Monday, February 04, 2008

Baghdad drowing in sewage

Just as a reminder, everything is still completely messed up in Iraq:

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Baghdad is drowning in sewage, thirsty for water and largely powerless, an Iraqi official said on Sunday in a grim assessment of services in the capital five years after the US-led invasion.

One of three sewage treatment plants is out of commission, one is working at stuttering capacity while a pipe blockage in the third means sewage is forming a foul lake so large it can be seen "as a big black spot on Google Earth," said Tahseen Sheikhly, civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security plan.

Sheikhly told a news conference in the capital that water pipes, where they exist, are so old that it is not possible to pump water at a sufficient rate to meet demands -- leaving many neighbourhoods parched.

I've heard from people over there the the troops are running low on water, too. After nearly five years and hundreds of billions of dollars poured into this occupation, we can't get water or electricity running? Any good news?

Education and health across Iraq had both seen improvements, according to US military commander Brigadier General Jeffrey Dorko of the US Gulf Regional Division which is engaged in reconstruction projects.

Dorko told the news conference that 76 new health clinics -- 21 of them in Baghdad -- had been built while 1,885 new schools had been constructed countrywide and another 1,604 repaired.

They realize that "schools are opening" has become a punch-line, right?

He said that the demand for electricity was likely to outstrip supply for several years because many Iraqi power stations had been damaged or destroyed and commissioning new ones would take anything up to four years.

Demand was increasing, Dorko added, because Iraqis were increasingly buying electrical appliances as the security situation improved.

Everything is terrible because everything is wonderful. Is that the "catastrophic success" Bush was talking about in 2004?

Asked if it may take 10 years before Baghdad receives full power 24 hours a day, he replied: "There are so many variables... but I think it will be less than 10 years."

Less than 10 years! That's encouraging. How many trillions of dollars will it cost us just to restore things to the crappy level they were at under Saddam?

I'll make a wager that if you took the reconstruction efforts away from KBR and gave them to military civil engineers, it would take less than two years. Pay LNs $5 an hour to do these jobs and oh my goodness -- that will boost their economy like nothing they've ever seen.

The profit margins KBR and their ilk are skimming are ridiculous. They pay these TCNs and LNs an absolute pittance and sock it to the American tax payers as though they're paying their workers in gold bullion. They need to be cut out of the process -- they're clearly not getting the job done.

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