This episode features a story from what is arguably the most groundbreaking new show in public radio: Radiolab, from WNYC New York Public Radio and NPR. Everything they've done is available as free downloads from their website.
Also, in Act Two, Ira interviews a retired diplomat, Kiki Munshi, about testimony she gave to Congress about Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq. You can read her testimony, and The Atlantic ran a story that goes into more detail about Kiki's experience heading up a PRT.
And Brady Udall, who tells the story in Act Three, also wrote one of the most popular pieces of fiction we've ever run: "Otis Is Resurrected," from our episode In Dog We Trust.
- When the U.S. government sent out a call for volunteers—regular, non-military people—to go to Iraq and help rebuild the country, Randy Frescoln signed up. He believed in the cause of the war and in the promise of its mission. He had experience setting up agriculture projects overseas, so was sent to the Sunni Triangle to try to reconstruct the broken economy there. But three months into his yearlong assignment, he comes to a horrible realization: The people he's trying to help hate him.
Plus, stories of other people who went to Iraq as "provincial reconstruction team" volunteers. Kiki Munshi, a retired Foreign Service Officer who headed a PRT in the Diyala province speaks to the difficulties she faced as well. Ira interviews her about testimony she gave to Congress about PRTs in Iraq and her personal experience there.
Finally, there's Stephanie Miley, an FSO who headed Randy's PRT. She remembers him and understood when he decided to leave, but Stephanie feels that the efforts to improve the state of Iraq are worth it, despite the risk of death. (16 minutes)Song:
- "Skavavars", Benni Hemm Hemm