November 12th, 2003


Perils of the reconstruction...

S.F. Bay Area civilian missing in Iraq for over a month... and the story just got out the other day.

What I *don't* get is how the British paper, The Telegraph, managed to scoop everyone else. It's a sad state of affairs when the best local news comes from England.

There are no reports on this story yet by the network news sites, and I kind of suspect there won't be either. Suffice it to say that soldiers aren't the only Americans who have died over in Iraq.

Kirk von Ackermann lived in Moss Beach with his wife Hillary and their three children before taking a contract position with Ultra Services, a company based in Istanbul that furnishes supplies and logistics assistance for U.S. Army bases in Iraq.

Ackermanm had a flat tire on the road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, and called a co-worker for assistance. Help arrived 45 minutes later only to find Kirk missing and his car abandoned. As it has been over a month since he has been heard from, the worst is presumed.

Ackermann previously served in the USAF with the 381st IS, a unit based out of Alaska that specialized in information operations, electronic surveilance, and intelligence gathering. He used to mountain bike there and he loved his time serving in Alaska. His email address used to be He worked for a local software company prior to his most recent job. He fondly remembered the time he took his wife and young daughter salmon fishing out near Half Moon Bay last May... such is the ephemera left behind when a person disappears.

My thoughts go out to Mrs. Ackermann and her family, who must be going through hell over his disappearance. I hope that if the worst does come to pass, that there will be an effort made to remember Kirk and all the others like him. They deserve a memorial too.

Italy's turn for pain.

At least 22 people - 14 Italians and 8 Iraqis - have been killed in a truck bomb explosion at the Italian police headquarters in Nassiriya.

Witnesses say others may be trapped under the debris from the building, which has partially collapsed and is in flames.

Update: Reuters is now carrying footage from the scene of the attack.

Over 300 Italians and 110 Romanians were stationed at the building, and everyone was believed to be in the building at the time of the explosion, which occured early in the morning. Approximately 15% of all Italian and Romanian forces in Iraq were stationed in this building.

It is not known as yet how many victims there are, but this appears to be the most deadly resistance attack to date. The destruction is so severe that it could potentially lead to the reduction or gradual withdrawl of Italian and Romanian troops in Iraq if casualties escalate significantly. It is quite possible that the Italian government, which joined the coalition despite overwhelming public opposition, may find itself destablized as a result of this disaster.