Thursday, June 02, 2005


The other Iraq

Greg Muttit, writing in the (indispensable) Guardian: Faced with daily reports of car bombs and kidnappings, it's difficult to feel optimistic about Iraq. But last week in the south of the country I heard a very different story. A story of the movement that has formed to rebuild the country's economy and national pride, to create an Iraq with neither the tyranny of Saddam nor the pillage of military occupation. ...In maintenance too, the Iraqi workers have outmatched their private-company counterparts. Walking round the Basra refinery, I pointed to the creaking and rusty equipment and asked the manager whether there were a lot of accidents, arising from failures of equipment under high pressure. The refinery manager said that accidents were rare, because however old the equipment it is constantly checked. "For an Iraqi refinery operator, the refinery is part of him," he said. Contrast this with the disastrous safety record of British and American refineries. There, the frequent accidents are caused largely by lack of maintenance and inspection - which are in turn caused by the drastic downsizing of the workforce.
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