Sunday, September 09, 2007

Iraq reconstruction less than successful...

Via BBC News:

Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 22:34 GMT 23:34 UK

Little progress on halting Iraq's decay
By Robert Plummer
Business reporter, BBC News

The US troop surge in Iraq has been accompanied by a similar surge in the amount of US funds devoted to Iraqi reconstruction -but with just as debatable an effect.
By the end of 2006, Washington had provided $37.45bn to help rebuild Iraq's
shattered infrastructure. Figures issued just six months later showed that the total has since swollen to $44.54bn - an increase of nearly one-fifth.

But ordinary Iraqis have seen no benefit from this extra cash.

Baghdad's electricity ministry recently warned that the national power grid was close to collapse, while water supplies in the Iraqi capital have been cut off for days at a time.

Conditions are arguably worse than at any time since the US-led invasion overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003. The office of the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (Sigir), a kind of super-auditor for rebuilding efforts, has singled out widespread corruption and economic mismanagement as the source of the continuing decay.




AnimeFreak40K said...

Giant Robots.

That is what we need to send over there. I have no idea exactly what they would do, but in just about every anime I have seen, Giant Robots make everything better.

Ok, seriously though. The corruption and mismanagement does not surprise me in the least. We went in there without any sort of plan (by my observations) of what we would do after we destroyed the current government. No bloody clue about what was going to happen or what should be done. This could have been easily avoided if someone stopped, asked and then answered that question.

Everything seems so...cobbled together and so hastily done with such poor planning that of course it is doomed to failure. We Americans do not seem to have the patience or foresight that we possessed 50+ years ago...

The bit about the oil investors does not surprise me either. Nobody wants to invest resources in something that could very well get blown up because some idiot wants to "Send the Infidel Crusaders to Allah"...or something. Sure, they could hire security firms to protect the interests...but that would just increase the costs of operation. It is just cheaper and easier to avoid the situation altogether for now.


It is only Monday morning and already my head is hurting!

the teach said...

Anime, I definitely like the Robots idea...
When I'm faced with what's really happening to the people of Iraq it sickens me. :\

Yeah, you're right we (the Bush Admin) don't care about what we do to the country we just want the oil...

I read, though, in the NYT this morning that both the US and al Qaeda want the same thing--the oil!

I don't know about you but I can't imagine the Iraqis and what they do in the terrible heat with no air conditioning and hardly any ICE or water. Check my post

AnimeFreak40K said...

The reason I am not more upset about what is going on in Iraq, is because a good portion of all of that has been going on far longer than the United States has even been in existance.

What I mean, is that a lot of the problems that we are putting up with are the results of tribal, family and religious tensions that were kept locked down by totalitarian rule for who-knows-how-long.

My issue is that we are doing nothing to make it better...and our mere presence seems to make it worse. *shrug* I think this is one of those cases of "lets just let you and him fight it out" situations, as nothing we do will make it better. That's what 2,000+ years of hatred gets you =/

People want the oil because it is a dwindling resource...and it is one of the few tapped resources that is not under control. It is not just the US and Al Qaeda fighting for it I am sure... but it does not surprise me. With the US, INTERPOL and good god knows how many other groups clamping down on their opertations, they need money.

Oh, and I can tell you how the Iraqis deal with the heat: They simply deal with it. They are acclimitized to such weather and conditions that it is no longer an issue. Sure water is a problem, but that is one reason why Baghdad is the largest city in is right between the two largest rivers in the country!

Seriously, after about 3 or 4 weeks in Kuwait, I was used to the higher tempratures. By June, I could wear the body armor and all that came with it and only complain about the weight and how much harder it made things (as opposed to how hot it was). You just get used to it eventually.

Also, the Iraqis tend to wear clothing that either covers them entirely or little covering at all (short-sleeves, shorts, bare feet or sandles). The full covering is actually a benifit believe it or not, because it keeps the moisture of the body from escaping so much, and all clothing tends to be fairly light and airy, very much unlike what we Americans wear.

Your thoughts that started this last bit is actually one of the reasons why poor countries dislike the US. We say things like "How can you live without Internet? electricity, running water?". I understand that we, as Americans don't mean anything by it (If anything, I think most are astounded that people are able to live and be happy like that) but to them, it is little different than if we went to a homeless person and said "how can you live on the street without a house?"

I read a story awhile ago about a soldier who, while stationed in Germany, was accosted by about a dozen or so men of Arabian descent. They had a conversation (non-violently I am assuming), and for the sake of brevity, they explained why they hated him (as in Americans): We have nice things, luxeries, etc. that they do not. We get them cheaply and easily, while they can only dream about it (an example was a CD player that, at the time cost $50. For them it would cost over $500).

For me, at least, I think it is in poor taste to ask such a question. Those people are living their lives, in many ways, as if they did 1,500 years ago. I mean, fashion has changed...but those places without electricity, running water, etc. today did not have them back then...and yet people survived and lived. Yes, there were hardships, but they survived and continue to do so.

That said, before someone goes and asks something like "how do they live without air conditioning, electricity or running water?", they should first stop and ask themselves "how did people live 150 years ago without air conditioning, electricity or running water?". That should give them their answer right there.

the teach said...

I guess you're right, Anime, I sound like a typical liberal wondering how people can live without...whatever I think they ought to have. But I think when I posed that question I was thinking that we (the US) and other Allies as well as the sectarian violence is at fault for what the people suffer.

I know they (in Baghdad) live at the mouths of the Tigris - Euphrates rivers but is that water drinkable? They might be able to bathe or wash clothes in the water but can they drink it?

I didn't ask how the Iraqis could live without Internet...I asked about electricity/air conditioning (which is about to blow the grid, I understand)and water.

I think the Iraqis could be happy if we got out of there and t he government brought about an end to the sectarian violence. You know Saddam kept peace in the country by a harsh dictatorship and that wasn't any better, right?

AnimeFreak40K said...

"I guess you're right, Anime, I sound like a typical liberal wondering how people can live without...whatever I think they ought to have."

That is not a 'Typical Liberal' statement or thinking. That is 'Typical American'. I do agree that people should be afforded some things (running water, electricity, etc.), but to ask "How can you live without [enter thing here]?" is, in most cases taking the fact that you have that luxery and are smearing that fact in the face of those that do not. I mean, how would you feel if one of the Rockefellers (or some other REALLY disgustingly rich person/family) came up to you and said " can you live without someone waiting on you hand and foot?". Not only is that rude...but that is also taking the fact that they can flaunt such riches and you cannot and smearing that in your face. You would not like that would you? This is one (of many) reason why other nations and peoples dislike Americans so much.

I know you did not ask about the Internet connectivity in Iraq...but I brought it up. And I did it on purpose. Things such as electrictiy (and as such AC) are luxuries in that part of the world. By you asking "how can they live without it?" is the same as aksing "how can they live without Internet/servants waiting on them and and foot/caviar?".

When I was in Iraq, I realized that I took a LOT of things for granted. Running water and electricity among them. Hell, I took GRASS and CLOUDS for granted! I don't anymore by the way. I survived over there for 13 months without a lot of luxeries. We had power, but it was fleeting - internet was the same. We had running water...provided the water trucks could get on post to fill the resevoirs (this did not always happen). Air conditioning may as well have been non-existant between power issues and that it was just so dammed hot.

I guess my time over in Iraq (and in Korea) taught me that that I do not need certain things to live. Even if I do not have them, my life is not over. I can adapt and overcome. Those things are conveniances, but I do not need them...and nor does anybody else (If I can do it...andybody can). That said, I am also fairly critical of folks that act like they cannot. Honestly, if Americans actually decided to try to live without so many luxeries and other things they take for granted, I think we, as a nation, would be better off for it.

"I think the Iraqis could be happy if we got out of there and t he government brought about an end to the sectarian violence. You know Saddam kept peace in the country by a harsh dictatorship and that wasn't any better, right?"

Yes and no. Yes, we would be better off if we got out of there and their government brought an end to the violence. No, I do not think they will be happier for it though. Saddam suppressed a LOT of tribal, religious and family tensions with his rule. Any government that is put in place will be unable to rule in any other manner unfortunately. I could go into the reasons for this…but this post is already getting long. I can save it for another post if you want.

As far as the water's drinkability of Tigris and Euphrates rivers go...I can assure you that by the standards of what Americans consider "clean, potable water" both rivers fall dismally short. Of course, most free-flowing water sources do. I do not think it is "clean" water by any means, but I do not think it is like the water in Mexico either. I mean, you won’t get dysentery or some fatal disease, bacteria or something else by drinking it. Personally I would not drink it without boiling it first…but that is how I feel about all freeflowing freshwater sources near civilizations anyway.

the teach said...

Okay now, Anime, Petraeus has reported. What's your reaction? I'm going to post further on the post for Sept 10 about the Petraeus report on this blog. Join me there, okay?