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December 6, 2008
Water for SadrBy Greyhawk
Bill Roggio on How The Mighty Sadr Has Fallen.
How quickly the narrative on Sadr has changed. Today, the Washington Post describes a weakened Sadr, with a near-toothless political movement, struggling to find its path after suffering a stinging defeat after the passage of the Status of Forces agreement between the United States and Iraq.I believe we've discussed previously how the western media have carried water for Sadr for some time.
After four years of war, 3,200 American deaths, 23,000 U.S. troops wounded and possibly in excess of 100,000 Iraqis killed, U.S. policymakers are now making what may prove to be their worst mistake yet: They may be on a new collision course with Moqtada al-Sadr.That's from the earliest days of "the surge", and in the months since we've never passed up an opportunity to ram another boot up that pasty fat boy's ass. (But to this day you can find people crediting "Sadr's cease fire" with helping reduce violence in Iraq.)
But speaking of carrying the water...
Thursday, 04 December 2008
“I have been working here at the R-3 Water Treatment Plant for more than three years, since the start of the project. It’s the first in Iraq, fully automatic and with American standards of best quality,” Lami continued.
“We meet the people in the streets of Sadr City and they are very happy. They feel that we are interested in them and their health. We are very proud of the success of this project.”
The $27 million Sadr City R-3 Water Treatment Plant construction originally began in 2005 as a USAID contract. It was handed over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division in July 2007 to finish the remaining 15 percent.
“The plant location came as a result of a government study on water pressure and supply,” said USACE water expert, Simeon Francis, who has been with the plant as a technical expert from its beginning with USAID. “There is simply not enough water to Sadr City from the Kharkh and Shark-Dijilih Water Treatment Plants for the area.” Experts decided to add a plant on the northern fringe of Sadr City to remedy that, he said.
The plant began operation in mid-June with some interruptions due to power restrictions, but today, R-3 produces 4,000 cubic meters of treated water per hour into the distribution system through a 1.2 meter outlet line.
It is currently providing 27 sectors in Sadr City with clean potable water - sectors that historically have had no centrally distributed water. With the plant at full capacity as of Sept. 27, a performance test in October confirmed the quality of the daily output of 96,000 cubic meters per day (about 25 million gallons per day). That output equates to clean, quality water for a total of 1.5 million people in Sadr City and Baghdad, Francis said.
“Operating at full capacity, the R-3 Water Treatment Plant drastically increases the potable water to the people of SadrCity. The plant is operating at 100 percent capacity right now. It’s a great success story for USACE,” said project engineer Roland Belew.
The plant will employ 150 people for operations, maintenance and management, Belew explained.
“This project is special to me,” concluded Francis, “because I’ve been here from the beginning, and I am here for the end of it. It is really something to see the clear water sample from R-3’s output. I know what the raw water is like from the Tigris and to be able to look at the R-3 water and see nothing but water is very gratifying,” he concluded.
Friday, 28 November 2008
BAGHDAD — More than $55 million in both U.S. and Iraqi funds have been pumped into Sadr City to improve the quality of life for residents there since the end of major combat operations this past spring.
In a combined effort between both Iraqi and American forces, the people of Sadr City have benefited from renovated and re-opened schools, new parks, improved medical facilities, more consistent electricity and better trash removal services.
The area where these improvements have occurred is referred to as Operational Environment Gold, named after the infamous wall that separates the southern third of this northeastern Baghdad district and provides a security buffer.
“It also had an impact on the government of Iraq as they have watched our support to the local government down here in the south part of Sadr City [we can] also start to see some progress in the northern parts or the parts beyond the Gold Wall as we call it,” said Col. John Hort, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad.
Since May, when the Muqtada al-Sadr-enforced cease fire took effect, more than 100 projects have been completed with assistance from the 926th Engineer Brigade. Additionally, the Striker Brigade and the 926th Eng. Bde., who work jointly in OE Gold, have handed out more than $3 million in microgrants to local businesses.
These improvements to the area have not gone unappreciated. In addition to the increased revenue in the area, there has also been an increased desire for similar projects to take hold in areas north of the infamous wall.
“Unfortunately, reconstruction north of the Gold Wall is going slow. However, I know Dr. Sumad [Chairman of the GoI's Sadr City Reconstruction Committee] is committed to success. It is my hope that soon all the citizens of Sadr City may experience the improved security and economic blessings of OE Gold,” said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, commander of 926th Engineer Brigade, Multi-National Division – Baghdad.
Cooperation has been paramount to success in OE Gold between American forces as well as the Iraqi contractors and workers who complete the projects.
“The assistance and reconstruction efforts in OE Gold by [3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div.] and TF Gold have dramatically improved the quality of life for local residents. OE Gold residents are saying ‘NO’ to the militia and the old ways of Sadr City and ‘YES’ to progress,” said Talley, a South Bend, Ind., native.
Sadr City, with the addition of these projects and the impact of the monies pushed into the local economy, has experienced wholesale improvements in this once impoverished region. But, there are still many other areas where advances can still be made.
“We’re very encouraged with what we see inside Sadr City that we were not able to see last year and as early as March of this year,” said Hort, a Fayetteville, N.C., native.
Posted by Greyhawk / December 6, 2008 4:58 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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