December 30, 2006

The Marsh Arabs

The marshes were always a mysterious place, a haven and hideout for rebels, bandits, dissenters. When the Shiites failed in their uprising against Saddam after the Persian Gulf War, many of them sought refuge in these marshes. And the local residents, hating the regime — like most Iraqis — sympathized with them. Saddam decided that the area and the people had to be eradicated.

What happened next is a picture of pure evil; it can scarcely be absorbed. In a massive push called the Third River Project, the regime created dams, dikes, and canals — and dried up the marshes. One new canal was called the Mother of All Battles River; there was also the Fidelity to the Leader Canal.

With amazing speed, this vast wetland became a desert. The plants died, the animals died, water was nowhere. One newspaper report had residents saying that it was as though someone had pulled a plug. Saddam destroyed a full 90 percent of the Mesopotamian Marshlands, establishing a military zone in their place.

But there’s much, much more. The elimination of the marshes caused the people to starve, flee, or die — and Saddam did all he could to make sure they died. He poisoned the lagoons; he shelled villages; he set reedbeds ablaze; he imprisoned, tortured, and executed; and he attacked these Iraqis with WMD — with chemical weapons. He left no technique untried. In August 1993, a British writer and filmmaker, Michael Wood, said that the dictator’s “slow genocide of the Marsh Arabs is nearing its climax.” Yet it had not been so slow, really.


Posted by Kate at December 30, 2006 12:58 PM

I thought Halliburton did it in order to secure "re-irrigation" contracts.....

Posted by: Eskimo at December 30, 2006 1:09 PM

Yeah, who would have guessed? George Bush, leading environmentalist.

Do you think the eco-cultists would ever give credit where it's due, though? Being a Republican nullifies all such facts.

Posted by: Kate at December 30, 2006 1:17 PM

Liberal propositions: 1) Nothing good comes of war, and 2) Bush is evil and everything he does must also be evil.

Liberals, particularily those in the media, are scared to death of such stories of liberation, or any other "good" that came out of the Iraq invasion (of which there are almost too many to mention - about as many as there are children who can doodle freely on their schoolbooks without fearing that a pen mark on a picture of Saddam would bring swift and certain retribution).

These stories attack the foundation of the above two core beliefs,

and so, like a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear, they cease to exist, erased from the public record and replaced with the 24/7 newscyle of only the negative.

Posted by: mitch at December 30, 2006 1:29 PM

I suppose they couldnt find a positive reaction in the mixed.

Posted by: cal2 at December 30, 2006 1:33 PM

"But there will be no music, from the worst of Bush’s critics. They sometimes claim that the invasion and occupation — what I have repeatedly called the liberation — has left Iraq worse off than before."

Yes, and many said that Iraq was better off under Saddam Hussein, conveniently ignoring his many acts of genocide. I wonder if they mourn his "assassination"? Murdering bastard.

What a story, the Marsh Arabs! We patiently await the movie.

Posted by: dmorris at December 30, 2006 1:38 PM

I remember when that campaign was in progress. It seems that the Middle Eastern tyrants can write the book on evil and hate.

Wonder whether the damage can be reversed? Is there any point to reversing it?


Posted by: Pat at December 30, 2006 2:01 PM

This is a positive, promising symbol of the good that the Liberation of Iraq from Saddam and the execution of the latter has brought.

I've linked to this post in one of mine and have provided my point of view stemming from this and from Saddam's receipt of justice:

Posted by: The Canadian Sentinel at December 30, 2006 2:36 PM

Did the CBC have this on the Nature of Bullshit ?? Voiced over by the Fruit-Fly Guy, of course.

Posted by: B. Hoax Aware at December 30, 2006 2:37 PM

BTW, Pat, the damage has been reversed. Click the link in Kate's post and read about it.

The marshes have been and are continuing to be restored, and it began almost at the same time as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As soon as the Free World came in to remove Saddam, the remaining Marsh Arabs attacked the dams, reflooding the area with water.

The wildlife has returned. The fish, shrimp, birds... the people are coming back. :)

Saddam has failed miserably. See, evil ultimately doesn't pay!

Posted by: The Canadian Sentinel at December 30, 2006 2:43 PM

Yes, agreed, lamppost justice for dictators. They had him for more than two years, and they could only try him for Dujail. Not the Kurds, not the Marsh Arabs.

War is a lot of things, but "imperfect" stands out. Still, 80% of Iraqis felt a little better waking up today.

Posted by: David M. McClory at December 30, 2006 2:53 PM

Dictators of all stripes care only for power. My experiences in life have taught me never to trust anyone who whines with faked compassion; faked because they will not act.

Saddam Hussein was a self-serving brute, a man socialists (today's liberals) pretend to dislike as a right wing Fascists but deep down they respect and admire his throttling of Capitalist entrepreneurs. Capitalist entrepreneurs are not necessarily rich mountebanks in the mini minds of Liberals. Free men are the enemy of liberals and socialists - they gleefully watched the Arabs in the swamps brought to heel - they (the left wing whackos) didn't care about that particular swamp because it was a useful swamp. If a swamp is to be protected it must be a swamp that is free of humans - in the mini mind eye of a left winger.

Left wingers hate people - they don't care about people or animals - they care about eradicating Freedom. They are cowards and they hate anyone who is not yellow bellied like themselves. They are not constructive, they are destructive. IMO.

Posted by: Jema54 at December 30, 2006 3:01 PM

WMD? - Nah, you must be mistaken Kate, don't ya know that WMD did not exist - (she says in a sarcastic tone)

Poor Saddam - all his handiwork gone to naught!

Posted by: Albertagirl at December 30, 2006 3:04 PM

I heard Mel Gibson was going to make this movie. Actually he was just going to use footage from "the River" and play it backwards.

Posted by: cal2 at December 30, 2006 4:02 PM

This was truely a very cruel human being...nothing like him since Hitler.
Let's hope we NEVER see another one again.

Posted by: gl1800 at December 30, 2006 4:13 PM

Thanks for the fascinating link. It's encouraging to see that the rehabilitation of the land is so rapid. Too bad all of his excesses can't be undone and/or rectified as easily.

Posted by: Candace at December 30, 2006 4:39 PM

How much damage can the brain eating virus called leftism cause? (warning: very graphic)

From kos:

"I have just read that Saddam Hussein is dead. Hung by the neck until dead – isn’t that the phrase they always use on television? And I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. Everybody has to start by saying that it isn’t bad that Saddam Hussein is dead – he was an evil man. But what is evil? It is a religious denunciation, a way to set a person apart from humanity. We need to do this I suppose. And if we say that Saddam Hussein is an evil man, don’t we then have to say that other men are good? Who is good I wonder? Where do we find these men of goodness? To say Saddam Hussein was evil is too easy, it lets us off the hook."

This guy is a shew in for a doctorate in moral relativism.

Posted by: irwin daisy at December 30, 2006 4:54 PM

my sister brought a book home with her on the life of the marsh arabs having hobnobbed with them in the mid 70s. I found it a fascinating read and was truly sad when I found out what %$^@%@^@%$% had done to them.

would this be the same group that george senior turned his back on at the end of gulf war I when signals were sent that they were prepared to participate in a massive coordinated uprising at the time?

Posted by: bollocks at December 30, 2006 6:57 PM

Bullocks - I think that was NATO that turned their back....Gulf war I involved Canada too.

Posted by: Jema54 at December 30, 2006 7:02 PM

Our gibbering,chattering elites blubbering about the execution of Saddam makes me sick. I think capital punishment in Canada was abolished because if the lefties or righties were ever allowed their murderous impulses to improve all us thinking, hard working, leave us alone types, they would finish us off a la Saddam. Extremists of all that ilk don't want to meet their creator in that way. Hung by the neck til dead, nope ,can't picture that..........

Posted by: Circe at December 30, 2006 8:12 PM

If you can stand the intrusion of reality into the separate reality of SDA, you might read

Posted by: agitfact at December 30, 2006 8:28 PM

Thanks Kate for this particular post.

Having grown up in a National park I have always been a staunch environmentalist, albeit a very right leaning practical one, and thus happy to see this disaster turning for the good. Years before the war when I would bring up the subject of the marsh Arabs it elicited blank stares, good to see it acknowledged. Has anybody seen anything about this spectacular environmental recovery in the MSM? Gee, I just can’t figure out for the life of me why our homegrown enviros aren’t pitching in to help and offer advice.

Posted by: Western Canadian at December 30, 2006 8:29 PM

hmph. indeed, what *will* the next story be?

(p.s.m not tellin ya where I got this, heh heh heh)

U.S. soldier reacts to Saddam Hussein's execution: "So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?” -- "U.S. troops cheered as news of Saddam’s execution appeared on television at the mess hall at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in eastern Baghdad. But some soldiers expressed doubt that

Saddam’s death would be a significant turning point for Iraq. “First it was weapons of mass destruction. Then when there were none, it was that we had to find Saddam. We did that, but then it was that we had to put him on trial,” said Spc. Thomas Sheck, 25, who is on his second tour in Iraq. “So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?” Prime Minister al-Maliki said in statements released Friday that

Posted by: bollocks at December 30, 2006 9:54 PM

from CBCpravda - something backwards about this.maybe a little imploring hope from our national news agency that something would go wrong.

'Despite U.S. forces being on high alert in the wake of the execution, there was no sign of a feared Sunni uprising in retaliation and the bloodshed from civil warfare was not far off the daily average — 92 from bombings and death squads'

Posted by: cal2 at December 30, 2006 11:21 PM

Here's a nice little piece from CBCpravda as well, the Marsh Arabs dont get mentioned , and the Kurds, well, whats important to you?stories of Udai and Qusai or a few hundred thousand dead.?

Posted by: cal2 at December 31, 2006 9:04 AM

"This was truely a very cruel human being...nothing like him since Hitler.

sarge here...except suarto of indonesia, who killed all those east timorese after cheney and kissinger flew to indonesia to give suarto permission to invade, or pol pot who came to power in the chaos caused by nixon's extending the war into laos nd could go on and on with such examples. sadam was a shit head of only middling talent, but , as i'm sure you all know, he was our shit head.

ps...sarge rememers when the US govenement was sayin it was them iranians what gassed the kurds...since there was battle going on in that town that day with both iranian and iraqis using chem guesses that the iraqi chemicals being supplied by the west, sadam had to die before that phase of his trial was complete...

Posted by: sarge at December 31, 2006 5:17 PM


you mistake refuse for reality.

Posted by: Warwick at January 2, 2007 1:25 PM