Let Loose the Badgers of War

If you can gauge the popularity of an occupying force by tracking the rumors that emerge around it, The Daily Telegraph has some bad news for the British:

British troops have been based in Basra since the 2003 US-led invasion overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein, and the 5500 that remain still face the threat of Shiite militias battling for the region's oil resources.

They also have to battle the Iraqi rumour mill, as locals are quick to blame them for almost any calamity that befalls the area -- including an apparent plague of vicious badgers with long claws and powerful jaws.

Iraqi vets -- as in veterinarians, not veterans -- say the creatures have been in the area for over 20 years, and that they usually are not dangerous. That hasn't stopped the locals from declaring the animals abnormally large and ferocious:

"I was sleeping at night when this strange animal hit me on my head. I have not seen such an animal before. My husband hurried to shoot it but it was as swift as a deer," Suad Hassan, a 30-year-old housewife said.

"It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey. It runs so quickly."...

Sattar Jabbar, a 50-year-old local farmer from Abu Sakhar north of Basra, believes the badger can tackle even large prey.

"I saw it three days ago at night attacking animals. It even ate a cow. It tore the cow up piece by piece. I tried to shoot it with my gun but it ran away into the orchards. I missed it," he said.

I have to admit, that's a lot more sensible than some of our stateside stories about cattle mutilations. Next time someone tries to tell you that aliens or Satanists are chopping up our cows, just sneer and say, "Don't be naive. It's the giant British badgers."

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  • ||

    "It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey."

    And on its head was a large wedge of yellow foam cheese! It was HORRIFYING!

  • ||

    According to BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6295138.stm) experts are saying the animals are honey badgers. Hardly anything to get excited about. This is slightly less ridiculous than the Monkey Man of New Delhi.
    http://wzus.wc.ask.com/r?t=p&d=us&s=a&c=a&l=dir&o=ffx&sv=0a30052a&ip=0c202ab4&id=C01204B8290FD8DB6CEECBFF8959E287&q=monkey+man+of+new+delhi&p=1&qs=121&ac=23&g=6f91TiLxZixRhB&en=te&io=0&ep=&eo=&b=alg&bc=&br=&tp=d&ec=10&pt=Monkey-man%20of%20New%20Delhi%20-%20Wikipedia%2C%20the%20free%20encyclopedia&ex=&url=&u=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey-man_of_New_Delhi
    http://wzus.wc.ask.com/r?t=p&d=us&s=a&c=a&l=dir&o=ffx&sv=0a30052a&ip=0c202ab4&id=C01204B8290FD8DB6CEECBFF8959E287&q=monkey+man+of+new+delhi&p=1&qs=121&ac=23&g=6f91TiLxZixRhB&en=te&io=2&ep=&eo=&b=alg&bc=&br=&tp=d&ec=10&pt=CNN.com%20-%20'Monkey%20man'%20fears%20rampant%20in%20New%20Delhi%20-%20May%2016%2C%202001&ex=&url=&u=http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/south/05/16/india.monkeyman/index.html

  • ||

    BADGERS?! We don't need no steenking badgers!

  • dhex||

    BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER

    MUSHROOOM MUSHROOOOOOOM

    http://www.badgerbadgerbadger.com/

  • VM||

    Manbearpig was let loose there?

    DAMN YOU LIBURALS. WHY DO YOU HATE SO MUCH!!!

    WHY!!!!!! WHY!!!!!!

    *sobs. runs off.

  • ||

    Raul,

    Can we teach poodles to fly today?

  • ||

    Time to call in the dachshunds.

  • ||

    The cryptozoology coverage on this website is pitiful.

  • SPD||

    Badgers?

    We don't need no stinking badgers.

  • SPD||

    Dammit! Sorry Raul.

  • ||

    Matt J,

    No, today, we're learning about turtles. Did you know that they're nature's own suction cups?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    "It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey. It runs so quickly."

    [Insert presidential candidate of your choice joke here.]

  • ||

    Thanks, DHex. Now that will be in my badgerbadgerbadger head all MUSHROOOOOM day.

  • ||

    "'I saw it three days ago at night attacking animals. It even ate a cow. It tore the cow up piece by piece. I tried to shoot it with my gun but it ran away into the orchards. I missed it,' he said."

    ...so to sum up, it was not I who made attempt to steal your goat for sexy.

  • dhex||

    no problem number six AAAH IT'S A SNAKE IT'S A SNAAAAKE OOOOHHH IT'S A SNAKE

  • ||

    crimethink,

    Nature is truly a wonder.

    I'm going to go shake my ant farm and watch Ghandi II now.

  • Nephilium||

    Bah... Ghandi II is horrible...

    I'm going to watch Conan the Librarian...

    Nephilium... "Haven't you heard of the Dewey Decimal System!"

  • ||

    There's your explanation for that whole Chupacabra mystery.

  • ||

    Yes, let al Qaeda and other enemies of the U.S. and our allies quake in fear. See that furry animal walking in front of your cave? That's a genetically engineered killing machine, maniacally devoted to American interests. Yeah, he's just nibbling some lettuce right now, looking cute. But he's watching you. Waiting.

  • ||

    Today is nutter day at Wikipedia. Really, it is. Which one of you guys got in there and edited the badger article?

    Before it's gone, here's an excerpt:

    Military Deployment in Iraq
    British forces were said to have released man eating badgers in the vicinity of Basra, Iraq following the 2003 coalition invasion.[1]

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    It takes a special kind of man to strap on a gun and a badger and be a ... lawman.

  • ||

    You can have my badger when you pry it out of my cold, dead, chewed off fingers...

  • Urkobold™||

    INDEED, MY MINION LIBERTATE SPEAKS THE TRUTH. OBSERVE THE SHEER, INSIDIOUS POWER OF THIS TRAINED SQUIRREL, WHO IS ACTUALLY A MAJOR IN SPECIAL FORCES.

  • ||

    "It takes a special kind of man to strap on a gun and a badger...."

    Crikey! A strap-on badger? What will they think of next?

  • VM||

    ah yes, the badger merkin.

    it is available with a gently-nibbling tip, too*



    *not legal in Alabama

  • ||

    Don't fuck with Bucky.

  • ||

    Don't fear the badgers.

    Fear the atheist sea otters who intend to crack our skulls open on their soft furry bellies!

  • ||

    Perhaps either the Brits or the insurgency (or both?) have recruited voodoo hackers.

    Installing Linux on a dead badger:
    http://www.strangehorizons.com/2004/20040405/badger.shtml

  • ||

    I'm just going to gratuitously link to a great story involving a Badger.

    Now with correctly previewed and tested linking goodness!

    Lawdog & The Honey Badger Pt. 1
    Part 2
    Part 3

  • lunchstealer||

    We know about that. It's a Toronto skunk. My jurisdiction.

  • ||

    I dunno - badgers are a quintessentially British animal. If the Basrans start complaining of lion and unicorn infestations next, we'll know the fix is in...

  • ||

    Your Honor, SPD is badgering the witness.

  • VM||

    so, what, now we're gonna unleash Moley, Toad, and rest of the cast and crew to "The Wind and the Willows" on their asses?

    could we please air drop PETA on the ensuing frenzy to add that final, frenetic scene from Lafcadio, the Lion that Shot Back?

  • lunchstealer||

    Or worse yet, the cast of Jethro Tull's "The Hare Has Lost His Spectacles"

  • ||

    You realize these aren't ordinary European badgers, or American badgers -- they are honey badgers, or ratels, of Africa and parts of Asia (per the linked article, and shown in the photo above). They do indeed have a reputation for being fierce, especially for their size.

    Trivia: Cheetahs may have evolved to take advantge of the ratel's known fierceness. Young cheetah cubs, unlike the uniformly spotted adults, have a "cape" of light-colored fur on their necks and backs and a darker coat on their lower bodies. Scientists think this may be a form of camouflage mimicking the white-on-top/black-below ratel. Other predators stumbling upon cheetah cubs hidden in the bush or long veldt grass may mistake them for the fierce ratel, giving them a wide berth instead of molesting them.

    That all was pretty pointless, but I don't get to show off my knowledge of ratel or cheetah lore very often, much less both at the same time. If you are a woman and this display of arcane knowledge made you feel all warm and vulnerable to seduction, please contact me at once.

  • ||

    CHENEY: Okay, Cowboy! Did you, or did you not, declassify the bionic man-eating badger program?

    BUSH: N-n-n-no sir.

    CHENEY: Well I sure as hell didn't. Dammit!
    Somebody get Scooter on the phone.

  • ||

    Stevo,

    I see. What's the airspeed velocity of an unladen badger?

  • ||

    Perhaps I make sexy for badger....

  • ||

    Badgers? We don't need no stinking badgers!

  • ||

    Crap, read the comments, but not closely enough I guess.

  • ||

    I remember that line. From The Tejón of the Sierra Madre.

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