Reconstruction in Iraq - TOTAL FAILURE

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by OldCorpse, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #1
    Wow. Everybody knew that the vast majority of U.S. lead efforts at reconstruction were a failure - even the pentagon admitted as much. However, they always maintained that there were also isolated "success" stories. Now it transpires, that out of 8 so called "successful" projects - actually 7 were failures... this after an investigation by a federal oversight agency.

    So, reconstruction was supposed to be the cornerstone of our efforts in Iraq - to provide services and jobs and drain away the insurgency. This was supposed to be the building block of long term success in Iraq. It has been a TOTAL FAILURE. What are we doing in Iraq again? And why? Total failure, total defeat, total disarray.

    "The new findings come after years of insistence by American officials in Baghdad that too much attention has been paid to the failures in Iraq and not enough to the successes."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/w...42f31f0e905845&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    "April 29, 2007
    Rebuilt Iraq Projects Found Crumbling

    By JAMES GLANZ
    In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.

    The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success — in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections — were no longer working properly.

    The inspections ranged geographically from northern to southern Iraq and covered projects as varied as a maternity hospital, barracks for an Iraqi special forces unit and a power station for Baghdad International Airport.

    At the airport, crucially important for the functioning of the country, inspectors found that while $11.8 million had been spent on new electrical generators, $8.6 million worth were no longer functioning.

    At the maternity hospital, a rehabilitation project in the northern city of Erbil, an expensive incinerator for medical waste was padlocked — Iraqis at the hospital could not find the key when inspectors asked to see the equipment — and partly as a result, medical waste including syringes, used bandages and empty drug vials were clogging the sewage system and probably contaminating the water system.

    The newly built water purification system was not functioning either.

    Officials at the oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, said they had made an effort to sample different regions and various types of projects, but that they were constrained from taking a true random sample in part because many projects were in areas too unsafe to visit. So, they said, the initial set of eight projects — which cost a total of about $150 million — cannot be seen as a true statistical measure of the thousands of projects in the roughly $30 billion American rebuilding program.

    But the officials said the initial findings raised serious new concerns about the effort.

    The reconstruction effort was originally designed as nearly equal to the military push to stabilize Iraq, allow the government to function and business to flourish, and promote good will toward the United States.

    “These first inspections indicate that the concerns that we and others have had about the Iraqis sustaining our investments in these projects are valid,” Stuart W. Bowen Jr., who leads the office of the special inspector general, said in an interview on Friday.

    The conclusions will be summarized in the latest quarterly report by Mr. Bowen’s office on Monday. Individual reports on each of the projects were released on Thursday and Friday.

    Mr. Bowen said that because he suspected that completed projects were not being maintained, he had ordered his inspectors to undertake a wider program of returning to examine projects that had been completed for at least six months, a phase known as sustainment.

    Exactly who is to blame for the poor record on sustainment for the first sample of eight projects was not laid out in the report, but the American reconstruction program has been repeatedly criticized for not including in its rebuilding budget enough of the costs for spare parts, training, stronger construction and other elements that would enable projects continue to function once they have been built.

    The new reports provide some support for that position: a sophisticated system for distributing oxygen throughout the Erbil hospital had been ignored by medical staff members, who told inspectors that they distrusted the new equipment and had gone back to using tried-and-true oxygen tanks — which were stored unsafely throughout the building.

    The Iraqis themselves appear to share responsibility for the latest problems, which cropped up after the United States turned the projects over to the Iraqi government. Still, the new findings show that the enormous American investment in the reconstruction program is at risk, Mr. Bowen said.

    Besides the airport, hospital and special forces barracks, places where inspectors found serious problems included two projects at a military base near Nasiriya and one at a military recruiting center in Hilla — both cities in the south — and a police station in Mosul, a northern city. A second police station in Mosul was found to be in good condition.

    The dates when the projects were completed and deemed successful ranged from six months to almost a year and a half before the latest inspections. But those inspections found numerous instances of power generators that no longer operated; sewage systems that had clogged and overflowed, damaging sections of buildings; electrical systems that had been jury-rigged or stripped of components; floors that had buckled; concrete that had crumbled; and expensive equipment that was simply not in use.

    Curiously, most of the problems seemed unrelated to sabotage stemming from Iraq’s parlous security situation, but instead were the product of poor initial construction, petty looting, a lack of any maintenance and simple neglect.

    A case in point was the $5.2 million project undertaken by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build the special forces barracks in Baghdad. The project was completed in September 2005, but by the time inspectors visited last month, there were numerous problems caused by faulty plumbing throughout the buildings, and four large electrical generators, each costing $50,000, were no longer operating.

    The problems with the generators were seemingly minor: missing batteries, a failure to maintain adequate oil levels in the engines, fuel lines that had been pilfered or broken. That kind of neglect is typical of rebuilding programs in developing countries when local nationals are not closely involved in planning efforts, said Rick Barton, co-director of the postconflict reconstruction project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a research organization in Washington.

    “What ultimately makes any project sustainable is local ownership from the beginning in designing the project, establishing the priorities,” Mr. Barton said. “If you don’t have those elements it’s an extension of colonialism and generally it’s resented.”

    Mr. Barton, who has closely monitored reconstruction efforts in Iraq and other countries, said the American rebuilding program had too often created that resentment by imposing projects on Iraqis or relying solely on the advice of a local tribal chief or some “self-appointed representative” of local Iraqis.

    The new findings come after years of insistence by American officials in Baghdad that too much attention has been paid to the failures in Iraq and not enough to the successes.

    Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh, commander of the Gulf Region Division of the Army Corps, told a news conference in Baghdad late last month that with so much coverage of violence in Iraq “what you don’t see are the successes in the reconstruction program, how reconstruction is making a difference in the lives of everyday Iraqi people.”

    And those declared successes are heavily promoted by the United States government. A 2006 news release by the Army Corps, titled “Erbil Maternity and Pediatric Hospital — not just bricks and mortar!” praises both the new water purification system and the incinerator. The incinerator, the release said, would “keep medical waste from entering into the solid waste and water systems.”

    But when Mr. Bowen’s office presented the Army Corps with the finding that neither system was working at the struggling hospital and recommended a training program so that Iraqis could properly operate the equipment, General Walsh tersely disagreed with the recommendation in a letter appended to the report, which also noted that the building had suffered damage because workers used excess amounts of water to clean the floors.

    The bureau within the United States Embassy in Baghdad that oversees reconstruction in Iraq was even more dismissive, disagreeing with all four of the inspector general’s recommendations, including those suggesting that the United States should lend advice on disposing of the waste and maintaining the floors.

    “Recommendations such as how much water to use in cleaning floors or disposal of medical waste could be deemed as an intrusion on, or attempt to micromanage operations of an Iraqi entity that we have no controlling interest over,” wrote William Lynch, acting director of the embassy bureau, called the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office."
     
  2. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #2
    I think that even the most rabid opponents of the war knew we would defeat Saddam militarily with relative ease.

    I remember the day we invaded - and I thought to myself "Ok, we'll get Saddam for sure, but then what? We had better be prepared to invest in a serious rebuilding effort, or the population will turn on us very quickly - putting Iraq back together is a more difficult and much more important part of this attempt at "regime change"".

    It makes me wonder about how the outcome could be different had we had thrown billions of dollars at rebuilding the infrastructure immediately after toppling Saddam's government, rather than trying to hunt down every last "bad guy"...
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #3
    boy, i'm glad *we're* not paying for all that stuff.

    oh, wait.
     
  4. Queso macrumors G4

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    #4
    $450bn of American taxpayers money doesn't go very far these days does it. The question is, how the hell does this move forward now? There's no scenario that doesn't seem to involve Iraq turning long-term into either mid-90s Bosnia or Afghanistan. Even partitioning the country is going to end up with mass graves etc.

    Oh yeah, and when does the US Government get to seize the assets of Halliburton and the Carlyle Group?
     
  5. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #5
    This is all because Cheney and friends had no oversight on blank check funding supposedly in the good hands of Halliburton, KBR and the like.

    Do you really think the insurgeny would have gotten to these proportions if the Iraqis' had been given meaningful work?

    This always was a scam to fleece the American taxpayer from the very beginning and how much you wanna bet Cheney or his family members have a sweet little nest egg tucked away in some secret offshore bank account as a reward?

    Now they want another 124 billion " for the troops "

    I'm fine with that if it really goes to " the troops "

    How much of this money is going to contractors that will continue to fleece
    the taxpayers for all it's worth?

    Unbelievable and totally believable considering how these sheisters operated.
     
  6. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #6
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    golden words up there, FFTT.

    the bad part: there is no good part, no silver lining.
     
  7. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #7
    It makes me sick to know that crime does indeed pay, and pay well. Cheney will die happy and richer than all of us put together, proving once more that the rich and powerful make and break all the rules we have to play by. Have a nice day. :)
     
  8. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #8
    Why do you think Halliburton's CEO is moving to Brunei?

    He sure wouldn't want his accounts.... seized in a Cheney impeachment investigation.

    Do we even have an extradition aggreement with Brunei?

    Food for thought
     
  9. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #9
    I still can't wait to see Cheney's face after he leaves office and George Soros denies him his "war bonus" from Halliburton. Anybody who doesn't see that coming is a fool. He bought all that stock for a reason, I can almost guarantee you.
     
  10. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #10
    Just ask how much military experience the administration had in any war? They had Rumsfeld from the stone age of we can kill more of your guys then you can kill of ours but they clearly had no idea what to do after Saddams military waas defeated. None at all as was seen in the rioting the day after. 4 years later and where is the progress? The draft dodgers running the republican spin machine had much more expertise in spin and lies then they did with waging a real war. ChickenHawks leading us into battle is what we have. The only real Hero out of the republicans is Cunningham who is now doing Jail time for screwing us for Boeing profits. Bush & Cheney are out of their league. allways have been.
     
  11. Queso macrumors G4

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    #11
    Don't forget Colin Powell, although he obviously quit in disgust over the whole mess first chance he got.
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    The twisted thing is, the GOP and all their right-wing echo-chamber sycophants would be going nuts if this kind of government largesse were even being GRANTED in the US, let along being mismanaged on this scale.

    Think about that: The GOP cares more about Iraqis that Americans when it comes to government spending.
     
  13. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #13
    Apparently they haven't learned anything from decades of development work experience. William Lynch's statement here is either a pure cop out or an indication of complete ignorance. Saying that you can't provide training on how to use equipment provided because it would micromanaging is a pretty clear indication that he doesn't understand the first thing about what he's talking about. For example, he should read about PEPFAR's work in waste management. For example:

    http://www.pepfar.gov/press/83014.htm

    You'll note that the program has two essential parts: 1) providing equipment. 2) providing training.
     
  14. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #14
    miloblithe wrote:

    "William Lynch's statement here is either a pure cop out or an indication of complete ignorance."

    Indeed, which is it, cop out or ignorance? Hmm. Actually, this neatly illustrates why that Army officer wrote that blistering article denouncing our generals in Iraq as career oriented political hacks. Case in point, I'd say.

    As a side note, this is so far in interesting contrast to Vietnam. During the Vietnam war, there was widespread denounciation of the military brass in the press and popular criticism - remember how Westmoreland was called Wastemoreland? People knew we were ill-served by the military elite and political elite who combined into a deadly killing machine that took the lives of over 50K American soldiers. Today, the equally deserving of criticism military elite so far has escaped any responsibility for totally boneheaded and cynically political conduct of this war that has cost us over 3000 deaths and countless more to come, no doubt. Even Gen. Petreus... there was a thread here awhile ago, about how Petreus met in secret with the Republican leadership to discuss how the war will impact politics in this country, with Petreus promising to deliver certain metrics by certain time frames, which the Republicans can use in dirty politics against the Democrats. And yet, Petreus is seen as some kind of righteous superman by everyone. Dirty, dirty, dirty business the whole lot of them. Feh.
     
  15. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #15
    So what did all that money go towards? We certainly aren't getting our money's worth. Did they honestly think no one would see this? Or care. Not that I've heard much in the press, but part of it is that it's no surprise.

    Also wondering where all the war supports are when these types of threads pop up.
     
  16. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #16
    Well, they paid development contractors to do the development work, and security contractors to protect those contractors, which they did in part by not letting the development contractors leave base to do their jobs.
     
  17. Queso macrumors G4

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    #17
    And the board of Halliburton filled a big swimming pool full of taxpayers cash and dived into it like Scrooge McDuck, dancing and laughing whilst they threw it around :D
     
  18. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #18
    Well, sort of. The GOP cares only about what will earn money for themselves and their buddies. That doesn't exclude the United States. If Dick Cheney had been CEO of Lockheed Martin or some of the other corporations that currently contract with NASA, I'm sure there would "suddenly emerge" an urgent need to build moonbases and space stations the size of Babylon 5. (Not that they'd work, mind you.)

    But yes, this thing has been an abject failure, far beyond what even Bush and Cheney's fiercest detractors could have predicted. Interesting follow-up question: has it been an intentional failure, to keep the money spigot open? You know, "We need a few more billion dollars to make it work right"?

    That is as disgusting and maddening a thought as I ever want to have.
     
  19. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #19
    Yeah well after we have seen the results of the Enron investigations, these CEO's are going to cover their butts any way they can.

    Face it, they know damn well that the subpoenas were going to fly as soon
    as Congress was no longer a sure thing for them.

    I will bet you that every one of these scoundrels has a nice little nest egg
    tucked away where DOJ, Interpol, Scotland Yard and any other investigative authorities have no jurisdiction.
     
  20. Queso macrumors G4

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    #20
    I wonder. Could The Patriot Act be used against them here? Would be kind of ironic wouldn't it?
     
  21. princealfie macrumors 68030

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    #21
    Yummy, any more Enron leftovers? :cool:
     
  22. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #22
    How do you trace billions upon billions in cash, gold and other unregistered assets?

    You'd have to go after extended family members, dummy corporations,
    off shore accounts with no US jurisdiction.

    How do you find hidden assets when they've done everything they can
    to hide any record of it?

    We're talking money laundering at an unimaginable scale.
     
  23. Queso macrumors G4

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    #23
    Isn't that roughly one of the things the Patriot Act was set up for though, to track the large-scale financial dealings of suspected terrorist groups.
     
  24. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #24
    Excellent point!

    Kinda makes you wonder who the real terrorists are?
     
  25. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #25
    Oh, we know who's weakening the United States. [​IMG]
     

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