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Power to the Iraqi People (Literally)

August 24th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ll write a lengthy reflection on the Iraq war when it’s “officially” over at the end of the month, but there’s one aspect of the current situation there that Rachel Maddow did a superb job of highlighting and that I want to emphasize as well.

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Now that the troops are leaving and Iraq does not appear to be collapsing into complete chaos, the neoconservatives are going to start doubling-down on their efforts to paint the Iraq war as a victory. After all, we got rid of Saddam and left a [somewhat] functioning government in place. What more can the Iraqi people ask for?

Well, how about electricity? Life in Iraq may not have been wonderful under Saddam, but at least they had power—more than they do now anyway.

How many billions have we spent demolishing their nation’s infrastructure? Is it really so much to ask that we spend whatever it takes to get these people some electricity? Isn’t that the least we can do after plunging their country into violent inner turmoil and killing their friends and family members? Is sparing them the long summer nights boiling from the heat within their pitch-dark houses really so much to ask?

The neoconservatives are gearing up to start saying, “You’re welcome, Iraq”. And if life were really better now than it was under Saddam, they might be willing to overlook all those people we killed and find some small measure of gratitude in their hearts. But unless we can get the electrical infrastructure at least back to where it was pre-invasion, we shouldn’t expect them to thank us.

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