Saturday, June 11


The last days of U.S. humanitarian aid worker Marla Ruzicka:

Now, talking on the phone with McMahon, Ruzicka sounded upbeat. In the past few days, she had obtained a document that was her holy grail: a detailed report showing that the U.S. military keeps its own civilian-casualty records, something the Pentagon has repeatedly denied.
At approximately three o'clock in the afternoon, Ruzicka and Faiz were heading east on the airport road, toward Baghdad. Also on the road were a U.S. military convoy and a convoy of private security contractors. From a nearby on-ramp, a suicide bomber merged into the traffic, most likely gunning for the military convoy, which he missed. Instead, he detonated beside his next best choice, the security convoy. Behind them was a Mercedes.
Ruzicka is perhaps the most famous American aid worker to die in any conflict of the past ten or twenty years. Though a novice in life -- she had less than four years of professional humanitarian experience -- her death resonated far beyond the tightly knit group of war junkies and policymakers who knew her. She stands as a youthful representative of a certain kind of not-yet-lost American idealism, and darkly symbolic of what has gone so tragically wrong in Iraq.


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