READING GUIDE: CHASING GHOSTS

Websites:
'Chasing Ghosts' by Paul Rieckhoff - Official Website
Paul Rieckhoff on MySpace
IAVA - Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America


4-5 Role of war movies in your own life. Red Dawn?
6-7 Why would a college student like him volunteer? Would you have volunteered then; now? How would you face the prospect of dying?
14-15 How do your feelings about the war (then, now) compare to his?
16-17 Influence on him (and you) of Colin Powell.
22 One constant theme in wars: tedium, waiting
23 One of many cultural issues we see in this book: "man dress"
34 What role for U.S. missionary work in Iraq. How effective are Protestant missionaries in Muslim countries?
43 How would you keep your brain from melting in Army (and elsewhere).
47 Do maps and streets not have names in Baghdad?
53 Cross cultural: they look like penguins
55 Letterhead: reminder of period of British control
56 Vastness of Baghdad. "Where is everyone else?"
57 Rieckhoff's view of Shinseki, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld
59 What do you think of that Machiavelli quote? Where is it from?
Track Sector 17 from then until now.
63 Fallujah and 82nd mistakes. See Cobra, p.
Iraqi kids. His view and versus that of others.
65 What is the original Ali Baba story. What cross-cultural issues here.
Looters. Compare to Cobra book. Wyatt Earp in Tombstone.
68 How far can one trust an Iraqi helper?
69 What training needed to be sheriff and mayor of an Iraqi area.
73 What about the "peacekeeping" quote.
74 How can one ever change this hatred of Jews and Israel.
79 Cross-cultural: hold hands; kiss on cheek. See Cobra, p.
81 Cross-cultural: what is a Haji. Is that an acceptable reference by an American of an Iraqi?
83 Few good choices among many worse ones.
Corruption and its role in a country.
89 What cause do you think your generation has?
94 Disbanding of Iraqi army.
97 Soldiers not trained to be humanitarians. End of story??
98 Cross-cultural: men crying.
99, 101 Not provided with effective communication tools: mirrors, Morse code.
104 Was his unit treated this way because they were National Guard? Check media reports and blogs to get opinions.
106-109 Social gulf b/n Shia and Sunni. Comparisons to America.
113 Checkpoints and patrols are the daily work for U.S. soldiers.
117-118 What would you do?
126-127 Muqtada al-Sadr. Should he have been arrested? What now?
138 How would you feel about the school kids. What if a bomb went off near the school and you thought they knew about it in advance?
148 What have been some "nightmare scenarios" on CNN? Any YouTube clips?
149 Analyze the gas station situation in its cross-cultural complexity.
153 Cross-cultural: firing in air at celebrations. Air strike mistakes.
157-158 Rieckhoff's perspective of Pres. Bush's "Bring them on."
159 Keep Iraqis away from you. How is the current strategy doing this?
162-163 A soldier's view of getting his tour extended. How would you react?
166-172 What do you think of this picture of our methods? How else could we do what is needed?
181 What is your reaction to his comments on GPS and JAG?
189 More supply gaps. Any blogs from soldiers that report on this now?
193 How would you react to this notion of minimizing collateral damage if your own life was at risk?
215 What do you think? Are journalists embedded or "in-bedded"?
216 If you want feel good stories, go to Disneyland. What do you think?
246-247 What do you think of our using private contractors? Should we have a draft? Or is this like having the French Foreign Legion?
257 How would you feel about his comments to you and your unit?
264-265 What similarities between his treatment upon returning from Iraq and what you know of the treatment of Vietnam vets?
279-284 How would you play the issue of whether or not to speak out? What steps did he take in that direction?
286-296 What do you think of his speech? How about the reactions to it?
302-303 What is your reaction to the way the IAVA planned to operate?
What is being said about the organization these days? Check out the web site.
308 How farsighted was Rieckhoff in what might become of Iraq?
What has taken place in Iraq since the book was published in 2006?
What has he said on TV?
What questions would you ask Paul Rieckhoff if he were to be here in our class?