Friday, July 07, 2006

It's Really, Really Bad In Iraq

I don't need to read any news reinforcing the fact that daily life is a terrifying ordeal for the average Iraqi - since I am a liberal Bush-hater, I assume this already. (Though I am always on the lookout for the latest Happy News.) But even I was shocked to read the shocking memo from the US Embassy in Baghdad, signed (typed? dictated? let's just say approved) by Ambassador Khalilzad himself. Among the lowlights of how crappy life is:

"Personal safety depends on good relations with the 'neighborhood' governments, who barricade streets and ward off outsiders. The central government, our staff says, is not relevant; even local mukhtars have been displaced or coopted by militias. People no longer trust most neighbors."

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."

"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.'"

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.

And this is for employees of the Embassy, who have probably some of the best jobs in the country.

I recall a few posts months ago wherein KKRB patriots posted links offering the "real story" good news that's going on in Free and Liberated Iraq. This interview pretty convincingly demonstrates that in fact things there are much, much worse than depicted. Excerpt:

FP: The Bush administration often complains that the reporting out of Iraq is too negative, yet you say they are managing the news. What’s the real story?

RN: You can only manage the news to a certain degree. It is certainly hard to hide the fact that in the third year of this war, Iraqis are only getting electricity for about 5 to 10 percent of the day. Living conditions have gotten so much worse, violence is at an even higher tempo, and the country is on the verge of civil war. The administration has been successful to the extent that most Americans are not aware of just how dire it is and how little progress has been made. They keep talking about how the Iraqi army is doing much better and taking over responsibilities, but for the most part that’s not true.

Maybe Saddam is right, and we should bring him back to help us out with this nightmare. Nothing else seems to be working.


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