Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Scientific American Ignores History, an update

David B. from Scientific American responded to my query about their article totally ignoring the salubrious effect of the USA's liberation of Iraq on the local ecology.

Mr. xxxxx,

Thanks for writing. You are correct to point out that the article did not go into the political context of the change. I felt that was already known by most readers and therefore the science of the transformation was a more appropriate focus for a short news article on a science website.

The information you requested is as follows: in the 1990s the Hussein regime dammed and drained the marshes in reprisal for the marsh Arab uprising following the first Gulf War. This forced the resident marsh Arabs to leave the area. With the fall of the Hussein regime in 2003, the marsh Arabs returned and set about dismantling the dikes and dams that had destroyed their homeland. Their spontaneous efforts resulted in the restoration I wrote about.

I hope that helps.

David Bxxxxx
www.sciam.com


I still find it curious that it was a truly man-made disaster, and Scientific American assumed that the readers would know. There is nothing in the article, other than the later date, that points the reader to any event. The original article reads in a totally passive format: "it happened," rather than an active tense.

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