Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep and producer Jim Wallace arrived in Baghdad over the weekend. They've been reporting on security issues in Iraq and Steve has also been co-hosting Morning Edition from NPR's Baghdad bureau.
On the way into the country, Steve reports that he and Jim had to submit to a requirement that's been around for a while, but which, in the past, foreigners have been able to bypass with a little bribe. Foreign visitors now must submit to an AIDS test within 10 days of their arrival, or else they will be forbidden to leave the country. Steve writes:
"Let's pause to admire the logic behind this law. First, Iraqis are not being tested, only foreigners. Second, you need not take a test to enter the country, only to leave. Obviously, Iraq is not trying to protect itself from AIDS: Iraq is trying to save the world from AIDS by confining all cases within Iraq! News organizations have lodged furious protests, calling the testing racist, invasive, useless, and worse; but the bottom line is that nobody wants to stay in this country a day longer than necessary. So we gave in. Our correspondent Peter Kenyon was heard to mutter, 'Freedom is on the march.'"