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Hiding The Bad News

  For some inexplicable reason, Republicans have been preoccupied for quite some time with Baghdad’s electrical supply, pointing to it as one of th

baghdad_skyline300.jpg  For some inexplicable reason, Republicans have been preoccupied for quite some time with Baghdad’s electrical supply, pointing to it as one of the good-news stories that Americans allegedly don’t hear about. The White House urged the media to cover it more a year ago; Tony Snow bragged about Iraq’s electricity-generating facilities; and then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office boasted of Baghdad’s shining lights as an example of progress in the war.

They had it backwards. Electricity in Baghdad has been one of the more chronic infrastructure problems plaguing the Iraqi city. Indeed, over the last year or so, the number of hours Baghdad residents could expect electricity has actually dropped.

Don’t worry, the Bush administration has a plan to deal with all of this. Take steps to improve the power supply? Don’t be silly; the administration has decided to stop reporting on Baghdad’s electrical problems.

As the Bush administration struggles to convince lawmakers that its Iraq war strategy is working, it has stopped reporting to Congress a key quality-of-life indicator in Baghdad: how long the power stays on.

[T]he State Department, which prepares a weekly “status report” for Congress on conditions in Iraq, stopped estimating in May how many hours of electricity Baghdad residents typically receive each day.

It’s the quintessential Bush move -- when struggling with discouraging news, it’s easier to hide it than fix it.

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