Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Iraq a la FEMA

We broke it. Now we've decided not to fix it.
In a decision that will be seen as a retreat from a promise by President George Bush to give Iraq the best infrastructure in the region, administration officials say they will not seek reconstruction funds when the budget request is presented to Congress next month, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

The $18.4bn (£10.6bn) allocation is scheduled to run out in June 2007. The move will be seen by critics as further evidence of the administration's failure to plan for the aftermath of the war.

A decision not to renew the reconstruction programme would leave Iraq with the burden of tens of billions of dollars in unfinished projects, and an oil industry and electrical grid that have yet to return to pre-war production levels. (The Guardian)
If ever there was dramatic evidence of the potency of the insurgency and the shallowness of US intentions this is it. Almost half of already spent reconstruction funds were used instead in a desperate attempt to shore up the Iraqi security forces. That doesn't seem to be working any better than the electricity grid or the water supply:
And funds originally intended to repair the electricity grid and sewage and sanitation system were used to train special bomb squad units and a hostage rescue force. The US also shifted funds to build 10 new prisons to keep pace with the insurgency, and safe houses and armoured cars for Iraqi judges, the Post said.


Production on Iraq's national electrical grid remains at 4,000 megawatts, 400 megawatts below pre-war levels, with the average Iraqi receiving less than 12 hours of power a day. Oil production, which was supposed to provide the funds for Iraqi reconstruction, according to the Pentagon's pre-war planning, also remains well below pre-war levels, mainly due to sabotage by insurgents. Iraq's refineries are producing 1.1m barrels of oil a day, compared with 2.6m barrels on the eve of the invasion.
The cut-off of $18 billion in reconstruction funding is taken by many as a sign the US is about to bail out, at least bail out of their responsibility to repair a civil infrastructure that was intact prior to the invasion but is now in shambles. The only intention left (and maybe the only one there ever was) is to put in a pliable and oil company friendly government. And it looks like they will fail at that too.

The Iraqis, our soldiers and their families will be better off the faster we get out. But we owe them reparations, too. Somehow. I don't know how.

Heckuva job, George.