'IraqSlogger': Purposely Missing the Point?
IraqSlogger was launched this week, after being in beta mode for a couple of weeks prior to that. Today, they put out a story with the title: 'Garden of Eden Recovered; Precious Marshes Saved Thanks to Japanese Govt.'
Contrary to what is expected from journalists, the 'where, who, how, when and why' of the story were glossed over. A non-informed reader would look at IraqSlogger’s story and conclude:
-Saddam’s regime collapsed on its own; there was no American-led liberation (or ‘invasion’ as the 'Sloggers' like to say) of the country. See here: “By the time the former Iraqi regime collapsed in 2003…”
-The Marshes dried up for some obscure and unknown reason. There is no mention that the Saddam regime launched a massive campaign to dry the marshes in the 1990s because these areas were harboring anti-Ba’ath rebels for two decades. He burnt hundreds of villages, killed thousands and drove out tens of thousands of the Marsh Arabs to Iran. He then dug three major water-ways, costing tens of millions of dollars (during the sanctions years, mind you) to drain the water out of the marshland. There were some protected areas that included pre-historic botanical varieties that have been lost for ever. Migrating patterns for millions of birds were disrupted, and the water pressure that helped to keep oil deposits close to the surface in Iraq’s southern wells was lost, resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in wasted natural resources. However, this is all that IraqSlogger would say: “Extensive ecological damage to this area, with the accompanying displacement of much of the indigenous population, was identified as one of the country's major environmental and humanitarian disasters.”
Notice, no mention of Saddam’s role in destroying the marshes.
-God bless the Japanese—they’re the tops! There is no mention that toppling Saddam, by American force, allowed the Japanese government to fund UN-supervised NGOs to re-flood the marshes and slowly coax them back to life. See here: “Today, the situation is drastically improved, thanks to a UNEP marshlands recovery program funded by the Japanese government.”
Why is IraqSlogger reluctant to mention Saddam’s role in destroying the Marshes?
I think IraqSlogger is a business venture that wants to make money out of Iraqi misery: they were set up to peddle the ‘Iraq-is-Hell’ storyline. It is not an altruistic reporting effort since they pay their contributors very well, from what I hear. So someone is putting up the money, and probably hoping that down the road, some financial dividends will come through advertising.
To start with, Eason Jordan—the guy who runs the IraqSlogger outfit—owes everyone a full disclosure: where is the money coming from? If we trace the money back to its source, we may get an idea of the agenda behind IraqSlogger and its slanted reporting. Mr. Jordan, who may a nice man for all we know, has somewhat of an embarrassing track record when it comes to covering the Iraq story: he was pushed out of CNN under a cloud after admitting that he tailored his reporting from Baghdad to placate Saddam’s thugs.
For the time being and pending Mr. Eason’s revelations, we can only randomly assume (...if we go by this story's journalistic standards) that IraqSlogger is a front for Japanese intelligence—the spooky kind.
[See full text of the IraqSlogger story in the comments sections.]