What's been going on in Umm Qasr during the time Jay Garner's pastry chef was whipping up Black Forest cakes for Garner's little confab. Yes, folks, this is still going on. (Warning: the Umm Qasr link is accompanied by a disturbing photo):
"Water! Water!" they cry, running from the roadside towards passing cars, thrusting their fingers towards their mouths in the salute of the thirsty.
At the local school, a crowd of mothers swathed in black queues in vain for Red Cross handouts of enriched biscuits for their infants....
"The biggest problem is that the people have no money and no jobs," he said. "The economy has collapsed. The cement factory, the grain silos and the port have shut down. There is nothing in the markets and the prices of everything have risen three and four times."
Limited emergency food relief and medical supplies have been trucked in from Kuwait along with irregular tanker deliveries of water donated by the Kuwaiti Government. But everyone says it is not enough for the population of about 50,000 people living in the area.
Some of the help has proved useless. A shipment of Australian wheat that arrived with great fanfare had to be rerouted to Kuwait because there were no facilities to mill it into flour....
I know, I know --numbness sets in when you read too many articles like this. I keep linking them because the U.S. press has decided that focusing on the condition of ordinary Iraqis is just so last month -- nothing matters to the stateside press now except Jay Garner and his snazzy new government.