Thursday, August 21, 2003[posted by jaed at 11:21 PM]
You're the UN. You're performing operations in what's still a war zone, with a fair number of violent people of the death-to-the-infidel persuasion. What do you do about security?
Well, apparently, you turn down offers of security protection from the US army (can't be associated with those nasty Amriki, you know... most declasse...). And who do you get to provide security? Why, members of the Baathist secret services!
all of the guards at the compound were agents of the Iraqi secret services, to whom they reported on United Nations activities before the war. The United Nations continued to employ them after the war was over, the official said.Good God!
Caveat: the source for this is an unnamed "senior American official", and I've gotten twitchy about anonymously-sourced comments with no confirming source. And of course it's entirely possible that the guards had nothing to do wiith the attack as such; as far as I know that's just suspicion, and there's no direct evidence of it.
But still, even if just the contention that the guards stayed on is true - what the hell kind of stupidity, of obliviousness to reality, does it take to use Saddam Hussein's men as security? What were they thinking?
(Is it possible it stemmed from anti-Americanism - "The Americans overthrew Saddam Hussein, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, therefore Saddam Hussein's guards are our natural friends..."? Could such thoughts have contributed to such a policy? It's hard to believe, but the candid reactions of UN staff after the bombing - along the lines of "But we're not Americans, we're here to try to get the Americans out, why would anyone attack us?" - make me wonder.)