Good Things in Iraq
Not Being Reported by the Media-Truth!,
Summary of the eRumor A message said to be from
an Iowa Army National Guardsman named Ray Reynolds who is serving in
It lists a number of improvements in Iraq since the U.S. led
incursion in 2003.
This message began circulating on the
Internet in April, 2004.
It's a passionate email from a soldier serving in Iraq about some of
the good things that are happening as a result of the U.S.-led
We checked into each one of his statements and some were accurate,
some were not.
But his figure is low! According to a UNICEF
report at the end of 2003, more than 3 1/2 million children had been
School Attendance is up 80%-Truth! Again, according to an
April, 2004 report from UNICEF, school attendance in Iraq increased
by 60 percent shortly after the war to more than 95 percent during
the recent national exam week.
More than 1,500 schools renovated-Truth! UNICEF says that as of
April, 2004, more than 2,500 schools have been renovated with the
goal of 4,000 being completed by the end of the year, but 10,000
more need repair.
The Port of Uhm Qasar [sic] renovated so grain can be offloaded
faster-Truth! In a November, 2003
interview on National Public Radio, Andrew Natsios of the U.S.
Agency for International Development said that the port at Umm Qasar,
Iraq's largest, is modern and functioning for the first time in 20
Iraqi oil reached 2 billion barrels exported in August of 2003-Fiction!
Iraq sits on the second largest proven crude oil reserves in the
world and the flow of oil resumed in August, 2003 amid equipment
that needed repair and suffered from looting and attacks from saboteurs.
The initial flow in August, 2003, was 500,000 barrels per day,
according to the BBC.
Iraqi oil is subject to the ups and downs of the crude oil market
but in April, 2003, more than 2 million barrels a day were being
produced, but that has not accumulated to 2 billion.
Clean drinking water for the first time for than 4.5 million Iraqis-Fiction! According to the U.S.
Agency for International Development, safe drinking water was not
widespread in Iraq before the U.S. led coalition invaded Iraq but
that was partly because of water treatment systems that were in
disrepair or had been looted.
In other words, clean water is not new to Iraq.
We couldn't find any figures that indicated how many would be
receiving clean water for the first time.
In December, 2003, USAID was on track to provide clean water to more
than 14 million Iraqis.
Iraq has twice the electrical power than before the war-Fiction! USAID says power was
restored in October, 2003 to slightly more than pre-war levels, or
more than 4500 MW as opposed to about 4400 MW prior to the war.
The goal was to reach 6000 MW by the summer of 2004.
All of the hospitals operating-Truth! Because of disrepair and
looting, it took a lot of work to get hospitals back up to speed but
according to James Haverman, the Coalition Provisional Authority
Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, all 240 hospitals in
Iraq as well as 2400 primary health care clinics were operating as
of December, 2003.
Elections taking place in all major cities-Fiction! This has been a
source of contention in Iraq.
In June of 2003 U.S. authorities called halts to local elections
across Iraq and chose to put hand-chosen mayors or administrators
There have been various local elections since that time and debate
over whether Iraq is ready for national elections.
According to the Army New Service, there were three truly democratic
elections by the end of 2003 in the cities of Tallafar, Zumar and
Al-Eyaldia in northern Iraq.
Sewer and water lines installed in every major city-Unproven! We're not sure about all
the major cities, but according to USAID, the water and sewage in
Iraq has been suffering from years of neglect, electricity
shortages, and post-war looting.
Work is underway to restore healthy water and sewage treatment to
more than 14-million Iraqis.
More than 60,000 police in the streets, more than 100,000 Iraqi
civil defense police securing the country, and 80,000 Iraqi soldiers
patrolling the streets with the U.S. soldiers-Mostly
All accounts regarding the
Iraqi police say that the goal is to have 35,000 to 50,000 trained
and in place by 2005 or 2006, according to the U.S. State
The first class of more than 400 police offers graduated in January,
The Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) is composed of Iraqis who remain
citizens, as opposed to serving full time in the military, and are
integrated into the coalition military units.
The internal defense of the country is in their hands and they are
led by the coalition.
There were about 25,000 hired and trained by February, 2004.
The first Iraqi Army battalion of 700 soldiers graduated in October
By February of 2004, 3,500 had been recruited, about 2000 of those
Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever-Unproven! We've not found any
statistics regarding how many new customers there will be for
Most of the work in Iraq has been to restore telephone
communications that were lost because of damage from the war.
An interim constitution has been
signed-Truth! On March 8, 2004, an interim
constitution that defines Iraq as being "federal, democratic
and pluralist" was signed by members of the Iraqi Governing
Girls are allowed to attend school-Truth!
But Misleading! A quick read of Sgt. Reynolds'
report would leave the impression that Iraqi girls are able to
attend school for the first time because of the invasion.
According to Human Rights Watch,
Iraqi girls and women have enjoyed comparatively more rights than in
some of the other countries of the Middle East.
The Iraqi Constitution of 1970 included women's rights for voting,
attending school, owning property, and running for office.
Still, the status of women in Iraq has not always been the best
because of other cultural and economic factors such as the aftermath
of the 1991 war and economic sanctions.
School attendance for girls has not been prohibited although more
boys than girls have been enrolled, especially in rural areas.
Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to
prevent the spread of germs-Truth! Not only are U.S. soldiers
demonstrating field sanitation and hand washing, but UNICEF is
conducting an active health education program to improve personal
hygiene and promote more hand washing.
Textbooks that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first
time in 30 years-Truth! According to published reports, a
team of U.S. appointed Iraqi educators combed through more than 500
Iraqi textbooks and removed every mention of Saddam Hussein and the
party including pictures.
The texts will probably be revised by the Iraqis at some point in
the future, but the pre-war texts were dominated with Saddam
Last updated 4/24/04
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
Subject: About Iraq from a cousin
This is a letter from Ray Reynolds, a medic in the
Iowa Army National Guard, serving in Iraq:
As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks of my
stay in Iraq, I wanted to say thanks to all of you who did not believe
the media. They have done a very poor job of covering everything that
has happened. I am sorry that I have not been able to visit all of you
during my two week leave back home. And just so you can rest at night
knowing something is happening in Iraq that is noteworthy, I thought I
would pass this on to you. This is the list of things that has happened
in Iraq recently: (Please share it with your friends and compare it to
the version that your paper is producing.)
* Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.
* School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.
* Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored
there so education can occur.
* The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from
* The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.
* Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time
ever in Iraq.
* The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before
* 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35%
before the war.
* Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are
* Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.
* Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
* Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
* Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side
with US soldiers.
* Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever
* Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to
prevent the spread of germs.
* An interim constitution has been signed.
* Girls are allowed to attend school.
* Textbooks that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first
time in 30 years.
Don't believe for one-second that these people do not
want us there. I have met many, many people from Iraq that want us
there, and in a bad way. They say they will never see the freedoms we
talk about but they hope their children will. We are doing a good job in
Iraq and I challenge anyone, anywhere to dispute me on these facts. So
If you happen to run into John Kerry, be sure to give him my email
address and send him to Denison, Iowa. This soldier will set him
straight. If you are like me and very disgusted with how this period of
rebuilding has been portrayed, email this to a friend and let them know
there are good things happening.
Ray Reynolds, SFC Iowa Army National Guard
234th Signal Battalion