The Christian Science Monitor
We had no concerns whatsoever. I remember one day I said to our guide, “Look, take off, go home, you’ve had a long day.” Afterwards, I walked up the street for half a mile to go to my favorite sweets shop, and I hopped in a cab and got home. I spoke a hell of a lot less Arabic then than I do now, but that was the way it was then. You know, Iraq has a wonderful road network and we could get up in the morning and think, “Shit, you know what? We haven’t been to Mosul in a while, let’s go there.” And you drive to Mosul. I mean, I drove to Tal Afar and knocked around for a couple of days there and then knocked on the gate of the U.S. base and saw it from their side. Right up until April 2004 we were rolling like that.
I broke the rules and went in with a contractor and did a tour of the Green Zone, went to some bars and hung out — openly. I did not hide my microphone in this case, and people were not nearly as forthcoming as I might have wished, but nonetheless, I got at least a slightly clearer picture, and was able to at least portray what the Green Zone really is like — this bizarre environment where you’ve got the CIA compound and the Bechtel compound and this security company compound and then the plush AID [Agency for International Development] compound, and the new sports facility for the military, and the embassy guys live over here, and then the security companies have their own bars. And the drug of choice happens to be steroids in this war — Who’d have thunk it?