UnNews:Baghdad Overwhelmed with Flowers for Liberators

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17 June 2006

An Iraqi man gives a US soldier his 58th flower. "Ugh, another tulip - I'm sick of them," commented the officer.

(Baghdad, Iraq) Despite a security clampdown and total ban on flowers in Baghdad this week, locals managed to deliver seven bouquets to key parts of the city in a span of just five hours on Saturday. Embattled Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld commented that "We certainly expected to be greeted with flowers as liberators early on in the Iraq War, but we definitely didn't predict we would continue receiving them three years later. I guess this is one of those 'unknown unknowns.'"

The Iraqi citizens just cannot contain their joy about the US invasion and the ensuing "liberating occupation." Day after day, they deliver flowers to US troops all across the country; they give even more to members of the new government and Iraqi police, who they view as direct descendants of the American liberators. At first, the United States welcomed the bouquets, with even president George Bush declaring to "Bring 'em on!" But recently Bush admitted to regretting those fateful words, as the number of flower deliveries continues unabated.

Military warehouses are filling up, and officials say there is no more room for the flowers. Many have to be left outside in the desert heat to rot. One promising piece of news is that Iraqi troops are also now receiving large numbers of flowers, which Army commanders see as a positive sign. The official government position has always been that American troops won't withdraw until the Iraqis are capable of handling all the flowers themselves. General Casey said over the weekend that "We're seeing a lot of progress, but there is still much we have to teach them about proper watering and soil management techniques."

Meanwhile, troops are attempting to crack down on the flower deliveries as they are disrupting the rest of the economy and preventing soldiers from devoting time to important infrastructure projects. Despite a ban on flower delivery vans, locals are finding ingenious new ways to transport their products - on donkeys for instance, or even hidden under their clothes in so-called "flower vests." The recent killing of chief grower al-Zarqawi didn't decrease the deliveries as had been hoped for, with the Iraqi Flower Association already having announced his successor.

Furthermore, the quality and variety of the plants being delivered have both increased over time. "At first it was just roses," recalls a soldier requesting anonymity, "Those we could just toss in a vase and forget about; but nowadays the arrangements are far more complicated. We're even getting

potted plants that up a lot of time to take care of." Many are even being imported from abroad. A special task force has been established to deal with the most important ones, dubbed IEDs (International Exotic Deliveries.) Almost a quarter of all coalition troops in Iraq are now assigned to this task force. Their duties revolve around watering and nurturing thousands of flowers planted in the so-called "Green zone" in central Baghdad.

President Bush personally visited the Green Zone last week, but due to the clandestine nature of the trip, locals were unable to give him any new flowers. "I really wanted to deliver this beautiful bouquet to our hero George Bush," laments an Iraqi Shiite, "but I guess I'll just have to bring it to the Sunni mosque across the street instead."