Basra’s waterworks

Post War Conditions in Iraq Transcript

Speakers: Narrator, Ali al Halaf, Male

NARRATOR: The war has relieved the Iraqi people of Saddam, but resulted in even harsher living conditions. Does Ali al Halaf (ph) and his family think the war was worthwhile?

ALI AL HALAF: (Translated) We can’t tell until things are finished. For example, when there is a new president, we do not know how sincere and truthful America is. We do not know whether America will work for the interests of the Iraqi people, or is it only working for its own interests?

(Iraqis speaking in background)

NARRATOR: The most pressing problem in and around Basra: getting clean water.

MALE: We come to the river because it is the only source of water here.

NARRATOR: And is the water bad?

MALE: Very bad. The water is very bad. Our children are very sick because of this water.

NARRATOR: Who destroyed the bridge?

MALE: The Iraqi army.

NARRATOR: The Iraqi army.

MALE: Yeah.

NARRATOR: Saddam loyalists slowing the British advance and dealing a final blow to the unruly people of the South.

(Jet engine)

But the water crisis goes all the way back to the Gulf War when Coalition aircraft bombed Basra’s power station to cut electrical supplies to the Iraqi military.

(Bomb detonating)

Basra’s waterworks lost power, too. And under Saddam, the system was never fully restored. The 2003 campaign caused further damage. But despite warnings from Pentagon and British defense officials, the Bush and Blair governments failed to preposition enough engineering resources to promptly get clean water flowing.

Worse, the war’s immediate aftermath caused more physical damage than the bombing.

ALI AL HALAF: (Translated) The British allowed some criminals to loot the markets and the institutions and destroy them and burn them. That affected and shocked us severely, not only me, but all the people who are patriotic and loyal to the country, those who are loyal to national issues, to the economy. Of course, if the British forces were really keen about the security of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi economy, they would not have allowed those thugs to do that.


NARRATOR: The invasion forces were focused on fighting Saddam holdouts. In Washington, officials said it would take time to restore order. The looting went on for days. To many Iraqis, this proved the misplaced priorities of the foreign armies. Not only shops and government offices were ransacked, so were sites housing radioactive materials, suitable for use in so-called dirty bombs.

[End of Audio]

From “Back to Basra: After Saddam.” Copyright 2012 by Films Media Group. All rights reserved. Adapted with permission.

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