Starwars 2012-03-19 16:47:15
Wall St Journal
…The most horrible damage on Iraqis was inflicted by Saddam
himself. The Americans who are giving their lives to stop his
Middle East Stalinism will end up saving many more lives.
The story of the Marsh Arabs is a relatively unknown human and
environmental crime. Credit for making it known at all belongs
to Baroness Emma Nicholson, a member of the British House of
Lords and European Parliament who has adopted them as a cause
since 1991. She arrived in this village this week to a hero’s
welcome, along with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul
Wolfowitz, perhaps (after President George W. Bush) the man who
has done the most to redeem America’s abandonment of the Marsh
Arabs after the Gulf War.
“This village is a microcosm of what happened against the marsh
people,” Baroness Nicholson says in a room of the very spare
medical clinic here. They once totaled half a million, but after
Saddam’s depredations there may be only 250,000 left, and fewer
than 40,000 in their native region. “We believe it to be
genocide,” she says.
Saddam’s troops and Fedayeen first stormed through the region in
armed helicopters in 1991–the helicopters that Norman
Schwarzkopf allowed him to keep. One man says his son was hung
for belonging to a Shiite political group. Another man says his
father and uncle were hung in front of him when he was a 15-year-
old. Entire families were slaughtered.
As Stalin did with the Kulaks, the Sunni Saddam then sought to
erase the entire Arab Shiite marsh culture. He drained or silted
up most of the historic marshes, with their centuries-old
ecosystem of reeds, countless species and water buffalo that
supplied 70% of Iraq’s milk. Rich with oil money, even under
U.N. sanctions, Saddam could always buy other milk or have his
people do without it. But his pathology is that he felt he had
to murder systematically anyone who challenged him, and so
ruining a chunk of Iraq’s economy and natural beauty is just one
more cost of megalomania. The U.S. is now working to restore
nine of the marshes, but so far Iraq lacks the electric power to
pump enough water to do it, says Eugene Stakhin, the coalition’s
senior advisor to the Ministry of Irrigation.
More perversely still, Saddam had much of the marsh water
transported to build artificial lakes around his palaces near
the ancient ruins of Babylon. Saddam was trying to rebuild the
ruins, complete with bricks comparing himself to ancient King
Nebuchadnezzar. But the new lakes are now raising the Babylon
water table, which threatens the still largely unexplored
archeological ruins. This is a far greater crime against history
than the overhyped museum looting after Saddam fell.
As for the Marsh Arabs, Saddam then forcibly displaced them. The
Al Turabah village tribe was moved 17 times, says Baroness
Nicholson. They now have virtually no fish, no reeds and are
“forced to be beggars, dependent on the state.” The government
sold them the seeds to farm this now awful landscape, and the
same government bought back the grain at poverty rates of
return. Tens of thousands have either fled to refugee camps in
Iran or to the slums of Iraq’s cities. The British now running
Basra say the locals blame the young children of these Marsh
Arabs for much of the crime and sabotage that now bedevil that
once thriving city–which was also a target of Saddam’s post-
Gulf War vengeance.
Many on the political left have been reluctant to concede the
special brutality of Saddam, as if admitting that truth would
justify a war they opposed. Some genocides are apparently more
equal than others. It’s true that America can’t right every
wrong, or depose every dictator. But the U.S. does take on some
greater obligation when an American president encourages an
uprising against a madman and then walks away from those who do
as we hope. The liberation of the Marsh Arabs may well have come
just in time to save their culture, and to remove a stain on the
Ad 2012-03-21 01:16:12
LOL!!!!!!!! Lets see what sort of spin the right wing cretin comes up
when the “marsh people” help install a mullah as the head of Iraq…….
is there ANYTHING on earth dumber than a modern republican????????
Rico_001 2012-03-21 01:16:14
Thing is, why didn’t daddy do something about this 12 years earlier?
Coondawg 2012-03-21 12:06:57
you to begin with. Marsh Arabs is not the same as “marsh people”, you are
trying to make a racist spin on the term. sorry, doesn’t work.