EXPLOSION AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS IN BAGHDAD: Hmm. The problem is that everyone in Iraq, both pro- and anti-Saddam, has a reason to dislike the U.N., which makes assigning responsibility tricky. Put this together with the mortar attack on (presumably pro-Saddam) Iraqi prisoners the other day and it almost makes me wonder if there's a third force at work here. Follow the link for updates as they come in -- The Command Post is all over this story.
An expedition by Duke University wetlands expert Curtis Richardson to evaluate damage to Iraq's storied Mesopotamian Marshlands revealed an environmental disaster of vast proportions. However, he also found the potential for restoring a significant portion of the marshes and with them the Marsh Arab culture.
On his June 16-26 trip, he encountered dust-bowl-level desiccation within the former wetlands, a destroyed date palm industry, a drinking water crisis, wrecked laboratories, and a pressing need to train a new generation of environmental researchers. . . .
"Saddam Hussein was a master 'brown field generator,'" said Richardson, referring to a term for environmental decimation. "He churned that country upside down. It looks like you let a child loose in a sand box with hand grenades."
I don't remember Kofi Annan speaking about about this stuff, do you?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Beets says the Dream Palace of the UN just collapsed, as the above-the-fray mentality of internationals proves unequal to reality, again.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Nord agrees:
I'm sure someone else has raised this point, but it seems that the bombing of the UN compound would be something of a wakeup call to the naifs out there who somehow believe that this battle is just between the U.S. and the Islamic fanatics. One anchor on CNN, believe it or not, seemed mystified at the attack, noting that the UN "has been a part of Iraq for years." She was implying that the fanatics were supposed to respect the "neutral" UN and only go after the Americans. How naive! These nuts are attacking anyone and everyone who gets in their way. They're not going to spare someone because he has a blue UN flag on his shirt. Their goal is to create chaos and anger.
I know it's terribly naive of President Bush to say it, but these are, you know, bad people.
MORE: Kate points out that the U.N. rejected security measures aimed at preventing this sort of thing because it wanted to present a friendly image to Iraqis. Except, of course, that it's likely not Iraqis who are behind this. (Tony Adragna thinks he knows who is.)
There's more on this here. This event seems to be inducing an enormous amount of cognitive dissonance in lefty antiwar bloggers, who are responding -- as always -- by blaming the messenger. I guess it's like the Hitler/Stalin pact all over again, or something. . . . Get over it guys. You may hate Bush -- but it's not about Bush, and you're trying to make it about Bush so that you don't have to face what it's really about -- people who want you just as dead as they want John Ashcroft, and don't see any difference anyway, except that you might serve their cause as useful idiots, for a while, before they kill you, too.