Via the LA Times:
The $53-billion reconstruction effort is not without its successes. But poor planning, violence and a failure to consult Iraqis derailed many projects, which may offer lessons in Afghanistan.Read more here:
The shell of a prison that will never be used rises from the desert on the edge of this dusty town north of Baghdad, a hulking monument to the wasted promise of America's massive, $53-billion reconstruction effort in Iraq. Construction began in May 2004 at a time when U.S. money was pouring into the country. It quickly ran into huge cost overruns. Violence erupted in the area, and a manager was shot dead in his office. The Iraqi government said it didn't want or need the prison. In 2007 the project was abandoned, but only after $40 million of U.S. taxpayer money had been spent.
A recent audit cites the example of an unfinished slaughterhouse in Basra — price tag $5.6 million — that was undertaken without securing a supply of water to wash away the blood.
The $32.5-million cost of a sewage treatment facility for the war-ravaged city of Fallouja, begun in 2005 by the U.S. military, has mushroomed to $104 million, and will now reach only 4,300 homes instead of the 24,500 originally envisioned, if it ever reaches any homes at all. Although the treatment plant is almost complete, the contract did not include a pipeline to connect the plant to the town.
The 94-bed Children's Hospital in Basra, launched with much fanfare by then-First Lady Laura Bush in 2004, was originally pegged for completion in 2005 at a cost of $37 million. It remains unfinished, and the cost has spiraled to $171 million, $110 million of which was provided by U.S. taxpayers.
I supposed that's what happen when you break something and is in a hurry to reconstruct what you broke -- you end up with what SIGIR says -- "cost-plus contracts, high contractor overhead expenses, excessive contractor award fees, and unacceptable program and project delays all contributed to a significant waste of taxpayers' dollars."
SIGIR also says "This question underscores an overarching hard lesson from Iraq: Beware of pursuing
large-scale reconstruction programs while significant conflict continues."
Please repeat: "Beware of pursuing large-scale reconstruction programs while significant conflict continues."
'Xcuse me -- are we not doing exactly the same thing in Afghanistan -- the baghdafication of the US Embassy in Kabul, including surges in military, civilian, reconstruction projects and money poured down the drain like there's no limit to the taxpayer's credit card?