If You’re Not Pissed Off – Yet Again – You’re Not F***ing Paying Attention

OK, here’s a recent column in the Post:

According to recent news reports, the Bush administration will not ask Congress for additional foreign aid for Iraq in its coming budget request. This would be a major strategic mistake. Iraq’s infrastructure is still in mediocre shape, and most of its citizens are still seriously underemployed. Such an aid cutoff would be especially surprising coming from a president who has built his Iraq policy on an unflinching commitment to staying the course and completing the mission. Economics is a critical element of any success strategy for Iraq.

That tracks back to an earlier article in the Post:

The Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request going before Congress in February, officials say. The decision signals the winding down of an $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding effort in which roughly half of the money was eaten away by the insurgency, a buildup of Iraq’s criminal justice system and the investigation and trial of Saddam Hussein.

Just under 20 percent of the reconstruction package remains unallocated. When the last of the $18.4 billion is spent, U.S. officials in Baghdad have made clear, other foreign donors and the fledgling Iraqi government will have to take up what authorities say is tens of billions of dollars of work yet to be done merely to bring reliable electricity, water and other services to Iraq’s 26 million people.

And another article in the L.A. Times which I blogged here:

Over and over what I and others have said – and what I have appreciated President Bush as saying – is that “We’re In Until We Win.” Our opponents cannot simply bloody our troops and sit and wait until we get bored with our venture and leave.

This message – “Oh, we’ll leave our troops in, but sound fiscal policy prevents us for doing anything to reduce the numbers of people shooting at them.” – isn’t ‘bizarre’ as I characterized it before; it’s delusional.

Look, I’ve said over and over that my support for Bush and the Administration is predicated solely on my belief that they are determined and serious about winning the war. And – simply – WTF? – how in the world does this connect to winning the war?

OK, so here’s the challenge for my fellow hawks. Either explain to me why this is just fine – why it is that even if there is no immediate fiscal impact (which I doubt), the psychological impact – on the Iraqis who have bet their lives on us, and on those who think we are weak and will run away – doesn’t matter. If you can’t, than what are we as bloggers going to do to raise the stakes on this? I’ll be corresponding with a bunch of hawkish bloggers to see if we can speak with a common voice on this.

I’ll make this my project for the week, and be reporting back to everyone here.

38 thoughts on “If You’re Not Pissed Off – Yet Again – You’re Not F***ing Paying Attention”

  1. Awesome post on Alito and the Scotus :

    http://futurist.typepad.com/

    I agree with Armed Liberal that if we have gone in this far in Iraq, and a cost of lives, money, and political capital that is large, we should not skimp on $20 billion more or whatever for reconstruction.

    The better Iraq’s economy can do, the better we achieve our objectives of turning Iraq into a free, prosperous, happy place, and thus exert pressure on repressive regimes that surround it.

  2. The LA Times and the Washington Post! Are these reports information or disinformation? I have lost all faith in any information written in the MSM without having collaboration . When I see a presidential spokesman state this, then I’ll believe it. Are these the same writers who looked for 30,000 causalities in Iraq or a defeat in Afghanistan like the USSR suffered?

  3. I’m not sure what the furture plans are yet. According to the artiles the existing methods of allocation and execution have been uneffective. It seems like a good time to consider alternatives to me. I don’t want even the appearance of a withdrawal at this point, and this means some form of rebuilding assistance, though justs not business as usual. Good money after bad is never the answer.

  4. Was on a conference call with a pair of GOP Congressmen (Barrett of SC and Chocola of IN) recently, and they were very much of AL’s mind. They saw what was happening in Iraq as an investment in future of our kids that would determine the kind of world they lived in, and noted that if the USA failed, the ripples will go worldwide. So their attitude was one of do whatever is necessary to be successful.

    That was encouraging, but doesn’t explain the administration’s thinking IF this stuff is true.

    Whether or not the Administration asks, therefore, I believe Iraq reconstruction funds will be put in the budget. And given the recent steady flow of elected American politicians into Iraq on fact-finding trips, they’re going to hear very quickly from the troops if the reconstruction funds vanish.

    As they should. There’s nothing wrong with slowing down the pace of handouts, now that Iraq must begin to take more responsibility for itself. But stopping it altogether would be nuts.

    Finally, couple of useful facts.

    According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report issued two weeks ago – as of December 28, 2005, U.S. appropriations towards Iraq Reconstruction has totaled $28.864 billion. Of that amount, it is estimated $7.742 billion remains (26.6%).

    Meanwhile, of the $13.6 billion European and other nations pledged to help rebuild Iraq, only a couple billion has so far been delivered. We may soon be in a situation where Europe’s funding to Hamas exceeds its funding to help Iraq, an eloquent statement of position and priorities if ever there was one.

    Broken donation promises has also been a problem with Afghanistan – and that’s a problem worth digging into, because “allies” who won’t even contribute funds, let alone troops, aren’t allies at all.

  5. Perhaps the Administration expects the House/Senate GOP to be the ones to ensure that money gets into the budget. That way the admin can’t be blamed for the high deficit. Seems a cheap kinda trick to make, actually.

  6. I long ago gave way to despair on the civilian end of administering Iraq. Nothing surprises me anymore. If that bungling beaurocrat Bremer got called back to lead a coup against the elected government I’d just shrug.

    Its been crystal clear since about a month post-invasion that there are two utterly unrelated forces at work in Iraq- the military (who are keeping us in the game) and the civilians (who are doing their level best to make a killing, burnish their diplomatic resumes, and/or enjoy martinis poolside that Palestine Intl). Somehow Bush doesnt recognize this, or doesnt care.

    Is the cut off of funds pragmatic, a political ploy, or simply another symptom of the inexplicable reconstruction malaise that has plagued this administration? It doesnt matter. Iraq’s infastructure is a vital US interest that has received less attention and scrutiny than many a pothole project on I-80. We’re 3 years in and their is less oil and electricity being produced than their was pre-invasion… after a decade of sanctions and neglect. This from the nation that turned out a victory ship a day in WW2. If we could turn out a generator a month for Iraq we’d be a sight better off.

    Yes, i know there is _much_ good being done(particularly, if not exclusively, by the military). Yes, i’ve heard all the technical ‘explanations’ (excuses). The bottom line is this administration has _never_ made it a top priority (or anything close to that) of a nation supposedly at war to turn out all of our resources to fix Iraq. 7 hours of electricity a day in Baghdad 3 years after the most advanced, richest nation in the history of the planet moves in? No excuses, no BS, we’ve dropped the ball, and every day it costs Iraqi and American lives. We might as well have printed up Al Qaeda leaflets ourselves and air dropped them into Iraq.

    And I still support this war. But I may never forgive Bush for this end of it.

  7. “We may soon be in a situation where Europe’s funding to Hamas exceeds its funding to help Iraq, an eloquent statement of position and priorities if ever there was one.
    Broken donation promises has also been a problem with Afghanistan – and that’s a problem worth digging into, because “allies” who won’t even contribute funds, let alone troops, aren’t allies at all.”

    I see a blogburst on this topic. Let’s shine some light on the recalcitrant nations and embarrass them into coughing up.

  8. Christiane Amanpour has called Iraq a “black hole” and unwinnable and said on Larry King that the situation gets worse and worse every day. That the war against Iraq was a “disaster” and (presumably the assumption is that Saddam should have been left in place and/or returned to power).

    Be ironic that just on the verge of transforming society there, CNN forces a US withdrawal.

    Perhaps Bush is allocating no money for Iraq because he knows Dems will never allow it to pass the budget?

    With Howard Dean apparently according to American Enterprise looking at Opposition Research on Harry Reid to get rid of him because he doesn’t like the way Reid treats him, it wouldn’t surprise me.

    Kos really DOES control the Democrats, hence the stupid and futile filibuster attempt at Alito (which serves to make Bush nominate someone WORSE by orders of magnitude for Dems purposes next time out).

  9. Amanpour’s little rant was the most self-absorbed tantrum i’ve ever heard. Her basic thesis was that if journalists arent safe to roam the roads of Iraq, the entire nation _must_ be spiralling out of control. Sure, thousands US soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or hurt, but _my god_ we are talking about _journalists_ here! A couple thousand soldiers dying is a statistic, one famous anchor getting wounded is a deal breaker apparently.

  10. I congratulate Woc for receiving transmissions from Outer Space. Namely,

    Be ironic that just on the verge of transforming society there, CNN forces a US withdrawal.

    Even Armed Liberal and Mark Buehner are having trouble swallowing the idea that we are on the verge of transforming Iraqi society—unless you mean transforming it into a place that somehow survives with no electricity. It’s about as ironic as the Postal Inspectors butting in just as your Nigerian friend was about to wire you the fifty million dollars.

    Perhaps Bush is allocating no money for Iraq because he knows Dems will never allow it to pass the budget?

    Could you explain, very slowly, how the same minority party that isn’t able to filibuster Alito is going to stop Bush’s budget? (I don’t think that the budget is even eligible to be filibustered!) By accident, you are on the right track. Bush has always lowballed Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction requests as a way to minimize the deficit in his proposed budget. The CBO and other agencies are required by law to work from Bush’s bogus arithmetic up until the very moment that he submits a supplemental appropriation request. In the meantime, the fake deficit figure can be used to justify Bush’s braindead economic policy, including more tax cuts for the super-rich. (This is no guarantee, of course, that Bush will not abandon Iraqi reconstruction, but I suspect the way to determine that is by looking at whether Cheneyburton stands to make more humongous profits thus, and not at the budget request.)

  11. Ah. If billions of dollars are budgeted to Iraq, its to feed the Evil Halliburton(tm) machine. If billions of dollars are _not_ budgeted to Iraq, its to feed the Evil Halliburton(tm) machine. Whatever happens comfirms the dellusion, hence the term Conspiracy Theory.

  12. I don’t see why simply throwing more money into Iraq will help to achieve your stated goal of “winning the war”.

    First of all, this is a very vague ambition whose connection to money is not entirely clear.

    Second, there has been very little accountability for the money being poured into Iraq up to this point (partly Andrew Lazarus’ point, I believe), so it is also uncertain that the money is being “well-spent” (which depends on your definition of “winning the war”).

    Third, the recurring budget games (Andrew has it nailed in his post, I think), coupled to the “back-channel” methods for funneling money around, call into question the basic premise to begin with (that funding will be cut).

    Iraq “reconstruction” is an “exploding” industry (pardon the pun) with a very powerful constituency in Congress, so I highly doubt that funds will dry up any time soon, unless replaced by a similar outlet (this could explain the shift away from Afghanistan, where funding has slowed to a crawl and the Taliban are back….did we “win” there?).

    Once again, I think this is a case of AL “shooting” before he thinks…

  13. The example of Sadr City, is that when there is a genuine desire to stop the violence in a given area, by the clergy and leadership in the Area, the violence, for the most part, stops.

    The example of Najaf is that when the violence stops, private investment money flows in.(An airport is being built in Najaf with private funds).

    Bush going to congress for more money right now, is like a parent telling a giving a child $10 and saying then saying, “Please clean up your room”(For some kids, that is effective).

    Another approach is, “Once you’ve cleaned up your room, we can talk about how much allowance you will get.”

  14. Andy, your comment is self-evidently absurd, and undermines any claim you’re making that you want to have a serious discussion about the war as opposed to simply toss snark over the fence.

    The connection between the belief of average Iraqis that they will have better lives because of US efforts and the future outcome of the war ought to be obvious. I’ll explain it in detail if you insist, but do you really want to?

    A.L.

  15. Soldier’s Dad –

    Actually, the problem is that unless the money is in the budget, Mom and Dad can’t go to the teen and say “once you clean your room, you’ll get $10.00″.

    To have the budgeted funds and discretion to use them is one thing; to not have them – and have to do a special appropriation, or wait a budget cycle – is quite another.

    It’s not having the abaility to write checks next week that matters; it’s the question of making sure that the moms and dada in Iraq are confident in our commitment. Otherwise they will turn their loyalties elsewhere, as a simple matter of survival.

    A.L.

  16. Just a rather important correction there AL, in the interest of fairness to those poor Iraqis.

    the psychological impact – on the Iraqis who have bet their lives on us

    No Iraqis “bet their lives” on us dude. That’s a wager we made without their advise or consent. And when trying to understand what’s happening on the ground in Iraq, failure to recognize that is a fatal error.

    For instance, when folks complain that “those peaceful Iraqis aren’t assisting us in tracking down the insurgents as much as they should”.

  17. And one more thing

    The example of Najaf is that when the violence stops, private investment money flows in.(An airport is being built in Najaf with private funds).

    That one was a shocker to me. What investor in his right mind would pump the kind of money required to build a commercial airport in Najaf right now??

    The answer of course is no one would.

    BAGHDAD, Aug. 2 — Iraq plans to build a multimillion-dollar international airport near the southern city of Najaf, a holy center for Shiite Muslims, that would be financed largely by a low-interest loan from Iran, according to Iraq’s transportation minister.

    The funding for the airport, along with a second initiative that Maliki said would secure the return of Iraqi aircraft stored in Iran since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, underscores the broad and still-emerging ties between Iraq’s Shiite-led government and the Shiite clerics who rule Iran.

    That relationship — and the perception of heavy Iranian influence on Iraqi affairs — has drawn expressions of concern from secular Iraqis, U.S. officials and leaders of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority. The initiatives also come at a time when the committee drafting Iraq’s new constitution is debating political and economic autonomy for regional enclaves such as the Shiite-dominated south, a concept generally opposed by Sunni leaders.

  18. AL;

    “The connection between the belief of average Iraqis that they will have better lives because of US efforts and the future outcome of the war ought to be obvious.”

    You seem to be defining “war success” as “what the average Iraqi believes”. Is this really your definition?

    And regarding this issue, aren’t you already worried that the perception of many “average” Iraqis could already be indelibly tainted by our unimpressive (botched?) “efforts so far?”:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/27/international/middleeast/27reconstruct.html?_r=2&oref=slogin

    If you would like to simply address these concerns at the most abstract level, as you’re post and reply suggest, then you are correct in suggesting that I am not interested in this kind of “serious” discussion.

    But if you’d like to try to explain yourself better to give readers an indication that you have actually put some thought into your view, now would be a good time for that. Unless you’d rather hide behind the charade that you’re being questioned by a snarky Inquisitor.

    The issue of US funding of the Iraq War deserves serious consideration, and I would hope you do not choose to demur from this discussion because you are somehow offended by the tone of a blog post.

  19. Davebo (#18). There are hundreds of thousands of Iraqi who have signed up for various levels of the Iraqi security forces. They take casualties on the battlefield, they have families, and both they and their families are threatened by paramilitary death squads. There are the Kurds, who have been betting their lives on us for the past 15 years. There is no shortage of Iraqis betting their lives on the USA – and on each other.

    Those of us who actually cheer for their success and safety believe that such considerations are important. We believe that those who have indeed chosen to stand up on the firing line against the Islamofascist paramilitary death squads are deserving of the USA’s respect, support, and unmistakable commitment.

    That’s part of the reason AL is annoyed at the Bush Administration here.

    Those who supported the continuation of the tyrant’s reign of terror they had lived under, on the other hand, and who now believe these Iraqis need to be shown the error of their ways for siding with the USA/ Bushitlerdespotheocrat, may have a different point of view.

  20. We will probably be at pre-war electricity levels in February. Earlier this month 250 MW was added at a power station near Basrah and 280 MW will become available when the Al-Doura power plant in Baghdad becomes operational in February. The additional 530 MW will bring generation capacity to 4,525 MW, which is just over the pre-war level of 4,500 MW. Unfortunately, the demand is 7,000 MW because the economy is more vibrant than it was under sanctions. Electricity redevelopment has lagged other projects; it appears that we’ve only spent 42% of the allocated money and some projects have not even started yet. The electricity development projects will be complete in January of 2008.

    So what should our goal be?

    4,500 MW = Pre-War Level
    6,000 MW = U.S. stated goal
    7,000 MW = Current Demand
    9,295 MW = Iraq Capacity in 1991 (which is what I assume demand will drift toward)

    Data from “January 2006 Report”:http://www.sigir.mil/reports/quarterlyreports/Jan06/pdf/Report_Complete_-_January_2006.pdf of Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction

  21. A.L.,

    The Bush Administration is speaking from both sides of its mouth again. This is from today’s Washington Times:

    Washington Times
    January 31, 2006
    Pg. 3

    White House Eyes Billions For Iraq Maintenance

    By Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times

    The Bush administration is considering asking Congress later this year for *at least $2 billion in new reconstruction money,* primarily for maintaining completed Iraqi facilities.

    Administration officials say the additional funding is needed to prevent completed projects in Iraq from falling into disrepair while the new government tries to establish a steady flow of revenue from oil and other sources to sustain the nation’s infrastructure.

    The money would come in an Iraqi emergency, or supplemental, appropriations bill that also would finance military operations, which cost about $6 billion a month. Congress attached an extra $50 billion to this year’s Pentagon spending bill for that purpose, but officials say additional money likely will be needed. An administration official declined to comment.

    Congress already has approved $24 billion for Iraq reconstruction, and some speculated that the White House would not ask for more. *But in recent weeks, it has become evident that Iraq does not have the financial ability to sustain all its new properties, said officials familiar with the internal discussions.*

    *The administration plans no more major requests for rebuilding because of deficit pressures and the realization that Congress likely would balk, two administration officials said.*

  22. “So what should our goal be?”

    Takes us back to the original question, how bad do we want to win? We havent exactly treated this issue like the Manhatten Project, thats for sure.

  23. Re electricity in Baghdad:

    Here are some stats to ponder:

    Iraq Hours of Power: 4-8 (pre-war)
    Iraq Hours of Power: 10.2 (1/2/06)

    Baghdad Hours of Power: 16-24 (pre-war)
    Baghdad Hours of Power: 3.7 (1/2/06)

    Baghdad is an outlier (albeit a large one) because Saddam diverted power from elsewhere in the country to the Capitol and the Iraqi interim government wanted the initial focus of reconstruction to be on those longest deprived. I also imagine that Baghdad is a major focus of insurgency attacks, as well as the location of many of the factories that are fueling high demand.

    Source same as above comment.

  24. And dont think it makes any sense to get too caught up in the game of ‘Are we doing better than Saddam was” when it comes to infastructure. The fact that there is a debate over whether we are doing slightly better or slightly worse than Hussein after a decade of sanctions, bombings, and major wars speaks for itself. We havent done nearly enough.
    And before we hear the likely response that we have in fact done everything humanly possible and stretched every American sinew to turn the lights back no over the Sunni in Baghdad, that the challenges are just insurmountable, please spare me. That wore thin with me 3 months post invasion when i realised Bush wasnt on the phone with GE asking the CEO to go to triple shifts to turn out generators and high voltage power lines (would have been a nice economic boost, missed opportunity). We’ve paid and are paying the price for putting reconstuction on cruise control. Who knows, maybe this funding thing will shake things up. Could be the military will be put in charge of the whole thing out of their own budgeting which seems to be the only way to get things done in a timely and effective manner.

  25. Those who supported the continuation of the tyrant’s reign of terror they had lived under, on the other hand, and who now believe these Iraqis need to be shown the error of their ways for siding with the USA/ Bushitlerdespotheocrat, may have a different point of view.

    Geez Joe, I’d have gained a lot of respect for you had you just called me an America Hating Traitor and been done with it.

    Apparantly that was beyond your level though. I won’t bother pointing out the hundreds of millions of people living under the reign or terror provided by tyrants because we both know that’s just your boilerplate insult de jour.

    I will however point out that while you offer childish insults, you offered nothing substantive which is what you normally acuse me of doing.

    But hey, cheer on dude. Nice skirt.

    However, at this point if I want anymore lip from Joe Katzman I’ll just get it from my zipper thank you.

    Putz.

    With us or against us.. Dead or Alive.. Black or White.. Bite me

    If you’ll take a look at your DD-214, you’ll see that you don’t have one…

  26. Mark: Most of the redevelopment problems stem back to security, so you can’t just sit there and say the military is all goodness and clean and the civilians are all dumb#sses. The redevelopment funds were raided to pay for security details. Some projects were deferred for want of contractors willing to work under fire. You can point fingers all you want as to whose fault it is that the transformer station was blown up (the military for not finding and killing the guy first or the contractor for not building an invincible wall around it — both hardly likely) or you can start building it again.

    And nothing I said was intended to pat ourselves on the back for “doing better than Saddam.” I think its an entirely reasonable question about “how much is enough,” even if its a difficult one. And part of the analysis has to deal with people’s expectations and the simple fact that those expectations and experiences are going to differ from region to region.

  27. Davebo, you’re way out of line in your response. Joe raises a legitimate point – that the war will be won or lost (in reality) in the arena of Iraqi opinion – if the Iraqi population ever really takes sides against us, we will have lost.

    And – when he suggests that Iraqis are watching carefully to see whether they risk “being shown the error of their ways” – it’s a legitimate concern (yeah, he tossed some rhetoric, but it doesn’t justify the tone of your response).

    So let’s take a breath and look at the issue.

    A.L.

  28. AL

    You are right.

    And Joe, I’d like to apologize for my obviously heated comments. I totally misread your reply mainly regarding the final paragraph and who you were referring to.

    There’s no good excuse for my reaction so I’ll not attempt to offer one other than to say it was based on past conversations on far less constructive forums.

    Again, I apologize, and thanks AL for pointing out my error.

  29. AL:

    I see about $8 billion in unmet reconstruction needs (and I’m rounding here):

    * $4 billion for water. The World Bank estimated that Iraq needed $6 billion for water, we appropriated $4 billion, then cut it to $2 billion to help fund security. We clearly intended for Iraq or foreign governments to pick up some of this, but if that commitment is not being made ASAP, we’ve got to give Iraqis drinking water. This is the most outrageous shortfall.

    * $2 billion for electricity. The U.S. transferred about this amount to security at one point in time and it only makes sense to restore it.

    * $2 billion for maintenance, requested by the Inspect. Gen. to maintain the status quo.

    * $0 billion for oil. Iraq’s profits in this sector exceed goals and any future improvement can be paid for by Iraq.

    * $0 billion for transportation and public buildings. We’ve completed a lot of this (schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and fire stations), and this is the kind of local improvements that would hopefully improve relations between us and Iraqis. But 40% of Iraqis don’t know America is doing any reconstruction and our government doesn’t promote these things because they’re afraid that insurgents will bomb the place.

  30. “Mark: Most of the redevelopment problems stem back to security, so you can’t just sit there and say the military is all goodness and clean and the civilians are all dumb#sses.”

    Sure I can, I just did. Bremer was a civilian, and he was in charge of the country. He also repeated the mantra he didnt need more troops (even if he seems to remember things differently now). He needed more troops. If he was on CNN asking for them, Bush would have looked mighty ackward saying he cant have em.

    “The redevelopment funds were raided to pay for security details. Some projects were deferred for want of contractors willing to work under fire.”

    Then those funds should have been replenished and the contractors replaced with troops. Seems fairly straighforward.

    “You can point fingers all you want as to whose fault it is that the transformer station was blown up (the military for not finding and killing the guy first or the contractor for not building an invincible wall around it — both hardly likely) or you can start building it again.”

    Or you can have X amount of transformers floating on a barge in the Persian Gulf against just such an occurance… X being the number sufficiant to replace any contingency of blown up transformers. Which is what you do when keeping electricity flowing is your vital interest.

    Like I said, i’ve been having this argument for 3 years and its hasnt got any less stale. If i listed for you every technical reason it is ‘impossible’ to put a man on the moon we’d still be wondering if it was made of cheese. The truth is we never had anyone in charge or rebuilding Iraq with both the personality and the mandate to do what needed to be done. So now we are stuck with all the typical organization excuses for why it is in fact nobody’s fault. We needed Jack Welsh over there and we got Doctor Phil.

  31. Who in Iraq thinks that the guys blowing up infrastructure are people who will restore electricity, water, trash pickups, etc? Really, walk me through this because I don’t get it. And does anybody believe that a successful infrastructure war won’t be followed by an infrastructure war waged by the losing side?

    I just don’t think that Iraqis are this childish.

    Now moving on to the article, it has enough weasel words in it to make me think it’s Lord Haw Haw remixed. No actual proposals have been given, but supposedly this MSM investigation knows what the internal Bush headcount is on an administration debate. The guys saying invest more in Iraq are going to fight hard but they’re losing. Give me a break. This is a psychological manipulation piece and shame on the LAT for publishing it.

  32. “This”:http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/print/2831 is a magnificent article on the history and status of trying to restore electricity to Iraq. Yes, security is a major obsticle, but ineptitude, graft, lack of accountability, and outright stupidity play at least as big a part.

    How many people know that crude oil is being trucked in from Turkey at eventually 80$ a gallon (recall we are talking about importing crude oil _into Iraq_) to fuel power plants that only run efficiently on natural gas (not to mention several turbines sitting idle that can only run on gas)… oh and it so happens there is a natural gas source _across the street._ Sadly no-one has figured out the level of technology required to build a “pipe” to get it to the turbines, or more accurately do to beaurocratic BS and the failure of anyone anywhere to take control the project hasnt happened.

    And think this quote from one of the engineers says it best, “Let me put it in simple terms: nobody’s dumb enough to do what we’re doing.”

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