"She called senior military officers 'dude.'"
Marla Ruzicka, 28, was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq on Saturday. With her tiny Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), she had done the unprecedented: helped secure U.S. compensation for Iraqi and Afghan civilian victims. "I decided not to take a position on the war, but to try to do the right humanitarian thing,'' she told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2003. Three others died in the attack, including her Iraqi colleague, Faiz Ali Salim, 43.
The obituaries form a fascinating composite biographical sketch: She could "talk, smile, and bust her way into all the meetings she needed" (Washington Post). She got "$2.5 million for civilian victims in Afghanistan, and later, [$20 million] for victims in Iraq." (New York Times). She "was a gorgeous blond who somehow enlisted the support of senators and four-star generals alike for her unlikely campaign" (New York Daily News). "Her concern for the victims was deep and sincere" (Christopher Hitchens in Slate). She "first came to the Global Exchange office when she was still in high school" (Global Exchange). "It was through her party-throwing skills that she developed such a broad base" (Newsday). Iraqis were surprised by her "mix of flower child and union steward" (Chicago Tribune). "She would point out, this happens to Iraqis every day and no one notices or even cares." (Christian Science Monitor).
UPDATE: The Girl Who Tried to Save the World (Rolling Stone, June 2). And while you're reading, some revisionism: an amazing slander by Debbie Schlussel, inadvertendly refuted by fellow right-wingers David Horowitz and Ben Johnson, plus Alexander Cockburn's comparison to Rachel Corrie.