In the mid-2000s, I was working as an Executive Producer at CNN’s global headquarters in Atlanta. Like many reporters, I was looking for post 9/11 stories that hadn’t been told, stories that had some kind of lasting impact on society as a whole, and I was looking for people who were at the center of those stories.
I had had a fairly interesting career, at least to my standards. I had the enormous privilege of traveling the world, had sent myself as a freelance journalist, into war zones and had sought out the people and issues that were shaping the world we were living in, which at that time, focused a lot on war.
I thought I had seen a lot, but in 2004, I was haunted by the images of Americans being dragged through the streets of Fallujah, brutally murdered, their bodies hung from a bridge. The images never left me, and millions of Americans who saw them on national television, still remember them. The horrific attack prompted many to ask what was happening in Iraq? And I was no different. That single incident started a string of questions for me where every answer led to more questions. What were Americans – who were not active military – doing in a place like Fallujah? What in the world would draw them there for logistics work (in this case, accompanying food supplies), and who was in charge of making sure they were safe?
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