Kimberly Dozier: A Tribute

Those of us who knew Kimberly Dozier as a University of Virginia graduate student gasped when we learned that she was critically wounded, on Memorial Day while working as a CBS correspondent in Iraq. For the past 12 years, the last three in Iraq, Kimberly was doing exactly what she had counseled fellow journalists to do in her Virginia Master’s Thesis – to report Middle East news professionally, with objectivity, courage, steeled independence, breadth of perspective, and an unflinching empathy for her subjects.
Kimberly Dozier is one of the best, and we join in keeping a candle lit for her full recovery. In this small tribute, I offer a few glimpses into Kimberly Dozier’s Virginia studies and suggest how she became one of our finest, if not widely appreciated, journalists covering the Middle East.
UVA Background
Hailing from Hawaii, Kimberly Garrington Dozier came to the University of Virginia in January 1992 to study Foreign Affairs and the Middle East in particular. A high honors graduate of Wellesley College, where she majored in Human Rights and Spanish, Kimberly already had several years of Washington journalism experience. To help pay her UVA freight, Kimberly tended bar long hours at a local hot spot on Charlottesville’s famed “corner,” the St. Marteen Café. Think Marion Ravenwood of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
At the time, I was continuing graduate studies and beginning my own travels to Iran. As such, Kimberly and I shared several extraordinary mentors, including R.K. Ramazani and Abdulaziz Sachedina. As she told the Virginia Arts & Sciences magazine last April, she remains grateful to both professors, praising their insights into the Middle East turmoil then brewing as “like an anatomy of 9/11 years before it happened.”
One fellow classmate, Scott Waalkes, a recent Fulbright Scholar and now on faculty at Malone College, remembers Kimberly as “thoughtful” and “engaging,” always asking “probing questions.” Another classmate, Beth Doughtery, now holding an endowed chair at Beloit College, fondly recalls “hanging out” with Kimberly, as a fellow free spirit and member of the “women’s college mafia” at UVA: Kimberly was “smart, articulate, fun, driven, and obviously headed for success.”

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Fukuyama at Virginia

Earlier this week, Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins University visited the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. Turnout was very good, even with students largely gone for the summer. Doing his part to reduce oil demand, Fukuyama arrived at the talk on a sparkling Harley-Davidson. The main hall was packed, as was the overflow room.
So what was the draw? Why has Fukuyama’s recently released book, America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative Legacy (Yale UP) caused such a sensation? Quite simply, here we have a leading inner member of the neoconservatives in the Reagan and Bush Administrations breaking ranks with his former comrades. His book and his address at UVA explain why and set out a better course for American foreign policy.
In his lively prepared remarks, Fukuyama condensed his book into 30 minutes. He began with an overview of neoconservatism’s roots. Evolving far from its origins on the Trotskyite left in the 1930’s, neoconservatives after World War II retained an idealism about the universality of human rights and were impressed that American power could be used for noble purposes. On the domestic front, neoconservatives focused on counterproductive consequences of government social engineering efforts.
Yet between these two themes emerged a key contradiction and legacy. The same movement so eloquently skeptical of government’s capacity to enact social transformation was as sure in its convictions about the utility of international force to bring about “transformation” for other countries.
Applied then to the post 9-11 world, the Bush neoconservatives made three critical misjudgments. First was the expansion of the doctrine of “pre-emptive war” into that of “preventive war.” After 9/11, Fukuyama agreed that “containment was no longer an option” and invading Afghanistan was necessary – to pre-empt a demonstrated imminent threat. But too many variables of the presumed threat from Iraq were unclear. What imminent threat was to be pre-empted?

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