Posted by Curt on 1 October, 2005 at 9:53 am. Be the first to comment!


CJ at A Soldiers Perspective has some good news out of Sadr City:

Our efforts have turned a city that used to be a no-go zone in Baghdad, ?a wretched hive of scum and villainy? (see Star Wars to understand), into a place where we?re at least somewhat appreciated. It?s much easier to drive around now that we?ve proven to the people that we?re not there to kill everyone, just every terrorist.

Sadr City residents say they?re definitely seeing a difference as nearly $86.5 million in infrastructure improvements have been completed with an additional $246 million ongoing. Local citizens report their sewers are working (unlike last year when all the lift stations were inoperable with broken pumps), water pressure is better, and they?re seeing electric lines going up.

…The first step in the process is meeting with local Iraqi leaders to determine which projects are priorities for the community. ?We talk to municipal authorities to understand exactly how each proposed project fits into the big scheme for them. Then we turn it over to the Corps who go out and make an assessment of what needs to be done, derive the initial construction estimates, develop a new or validate an existing Scope of Work, advertise for bids and award the contract. We could not do this without the Corps of Engineers. They?ve been phenomenal.?

…Regarding the work itself, Gayton says ?It?s amazing the difference I?ve seen in the past nine months in Sadr City. When we first arrived, it was a semi-permissive environment. Residents were allowing people to come in to do work but they weren?t embracing them. Over the past eight months, since we really got in and started doing some good projects, they see the results and the difference has been incredible. As we drive through neighborhoods now, people are waving, smiling, cheering? we have government leaders, municipal leaders, social leaders of Sadr City all focused on what we?re doing, joining together to ensure the projects get done.?

Gayton pointed out his battalion?s first priority was cleaning up the trash and sewage that filled Sadr City?s streets.

?We immediately reinforced the trash removal program started by the 1st Cavalry Division, as well as renovated the sewage system. We continued refurbishing all the sewer lift stations (which at the time had no operable pumps), unclogged the sewer lines, and repaired the sewage line breaks. Now when I ask residents, ?Are you feeling better off than you were last year,? they smile and say ?yes? ? they see the improvements.

?And as more projects get done, the momentum is becoming incredible. It?s a snowball effect. They realize their government is getting stronger. We?re making progress every single day.?

Of course no mention of this kind of stuff in the MSM, big surprise there.


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