Let’s Make Things Worse In Iraq

From Holden:

That seems to be the administration’s new strategy:

Iraqi officials in charge of rebuilding their country’s shattered and decrepit infrastructure are warning that the Bush administration’s plan to divert $3.46 billion from water, sewage, electricity and other reconstruction projects to security could leave many people without the crucial services that generally form the backbone of a stable and functioning democracy.


[T]he move comes as a grievous disappointment to Iraqi officials who had already seen the billions once promised them tied up for months by American regulations and planning committees, consumed by administrative overhead and set aside for the enormous costs of ensuring safety for the workers and engineers who will actually build the new sewers, water plants and electrical generators. Of the $18.4 billion that Congress approved last fall for Iraq’s reconstruction, only about $1 billion has been spent so far.

“Nobody believes this will benefit Iraq,” said Kamil N. Chadirji, deputy minister for administration and financial affairs in the Iraqi Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, which has responsibility for water and sewage projects outside Baghdad.

“For a year we have been talking, with beautiful PowerPoint documents, but without a drop of water,” Mr. Chadirji said, waving a colorful printout that he received from American officials.

The decision to shift the money, which had been earmarked for rebuilding everything from roads and bridges to telecommunications and the outdated equipment pumping oil, appears to signal an abandonment of the administration’s original plan for putting Iraq back on its feet as a functioning nation.