IRAQ

IEEE Spectrum: Re-engineering Iraq
It would be hard to find another endeavor, anywhere, anytime, in which so much was asked of engineers, personally and professionally. Never before has so vast a reconstruction program been attempted in the face of enemy fire or managed in the shadow of geopolitics, where infrastructure itself became a battleground.

This is a great and very informed article about getting electricity flowing again in Iraq. When it comes down to it, this is where the real work is getting done in Iraq. This is also the reason we cannot leave Iraq right now. If we leave completely, the way a lot of people want to, all of the work we've put in to rebuild Iraq will go down the toilet. This isn't even getting into the fact that if we leave them in the middle of a huge mess that we in large part have created, we're turning on another terrorist factory full of people who have a great many reasons to hate the U.S. Right now we've put the military in an almost impossible position of being warriors and waging peace. We need to have less guys in trucks driving around looking for people to shoot and more guys protecting the electrical system, the oil pipelines, etc. We need twice as many engineers over there with enough money and oversight to bring their system up to what other countries have enjoyed for 50 years. One of the most telling statistics in this article is that the biggest concern for most Iraqis is electricity, not terrorists. Giving people more electricity is probably the best way to put a damper on terrorist activity right now. It should have been our top concern immediately after taking over. Once enough people start relying on their air conditioners and refridgerators they'll be less lenient with others blowing up the power plants and shooting at the people keeping the juice flowing.

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