Winning hearts and minds, Part 34: The "no electricity, water, or sewage" approach

So the Bush administration has decided to divert a few billion dollars of money that was supposed to be spent on rebuilding Iraq's water, sewage, and electricity networks into more of these terrific "security" programs. The reason? It's not safe enough - due to attacks and other "unforseen issues" - to invest in humanitarian projects:

"Fewer people will get potable water. Fewer people will get the electricity they need in their homes or their businesses," [Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's foreign operations subcommittee] said. "But that's just a recognition of the reality that unless you have the security you need, you can't have reconstruction."
Interesting. But I wonder why Kolbe and his masters in the White House seem to think that oil-sector improvements are somehow exempt from this "reality":

The State Department hopes to shift $1.8 billion to security and law enforcement, $450 million to Iraqi oil production, $380 million to economic reforms, agriculture and private sector development, $286 million to short-term job creation projects, $180 million to prepare for elections scheduled for January, and $360 million toward forgiving long-standing Iraqi debt to the United States. Even with the shift, Grossman said "substantial money" would remain for improving water and electricity services.

Sure, oil refining and transport installations have been one of the main targets of guerillas - but we needn't let such facts trouble us. I was also puzzled as to why it should cost $360 million to forgive Iraqi debt, but I decided not to be puzzled, in addition to not being troubled. Bush's economic team seems to have a certain talent with figures, as we see each time the new unemployment figures come out.

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