Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Culture and Corruption
It's funny that the old Media hasn't focused its attention on the the social situation in Iraq. We hear about every bombing, but not about what our money is not accomplishing in towns and cities. This would distress Americans even more and create a greater demand to get the heck out of there since the Arabs are just plain morons.
Steven Vincent at NRO has a good article on Basra and the mess of itself.
For example (and there are many more in the story):
Take "Emergency 115." Recently, the city, with British assistance, instituted a "911"-style system for residents to dial in case of need. Humanely enough, the Brits designed 115 with a provision that allows Basrans to contact help even if they lack SIM cards in their mobile phones. (Land-lines are few and unreliable, so people live by their cells, which require the constant purchase of expensive "scratch" cards to replenish their minutes.) "We created 115 so the call is free," a British officer who supervises the program told me.
Gang atfa gley, Robert Burns might say. For a certain segment of Basra's population discovered the hilarity of making bogus emergency calls. To add to the fun, they remove their SIM cards and remain on the line for hours, tying up the system and preventing people with real crises from getting assistance. According to the British officer, "Only about 5 percent of people contacting 115 call actually need help."
For every step responsible Basrans move forward — a gradually improving security situation, glimmers of economic development, some political leaders who are beginning to understand they must provide benefits for their constituents — irresponsible, ignorant, and frequently violent elements drag the city backwards. A race, or competition, exists between the forces of enlightened synergy and progress and traumatized entropy and decay. Basra teeters between the two, its future up in the air. And with Basra, so goes the rest of Iraq.
These are the sort of things that happen every time in the Thrid World whenever am bunch of do-gooders go in and try their best. People find a way to sabotage the best laid plans. They always eat the seed corn, and then cry to God about how could he let them starve later on.
posted by Mark Butterworth |