Iraq is "a disaster" — at least according to what you see in the mainstream media. That's their story, and they're sticking to it, for the most part. Ron Nessen, writing in the very mainstream Washington Post, however, notices that Iraq isn't exactly sticking to the script:
Would you believe — an economic boom in Iraq despite the on—going insurgent attacks?
Well, you might believe it after you read an analysis by Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, who contends that the reason you haven't heard the economic good news is because opponents of the American involvement in Iraq want you to think there's only bad news there.
Here's Rubin's case: Many Iraqis who couldn't get jobs under Saddam Hussein because of their ethnicity, sectarian identity, or refusal to join the Baath party, are now working. The private sector economy is booming because Iraqis are investing in it, with some of the money coming from family members abroad. Thriving banks, restaurants, and furniture stores now occupy what were abandoned stores last year.
Further: In August, new business startups in Iraq exceeded 30,000. Individual Iraqis are better off financially than they have been for 20 years. According to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, per capita income has doubled since the United States toppled the Saddam regime. There are more than 3.5 million cellular phone subscribers in Iraq, up from zero when Saddam ruled. Internet cafes are thriving in even small towns,
And so, on and on, according to Rubin, who has actually visited Iraq, unlike some of the harshest critics of the American involvement. His paper was dated yesterday, November 1st.
Ed Lasky 11 03 05