Reporters on the job

CALLING ON THE COPS: Staff writer Scott Baldauf says that he was anxious when he went to the Najaf police station to report Monday's story (page 1). "Just two days before, the police had arrived at our hotel, sirens blaring, guns drawn, to force us reporters off the street. I was standing outside in the middle of a satellite phone conversation - the phone only works out of doors - and had to cut the conversation short. Once we ran inside, the police broke out laughing. The incident reminded many longtime reporters here - myself excluded - of the old Baathist techniques of the Saddam Hussein regime," Scott says.

But later, hearing about the mortar attacks on the police station, and the kidnappings and torture of police officers, Scott wanted to hear their side of the story. "I found that the Iraqi policemen are just looking for a way to feed their families. For them, the violence in Najaf associated with national power politics is bewildering and unwelcome," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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