Victory in Iraq: The Baghdad Metro

posted at 8:10 am on November 19, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Eighteen months ago, the capital of Iraq worried more about whether it would survive than traffic control. Now that victory over terrorism and sectarian violence has all but arrived, Baghdad has big plans for its future.  While planning for more basic infrastructural improvements, the mayor has also unveiled a new underground public-transit plan that would link the various sectarian enclaves and improve movement throughout the city:

A YEAR ago it would have been unthinkable. After all, it was a city where driving to work became a life-or-death decision and where residents were cooped in enclaves amid murder and mayhem.

But the Mayor of Baghdad has surprised everyone by announcing plans for an underground rail network that would literally carve a swathe through the city’s sectarian lines.

If investors sign up, the world’s most violent capital will soon have a $US3 billion ($A4.6 billion) metro. Mayor Sabir al-Issawi said money had been set aside in next year’s budget for a feasibility study.

And if if goes ahead, the Iraqi Government has earmarked money that it says could build most of the two mooted rail lines without private help. Even the country’s optimists were last night calling the plan ambitious, but lauding its audacity.

Iraq needs to fix its sewer and electrical services before attempting anything on this scale, but the plan demonstrates an optimism about the future that has erupted in its capital.  They’re already planning a traditional surface-level commuter train to help alleviate car traffic, which has grown overnight into a major headache.  Roads and bridges closed due to violence have reopened, and people are once again on the move as Baghdad returns to life.

Saddam Hussein had originally planned to build an underground metro, or so he claimed.  He commissioned plans for the project in the 1970s, which formed the basis of the new design, with plenty of modern modifications.  Like most tyrants, his big plans came to naught when he threw his country into a series of disastrous wars that consumed the necessary resources for them.

Representative governments have to deliver on their promises.  That accounts for at least part of the optimism seen in Iraq, and for the sudden outbreak of big dreaming by Iraqis.  They have their future in their own hands for the first time in decades, and the sudden liberation has fueled their imaginations.

This, indeed, is what victory looks like.


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The better built a statue to George W. Bush….

Dritanian on November 19, 2008 at 8:17 AM

They = The (ugh)

Dritanian on November 19, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Like most tyrants, his big plans came to naught when he threw his country into a series of disastrous wars that consumed the necessary resources for them.

Ya know Ed, Obama said the same thing…

Skywise on November 19, 2008 at 8:17 AM

World’s most violent capital?

Obviously, these “reporters” haven’t strolled through Southeast DC any time recently. Otherwise, they’d be botching yet another story but this time, from beyond the grave.

Then again, DC is run by Democrats, so nothing to see here, just move along now.

NoDonkey on November 19, 2008 at 8:19 AM

The better built a statue to George W. Bush….

He doesn’t seem to be the type for giant monuments to ego, Now Barack, on the other hand…

Rollie on November 19, 2008 at 8:19 AM

there’s an excellent article today on Petraeus

dude can do 100 pushups in a minute!

lodge on November 19, 2008 at 8:20 AM

The better built a statue to George W. Bush….

Dritanian on November 19, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Bush donated just his legacy, which I feel will be at least partially vindicated by history. A statue in honor of the thousands of American troops who gave their lives is more like it.

amerpundit on November 19, 2008 at 8:21 AM

Can you build a subway in SAND? I guess if you can have buildings you an dig a tunnel. Or is that area more solid soil?

Tony737 on November 19, 2008 at 8:23 AM

Hopenchange has come to Iraq!!!!

And it came before Obama! How about that for some top of the morning Joe!!!!

But dont tell the media this, they have to keep the narrative alive that “Bush lied, people died!” so that when Moses comes down from the mountain with his new 10 commandments, that the victory is his alone.

Or was Joe “Joshua” Biden, Moses’ right hand general, the true architect of this?

TheHat on November 19, 2008 at 8:25 AM

Yet another story the MSM won’t report on. Sad for them, really.

Karen_VA on November 19, 2008 at 8:26 AM

If conservatives had an ounce of creativity, and a single gonad among them, they would throw a very high-profile Thank You party a few days after President Bush leaves office.

History will record that the Iraq regime change was a pivotal event for the good. I don’t think President Bush expects or wants recognition in his lifetime, but it would be classy as hell to give it to him.

jeff_from_mpls on November 19, 2008 at 8:29 AM

This brings tears to my eyes.

katy on November 19, 2008 at 8:33 AM

I wonder, has anyone done a compare of the crime rate in Chicago to Baghdad?

tarpon on November 19, 2008 at 8:34 AM

Optimism in Iraq? Pres. O will take care of that.

sheesh on November 19, 2008 at 8:34 AM

Ambitious or common sense? If the city has to tear up streets to make sewer repairs might as well do it as a part of a comprehensive plan so you only do it once. Since the trains will be electrified it makes sense to also run the major electrical conduits along the rail line as well. So all an all the mayor is making a rational suggestion.

Tony737. Come on fella. The city has many tall buildings so there has to be a bedrock layer to support them.

Dr. Dog on November 19, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Gee, it is almost as though the surge worked. But as Dear Leader has downplayed the surge, that obviously cannot be true.

rbj on November 19, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Tony737. Come on fella. The city has many tall buildings … – Doc

That’s what I said, I just wonder if it’ll be solid enough to dig under. Any engineers out there know?

Tony737 on November 19, 2008 at 8:39 AM

Looks like they need it badly! Same with Kabul, look at Kabul on Google Earth and see all the traffic.

Tony737 on November 19, 2008 at 8:40 AM

lauding its audacity.

Freakin’ nails on chalkboard everytime I read/hear that dumb word ‘audacity’ now that Obama has claimed that word as His and all of the sheeples have added it into their limited, but now expanded by the One, vocabulary

gatorboy on November 19, 2008 at 8:40 AM

amerpundit
+1

Other conservative blogs are promoting celebrating liberty’s Victory in Iraq by formally recognizing that so far as the USA is concerned, we have achieved our goals and enabled the Iraqi government to function democratically.

Our troops deserve recognition while Bush is President this Saturday, Nov.22nd, Victory in Iraq Day, by the voice of Americans.

So far as building a presidential memorial, America is so far behind the ball owing John Adams his due respect, recognition, and commemoration. Adams never got his due reward as our vocal Founding Father who showed fair play justice to enemy forces on trial during our hot Revolution, maintaining rule of law over mob violence or group think, aligned with talents (Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, et.al.) to coordinate peer personalities for full effect, served the public interest regardless of humiliation and against all odds as his finest friend sabotaged him with vicious propaganda lies via the media journalists, and finally, without political alliance singly kept our country out of the Napoleonic Wars though France’s Navy destroyed our ships and crew in the Atlantic.

maverick muse on November 19, 2008 at 8:41 AM

Sure sure, the terrorists have been defeated, but:

Can gays get married in Tikrit?

Can abortions be done on a Baghdad sidewalk?

Do transgendered interpretive-dance professors have the right to hold nude parades through Anbar province?

NO! We won….but have we really won?

Bishop on November 19, 2008 at 8:47 AM

If conservatives had an ounce of creativity, and a single gonad among them, they would throw a very high-profile Thank You party a few days after President Bush leaves office.

jeff_from_mpls on November 19, 2008 at 8:29 AM

It would be hard to do since Bush gave us McCain/Feingold, pushed McCain/Kennedy, and proposed the bailout and started us on the road to a socialized banking system. And making it a Iraq war only party would only emphasize his failure in the previously mentioned policies. We’ll let history reward him for Iraq.

csdeven on November 19, 2008 at 8:47 AM

Bishop on November 19, 2008 at 8:47 AM
LOL
Don’ t worry. I hear MSNBC is going to set up a Bureau there. They’ll make sure everybody is enlightened.
(just kiddin’)

kingsjester on November 19, 2008 at 8:49 AM

NO! We won….but have we really won?

Bishop on November 19, 2008 at 8:47 AM

If the goal was to impose our version of democracy (which was NEVER the goal) then no, we didn’t really win. If the goal was to give the Iraqi’s the ability to self determination, then YES!!!! Absolutely we won!!! And we have untold thousands of American heroes and their families to thank for it!

csdeven on November 19, 2008 at 8:52 AM

Hopenchange has come to Iraq!!!!

And it came before Obama! How about that for some top of the morning Joe!!!!

Even though Hopenchange came to Baghdad before Obama, he must still get the credit. Remember how his parents met at a civil rights march in Selma, Alabama several years after he was born? This shows us that The One is not limited by the laws of the time-space continuum, since those were laws were written by dead white males, and therefore invalid.

Bigfoot on November 19, 2008 at 8:57 AM

I’ll ask again:

Is there even one Iraqi living without free college tuition?

Are there Iraqis living in apartments at which they are actually expected to pay rent?

Does the Iraqi government support the right of someone to publicly take a dump on a canvas and call it “street art?”

Is this really victory? *sobs*

Bishop on November 19, 2008 at 8:59 AM

Bigfoot on November 19, 2008 at 8:57 AM

Quite the amazing god king, that Obarfy.

I hear that next week, new cars are going to magically appear in everyone’s garages.

Bishop on November 19, 2008 at 9:01 AM

What should be done by some informed blogger or writer, is playout a “What If” on if We had backed down to Saddam, left him in power and the world beleiving he had WMD and was fiancing and harboring terrorist. How things would look today.

since that is what all the critics basically wish for.

One thing I’m certain of is under that scenario the MSM and Dems would have the public experts on Terrorism and Saddam’s relationship with it, the 93 WTC bombers that fled there, all his evil crimes, etc. etc. and would’ve ran against Bush for backind down to him in the wake of 9/11

jp on November 19, 2008 at 9:09 AM

A statue in honor of the thousands of American troops who gave their lives is more like it.

amerpundit on November 19, 2008 at 8:21 AM

Amen!

leetpriest on November 19, 2008 at 9:16 AM

The irony is uncanny…

We deposed a tyrant called Hussein and his former country flourishes.

We install a tyrant called Hussein and our country crumbles.

Et tu Brute on November 19, 2008 at 9:17 AM

Can you build a subway in SAND? I guess if you can have buildings you an dig a tunnel. Or is that area more solid soil?

Tony737 on November 19, 2008 at 8:23 AM

Actually, before Saddam destroyed it with the Baath party’s socialist ideas, Iraq was the breadbasket of the middle east. They don’t call it the fertile crescent for nothing. You can’t raise sheep and chickens in a desert and you can’t grow wheat in it either. It has eight million hectares of arable land. If you can do all of that, you can build buildings.

Kafir on November 19, 2008 at 9:31 AM

MSM: “Nothing to report here. Move along.”

whitetop on November 19, 2008 at 9:33 AM

Is Baghdad still “the world’s most violent capital”? If I remember right, Chicago had more violent deaths than Iraq in October. So it’s possible that Baghdad had less than DC, isn’t it?

At the very least, there are plenty of other violent capitals out there.

hawksruleva on November 19, 2008 at 9:33 AM

I’m still scared to say anything positive in fears that it could all go downhill. We are one serious safety net.

tomas on November 19, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Ya know Ed, Obama said the same thing…

Skywise on November 19, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Throwing yourself into a war is one thing — having a war thrown at you is another. Obama hasn’t learned the difference yet — but he will — he will!

unclesmrgol on November 19, 2008 at 10:03 AM

I’d have rather lived in Baghdad during the worst of times than New Orleans. Just like in New Orleans I’d rather be they fellow that the drive by shooters are aiming at rather than the bystanders.

Kermit on November 19, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Sure sure, the terrorists have been defeated, but:

Can gays get married in Tikrit?

Yes, if an adequate camel-bribe is paid to the authorities. And the happy couple never tells a soul what they’ve done.

Can abortions be done on a Baghdad sidewalk?

They call them “Retro-Active Abortions”, and use explosives.

Do transgendered interpretive-dance professors have the right to hold nude parades through Anbar province?

Yes, and they’re really something to see, especially in a sandstorm. Ever dance nude in a sandstorm? Very bracing.

NO! We won….but have we really won?

Yup.

Bishop on November 19, 2008 at 8:47 AM

I kid, of course.

Frozen Tex on November 19, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Iraq was the breadbasket of the middle east. They don’t call it the fertile crescent for nothing. – Kafir

Yup, the two rivers give it that growing quality, but does that also give it the stability to dig tunnels? They sure could use it to alleviate some of that traffic. And yes they have large buildings, and that would seem to prove to a novice that it’d be safe to dig a subway system, but unless you’re an engineer, who really knows? I wish ‘em luck and hope they succeed. Put that oil money to good use!

Tony737 on November 19, 2008 at 10:39 AM

They call them “Retro-Active Abortions”, and use explosives. – Tex

One of the best movie lines EVAH!

“So this computer thinks it can defeat its enemy by killing his mother before he’s even born? … Sort of a, retro-active abortion?”

Followed by the next best movie line ever …

“Why didn’t you bring back any ray-guns?”

“Nothing dead will go through.”

“Why not?”

“I DIDN’T BUILD THE F*CKING THING!”

Tony737 on November 19, 2008 at 10:43 AM

A subway under Baghdad seems made to be a shooting gallery for terrorists.

Tantor on November 19, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Bush donated just his legacy, which I feel will be at least partially vindicated by history. A statue in honor of the thousands of American troops who gave their lives is more like it.

amerpundit on November 19, 2008 at 8:21 AM

Well said.

Dritanian on November 19, 2008 at 11:03 AM

“cooped in enclaves amid murder and mayhem.”

“underground rail network that would literally carve a swathe through the city’s sectarian lines”

“the world’s most violent capital”

“lauding its audacity”

Would people quit turning down this hack author wannabe’s book submissions and let him live his life in obscurity, pleeeease!

Dusty on November 19, 2008 at 11:16 AM

there’s an excellent article today on Petraeus

dude can do 100 pushups in a minute!

lodge on November 19, 2008 at 8:20 AM

WOW!

I just read that whole article…

Thank God for General Petraeus and the United States Armed Forces.

Gotcha on November 19, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Can you build a subway in SAND? I guess if you can have buildings you an dig a tunnel. Or is that area more solid soil?

[Tony737 on November 19, 2008 at 8:23 AM]

Yeah, it’s no big deal. Even if it is blow sand, just drive sheet piling, excavate, build, and backfill. One could devise a method for tunneling, too.

Anything is possible for engineers, just pay the bills on time.

Dusty on November 19, 2008 at 11:36 AM

I wonder, has anyone done a compare of the crime rate in Chicago to Baghdad?

tarpon on November 19, 2008 at 8:34 AM

I just read a report yesterday, but I forgot which article. the gist of it was over the three months of summer, there were 125 homicides in Chicago, which was more than military casualties in Iraq of the same period.

Mallard T. Drake on November 19, 2008 at 11:47 AM

I know people who still think Iraq is a lost cause. Yes, really.

OneGyT on November 19, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Looking at local news headlines from Iraq I see stories such as: Iraqi Commercial Bank to offer Master Card, Rail freight service restored from Muthanna to Basra, Iraqis plan to reduce government employment by 75 percent over the next 10 years, 15 hours/day of power expected by June of 2009.

15 hours of power is huge. While during Saddam’s time Baghdad had power 24 hours a day, most of the country had little or none. Often a town would get only a couple of hours of electricity so they could pump enough water for the next day. Many villages got none at all. This 15 hours is 15 hours a day nationally though some towns currently do get more and some less. The rail freight system reopening and consumers getting access to credit cards is another huge development. People no longer would need to carry large amounts of cash around and accounts could be settled at the end of the month.

crosspatch on November 19, 2008 at 12:28 PM

If there is any justice in the world, one of those stations will be named after George W. Bush and another will be named for David Petraeus. And in fifty years, schoolchildren there will wonder why stations are named after army units, not realizing that they are US Army units.

njcommuter on November 19, 2008 at 1:27 PM

Baghdad is akin to Mexico City in one way, and that is in the number of archeoligical wonders that must be buried beneath the city.

Hopefully the Iraqis take a better stance at preserving these when they happen upon them in digging, than they did in preserving those artifacts already above ground when the war started.

PresidenToor on November 19, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Bet they builid theirs before we Californians get our high speed rail.

The Ugly American on November 19, 2008 at 2:57 PM

Another mission accomplished.

Love our troops.

Let’s roll.

ex-Democrat on November 19, 2008 at 3:12 PM

I know people who still think Iraq is a lost cause. Yes, really.

OneGyT on November 19, 2008 at 12:01 PM

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess they voted for Barry?

ex-Democrat on November 19, 2008 at 3:14 PM

They can name the Third Rail after Barack.

profitsbeard on November 19, 2008 at 7:04 PM

Folks,
For all those people who may have a blog or know of blogger friends who support the Iraqi war efforts, here is an awesome idea – celebrate November 22 as VI day – Victory in Iraq day on your blogs

http://www.zombietime.com/vi_day/ (via InstaPundit)

nagee76 on November 19, 2008 at 10:06 PM