This reading group guide for To Be a Friend Is Fatal features discussion questions that are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. In To Be a Friend Is Fatal
, Kirk W. Johnson recounts the stories of numerous Iraqis who stepped forward to assist the United States during the course of the Iraq War. Did any particular story stand out to you?
2. In chapter 2, we are introduced to Yaghdan, on the eve of the war. Were you surprised by any aspects of Iraq's pre-2003 history? How do you think Yaghdan's life experiences affected his decision to help the Americans?
3. Kirk describes how his impressions of life in the Green Zone changed his perspective on the US government's efforts in Iraq. What did he find there, and what did it compel him to do?
4. In "USG speak," Kirk describes the orientation given to newly arrived American USAID staffers. What lessons can we draw from the way in which the agency's Iraqi employees were discussed?
5. There wasn't always a stigma in Iraq surrounding the Iraqis who worked for the Americans. What caused the Iraqi public's opinions to harden against those who assisted the US?
6. What does the story of MOAG, the Mother of All Generators, reveal about how