Sunday, May 06, 2007

"I Couldn't Believe My Eyes"

An Iraqi blogger visits New Orleans:
What shocked me the most in this trip was how the city looked like Baghdad. New Orleans looked like Baghdad after the war in 1991; I swear I kid you not. The devastation, empty houses, the people returning to their life in the city, the "rituals" people practice before they completely come back, the bumps in the streets and the smell of destruction [it has a distinctive smell people. Yes it does.]

I arrived to New Orleans Thursday. On the way to the hotel, I saw the same thing I saw on tv two years ago, destroyed buildings. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Two years later and the scene is the same? Where are we? A government that spent hundreds of billions of dollars on wars overseas is not capable of dealing with a crisis on its own soil! A crisis that all what it needed was money!
He provides some perspective:
In the mid 80s, there was a big battle between the Iranian and the Iraqi armies in a city called Faw. It is the Iraqi port on the Persian Gulf. The city was flattened and occupied by the Iranian army. A two years later, Saddam Hussein vowed to take it back and he did. Within a few months, the city’s original residents were compensated and rebuilt their city. That was under the rule of a dictatorship.

In 1991, Iraq was destroyed, mainly Baghdad and other big cities like Mosul, Basra. The Americans made sure that the average Iraqis didn’t get water, electricity, or food. And they made sure to also bomb the communication buildings so the average Iraqis didn’t have a way to know about each other and what was going on. Within three months after the end of the war, most of the government building and services, including potable water, sewer system, paving bombed streets, phones and electricity. That was under the rule of Saddam Hussein, whom Bush’s administration accused of depriving his people from their share of oil revenues!
The full post is here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that link.

Went back home for a visit a few days ago and he is not wrong. There are places where hardly a soul is stirring. It is strange, because in NOLA there is ususally someone outside doing something. The ominious silence is large swaths of the city is not NOLA at all. It is eerie and sad.

5/07/2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

Yep. There was an article in the paper about the "Road Home" program going broke because it was on pace to dish out about 10 billion dollars.

The "Road Home" program is basically a handout for people too dumb to have properly insured their own property, and my old conservative self would have been contemptuous of the people and the program.

However, now when I see we've wasted 400 billion plus to destroy property in Iraq, but can't even fork over 10 billion to rebuild an American city, it's...disconcerting.

5/07/2007 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

watch the wingnuts use this as evidence that Baghdad isn't so bad after all...........

5/07/2007 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet, almost all other gulf coast towns badly damaged by Katrina been repaired.
Hmmm, now why do you suppose that is ......?


5/07/2007 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Paul B. said...

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and recently spent 18 months in Iraq (Basra, then Baghdad), and to be brutally honest, Baghdad reminded me a whole lot of downtown Detroit, circa the mid 80s or so. Strangely, I don't recall anyone calling for withdrawal from the State of Michigan, ever. Further, Detroit is actually better now, despite all the doomsaying of my relatives throughout my childhood.

5/07/2007 9:44 PM  
Blogger Anderson said...

And yet, almost all other gulf coast towns badly damaged by Katrina been repaired.

Not even close to being true. The Miss. gulf coast is still in terrible shape -- it took the brunt of the storm.

5/08/2007 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

broodrack - you ain't even freakin' close. My mother has one of the only 20% of buildings that were left standing in Pass Christian - and if think that most of that has been rebuilt you are living in a fantasy world.

As for the "properly insured" comment from Martin - I am quite certain they would have loved, loved, loved to have had regular and flood insurance on their houses but payments for either were lower on the "must pay" list than food and medicine. Flood insurance is not a required thing and not taking it is a calculated risk that many, many, many people in the US take.

5/08/2007 12:52 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

LOL...Detroit native. Have you looked at property values in Detroit. An old mansion leftover from the glory days sold at Auction for $135K! Detroit is a hole. Has been for 40 years now. Veteran myself. You want to police that craphole do it on your own dime. The only decent thing to do is leave that place to the Iraqis. They don't need us killing them...they do enough of that among themselves.

5/08/2007 3:49 PM  
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I wish they had a picture. I might have put a bid on it...depending on the neighborhood.,2933,259907,00.html

In the most spirited bidding of the day, a sprawling, four-bedroom mansion from Detroit's boom days with an ornate stone entrance fetched just $135,000.

5/08/2007 4:00 PM  
Blogger martin said...

Not so anonymous. I'm not talking about most poor people who were renters anyway. I'm talking about the scads of middle class people, e.g. Lakeview, who owned homes and could have afforded insurance, but didn't.

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