I was flying over the Strait of Hormuz when I first learned Iran had downed a US drone just 12 hours earlier. 
My Emirates Airlines 777 was on the final approach to Dubai and I had turned on the BBC World live feed to catch up on the news after the 14-hour flight from Seattle.

The first thing that came to mind was the inevitability of the military clash. The second thing was the ironic timing. At that moment, my new book, America & Islam: Soundbites, Suicide Bombs and the Road to Donald Trump, was arriving in bookstores. 

And no, the fact that I was in roughly the same airspace where the clash occurred did not escape my notice.

But then almost 40 years of covering the Middle East has taught me that it’s not hard to find yourself at the intersection of misguided American policies and the region’s endless turmoil. 


By Lawrence Pintak

Lawrence Pintak is an award-winning journalist and scholar. He is a former CBS News Middle East correspondent and was founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University (2009-2016). He was named a Fellow of the Society by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2017 for "outstanding service to the profession of journalism" around the world. Pintak is a contributor to ForeignPolicy.com, The Daily Beast, and other outlets. Read his articles at pintak.com. His books include Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam & The War of Ideas; Islam for Journalists (co-editor); The New Arab Journalist; and Seeds of Hate: How America’s Flawed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad. He holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Wales, Trinity St. David. Follow him on Twitter @LPintak.