Updated on April 19, 2010
The Iraq You Don’t Hear About
We can all almost recite verbatim all the “failures” that are crammed down our throat daily, especially with the elections coming up. We’re dumb and can’t win wars if you listen anything people say. Well, you’ve come to the right place for good news:
Electricity – Prior to the war, Iraq was putting out approximately 3300 Megawatts of power out of a potential 7000 MW had the equipment been properly maintained and repaired. Today, power output stands at approximately 4720MW of power, benefiting more than 340,000 more homes. The national nationwide average for power stands at 11 hours, compared to the 6.3 hours enjoyed in Baghdad, where the demand for energy is enormous because of the economic boom and ability to purchase electrical appliances.
Oil – Prior to 2003, Iraq was outputting approximately 2.0 million barrels per day in oil. Again the facilities were aging and in dire need of repair. Because of a lack of natural gas pipelines to create electricity, much of Iraq’s electricity relied on crude oil so much of that went into production of electricity. Today, actual oil production is about 2.2 mbpd with a capacity to produce more once facilities are repaired and security improves. Additionally, 1,200 tons of liquid petroleum have been added for electricity production.
Water and Sewer – It isn’t known what the capacity was prewar, but I can tell you from experience it involved flushing all the sewage into the street where it eventually washed into the river or a rudimentary sewage system down the street. In Baghdad, almost all sewage was dumped in the streets or the Tigris River. Today, we’ve addded 407,000 cubic meters per day of water treatment capacity (which benefits an estimated 1.9 million Iraqis). And the Basrah City sewage treatment project is nearing completion. Projects remain under way to upgrade sewage in many parts of Iraq. However, to create a system out of a non-existent system will take time. For the first time, leaks are springing up all over Iraq because of the increase in water pressure that they’ve never known before. More water pressure means more water for more people.
Health – For twenty years prior to the war, Saddam hadn’t built new hospitals. If he did, he’s probably hidden them with the WMD. However, Iraq’s population more than tripled during that same time period. In addition to the 11 renovated hospitals, six brand new healthcare center projects have been completed with another 66 in various stages of construction. A recent audit uncovered poor workmanship by many of the contractors’ work which delayed projects or resulted in getting them scrapped and restarted. Poor oversight of these projects is definitely a black eye to the people responsible for how our money is getting spent.
Education – Of the 13,000 schools open before 2003, 10,400 of those were in disrepair BEFORE we got to them. Some were destroyed when the Iraqi Army, fedayeen and insurgents used them as base camps. In addition to repairing most of these schools, and additional 843 schools have been built adding space for over 325,000 grade school students.
Security & Justice – Even though an order was given to disband the Iraqi Army, it didn’t really matter. The Iraqi army and security forces disbanded themselves. Since then, 342 police facilities have been completed. 248 border forts now help patrol the mostly unguarded border that previously plagued the country.
Transportation and Communications – Almost immediately after we took Baghdad, we noticed an unusual occurance. Satellite began going up on rooftops almost immediately. That was never allowed under Saddam. Satellite phones started appearing in the hands of normal Iraqis, something else banned before. Heck, I even bought a satellite phone to talk with Emily, though it cost me over $1000 to maintain. Of the 34,586 km of paved road, we’ve added another 217km of paved roads to remote villages and repaired much of the destruction to the existing streets. For the first time, an emergency 911 type service was added to 15 cities, covering more than 15 million Iraqis. This was nonexistent before.
Here’s something you’d never guess: There are 954 US companies receiving subcontracts in Iraq compared to 1641 Iraqi companies. Yup, this war isn’t simply lining the pockets of American businessmen like the tinfoil hat wearing freaks want you to think. 51 of those Iraqi companies are owned by women.
I know these are all boring statistics. But, they’re proof of progress. All this information comes from various sources from Department of State, US Embassy in Baghdad, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, DOD and others. I also want to share a conversation I’ve recently had with family via email to provide some more input about what people are saying these days (this gets long, so grab a bit to eat):
In response to the belief that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11 –
“I don’t know many people who even think that Iraqis were in the planes that bombed the WTC. I don’t even think that anyone believes Iraq directly paid for or supported that particular effort. However, allow me to explain the link between Iraq. Prior to 9/11 and today there is a group of terrorists in Iraq called Ansar al Islam. AAI is an Islamic extremist group based in the Kurdish region of Iraq. While Saddam didn’t agree with their religious views, he paid them handsomely to continue their attacks on the Kurds in the north. He also provided them with weapons, intelligence, and advice. After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, even though I don’t like him. Now, you may be asking what this has to do with Al Qaeda, the group that was truly behind the September 11th attacks. Ansar al Islam hosted numerous AQ terrorists at their training camps in Iraq. Additionally, Ansar al Islam terrorists were hosted at AQ training camps in Afghanistan. It was a symbiotic relationship. By supporting the terrorist group in his own country, he was indirectly supporting Al Qaeda in the process. Ansar trained the AQ operatives in their urban training camps and AQ trained Ansar in their mountain camps.
Saddam funded terrorism in other ways as well. As a matter of fact, Bob Woodward – a noted critic and hater of President Bush – himself noted in his book, State of Denial, that “Musab al Zarqawi, who had strong Al Qaeda ties, was involved in various terrorist activities inside Iraq. he had been given sanctuary there by the Saddam regime.” He says, as late as 2001, Saddam was continuously “calling for jihad against the Zionist enemy & Imperialist America.” Saddam also paid suicide bombers in Palestine $25,000 checks for becoming martyrs against Israel. And, yet, people still say that this fight against terrorism has nothing to do with Iraq.”
In response to the WMD issue –
“Bob Woodward informs us that “Iraqis were caught actively destroying materials and specific items that could have been related to WMD.” Again, keep in mind that this is a guy trying to bury Bush, not help him. In addition to that, I personally helped find weapons and labs loaded with sarin gas and biological weapons. The argument here is that “they were degraded and not useful.” That’s not the point. Saddam said that he got rid of these weapons. He promised us. And he lied. So the argument that we didn’t find WMD is moot as well. I was on the team that located the buried MIG fighter jets in the desert solely because an Iraqi came up to us and told us where they were. We wouldn’t have found them otherwise. If we can’t find buried jets in Iraq’s 227,000 square miles, how likely is it that even more WMD is buried somewhere in the sand waiting to be used? It still doesn’t discount the biological weapons we HAVE found, including 500 chemical IEDs rigged to blow up our troops before being discovered.”
In response to the Bush administration refusing more troops –
“Those in power HAVE been listening to the commanders on the ground. Every time the military has requested more soldiers on the ground, they have gotten them. In the beginning some commanders on the ground thought we needed more. Some thought we needed less. The less’s won out in the end, but they got every soldier they asked for, even though the situation on the ground changed at the last minute when Turkey refused to allow our troops to come in from the north. Republicans and conservatives have been saying this all along, but no one believed. Again, this is something that Bush’s enemy at the Washington Post, Bob Woodward, reported in his smear book as well. So, it must be true if the opposition is admitting it. General Franks (the combatant commander for OIF) said this in his book (which is a great read): “As I concluded my summary of the existing 1003 plan (the war plan for Iraq), I noted that we’d trimmed planned force levels from 500,000 troops to around 400,000. But even that was still way to large, I told the secretary.” The President told the commanders that we would have everything we need in this fight. We needed uparmored humvees, we got them. We needed better ballistic armor, the current fielding was accelerated. There were times where we needed more troops and we got them.
Last month, Gen. Abizaid, the current commander on CENTCOM, said, “The tension in this mission has always been between how much we do and how much we ask the Iraqis to do. The longer we stay, the more we must ask the Iraqis to do. Putting another 100,000 American troops in Iraq is something that I don’t think would be good for the mission overall, because it would certainly cause Americans to go to the front, [cause] Americans to take responsibility. And we’re at the point in the mission where it’s got to fall upon the Iraqis.” Just a couple of weeks ago, Gen. Casey responded to whether we need more troops on the ground: “Right now, my answer is no. If I think I need more, I’ll ask for more and bring more in.” It would be nice to have more troops on the ground but at what would that accomplish if we’re not requiring the Iraqis to step up? Should the administration FORCE soldiers into Iraq against the generals’ wishes? That is something it seems you and everyone else wants.”
Whew! That was a long post. I’m taking a few days off.