Wednesday, April 20, 2011


If you were part of the audience that viewed last Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes you witnessed the sad revelation of inaccuracies in Greg Mortenson’s THREE CUPS OF TEA story. You may remember that your Commander wrote a glowing book review of Mortenson’s book about building schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan under the umbrella of his Central Asia Institute.

While I did not include it in my review I was aware from reading Mortenson’s book that he was obsessive in his drive to accomplish his mission. He admitted in his book that he frequently was looked upon as one operating in non-conventional ways, which supports the conclusions reported by CBS’s 60 Minutes report.

In addition to the 60 Minutes episode there is an extensive article in Monday’s New York Times and another at Time. Com. They properly raise important questions surrounding the initial due diligence conducted by Mortenson’s publisher Viking (Penguin Group USA) prior to publication.

Clearly there are some troubling issues that should be investigated in-depth, assuming they are true, and the 60 Minutes presentations certainly crafted a compelling case against Mortenson’s conduct. Unfortunately Mortenson is not the first author to fleece the public, and he will not be the last one.

Assuming the exposure of these alleged facts will lead to an objective investigation, I suspect the Central Asia Institute Board of Director’s failed to perform their fiduciary responsibilities. A solid investigation should bring the appropriate individuals to account in the interest of all charitable giving.

Mortenson’s work and cause seem praiseworthy, but he has apparently broken his bond with his many generous supporters that may be irreparable. Is it not sad that greed and ego can destroy such a worthy project? One wonders if the facts were so distorted to begin with that the entire project was unrealistic from the beginning. Only history will prove the true conclusion someday in the distant future.


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