Murphy's Law: December 25, 2003


: There's another war going on in Iraq, one that you don't hear much about. This is the struggle to rebuild the place after two decades of wars and corruption by Saddam Hussein and his henchmen. Progress has been made, a lot more than is generally reported. 

Electrical power generation in Iraq surpassed the pre-war level of 4,400 megawatts on October 6 (reaching 4,518 MW). There's a tremendous amount of work going on to repair and replace electrical power equipment. Saddam basically starved the system of money for repair and maintenance for the last decade. To keep Baghdad lit up, he would divert power from other areas of the country (small generators were provided for his loyalists in those areas.) 

The main airport at Baghdad, the nation's principal international airport, has been repaired and equipped with passenger screening security equipment. Currently, there are about 50 arrivals and departures a day, a number that will grow enormously in the next few months. Many bridges have been repaired, or temporarily replaced with military bridges. The railroads are running again. The main port at Um Qasr has been dredged and docks repaired. Large, ocean going ships are now arriving. New telephone equipment has been installed and brought online. Health care has a lot of catching up to do. Although the UN allowed Saddam to buy things like vaccines for children, he refused to do so (except for the children of his key military, police and government workers.) Some 30 million doses of vaccines have been imported and administered, to children and others in need, since the coalition arrived. Hundreds of hospitals and clinics have been repaired and staff hired and trained. Nearly 2,000 schools were repaired or rebuilt and furnished with books and equipment. The water system has been repaired and is now providing more people with clean water than before the war. New currency has been introduced and the banking system restored. There's more food in the country, and more people are getting it, than when Saddam was in power. 

Local government has been reformed, with the old Baath Party officials dismissed (most of them fled areas where Sunni Arabs were not the majority) and new ones selected. Local elections nation-wide are in the works, with voter registration capabilities being installed. Some towns have already held elections for local officials. Most of the countries have been reopened, and new construction is underway in many of them. And much, much more. While many foreign aid organizations (including the UN) have fled the country, the U.S. Army has several Civil Affairs brigades in action, providing technical advisors and managers for reconstruction projects. For more details, go to;


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