Iraq: May 8, 2003

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In restoring electricity and water supplies to Iraqi cities, it was discovered that such services were already pretty spotty before the war. In some cities, like Basra, such services are now above pre-war levels. Rebuilding such services is made more difficult because of the looting. The looters are difficult, because many of them are employees of the facilities being looted. Police have been caught looting their own police stations and oil workers have been looting the oil fields they work in (stealing equipment and machinery for resale.) Saddam's security forces were huge, and penalties for stealing or damaging government property were severe. But once the coalition troops showed up, Saddam's police, and the fear they inspired, disappeared. At that point, many people decided they didn't want to be poor any more.

 

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