I have complained for five years now that the U.S. government assumed responsibilities in Iraq – constitution writing, school textbooks, inter-tribal relations, dam conservation – that rightfully belong to Iraqis. The purest symbol of this usurpation, however, is the provisioning of utilities. In particular, Americans have for five long years assumed responsibility for, and Iraqis have griped about, the inconsistent supply of electricity. Here is a new report on the problem, by Glenn Zorpette of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers:
During a cold snap this January in Iraq, I spent a morning interviewing people on the streets of Falluja. Over and over again, I heard variations on two basic themes: appreciation that the coalition had driven the insurgents out of town, and anger over the inability of their government, with American assistance, to provide them with more than an hour or two of electricity each day. The number of hours may vary, but much the same complaint can be heard just about anywhere in Iraq. Electricity remains a dispiritingly scarce commodity, even though more than $6 billion, mostly in American money, has been devoted to improving supply.
Comment: This is the worst combination, with American taxpayers paying through the nose for the welfare of Iraqis – and to no avail, as the money is squandered. One wonders when Washington will end this unhappy dependence. (March 11, 2008)