Sunday, June 18, 2006

Safety Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Oops, I don't think this was supposed to be seen by the American public. It does make me wonder how many other cats are getting ready to escape the bag.
'Wash Post' Obtains Shocking Memo from U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Details Increasing Danger and Hardship: "
--Embassy employees are held in such low esteem their work must remain a secret and they live with constant fear that their cover will be blown. Of nine staffers, only four have told their families where they work. They all plan for their possible abductions. No one takes home their cell phones as this gives them away. One employee said criticism of the U.S. had grown so severe that most of her family believes the U.S. 'is punishing populations as Saddam did.'

--Since April, the 'demeanor' of guards in the Green Zone has changed, becoming more 'militia-like,' and some are now 'taunting' embassy personnel or holding up their credentials and saying loudly that they work in the embassy: 'Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people.' For this reason, some have asked for press instead of embassy credentials.

-- 'For at least six months, we have not been able to use any local staff members for translation at on-camera press events....We cannot call employees in on weekends or holidays without blowing their 'cover.''

--'More recently, we have begun shredding documents printed out that show local staff surnames. In March, a few staff members approached us to ask what provisions would we make for them if we evacuate.'

--The overall enviroment is one of 'frayed social networks,' with frequent actual or perceived insults. None of this is helped by lack of electricity. 'One colleague told us he feels 'defeated' by circumstances, citing his example of being unable to help his two-year-old son who has asthma and cannot sleep in stiflng heat,' which is now reaching 115 degrees.

--'Another employee tell us that life outside the Green Zone has become 'emotionally draining.' He lives in a mostly Shiite area and claims to attend a funeral 'every evening.''

--Fuel lines have grown so long that one staffer spent 12 hours in line on his day off. "Employees all confirm that by the last week of May, they were getting one hour of power for every six hours without.....One staff member reported that a friend lives in a building that houses a new minister; within 24 hours of his appointment, her building had city power 24 hours a day."
Sounds like New Orleans, except more gunfire and bombings and not so much water damage. The haves get more and the have nots, don't.

I feel like a broken record. How much more can be revealed before enough is enough?

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