Thursday, July 26, 2007

Perspective: Powerless in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — Several weeks ago, workers from the Ministry of Electricity came to Abdul Kareem's door and asked him to fill out a form stating how many people live in his east Baghdad home. Next, the laborers installed a small box inside Kareem's home and then climbed an electricity pole outside and began fiddling with it.

Kareem didn't know it then, but he and his neighbors had become guinea pigs in an Iraqi government experiment to limit electricity use as demand soars, supply lags and officials accept that they cannot close the gap.

The plan, launched nearly three months ago, represents the latest break with one of the biggest promises made after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion: that services such as electricity and water would quickly surpass prewar levels.

If anything is seen as symbolic of the United States' failure to deliver on its promise that life would be better without Saddam Hussein, it is the lack of reliable electricity. And as Iraqis endure their fifth blazing summer without sufficient power, it is no surprise that resentment toward American forces remains fierce.

Read the rest at the LA Times