Iraqi Power Problems May Be Good Problems To Have

Take, for instance, the power shortages in Iraq. The Associated Press has a hand-wringing article getting a lot of attention today about how the Iraqi power grid is “near collapse.” For dozens of paragraphs the article rambles on about how “unbearable” it is for Iraqis to live without air conditioning in the 120 degree heat (how this reporter thinks middle eastern society survived in the days before air conditioning is beyond me). And it is unfortunate that Iraq’s power grid is in chaos right now, and that the central government is struggling (largely ineffectively) to maintain order. But there is a sliver lining here, but it’s only given a brief mention in the opening paragraph of the article:

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s power grid is on the brink of collapse because of insurgent sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages and provinces that are unplugging local power stations from the national grid, officials said Saturday.

Rising demand. That’s important. People in Iraq are demanding more power. And what’s that indicative of?
A growing economy. Which goes hand in hand with what we’re hearing about the surge. More areas of Iraq are secure. Businesses are re-opening. People are going about their business, and what does business need? Power.
Now this doesn’t mean that the power chaos in Iraq isn’t a problem, or that the Iraqi government’s apparent inability to put things in order isn’t troubling, but there’s more to this than doom and gloom. But sadly, most people aren’t going to realize it.
By the way, there’s another interesting part of this article that’s just mind-blowing. The reporter actually tries to suggest that the decrepit conditions of Iraq’s power grid isn’t Saddam Hussein’s fault:

Electricity shortages are a perennial problem in Iraq, even though it sits atop one of the world’s largest crude oil reserves. The national power grid became decrepit under Saddam Hussein because his regime was under U.N. sanctions after the Gulf War and had trouble buying spare parts or equipment to upgrade the system.

Right. Saddam had enough money to build himself palaces, ride around in private cars and generally live in the lap of luxury with his two monster sons and the rest of his cronies, but the poor guy couldn’t quite find the parts to fix the power grid and give his people power.
Stupid evil United Nations and their nasty sanctions!

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