As mortars and rockets rain down on the green zone (twelve in four hours just yesterday) the State Department has warned personnel not to leave "reinforced structures."
In a memo sent Thursday to embassy staff and obtained by The Associated Press, the department says employees are required to wear helmets, body armor and other protective gear if they must venture outside and strongly advises them to sleep in blast-resistant locations instead of the less secure trailers that most occupy.And what does the (worst) Secretary of State (ever) have to day about it? "Iraq was harder than I thought." Seriously. She said that. Then she went on to blame the Iraqis for the turmoil and chaos in their country, but to her minimal credit, she stopped short of calling them a bunch of ungrateful wogs who don't know their place.
"Due to the continuing threat of indirect fire in the International Zone, all personnel are advised to remain under hard cover at all times," it says. "Personnel should only move outside of hard cover for essential reasons."
"Essential outdoor movements should be sharply limited in duration," the memo says, adding that personal protective equipment "is mandatory for all outside movements."
"We strongly recommend personnel do not sleep in their trailers," it goes on to say, offering space inside the Saddam Hussein-era palace that is the embassy's temporary home as well as room at an as-yet uncompleted new embassy compound and a limited supply of cots.
In a separate public notice to American citizens in Iraq, the embassy said the restrictions would remain in place "until further notice."