Monday, June 14, 2010

The detritus of war

Leila Fadel, reporting from Fallujah, had a piece in the June 4 Wash. Post ("U.S. Military's Castoffs Find a Market Among Iraqis," p.A8) about the stuff left behind by U.S. forces. A few excerpts:
"The remnants of the U.S. occupation of Iraq are being sold to the highest bidders in yard sales across the country. The outskirts of cities like Baghdad, Fallujah and Ramadi -- once bastions of the Sunni insurgency -- are now destinations for bargain hunters interested in items such as generators and trailers. As the U.S. military draws down to 50,000 troops by the end of the summer, the junk left behind is quickly becoming part of the Iraqi landscape.... Entire villages pitch in to buy large generators and water purifiers, which are then shared. Many Iraqis still lack reliable running water and electricity.... [N]ew [U.S.] rules allow commanders to donate equipment worth $30 million at each base they hand over....

Rukaya Abdul Aziz, 32, recently held her youngest child inside her new home. Her past two houses were destroyed in U.S. attacks, she said.... The only shelter she and her husband...could find to replace their homes was a trailer once used as a latrine. They scrubbed it clean, took off the back and used concrete to build an extra room. 'We wanted something that wasn't American, but this was the biggest we could afford,' she said. 'We had no choice.'"

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