Major Mike Banzet is a regular guy.
He enlisted in the Air Force in 1987, drawn to his calling of serving this great nation.
During his career, he was selected for numerous awards at all levels; squadron, wing and even Major Command. He was selected for Officer Training School and after being selected as the top maintenance officer in Air Combat Command, was selected for pilot training.
He started flying in 2000, and eventually accumulated 2500 hours in the air; about 500 being combat hours. He was even a subject in a Washington Post article titled "Fill'er Up" by the esteemed journalist Veron Loeb.
But, during his last tour on the ground in Iraq helping the Iraqi Air Force rebuild, he noticed something.
No one seemed to know what good things had gone on over there.
The media seemed to be telling only those aspects of what went badly. Certain political parties seemed intent on calling American soldiers in harms way losers, criminals, or implying that because they were stupid, they got "...stuck in Iraq."
He wrote an article about halfway through his tour; called "When is Iraq Newsworthy?" that got a bit of attention.
Upon returning home, the itch to finish what he had started with that article kept festering. He received a "Definitely Promote" to Lieutenant Colonel, but after the elections of 2008, he decided to retire; describing his reasoning in another article titled "Why I Quit".
With that election, the book took on a new urgency; people had to know that the American military was honored and respected more by the Iraqis than by the media and certain politicians.
The result was "A Flowershop in Baghdad".
Its time to be proud to be an American again.
Col Gary Kubat
What an awesome read! The book covered an all-American journey down Mike's history that led to his role as an Air Advisor to the Iraqi Air Force, and then transitioned to a first-hand account of one man in an extremely complex and volatile environment. While our warriors fought the battles necessary to provide time for the Iraqi gov't to stand up, others fought a different kind of war: maneuvering the clash zone where many countries and cultures collided in an effort to rebuild a capable Iraqi gov't. If you wish to read a different kind of story, where Americans reach their hands out in friendship in a war zone to help people we've never met, this is the book. As a fellow advisor in the same unit I've struggled with how to tell my own family what it was like... and I've given them this book to help them understand. Mike's humor will keep you smiling even while you grapple with the range of emotions induced by the conflict. Contained in this book are countless examples of why America truly is a great nation, populated by wonderful people. This book rates 5/5 stars, but only because 10 isn't an option.
Read this book and found it to be very revealing about the struggle of the Iraqi People who suffered under Sadaam and from al qaeda in Iraq. This story shows us that the cost of our involvement in Iraq was costly, but the cost to the Iraqi people even higher before liberation. I would say we need to ask our free press why is it this was hidden from us?