This is a transcript of an interview Matthew Alan Hill conducted with Kate S. for the Women and US Foreign Policy Interview Project at The Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London.
Interviewee: Kate S. (KS)
Employment position referred to in interview: Former US Marine
Interviewer: Matthew Alan Hill (MH)
Date: January 24, 2012
Location: Skype interview
General questions about your career [00:32 – 14:24]
Career inspirations; family in military service; interest in Marine Corps over Peace Corps and AmeriCorps; interest in international relations due to working on the ground in Iraq; training and working with Iraqi women; limited discussion with friends regarding military deployment activities; discusses whether there is a public space in America to talk about personal experiences whilst stationed in Iraq; combination of personality, mentors and support networks in having a successful career; post-Masters career; no gender discrimination from within the US Marines but from Iraqis whilst posted in Iraq; difficult shaking of hands with Iraqi Chief of Police; cultural; and language barriers between US personnel and Iraqis.
Non-gender specific issues and events you were involved in during your FP-related career [14:25 – 30:46]
Duties as the nightshift manager of the Combat Operations Center (COC)in Iraq tracking military convoys and keeping radio checks with people; the mechanics of interagency support between the Marines and other military services; impact of combat environment deployment on life; managing people in a combat environment; the need for multitasking skills in COC.
Experiences and knowledge of US engagement with gender issues in foreign policy [30:47 – 42:37]
Rationale for training Iraqi women for police checkpoints in Fallujah; difficulties of women travelling to checkpoints to work; use of veil for women as a disguise for travel to checkpoints to work; outline of search facilities for female workers at checkpoints; US female military personnel were searching Iraqi women prior to employing Iraqi women; difficulty of Iraqi men to accept orders from a female US officer; ability not sex defined the responses of people towards female Marines within the US Marines; difficulty of US military personnel reaching out to Iraqi females to ask them about working at the checkpoints.
Views on recent US foreign policy related issues [42:38 – 56:11]
Belief that the US should be more active in the international community at the grassroots level; support for Ambassador Ford in Syria meeting with protestors; change in perspective amongst people that democracy cannot be implemented in the Middle East and North Africa; the role of individualism and communalism in democratic societies; US engagement in Libya should be limited to supporting and not directing the reconstruction, as was the case in Iraq; difficulties of US and British in carrying out reconstruction in Iraq.