Despite a reduction in violence and democratic elections in Iraq, the U.S. Department of State’s recently-released report on conditions in Iraq throughout 2008 stated that there is “widespread, severe corruption at all levels of government.”
Nearly six years after the war began, Iraq still has many infrastructure problems, dealing with little electricity. Bloggers across Iraq describe the legacies of war in Iraq and discuss the state of its fledgling democracy.
Mohammed, an Iraqi dentist who has decided to take his pregnant wife to Jordan for delivery, describes the country’s decayed health sector:
I wish there is a person to blame or specific side to throw the blame on but unfortunately there are countless sides and people to throw the blame on…it’s all about corruption, decades of falling behind the medical developments, physicians and doctors with little medical ethics who will have high ethics when they leave Iraq, doctors who are really bad in their job but holds important positions because they are from a specific political party or they know “people”, sectarian violence, gangs working under the mask of religion, people with agenda of brain-killing Iraq…and the list goes on.
[…]About two months ago we applied for a visa to Jordan. Thank god we got it, we got the visa and we were approved for entering Jordan, I still can’t believe that this is possible; us getting to Jordan so that my wife could have a natural delivery with good medical care and overcome the medical disasters here.
Another blogger, IraqPundit, agrees that continued squabbling and corruption has deprived Iraqis of basic services:
Much like the rest of Iraq, the people of Basra want electricity, water, and they want the garbage to be collected. It’s clear the religious parties failed the people. Perhaps Iraqis will vote for new politicians who will actually provide basic services.
[…]My own family in Baghdad are indeed frustrated with the lack of services. But they don’t blame democracy, they blame the religious parties and corrupt politicians, and the terrorists who bombed electrical facilities promptly after they were repaired. Sure there was more water and electricity during Saddam Hussein’s era, but not that much more. If it was so great, why did we have all those generators?
The “Life is a Scrapbook” blog says that small-scale corruption and bribery is a part of daily life in Iraq:
It’s not called corruption, it’s called the cost of doing business. Recently a new regular style gas station opened near our brigade headquarters and not long after it did, the brigade commander’s personal security detachment roughed up a lot of the black market gasoline vendors and dumped their gas on the street. This action was within their legal right since the stands are illeal but was it a coincidence? New gas station opens; the local authority, the Army General, then roughs up the illegal vendors that had been ignored previously, add in that a week later the illegal vendors where back in full force. Do you think that there might have been some kick backs from both sets of gasoline vendors? I’m not saying there was, I just find it interesting […] there might have been some money changing hands.
A journalist with NBC’s “World Blog” describes Iraqi war widows:
I recently visited the Iraqi Tourism Board to see some old friends and contacts. I went in smiling because I hadn’t been there for while and was excited to see my old friends, but the place had an eerie feel to it. It looked darker – and it was. In every room, when I popped in my head to say hello, there were women dressed in black from head to toe.
As a cup of coffee was placed in front of me, my curiosity finally got the better of me. I asked if a colleague had died or something? A woman covered in black responded, “They killed my husband and burned my home. So we moved to a Sunni neighborhood; stress and grief killed my mother a week later.”
I turned my head to the woman next to her and she said, “They killed my brother in front of his wife and children…just because he is Shiite living in a Sunni neighborhood.”
The smile I had on my face when I arrived was long gone. I actually felt ashamed that I had a smile on my face to start with. So, I chugged down my coffee and quickly left.