American in Baghdad update

Many readers have called or e-mailed wondering about the status of Charlie Liteky, the subject of “An American in Baghdad” (SN&R Cover, March 13). Liteky, a former priest and Vietnam War hero, remains in Iraq with a delegation of nonviolent peace activists.

The paper has been unable to reach Liteky by phone in Baghdad despite repeated attempts since the war began. However, his wife, Judy, reported that, after staying the first few nights in a hotel basement furnished with cots, Liteky and four others from the Voices in the Wilderness delegation decided Friday morning to leave that refuge to hotel employees and their families. The five moved to a peace camp outside the Al-Wathba water-treatment plant a few blocks from the Al-Mansur Children’s Hospital, so they could witness any damage U.S. bombs might cause to the water plant. Such bombing would violate international law, Liteky said in a previous interview, because the plant is crucial to Baghdad’s civilian life-support system.

One member of Liteky’s delegation who managed to get an e-mail out at the city’s “chaotic” Internet Center, wrote of buildings on fire, constant explosions, billowing smoke and flying debris. Another Voices member wrote of delegates visiting a hospital to interview victims of war. It is unknown if Liteky was one of those delegates. “We didn’t expect to have any phone contact for a while,” said Judy.