentation of understanding what our future is. it is fashionable among some politicians to tell stupid jokes that i am glad i didn't have a muslim doctor. this is acceptable to play around. and honest debate about sharia law which governor chris christie said -- to paraphrase he basically said crap. don't waste your time worrying that sharia law has a chance anywhere -- in new jersey. not losing sight of the dangers of radical terrorist anti islam, the largest question is let's
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get to know islam better and then we can understand the politics better and then we can understand these people are our allies as was the case in libya. >> let's bring the discussion, can you talk about patriquin's death and the reaction to it? >> he died in an attack on a convoy in 2006. he was in one of the follow-up cars that al qaeda would frequently try to hit a car. a vehicle in the middle to create confusion. this might have been a pressure place. he was killed, megan mclump was the highest ranking female marine to die in the iraq war. the reaction was sheik catarrh allegedly drank jack daniel's and said i will kill whoever did this. he put the word out on the
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streets, get the guys who did this and they did. the iraqis and americans picked up a couple of complete faced 18 or 20-year-old local sunni men, it was a way to get the income and they arrested them. i don't know what happened to them but the reaction among iraqis the personal so many iraqi local leaders got to know him. the mayor of roddy this year, do you remember travis patriquin? yes. worked closely with him right before i became mayor. what did you think of him? he said that man was a hero. why do you say that? because he gave us our freedom. i thought that is a good enough reason. a simple way to put it. maybe it is true.
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there was morning. today if you go across this nation of iraq to every town and city there's only one building named after american. the iraqi police station, several hundred police officers every day. >> what you heard about the story, s saw an article saying iraqis more in a murder american. when you hear that this interests me. i am a fiction writer. i don't know how you go about this without making it up. when you see that headline, how do you take that interest and turn it into a book? >> i read that story in august
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of 2007. essentially set american soldier held as a martyr. that sounds interesting. i wonder if anyone can do anything more with this story. was a terrific help to me. his wife -- they said no. he loved the idea. his wife said to me make sure you get the story right. just get it right. what she meant was do your work. it took four years of interviewing hundreds of people who knew him and came into his life in fragments to put it together. i found a lot of great documents, other people's documents. the only reason this book exists is travis patriquin's family helped. and to find four arabic people who worked with him every day as close as you and i are, arabic was not perfect at all and
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always needed a translator to catch something he fouled up or understand a point someone else was saying. those four men when i found them gave me the heart and soul of the travis patriquin's story because they spend time smoking cigars on the veranda in their off hours and spend a lot of time and talked to them about how he felt about the arabs sold and that is the most interesting thing. how often do americans get to do this? try to connect as deeply as they can with a culture like this? it happens for six eight months and is interesting snapshot, and -- >> how do you take the idea and craft into a story as readable and enjoyable as your book? >> i believe we happen to be in an institution geared towards
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great fiction writing. the nyu riders program. the number one job of a writer of nonfiction in many cases is to put a gun to your head and say make this as much leg good fiction as you can. basically to push things to the limit of readability without violating any laws of fact. it is a little tricky. i try to do three books like that. american inspiration inside the oval office and this one. the only way i can do it is if i do a lot of research. that is really interviewing people and boiling out their perspective and try to correct it all. i like to read books that are like a freight train or a speeding bullet. put me on a train going 100 miles an hour and take me to the story through great people and great events. some stories almost right themselves. travis patriquin wrote the story
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himself and i got the pieces of it. >> when his wife said tell it right, if you are writing a story about someone who is naturally heroic like him, how do you keep it from being hero worship? how do you make it something other -- do you get the flaws in there too? is he a complicated figure or just a heroic symbol? >> excellent point. it is a risky -- we lost 4400 brothers and sisters in iraq safar. there are 100,000 iraqis, toddlers, women and children, old men, civilians in a market, 100,000 are dead because of this war and what this war has created. all of them deserve a book. all of them deserve to be looked
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upon as human beings. travis patriquin said we must learn from the mistakes of those who preceded us. from those who paid for their mistakes in blood. there is a big lesson. let's learn from patriquin, he was a lousy staff officer. he hated doing reports. he hated power point presentations. on the internet under travis patriquin power point you will see a funny goofball been very shrewd power point with moving figures and so forth and analysis of the war. he said i will stick it to power point. there won't be any numbers or pie charts. it will just be stick figures and tell the story of the iraq war in this point in time. yvette general can understand that. that is the kind of guy he was. he was an iconoclast.
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very offbeat. one army officer thought he was being too friendly to get to know the iraqis and get into their world and these contacts were chaotic and overeager and more counterproductive and he said keep this guy out of my area. don't have travis patriquin come in. that is a minority opinion. he set off shouting matches, don't talk to katar. he is all we have got. he will be the key to all of this. these battles with rage. they did not think highly of him. he was an important figure for good be personal transformation at that point in time. no question about it for all his
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complexity. >> seems like an interesting place to stop. anyone have any questions about the book or for william doyle? >> i would be happy. >> you point out of the cia. sometimes the cia gets things right and this is a case they came in and through some money around and helped the iraqi police through the deployment of money. a facilitated or a midwife to the awakening. we rarely hear about when they do things right. >> is there something we will never hear about the cia and their involvement with the awakening? was their covert stuff going on that we won't hear about? >> a lot of covert stuff with targeted killings and night raids and targeted killings of terrorists occurring with great
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frequency by special forces people. they were pretty effective in this environment. >> that helped turn opinion against al qaeda. stop people who may be making their lives more difficult. >> shoe. there was a death squad against al qaeda calls revolutionaries, they would put masks on and do night raids on terrorists, suspected terrorists and killed them and put warnings saying we're coming after you. we know who you are and we are coming after you. they took terrorists back to al qaeda and adapted them against al qaeda. don't ask too many questions. i don't want to know.
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a don't know about major mistakes the death squad made but that helped scare the hell out of al qaeda fighters. the situation report that al qaeda wrote in this series saying this dastardly organization, you could tell they were starting to feel fear and that was new for al qaeda in 2006. they were pretty pumped up until then. this started turning the tables on them. the cia told their bosses when this was starting to happen they sent a cable to their bosses and got sideways into the white house saying watch out what is happening here. something really important is happening. that helped get washington policymakers to start paying attention.
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alerting the chain of command. that helped focus attention on what was happening. was before george bush made the perhaps courageous decision to pump tens of thousands of more troops and that happened the following year. why do we need these extra american troops? we don't need them. they will never figure things out like we can. we will do it ourselves. he was almost anti surge and a very skeptical. >> the question was facilitating sunni/arab power against al qaeda and defensively against the shi'ah central government. it seems we got lucky in a way that catarrh was not the tony soprano of iraq but someone we could trust. you mentioned that capt. patriquin was able to see or wanted to see the good in all
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people. can this lead to trouble? we did get lucky. george w. bush saying he could see even if chamberlain in world war ii, you can see good in people that isn't there. how did he know -- this is obviously -- growth speculation but how did he know he was trust worthy? how many people did he meet before taking interest in qatar and not someone else? >> good question. no one but qatar in this environment. things were such a hell hole that there was nowhere to go but up in this environment. it was a lucky moment for the iraqis and the americans. the cards lined up this way. they had a ruthless, powerful character who could get this done in this nightmare
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landscape. patriquin saw the good and the potential good in many situations. a related lesson is in the military and any organization you got to have a culture where rebels like patriquin, oddballs are treasured and cherished and given an opportunity to yell and scream and argue at meetings without being institutionalized. to have the team the. i don't think we have going in to the iraq war that the ten people in a room, some good managers know how to do this and good politicians. you will argue the canes against the invasion or against any major government policy. you come forward and argue i am the president and do it for three weeks and despite the other guy hammering -- see what comes out of this discussion. that is go


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