Monday, November 27, 2006

Where Cops Are Hunted

Establishing anything resembling a functioning government in Iraq ultimately depends on creating a viable security force, that is to say an effective army and an equally effective police service. So, how's that going? You guessed it.

Will Weissert of the Associated Press interviewed an Iraqi policeman named "Kalid":

"The 22-year-old police officer wraps a black scarf around his face when on patrol. He sleeps in the station and sees his new bride only a few hours a month. He watches his colleagues get shot and blown to pieces and wonders if he will be next.

"'I have to wear a mask because I'm from the city. When I do my duty the guerrillas can recognize me,'' said Kalid, who said having his last name appear in print would put his life in danger.

"'If they find out who I am, they will kill me within the hour. I hope they don't do it in front of my wife. I hope they don't make her watch.'

"Insurgents who cannot get to U.S. forces often attack Iraqi policemen instead. Officers have been shot while praying in mosques, killed by grenades lobbed into their living rooms, tortured and dumped in riverbeds, and obliterated by roadside bombs that shred their pickup trucks.

In October, 18 police officers were slain in Fallujah and its outskirts. That was down from the summer months, when an average of one policeman was killed every day.

"'I'm a cop in Philly, but being a cop in Fallujah isn't like being a cop in Philly,'' said Maj. Brian Lippo, a Marine reservist from Philadelphia who heads a police transition team in the city. 'These guys aren't doing accident reports or domestic violence calls. They are hunted.'''

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