With one year of the conflict in Iraq at an end, it is a good time to reflect on the things that have been accomplished there. At the Progress office we recently received a letter from a Lt. Col. Scott S. Seitz who is in the Marines, he listed major accomplishments in Iraq:
1. The first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty and over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.
2. Nearly all of the Iraq's 400 courts are functioning.
3. The Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.
4. In October, power generation hit 4,518 megawatts, exceeding the prewar average.
5. All of the universities and technical institutes and colleges are open as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.
6. Coalition forces have rehabilitated over 1,500 schools, 500 more than scheduled.
7. Teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.
8. All 240 hospitals and more than 1,200 clinics are open.
9. Doctors salaries are eight times more than under Saddam Hussein.
10. Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons last May to a current total of 12,000 tons.
11. Twenty-two million vaccinations have been administered to Iraqi children.
12. A coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of Iraq's 27,000 kilometers of weed choked canals which now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women.
13. Two-thirds of the prewar telephone services and two-thirds of the potable water production has been restored.
14. Business is coming back to life, bicycles, satellite dishes, cars and trucks, all business are coming to life in all major cities and towns.
15. Ninety-five percent of all prewar bank customers have service and first time customers are opening accounts daily.
16. Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses.
17. The central bank is now fully independent.
18. Iraq has one of the world's most growth oriented investment and banking laws.
19. Iraq has a single unified currency for the first time in 15 years.
20. Satellite TV dishes are now legal.
21. Foreign journalists aren't on a 10 day visa, paying mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information.
22. There is no Ministry of Information.
23. There are more than 170 newspapers.
24. Foreign journalists and everyone else is free to come and go.
25. A nation that had not one single element of a government now does. In Baghdad alone, residents have selected 88 advisory councils and Baghdad's first democratic transfer of power in years happened when the city council elected it new chairman.
26. Today in Iraq, people in chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country.
27. Twenty-five ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraqi's history, run the day-to-day business of government.
38. The Iraqi government, regularly participates in over two dozen international meetings, including those of the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank and IMF and the Islamic Conference Summit.
29. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the reopening of 30 Iraqi embassies around the world.
30. Shia religious festivals are no longer banned.
31. For the first time in 35 years, in Karbala thousands of Shiites celebrated the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam.
32. The Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large and small as part of a strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq.
33. Uday and Qusay are dead and no longer feeding innocent Iraqis to the zoo lions, raping the young daughters of local leaders to force cooperation, torturing Iraq's soccer players for losing games, or murdering critics.
34. Children are no longer murdered or imprisoned when their parents disagree with the government.
35. Political opponents aren't imprisoned, tortured, executed, maimed or forced to watch their families die for disagreeing with Saddam.
36. Millions of longsuffering Iraqis no longer live in perpetual terror.
37. Saudis will hold municipal elections.
38. Qatar is reforming education to give more choices to parents.
39. Jordan is accelerating market economic reforms.
40. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time to an Iranian...a Muslim woman who speaks out with courage for human rights, for democracy and for peace.
41. Saddam is gone.
42. Iraq is free.
43. President Bush has not faltered or failed.
44. Iraq under US control has come further in six months than Germany did in seven years or Japan did in nine years following WWII. Military deaths from fanatic Nazis and Japanese numbered in the thousands and continued for over three years after WWII victory was declared.
45. Taking everything into consideration, even the unfortunate loss of our brothers and sisters in this conflict, do you think anyone else in the world could have accomplished as much as the United States and the Bush administration in so short a period of time?
There are those who wish to return to the old regime and those who continue to live in the past. They are reluctant to look ahead. Their beliefs are so strongly rooted with Suddam Hussein and his reign of terror that they are entrenched in this way of life and can't rise above their circumstances. By clinging to the past and executing violence against the Americans and their countrymen they inhibit their country from growing and expanding into the future. So many of the Iraqi people have embraced the Americans and see these changes as good.
I am proud to be an American and proud of the good things we have accomplished in Iraq.