Monday, January 30, 2006


I guess quagmire means "off the charts improvement in quality of life," hmmm?

Locals say that the combination of stability, reconstruction and investment has led to better education, health care and general quality of life.

"Najaf shows a degree of revitalisation never seen before," said Bassam Darwish, a local shopkeeper whose shop, destroyed during the fighting in 2004, was rebuilt by the US military. "We have power, clean water and good health services, which were suppressed during the Saddam years."

Until recently, certain districts of Najaf received less than three hours of electricity daily. Today, however, most homes enjoy more than 20 hours of power every day.

Roads linking outlying districts to local schools, largely destroyed in earlier fighting, have also been repaired in the past two months.

According to officials at the Ministry of Education, infrastructure improvements have led to an increase in school attendance, with thirty percent more children attending primary school than in 2004.

"Our children are more interested in studying and more concerned about the future of the country," said Zaineb Hashuan, a senior ministry official. "It's a good sign."

Local health, too, has improved considerably thanks to recent development.

"We have reached a good state of health in our city," said Dr Hassan Azize, a clinician at Najaf's main hospital. "Pharmacies are full of medicines, and new examination equipment is working day and night to decrease disease in our city to almost zero."

Najaf is being labeled one of the safest places in Iraq, this after the catastrophic battles between U.S. and forces and Muqtada Al-Sadr. Quagmires don't sound so bad, suddenly. No mattter how much naysayers want to parrot it, Iraq is making progress. (H/t: Sullivan!) I guess that's why Iraqis are more optimistic about their futures than Americans.