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Gunga Din Takes a Vacation

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Message Stephen Pizzo
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You may talk o' gin an' beer
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
 
But if it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.

 

Sure, you turn the lights out if you're going away on vacation for a month.  But the Iraqi parliament apparently went a step further when they left for a month away from away from the troubles in Baghdad – they turned off the water too.

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Much of the Iraqi capital was without running water Thursday and had been for at least 24 hours, compounding the misery in a war zone and the blistering heat at the height of summer...Residents and local officials said large sections of the city had been virtually dry for six days because the electricity grid can't provide enough power to run water purification and pumping stations. (Full story)


Oh, and did I mention it's 117 degrees in Baghdad this week?  Of course, it is a dry heat.... which is one of those good news, bad news facts. This year it's extra dry heat. Here's an inconvenient fact – it's drier in Baghdad this August than it was five Augusts ago when Saddam the Sadist ran the place. Back then, (before the Iraqis were liberated,) they had water every day. They also had electricity at least 18 hours every day.

Today Iraqis consider themselves lucky if they get 2-hours of juice a day.

That was before August 1. Now it's down to an hour of electricity a day, and no water. Not a drop. Not for even a minute a day.

And did I mention it's 117 degrees there now? So hot that even the pampered members of Iraq's  useless-as-t*ts-on-a-boar parliament skipped town for the month.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, the US Congress is about to bug out for a month as well. And you can be sure President Bush will be flying air-condition Air Force One, well-stocked with bottled water, to Texas for his annual Crawford ranch vacation as well.

At least the Iraqi parliament had an excuse most of us can at least understand, if not approve of – it's  hotter than billy-blue blazes in Iraq in August, and they're tired of dodging hourly assassination attempts.

What's Washington's excuse for skipping town?

Simple.. in a word their excuse is ...
“Petraeus.”

Democrat or Republican, just ask them what the hell they're waiting for before calling an end to Bush's Vietnam and, to a person, they'll chirp “General Petraeus.” They'll explain that they understand you are hearing a lot of bad news about what's going on in Iraq, but that such “anecdotal” reports are not useful. They are waiting to hear the real deal from our man on the ground there, General David Petraeus, when he reports to Congress in September.

Well, should you run into one your elected reps during, what we can assume will be their cool and well-hydrated August vacation, you might mention that, unless the 8-million severely under-hydrated folks in Baghdad are lying about their current “living” conditions, we don't need to wait for General Petraeus' report. We already know enough to know that that the US's misadventure in Iraq has failed.

And now we learn that we've even failed as Baghdad's Gunga Din. After four years, $600 billion dollars, 3700 dead US soldiers and who knows how many tens of thousands of dead Iraqis, we/they can't even provide the hot, thirsty, and increasingly dirty, Baghdadians the most abundant resource on earth --- water. 

So it's a 117 degrees in Baghdad, and the public water system is dry as a bone.

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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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