Running Towards Danger: War Correspondent Lara Logan #496
By: Dave Asprey
Where does resilience come from? What would you consider reckless?
In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, Dave speaks to 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan, well known for her daring reporting in conflict zones around the world.
In one of Dave’s favorite interviews of all time, they get into what it is like to wake up to a bomb blowing up under you, the difference between being smart versus being reckless, and fighting for a dignified death.
Truly a powerful interview. Enjoy the show.
Follow Along with the Transcript
Links/Resources for Lara Logan
- Lara’s decision to become a war reporter: “You know, I think it would be wrong to say that I ever made a decision, or decided, because all I can ever remember is wanting, with every part of my body, to be there. There’s a gene that all of us in news, in this particular part of journalism, that I think all of us share to differing degrees, I will say, there’s a core of us, and it’s probably not our time anymore, we’re all getting older, but there’s something that just drives you, it’s like a homing beacon. You know this is where you’re meant to be, you know this is where you want to be, and if you’re lucky enough, will matter to other people. And so I don’t really question it.”
- When Lara’s hotel in Baghdad got bombed: “I gotta get up and, boom, it just blew up underneath me. And I stopped in the bathroom on my way out the door, to put my mascara on, because although I was in my pajamas, I really didn’t want to be on television without eyelashes, so I went running.”
- On sexism in conflict zones: “And it’s fine when you’re some big burly man, war correspondent that everyone respects, right? But even when you’re me, and you’ve been doing it a long, long time, you still have to fight the, “Oh, the little girl doesn’t know what she’s doing.” Kind of thing.”
- On being smart versus reckless: “No. Look, your idea of reckless, my idea of reckless, can be very different things, but actually this is something that I don’t get asked very often, and I’m really glad that you asked me this question, because I have turned down and walked away from so many opportunities in my career where I could’ve done things that maybe would’ve made me famous, maybe got me killed, certainly would’ve been things that, if I’d survived, would’ve made my career take off exponentially on a nuclear scale. And I walked away from them, because they were reckless.”
- “I survived that war because of that general, and because of the men he put around me, and they all promised me, it’ll be fine, go with them, sister. You pretend to be his sister, it’ll be okay. I could’ve had every headline. I could’ve been on everyone’s screen. I could’ve been burned into everyone’s memory. And I could’ve written my career in my check, when I got back, and I didn’t do it, because I’m not reckless. And I repeated that kind of decision time, and time, and time again.”
- “You know Laura, what I found is, the smarter I am, the luckier I get.”
- “And yet, sometimes, no matter how smart you are, no matter how careful you work, and how much preparation you did, and how many contingencies you put in place, sometimes, when that mortar hits, it’s gonna hit the spot where you were standing. And some days, it’s gonna hit that spot and the rounds not gonna go off.”
- “You know, I’m always careful about saying things that appear to give up responsibility, right? I always … I never forget the fact that at the end of the day, I’m always responsible for the decisions that I make.” Lara on intuition.
- “And of course that’s not true. I mean, I never felt more fear than when I was lying naked in a square in Egypt, being gang raped, and dying, that’s the truest meaning of fear that I have ever experienced.” On fear.
- “There is a more sinister burden on me now, because people who want to take you down, and take you out for all the wrong reasons, have a degree of influence over your decision making, that they really don’t deserve, to be honest with you, because that shouldn’t factor into it.” -Lara
- “I’m consistent. If I’m an asshole in the morning, I’m still an asshole that night, and the next day, and the next month, and the next year.”
- “And those things were not questions for me, they were automatic. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind, no matter how difficult it was, no matter how painful it was.” -Lara on honesty
- Lara on Responsibility. “Things I did, things I didn’t do, things I have control over, things I don’t have control over. It really didn’t matter, I took responsibility for everything, because what I couldn’t do was say, “I’m responsible for this, but not for that.”
- On being 100 percent in!
- “Interestingly, you can’t find the story we did, because if you watched it, you might see that 90% of what was written about it was not true, but you can easily find my apology, and in that, you can go through that and you will see that I did not cry. And I maintained my composure, because of that. And that was very, very helpful to me.”
- “The greatest sign of mental health, and strength, is the ability to put your true nature aside for the greater good, and that’s what you did.” Because, my true nature, believe me, is to fight, and fight back, and stand up for myself. And that was not an option at that time, because I deemed it not an option.”
- “It’s really telling that you describe that as you laying there and taking a public beating. It’s easy to say that, but you’ve actually laid there, and taken a public beating and worse, just two years before that apology, was it really the same level of psychological stress? It sounds like both of those experiences were profoundly traumatic, but would you put them in the same category?” -Dave
- “You know, actually, in Egypt, I never had any doubt about the people that were doing that to me. I don’t mean all the people in the mob of the 200, 300, men that were raping me, and beating me, I mean of the people who instigated it, and set the mob off. They knew what they were doing, and I knew … I know there are bad people in the world, I’ve looked some of them in the eyes, I’ve sat with some of them. Some of them, I’ve just seen the fruits of their labor, which are staggering.” On evil people in the world
- “I just mean that it’s easier to face an enemy that’s identified, than one who’s not.”
- “So do you see what I mean? It’s like, how much have I been given? Everyone struggles, but not everyone is given that much in their life. And I’m resilient because I am so gifted like that. And I feel like I don’t have a choice. How could you squander all of that?”
- “I still don’t really understand why I fought so hard for my dignity, and I fought the sexual assault so hard, for so long in that square, because I really wasted valuable time and energy, when I should have been fighting for my life. I described it later as fighting for something that was long gone. My dignity, my self-respect, all of that stuff was long gone. When you’re naked like that, and people are grabbing your breasts and they’re inside your body, tearing at your insides with their hands, there’s no dignity left. You’re the only one who’s naked in a square with thousands and thousands of people, there’s not dignity, so why would I … I’ve curiously asked myself this in my mind over and over, why would you fight that when you had no chance? I mean, I’d been raped so many times, and I was still fighting that? That made no sense to me.”
- “I covered a story many years ago with a young 18 year old black girl in South Africa who was around 8 months pregnant and threw herself off a building, and on her way down she hit the building and the windows that were open, and there were pieces of her on the ground. I remember being there with her, with the medics, trying to save her, but she was dead. They had to do that before they could certify her dead. And I watched her belly with this child in it, going up and down while they were trying to do CPR, and I remember feeling like that, like I imagined that girl had felt when I was there.”
- “I was a young journalist when I did that story. And I felt like I was hitting the building, and I was hitting the windows, and pieces of me were flying off, and I was falling, and falling, and falling, and I was reaching for things to hold onto, to stop that terrible panic, and I got nothing.” -On being diagnosed with cancer.
If you like today’s episode, check us out on Apple Podcasts at Bulletproof.com/iTunes and leave us a 5-star, positive review.