I had always believed that the problem with the occupation--other than its central goals--was that loyal, ideological staffers are the worst people you could ask to do the difficult and tricky work of reconstruction. Chandrasekaran's book, however, showed that it was even worse than that- that qualified people were being turned away and Halliburton was using its political connections to get away with murder.
I didn't know how true that latter assertion was.
I only found out when I read the following passage. It's the one that affected me the most out of perhaps all of them, and if you're the type to "catblog", I doubt you'll disagree.
After Uday's menagerie was moved into Baghdad's zoo, most CPA staffers assumed that humans were the only species in the green Zone, save for the bomb-sniffing dogs and the odd feral cat skittering among the housing trailers. The CPA's senior adviser to the Ministry of Environment pronounce the Emerald City a wasteland, devoid of wildlife.She ain't the only one. Halliburton and it's CPA allies wouldn't listen to an mammalian biologist (Dehgan) because he had the audacity to be based out of the State Department. Instead, they issued a senseless and cruel order, and when people defied it, instead of approaching the owners and coming to a solution, they dispassionately and cowardly crept into peoples homes and killed their cats.
Alex Dehgan knew better. He was a biologist who had spent three years observing animals in the wild. Every time he walked around the Green Zone, he kept his eyes peeled. He saw bats over the pool at night, barn owls in palm trees, and desert foxes in remote corners of the palace garden. "The Green Zone was filled with life, he said. "it was beautiful, and it seemed like everyone in the Green Zone was unaware of them like they were unaware of many other things."
The other humans did notice the cats--and kittens--scampering in the garden and the trailer parks. Staffers named them and played with them during breaks. They even stole cartons of milk and cheese from the dining hall for their newfound companions.
When Halliburton managers discovered the pets in their midst, they asked the marines guarding the palace to shoot the cats on sight lest they spread illnesses.
Dehgan deemed it bad science. "The danger of disease was probably infinitesimally small,", he said. "this wasn't done with any thought to the psychological value that these cats provided."
When the execution orders were announced, CPA staffers saved their favorites, hiding them in trailers, in bathrooms, in the pool house. David Gompert, Bremer's security adviser, kept a cat he named Mickey in his palace office. Mickey was watched over by Gompert's security detail, but he still managed to chew through several sensitive documents.
The Halliburton cat killers finally got wise to the asylum strategy and deployed Filipino contract workers on a hunt-and-kill mission. They opened every trailer while the occupants were at work and rounded up every cat they found.
One night in June, a woman stood wailing outside her trailer. She was due to ship out in two days and had taken her cat to a veterinarian for the necessary shots for entrance to Aemrican. Whens he returned to her room, she found a note from the death squad informing her that her cat had been seized because it was against the rules to house animals in the trailers.
"They killed my pet," she sobbed. "I hate them."
So just remember, folks, the next time you see a cute picture of a kitty on your favorite blog, that were it up to Halliburton, they'd conjure some bullshit excuse, and then they'd take the thing out back and blow its adorable little brains out. And why? Because they know the president, and that's all the authority and expertise they need.