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NOW on the News
October 13, 2006

NOW on the News with Maria Hinojosa

George Packer on Threats Around the World

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This week, Maria Hinojosa talks to George Packer, journalist and author of "The Assassins' Gate" about his experiences in Iraq and his perspective on world affairs.

Interview Highlights:

  • "Now that they've announced the test, we're hearing once again that we're not going to talk to North Korea. There's almost a sense that we only talk to people when they're our friends and diplomacy, traditionally, means talking to people you don't like."

  • "James Baker, former Secretary of State, now head of the Baker Commission … said you have to talk to your enemies … He's essentially saying that unless we talk to Iran and Syria we will not be able to solve the problem of Iraq."

  • Look at the three countries that were the axis of evil, Iraq, Iran and North Korea. They've all gone badly …All seem to being slipping out of control."

  • "When we leave, if we leave, Iraq is going to be consumed by tens times the level of violence that we're seeing now. That's my guess. That's what Iraqis tell me as well."

  • "They [the Iraqis] staked everything on essentially an American imported project. And the first people to be lined up and shot if the troops withdraw will be those people who put their money on us. Who raised their hands when we said 'who's for democracy here?'

About George Packer

George Packer is a writer for The New Yorker and author of the critically-acclaimed book "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq," one of the New York Times Book Review's ten best books for 2005.

In 2003, Packer was awarded two Overseas Press Club awards: one for his influential examination of the difficulties faced during the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq; and the second, in the category of human rights, for his coverage of the civil war in Sierra Leone.

Packer was a 2001-2002 Guggenheim Fellow and has contributed many articles, essays, and reviews on foreign affairs, American politics, and literature to the New York Times Magazine, Dissent, Mother Jones, Harper's, and other publications. He has taught writing at Harvard, Sarah Lawrence, Bennington, and Columbia. Packer lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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