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Tilting at Windmills

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February 6, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BAD NEWS FROM IRAQ....Tim Lambert passes along a dispiriting story from Iraq. Apparently we're repairing Iraq's electric generating plants, but doing it so badly that it's not doing any good. Says an engineer about a repair project at the Qudas power plant near Baghdad, "We installed a third of a billion dollars' worth of combustion turbines that can't be fueled." The fault for the debacle appears to be widely spread.

Kevin Drum 3:11 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (95)

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I'm guessing they can only be fueled with something that the US can sell them? That's a (conservative) sensible way to keep them loyal.

Posted by: Stephen on February 6, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

.
what a shock....

.

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on February 6, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, and you'd think that putting a bunch of unqualified kids who'd done internships at Heritage Institute in charge of your rebuilding would be a good way to keep screw-ups like this from happening.

Go figure.

Posted by: theorajones on February 6, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Come on Kevin.

Give us some good news!

This is depressing so early in the week.

Posted by: lib on February 6, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Conjecture: Once we are gone they'll figure out the problems and get them running like tops.

A not inconsiderable part of the problem is continuing sabotage, probably done by (or at least given crucial direction from) the Iraqis who are in charge of the electricity infrastructure and who are working with the insurgents.

Posted by: jimBOB on February 6, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

CLICK THE LINK. ALwAYS CLICK THE LINK. Kevin deliberately did not print the good news in the article.

"Because electricity is essentially free, Iraqis have responded much as you might expect: by buying and using air conditioners, television sets, and refrigerators in record numbers. "We don't even know what demand really is, because it is unconstrained by price," says Crane, the Rand economist. Until the ministry begins charging more realistic rates for electricity, he warns, "you could put a hundred billion dollars into the electrical system and not satisfy demand.""

"With its huge oil reserves and socialistic society under Saddam, Iraq always had some of the lowest electricity rates in the region. But those low rates didn't keep pace with soaring inflation in Iraq in the 1980s and, especially, the 1990s. Under Saddam, when middle-class Iraqis made just a few dollars a month, few of them could afford refrigerators and air conditioners. Now average family income is $150 a month and a lot of people can afford appliances, as the runaway electrical demand attests."

Posted by: Al on February 6, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

It was always a bad idea for the U.S. to engage in "regime change" in Iraq, and this news is just one more outcome why.

Posted by: David W. on February 6, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I never understood why Democrats avoided the competence issue until someone repeated the old Dukakis quote: (paraphrased) it's not about ideology, it's about competence. Just because one charisma-challenged politician blew something, we don't ever want to go there again.

But shouldn't basic competence be the first thing we judge? Shouldn't basic knowledge and competence be the first question to ask nominees or elected officials to be?

And I think that's where Mooney's point about the Republican War on Science really comes into play. If you just take basic science off the table. If you ignore the basic method from the Enlightenment of how we should evaluate ideas or proposals, then you have this.

Because on Iraq, are there any of our traditional Bush defenders out there who defend the administration's conduct of the war?

And if you put aside our differences on whether the war was a good idea or not, isn't that a stinging indictment?

Posted by: Samuel Knight on February 6, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yay!!! We likey the bad news.

Keep it coming! And if there's any hint of good news, um... keep it to yourself.

Posted by: dr sport on February 6, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Al, a question. Are you saying that the socialization of electricity and the fact that US taxpayers are subsiding near-zero cost electricity to Iraqis is a GOOD THING?

This must be the new pro-socialism Al, right?

Posted by: northzax on February 6, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Obvious questions:

1) Was a no-bid contract involved?

2) Was Hallibuon involved?

3) Was Brownie involved?

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get Al's point. If anything, the air conditioner thing is more damning.

Under Saddam, people couldn't buy air conditioners because of sanctions, but the electricity infrastructure was better than it is now and there was more electricity available.

When sanctions were lifted as a result of the invasion, people bought air conditioners. But they can't use them. Because the Americans have been unable to rebuild infrastructure becasue they can't control the insurgency, and because they've been screwing up the rebuilding more generally.

So, if it's something that the Iraqi people can do on their own--buying air conditioners with the money they already have--it can be done pretty easily. But if it's something that can only be done in the context of effective government action--rebuilding infrastructure--the Americans can't get it done.

Um, that's good news?

Posted by: theorajones on February 6, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

More (in)Competence, probably aggravated by the presence of Cronies, suckin on the Corruption system, while likely in the process meeting the standard of Criminal activities.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

So, FEMA is in charge over there as well?

Posted by: craigie on February 6, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Demonstrates why Americans buy imported cars.

Those who can't teach.

Those who won't engineer.

Posted by: Hostile on February 6, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

150 dollars a month,hell how do I move there wow 150 dollars a month,Halliburton makes more than that every SECOND.

Posted by: GOP liar on February 6, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

"CLICK THE LINK. ALwAYS CLICK THE LINK. Kevin deliberately did not print the good news in the article."

Uh, Al? I clicked the link. The stuff you claim Kevin "deliberately didn't print" isn't there.

You wouldn't try to tell us something's in the article that really isn't, would you?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on February 6, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

If only Al and McA and tbrosz and cnut would get over there, I'm sure with their large brains and enthusiam, they could have this electricity problem solved in a jiffy.

Posted by: craigie on February 6, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Al:You know there's a word for that "good news" you're talking about...

Hyper-inflation.

Hyper-inflation does NOT lead to stable governments.

Posted by: Karmakin on February 6, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Al, just owning a refrigerator is really great, regardless of whether or not you can actually use it to, like, keep food cool and stuff.

Did you notice the stuff about the missing $300 billion in the article? Bang up job.

None of this, of course, is the fault of President Jesus.

Posted by: Noam Sane on February 6, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

A story on the front page of Raw Story today tells of severe water shortages in and around Baghdad. The United States has now succeeded in making many Iraqis believe they were better off living with a psychopathic, trigger-happy dictator and his heroin-addicted sons, than with the U.S. in charge. Hallelujah.

Has there ever been a bigger f*ck-up in the history of this planet, than George W. Bush?!?!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 6, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

The article was interesting. I suggest people on both sides read it through before mouthing off. The illusion some people have that Iraq was running smoothly and effectively before we got there is pretty much squelched. So is the illusion that rebuilding the infrastructure of what was essentially a Third-World country with Baghdad as its Potemkin village is going to be easy.

Some--certainly not all--of the problem is the lack of market incentives, and artificially low or even non-existent costs to consumers. An Iraq blogger noticed that the gasoline shortages largely evaporated in areas where the prices were allowed to rise.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 6, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

It's always hard to tell if Al's doing self-parody or not. But in this case he does the valuable service of revealing how Republican disinfo spreads. The "good news" he cites is from the Instapundit propaganda shop.

Posted by: sglover on February 6, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

illusion that rebuilding the infrastructure ....is going to be easy.

Now he tells us, $500B and 2500 lives later.

Posted by: lib on February 6, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

But all that money that was injected into the US economy for building things no one can use.

It makes planned obsolescent itself obsolete - skip the unnecessary step and go straight to junk.

We are migrating our values to Iraq faster than ever.

Posted by: peBird on February 6, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about Al, but the self proclaimed engineer extra-odinnaire and rocket designer and economics and ecology expert does a much better parody of himself than the aspiring legion of posters who attempt to parody tbrosz.

His post above is a great example.

Posted by: nut on February 6, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the Trolls are either dumb or partisan gay hacks.

Posted by: GOP liar on February 6, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK


same sh#t....different day....

.


Iraq's water supply, electrical capacity and oil production are functioning below prewar standards according to Stuart Bowen, Jr., the inspector general for reconstruction, in a quarterly report to Congress. 1/31/06


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on February 6, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Stephan,Well there has been one that was worse Ronald Reagan.A lot of the problems we face now come from his people, Who refused to look ahead and see problems. Osama for one.Saddam for two and Iran-Contra for three,All Three being problems that are kicking G.W. ass now.

Posted by: GOP liar on February 6, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

How's your wife today, Tbrosz?

Posted by: Judy on February 6, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Trolls are either dumb or partisan gay hacks.

GOP, what does the term 'gay' have to do with the point you were trying to make?

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

We're leaving them without electicity over there so we don't have to leave them without electricity over here.

Or.

Darkness is on the march!

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Ideologically, or should I say theologically, the repubs in power have a long history of being against nation building. It is part of the long time semi-isolationist theory of defense that we should only involve ourselves in direct threats against America, and also part spite because it is the opposite of what democrats Carter and Clinton sometimes did. Any involvement in foreign affairs beyond that, including and especially nation building, was not our business.

9/11 changed that for some repubs, so they kind of now realize there are causes to terrorism that are products of the unjust societies, and that we should attack those problems at the root. It is just that they do the only thing they know how, which is to blow stuff up. But, because they have kept themselves deliberatly ignorant even now of the requirements of nation building, they still are in denial about their failures. In their heart they still don't really believe they have to do nation building stuff. Just send in the troops, and then free capitalism will take care of the rest. There is no real strategy here, just a bunch of piecmeal plans that are doomed to failure because while idealogues say that after 9/11 is different, they still can't bring themselves to act differently.

Posted by: patrick on February 6, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

GOP controlled Congress will pass a law that will wiretapping on american citizens legal. to make it palatable, they will include weasel words that will appear to restrict to their definition of 'international' calls. But since it will all be done in secret, nobody will ever know.

Welcome to America.

Posted by: lib on February 6, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Government screw up. It happens when governments meddle around in energy production.

Posted by: Matt on February 6, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Obvious questions:. . .
Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

. . .

4) Was a blowjob involved?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Government screw up. It happens when governments meddle around in energy production.

Like the tax breaks recently given Exxon and others?

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Darkness is on the march!

Or: Freedom is in the dark! Or something.

If a GOP program fails, and no liberal is in the forest to point out how incompetently it was conducted, can the fuckup still be the Dems' fault for criticizing it?

Posted by: shortstop on February 6, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Why the US economy is doing much better than people think,

http://futurist.typepad.com/

Posted by: Tester on February 6, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a minute, I thought that elections would fix all of this. Freedom and Democracy generate electricity in the wires, right? Market forces provide the fuel for the turbines, right?

Posted by: Tripp on February 6, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

No one could have imagined this.

Posted by: C. Rice on February 6, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

OBL....I'ld ask you what the Prophet's view of shagging is, but I'm afraid of the ensuing violence.

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I meant, OBF

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: The illusion some people have that Iraq was running smoothly and effectively before we got there is pretty much squelched.

The illusion that tbrosz has that some people have or even had the illusion that Iraq was running smoothly and effectively before we got there is pretty much bullshit.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 6, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq Plan D

Posted by: Big Red on February 6, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Government screw up. It happens when governments meddle around in energy production.
Posted by: Matt on February 6, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Like when the Government gave Standard Oil it's corporate charter, limited liability, and other goodies and handouts that normal human being citizens don't get?

Like when the Government spent hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to invade a major oil-producing nation, thus preventing the rightful owner of those resources from acting as an independent agent in an open market?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: An Iraq blogger noticed that the gasoline shortages largely evaporated in areas where the prices were allowed to rise.

Translation: Iraqis went from not being able to buy gasoline due to shortages to not being able to buy gasoline due to the price.

Result: About the same number of Iraqis were without gas after prices were allowed to rise as were without gas before prices were allowed to rise.

But, hey, what's important is that the richer Iraqis continued to have gasoline and no longer had to wait in line and maybe do without.

It sucks to have to compete for resources in the same marketplace as the poor.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 6, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

It was as if hell had fallen on the earth in the form of Gardenias.

Posted by: Tony on February 6, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Trolls are either dumb or partisan wrist bending,talk with a lisp hacks. el Karl Rove,David Dreier,Jeff Gannon,Scooter Libby.Not meant to offend the gay crowd,But it would make one consider going straight knowing these cowpies give gays a bad name.

Posted by: GOP liar on February 6, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

"The fault for the debacle appears to be widely spread."
It may be widely spread, but it's mostly the Democrat's fault.

Posted by: Dick Durata on February 6, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "The fault for the debacle appears to be widely spread."

Huh? Widely spread between what two points? Dim and dumber?

Somehow you just know that if only that prosecutor had been able to continue his investigation just a little while longer it would have been definatively proven that Henry Cisnero's mistress caused it.

Posted by: CFShep on February 6, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

F*ck queuing!

It is a blasphemous attack on natural laws that favor the wealthy!

When the economy doesn't serve the wealthy in its operation it is an abomination of a natural law that by faith we conservatives know to be the truth of the universe!

Posted by: tbrosz on February 6, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

As I mentioned before, Iraq was a third world nation before we went there. So whatever power generation systems we install there will be a substantial improvement over the non-existent infrastructure of the Saddam days. Sooner or later the turbines that we install for power genration will have their bugs ironed out. According to my experience in rocket design this happens all the time.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 6, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

So now a third world nation is kicking our ass,Good one Tbone.God if only Clinton where still in charge.

Posted by: GOP liar on February 6, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

If a GOP program fails, and no liberal is in the forest to point out how incompetently it was conducted, can the fuckup still be the Dems' fault for criticizing it?

Post of the day.

Posted by: craigie on February 6, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq Plan D

I vote for this one as the post of the day.

Posted by: lib on February 6, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz (fake): According to my experience in rocket design this happens all the time.

According to tbrosz's experience in rocket design, rockets are best when shot up one's own ass.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 6, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Our secret weapon,Send Troz over to design rockets for Iran and North Korea.

Posted by: GOP liar on February 6, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, that is good news, Al. There was a middle class under Saddam. Who knew?

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 6, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Not meant to offend the gay crowd

That ship just sailed. As part of that crowd, I don't like being discounted by your repetition of stereotypes that apparently give some people the idea that they should pull a maniacal Carrie Nation act in a gay bar. Please rethink this bigotry.

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who thinks that a government cant develop an a highly functional energy system should google 'Quebec hydroelectric power'. 60% of Canadian energy comes from renewable sources. 2/3 of Quebec homes are 100% electric.

Government isn't necessarily an impediment to progress, whereas a government run by people idealogically opposed to effective government action most certainly is.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on February 6, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

. . . government run by people idealogically opposed to effective government action most certainly is.

To expand . . .

Government run by people ideologically and economically wedded to a particular class of economic elites, particularly in the energy sector. and opposed to governmental action that would interfere with that relationship or cause economic harm for , discomfort to, or delayed gratification of the preferred class most certainly is.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 6, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Could fit right in with Boehner's answer to Punkin's question on MTP that if things are still going badly in Iraqmire in 11/06, the Repigs will pay a price.

Posted by: Neil' on February 6, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK
BAGHDAD, Jan. 7, 2006 Adbul Al-Rahman waits in line an entire day to fill his taxi cab with gasoline. Gas shortages and escalating prices are causing many Iraqis to flock to gas stations in droves.

Spending so much time in line means Rahman is unable to work every day. He cannot raise his taxi fare to compensate for lost work days since many Iraqis are poor and cannot afford higher rates. Since gas prices skyrocketed, his income has been cut in half.

Iraqis long have relied on fuel subsidies, but in recent weeks those credits have been drastically cut. Fuel prices have skyrocketed to 65 cents a gallon from 5 cents a gallon last summer. Prices could reach $1 per gallon later this year.

Demand for gasoline has soared by half a million gallons a day because of electricity shortages. Residents are loading up on gas, fearing that prices will climb higher. Many homeowners also are stocking up, purchasing extra fuel to run generators that produce electricity.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/IraqCoverage/story?id=1481803

Fuel prices have increased twelve-fold since last summer and are expected to increase twenty-fold in a year.

We lost power yesterday due to a winter storm. Weirdly enough, I couldn't get my refrigerator to work without electricity.

My guess is the Iraqis aren't having any better luck with theirs.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 6, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

So you would be more offended by me than the gay hating GOP.You have to have thicker skin then that Kieth.My only point was it is ok to be a gay Karl Rove but not ok to be a gay David Drier.Like everythig else it is ok if a R did it but wrong if a D did it.

Posted by: GOP liar on February 6, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

An Iraq blogger noticed that the gasoline shortages largely evaporated in areas where the prices were allowed to rise. Posted by: tbrosz on February 6, 2006 at 4:04 PM

If the price rises so high that people stop buying because they can no longer afford it (but still need it or want it) then there is still a shortage.

I just love these little libertarian economic tricks like this. You make the problem seemingly disappear by pricing a good so high that only the rich can afford it.

If your not buying it, your not part of the demand anymore. At least according to this ideology. And supply magically, once again, meets demand. Of course only with a lot of behind the scenes manipulation of the facts.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 6, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

What's so dumb about our glorious reconstruction efforts is the total trust in CENTRALIZED utility power generation.

The last time I checked, the sun shines in Iraq and the wind blows on the higher terrain.

Isn't it harder to sabotage 1,000 rooftop PV arrays than 1 power plant containing finicky turbines?

Sustainable energy is not a pipe dream, it's what all societities will need to reckon with sooner or later.

The Iraqis could heat their water in small solar hot water systems on their rooftops.

But any sane company selling PV panels, solar hot water or wind turbines is NOT WELCOME in the post-Sadaam Iraq.

Placing jet-engines on blocks seems weird when we all know sabotage is a real blight in Iraq.

If the Germans are embracing solar/wind, why can't the Iraqis? (We all should anyway)

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 6, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

The Instapundit data cited by Al seem completely bogus.

If this is good news, is the claim that Iraqi incomes went from a few dollars a month "under Saddam" to $150/month since the invasion? So, Iraqi incomes have supposedly increased say, thirty-fold,in the past couple years (from say $5/month to $150/month)? In what booming line of business?

It seems more likely that the few dollars a month might refer to the 1980's, and the $150/month might include the inflation during the 80's and 90's. That is, if these data have any reality at all.

And it's not that electricity can't keep up with growing post-war demand; electricity is at lower levels than before the war.

Posted by: putnam on February 6, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Good comment, Tom.

Experts agree with you and believe solar desalination will also be the key to meeting water need in the region.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 6, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting Iraq compare/contrast here, under the heading What I heard about Iraq in 2005:

I heard that of the 40 water and sewage systems in Iraq, not one is being operated properly. I heard that of the 19 power plants that had been rebuilt by the US, none works correctly. I heard a US official blame this on the indifferent work ethic of Iraqis.

It's long, but it's a list of things to refer to whenever someone tries to pound their chest over how well things are going in Iraq.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 6, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

for what it's worth, I posted the link a few days ago.

I don't know why you consider it "dispiriting". A year and a half of peace would be sufficient to solve most of the problems. So work on winning the war, then the rest can be addressed. Absent winning the war, fine engineering just isn't going to happen.

Posted by: contentious on February 6, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

The information about these projects and the difficulties has been regularly available since we got into Iraq. The State Dept. issues a weekly report and they also do a quarterly report,the Section 2207 reports. The same section reports are also done by the SIGIR,the DoD,the USAID and others.
These reports have been replete with the difficulties in the electricity and oil production.
The insurgents don't just set roadside bombs,they have been regularly attacking the towers that bring electricity into the cities.The latest reports show Baghdad still (after 3 years!)averaging about 3.7 hours of electricity/day.
The insurgents have also regularly attacked the northern oil pipeline,pumping stations,water injection pumps,etc.which is why oil production and exports are still below pre-war levels.
The newspapers focus on the human toll,but the infrastructure attacks have been in some ways more devastating,but not to the Green Zone.
Why do you think one of the adjustments the US was forced to make(we're adapting to the situation on the ground is how Scotty says it)was to establish both a border guard component of the ISF and more recently infrastructure battalions to patrol the oil pipelines and elctricity pathways.
Glad to see you're finally catching on ,Kevin,it's only been 3 years.

Posted by: TJM on February 6, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

I just love these little libertarian economic tricks like this. You make the problem seemingly disappear by pricing a good so high that only the rich can afford it.

It's not a trick. It's a lie. Because the theory says that when the prices are allowed to go up, more players are attracted to the market, increasing the capacity, and therefore the supply, and then the inevitable competition drives the price back down.

Unfortunately, in this age of ever increasing energy demand, and tight supply - absofuckinglutely not one single oil company is investing in any significant increase in refining capacity.

Why?

Peak Oil.

They know damn well (and withhold the relevant data so the rest of us can only speculate) that the oil supply is running out, and investing in refining capacity is a waste of money in the long term. Increasing prices will not drive down demand - it will only increase their profits until we totally tap out all the oil supply for good.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

And lets not forget the Dems wanted the Iraqis to pay for reconstruction.The Rights response was (He voted for the war before he voted against).But the right never was one to look beyond the next election cycle.Now 400 billion dollars later the Dems idea was spot on.I say we make the Right pay the 400 billion.

Posted by: GOP liar on February 6, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

you come my country you kill my family and you want for us to love you

Posted by: a poor Iraqi on February 6, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

So you would be more offended by me than the gay hating GOP.

It's not "either/or". I think both of you could do better.

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

A year and a half of peace would be sufficient to solve most of the problems. So work on winning the war, then the rest can be addressed.

We've been there nearly three years now, and the problems are still problems, but I guess the Iraqis will be just peachy without their electricity and other modern needs while we continue to chase after guerrilas. A continued reduced standard of living won't hurt us in winning hearts and minds at all.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 6, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Is this a payoff to Turkey for supplying the diesel, KBR for hauling the diesel from Turkey, or GE for supplying the expensive and now useless turbines?

Posted by: dgf on February 6, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Have you guys noticed how many times Raymond's father says "Holy Crap"? Has anyone asked Pat Robertson's opinion on this? That might actually be newsworthy. This obvious Bush friends feeding at the trough isn't.

Posted by: murmeister on February 6, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Government screw up. It happens when governments meddle around in energy production.

Which is why, of course, libertarians lay their own electricity cables and build their own road system to transport the fuel they need.

Posted by: floopmeister on February 6, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Al is the best pardoy troll ever.

Seriously, great stuff.

Posted by: HeavyJ on February 6, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

A continued reduced standard of living won't hurt us in winning hearts and minds at all.

The article says that most informed observers believe that there is more electricity produced now than before the invasion, that it is distributed more equitably (instead of reserved for Baghdad), and that the Iraqis use more electricity-consuming appliances than before. There is also an increase in independent generation. There is no "reduced standard of living".

The most important problem is sabatage by enemies of the elected government who want themselves re-installed in power.

Posted by: contentious on February 6, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

There is no "reduced standard of living".

Yep, those suicide car bombs in Pasadena do wonders for the property values, I'm sure.

Posted by: floopmeister on February 6, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

There is no reduced standard of living

This surely falls under the category of "you must be fucking kidding me."

The pre-war estimates for power availability are that they had 16-24 hours/day on average nationwide and 4-8 hours/day on average for Baghdad. The actual numbers for January via the Brookings Institution were 9.9 hours on average nationwide and 3.6 hours/day on average in Baghdad, numbers that have been trending downward since October.

Fuel prices have skyrocketed and the average wait in line for gas has gone from an hour to over a day.

Just what kind of standard of living do you really have when you have to spend the entire day in line for gas every time you need it???

Unemployment is still anywhere from 25% to 40% depending on the region -- and people are routinely gunned down, kidnapped, and blown up in a country where it used to be safe to walk the streets. Add to that a litany of troubles ranging from family members maimed and killed, houses blown to bits, shortages of medicine and clean water, and on.

Make all the foolish arguments you want, but please don't diminish the suffering or struggles of the Iraqis.

Posted by: trex on February 6, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK
The illusion some people have that Iraq was running smoothly and effectively before we got there is pretty much squelched.Posted by: tbrosz on
There is no one who says that Iraq was running smoothly. Apparently you have a straw men army that is bigger than Bush's reconstruction force. There was over a decade of sanctions on a war-torn economy. It was a mess before Bush's invasion; it's a bigger mess now because of the sheer incompetence and corruption of Bush's crony capitalists who are in charge. To speak of market incentives when basic necessities, water, electricity, sewage are worse now is insane.

Your story that gasoline is now abundant in Iraq is false. It's probably sourced on one of the paid propaganda people the Army is using.

If the problem is caused by the insurgency, then it is the legal duty by international treaties joined by the United States that occupying powers are responsible for maintaining peace and security in the occupied zone, e.g. Iraq. That is another miserable failure of the Bush regime.

Oh what fools these RepubliConTarians be.

Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

When will Busholini's Men blame themselves for the poor morale of our Army in Iraq? If no resignations and public apologies are forthcoming than that is a question that should be asked in Congress at the earliest oppportunity...with subpoenas instanter.

Posted by: parrot on February 7, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

Ideologically, or should I say theologically, the repubs in power have a long history of being against nation building. It is part of the long time semi-isolationist theory of defense that we should only involve ourselves in direct threats against America, and also part spite because it is the opposite of what democrats Carter and Clinton sometimes did. Any involvement in foreign affairs beyond that, including and especially nation building, was not our business.

Posted by: http://www.phytolink.net on February 7, 2006 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

contentious,

I don't know why you consider it "dispiriting". A year and a half of peace would be sufficient to solve most of the problems. So work on winning the war, then the rest can be addressed. Absent winning the war, fine engineering just isn't going to happen.

Where have I seen this sentiment before? Oh, I remember: "When morale improves the beatings will cease."

What a hopelessly naive view of human nature. Please tell me you are a college young republican and there is still time for you to grow up. Please.

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Another post at 6:30 AM from the Asshole from Belltown, a tony yuppie area of Seattle - He runs an online poker site - has street people hand out flyers around Seattle - pays them next to nothing and brags about throwing them bones.

As to government interference with production, are you speaking of the Enron "govermental" interference with electric production and pricing in the west? They also own PGE in Portland, OR which has the highest rates in the northwest, while the major electrical production at the Columbia River dams is only minutes from Portland.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 7, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Which is why, of course, libertarians lay their own electricity cables and build their own road system to transport the fuel they need.

You know, I'm tired of doing all this hard work to attempt to teach libertarians the bone-crushingly obvious fact that humans are social animals. The libertarians never learn, and they don't have any interesting points to make. Why should I bother with them? I think we need to round them all up and stick them on a large desert island, where they can indulge their Robinson Crusoe fantasies as they see fit. We can come back in six months and bury the carcasses.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 7, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Personally I mock Libertarians whenever I can. I do have some respect for the libertarians who have actually moved to the libertarian utopia that is Afghanistan. Well, I would if there were some.

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Now average family income is $150 a month and a lot of people can afford appliances, as the runaway electrical demand attests.

"average family income is 150 a month" And "a lot of people can afford appliances" does not make sense. A lot of people? Let's see. Food. Shelter. Transportation. Clothes. Medicine. C4. Who has anything left over to buy appliances with?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 7, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp on February 7, 2006 at 9:50 AM,

do you have a counter assertion to make? Are you always dispirited in the middle of long, difficult projects? Actually, the second question is personal, so you don't have to answer it; just as there is no point to my listing my age, accomplishments, or party registration.

Posted by: contentious on February 7, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think we should invade Mexico , divide it into new states and make everyone citizens. we could build a lot of cheap prisons for any opposing , oh the same with Iraq , if its our oil it would be easier

Posted by: sticky on February 9, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

FIRE UP THE MILITARY BOYS ,WERE GOING TO MAKE SOME MONEY

Posted by: sticky on February 9, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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