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Deborah Amos and George Packer on Iraq
Department of Defense, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Refugees
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September 28, 2007
With the testimony of General Petreaus and Ambassador Crocker, there's certainly no shortage of Iraq progress assessments in the mix. But George Packer and Deborah Amos, both experienced Middle East reporters, think there are things that aren't being talked about in Washington.

Amos has been covering the Iraqi refugee crisis for NPR — according to the United Nation Commission on Refugees, more than 4.2 million Iraqis have left their homes. Of these, some 2.2 million Iraqis are displaced internally, while more than 2 million have fled to neighbouring states Amos says: "This community that's now in Damascus and Amman, and increasingly going to Lebanon, is the middle class. These are the technocrats, the kind of people that you need if you want to rebuild a country."

George Packer contends that what is lacking is the long view of the role of the U.S. in Iraq: "We fought this war in three month increments....No one in the administration that I've talked to and no one in Congress that I've talked to seems to be thinking ahead to what we want in Iraq in five years, what we can possibly achieve in Iraq in five years."

Find out more about the refugee crisis and explore a variety of Iraq progress reports below.

George Packer, photo by Robin Holland

George Packer
George Packer is a staff writer for THE NEW YORKER and the author, most recently, of THE ASSASSINS' GATE: AMERICA IN IRAQ (2005), which won the Overseas Press Club's 2005 Cornelius Ryan Award and the Helen Bernstein Book Award of the New York Public Library, was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, and was named by THE NEW YORK TIMES as one of the ten best books of the year. He has published two other works of non-fiction, THE VILLAGE OF WAITING (1988), a memoir about his years in the Peace Corps in West Africa, and BLOOD OF THE LIBERALS (2000), a three-generational political history, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He has also published two novels, THE HALF MAN (1991) and CENTRAL SQUARE (1998), and is the editor of THE FIGHT IS FOR DEMOCRACY: WINNING THE WAR OF IDEAS IN AMERICA AND THE WORLD (2003).

His articles, essays, and reviews on foreign affairs, American politics, and literature have appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, HARPER'S, DISSENT, and other publications. He received the 2006 Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown and his magazine reporting has won three Overseas Press Club awards. He was a 2001-2 Guggenheim fellow and has taught writing at Harvard, Bennington, and Columbia.

Deborah Amos
Deborah Amos covers Iraq for NPR News. She has returned to work with NPR after a decade in television news, including ABC's NIGHTLINE and WORLD NEWS TONIGHT and the PBS programs NOW WITH BILL MOYERS and FRONTLINE.Deborah Amos, photo by Robin Holland

Prior to her work with ABC News, Amos spent 16 years with NPR, where she was most recently the London Bureau Chief. Previously she was based in Amman, Jordan, as an NPR foreign correspondent. Amos won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, a Breakthru Award, and widespread recognition for her coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. She spent 1991-92 as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and is the author of LINES IN THE SAND: DESERT STORM AND THE REMAKING OF THE ARAB WORLD (1992). She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Guest photos by Robin Holland

Published on September 28, 2007

Related Media:
"Al Qaeda and Iraq" Who exactly is the enemy in Iraq and how does al Qaeda fit in? Bill Moyers talks with West Point Instructor, Brian Fishman, and Middle Eastern and International Affairs Professor Fawaz Gerges, discussing the growing power of al Qaeda and its connections to the war in Iraq. July 27, 2007

"Buying the War" How did the mainstream media get it so wrong in the lead up to the Iraq War?

Bill Moyers Clip File: August 24, 2007 Bill Moyers examines underreported stories about the Iraq war.

References and Reading:
George Packer

"Planning for Defeat"
George Packer's September 17, 2007 NEW YORKER article on the future of Iraq. "Without extraordinary measures, it will be hard to maintain current troop levels past next summer." Packer's article lists many recent studies — you'll find links to them below.

Read George Packer's NEW YORKER blog
Recent entries cover unrest in Burma and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University.


"Save Whomever We Can"
George Packer, THE NEW REPUBLIC, November 27, 2006


Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq, General David H. Petreaus, September 10-11, 2007 (PDF)
THE NEW YORK TIMES' coverage also includes the multimedia materials used by General Petraeus and analysis of Congressional reaction.

Ambassador Ryan Crocker's testimony to Congress, September 10, 2007

American Enterprise Institute
Frederick W. Kagan's study revisits suggestions from the Iraq Planning Group — including an expanded diplomatic and military training effort could permit a significant reduction in American combat forces in Iraq.

The Brookings Institution
"Things Fall Apart: Containing the Spillover from an Iraqi Civil War," by Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack warns "President George W. Bush has staked everything on one last-chance effort to quell the fighting and jumpstart a process of political reconciliation and economic reconstruction."

Center for a New American Security
"Phased Transition" a June 2007 report by James N. Miller and Shawn W. Brimley calls for "a realistic appraisal of America’s enduring interests in Iraq."

Council on Foreign Relations
Among the recent reports by the Council are: "The Iraq Data Debate: Civilian Casualties from 2006 to 2007" and a Benchmark Assessment Report.

International Crisis Group (ICG)
The ICG's June 2007 report covers "Iraq: Sectarianism and Insurgency." Crisis Group distributes its reports by direct mail of printed reports and papers to over 4,100 senior policy-makers and the media.

Deborah Amos

U.S. Resettlement Plan Stalled for Iraqis in Syria
Deborah Amos, NPR, September 18, 2007. Iraqi refugees in Syria are paying the price of strained Syrian-U.S. relations. More than 2 million Iraqis have fled to Syria, Jordan and other Middle East countries. The Bush administration pledges resettling them to the United States, but for Iraqis in Syria, the U.S. resettlement program is stalled.

Reporter's Notebook, September 23, 2007
Amos talks with Jacki Lyden about the lives of Iraqi refugees in Syria and the closing of the Syrian border.

Additional NPR reports from Deborah Amos

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
The IOM's Iraq project focuses on aiding internally displaced persons — its 2007 mid-year report finds "Iraq is experiencing the worst human displacement of its history, with almost 2.2 million persons displaced within its borders and an additional two million who have fled the country to the surrounding region. This mass displacement is fast becoming a regional and ultimately international crisis."

United Nations High Committee on Refugees (UNHCR)
The UNHCR's Iraq mission reports: "incessant violence across much of Iraq's central and southern regions has forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes every month."

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Who is keeping track of the billions we're spending in Iraq? Under the radar news you need to know.

NPR's Deborah Amos — just back from Damascus — and THE NEW YORKER's George Packer on the Iraq war and what you haven't heard from Washington.

Bill Moyers on the fate of the authors of "The War as We Saw It"

>CLIP FILE, August 23, 2007 — Underreported Iraq
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