Sunday, October 12, 2003

THE BETRAYAL OF THE MARSH ARABS: Do you know who Marsh Arabs are? The chance is small, and if you don’t than you should either read Wilfred Thesiger’s “The Marsh Arabs” or look at the front page of Saturday’s Washington Post. Titled “'A Gift From God' Renews a Village,” it brings the story of Shiite Marsh Arabs (marsh dwellers), who’s marches are revitalized by Iraqi engineers and by U.S. soldiers after they were drained by Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War. Out-of-job journalist Andrew Sullivan brings it up and asks:

How can you not be moved by such a story? How can you not be proud of what we have done?
Sure Sully, I am happy. But not incredibly happy. I was before though, but something ruined the mood. You know what it was? It was this article titled: “House GOP Cuts ZIP Code, Garbage Truck Funds From Iraq Plan”. In the article, the following is mentioned:
[D]ropped from Bush's request is $100 million for restoring Iraq's marshlands, systematically emptied and destroyed by deposed President Saddam Hussein's government to punish Shiite Muslims who live there.
It seems that the House Appropriations Committee, led by representative Bill Young (R-Fla) decided to not “waste” money to restore what Saddam Hussein has taken away from some 300,000 people. Representative Young calls it an “improvement.” Restoring the marshes take more than just opening gates smashing dams, but it’s a damn good start. What the Marsh Arabs really need is that $100 million was for. But don’t expect a peep from Sully. And yes, I am proud of the soldiers. But not of Bill Young and his fellow Republicans.

See more naiveness here and here.

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