It's hot -- very hot -- here, but be glad you're not in Iraq.
The high in Baghdad Thursday was 109 degrees. That is miserably hot for American soldiers, who must wear full combat gear and carry heavy equipment while on patrol. But at least they have running water and the relative comforts the Army can provide for them.
Worse off are the Iraqi civilians. Iraq's power grid is on the brink of collapse because of insurgent sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages and the inability of international construction crews to rebuild the nation's basic infrastructure. Power generation nationally is meeting only half the demand, and at least four nationwide blackouts have occurred in recent days.
The shortages across the country reportedly are the worst since the summer of 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion. To make matters worse, Baghdad is suffering through a severe water shortage linked to the crippled electric grid. There is not enough power to run purification plants and pumping stations.
As a result, people get tap water for only an hour a day. The water available during the night is undrinkable.
Temperatures have soared to 120 degrees in recent days. Even those who can afford air conditioning don't have the power to run it.
With conditions like that, winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people won't be easy.