Friday, August 10, 2007

The Crumbling Infrastructure Extravaganza

A bridge collapses in Minnesota.

A steam pipe blows up in New York City.

Rolling Power Outages occur from time to time in California.

Refineries are shut down causing non-production of an already strained supply of gasoline.

These all seem to be random happenings, yet they are very much related.

The fact of the matter is that the US infrastructure is old, decrepit and strained to the breaking point, and there is not enough money to fix it.

It is curious how there can be enough money to fix Iraq's infrastructure. But is there really the money to fix their infrastructure? It is a known fact that most of the war is being financed through borrowed money from countries like China.

I would imagine that the Chinese LOVE the idea that our infrastructure rots to pieces while we struggle to fix Iraq's infrastructure, and pour buckets of money, borrowed from them, not into our own infrastructure, but into Iraq's infrastructure.

Of course, we have to fix Iraq's infrastructure. We broke it.

Iraq's infrastructure is a system which we had a large hand in destroying. And despite billions of dollars and 4+ years of American "know how" (this should give you pause when you start to think about how we're going to fix OUR infrastructure problems) their infrastructure - electricity, sewage, water, etc, is not even back to pre-war levels - recent articles have detailed shortages of water due to there not being enough electricity to purify it and pump it.

When basic human needs are not met, democracy cannot flourish. In fact, the scarcity mentality takes over - groups in Iraq want to make sure they can take care of their own (Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds), so they'll do anything necessary to insure that happens. This usually manifests itself in sectarian killings and driving others from their homes (to "cleanse" neighborhoods).

Our infrastructure is aging, and is in need of an upgrade - examples of this are our highway system, our electrical grid, and our aging gasoline refineries. But, since we've poured so much into Iraq, where are the massive amounts of cash going to come from to fix it?

Taxes? Heck no. Those will go straight to pay our massive debt.

We caught a glimpse of what COULD happen when a system fails completely in New Orleans post-Katrina. Very few in the US are food producers. Those living in cities and suburbs all over America would have a difficult time surviving with a massive infrastructure collapse.

This collapse could come from natural aging of infrastructure, or deliberate repeated targeting of brittle infrastructure by terrorist groups (either domestic or foreign).

That sounds like a scenario hatched in a Hollywood studio (i.e. Mad Max, The Terminator) - visions of apocalyptic anarchy. I hope that it doesn't happen.

I don't have much faith in those who are supposed to keep it from happening though.

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