Iraq Rebuilding Not Getting Ink
March 29, 2007
One thing that Anthony and I have been striving to do here at ASM, since I came on board is to highlight the rebuilding projects that are happening in Iraq, because we felt that it was something that was being sorely neglected in the Mainstream Media. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to ensure that our readers are made aware of the positive stories coming out of Iraq; of the new hospitals, factories, schools, electrical systesms and more that are being built daily in that country. It seems that we’re not the only ones who feel that way.
Daily, splashed across our television screens, on the radio and in our newspapers and magazines, we’re confronted with the violence that is occurring in Iraq, but we’re never told anything about the successful rebuilding projects that have been completed and are ongoing in Iraq. The Senior military engineer feels the same way.
“You can’t pick up a newspaper or turn on television these days without seeing violence every day in Iraq,” Brig. General Michael Walsh, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division, said to Pentagon reporters during a satellite-carried news conference from Iraq.
“What you don’t see are the successes in the reconstruction program (and) how reconstruction is making a difference in the lives of everyday Iraqi people, especially here in Baghdad,” Walsh pointed out.
To date, the US government and the government of Iraq are working side by side on $22 billion of reconstruction projects. Walsh estimated that it will cost between $60 billion to $80 billion to completely restore Iraq’s worn infrastructure.
“The US government and the government of Iraq are working together to yield positive, tangible reconstruction results that are significantly improving the lives of the Iraqi people,” Walsh said. “However it will take a continued commitment and determination over the course of many months for the anti-terror operation to succeed,” he said.
Ongoing projects such as electrical, water treatment, sewage, road and school reconstruction projects, in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq are giving the people of Iraq a hope for the futute of their country. Though the work to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure is challinging and difficult, these efforts are extremely vital in Iraq’s goal of progressing towards a peaceful and democratic country. One that is able to provide for the needs of the of it’s citizens.
“As citizens feel safer, conditions will be set for the resumption and improvement of basic essential services,” the general said. “Today, out of 2,500 projects planned for Baghdad, almost 2,000 water, sewer, medical, electrical, school and other projects have been completed,” Walsh said.
28 projects, for police, fire and military facilities in Baghdad’s 10 security districts as a part of Operation Law and Order have been completed. Other projects include, 21 education projects, 24 health care projects, 20 water treatment projects and 79 electrical projects have been completed. Each one of these projects help to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens. Iraqi’s are employed in the various construction projects across Iraq, with approximately 60% of the Corps of Engineers’ work contracts being performed by Iraqi companies. Joining Walsh at the news conference was Ibrahim Mustafa Hussain, the deputy mayor for technical affairs in Baghdad who said that the ongoing projects across Baghdad alone is giving the citizens hope for a better future for themselves and their families. Currently, about 75% of Baghdad’s 6.5 million residents are served by public sewage systems. Hussain’s office is working closely with Coalition Engineers to extend public sewage as well as water and electrical service to every citizen in Baghdad.
“We’ve started a lot of projects to improve the situation in Baghdad,” Hussain said. “Everybody here is optimistic that the situation will be better in the future. We hope in the future that you will see (that) Baghdad is a better icty and a good city as it was before.”
Hussain noted that much of Baghdad’s infrastructure suffered greatly from neglect in the 1980’s, but added that with the current reconstruction projects that the lives of it’s citizens was certain to improve.
“Iraq is a country rich in natural resources and intelligent and talented people,” Walsh said. “And, I’m confident that by continuing to work with our Iraqi partners in reconstruction and focusing on essential service projects we can help build a bright future for Iraq.”