Repairing infrastructure may bring peace to Iraq

News ACEC October 30, 2003
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Demonstrated progress in rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure including water treatment, oil production and bridge and highway u

Demonstrated progress in rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure including water treatment, oil production and bridge and highway upgrades will help improve the scenario for peace and reduce attacks and casualties among U.S. soldiers, the chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts.


In an exclusive interview in Engineering Inc., the association magazine for the American Council of Engineering Companies, Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers discusses many of the reconstruction challenges being faced in Iraq and Afghanistan.


"There is a tie between rebuilding infrastructure and the hope for a more peaceful future in Iraq," Flowers said. "Time is on our side. As we repair Iraqi infrastructure and improve quality of life, the Iraqi people will no longer tolerate oppression."


In the interview, Flowers cautioned the U.S. from considering abandoning Iraq even amid the almost daily attacks on U.S. soldiers. Instead, he said the U.S. and the world community should intensify the reconstruction of the war-torn nation estimated to cost as high as $20 billion.


"If we leave there now because of the casualties we've been taking it will send absolutely the wrong message to the terrorists," Flowers said. "This would greatly prolong the global war on terror because they are willing to sacrifice 75 people to get one American. They think if they can kill enough of us, we'll leave."


Flowers believes the key is to improve Iraq's old and poorly maintained infrastructure as quickly as possible to demonstrate progress and create hope among the people, many of whom still live in desolate and unsanitary living conditions.


"What we're about now is putting people back to work, creating infrastructure and restarting the agriculture. Within the next six months you will see a large difference in the quality of life for the Iraqi people, and within a year there will be a huge difference," said Flowers.


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