Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Countries That Sweat Together...

It's been stiflingly hot here on the East Coast this week. Just walking down the street feels like more like swimming in a jacked-up hot tub. And it has made me think about the kind of heat the folks in Iraq are dealing with, the problems they've had with rolling blackouts in the summers since we invaded, and the misery it's caused for lack of air conditioning and fans.

While the rah-rah pro-war stories (Iraq is actually "the victim of success"?) increasingly paint life over there as one big liberated party of progress on repairs to the infrastructure, our own Department of Energy has this to say recently about the electricity situation there (you'll have to scroll more than halfway down to get past the voluminous fretting over the oil situation):

"As of late May 2005, reports indicated that Iraq had around 4,000-5,000 megawatts (MW) of available, operable power generating capacity, well below projected peak 2005 summer demand of 8,000 MW. As a result, Iraqis are likely to face shortages this summer, even if capacity increases by the 1,700 MW Electricity Minister Ayham al-Samarra'i has indicated is possible if adequate fuels can be made available. The shortage of electric generating capacity in Iraq has been caused by numerous problems, including sabotage, looting, lack of security for workers, disruptions in fuel supplies for the plants, difficulty in procuring replacement parts at the aging stations, lack of training for workers, and obsolete technology. In early March 2005, Samarra'i said that unless $5 billion were allocated to Iraq's electricity sector, the situation could become disastrous."
Now remind me again how much money we have poured into restoring infrastructure there?

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