NOTE FROM JOHN: AJ and I accidentally posted at the same time, so I buried his post about his new book, out tomorrow. I’m bumping it so that folks can check it out. As you already know, AJ is a great writer, and thinker, about defense issues, and especially Iraq. He’s part of the generation that was inspired by 9/11 to public service (he went to work at the Pentagon as an intelligence officer covering Iraq during the war), and then disillusioned by the Bush administration’s failures. The book comes out from a Random House subsidiary tomorrow, and we’re trying to get as many pre-orders in as possible, it helps the rankings. So please do check out the book, and if the spirit moves you, pick one up – it’s only $16 hard-cover.
My book, Still Broken: A Recruit’s Inside Account of Intelligence Failures, from Baghdad to the Pentagon, is out tomorrow, and I hope you’ll consider buying it. If you order today, you’ll get it by the end of the week, and I think readers will find it engaging and enlightening. It tells the story of my time at DIA, both in Baghdad and at the Pentagon, where the intelligence process is corrupted by political influences and incompetence — meaning that the problems that led to 9/11 and the WMD debacle are not only continuing, but in fact becoming institutionalized.
A bit of background: I began writing for AMERICAblog nearly two years ago. After leaving my position as an Intelligence Officer for the Department of Defense, working on (and in) Iraq for the Defense Intelligence Agency, I wasn’t sure what to do. I had left without having lined up my next job, which was a little scary, but I simply couldn’t say in the politicized and manipulated process that I ultimately came to believe was hurting our nation’s security. I emailed several progressive bloggers, and several progressive think tanks, to offer my help and expertise in the service of reality-based Iraq and foreign policy analysis; I wanted to contribute to the dialogue from a position of having experienced and seen much of what other people could only speculate about.
John and Joe were the only people I heard back from. We got together for coffee — with John later telling me he was totally weirded out by my “I’m a former intel officer, just writing to say I appreciate your stuff and would be happy to chat if you’re interested” email — and what was supposed to be a 30 minute introduction turned into a two hour conversation. A few days later, I was writing for this site, and I’ve loved every day of it ever since.
I’ve been lucky, in many ways: I’ve been able to gain a platform on these issues over the course of the past two years. On the “establishment” side, I’m a Fellow with the (fantastic) National Security Network think tank, and, as of tomorrow, a published author. And as y’all know, I’m also a card-carrying member of the blogosphere, regularly writing here and occasionally contributing to HuffPo, the American Prospect (and its blog TAPPED), the Guardian, and other leading news outlets. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to have this kind of audience, particularly in service of adding to the conversation about what I believe is the most important political issue of our time.
My book will, I hope, allow the reality-based message on Iraq to reach even more people. Again, Still Broken tells the story of my time at DIA, both in Baghdad and at the Pentagon, and it’s an easy read. I’ll have more details, reviews, and comments throughout today and this week, and there’s tons of information about it already at the website, www.StillBroken.com. But you all know me, you know my work, and you know it’ll be good. So check it out.