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thedrifter
02-20-08, 06:39 AM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
DISPATCHES FROM THE FRONT LINES
WorldNetDaily Exclusive
Marines struggle with failing power grid
'It's fair to say there is not a strong culture of maintenance'
Posted: February 19, 2008
9:37 am Eastern


WorldNetDaily


Matt Sanchez


Editor's note: Reporter Matt Sanchez, who has been embedding with military units throughout both Iraq and Afghanistan, is providing WND readers with a glimpse into the war on terror most Americans have never seen.

By Matt Sanchez

Most of us expect something to happen when we plug in an appliance or flip a switch, but in Iraq flipping a switch to get power is a key part of fighting terrorism.

The strategy to combat a counter-insurgency consists mainly of improving the living conditions; that means bringing a national infrastructure neglected by dictatorial socialism and asphyxiated by a decade of sanctions to a functional level for a growing population with an increasing appetite for energy.

In the past, the media reported how little electricity the average resident of Baghdad had. During a low point, only two or three hours of electricity was available daily to the residents of the Iraqi capital. How hard could it be to repair a couple of fallen lines, even if terrorists targeted infrastructure, the American public back home thought while shaking a collective head.

The answer could be found over 100 miles north in places like Haditha, site of a major hydroelectric dam that provides power to parts of Baghdad and every major city in between.

Haditha Dam is a mish-mash of several projects combining mostly East German equipment installed by mostly Yugoslavian engineers. The dam is a concrete fortress and the current home to the 3rd battalion 23rd Marines, a reserve unit pulling in Marines from states throughout the South. Thick concrete bulwarks make Haditha Dam one of the safest places in Iraq, but the importance of electricity guarantees that Iraq's second supplier of hydropower always will be a target.

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Ellie