Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Iraq goes from bad to worse

How could a country, the Iraqis ask, that spent $9bn a month fighting the war against Saddam not restore the power supply to a city within four months? When I was here in June, I listened to Paul Bremer, the American administrator of Iraq, insist that there was now more electricity being supplied than under Saddam. The Iraqis scoffed at his exaggeration. Now when American officials promise that prewar supply really will be restored by the end of next month few believe them.

Two months ago eager aid workers were arriving in droves, filling empty hotel rooms and beginning dozens of long overdue projects. After last week's bombing at the UN headquarters in eastern Baghdad, those same young people are hurrying to leave.

The US military were the first to suffer from the growing security nightmare. To begin with the army was reluctant to admit how many attacks it was facing. Now officers talk of more than a dozen incidents every day.

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