Monday, June 19, 2006

Speaking of Iraq news....

I got so wrapped up crafting my "truth in Iraq" post that I forgot to mention the report that inspired it.

The Washington Post has obtained a copy of a cable from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, outlining the difficulties faced by embassy staffers.

You can download the full text of the cable in pdf format at the link. But here's a taste.

Women staffers reported being harassed if they didn't cover their heads and faces. Men reported that it was dangerous to wear shorts in public. Electrical supplies were scattered, some neighborhoods having no power and others having it for four or five hours a day. But corruption is involved, too: one woman reported that a building housing a government minister suddenly found itself with power 24 hours a day after his appointment. There are long lines (really long, as in a 12 hour wait) for fuel in some places.

More ominously: Working for the embassy can be a death sentence. Embassy employees tell no one where they work, not even their families. They don't take their cell phones home because that's a giveaway, and they cannot be called at home. Many of them have made plans in case they are abducted, and they avoid embassy events where cameras will be present. The embassy shreds documents that contain local staff names.

The guards at Green Zone checkpoints have become "more militia-like", taunting employees, even holding up embassy credentials and announcing what they are -- a potentially lethal revelation. Several staffers have asked for press credentials instead, out of safety concerns.

These are not the sort of things that should be happening in the capital of a country in its third year of occupation.

, , , , ,



Anonymous Marc said...

If this is "progress" I'd hate to see what it would be like if things were going badly.

The problem is, even if you accept that the US is succeeding in installing some kind of democratic government, that does not preclude civil strife and very illiberal behavior. The ostensible form of government has little to do with how stable the society is or the culture that will arise. It seems pretty clear at this point that it's more likely that stability in Iraq will more likely accompany some sort of Islamist regime that is likely to be anti-American. Iraqis are probably glad to be rid of Saddam, but that doesn't mean that appreciate the US or that they necessarily prefer a liberal democracy.

6/20/2006 2:49 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home