In January 2005 Kirk Johnson, then twenty-four, arrived in Baghdad as USAID's only American employee who spoke Arabic. Despite his opposition to the war, Johnson felt called to civic duty and wanted to help rebuild Iraq. Appointed as USAID's first reconstruction coordinator in Fallujah, he traversed the city's IED-strewn streets, working alongside idealistic Iraqi translators - young men and women sick of Saddam, filled with Hollywood slang, and enchanted by the idea of a peaceful, democratic Iraq. It was not to be.
"Heartbreaking but important"