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This is just bizarre, if authentic. Lots of happy-talk about how well everything's going and then, oh yeah, near the end a discussion about how you can barely move around safely even inside the Green Zone wearing your flack jacket.

December 1, 2004 | Permalink


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Ha! I'm a dead man! You know what that means? I don't need a damned flack jack in the green zone.

Posted by: Richard M Nixon | Dec 2, 2004 12:02:09 AM

Someone still learning. Great experience and such. As if there are no people around in Iraq that don't wear diapers anymore.

Sounds like yet another girl from the Heritage Foundation. Probably the younger Ledeen sister.

Posted by: Blah | Dec 2, 2004 12:39:04 AM

"Interacting with engineers who are just so passionate about this water project or that has been eye-opening – they had such a different perspective on the world than pure 'policy' people." All due respect to this person's bravery and devotion to the reconstruction but the last thing we needed was pure policy people over there trying to figure out for the first time how to interact with engineers. Perhaps she's sandbagging a bit, but it sure sounds to me like she doesn't have any actual utility experience.

Posted by: fnook | Dec 2, 2004 12:57:56 AM

Ummm. Has the link to the story which this is a comment on disappeared?

Posted by: MonkeyBoy | Dec 2, 2004 2:05:29 AM

How old is this girl? What are her qualifications and what the hell did she do before? How long has she been there? How much money is she in charge of? How much is she gettin' paid for "learning on the job"?

D o o m.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) | Dec 2, 2004 2:47:20 AM

PS -- she isn't real is she?

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) | Dec 2, 2004 2:48:21 AM

God, the naivete is mind-boggling.

I guess it's time to reread Graham Greene's "The Quite American."

P.S.: This echoes info in a recent long and fascinating article in The Atlantic on life in the Green Zone.

Posted by: Blue Iris | Dec 2, 2004 4:37:20 AM

Look. Although the chick is lightweight:

It is satisfying from that perspective, though I know that I will leaving here well before any of the deliverables come to light.

it's a damned good sign that we're relying on women to do the job, whatever it is. They're pretty good at it.

Posted by: bad Jim | Dec 2, 2004 5:10:03 AM

"It's a damned good sign that we're relying on women to do the job."

No, see, she got the job because she's a REPUBLICAN (or her daddy is). It's political pay-off.

Read The Atlantic article.

Also: Make that "The Quiet American".

Posted by: Blue Iris | Dec 2, 2004 5:18:05 AM

Is she also in charge of cutting off the water supply to cities that are under US attack?

"Water supplies to Tall Afar, Samarra and Fallujah have been cut off during US attacks in the past two months, affecting up to 750,000 civilians. This appears to form part of a deliberate US policy of denying water to the residents of cities under attack. If so, it has been adopted without a public debate, and without consulting Coalition partners. It is a serious breach of international humanitarian law, and is deepening Iraqi opposition to the United States, other Coalition members, and the Iraqi interim government.

On 19 September 2004, the Washington Post reported that US forces 'had turned off' water supplies to Tall Afar 'for at least three days' . Turkish television reported a statement from the Iraqi Turkoman Front that 'Tall Afar is completely surrounded. Entries and exits are banned. The water shortage is very serious'. Al-Manar television in Lebanon interviewed an aid worker who stated that 'the main problem facing the people of Tall Afar and adjacent areas is shortage of water' Relief workers reported a shortage of clean water . Moreover, the Washington Post reports that the US army failed to offer water to those fleeing Tall Afar, including children and pregnant women.

'Water and electricity [were] cut off' during the assault on Samarra on Friday 1 October 2004, according to Knight Ridder Newspapers and the Independent. The Washington Post explicitly blames 'U.S. forces' for this . Iraqi TV station Al-Sharqiyah reported that technical teams were working to 'restore the power and water supply and repair the sewage networks in Samarra' . Al Jazeera interviewed an aid worker who confirmed that 'the city is experiencing a crisis in which power and water are cut off' , as well as the commander of the Samarra Police, who reported that 'there is no electricity and no water'" (PDF)

Posted by: Motoko | Dec 2, 2004 6:34:04 AM

> Learning about how to manage a program, from
> the project execution side, to the
> budgetary and funding side, has been an
> experience that I never would’ve imagined.
> Interacting with engineers who are just so
> passionate about this water project or that
> has been eye-opening – they had such a
> different perspective on the world than pure
> “policy” people.

God knows the CPA wouldn't have wanted to hire any of those droves of 50-something project engineers the utilities have been laying off in droves. You know, those guys with engineering and project management and budget and people management and regulatory experience ALREADY under their belts.


Posted by: Cranky Observer | Dec 2, 2004 7:59:16 AM

Her optimism is career optimism. This is a good step for her, and she's much higher on the totem pole than she ever has been. (Or deserves to be). She's blinkered as to the overall consequence of what she's doing -- she's probably not aware that Iraq already had a water system before the war. She probably thinks Iraq was like Upper Volta or Mali before we arrived.

What's she seems to be pessimistic about is lack of restaurants and malls. Oooh, that must hurt. She didn't mention J. Crew outlets or anything, but she sounds like a shopper to me.

I disagree with bad Jim. Is this really a time to talk about breaking the glass ceiling? Republicans are smart enough to know that by putting a woman or a "minority" up front the flak will diminish some -- Rice, Christy Whitman, et al.

I even think that those of us who can prove that we use anti-male anti-white pejoratives often enough should be licensed to use more traditional pejoratives for individual members of hate-crimes-protected demographic groups who happen to be egregious Republican tools, so that if I call GWB a honky cowboy motherfucker two or three times I should be allowed to make one highly insensitive remark about a black gay female Secretary of State.

I realize that that one will never fly, so don't even bother to argue with me, but if you ask me, identity politics sucks. Of course, I'm a honky motherfucker, so what do I know?

Posted by: John Emerson | Dec 2, 2004 8:31:54 AM

Disconnect from reality seems to be a systematic part of the Republican mindset, in tandem with a real hostility to critical ("negative") thinking or analysis. When you see the credulous way Christians read the Bible and apply it to history and reality, you can see how they would believe GWB too. This lady isn't necessarily Christian, but she has the institutional blindness of the company man/woman, sort of like the tobacco-company man/woman who pooh-poohs the link to cancer.

Another big batch of the right are just supporting the secret agenda they think Bush has. They know that what Bush is saying isn't true, but they support what they think is behind it. I think that a lot of them will regret it too, when they find out that Bush is a pure corporate shill and not a populist at all. But when the night of the long knives come, those guys will be dispensable.

Posted by: John Emerson | Dec 2, 2004 8:41:36 AM

The simplest explanation is that all this good news coming from embeds and soldiers (as opposed to other observers) is pure denial, because the reality is too horrible to contemplate. As long as you're in a tour of duty, you might as well rationalise.

Posted by: Mat | Dec 2, 2004 9:00:18 AM

This is just lunacy. No wonder nothing works over there. Not only are we sending over people who obviously have no practical experience whatsoever managing large reconstruction jobs, she also obviously has no knowledge of local culture. How the hell has she never heard of shawerma? Seriously, what does this girl have going for her?

This letter was just...breathtaking. I hope like hell she was exaggerating the importance of her job to make herself look puffed up and important to her friends. Because if she acutally is in charge of the water supply...oy, I hope there's someone else really running the show. Terrifying.

Posted by: theorajones | Dec 2, 2004 9:12:12 AM

"It is very exciting… hopefully they all actually work out."

That quote tells everything about her suitability to be overseeing utilities.

Posted by: Tim H. | Dec 2, 2004 9:27:02 AM

I fail to see how having elections will reduce violence in Iraq. Violence should actually increase afterwards once various parties see the dust settle and realize whether they're in or out of the new power structure. Iraq is a fractious society and the U.S. and Bush are deluded if they think an election is going to bring peace. Killings and mayhem will continue post-election, U.S. soldiers will die at roughly the same rate as now, and life in Iraq will be much worse due to our invasion for generations to come.

Posted by: steve duncan | Dec 2, 2004 10:32:41 AM

This is so incredibly fucking stupid, but unfortunately believable, I don't know where to begin. So I won't.
wow! And just imagine the salary paid for this effort.

Posted by: redcane | Dec 2, 2004 10:42:59 AM

This really must be a fake. The comment about the flak jackets not being a good fashion statement is too ridiculous to not have been part of a satire.

Posted by: Doug Turnbull | Dec 2, 2004 10:50:06 AM

I hope you're right about that Doug. But as someone above pointed out, this glimpse mirrors stories we've already heard. Fealty and loyalty trumped competence and experience when it came time to hire reconstruction staff.

Posted by: fnook | Dec 2, 2004 11:02:24 AM


This is my brother. And this is why I despise George Bush. And the media for their refusal to expose what is going on. Though I have never held the view that Americans, in general, are stupid, this challenges me. Or maybe they are willfully ignorant, or perhaps just don't know (back to my loathing of the general media). Why absolutely tank your re-election chances (guaranteed) by instituting a draft, when you can have a de facto draft by extending tours of American troops beyond 12 months, forcing reservists who have fulfilled their obligations back into the army, and refusing to let those that have fulfilled their commitment out? (politically neutral term is "stop-gap") This is not a Democrat-Republican thing. And it is not about whether I agree with whether we should have gone to war in the first place. It is about ignoring the morale and physical health of your troops who are basically in a sand prison with sporadic incoming mortar fire. It is about informing troops who are about to come home that they cannot. I am pretty sure that US troops have not been deployed on tours over 6 months much less 12 months since Vietnam. The current projection now has my brother coming home after being over there 15 months, if the present administration does in fact let them come home at that time. Let me put it in Bush-Cheney, I'm-a-man-of-the-people language: If you want to have a fucking war, you step up to the plate, institute a draft and do what needs to be done. You don't cover your own silver-spoon political ass at the expense of my brother and the other members of the armed forces.

Posted by: James | Dec 2, 2004 11:13:35 AM

Doug, it's hard to tell anymore, but almost everyone has experienced incredible stupidity from Bush loyalists. There was an extraordinary amount of fairly neutral set-up for it to be a hoax or a satire. In fact, it seems to be a theme of news reports coming from Iraq that the report is generally upbeat, while letting slip that nowhere in Iraq is safe.

Posted by: John Emerson | Dec 2, 2004 11:37:16 AM

Do you have to assassinate this kid's character to re-inforce your worldview?

She doesn't sound stupid, selfish or incompetent, just really, really young.

Posted by: theperegrine | Dec 2, 2004 12:04:06 PM

She doesn't sound stupid, selfish or incompetent, just really, really young.

Yes ... and our question is why does the Administration see her as a suitable candidate for the job? Why is she given a job as important as being 'in charge of the water supply'? She sounds too young to have had any experience in utility -- more like a policy wonk barely out of school. And as we need the place up and running before the US leaves, why not find someone who *doesn't* need to learn on the job?

Posted by: Weco | Dec 2, 2004 12:12:21 PM

1. Given a choice between hiring this energetic, can do, optimistic woman versus one of you, I'd take her in a heartbeat.

2. She's there, working on the ground, directly interacting with many people who obviously get around the country. You're not. Therefore, all else equal I'll trust her assessment before yours. And she's risking her life to work for the good of the Iraqi people. In short, can it with your snide character assassinations.

Posted by: ostap | Dec 2, 2004 12:37:59 PM

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