We Might Have Won In Iraq If We Could Have Gotten Them Some Electricity

by James Glaser
July 25, 2006

Here in the United States there are headlines about rolling blackouts and power emergencies. Only in a few spots around the country are temperatures getting above a hundred.

But at 3:55 am Tuesday morning in Baghdad it was 91 degrees, and that was going to be the low for the day. All this week the high is going to be between 116 and 118. Power in Baghdad is said to come in fits and starts, two hours on and four off, and some days no power at all. Of course there is all the power anyone would want in the Green Zone, where American troops, America's Iraqi government, and our civilian contractors stay.

Can you imagine what the Iraqi people would have thought if America could have fixed their power grid? What they would have thought if we could have given them clean drinking water? We go nuts in this country if there is a power failure that lasts more than a few hours, but Iraq has been without dependable power for years.

We bombed their power plants in the first Gulf War, and then embargoed any parts that could be used to fix them. We bombed the power plants again in George Bush's War, and the insurgency has made sure that we can't get things up and running.

Who suffers? The people of Iraq. Without dependable electrical power, not only are you without AC or even fans, you have no refrigeration for your food, nor do you have flush toilets. Think about how long an American city of five million would last without power.

If America could have brought Iraq's infrastructure up to our standards, maybe the Iraqi people would have thought we had something they wanted. But having things the way they are now, they have to ask themselves if they weren't better off before the United States attacked them.

We take electrical power for granted. Here it is a necessity, but for some reason we don't feel that the Iraqi people have the same needs as we do, and that way of thinking is defeating us.

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