Kevin McCullough

The nation and economy known as the new Iraq is succeeding, and those who dispute this are simply lying.

Call it whatever you'd like - a quagmire, a country torn by violence, the next Vietnam, etc. - but it is dishonest to say is that this nation is not a success. Government corruption, uncontrolled militias, and (as the drive-by media likes to remind us) daily attacks using improvised exploding devices - but it is not an economy going under.

Take yourself back to the days following 9.11. Do you remember the near stand still our economy experienced? The airline industry down for days and the markets went into the tank. I can only surmise that similar bumps in our economic stability would be felt if we were seeing radicals crossing the borders from our neighbors (and who knows - they probably are), and decided once here they would blow up policemen, military check-points, and the passing civilians on a daily basis.

Despite the violence the economic growth in Iraq is defying all expectations by nearly any observer.

Want proof?

The leading cell phone company Iraqna is set to take in nearly $520 million in revenues in 2006. That follows a record year in 2005 of $333 million. The leading export of Iraq is producing nearly $41 billion in revenues. In 2004 there were only 8,000 registered companies with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - today there are over 34,000.

While we in the U.S. are thrilled to hear about GDP (gross domestic product) coming in at around 4% (so much so that it begins to bring down our national debt faster than expected), imagine enjoying Iraq's GDP growth of 13% in 2006. Which followed a record year in 2005 of 17%.

Since 2003 the salaries of average Iraqis have risen in excess of 100%. In addition the Iraqi government has slashed the income tax rates from 45% to just around 15%. That has resulted in the average Iraqi family being able to develop long term nest-eggs (we call them IRAs).

Gasoline is only .56 cents a gallon. It wouldn't be that high except that Iraq decided to payoff some of its debt to the World Bank and are using energy profits to do so.