Dick Cheney argued on Face the Nation that Americans don't hear about the great progress in Iraq because the media create focuses on car bombings in Baghdad. Well, here's some of the non-car bomb news. I read this the other day (USA Today of all places), and thought it might be worth keeping around so I can always remember the Good News:
The head of the U.S. program to rebuild Iraq said that the Iraqi government can no longer count on U.S. funds and must rely on its own money and cash from other Persian Gulf nations to complete the massive undertaking. The $21 billion U.S.-funded program set out to fix or build schools, roads, clinics, ports, bridges, government offices, phone networks, power plants and water systems.
Hundreds of projects have been completed, but the top U.S. auditor for the program has criticized it for cost overruns, corruption, understaffing and bureaucratic infighting. Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction, told Congress last month:
•Electrical capacity is BELOW prewar levels.
•Only 49 of 136 planned water projects will be finished.
•300 of 425 electricity projects will be completed.
•$5.6 billion for projects was reallocated to tackle "security needs driven by a lethal and persistent insurgency," Bowen said.
•The U.S. aimed to create public-works jobs for 1.5 million Iraqis. The U.S. Agency for International Development said last week that 77,000 have been created. (Hey - that's a little over 5%! That's not shabby!)
Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, called the U.S. plan a dismal failure. It hasn't met any of its goals. It's left a legacy of half-built projects that Iraq can't maintain.
----That last line is key: This guy says everything that the U.S. HAS managed to build/fix in 3 years is itself in danger of falling apart.