Chris Albrighton considers fleeing Iraq

The excellent and experienced former freelance reporter Chris Albrighton (I say former because he’s now affiliated with and writes for Time) has posted an honest reflection of whether he should stay in Iraq.

He is understandably conflicted… he wants only to tell the story of Iraqis… yet at what cost.

His words:

The more I think about this place and yesterday’s attack on the Palestine/Sheraton compound, the more I feel that it’s time to leave here — and that I’m a coward for thinking that.

I don’t want to desert this story. I don’t want to let my friends down. I don’t want to leave my staff, who have bravely stuck by us and who can’t leave like I can. But I also don’t want to die for this story. I’m torn in half over this. I have a macho, “tough it out” mentality about this place while also wondering, “Have I worried my family and friends enough on this?”

My advice… which is fairly worthless to Chris… would be to just get out. If he is so uncomfortable that he longer feels any sense of security and truly fears for his life, then get out… even just for a short while. Then, maybe after a few months of rest and recuperation, he could return and be able again to deal with the risk to his life.

11 replies on “Chris Albrighton considers fleeing Iraq”

  1. I agree. I’m completely amazed at jounalists who feel compelled to imperil their lives to get the story. I know they serve a very important service but they don’t owe the world service to the extent that their lives are in danger every day. Serve your stint and come home, I say. When your instincts say it’s time to leave, then follow your own gut feeling. Nobody is indespensible. There’ll be another guy or lady to get the story after you leave.

  2. If you mean the US military, we do have an all volunteer military.
    All soldiers are very much aware that when you join up, you might have to fight. The choice is made by the volunteer when he/she takes the military oath. The majority of our guys are serving without much more than the normal grumbling of the troops.

  3. There are several places on the globe that citizens are or were stuck in – most in the middle east and sub-Saharan Africa where people are slaughtered like cattle (just as Saddam did in his effort to maintain politcal stability in Iraq during the 80s and 90s – Somalia Rwanda, Dafur, Croatia, Afghanistan under the Taliban to name a few but leaving out the worst numbers from long ago in Russia, Eastern Europe, China and Southeast Asia ) where most journalists didn’t even show up at least not in large numbers as the paucity of news from those areas during the troubles bears witness to. Of course, the dead number in the millions from those regional populations. Indeed, very sad. There is no scarcity of inescapable human misery in the present as well as going back as far as human history reports it.

  4. I agree Jane absolutely… I’m just speaking purely from Chris’ perspective as a journalist and how, at this moment, Iraq is without question the most dangerous place on earth to be a journalist.

    I dont think it’s the human misery that Chris is fleeing from at all, that’s the story he wants to expose and tell… it’s the direct threat to his life *because* he is a journalist/westerner as was demonstrated, yet foiled (mostly) on Monday.

    Is that how you spell foiled?


  5. yep, foiled.

    I’m stretching your remunations a bit but you were sorry that some are stuck in the danger that is Iraq at the moment with no choice to leave. I’m expanding the “danger” to encompass living in other dangerous places and widening that predicament to” living in misery” because of the sense of danger. that’s how conversation expands I guess. I didn’t mean to change your meaning but only enlarge the subject to include others in such scary places with people being murdered around them. It’s all over the place is all I’m saying and even more dreadful than living through a somewhat contained insurgency as in Iraq at the moment.

  6. I just reread the above comment. And I don’t want to appear to be cavalier regarding the killing and violence that is going on in Iraq right now. Unfrotunately the insanity of death and destruction due to war and violence seems to be all too common on this old planet.

  7. “It’s all over the place is all I’m saying and even more dreadful than living through a somewhat contained insurgency as in Iraq at the moment.”

    Well.. I’m not so sure about that… except perhaps in Haiti and rural Afghanistan, I can’t think of any other country were travel is so difficult and dangerous… suffering and insecurity comes in many forms and guises indeed.

  8. I didn’t mean at this exact moment but in recent history…people being killed by govt troops just in the last 20-30 years – the killing fields. Surely you remember Pol Pot, mass graves in Iraq, Croatia, Rwanda where even now the government is bulldozing poor neighborhoods leaving citizens with no roofs, Dafur, the Hutsis slaughtering Tutsis (or vice versa). In my city we have several African nationalities who have come here as refugees to escape the carnage and starvation. Maybe if we had journalists in those places in the same numbers as in Iraq, we would all learn how dangerous those places are even now.

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