Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times reports that the pace of Iraqi reconstruction is rapidly increasing:
The Bush administration’s new strategy of starting so many construction projects that insurgents cannot stop them all has begun to pay off. Construction payments, after lagging badly last summer, have reached nearly $6 billion in a total pot of about $21 billion, officials at the Pentagon said yesterday.
[Assistant Army Secretary Claude] Bolton said yesterday that the [Project and Contracting Office] nearly has surpassed 2,000 construction starts, which is more than two-thirds of all planned starts.
Mr. Bolton and officials in Baghdad, who spoke via teleconference, all asserted that the money is now flowing for projects such as water purification plants, roads, electrical grids, schools and hospitals.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Bostick, who commands the Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq…said the prewar electricity demand has surged from 5,000 megawatts daily to 8,000. “That’s because the Iraqi people are able to buy televisions and computers and air conditioners and heaters, things that they couldn’t do until democracy and freedom opened up in this country.”
In Baghdad’s impoverished Sadr City, where U.S. and Iraqi forces crushed an insurgency last summer, the coalition has put 12,000 Iraqis to work on $300 million worth of projects, including water purification and sewage treatment.
The “insurgency” will no doubt go on for a while, but it has already lost. Now that the “insurgents” are recognized pretty much universally as terrorists who can only impede the progress of Iraqis toward a better, normal life, they are nothing but criminals. As such, they can inflict occasional killings and property damage, but they cannot stop the march of progress.