October 30, 2007

The Great Flood or The Epic of Gilgabush

On the Tigris River lies the world's most dangerous dam, built on top of water-soluble gypsum (hey, at least the Iraqis didn't build it out of sugar), which threatens to unleash a 66-foot tall wall of water on Mosul, with an expected death toll of up to half a million.

From the Washington Post, this is almost too perfect of a metaphor for our whole experience in Iraq.
Seepage from the dam funnels into a gushing stream of water that engineers monitor to determine the severity of the leakage. Twenty-four clanging machines churn 24 hours a day to pump grout deep into the dam's base. And sinkholes form periodically as the gypsum dissolves beneath the structure.

Read the whole thing. It's hilariously horrifying.

Greg Cochran emails:
There is only one right answer - drain the reservoir as rapidly as is safe. But we don't get around to it. We have more important things to think about.

Once upon a time this country was a fountain of competency: we got things done and we were _famous_ for getting things done. Not any more.

Bush is the Apostle of incompetence. Everything he does is stupid, and he does it in a stupid way. If he'd run the space program back in the 60s, the iconic movie would be Journey To The Center Of The Earth rather than Apollo 13.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


mnuez said...

For a variety of reasons I strongly supported the United States' attack/liberation of Iraq in the months leading up to it* and I continued to support it, along with the general war against Islamofacism, over the following years. At the same time, and on every conceivable occasion, I've voiced my disgust with the fact that the war was being prosecuted by a man so amazingly incompetent, illiterate, uneducated, shallow, inefficient and plainly stupid as George W. Bush.

I believe that had Bush's policies been carried out by a McCain or Giuliani administration they very likely would have produced results that we'd all be (overall) pleased with.

Attacking one (ANY one) of America's enemies in a post 9/11 show of strength was a good idea.

Taking out Saddam lest he produces WMDs (or lest he already have them) was also a good idea.

Working to spread Democracy in countries that don't have anything resembling it was similarly a fine plan.

Etc. etc...

But NONE of this could be done by someone who has none of the characteristics required to be the President of the United States. I honestly can not think of any trait that Bush has that is remotely exemplary when compared against the average populace of the country. He's a rich, connected, spoiled brat with an arrogant attitude and the willingness to believe that Christianity implies rampant capitalism and thus he was crowned Leader. He has no more qualifications for leadership than does the manager of your local McDonalds. It could even be argued that he has less.

So yes, I like many of his so-called NeoConservative policies but, by God, Bush's championing of them does them no favors.

Whatever misgivings I may have about capitalism's meritocratic sieve do not apply to the presidency. A nation with any hope for its future requires presidents like Nixon, Wilson, TR and Jefferson - not like Ford, Harding or - in a class ALL by himself, GW Bush.

I wish people would focus more on the broken system that coronated this village idiot rather than on the specifics of the political leanings that he happens to share with some 50% of the country.



Anonymous said...

I honestly believe this is the results of Bush's inner group being focused on Israel's well being rather than the well being of Iraq or, for that matter, America.

We have instituted unilateral sanctions against Iran. Unilateral sanctions are more like sanctions against yourself! No, we are NOT going to buy anymore of your oil nor let you pay us any more money to develop your oil fields!

I would not be half surprised if some Israeli owned company used this opportunity to step in and get a big refinery contract or open a casino.

I have no doubt that stories of outsourcing, immigration balance of trade, etc related to Israel are met with a completely different response from these people than those same stories relative the US.

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is nearly as bad for the Iraqis as the Aswan dam is for the Egyptians. The only thing in it's favour is that if Mosul blows it won't be auto-genocide.

On the other hand, it won't take a battery of cruise missiles or a 10kiloton nuke to do it... just time.... and not much of that either.

Anonymous said...

"The Making of the Atomic Bomb"
by Richard Rhodes gives a wonderful feel for what once could be achieved. It also remarks on how dreadful the Federal government could be, with Einstein being recruited as an agent for the British government in an attempt to get FDR's administration to pay attention. But once the Manhattan project was underway - my goodness me, how effective it was. Impossible under W, or perhaps any baby-boomer?

Anonymous said...

Greg Cochran is correct about George Bush, but only regarding matters near and dear to the public. Like infrastructure.

On matters such as looting the public purse for private gain, well, Bush is phenomenally expert.

Take, for example, the stadium used by the Texas Rangers. He got public funds to build it. And he quite carefully exploited minority set-asides to do so. Michelle Malkin wrote about this.

Ditto for the Texas lottery commission. His pal Harriet Miers was outed by World Net Daily for her felonious behavior on this one.

Ditto again for his pal Rob Allyn. Allyn is the traitor who helped get Vicente Fox elected. Allyn and Bush's Texas Rangers buddy Rusty Rose both sit on the board of Ace Cash Express. Ace makes millions from wiring the remittances of "migrants" to Mexico and Central America.

I could go and on and on.

But what's the point? The dittoheads - rhymes with "pinheads" - will still idolize Bush regardless of how corrupt he is discovered to be.

So, Cochran is only half right. He should view Bush as a mobster in charge of the public works department of this country. Knowing how Tony Soprano operates makes it easy to understand how Bush operates.

Anonymous said...

The article seems to paint a picture of Middle East incompetence, with Turkey getting a nod at the end.

Iraq built the dam in the early '80's and our guys discovered their blunder after the invasion. Our general and engineers are trying to convince them of the problem, but the Iraqis won't hear any of it. Is there anything we can do if a people just don't believe they're in danger?

It shows the folly of belief in universal democracy and human sameness, but, at least in the strictest sense, not incompetence, unless I'm missing something.

Anonymous said...

A Saddam-era dam has construction that is far below western standards and has been a concern for decades. And now this, too, is Bush's fault?

Bush Derangement Syndrome claims another victim.

Anonymous said...

anon 10/30/2007 10:33 AM,

Remember the Pottery Barn Rule?

If we hadnd't invaded Iraq, eventually this dam would have crumbled from neglect and killed a few ten or hundred thousand Iraquis, and we could all happily blame Saddam for being a terrible leader (except Steve, who would correctly blame Arab culture, and leftist wackos, who would blame the embargo).

But we own Iraq now, and we're responsible for running it, which means if the dam any time in the near (or far) future, it's our fault for not fixing it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah it's BDS and also "blame the Jews." You can forgive Jews for being sensitive when this accusation is hurled all the time without a shred of evidence and merely emotional bigotry.

Sharon opposed the Iraq War in the first place as he put his own nation's interest first (Sensibly). He wanted Saddam as a counter-weight to Iran's growing Nuke program. He could live with Saddam offering big rewards to the families of suicide bombers. Not Iranian nukes. Saddam on Iran's borders would constrain Iran's nuclear actions.

Cochran of course is an idiot. He can't conceive of the reality of the situation:

1. Saddam's people built a typically garbage dam, quick, cheap, graft-laden.

2. State and Commerce and Agriculture and ALL OTHER departments did not and will not show up in Iraq. Leaving the Military to DO IT ALL.

[This last paints the class divide. Suburban wealthy elites like Joe Wilson and trophy wife Valerie Plame play pretend-spy in Georgetown salons, but that type won't show up in places dirty, dangerous, and grimy, with threats of killings by AQI, JAM, everyone else, and requiring the protection of the US military to get anything done. State has been reduced to "ordering" people to Iraq because no one will go. Meanwhile working-lower-middle class men in the Armed Forces show "can do" by performing basic leadership, negotiation, and actual physical work in fixing decades old-decayed power, sanitation and other physical plants. Michael Yon and Bill Roggio have detailed this leadership and the complete non-presence of people like Cochran.

Cochran in his own field is quite smart, as are many of his peers. BUT ... none of them can handle the reality of dirty tribal politics, imminent death/danger, degrading physical conditions, and the requirement for soul-sapping physical labor.

Simply put Cochran is incapable of doing the work that a 35 year old Marine Captain can do. Cochran and his social class could not work as hard, as smart, and as long at the pure ragged edge of exhaustion.]

I'd agree that Bush is fundamentally lazy. This problem of the elite social class being lazy and inept has been well known and Bush should have taken careers and reputations by publicly firing/shaming examples including his own cabinet members.

At least Rudy and Romney are not what you'd call lazy men.

Brian said...

Yeah it's BDS and also "blame the Jews."

He didn't say "Jews". You desparately want to find evidence of antisemitism, but you can't.

And lets just have a little refresher on the lead up to the Iraq war.

According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’

On 16 August 2002, 11 days before Dick Cheney kicked off the campaign for war with a hardline speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Washington Post reported that ‘Israel is urging US officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.’ By this point, according to Sharon, strategic co-ordination between Israel and the US had reached ‘unprecedented dimensions’, and Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programmes. As one retired Israeli general later put it, ‘Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities.’

Israeli leaders were deeply distressed when Bush decided to seek Security Council authorisation for war, and even more worried when Saddam agreed to let UN inspectors back in. ‘The campaign against Saddam Hussein is a must,’ Shimon Peres told reporters in September 2002. ‘Inspections and inspectors are good for decent people, but dishonest people can overcome easily inspections and inspectors.’

At the same time, Ehud Barak wrote a New York Times op-ed warning that ‘the greatest risk now lies in inaction.’ His predecessor as prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, published a similar piece in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: ‘The Case for Toppling Saddam’. ‘Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do,’ he declared. ‘I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against Saddam’s regime.’ Or as Ha’aretz reported in February 2003, ‘the military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq.’

Either show these quotes are false or shut your pie hole.

BTW, Glenn Greewald is a good guy and a good American.

Not a Jewish plot, just a zionist/neocon one.


Anonymous said...

Hey, fact is the sanctions against Iran are completely against US interests and being pushed solely by the Israel Lobby.

You are not going to get good policy from an American perspective when you interest is focused on the well being of Israel.

And are you saying all Jews are Israel first supporters? I would never say such a thing (because it is not true).

Why would you?

gcochran said...

Tell me more about my social class. I gots to know!

As for that hypothetical 35-year old Marine captain -
how long can he tread water?

Anonymous said...

Why are we there in the first place?

Let's see the LWPN - Long-Winded Paranoid Neocon, aka evil neocon - fry his keyboard and synapses trying to answer THAT one.

Anonymous said...

Greg Cochran,

Wasn't Apollo 13 a near disaster and a failure (because they never got to set foot on the moon)? And didn't it take place in the '70's? Were you just being ironic in calling that the iconic film of the Space Program (in that the point of the current shuttle missions seems to be to put astronauts in peril without achieving anything)?