U.S. Embassy employees in Iraq: government doesn't value our lives

This story from Editor & Publisher describes the level of fear felt by employees of the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone.

As rocket and mortar attacks on the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad injure more and more people, McClatchy reporter Leila Fadel reports today that U.S. Embassy employees “are growing increasingly angry over what they say are inadequate security precautions.”

Recent attacks have killed six people, including two U.S. citizens.

In spite of the attacks, embassy employees complain, most staff members still sleep in trailers that one described as “tin cans” that offer virtually no protection from rocket and mortar fire. The government has refused to harden the roofs because of the cost, one employee said.

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.

And the inevitable Catch-22 our current administration loves to abuse:

Unlike the U.S. military, U.S. Embassy employees are volunteers and can ask to leave if they feel unsafe at any time.

“I can’t shake my fist at Uncle Sam and say, `Why am I here?'” one official said. “We’re all volunteers.”

But people are afraid to leave out of fear that such a request would hurt their careers, one of the officials said.

“I can’t sleep, I can’t eat,” another official said. “My life should be worth more than achieving this government’s agenda.”

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