tv QA CSPAN December 11, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am EST
brian gruber is down for q&a. >> this week on to a day, media entrepreneur and travel writer brian gruber. he discusses his book "war: the afterparty - a global walkabout through a half-century of u.s. military interventions." brian: brian gruber, your book. "war: the afterparty - a global walkabout through a half-century of u.s. military interventions." what is it about? mr. gruber: it is about whether we achieve the mission when we go to war. all my life we have been in one
military intervention or the other. in business, when you look at a project, you look to see whether you have achieved your objectives, and at what cost. i want to see through this last half-century of military interventions, partisan politics aside, for our the aside, what -- morality aside what happens , after the party is over? what are the after affects of war and what are the human and financial costs on both sides? >> when did this idea first start? mr. gruber: my birthday is august 4. two years ago on august 4, 2014, was the 40th anniversary of the -- 50th anniversary of the gulf of tonkin incident. maraudingme, isis was across northern iraq. it seemed to me as sort of bookends that was odd that the cost of the vietnam war and the outcome of the vietnam war 50 years after the gulf of tonkin incident -- which as you know, president johnson went on
national television that day in 1964 to ask congress to approve his ability to accelerate our intervention in vietnam. it was a claim that north vietnamese patrol boats attacked the uss maddox. based on that, we escalated the war in vietnam. of course years later, many , admitted that it had never happened. similarly in going to iraq, there were supposed to be weapons of mass destruction. there was supposed to be an imminent threat from iraq. we know what the outcome was there. i was curious, again, not whether we should or should not have a strong military or grow to war, but what are the actual outcomes. living in this country, you get a certain narrative and a certain spectrum of ideas. i thought it would be interesting to strap on the backpack and go around the world and through serendipity and
connections and just showing up in places and trying to find out if there are other narratives to have a fresh look at what the real outcomes of these were. brian: we have something of a list of places where you went. it is not the complete list, but reflects the chapters in your book. let me just start with the first one. it is guatemala. i want you to just give us some quick reaction. we will go through the list. what do remember most from guatemala? mr. gruber: i think serendipity and the idea of six degrees of separation. i did this kickstarter campaign where i raised money through crowdfunding for the project. it was a $10,000 campaign. once i did, i basically traveled with a backpack, flew from san francisco airport to guatemala city with no interviews, no plans, and just arrived there. guatemala was fascinating, first of all because of the story.
it informed most of the covert operations that were to come in the years after. that was a situation in which my airbnb host happened to be a former congressman in guatemala who happened to be there when the cia supported overthrow happen. his friends fled into the jungles to become guerillas. he became the head of the national basketball association in that country. it is part of a coalition with president toronto, who is a coup d'etat there. through him through this whole series of introductions made through him, i ended up sitting for four hours with the former president of guatemala. the idea in guatemala in that specific country where you can , show up and learn just by
being in the right place at the right time and pushing for interviews was a fascinating experience. brian: nicaragua? mr. gruber: an example there, i stayed just a week. there was one day that the three types of interviews happened. prenza, is the newspaper that really launched the sandinista revolution and the overthrow of the long standing dictatorship there. i showed up there and a security guard said, get out of your comment is a national holiday. the second time i showed up, this young woman came up and andd to a wanted to talk to i asked for an editor to get it interview with someone who might have interstate information. finally she came out with a card of the editor in chief. i can milk him. i done something with the aspen him.stival and i enough
he was a fan. i got in to see the editor in chief. the second interview was through the daughter of the woman of the man who i met and stayed at in guatemala. there was a series of interviews that ended up with a former sandinista and democracy activist. we ended up talking for several hours in a bar. it was completely serendipitous interview. with carlos c hamardo. the third interview i got through stephen kinzer. he is probably the most respected broadcaster in nicaragua. that one day was reflective of the different ways that i was able to get into see people, and also to understand the costs of that contra war which i had no idea how widespread the damage was. brian: what was the relationship between the two?
mr. gruber: she is the daughter. her father was the head of the newspaper. sorry he is her son. he took the other side and actually was part of the sandinista group that close them down in favor of the newspaper of the sandinista party. brian: panama. mr. gruber: panama was fascinating because i have a friend who is a jazz musician. billy his cousin is a pilot on , the panama canal. in panama, through the meeting with the exiled president of guatemala, jose serrano, i met someone at lunch who is a psion of panamanian political families. he has two great grandfathers
who were presidents of panama. through repeated attempts, i finally got to get on a midnight ride with him down the panama canal. the whole story of panama and our intervention there under president george h w bush has to do with the canal and with our desire to keep the canal. actually physically seeing how that canal threads through the country and what means to the country, interviews with the that was the most important way to do that. one interview was with this black panamanian who years before could never have had that job when it was under u.s. control. a chance to get a physical sense of what the canal next to panama -- meant to panama was valuable. brian: serbia. mr. gruber: serbia was supposed to be a humanitarian intervention.
i think serbia was one place where you can look at both sides of that and come up with your own conclusions. i talked in belgrade to a lot of serbians, all of whom felt that the intervention in 1999 in a major european city was indefensible. many of the places i went to in virtually every military conflict we have, there is some humanitarian veneer over what our purposes are. specifically in belgrade, there was genocide that happened there. there was potential additional genocide. that was in the kosovo area. an interesting case of trying to see whether humanitarian interventions are defensible, and what people on the other end of the gun barrel think. brian: pause here for a second. did you find people -- did you try to find people in all these places that thought we were terrible with our intervention and people who thought we had done the right thing?
mr. gruber: i went with a completely open mind. first of all, trying to get interviews through contacts and making contact. serendipitously through places i was staying or people i met. and then getting interviews. there was a wide cross-section in all of these places. all of the serbians i talked to said milosevic was terrible. a year after he was thrown out of office. the issue was -- and in panama as well -- there is a spectrum of opinion whether they welcomed us in order to accelerate that event or if we were infringing on their sovereignty. i went to all these places with an open mind, trying to understand what a partisan point of view might be, or be validated, but to look at was the mission accomplished?
and what were the costs on both ends of the gun barrel? brian: we need to tell the audience we know each other rather well. you are now 61 years old and when you walked in this place, you were 28 years old as our first director of marketing. you did some on-air work for us. i never have known what you think politically. this is all new to me. so we can share this with the audience, somebody maybe my age or around there might remember your face and you when you are a host here on our call-in show. >> recently congressman tim wife, a democrat from new york said private groups are now constantly breaking neutrality laws in central america and
we're overlooking it i providing that by providing privately funded aid to the contras. are you violating neutrality laws? >> it is our view we are not violating neutrality laws. the aid we are providing is primarily humanitarian aid. we are providing not just medical supplies, but we are supplying money to buy food, food items, clothing items, things that they are unable to get with the very limited funding that they have now that congress has cut them off. >> former american general. you interviewed him. i don't know if you even remember that. if you were with him today, what would you tell him that you learned about his premise about humanitarian aid versus what you saw in nicaragua. mr. gruber: first it's dangerous -- it is very generous of you to hire 14-year-olds on your network. [laughter] i look very young there. basically i'm sure the , congressman was a fine legislator.
but what he just said he was , lying. brian: he is a retired general. mr. gruber: that was not the case. brian: did you feel that way then? did you know that? mr. gruber: back during the interview? no, i did not feel that way or know. there was clearly an agenda where jimmy carter was trying before president reagan was elected to support the new government. it was clear they were helping salvadoran rebels. and the sandinistas turned up the a lot more authoritarian and repressive than they promised. ultimately it came to be people who did not like the contras, but who actively opposed the sandinista government. it was not a humanitarian mission. it was a mission basically to fight the sandinistas at any cost.
from the very beginning there , was military aid given to groups in honduras that were extending that conflict for 10 years. brian: as you did this trip, do you consider yourself a journalist? mr. gruber: that is interesting. i have had some training in university and i hosted some call-in shows. i have done a lot of interviews through products i have done. -- projects i have done. i was looking at myself as a citizen who was sort of doing an audit of his own government. trying to get a fresh narrative to see if there were new perspectives i could aim from people who were actively there. -- i could gain from people who were actually there. the word journalist can describe a number of things. in terms of being a paid professional journalist working for an editorial organization, no. i was there as my own citizen. i do not necessarily like the term citizen journalist. i was trying to understand what happened and whether the mission was accomplished.
brian: i read that you raised $10,000 from 62 people. was that enough money to send you around the world for two years? mr. gruber: it was a four-month trip. that was a little over $2000 a month. you get a little bit of that to kick starter for payment processing. that was enough traveling very simply to travel for four months. after that, when i wrote, i did that on my own. basically for $2000 a month, travel, food, lodging, transport. that was all done for $2000 a month. brian: were you buy yourself all the time? mr. gruber: i was. i had friends once in a while who met up with me in the cities i was in. it was me and a backpack. brian: how often did you take a
bus between countries? mr. gruber: pretty often. i remember one time i was in guatemala, and i had to get to nicaragua. the brochure said the ip executive bus, wi-fi and ac outlets. i got on the bus at about 6:00 in the morning on a monday morning. my ipad that i was going to write and edit on was losing power. i asked, where do i plug it in and she said they do not have that. i said they have it in your brochure. she said we have it on our brochure come we just don't have it on the bus. that was the longest bus trip i remember. otherwise i pretty much blew. -- i pretty much blew -- pretty much flu in southwest asia from vietnam to cambodia to laos, those were bus rides. flew to serbia, flew to afghanistan. then the iraqi chip happened
after the initial four months. at that point, isis was on the move. i wanted to go to erbil as my entry point. that was surrounded by jihadi's. the cost to get it would have been too high. my editor, this january, said, you didn't get to iraq. we talked about going, and i ended up going this january as an extension of the trip. brian: how did you dress? mr. gruber: i tried to stuff as much of the backpack as i could. when i got to afghanistan, my winter clothes i just left behind. posted in the last leg into southeast asian. i was a backpacker. very simply. there were a few rei type travel of that i washes wearing. i think i had one dress shirt.
actually, no. that was an rei shirt as well. so i could go into a meeting with an ex-president looking respectful, but not even anything like this. i had to explain that to people up front. brian: what was the average cost of nightly lodging? mr. gruber: cheap. often in the teens. average cost, maybe $20 or so. depends where you are. brian: what was it like? mr. gruber: there were three types of logic i had. -- of lodging that i had. one on expedia and the second two airbnb. the other is something called couch surfing. the average fare was affected by the weeks that i got for free and the kindness of strangers was the most extraordinary part of the trip. >> what is couch surfing?
surfing is aouch website where tens of thousands people around the world say, if you're traveling through my town, stay in my home for free. >> why? sometimes they want to learn english. sometimes they like travelers and sometimes they want to make friends. and then they can decide if they are looking at your profile whether they want to to stay or not. why is a very good question. it is not as reliable as getting an airbnb listing. in the end, i got some extraordinary stays through cap serving. >> reversed that, why would you want to take a chance staying with somebody that you don't know? mr. gruber: good question. that could be asked about a lot of things that i did. if you look at someone and they did on the site for a long time
and there is a lot of reviews about them, then you feel a bit more comfortable. if they have no reviews are wanted to document views, the you don't stay there. but if 11 people have stayed with them the last 18 months, and they stay with a couple people and you read the reviews, then you feel comfortable. when you show up, if you do not like what you see, then you can go. brian: did you ever go? mr. gruber: i did. in cabo, i could not find a place to stay. two days before going there, i could not find lodging. needless to say, there is not a lot of airbnb lodging in cabo. a fellow who used to do translations for the u.s. army and his father was an officer in the army said i cannot give you lodging, but i will take you up at the airport and take you to a guesthouse and will negotiate for you and that i will help you get interviews.
then a second guy based on a second outreach that i did responded to me. he was the ceo of an i.t. firm which serviced the defense department and the department of the interior. he said we have a villa in downtown cabo. we have converted it into an office, but we kept to en suite rooms. you can stay here if you want to. love what you are doing. and you can have three meals a day here and it is secure. basically after the initial guesthouse for a week, i stayed for three weeks in this villa for free and went out with them at night and he made all these introductions and served their employees food three times a day. anytime i wanted a free meal i got it. that was a nice situation. brian: were you surprised by the way people treated you? mr. gruber: i kind of guests
-- i never felt in danger during my trip. ever. -- i kind ofsts to maybe guess that people would be kind and generous and supportive. i'd involve people's advice because it was better to provoke people and get honest reactions from people. people would tell me not to tell people that i was american and i almost always told people i was american. brian: you say you also told people you were jewish. why there? mr. gruber: there was a scene as a pool in cabo where this fellow was screaming that americans were murderers and occupiers. and then i walked up to him to engage him. he asked where i am from, and i remember my story that i was born in brazil, but grew up in canada. then i said i am an american jew. and then we had a long conversation about religion. i never felt in harms way while i was traveling.
people, in the end were , extraordinarily kind and thoughtful. brian: did you have anybody that confronted you during this process that were angry? mr. gruber: i think there were people who were politically angry like the fellow in the pool. i think when you engage with , people sincerely, after the first few seconds it is like who are you? if you say this to someone and, oh that you are writing a book and they ask who you work for and you say you are independent, 100% of them will think you work for the cia or you are not telling the truth. it is out of the frame of reference to think that you're just there with a backpack traveling through the country. once people -- i think on two scores, if you want an interview with someone, the first thing is be skeptical. in the first 90 seconds or so, they get a sense you are really
there for that reason and you want to hear their story, then people open up and they want to tell their story and that they introduce you to other people who want to tell the story. similarly, when you meet people, if they oppose u.s. policy and think the u.s. should be out. as, in a few seconds they come , to believe that you are there because you are curious and open and you want to hear their story and they process that and they accept that, then they might still argue with you aggressively but they will want to share their point of view and want to hear what you have to say. >> on your facebook you have a picture of you and your two daughters. where do they live and how old are they? mr. gruber: older than they were when you saw them last. jenny is 33 years old and lives in new york. andrea is 30 years old and she
lived in eugene, oregon. she is a trained paramedic and ent and works in a medical facility. she moved back to auburn. she is living close to her mom now. brian: as you travel around the world, were you constantly in touch with your daughters? mr. gruber: all the time. i think that is one of the things about skype and email and all of the apps that you use is you are able to engage and communicate constantly. once and a while, specifically in, in that situation with andrea, i excitedly said in communicating with this afghan housewife over facebook and she invited me to her home and went to introduce her to the inland and andrea said you are not going there. and i argued with her, and she said no, you do not understand come you're just not going. so i didn't go. brian: why didn't she want you to go? mr. gruber: there were some
people while i was in cabo who would friend me on facebook, and i would kind of look on their feed and see and ask them how they found out that i existed before i would agree to befriended. at one point, there was a woman called zahra and had a plausible sounding reason as to how she knew who i was. we engaged in this two week long conversation over facebook talking about what it is like to be an afghan housewife, to have children, to have the taliban cut of her education as a young girl. her husband worked at the bagram air force base. it was fascinating for me. my daughter andrea didn't believe that she was who she said she was. there is story behind that. ultimately, she invited me to her home for dinner, and andrea did not let me go. brian: let's go back to the list
of where you have been. also on this list as you just mentioned is afghanistan. below that is indochina. indochina is wider than indochina. where'd you go inside indochina? mr. gruber: i spent most of my time in vietnam and cambodia, where i wound up living eight. -- living for eight months in cambodia. i went to laos briefly. i flew from cabo to hanoi. my original plan was to fly into delhi, take a bus through northern india and nepal and go across china in two hanoi. the border crossing is difficult and less you set it up in advance. i flew to hanoi, and then took buses all the way down into ho chi minh city, and then from ho chi minh city into cambodia. brian: why did you spend eight months in cambodia? mr. gruber: at the end of the trip, i wanted to write the book and i was tired and wanted to be
by the beach. i went to the cambodian coast and went to a beach and rented a bungalow and started writing a yoga centerund there and lived in a yoga center for two months a block from the beach, which was a great experience. it was good for me to live in one of the places that i wrote about and learn more about it. before i returned home, i wanted to get a good part of the book written and really enjoy the cambodian coast and enjoy cambodian culture and a get some consulting gigs from the fall on and so i stayed there a while. brian: consulting what? mr. gruber: first i met jim brooke he was running a newspaper and phnom penh. he needed someone to help run his newsroom. i came out of worked with him
for a few months in phnom penh. when i first completed the trip, i did some volunteer work outside an orphanage in phnom penh. fort a fellow who worked the european journalism center some months later. we kept in touch on facebook. he texted me one day that the european journalism center wanted to take a group of 12 senior eu journalists and show them cambodia and take them to projects funded by the eu and meet with the civil society activists and with journalists, and would i be willing to be the fixer and organizer for the project. i did that and after that, they want to do the same thing in myanmar. i did that for them a few months later. when i did the project in cambodia, there was an extraordinary factory run by a dutch fellow who wanted to create working conditions and treat employees the way you would if the factory was in the
netherlands. just casually i told them about the book project. he was doing all of this extraordinary work and needed someone to help tell his story. he hired me to help him tell his story and develop a communications plan. things like that were very certain to business. if you could make a list of things you'd go back to because you enjoyed the company, would you go back to? >> the right a lot of friends during the trip and a lot of conversations i wish i go back to. people you felt comfortable going back to and saying
let's spend an evening together? mr. gruber: probably 40 or 50. in terms of doing research for follow-up, about 20 people. brian: when did this project to get underway from a book standpoint? a couple of years ago you said you started to raise money and all that. mr. gruber: i did a novel five years ago, coincidentally, on the place i'm living now on because of thailand. i did it myself and did the whole publishing process from publisher to completion. really enjoyed that.
wanted to write more. did you travel writing course in san francisco. to become a better writer, you needed to write more. i wrote a lot as i was traveling. ultimately hired a couple of wonderful interns who transcribed the interviews because it overwhelmed me to do it myself. while i was traveling, someone on my thesis committee at pepperdine university while i was going for my masters there and studying broadcast journalism. my intern kept reposting things i was posting on facebook. ultimately he volunteered to be a pro bono editor for the project and be a partner through the whole thing. we worked on it together and he has edited three books and had a hard stop because i was invited by one of my kick starters to be on a project that we funded at the film festival of this year. i had to get done by then. all of the preproduction work
and selecting fonts and putting it all together i did myself. brian: did i read correctly that your father was a taxi driver? mr. gruber: that's right. brian: when was that and where was that? mr. gruber: for about 25 years in new york city. he was born in 1917 so that would been in the 40's and 50's. he moved to las vegas and loved it so much. he loves talking to people. he took a part-time job in las vegas to continue it well into his 70's. brian: how much of your father are you? mr. gruber: a bit. he loved hearing people's stories and loved engaging with people.
i think it's a compliment -- my daughter andrea said, of course he loved being a taxi driver, he could tell the same story over and over again to new people every time he picked up a fare. he was natural about engaging with strangers. with this project, the biggest challenge and unknown i had was being able to find people who could tell their story in a way that could illuminate an international story. a lot of people wouldn't talk to me in places where there is some resentment because he just came out of conflict. so maybe there's a lot of him in me. brian: why did you decide to live in thailand? mr. gruber: i love living by the beach. i enjoy the travel experience a lot. it was a vivid life experience.
i'm single and my daughters are both well along on their own. i thought it was going to live overseas again -- i thought if i was going to live overseas again, this was the time to do it. i really enjoy yoga and living by the beach. i enjoyed southeast asian culture. i like that island. know how long i'll do that. i traveled to 70 places that i wanted to settle in one place for a while. eventually i might like to be back here in a month or year. particularly the island i am on, it is a place where it is mostly thai so you are part of the thai culture. it is beautiful and you have all of the ex-pats you want. bangkok orto get to -- youcesneaby
can fly to neighboring countries and it is a wonderful quality of life. brian: how do you afford to do this? have you saved your money? are you making money as you go? is it expensive to live in thailand? gruber: that is a very personal questions, brian. [chuckling] there are a few points to that. at what point are comfort and familiarity more important than exploration and experience. if you're willing to adjust your
western standards of comfort and decide what do i really need and want and what kind of overhead can i live on just the freedom that i want. that is the most important thing. if you want an air-conditioned, two-bedroom western furnished condo is there for you in places a bit cheaper than alexandria or san francisco. that is the first thing. the second, do you have to be wealthy? i and not wealthy and i choose to do it anyways. do you want to focus on security and on making as much money, putting as much money away as you possibly can? kind of a sensible choice many people make, but do you want to balance that somewhere on the specter compared to following your passions and doing what you want. the third is that you couldn't do this very thing easily years ago. now with the web there are travel tools that allow you to find inexpensive places and communicate back home. and from a safety point of view, if i get ill i can be in bangkok in an hour and san francisco in 24 hours.
now it's easier. you don't have to be rich to do it, but you do have to make certain decisions about your life. one final factor is obligations and dependence. if i had three kids who were in their teens who were dependent on the way life is said, you are not going to do this, or parents or ill. i was not -- i would not be doing this. brian: when you went to vietnam, how long did you stay there?
mr. gruber: there is an attitude of forgiveness. i don't know if it is a buddhist thing or a time thing or whether as my good friend said, whether there is an attitude that if you were and capacitance -- a combatant at that time, you want to move on. and you associate the united states with economic opportunity. i kept looking for people who were more angry. like some of the interviews in the book. people were fully aware of the horrors that were unleashed from the ordinance to the whole way the conflict took place. among the people there is zero negativity. they want to engage with the world. they had a state-controlled media.
that might have controlled the media they got in third grade. any 14-year-old girl in hanoi in 45 seconds can show you how to get around state-controlled on the internet. so they are very savvy, they are well-traveled and they want to engage with westerners. it was surprising to me the lack of resentment that i encountered through my travels and southeast asia. brian: iraq, how long were you there and when? mr. gruber: i was there in january. the bookwanted to get done. so my editor did the iraq chapter and he said, why didn't you get to iraq. why don't you go now? i said, why don't you go now? it just did not seem like a good
idea and really out of sites i went on the web and looked up what i could not go and instead that i found people saying it was completely safe and everyone can come. it is a safe place to be even though it is 80 kilometers from mosul. in terms of cost is going to be very expensive going to iraq, but a round trip flight from dubai for $250 is not that expensive. and third, the kurdistan regional authority allows americans to go there without a visa up to 14 days. .o my excuses ran out so basically i plotted a course and went there and was there for 14 -- 10 days. what did you see?
mr. gruber: it was an amazing experience. i had trouble finding a reasonably priced hotel. not a lot of airbnb in iraq. andn there read my profile saw i was having a hard time finding a place to stay. he said here is what is going to happen, i am going to pick you up at the airport and take you around to guest houses in negotiate with you. i'm going to get you would ever interview you want and i speak arabic and kurdish and i will be your translator. he was a doctor, he wanted no money. he simply wanted the kurdish story told. washought what i was doing worthy of support so he took me to some extraordinary places. thet of all, the citadel is oldest continually habited place on the planet.
so he took me to the citadel and the bazaar there. he took me to collage l, which was the site of the of the chemical bombardment of the kurds by saddam hussein. that was a powerful and sad experience. beautiful mountain area, long drive. and one day we were sitting in the marriott hotel interviewing peshmerga fighter. said, the interview, he you know, my brother is a commander on the front lines between here and mosul. he said, would you like to visit and interview him? and i said of course i would. i called him and he said, have to talk to the vase commander and the next state they called and said be ready tomorrow morning and they picked me up, we drove through the
checkpoints and when over there, by that point we were probably a half an hour drive from mosul. at one point samir turned to me and said, we just passed the customer get checkpoint and it is a good time to tell you i am going to take you as a tiny little present, to isis. a little kurdish humor there. i went to a army base and to be there on the base and to talk to the soldiers who were there about how isis formed and their attitudes towards sunni and shia and their experience through the two gulf wars was extraordinary. brian: who do they blame for isis? interestingthe thing is a lot of these prices,
you get somewhat different perspectives on things. even when there are conflicting or different perspectives, it helps to give you a broader picture. in iraq, there were no different perspectives on isis. whether you were sunni or shia or kurd or hated the americans. i went to one dinner at a peace activist place where there was a young fella who went to damascus who started the meeting by saying he hated americans. he turned out to be very charming and his father is a civil society activist. but all of them say the same thing. which is that when you invade iraq and fire all the bath officers, you have thousands of elites who you everything about army logistics and the country. where weapons were stored and they had a lot of money. they were the leaders of society.
most of them lived in mosul. about whereerything the weapons were stored, they knew everything about the society. 11 years later, those people are selling pencils or are unemployed. they are humiliated. a shia government installed by the united states is marauding their area and they say you all created isis by doing that. so of course, before, when saddam hussein was in power, if you were an islamist you were mercilessly repressed and tortured. there was no al qaeda in iraq while hussein was in power. so first of all, i taking out hussein, there were a few jihadi's who came from other countries who formed this
movement in iraq. the reason i soul became successful in a rock is because you have former baath party officers and you have military officers who are running logistics there. brian: there's so much to talk about in this book. wants this book and all of the interviews you you did, how do they get it. mr. gruber: it is on amazon. just do a search for "war: the ." er party brian: how much? and what to get on kindle that in paperback to you get on hardback and don't get on kindle? or 2495, one or
two weeks to clean up other things in the book. so you get that. and in the next several weeks, what i don't have on the kindle is photos. by the time this interview airs, the kindle will probably have another addition with photos and bonus content. brian: and you have facebook, twitter, and all that. if people want to get in the middle of all this, what else can they do? mr. gruber: on twitter the handle would be thegrube. i think it you gave me that nickname. and i use facebook a lot more. they can just do a search for brian gruber on facebook. i post a lot on facebook and by the way i post a lot on the feed and also i have a website
grubermedia.com where i blogged while i did the trip. so all of those blog posts remain from the trip on the blog on the website. brian: your sense of humor came through more than once, the one i most remember was on the streets of nicaragua. i think you were out wondering around one night and the young lady that came up to you. mr. gruber: that's right. brian: she offered her services. would you tell that story? and you walked a lot. you constantly talked about walking. mr. gruber: i don't always listen to people. so people would tell me in these cities, guatemala, i think there are like seven hundred or 800 people up and murdered in guatemala city, as drivers.
so people told me you just can't walk around. but ultimately the way that i found people was by walking around and engaging with people and then that person would introduce me to someone else. who would introduce me to another person. i had a week in nicaragua and i did two walkabouts. i walked out the front door, turned right and walked through the city. there happened to be -- i think it was the it was the 35th anniversary of the nicaraguan police or the managua and police and daniel ortega spoke and he actually drove his car right in in front of me at one point which was kind of funny. was an experience of those three interviews i talked to you about. i had to go to granada. i took a bus there even though i had to fly to panama the next morning so i took a bus there
and while i was sitting there in the alhambra hotel, it is been there for half a century. a classic hotel. i was a little bit late but my interviewee was even later. and there was a young woman there who just kept coming up to me and trying to get me to go to her room and kept lowering her price. time,lfriend at the juliana, i kept texting her the price, saying, i can't resist an offer like that. she thought that was funny. brian: what did she say? mr. gruber: she thought it was funny. brian: so how did you do this? in other words, how did you do the interviews physically and all that? what did you use. mr. gruber: at first i wanted to do video.
but from the very beginning in guatemala, to make them feel comfortable, if i was messing with equipment, it made them feel more self-conscious. it was also a production challenge. when i looked at it it was simply going to be overwhelming to try to get the right audio in video in every place. it was overwhelming to get the right audio and video in every place. i abandoned the video idea. i had an i-pad 2, a macbook pro and an iphone. i would generally record every interview on all three and i would have a device that i put over the bottom of my ipad that was a stereo microphone input that is close to the interviewee -- a stereo microphone and put that is close to the interviewee as possible. them if theto mic opportunity arose. most of the interviews were serendipitous.
and i had no opportunity to do that. as long as it could be transcribed or i could hear it well, and that was good enough. so, if i had an iphone that was close to them, that was enough. that was a real difference, if i just wanted to use it for transcribing or use it for broadcasting. i had those three devices. of course, at first i tried to transcribe it all on my own. i had a friend and then these two interns who transcribed everything. brian: have you saved all the interviews? gruber: yes i have. brian: what are you going to do with them? mr. gruber: they are on the clouds and a couple of devices. i can go back to them if i want to. almost all of them are transcribed. so i have the transcriptions as well. if someone comes up to you and says, this looks like it was a lot of fun and you learned a lot. what would you tell them to do
and not to do? mr. gruber: i would tell them to do it. if you have a strong, compelling instinct and you are doing it even for yourself then you probably can and it is less dangerous than you think. it is probably a lot cheaper than you think. it is probably a lot less dangerous than you think and the a lot cheaper than you think. crowdfunding., you need a community of people who you already know if you're going to do a successful crowdfunding. most of the things you see on kickstarter, most people already have a network of people who want to support a project. two thirds of the donations i got were from people i knew and the rest was from people on the website. travel is easier than it is ever been. travel costs are easier than they have ever been.
content creation tools. what to do, what not to do. one, i would encourage people -- if i were to do it again, i would spend a few months in advance messing with the logistics. not having to do the content creation editorial part of the anti-not having to do the lodging part and everything all at once. brian: how do you do the airline costs? mr. gruber: if you are willing to be flexible, there are so many discount airlines and so many new carriers in the middle east that want to get into these markets. you can get very low-cost travel. i mean at a certain point you need some money. i think the benchmark that i gave you is, if you want to spend $200 a month instead of $2000 a month and travel
internationally, that is going to be difficult. but it is a lot less expensive than you think. again, if you're willing to wait for the ratepayers or travel at 2:00 in the morning or have a long layover somewhere or take an airline you may not have heard of or stay in lodging where you decide what are your baseline needs for when you travel. if you're going to go somewhere on vacation, you have a certain baseline. if you are traveling and your baseline is relatively secure, a bed and functioning plumbing in the bathroom, then you can be very flexible wherever you go. and i ate a lot of street food. one of the joys i had was food was really cheap. it was great and the only two times i got sick during the trip were from airplane food. i won't name the airline. but i ate a lot of street food
and you can have a feast in vietnam. sitting on a small chair in ho chi minh city for one dollar or two. brian: last question. if you had to pick the place the rest of the places you've been where you can live, where would you pick? mr. gruber: that is tough. i loved afghanistan. i'm not sure i would live there even though the imam i interviewed told me to come back and convert to islam and live in afghanistan. nicaragua for example has a beautiful and developing coastline. also with low overhead. so many people that like costa rica would like nicaragua.
brian: again, the name of this book, "war: the afterparty - a global walkabout through a half-century of u.s. military interventions." our guest has been brian gruber. and those who have not been here the whole time, mr. gruber worked her 1983 until what? thank you very much for joining us. mr. gruber: thank you, ryan. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> for free transcripts, please visit us at q&a.org. transcripts are also available
online and also podcasts. week's q&ayed this interview with brian gruber here are some other programs you might like. talking about the documentary program, "the war tapes." boba book by journalist timber. and stephen cancer's book on the secret world war. you can watch these anytime or search the entire library at c-span.org. c-span's washington journal, live every day with news in policy issues that impact you. morning, wallay street journal policy reporter policy reporter at look at health care changes and the
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