Friday, March 28, 2008

Sad News Out of Iraq

TSB reports the sad news out of Iraq that yet another American has died in the recent mortar shellings of the International Zone in Iraq. This is to say nothing of the countless Iraqis and third-country nationals who also work for us there and have been killed. Those names never make the press but they are a loss to our family as well. I watched as a collegue who just returned from Iraq watched and read the press reports with a pained expression. These are her friends, her family from her year there. I too worry about the folks back in Jerusalem when the violence escalates there. I can only imagine what it must feel like to hear about them being bombed. My thoughts are with the families of the hurt and killed, including the members of their FS family.

Second USG Employee Killed This Week in Green Zone Rocket Attacks

The Associated Press is reporting tonight that a U.S. government employee was killed Thursday by rocket fire into Baghdad's Green Zone. Volleys of rockets and mortars have been fired into the Green Zone intermittently for the past four days.

At least one death was reported inside the Green Zone in the latest attacks. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo said a U.S. government employee was killed, but would give no further details until relatives are notified. Another American, a financial analyst who audited contracts in Iraq, was killed Sunday in the zone, the embassy and relatives said earlier this week.

Another U.S. official said that personnel — who usually sleep two to a trailer on the embassy grounds — are now sleeping inside the former Saddam palace where their offices are located. "There are cots everywhere," the U.S. official said. "People are scouting out free couches."

The official — who has been through other attacks — described the recent barrages as "qualitatively different." "There is a sense of hunkering down for a sustained period of time," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of security restrictions.

The last sustained attacks on the Green Zone were in July when extremists unleashed a barrage of more than a dozen mortars or rockets, killing at least three people — including an American — and wounding 18.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. It's sad news indeed, and I'm surprised that it seems to be getting very little public attention.

Johnson said...

Don't we owe it to them to have a bold plan for Iraq, such as the Gelb-Biden plan, which will allow us to leave in peace?

TarheelMary said...

It's really nice of the government to take care of its people at Embassy Baghdad by providing cots and sometimes even couches to help them survive the shelling.

Actually, it's infuriating that this post has not only not been evacuated, but that it has become the largest foreign service post in the world.

State-building (or what the Secretary calls "transformational diplomacy" since she so roundly condemned "state building" in W's first campaign) is not what diplomats are trained to do. We are trained to conduct relations with states that already exist. Now there are precious few of us to do that because Iraq is sucking away all of our resources. I suppose that's fine as long as the administration considers that everywhere else (including Russia, China, India and the EU for example) doesn't matter.

Shame on them for risking the lives of dedicated public servants to make a political statement.