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Rumsfeld, Rice visit Baghdad

Donald Rumsfeld and Condeleeza Rice visited us yesterday. I stayed in my hole, as I usually do. I have no real desire to meet the high and mighty in my government, as I might say something that would get me into trouble. I don’t get star struck like some people, and I’m not impressed by rank.

Reviews of the surpise visit by our Secretary of State and Defense Secretary were mixed but that is to be expected.

I try to read between the lines whenever these types of events happen, to figure out if anything truly noteworthy might result from such visits. I think the most hopeful development I heard out of yesterday’s visit was this:

He (Donald Rumsfeld) said as a practical matter, one of the first things he wants to do is address a long-standing irritant for ordinary Iraqis: the poor quality or lack of electricity.

Now that would truly be progress. For three years, Iraqis in Baghdad, the capital city, have suffered with spotty, erratic electricity. I don’t think a nation can be truly civilized without electricity. Air conditioners, televisions and computers are things that would greatly benefit this city. Not too mention the ability to refrigerate food, light your home and so forth.

In large American cities, when the power goes chaos isn’t usually far behind. I hope that the electricity situation in Baghdad and throughout Iraq really is going to be a higher priority. Keeping the power on would truly show Iraqis that their fledgling government is looking out for them, and that infrastructure is a priority and basic improvements to quality of life are coming.

I’m slightly dubious but hopeful.



I am curious as to the SWEAT teams: Sewage Water Electricity And Trash. At one point , I think General Petraeus was involved but now he has a different role in training security forces in Iraq. Or do I have that chronology backwards?


I don’t know about CHAOS when the power goes down in American cities. I remember during Great Amish Weekend (August 2004) and not only was there a general party atmosphere (at least where I was) but I began to wonder if turning off the streetlights once a year so we could see the stars wasn’t such a bad idea.

Still, it’s hard to make any progress without electricity, and with power many smaller tasks become possible. Power generation is a more complex matter than you might think, but I agree that it should be a primary concern.


I may be preaching the party line here, but it is my understanding that in Sadaams Iraq Baghdad received power at the expense of other regions which received little or none.

Areas other than Baghdad are now getting a better share of the power.

The power infrustucture is being repaired slowly. One of the main problems is the systems were old and repairing is still quicker than full replacement but spares are hard to obtain.

That and sabotage is a problem.

Power output is up but so is demand.

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