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"War: The Afterparty" is a world tour of fifty years of US invasions, incursions and overthrows asking the question: how’d we do?
"War: The Afterparty" is a world tour of fifty years of US invasions, incursions and overthrows asking the question: how’d we do?
"War: The Afterparty" is a world tour of fifty years of US invasions, incursions and overthrows asking the question: how’d we do?
62 backers pledged $10,135 to help bring this project to life.

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War: The Afterparty

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Welcome to War: The Afterparty, a world tour of 50 years of US invasions, incursions and overthrows asking the question: how’d that work out? I’m Brian Gruber, a long time media entrepreneur, world affairs enthusiast, and patriotic American who believes our national debt is out of control and that it’s time for a fresh look at how and why we wage war.

August 4th was my 59th birthday. It was also the fiftieth anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, when President Johnson went on national television to announce that the USS Maddox was attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats. Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which escalated a conflict that left fifty-eight thousand Americans and three million Vietnamese dead. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara has since admitted that the attack never happened.

On March 20th, 2003, the United States invaded Iraq because its weapons of mass destruction programs were deemed an imminent and grave threat. President Bush’s National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice warned that we must not allow a smoking gun to become a mushroom cloud. The weapons were never found. The price in blood and treasure for the occupation: 4,500 American dead, 35,000 wounded, 100,000 Iraqi civilian dead, two million refugees, civil war and two trillion dollars.

We are told in the press and by political leaders to avoid the appearance of weakness, to project American power in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, Iran. 

Before we do, maybe it’s time for a field audit that asks some simple questions:

Did we achieve the objectives used to justify war? What were the actual outcomes, the return on our investment in blood and treasure? What were the body counts, and the economic costs, on both sides? Who got paid? Were the benefits worth the costs, with 20/20 hindsight?

“War, the Afterparty,” is a round the world travelogue through countries that have received American military forces in the pursuit of freedom, democracy, justice, and the free flow of commerce. For the trip I will travel to Southeast Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Europe and Central America. I will curate the best writing on each incursion and record oral histories from the taxi drivers, teachers, artists and combatants who witnessed history first hand. 

The output of the project will include a book, a video series and daily online content. 

And I want you to be a part of it. Most content will be published free but I am gathering a community of 100 people interested in participating more directly by sharing insights and contacts, and by supporting the project via Kickstarter. 

What can we learn about our last half-century of overseas engagements? What are the patterns? How do we choose to act on the world stage, in an era of financial constraints? Unpaid world policeman? Providential city on a hill? Isolationist? Muscular wielder of a big stick? The news out of Syria, Ukraine, and other global hotspots reminds us that smart, informed attitudes toward how and why we go to war are important markers for the future of American democracy. "War: the Afterparty" is a global walkabout to seek out essential images and voices to inform a way forward for our next fifty years. Consider yourself invited.  

Risks and challenges

I will be posting content from each country in real time. Well before the publication of the book, contributors will receive drafts of each chapter, of the SoundCloud and YouTube interviews, of the images and social media content. I am dropping everything to work on this full time, and will be fully committed to it throughout. You are assured a broad array of content at each stop of the trip. The book will then deliver that content in edited form, approximately 3-4 months from the end of the trip.

There is a chance that a civil war or a shutdown of visa approvals will block entrance to one or two designated countries. If so, I will report from a bordering country, after making every attempt to gain entry.

I expect some amount of personal risk, and so will avoid obvious dangers such as war zones and high crime areas. Most countries allow entry with a U.S. passport, or with a low cost visa. A few countries will require more creative or assertive entry strategies. I believe there will be suitable access to countries in each region so that the stories can be told. If the project achieves its $10,000 Kickstarter goal, I intend to travel for $60 per day. that accounts for a fair amount of free room and board. Inability to travel at that rate creates a risk for covering all four regions and twelve or more target countries. If the stretch goal of $20,000 is achieved, that allows for a safer travel budget, contingency funds for unexpected expenses, and money for print and video editors and illustrators.

I am well travelled, with a lot of contacts in each region, as well as many contacts in government, media and business here at home.

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    Receive exclusive weekly emails, including photos and interviews, and participate in Google hangouts from all over the world. Receive an ebook copy of the completed project.

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    Receive a physical and digital copy of the book; exclusive weekly emails, including photos and interviews; participate in Google hangouts from all over the world.

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    Receive a signed copy of the physical book and 5 digital copies to share with your friends; exclusive weekly emails, including photos and interviews; participate in Google hangouts from all over the world.

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    Receive a signed copy of the physical book with the attribution of your choice, and 10 digital copies to share with your friends. You will be acknowledged by name on the eBook and on the project website. Receive exclusive weekly emails, including photos and interviews; participate in Google hangouts from all over the world.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Receive three signed copies of the physical book with the attribution of your choice, and 25 digital copies to share with your friends. You will be invited to exclusive "Afterparty" events in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, with a 4th virtual event You will be acknowledged by name on the eBook and on the project website. Receive exclusive weekly emails, including photos and interviews; participate in Google hangouts from all over the world.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Receive ten signed copies of the physical book with the attribution of your choice, and a license for UNLIMITED distribution of the ebook to share with your friends. You will receive VIP benefits and access to exclusive "Afterparty" events in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, with a 4th virtual event; in addition to a one hour private author event, either via Skype or in person. You will be acknowledged by name at all author events, in the physical book, in the eBook and on the project website. Receive exclusive weekly emails, including photos and interviews; participate in Google hangouts from all over the world.

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Funding period

- (44 days)