Feb 16, 2004
Ten months after the U.S. military captured Baghdad, the residents of that city – or, for that matter, any major city in Iraq – still suffer blackouts for long periods of time. Officially, electricity to neighborhoods is rationed according to a schedule of three hours on and three hours off. As Randy Richardson, the senior American electricity official, recently admitted, however, the blackouts last much longer, especially in Baghdad.
U.S. officials say that they expect this situation to continue for another year or two.
The officials blame the lack of power on looting and sabotage, "technical problems," even "bad weather." Iraqis certainly don't buy these lame excuses, though – not even those Iraqis who may have had illusions about the U.S. invasion, like the grocery store owner who recently said to a journalist: "Who would have ever believed that the great and mighty America couldn't bring us something as basic as electricity?"
The U.S. government had no problem transporting and settling tens of thousands of troops and tens of thousands of tons of heavy equipment halfway around the world practically overnight. Of course it is capable of restoring regular, 24-hour electricity service to the people of Iraq – if it so chooses. But the well-being of the population has never been a concern for the U.S. government – not in Iraq, nor in the U.S. or anywhere else.