The sweltering heat wave in South Jersey and across much of the United States has Americans feeling like they're living in a desert. According to The Weather Channel, South Jersey's heat index -- what the temperature feels like when heat and humidity are combined -- will be about 115 degrees today. In comparison, Baghdad will experience a high of 111 degrees today. And with little to no humidity, the heat index will be about 111 degrees -- making Iraq feel 4 degrees cooler than South Jersey.So while we're feeling the heat (and maybe a little self-pity and woe) it's worth remembering that a vast majority of us have can just crank the airconditioner.
Folks in Iraq -- Iraqis and GI's alike -- have no such option. First of all, most of Iraq can't meet electricity demand in the best of circumstances, limiting access in the country to AC, refrigerated water, etc. Secondly, this weather is much more condusive to short tempers and desperation among Iraqis and US soldiers alike. The mind reels.......
As temperatures rise above 120 degrees, many Baghdad residents are facing their fourth summer in a row with only sporadic electricity throughout the day, even as the U.S. State Department claims that Iraq met its electricity production goals for the first time this month. The power supply still falls about 33% short of demand, and the dilapidated power grid in Baghdad means that the capital city frequently gets less electricity than its outlying provinces. According to cable sent to the State Department by U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad, one Baghdad neighborhood recently found itself without electricity for an entire month.Ouch.
That goes for the American Soldiers in the warzone as well. Imagine running around in this heat wearing combat boots, fifty pounds of gear and armour on your back in the sweltering heat and the fog of war. So in addition to roadside bombs, extended tours and lousy civilian leadership the troops now have another deadly factor to contend with: morbidly hot weather. It's no wonder our armed forces are burnt out. Literally and figuratively.
I dunno about you, but putting this into a bit of perspective kinda makes me feel sheepish for all the creature comforts I tend to take for granted.