No Water Or Power: Winning Hearts & Minds In Iraq? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Its So Dark

Nothing says we're here to help you better than turning off the power and shutting down the flow of water when it's 122 degrees outside. Yes, the United States is busy winning the hearts and minds of the people in Iraq one parched throat in the dark scorching heat at a time. I guess the Iraqi's didn't realize that when we said we we're initiating a troop surge that it would also result in shutting off all of the other spigots.

Troop surge...power surge...water surge? Apparently the United States can only provide one of the three at a time...kind of a multiple choice question for our friends in Iraq. After all, a troop surge is designed to bring democracy so it was the only logical choice. I guess the Iraqi's need to realize that we'll get to water and power once everyone is liberated and living in freedom...albeit in third world conditions far worse than seen under that tyrant Saddam.

I've heard the Iraqi's we're planning to celebrate the good news in the streets...but the street lights were out and the Health Ministry issued a warning that dehydration could lead to serious medical concerns.

Yes, I'm spouting snark but I just can't believe that we think these situations go unnoticed by the Iraqi people. Logic tells me that at some point the Iraqi's will determine they are better off on their own...if they haven't already come to that conclusion.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Baghdad's residents are miserable in the scorching heat of summer. There is not enough electricity to power air conditioners and taps in large parts of the Iraqi capital have run dry.

The 50 degree Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures drop only a few degrees at night. Power from the national electricity grid is too feeble to run air conditioners so many people resort to sleeping on their roofs to escape the baking heat of their homes. But that offers little respite.

Water shortages in Baghdad are nothing new, particularly in the Shi'ite districts on the eastern side of the Tigris River that were neglected under Saddam Hussein's rule. But now a large part of the capital's mainly Sunni Arab west has also dried up.

The number of Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies has risen from 50 per cent to 70 percent since 2003, while 80 per cent lack effective sanitation, British charity Oxfam said in a report last month.

Baghdad has about one or two hours of electricity a day and most residents rely on neighborhood generators and smaller diesel-powered machines to supplement the supply.

"We don't know what we should spend our salaries on -- electricity, diesel, food, medicine and now water. This is all burdening us," said east Baghdad resident Hashem Aboudi, 62.

Numerous critics of the war have called our efforts to establish security a game of whack-a-mole...whereby we move from region to region in an attempt to extinguish violence only to see the violence return once we've moved onto the next hot spot. I hadn't considered that we were playing the same game of whack-a-mole with basic services.

When I read accounts of progress in Iraq on right wing blogs, I understand that there are little victories...but one has to look at the larger picture when making overall conclusions about the success of our effort. Look, if the number of people without adequate water has risen 20 percent since 2003, I simply can't get enthused about the establishment of a one room school. Further, I seriously doubt the Iraqi's would see it any differently.

It's now midway through 2007 and we have yet to increase the number of people with access to water and power? I've said it before and I'll likely say it the initiation of the invasion of Iraq, General Shinseki argued that we needed 300,000 troops to complete our mission...and every measure of progress suggests that his assessment was right then and remains valid to this very day.

I have no idea what it would take for the Bush administration to admit and acknowledge that our mission has been thoroughly mismanaged. Even worse, I have no idea when they will either enact a plan that can succeed or concede that we've done as much as we're willing or able to do at this point in time.

Perhaps our Commander in Chief is determined to disprove the old adage of Abraham Lincoln... the one that stated, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time". Unfortunately for him, I suspect most Americans and most Iraqi's have no intention of participating in that process.

Tagged as: Baghdad, General Shinseki, George Bush, Iraq, Troop Surge

Daniel DiRito | August 3, 2007 | 11:34 AM
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