Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Paradox: Report Insurgents, Become Target; Don't Report Insurgents, Become Target

I thought this was a really interesting commentary on the complexity of Iraq and the Baghdad Security plan:

I don't live in my childhood home, but with my parents gone, I keep an eye on the modest stucco house that was designed by a pioneer of Iraqi postmodernism, Mehdi Hassani.

In early January, I went on an assignment outside Baghdad. When I got back two weeks later, my mother sent me a text message from Jordan, telling me to check on our house. When I called our neighbor, Abu Adil, he told me armed men had come through the neighborhood telling everyone to leave or be "slaughtered."

"Can you ask the Americans to intervene?" he begged.

I could not. The gunmen took over our house, Abu Adil's and others in the neighborhood. A few days later, Abu Adil's 22-year-old son went to his family's house. He argued with the insurgents. They killed him, dumping his body in the street.[snip]

A few days ago, my landlady's father was kidnapped by Shiite militias. While I was working on arrangements for his ransom and eventual release, Abu Adil called to say that U.S. forces had raided my house. They arrested the gunmen and discovered a car bomb in the garage.

The raid was good news, but the problem was now more complex. I worry that U.S. troops will think my family harbored insurgents. After all, we owned the house.

I fear that the Americans will share their information with Iraqi Interior Ministry officials, who have connections to death squads.

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