The Tigris: a river of death

How to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis at this late date, after pretty much destroying the country in order to supposedly save it? A good start would be to immediately begin helping them clean up the Tigris River. The occupation’s chaos has created a nightmarish new geography in which Baghdad has become a drainage basin of death, a system of tributaries, physical and metaphorical, that relentlessly feed the Tigris with industrial contaminants, human waste, garbage, and rotting corpses. (also here.)

Many impoverished inhabitants of Baghdad have no other source of water and drink from the filthy Tigris, which slakes their thirst, but also sickens and kills them. Fishermen are prohibited from fishing in the river—by the military and recently by religious interdictions, but that hardly matters—fish cannot live in the toxic, oxygen-starved water anyway, and even fishing with nets yields almost nothing.

Even our G.I.’s are affected—in this short clip a soldier tells us that they use the Tigris’s water to shower, after, he says, throwing in a little chlorine.


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