No Blood for Vodafone

David Brooks mentions that Iraq is making progress, that the structure of that nation is sound, and that the laws are impressive. Though of course he contradicts himself when he mentions that it is one of the most corrupt governments on earth. How do we know progress is coming to Iraq.

According to the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index, the authoritative compendium of data on this subject, 833,000 Iraqis had phones before the invasion. Now more than 1.3 million have landlines and some 20 million have cellphones. Before the invasion, 4,500 Iraqis had Internet service. Now, more than 1.7 million do.

Oh, how wonderful! Nearly half a million more cell phones than in 2003. Up about 30 percent. What does that have to do with our invasion? Cell phone usage is up everywhere in the world. In Africa under a shorter period of time, mobile phone usage went up 550 percent. My mother didn’t have a cell phone in 2003 and has one now. There’s a good chance Iraq cell phone usage would be up much more without our war. After all, average Iraqis perhaps wouldn’t have diverted so much of their excess income to rebuilding their homes, or buying mortars for the near-civil war we sparked.

Brooks is so clever. So how does he not understand how offensive the above paragraph is? Is this what we should talk about to our wounded soldiers, or the parents of those we lost? “Hey, Vodafone is doing brisk business in that unspeakably poorly managed nation, so be proud.”

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