Brian Haig is a New York Times Bestselling author. He has written eight books including his latest, The Capitol Game. He previously served in the military as Special Assistant to the Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Command in Korea, and then for four years as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. NewsReal Blog had the pleasure of interviewing him.
NewsRealBlog: What is the plot of The Capitol Game?
Brian Haig: A small, insignificant company on the edge of bankruptcy has discovered an alchemist’s dream; a miraculous polymer, that when coated on any vehicle, is the equivalent of 30 inches of steel. With bloody conflicts surging in Iraq and Afghanistan, the polymer promises to save thousands of lives and change the course of both wars. The Capitol Group, one of the country’s largest and most powerful corporations is enlisted by Jack Wiley, a Wall Street investment banker, to take over the smaller company that developed the polymer and then get a fat government contract. After the Pentagon’s investigative service starts to ask questions the Capitol Group find themselves embroiled in a tremendous scandal.
NRB: Was there a point you were trying to get across?
Haig: I was hoping to give you a sense of the tragedy that was occurring in Iraq. In Iraq it took six to seven years to field combat vehicles that gave our soldiers a much higher chance of survival against the insurgent’s principal battlefield weapon, IED’s, or roadside bombs. It’s tragic.
NRB: It seemed that in just a few pages the readers was able to connect with one of the book’s characters, Captain Bill Forrest. Was that your intention?
Haig: The bomb issue was a critical issue. To bring it home, I wanted the readers to associate the tragedy of the Iraq War with somebody. Compare Iraq to World War II. In WWII it took only three years for America to field three entire generations of tanks for an army of 9 to 10 million. In Iraq we had a considerably smaller army and it took 6 to 7 years to field adequate protective combat vehicles.
NRB: There was a great quote in the book: “A week without sweat or explosions is more than you can imagine.” Can you elaborate for those of us sitting in the comforts of our homes?
Haig: When you are in a place like Iraq or Afghanistan where the temperature is 115 to 120 degrees and you are wearing heavy combat gear the soldiers are required to wear; you are carrying 60 to 80 pounds on your frame; and you are covered in body armour that doesn’t breathe well it is physically miserable every day. It wears on you a lot. When you see an Iraqi campaign medal on a soldier’s chest, whether they saw a shot fired or not, understand how much he or she suffered just by being there.