Framing the Dialogue

Code Name: Johnny Walker

The subtitle of this book pretty much describes the substance of this book.

“The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs”

Written by Johnny Walker (not his real name to protect him and his family still necessary to this day) about the Iraqi view of the wars in Iraq and how he and many others had to fend for themselves against brutality in their hometown.  Many of the places in the book you have heard of and they probably bring up visions of bombings and constant military action.  Johnny Walker ended up becoming an interpreter (terp) for the Navy SEALs and by accounts was extremely helpful in bringing the fight to the bad guys.  It is most interesting that Mr. Walker’s account are vastly different than the headlines that most of us were treated to in American papers.  Rather than brutal villains, most soldiers were really trying to rebuild Iraq and help the citizens get on their feet.

“War is worth it only for those who don’t have to fight it or live with the consequences. But make no mistake, there are some horrific people in the world who will stop at nothing to impose their twisted vision on all those who won’t fight or fight back. They need to be dealt with viciously, yet surgically. I have come to realize lately that perhaps the better question to ask is whether any good came from the war. I will allow the historians and politicians to debate endlessly on the strategic impact. I, like every other person who fought there, can only answer on the personal level. My answer is yes.”

“People were hopeful that the Americans would bring genuine and positive change. Many of my friends, in fact, were jealous. The job paid well by Iraqi standards and was something to be bragged about, not hidden. On my first day at work, the Americans drove me home to my apartment. I walked through the street like a conquering hero—everyone who knew me respected me even more than they had before. Associating with the Americans was considered an honor and matter of prestige. That was something that would soon change.”

“Iraq made no sense. The people had complained bitterly about Saddam. Now he was gone. But instead of working with the country that had freed them, instead of  building Iraq into a great land, people fought like suicidal monsters.”

I had this book in my library for a very long time.  For some reason, I didn’t want to start it…probably because I expected it to be written like a history book.  It wasn’t!  this book reads like it’s being told by a very good story teller.  Mr. Walker and his co-author, Jim DeFelice did a masterful job telling this story.  Don’t hesitate to read this book and learn about the real Iraqis and the American soldiers.

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