July 28, 2003

SNOPES HAS DONE SOME DIGGING, and reports that an email from an engineer in Iraq that was linked here and reprinted on several blogs is genuine. Here’s an excerpt, to jog your memory:

It has been a while since I have written to my friends at First Lutheran Church about what’s really going on here in Iraq. The news you watch on TV is exaggerated, sensationalized and selective. Good news doesn’t sell.

The stuff you don’t hear about on CNN?

Let’s start with electrical power production in Iraq. The day after the war was declared over, there was nearly 0 power being generated in Iraq. Just 45 days later, in a partnership between the Army, the Iraqi people and some private companies, there are now 3200 megawatts (Mw) of power being produced daily, 1/3 of the total national potential of 8000 Mw. Downed power lines (big stuff, 400 Kilovolt (Kv) and 132 Kv) are being repaired and are about 70 percent complete.

Then there is water purification. In central Iraq between Baghdad and Mosul, home of the 4th Infantry Division, water treatment was spotty at best. The facilities existed, but the controls were never implemented. Simple chemicals like Chlorine for purification and Alum (Aluminum Sulfate) for sediment settling (the Tigris River is about as clear as the Mississippi River) were in very short supply or not used at all. When chlorine was used, it was metered by the scientific method of guessing.

So some people got pool water to drink and some people got water with lots of little things floating around in it. We are slowly but surely solving that. Contracts for repairs to facilities that are only 50 percent or less operational are being let, chemicals are being delivered, although we don’t have the metering problem solved yet ( … but again, it’s only been 45 days).

Nice to know it was for real.

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