October 11, 2003


'A Gift From God' Renews a Village: Iraqi Engineers Revitalize Marshes That Hussein Had Drained (Rajiv Chandrasekaran, October 11, 2003, Washington Post)

The surging water from the Euphrates River first quenched the desiccated soil around this village. Then, with a steady crescendo, it smothered farming tracts, inundated several homes and enveloped the landscape to the horizon.

"Hamdulillah," intoned Salim Sherif Kerkush, the stout village sheik. Thank God.

Thin reeds now sprout on the glassy surface. Aquatic birds build nests on tiny islands. And lanky young boys in flowing tunics spend the first few hours of each day as generations of adolescent males in their families have: gliding across the water in narrow wooden boats to collect fish trapped in homemade nets.

"The water is our life," Kerkush said as he gazed at the marsh that now comes within a few feet of his house and stretches as far as the eye can see. "It is a gift from God to have it back."

A dozen years after Saddam Hussein ordered the vast marshes of southeastern Iraq drained, transforming idyllic wetlands into a barren moonscape to eliminate a hiding place for Shiite Muslim political opponents, Iraqi engineers have turned on the spigot again.

Actually it's a gift from the Allies, but why be picky.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 11, 2003 9:59 AM

Actually the Allies were the gift from God, but why quibble?

Posted by: NKR at October 11, 2003 10:56 AM

Allah works in mysterious ways.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 11, 2003 1:46 PM

The draining of the marshes was ecological and cultural destruction on an unprecedented scale. Where was Greenpeace?
Any kum-bay-yas for our troops?

Posted by: Dave in LA at October 11, 2003 3:33 PM

No kudos, but you can bet a lot of reporters have already complained about the mud.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 11, 2003 6:32 PM

Indeed; but if it is true that the US has enabled the marshes to return to their muddy state, at least the media will now be able to report, truthfully, about quagmires....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at October 12, 2003 3:23 AM


Posted by: Jeff Guinn at October 12, 2003 7:08 AM

When we act in His Name to repair the world, we act as His partners. It is a gift from Him.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 12, 2003 10:38 PM

This morning, NPR had a sound bite from Sadr City claiming that God, not Bush overthrew Saddam.

It is getting harder and harder to maintain that nation-building in a madhouse has any prospect of success.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 13, 2003 6:04 PM