Date: Dec 20, 2006 7:33 PM
Subject Boom Town Rats

“In the mother of all surprises, Iraq’s economy is growing strong, even booming in places.” Turns out, construction is going through the roof; there is strong growth in the retail and wholesale trade sectors, and the real estate market is booming. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there were 8,000 registered companies in Iraq three years ago. Today there are 34,000. Sales of secondhand cars – we call them “pre-owned” – have risen. TV sales are up. Mobile phone subscribers, up from a million and a half two years ago – to over seven million today. The leading mobile phone company in Iraq is writing over a half a billion dollars in business – up nearly 200 million bucks in about a year.

The World Bank estimates that Iraq’s Gross Domestic Product growth last year was 4 percent, but other sources say it might be as high as 17 percent. “National oil revenues and foreign grants look set to total $41 billion this year, according to the IMF. With security improving in one key spot – the southern oilfields – that figure could go up.”

All this growth, despite the bloodshed. Yet it’s reported only now. Before our elections, when anyone said “progress” was being made in Iraq, Democrats and drive-by’s dismissed it. Iraq was a total failure! There’s only one reason the boomtown rats at Newsweek let this story out now. Our elections are over – Democrats here can’t be harmed.