It reads like a painful comedy of errors, inexperience and cronyism in Iraq, though of course we've all got the benefit of hindsight now. But many of the decisions... I would pray for better foresight.
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.
(Mammalian Biologist Alex) Deghan (who was stationed in Iraq) 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, (Iraq Viceroy Jerry) 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 America. When she 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."