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AP: US Wasted Billions In Rebuilding Iraq

From a suddenly concerned about government waste Associated Press:

AP Impact: U.S. wasted billions in rebuilding Iraq

By Kim Gamel, Associated Press Writer Mon Aug 30, 2010

KHAN BANI SAAD, Iraq – A $40 million prison sits in the desert north of Baghdad, empty. A $165 million children’s hospital goes unused in the south. A $100 million waste water treatment system in Fallujah has cost three times more than projected, yet sewage still runs through the streets.

As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds has been wasted on these projects — more than 10 percent of the $53.7 billion the US has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency.

That amount is likely an underestimate, based on an analysis of more than 300 reports by auditors with the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. And it does not take into account security costs, which have run almost 17 percent for some projects.

Such are the fruits of ‘nation building.’ Which, as we recall, the AP championed.

There are success stories. Hundreds of police stations, border forts and government buildings have been built, Iraqi security forces have improved after years of training, and a deepwater port at the southern oil hub of Umm Qasr has been restored.

But even completed projects for the most part fell far short of original goals, according to an Associated Press review of hundreds of audits and investigations and visits to several sites. And the verdict is still out on whether the program reached its goal of generating Iraqi good will toward the United States instead of the insurgents

Really? The US is not more popular than the “insurgents” who are for the most part Saddam’s old guard and outside freelance terrorists?

You would have to hate the United States as much as the AP does to believe any such thing.

Col. Jon Christensen, who took over as head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq this summer, said it has completed more than 4,800 projects and is rushing to finish 233 more. Some 595 projects have been terminated, mostly for security reasons…

"There’s only so much we could do," Christensen said. "A lot of it comes down to them taking ownership of it."

Which, apparently, the Iraqis are refusing to do. Despite the fact that the Iraqi government is awash in oil dollars.

The reconstruction program in Iraq has been troubled since its birth shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The U.S. was forced to scale back many projects even as they spiked in cost, sometimes to more than double or triple initial projections.

As part of the so-called surge strategy [sic], the military in 2007 shifted its focus to protecting Iraqis and winning their trust. American soldiers found themselves hiring contractors to paint schools, refurbish pools and oversee neighborhood water distribution centers. The $3.6 billion Commander’s Emergency Response Program provided military units with ready cash for projects, and paid for Sunni fighters who agreed to turn against al-Qaida in Iraq for a monthly salary.

It sounds remarkably like Mr. Obama’s ‘stimulus.’

But sometimes civilian and military reconstruction efforts were poorly coordinated and overlapped…

Exactly like.

But the final sentence from the piece sums things up nicely:

Ghassan Kadhim, said: "It is the duty of the Americans to do such projects because they were the ones who inflicted harm on people."

Is it wrong to hate a whole nation? A whole region? A whole people?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, August 30th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “AP: US Wasted Billions In Rebuilding Iraq”

  1. NoNeoCommies says:

    Perfect timing!
    Just like New Orleans, why should we pour money into projects that leak most of it to corruption?
    Why help people that consider such help an entitlement?

    Seriously though, I am willing to bet more Iraqis are actually grateful than New Orleanians.

  2. proreason says:

    I have always thought it was worthwhile to give the Iraqis a better government and a better life. Particularly since Iraq was supposedly the most secular country in the Middle East, as well as the most strategically important from a military perspective.

    It seemed like a decent alternative to either dealing with medieval tyrants for the next few centuries, blasting an entire region off the face of the earth, or surrendering to their primitive demands.

    Considering the obstacles, it has been a job well done.

    But stories like this make you wonder if it was worth it.

    And Afghanistan will be a hundred times worse.

    If there was a group of large and dangerous animal in your county, and you were an animal lover but had large herds of your own that needed to be protected; and if you had invested a fortune and the lives of many of your family and hired hands to try to contain the the dangerous animals to no avail; what would you do?

    That’s the decision we face, if we had leaders with the honesty to admit it. How much more treasure and how many more lives is it worth to try to live with people who would rather see us dead.

    I wish there was some way to measure whether Muslims are reconciling to civilization or not. Maybe we should be happy that there have only been a few thousand deaths per year since Dubya fought back.

    And maybe we should stick our head in the sand with the Moron and just let Iran have its head. After all, we can’t be sure that millions will die at the hands of those maniacs, and they probably won’t be us anyway. And when the world economy is thrust back hundreds of years, we will always have the satisfaction of knowing we weren’t islamophobes.

  3. BigOil says:

    My brother completed two tours in Iraq. He told me the Iraqis lacked initiative. Whether it was due to a generation living under the thumb of a dictator or sheer laziness, he did not know.

    In the end, whether or not their society advances, is up to them. We sacrificed a lot to give them their freedom. If they do not have the fortitude for the struggle necessary to keep it, their freedom will vanish. Not that much different than the situation we face here.

    • proreason says:

      They don’t need initiative.

      Allah laid everything out for them hundreds of years ago. All they have to do is follow the rules.

      It’s why they never invent anything. The highly praised “gifts to humanity” of which the Moron speaks (in addition to being mostly lies) all happened before Islam.

      Yes, the Middle East was the cradle of civilization. But since Islam appeared, it has been the graveyard of civilization.

      Try to name one, just one contribution to humanity by Islamic people in the last 1,000 years. If the West, Russia, and China vacated the region, the oil wells would grind to a halt in a few years, and the cities would crumble back into the desert in a few centuries.

  4. artboyusa says:

    Thank you to your brother for his service, Big. Was it worth it – who knows? Its too soon to say. And “worth it” from who’s perspective? Iran seems to have done pretty well out of all this, for example, but I can’t see any vast benefits that the US has accrued. Maybe in a couple of hundred years we’ll know. Right now, I’m feeling a lot more isolationist as far as foreign policy goes and a lot less confident in our ability to fight wars effectively, let alone win them, within the constraints imperative upon modern warfare. I have a lot of questions about too whether our foreign policy as its been conducted for decades now is actually doing anything other than enable our “allies” to not fix their own problems and throwing away our American blood and treasure to lead a world that doesn’t want us to lead it and isn’t grateful or helpful when we do.

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