Defining good news down

We’ve written (maybe once or twice) about Iraq’ pre- and post-war electrical output. Which hasn’t stopped a certain blogger from Australia from publishing multiple factually challenged [referring to electrical production only, as we have not examined other elements of his posts] good news spinning posts, the latest version of which is now found at OpinionJournal. The latest good news about electricity (believe this is now the good news, if you can) is this:

Regarding electricity, 64 percent agreed to a question that power supplies were worse than under the ousted leader Saddam Hussein.

This according to a poll conducted “in seven major towns.” Knowing the sample size but nothing else, it’s hard to know what (if anything) one should make of this finding. What is interesting is that while we used to be able to compare actual levels of electrical production, apparently we now have to resort to polls to guesstimate whether things are improving. Earlier good news summaries included whoppers such as:

On the electrical front, production has reached 4,100 megawatts, still short of the target of 6,000 megawatts by June 30 [sic,] but with two caveats: it’s still better than before the war, where the production estimates varied anywhere from 300 megawatts to 4,400 megawatts – it is also distributed more evenly across Iraq[.]

Oh my. As we’ve pointed out before, June 30 was the second target set for 6,000 MW, changed from June 1. As for pre-war electricity production, it never was 300 MW. According to the US government:

Since the conflict, available electrical capacity has more than tripled, exceeding the pre-conflict generating level of 4,400 MW. [Then again, 4,400 MW only lasted a few days. –S,N!]

This PDF report published last week states:

Nevertheless, repairs helped boost electricity output above the pre-war 4,000 megawatt level by October, 2003, and dependable power was distributed to many parts of the country for the first time in years. After all the repairs are made, USAID, the CPA and Bechtel expect electricity production to reach 6,000 MW by the summer of 2004.

Last March, Iraq’s Minister of Electricity told us that:

But the Ministry of Electricity and the US-led coalition have now brought electricity generation nearly back to its pre-war level after 11 months of
slow reconstruction efforts and broken promises.

“We are producing right now around 4,200 megawatts,” the minister of electricity, Aihman al-Sammarae, told IRIN in Baghdad. “We have broadly reached pre-war levels.” Prior to the war, power generation was roughly 4,500 megawatts.

The only time we saw this 300 MW estimate was in a Caspar Weinberger column in Forbes based, we have to assume, on information from the bizarro world.

So why do the CPA, Paul Bremer, the U.S. State Department and Iraq’s Minister of Electricity hate Iraq?

If, and we have no reason to believe otherwise, Iraq’s electrical output remains stuck at around 4,000 MW, then all that coalition forces have managed is to restore the situation that existed prior to the war. Does this sound like good news?:

The CPA’s own daily statistics show that power generation was higher on October 1 last year than it is today, and has fluctuated around the 4,000MW mark for the past eight months. (June 15, 2004.)

We’d have to say… Sadly, No!

Typo fixed thanks to Frederick.


Comments: 8


as we not examined other elements of his posts

Been taking grammar lessons from your wingnut friends?


Let’s see…we managed to remove a nutball from power (which, by the way, he was using to kill innocent people) in a country. In the process we had a blow up a bunch of stuff. And now you think it’s not “good news” that we have at least restored power back to pre-Liberation levels?

Do you honestly think that the situation will not continue to improve? Jeeze.

So why do the CPA, Paul Bremer, the U.S. State Department and Iraq’s Minister of Electricity hate Iraq?

What the flying heck are you talking about here?


Do you honestly think that the situation will not continue to improve?

Did you pay attention Tom? Electricity output has not improved since October — if anything it is marginally worse now. 4,000 MW today is neither good nor news.

What the flying heck are you talking about here?



Um, Tom, *we* didn’t just blow stuff up. We also managed to kill a lot of innocent people.

In fact, even the factually-challenged Mr. Blair is being forced to concede that we may have killed a *lot* more people than ever Saddam did, (and no, citing “facts” provided by Stickyfingers and his daughter/niece/cousins/brothers-in-laws’ cousins isn’t proof either.)

And that isn’t counting the circa 500,000 Iraqi children that Madeleine Albright said was “worth it” for whatever unknown value of “it” that *our* sanctions killed *before* the hot war…

(Of course, that wasn’t the point of Seb’s post anyway, which was about people distorting evidence on one specific topic, and which isn’t answered by saying that something else justified the circumstances that led to the evidence which is being distorted, but given your demonstrated lack of critical thinking skills, I’m not surprised you missed that, either.)


Also, Tom, the recent allegations that Prime Minister Allawi has taken to shooting handcuffed prisoners himself indicates that we didn’t remove a nutball from power so much as we just kind of swapped nutballs.


Yes, but he’s *our* nutball, Ann! That makes all the difference. Just like CIA-sponsored torture isn’t really torture, and US-funded death squads aren’t really death squads.

Just ask John Negroponte…


And “personal intimacy centers” aren’t rape rooms.


Saddam used electricity as a political tool, cutting it off to keep people in line and rewarding it. Generally of course, but he did.

I wonder how that might impact the estimates.


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