I read Bob Woodwardâ€™s book, The War Within while on vacation a couple of weeks ago. In it Condoleeza Rice was constantly talking about providing electricity to the Iraqis as a key benchmark of success. Well according to the New York Times, the occupiers of Iraq have not done a very good job of doing just that.
From the beginning of the war more than seven years ago, the state of electricity has been one of the most closely watched benchmarks of Iraqâ€™s progress, and of the American effort to transform a dictatorship into a democracy.
And yet, as the American combat mission â€” Operation Iraqi Freedom, in the Pentagonâ€™s argot â€” officially ends this month, Iraqâ€™s government still struggles to provide one of the most basic services.
Ms. Aliâ€™s campaign against electricity theft â€” a belated bandage on a broken body â€” makes starkly clear the mixed legacy that America leaves behind as Iraq begins to truly govern itself, for better and worse.
Iraq now has elections, a functioning, if imperfect, army and an oil industry on the cusp of a potential boom. Yet Baghdad, the capital, had five hours of electricity a day in July.