We at the of Iraq were surprised and disappointed to see that War Room just published a tendentious, unsubstantiated, factually inaccurate piece originally written by a disgruntled former employee who was dismissed for cause by an earlier administration of the university. We ask you to see that the piece gets taken down simply because it is bad journalism, unworthy of Salon’s and War Room’s standards.
We would have been more than happy to host a Salon reporter at the university, to witness what the university is actually doing and what students and faculty here really think. No one contacted us. The person behind the story (Mark Grueter) has not been at AUI-S for almost two years. Russ Baker chose to attach his name to this piece, crediting Grueter for “providing research and reporting assistance”, but substantially repeated what was previously posted onWho What Why under Grueter’s name.
The piece rehashes controversies about the and its policies in Iraq, now that such rhetoric carries no risk, and seeks to transform personal grudges into attacks on the political outlook of administrators who are no longer at the university, and whose politics, good or bad, have no bearing on the university’s mission or the way its affairs are conducted.
The story insinuates sinister links between the university and oil interests. In fact all corporate donations to the university are transparent. Pieces of petulant gossip supposedly flesh out a bigger story of American imperialist greed, centered on oil, and religious missionary fervor. Your readers are supposed to sit up when they learn that Rockefeller money has gone to the , an institution that has contributed to the intellectual advancement and capacity building of the region like no other. They will also be taken aback, no doubt, by the revelation that one hundred and fifty year old AUB and its sister institution, the , were founded by protestant clergymen. So, of course, were and . Thus, supposedly, the nexus of the right wing conspiracy is unmasked. Finally, in a Willy Horton like maneuver, the picture of Lynne Cheney inset against a view of the American University of Iraq purportedly clinches the point, though Lynne Cheney never visited AUIS.
Appealing to your sense of professional ethics and journalistic standards and Salon’s (as well as War Room’s) role as a credible news and commentary publication, I ask that you take down and retract this ultimately foolish and personal hit piece.
Dr. Athanasios Moulakis
The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani