Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sadr City


I get asked a lot about what Iraq looks like. I am located in a more rural area than most but have spent a lot of time in Baghdad. This is what 1/4 of Baghdad looks like. This is Sadr City and it is a slum. Open sewage in the streets, trash everywhere, dusty, crowded, and dangerous. Almost 1 million people live in these conditions. Notice the dishes on the roof tops. Saddam did not allow that.

Our soldiers are in there every day and Sadr City is what Luke Stricklin sings about in his song "American by God's Amazing Grace." Imagine having to patrol this. Imagine having to live in this. Imagine trying to raise children in this. I feel a lot like Luke does. Let's do this right, finish the job, and leave it orderly so our sons don't have to come back over here to finish what Saddam started back in the 1980s and we are trying to clean up now.

Sure, we have slums in America but the difference is that anyone in an American slum can get out and rise above it by simply obeying the rules and working hard enough. These people will never have that kind of opportunity if we pull up and leave now. This job is half over. Just like any major project, the toughest part is the back side of the bell curve. We are well into it.

9 Comments:

Blogger DirtCrashr said...

3rd-world slums are places where there is little possibility of investment - they are the real economic quagmire of poverty's base-population.
An American "slum" by contrast (besides being a delight) exists in real-estate. There are absentee landlords (who can be attacked for blight) and slum-lords who rent properties that are distinguishable entities with titles. Real-estate has value when it can me moved on the market.
In a 3rd World slum there is nothing of discernable value like that, nobody holds title to a piece of property, and whatever income they might have only goes to wither and die.

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Fade said...

Slums in Iraq will be there forever. Our Army as a police force to safeguard corporate profiteering is not going to end slums. 2500 dead so far. Probably 5 to 10 thousand dead American soldiers before we leave. And for what? To save Iraqis from living in slums? Do you realize how utterly ridiculous you sound? The Iraq war is about the rich getting richer on the backs of our mainly lower class soldiers. I guess if we kill enough iraqis, the average median income will rise. But thats the only assistance we are offering. Malnourished Children in Iraq are now THREE TIMES the number they were under Saddam's regime. Hmmm. maybe they are living in slums, with no working water because of the invasion?

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Fritz said...

The real sad part is that most (65%+) have no idea that these conditions exist in the world. It is so frustrating to hear how lacking in knowledge those same people are about the world. Jay Leno will do his on the street interviews and the questions that people can't answer, WOW! There are a couple of conservative talk show hosts that really hit hard at the school system here in the USA for the lack of good education being given. One sometimes wonders if mankind will ever get out of this rut. When you look around you realize that we may get out of one only to fall into another.

What is happening in Iraq and other places in the world is a must. Like a cancer the poverty caused by the haves taking advantage of the havenots will spread and before you would know it those pictures could be in almost any location on any of our three coasts.

It is people like you and your crews that stay on and allow those young men and women to fight the fight that will make the world a better place for the "T" Man and all of his generation.

3:24 AM  
Blogger flythemig29 said...

Fade,

Slums were here but not to the extent that they were created under Saddam. These people, who are mostly Shia, were persecuted under Saddam and had no chance whatsoever to rise above their station. He shoveled these people into these areas. Remember that it was called Saddam City until he was overthrown.

Like most people who have never been here, never seen a war zone, never heard shots fired in anger, you sit back and pontificate from the perspective of one who is enlightened above those with differing views from yours. You know better because some college professor said so or you agreed with your friends over a beer while trying to impress some girl with how wise caring you are about world events. You all read the daily papares that slam the war because they don't care to ferret out the real stories. Controversy and blood sell advertising time. If you wnat to discuss profiteering let's discuss how much money CNN, ABC, the NYT, etc make off of advertising when they blow a story out of proportion for ratings or for distribution numbers.

If you think this war is about profiteering there is probably nothing I can do to change your mind but I offer this. The same contractors working here are the same contractors in Afgahnistan, the same contractors who were in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, and Aceh Province. I don't hear your outrage about any of those hot spots at all and I don't hear it in the MSM.

Check your facts. Statistics can be skewed by the narrowest of margin and analysis. I know, I deal with them all day long. It is not the numbers, it the analysis of the cost benefit ratio and that, more often than not is arbitrary.

8:05 AM  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Sadly he gets his feed from Kos...
As a kid I lived overseas in the 3rd world and saw similar slums and endemic poverty problem that had only been exacerbated by a 3,000+ year old culture "safeguarding social profiteering," namely the Caste System. We were working against that crushing burden in small but measurable ways, but the in-country political system was run by a bunch of technocratic elitist Keynesians coupled to a mammoth, choking, blood-sucking bureaucracy, and they had it screwed up but good, and still do. Understanding economist Hernando DeSoto's analysis helped me get a grip on those experiences. Watching the Six-Days war from a near-distance and experiencing Islamic culture close up were other eye-openers.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Don Cox said...

150 years ago, London had slums like that. Then a sewage and a water system were installed, and progress began. Add primary education and adult literacy classes, and you have done most of what is needed. It is not hopeless.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "job" will never be finished. These "Slums" are most of the middle east from Khartoum to Beirut, Sanaa to Mogadishu. Some cities are peaceful, some are not. The difference, we are not in them.

We cannot save these people from themselves if they do not want us to save them.

6:09 PM  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

In fact the job is very difficult because the concept of investment capital is foreign to Islam, which is also forbidden to use the magic-lever of the West: compounded interest.
Charging interest on a loan is forbidden under Islam, so the rich stay rich and the poor stay conveinently in their place. Just to lift from Wikipedia, Islamic economics: "Professor Timur Kuran, for example, contends that, "traditional Islamic law remains a factor in the Middle East's ongoing economic disappointments. The weakness of the region's private economic sectors and its human capital deficiency stand among the lasting consequences of traditional Islamic law."
When you look back on the History of it, the untold story is that Arab slavers during the 18th Century in Africa sold as many or more slaves to the Mid-East as they did to the White slavers bound for America.
As many slaves went to Arabia and other parts of the Arab world, bound for slums and a life from which they would never escape, and whose descendents are still there today.

8:31 PM  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

In fact the job is very difficult because the concept of investment capital is foreign to Islam, which is also forbidden to use the magic-lever of the West: compounded interest.
Charging interest on a loan is forbidden under Islam, so the rich stay rich and the poor stay conveinently in their place. Just to lift from Wikipedia, Islamic economics: "Professor Timur Kuran, for example, contends that, "traditional Islamic law remains a factor in the Middle East's ongoing economic disappointments. The weakness of the region's private economic sectors and its human capital deficiency stand among the lasting consequences of traditional Islamic law."
When you look back on the History of it, the untold story is that Arab slavers during the 18th Century in Africa sold as many or more slaves to the Mid-East as they did to the White slavers bound for America.
As many slaves went to Arabia and other parts of the Arab world, bound for slums and a life from which they would never escape, and whose descendents are still there today.

8:31 PM  

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