Sunday :: Apr 10, 2005

Condi Switches Gears As Millions In US Taxpayer Funds Are Wasted On Failing Iraqi Reconstruction Projects

by Steve

The Los Angeles Times ran two pieces this weekend, which are bookends on how the original Administration assumptions about Iraqi reconstruction and the ability of Iraqi oil revenue to finance its own reconstruction have become exercises in taxpayer-funded fantasy-land. The LAT reported today that millions of dollars in completed reconstruction projects in Iraq at water, sewer, and power generation projects have been wasted because the Iraqis lack the training and motivation to maintain the new facilities. As a result, these brand new facilities fall into disrepair and become inoperative. The Iraqis themselves dispute the finding and claim that not enough money has been provided for all the reconstruction that is necessary, and also claim that a lack of security is preventing workers from doing their jobs. The Americans are now admitting that they havenít provided enough post-construction training to the Iraqis.

Apparently, Washington felt and perhaps rightly so that it was enough to rebuild Iraq with new facilities and provide basic training to the locals on how to operate the plants, and then our overpaid US gravy train contractors would leave the Iraqis to their own devices in maintaining the plants, moving on to the next rebuilding project. But Condiís State Department, to its credit, has admitted that the Defense Department screwed up the occupation planning by using American firms for the reconstruction, who have engaged in fraud and failed to include local Iraqi firms in the reconstruction effort, thereby disengaging them from a financial stake in making the reconstruction work. As a frequent critic of Condi, I am glad to see her State Department come out and finger Rummy for these mistakes, pin Halliburton and others for fraud, and to move towards bringing in Iraqi firms to take a larger share of the reconstruction work.

All of this could be nothing more than an Administration CYA for the slow pace and lack of success in rebuilding Iraq by pinning the problems on the Iraqis. But shifting more of the funding to local Iraqi firms and creating more and more local jobs instead of maintaining the Halliburton and Bechtel gravy train is a step in the right direction and a confirmation that Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney didn't know what the f*ck they were talking about.

Steve :: 5:41 PM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!