(2 of 2)
On hope versus reality
I had the pessimistic-optimistic thing, like up and down. Now I don't have any hope, just don't bother about thinking about it anymore. In fact, what you have right now is something that is really so fragile that it cannot hold anything and can go either way. The only thing that can keep it together is the money that is pumped into these groups, which was supposed to be done at the beginning, not now. Almost everyone has a plan to not stay there. I know only two people out of my whole family who no matter what are going to stay there.
On the U.S. strategy
I wanted them to remove Saddam, but the way they were going to execute it was horrible by all means. There were no people who understand the whole culture and how things work. When you had Garner in charge, I was a little bit okay because he had experience in Northern Iraq before. But then when Paul Brenner took over, it was like someone who just read about Iraq before coming in there. How do you get someone like that in charge? I knew it was going to go south right away. We've always argued that after Saddam would be gone, how long it will take Iraq to get back. Everyone would say two to three years because of the resources that Iraq had. Some people would say more.
On the country's death toll
You don't know how to think about it. After a while, it's kind of like the same suffering on each side. And violence could mean terror attacks and it could mean war. As long as you get civilian involved, it's violence. You have real war when you have two armies fighting and there is no cities involved, no civilians involved. When you get the cities involved, that's violence against civilians no matter who is doing it.
On visiting Iraq again
Three years ago, I would have said I wish I could travel right away. When I first left, I was so emotional about Iraq. Now I care less. I try to care less because it's very hard to be associated with a place that you don't know if it's even going to get back to what it was. Now according to what I hear, the country is almost ruined. If I go now and see the damage that's happening, I will not have the images that I had before.
On the blogs he started
I have a fascination with Baghdad, and my website is called from "Baghdad to New York" because I compare New York to Baghdad all the time. When I started the website at the end of 2002, my idea was to get people here to understand Iraq in a different way the people not what the government represents. I started something else for Iraqis and that one is also very popular. We are trying to preserve the Iraqi accent because most of the people are growing up outside [of Iraq] now.