An Alternative 'Official' View of Iraq

| Mon Jun. 19, 2006 4:00 PM EDT

Greg Mitchell reports on a memo obtained by the Washington Post that was sent out by Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Not surprisingly, things are horrible, regardless of what Bush might be telling everyone. Real horrible. "[D]aily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will work for the U.S. government." And those who work in the "heavily guarded international zone" have to fear for their life when they go home for the night:

  • Two of the three female Iraqis in the public affairs office reported stepped-up harassment since mid-May...."some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran even at its most conservative."
  • 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.
  • The overall environment [in Iraq] 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 stifling heat," which is now reaching 115 degrees. [In many places, electricity is only available for a few hours a day.
  • "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.'"The full memo is here. If there was anything positive in it, I must have missed it. No doubt it's the media's fault for suppressing all the "good news".
  • Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.