Let's Debate This Progress Report Of Iraq.

The following is some Glurge that I have received in my inbox twice in the past two days from different senders. I say “Glurge”, because that seems to be the common monicker for these types of texts that circulate via email, no matter what the content of the email is.

My feelings of the Iraq war aside, I am posting an abbreviated version of what I have received in the email. There is a definite point where the facts stop and the subjections begin. At the end of this email, the ratings hungry media is blamed for not publishings these progresses in Iraq thus far. Needless to say, inspite of or because of this allegation, I am having a hard time gathering any cites together to prove any of these progresses. Can anyone here prove or disprove any of these?

It is kind of long, so I apologize. But any help in resolving these statements would be appreciated:

Of course there’s a Ministry of Information! It’s called the “Defense Department”.

As far as I know, every statistic you posted is true. All the ones I’ve followed up on have borne out, anyway. Most of that information comes straight from the Civilian Provisional Authority.

Of course it’s not the complete picture. You can make any place look good if you selectively choose which facts to report. There’s plenty of bad stuff going on in Iraq, and the situation there is still pretty dicey.

However, the above criticism applies to the anti-war crowd as well. By never reporting the good stuff, they make things seem much worse than they are. So bulletins like the above are important for getting a balanced picture of what’s going on.

Those 25 ministers were appointed by the Coalition Provisional Authority, specifically that famous Iraqi L. Paul Bremer. Perhaps this is the sort of representative government that glurge piece is talking about.

Amazing, considering that no general elections are scheduled for at least two years.

“Civilian Provisional Authority”? Is there an online resource for that?

Let me Google that…

The following link seems to be a pretty good one:


It’s way too early to declare Iraq operation a success. Or a failure.

C(oalition)P(rovisional)A(uthority) Official Documents


The people who need convincing are the Iraqis, not the e-glurge readers. The battlefield is their hearts and minds. Even if every word is true, and nothing else is left unsaid, it’s still saying only what the writer thinks the Iraqis ought to think, based on his/her own cultural frame of reference. It’s irrelevant.

At the risk of being overly dramatic, this operation was a failure before it began. What else was possible when the stated justifications for it were lies?

I agree with most of what you say here, Elvis, although I do wish the mainstream news media would report a standard set of progress indicators to let us know if things, overall, are improving or not. Instead, we get mostly snipets of info and are left to try to piece together a wholistic view ourselves. A daunting task, at best.

I’ve tried several times over the last month or so to google up some polling info on what the Iraqi people themselves think. The best I could come up with is this Zogby poll, that was reported in October, although I’m uncertain when the poll was actually taken. Unfortunately, the question “Is Iraq a better to place to live now than it was under Saddam Hussein” was not asked.

Does anyone have a better cite with polling results of the Iraqis themselves?

A wise observer would wait a while more before assessing “success” or “failure.” Let’s see what Iraq looks like, say, five years… ten years down the road. We pretty much know what it would have looked like with Saddam in charge, and can reasonably envision the conditions in Iraq had power passed on to one of his charming sons as well.

Just a crazy hunch, but I’m thinking that long-term, Iraq is going to be left in much better shape than we found it in. It’s going to take the Iraqis some time to even “take their country back”, and I imagine that process is as much a mental one as it is physical. Saddam had basically “become” Iraq, highjacking an entire country in the process.

I look forward to seeing what the Iraqis can do with their country once it’s in the hands of the people rather than the death-grip of a selfish tyrant.

And I just hope that after we leave, it doesn’t slide right back into the trap of becoming a dictatorship all over again, just because it’s familiar ground. If anything, I think I’d like to hear more about what specific steps are being taken to help ease the Iraqis through the transition from dictatorship to… well, I hesitate to call it “democracy”, but at least a more representational form of government.

Iraq always seemed to be one of the more secular countries in the Middle East-- and I think that if they can continue to resist handing the country over to the imams and mullahs and truly join the community of nations, they could be capable of doing some great things.

If nothing else, they’re being given (or will be, soon) the chance to try.

I expect that these two stats are innaccurate and contradictory:

*… we have restored over three-quarters of prewar telephone services and
over two-thirds of the potable water production.

… there are 4,900 full-service telephone connections. We expect 50,000
by year-end.*

This means that it will go from 99.98% of Iraqis being w/o phones, (4900 w/phone), to 99.8% being w/o phones, (50,000 w/phones). If 4900 = 3/4 of prewar telephone services then prewar service level must’ve been only 6500 some odd phones in a country of 24mil. If these numbers are accurate, (which I doubt), this’s more evidence that pre-war levels in Iraq under Saddam and sanctions sucked really, really, hard. Children were dying and the people were suffering grievously. Reaching pre-war levels of anything in Iraq is hardly anything to brag about.

Precisely correct.

It promises to be the POST-war levels that will be worth bragging about.

John, I think that’s probably about as good a poll as one can reasonably expect get right now. After all, if that section of the above glurge is to be believed, there were fewer than five thousand working telephones in the country when the e-mail was written.

(Note to self: I’ll bet that when that first telephone survey is conducted it’s going to consist primarily of Iraqis who are damned happy to have telephones! I can’t think of a better way to massage a “Dewey Defeats Truman” sort of result than that.)

Those poll results you list are not very encouraging, in some respects. For example:

Back to the glurge. The power output figures seem to square well with those that were announced by the Department of Commerce in early October (.pdf document):


And another of the figures in the glurge appears to have been lifted from that document-- the one about teacher salaries.

So, is it me, or is the message in the OP simply a capsule summary of the reports coming out of the White House? Seems like there’s nothing new here, just a one-stop shop for all your pro-war spin needs.

A couple of problems I see:

Power generation reached pre-war levels on Oct. 12 but have significantly slipped since. See http://uggabugga.blogspot.com/2003_11_09_uggabugga_archive.html#106884349754964014

I also remember reading a report that a number of the schools listed as “renovated” were still in pretty poor shape, but darned if I can find the link now.

All I have to say is, if all that stuff is true, why the hell are we still over there?:smiley:

Well if the US fell into decadence and chaos… and then Canada with France invaded the US in order to restor “order”. Would nice numbers of schools and eletricity make you happy ? Hardly I would imagine.

Now if some muslim country invaded the US… sorry… not invaded… hhmm… “enforced” UN resolutions would Americans be happy about it ? Even if your new masters managed to have no deficit and to create new jobs ?

Bush did this trick w/ oil production as well. He came out and said that oil production levels had reached 2 mil bpd. It had, of course, but only for one day. It went back down immediately afterward. It’s a true statement that’s not honest. It’s a not-lie.

Here’s one of Baghdadis: http://www.spectator.co.uk/pdfs/iraqi_poll.pdf

Here’s a thread about some poll numbers.