Iraq

Military veterans: Senate must pass clean-energy legislation

Here's something you don't see every day: Battle-hardened military veterans out advocating for an environmental cause.

Oh, I have little doubt that most soldiers and sailors -- like most Americans -- consider themselves friends of Mother Earth. And it's also true, as we wrote recently, that former generals and admirals count energy independence a national security issue. 

 But one doesn't necessarily associate: Military = Green. In fact, waging a war produces a heck of a lot of greenhouse gases.

 So we noted with surprise this week that a group that calls itself votevets.org is launching a $400,000 blitz of radio ads urging key senators to get moving on legislation to safeguard the climate. Here is how the group describes itself:

The leading progressive, pro-military organization of veterans, dedicated to the destruction of terror networks around the world, with force when necessary. It primarily focuses on education and advocacy on issues of importance to the troops and veterans, and holding politicians accountable for their actions on these issues.

The radio spots feature actual vets of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, giving a pitch in their home state. They will run in conjunction with a bus tour making its way Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, South Dakota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Maine.

Here's the script:

ANNOUNCER: There's a new generation of American patriots - young veterans who've fought for our country overseas. Now, they're on a new mission? right here at home. (Home State) veteran (Name).

Local Veteran: Growing up in (Home State), nothing prepares you for the things you see over there.

Drought threatens Garden of Eden site in Iraq

The lede on a recent piece from The Guardian makes me wonder why we're not hearing more about this story:

A water shortage described as the most critical since the earliest days of Iraq's civilisation is threatening to leave up to 2 million people in the south of the country without electricity and almost as many without drinking water.

(Possible reason we haven't heard more: Like so many environmental stories, this one is not breaking news. It oozes, rather than breaks, as the saying goes. )

It sounds impressive anytime something is happening that hasn't been known before in a particular country's history. But recall that when we're talking about Iraq, we're talking about what appears to be the first civilization. Yes, we're talking about the Garden of Eden, or at least the Fertile Crescent between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

Martin Chulov's file from Nasiriyah covers death and disease resulting from saltwater intrusion, electricity from hydropower about to grind to a halt, and goes on to paint this grim picture: