~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Classic "chicken and egg" comment

We had a big problem with looting in Baghdad after the war, and didn't deal with it strenuously enough. Watching Hannity & Colmes last night, I got the impression that things would have been very different if Haley Barbour had been in charge. Talking about any possible looters in Mississippi, the governor said (I'm quoting from memory) that they would be dealt with “ruthlessly,” that they are “sub-human,” and that they would get “a lesson they wouldn't soon forget.”

Yeah, but which came first? Tough talk against looters? Or looting itself?

I remember hearing on BBC radio while in the suburbs outside of Baghdad that Iraqis had (sadly) gotten hold of possibly radioactive drums that they were using for water reservoirs. Say what you want about a failure on the administration's part to guard against looting in Mach/April 2003, it's open season. Fire away. But do you seriously think a little harsh language would have kept those drums away from thirsty civilians?

Come on, now. I rolled into Sadr City (back when it was still called Saddam City) with the 1st BN 5th Marines, and all I saw was the Wild West. Throngs of people hauling plates of aluminum to take home and patch their roofs, rolling mismatched tires down the street so that they could maybe repair the family car (taxi services are a excellent source of income for Baghdad suburbanites.) I was a Arabic linguist assigned to the 1/5 and actually spoke to many of the people filling the streets, so thick our convoy ground to a halt. I explained, as best I could, to one man that the aluminum sheet that he'd laid claim to, was needed to patch a hole in the wall of our overnight bivouac site. "DO NOT take this metal in the middle of the night. You will be shot. WAIT UNTIL MORNING." He agreed. Very reluctantly.

I don't see how pledging "ruthless" action against such desparate "sub-humans" is even remotely comparable.

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