Montana State University

Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith to speak at MSU

November 2, 2009 -- MSU News Service


Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith, pictured here in Afghanistan, will discuss the current situation in Afghanistan in a talk titled "A War of Necessity or a Quagmire" Nov. 9 at Montana State University.    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
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Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith will discuss the current situation in Afghanistan in a talk titled "A War of Necessity or a Quagmire" Nov. 9 at Montana State University.

Galbraith served as the United Nation' second ranking official in Afghanistan until Oct. 1. He was recalled from his position as deputy special representative of the secretary-general of the United Nations to Afghanistan and assistant secretary-general of the United Nations after accusing the head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, of concealing election fraud that benefited the campaign of the incumbent Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

"For a long time after the elections, Kai denied that significant fraud had taken place, even going to the extreme of ordering U.N. staff not to discuss the matter," Galbraith wrote in a letter, a portion of which was excerpted in The New York Times.

"And, at critical stages in the process," he wrote, "he blocked me and other U.N.A.M.A. professional staff from taking effective action that might have limited the fraud or enabled the Afghan electoral institutions to address it more effectively."

U.N.A.M.A. refers to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Galbraith is a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, a senior diplomatic fellow at the Center for Arms Control and a principal at the Windham Resources Group.

Galbraith is also one of America's foremost experts on Iraq, having been a regular visitor to the country since the early 1980s. As a staff member for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he uncovered Saddam Hussein's murderous "al-anfal" campaign against the Iraqi Kurds, documenting chemical weapons attacks on Kurdish villages and the depopulation of rural Kurdistan.

During the 1991 Kurdish uprising in the aftermath of the first Gulf War, Galbraith was in rebel-held northern Iraq, narrowly escaping across the Tigris as Iraqi forces recaptured the area. His written and televised accounts provided early warning of the catastrophe overtaking the civilian population and contributed to the decision by the United States to create a safe haven in northern Iraq. In 1992, Galbraith brought out of northern Iraq 14 tons of captured Iraqi secret police documents detailing the atrocities against the Kurds.

Galbraith's most recent books are "The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End" and "Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America's Enemies".

The free lecture will begin at 7:30 pm in Reynolds Hall (in Howard Hall). The lecture is sponsored by the Office of International Programs, the Leadership Institute, the Department of Political Science, the Office of the Provost at MSU, and ASMSU.

Norm Peterson (406) 994-7150 or normp@montana.edu