Some good news, for a change, from Iraq. Money quote:

Locals say that the combination of stability, reconstruction and investment has led to better education, health care and general quality of life. "Najaf shows a degree of revitalisation never seen before," said Bassam Darwish, a local shopkeeper whose shop, destroyed during the fighting in 2004, was rebuilt by the US military. "We have power, clean water and good health services, which were suppressed during the Saddam years."

Until recently, certain districts of Najaf received less than three hours of electricity daily. Today, however, most homes enjoy more than 20 hours of power every day.

Interestingly, the place is largely free of U.S. troops, who are only allowed in the city for reconstruction projects. Couldn't we direct more reconstruction funds to areas which are doing better?

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