I've been thinking about what my more candid commentary was in the States, when anyone would ask me whether I thought it was good that our military is in Iraq. The question would often be followed -- sometimes before I could even answer -- by an assertion of some kind alluding to the great progress of society and the great acceptance and gratitude of the Iraqi people for the support we're offering their government and economy... hmph. No Shit. What country would NOT be grateful to a donor who poured billions into their economy??!
So, is that really all there is to this? What is the measure of "success" in Iraq? More importantly on a personal note: what measure do we have of "completing" the job, SO WE CAN GO HOME?
There is a 1.5 mile stretch of road inside my base that is being re-paved right now. They're not using the standard practice for surface improvement, usually costing a few thousand dollars... No, this has to be Asphalt -- you know, black top? So many of us chuckle to ourselves wondering how soon the first planning official will recognize the stupidity of asphalt in Iraq in the middle of the summer. The project is costing the Army $750,000!
The irony is killing me. How often do we hear about all the lofty social and infrastructure improvement plans for this country? And yet, there are still resources to pour 3/4 of a million dollars into a beautification project for a Coalition base! I wonder how many mattresses could be bought for these families with no beds with that money? How many schools could we build with that? How much medicine could be purchased and distributed with $750,000?
At any rate, I have a difficult time believing social and economic improvement are the driving factors of our presence here. Hopefully time will tell.