Shocking Iraq memo marked 'sensitive'

A cable marked "sensitive" from just prior to Bush's peek-a-boo Iraq visit belies the whole feel-good message at the heart of the president's decision to go in the first place.

According to the message from the U.S. Embassy, obtained by the Washington Post via Greg Mitchell: "the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government."

Before getting to the harassment, fear, creeping fundamentalism, anti-woman sentiment, power outages, abductions and ethnic cleansing, it's worth noting some of the headlines he received:

Bush upbeat about Iraq after surprise visit


Bush buoyant on return from Iraq

This, despite the fact that not only didn't Bush tell the Iraqi PM that they'd be meeting until 5 minutes before (yes, literally) and that Bush's plane left all its lights off and fueled lightly in order to gain altitude more quickly. Clearly, he wanted to get the F out of there.

Media coverage was so ridiculous, in fact, that CBS's Gloria Borger declared the media "suckers" for covering these trips the way they do.

Mitchell writes, of the memo:

As a footnote in one of the 23 sections, the embassy relates, "An Arab newspaper editor told us he is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province, as political parties and their militiast are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq."
He goes on to list a number of other anecdotes illustrating the rapid deterioration of Iraq, which is falling into the hands of virulently anti-American militias. (E&P)

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