"I am Shiite," Ali said. "My uncles and cousins were murdered by Saddam's regime. I wanted desperately to get rid of him. But today, if Saddam's feet appeared in front of me, I would fall to my knees and kiss them!"
The temperature outside is nearly 130 degrees, but the capital has no electricity most of the time. Those who own private generators have become the most powerful people in every district. They sell the precious energy eight hours a day.
On the eastern bank of the Tigris River, where I stayed, the government could provide electricity only between 6 and 7 a.m. All the appliances would burst into action, waking up the household. For those who can afford it, a small generator fills in the gaps in power. But a generator consumes up to 20 gallons of gasoline a day, an enormous amount in a time of shortages.
Under Saddam Hussein, 40 gallons of gasoline cost half a dollar. Today, you'd have to pay $75 for the same quantity on the black market - or you could stand in line for four to five days at a gas station and pay about $35.
"You spend all your time preoccupied with either getting gasoline or getting electricity - not to mention worrying about violence," says Ali. "If they go out, my sisters could be kidnapped or killed by a bomb.I travel by car only if it is absolutely necessary."
Day after day, morning till night, residents of Baghdad are confined in an oppressive state of waiting. Because there is nothing else to do and no one to trust, everyone hunkers down. Sometimes they race out on foot to buy food or other necessities, but mostly they sit and watch television.
Nice job, Georgie.
Meanwhile, the White House is certainly making sure priority number one is accomplished,
Oh yes, I have such confidence in Patraeus giving a "fair and balanced" assessment with such a impartial speaking schedule.
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