Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Katrina, Baghdad Edition
Just when you thought you couldn't possibly be flummoxed by news out of Iraq, along comes this:
The largest dam in Iraq is in danger of an imminent collapse that could unleash a huge wave of water, possibly drowning 500,000 people, new assessments by the US Army Corps of Engineers show.
A collapse would put Mosul under 20 metres [67 feet] of water and parts of Baghdad under 4.5 metres [15 feet], according to Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub, the dam manager.
Needless to say, an American reconstruction project to temporarily shore up the dam's foundations was plagued by mismanagement, sloppy work standards, and "indications of potential fraud", according to a report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. There's also significant disagreement between Iraqi and American officials about how to solve the problem.
I'm sure that Iraqis take comfort in knowing that, having already experienced American-style democracy, they might soon get the opportunity to experience American-style disaster relief. Yikes.