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                                       politics + culture

Monday, May 14, 2007

the Green Zone: even the US Embassy is unsafe

From a must-read piece by Leila Feidel for McClatchy in Iraq:

U.S. Embassy employees in Iraq are growing increasingly angry over what they say are inadequate security precautions in the heavily fortified Green Zone, where recent mortar and rocket attacks have claimed the lives of six people, including two U.S. citizens.[snip]

Embassy employees have been ordered not to talk about security concerns or precautions with reporters, but three State Department employees in Baghdad discussed the issue with McClatchy Newspapers. All three asked not to be identified for fear that they'd lose their jobs.

The officials also complained that important security precautions appeared to have been set aside during highly publicized official visits. During a March 31 visit from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a high-profile presidential candidate, the embassy lifted a requirement that bulletproof vests and helmets be worn at all times. When a rocket landed outside the U.S. Embassy while Vice President Dick Cheney and several reporters visited last week, no warning sirens were sounded.

"Where were the sirens then?" one official asked. "We don't belong here, and people are afraid to say it."

The phrase "everything they've told you has been a lie" is usually hyperbolic. In this case, it's plain as day. Embassy staff, just like our military, have been put on "happy talk" lock down in Iraq. These staffers won't tell the truth because they can't tell the truth. They are not allowed; they fear for their jobs and their lives.



  • there is going to be a bloodbath there one of these days, if they stay in the green zone indefinitely. that road to the airport will be very long if driven in a retreat under fire. dien bien phu + têt rolled up into one.

    By Blogger 無名 - wu ming, at 10:37 PM  

  • Given that a lot of the embassy staff are civilians, I'm amazed that the response to that kind of unsafe workplace conditions doesn't include quitting.

    By Anonymous silence, at 9:19 AM  

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