You know for quite some time after that glorious day of the fall of the Idol, very large portions of the country were absolutely quiet, waiting, expecting. The support for the liberation was tangible and quite real in many places of the country. For a brief couple of months, people waived at the U.S. and allied soldiers, and these walked freely about, and a kind of fraternization was really beginning. Then things started to go wrong. Those friends who have been following my blog should know that I have never said that the performance of the Americans and allies was flawless. But I have always resisted the temptation to dwell on mistakes; because the enemies of Iraq do that for quite destructive and vicious reasons; to discourage and demoralize and spread pessimism and despair. Yet mistakes were made, big mistakes. But that is not the point that I wish to make today. What I really want to say is that an opportunity was missed to launch a real campaign of economic improvement, especially in those parts of the country most oppressed and neglected by the deposed regime, especially in the Shiite South. After so many years of depravation, the people were hungry for everything. Very simple things would have made quite an impression. To be fair, much was attempted but the tangible results on the ground made very little actual impression. I could expand on this and give many details and examples and the kind of things that would have been more effective etc. etc., but this is not the point that I want to make.
What I want to say today is that with the latest events in Sadr City and the present quieting of much of the South, another opportunity presents itself. An important economic effort should be launched without delay to really make a difference this time in these areas. Small and medium Projects and schemes with local labor intensive strategy should be rushed into implementation. There are regions where the security situation permits this right now. Complicated and large long term projects may be necessary but what is needed right now is some real tangible short term results that at last might show the populace some definite improvements in their situation. We say better late than never. The strategic planning for the aftermath of the war was not particularly effective, it must be admitted. It is time to rethink and grasp any opportunity to rectify past mistakes. These impoverished masses who were the real victims of the defunct regime are the real antidote to the Terrorists and the Baathi’s, despite all their squalor and ignorance. It is high time that they are served properly that they see the benefit and feel the change. And results if achieved substantially on this front will reverberate throughout the country and make many in the more restive parts rethink their attitude.