The news from Iraq continues to trend in a positive direction:
The number of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq this month is headed toward the lowest monthly level since March 2006, reflecting a turnaround in U.S. efforts to establish security and defeat insurgents.
With one day left in November, 26 U.S. troops and a civilian Pentagon employee have died in combat. Nine more servicemembers died in non-combat-related incidents.
The November toll could mark the sixth consecutive month of declines in American deaths. It follows a downward trend in overall violence in Iraq.
But at least those for whom good news is bad news can warm themselves swaddled in the knowledge that Iraqi civil society has not immediately picked itself up after 35 years of tyrannical oppression and 4+ of existential jihadist and sectarian violence.
Nor have they yet gotten around to picking up the trash, either as it turns out:
This war-battered city, according to U.S. statistics, now receives an average of 11.9 hours of electricity a day, far more than earlier this year. But don’t tell that to Ghaida al-Banna.
For three straight days this week, the 50-year-old housewife’s home in the once ritzy Mansour neighborhood received no power at all. Barely any water came out when she turned on the faucet. One thing Banna’s area does have in abundance is uncollected garbage, piled into giant, malodorous heaps dotting the street.
“What kind of government allows its people to live like this?” Banna asked. “They don’t know how to provide services. They don’t know how to do anything. Everything is getting worse and worse.”
Thousands of her displaced countrymen continue to stream back into Iraq from neighboring countries where they had sought refuge from the violence. Oil production – the country’s main economic product – approaches pre-war values, while investments in infrastructure will hopefully make production more sustainable in the long term than it was during Saddam’s ruinous over-production in the UN-sponsored “Oil for
Corruption Food” years. Even if production lags capacity, oil stocks now being traded are at a significant premium from the Saddam era, so the country ought to be awash in petro-revenues. While electricity is still not available 24 hours per day throughout the country, it would be, if Iraqis were consuming energy at the same rate they had prior to the war – a broader base of personal wealth enables new appliance purchases driving new consumption.
Complaining about the trash pickup, forsooth. Which they dropped in their own midst.
Sounds like they’re living in New York.
To recap: Overthrow of murderous tyranny in favor of self-rule. Bloody struggle against vicious barbarism to increase security. Set conditions for increasing prosperity. What’ll probably end up close to a trillion dollars in expenditures not to mention 4000 priceless lives. But what have we done for them lately?
Hard to please some people. Sheesh.