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Reconstruction, anyone?

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Disagreeable

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This is one example of how our money is being stolen in Iraq. Excerpts; link below; my emphasis.

"In April, Najaf's main maternity hospital received rare good news: an $8 million refurbishment program financed by the United States would begin immediately. But five months and millions of dollars later, the hospital administrators say they have little but frustration to show for it."

"The United States has poured more than $200 million into reconstruction projects in this city, part of the $10 billion it has spent to rebuild Iraq. Najaf is widely cited by the military as one of the success stories in that effort, but U.S. officers involved in the rebuilding say that reconstruction projects here, as elsewhere in the country, are hobbled by poor planning, corrupt contractors and a lack of continuity among the rotating coalition officers charged with overseeing the spending."

In a series of interviews, U.S. military officers and Iraqi officials involved in the reconstruction described a pattern of failures and frustrations that Army officers who have worked in other parts of Iraq say are routine. Residents complain that many of the city's critical needs remain unfulfilled, and the Army concedes that many projects it has financed are far behind schedule. Officers with the U.S. military say that corruption and poor oversight are largely to blame."

"But U.S. officers say there is almost no oversight after a contractor is given the job. The Army pays small Iraqi contractors in installments — 10 percent at the outset, 40 percent when the work is half done, 40 percent on completion and the final 10 percent after fixing problems identified in a final inspection. On larger projects, contractors are paid by the month, regardless of how much work is actually done.

Penalty clauses for missing deadlines are rare, and some contractors drag out their projects for months, officers say, then demand more money and threaten to walk away if it is not forthcoming."

"...The plant was supposed to be finished in June, but the feed pipe from the river has not even been connected; it was buried unmarked and now has to be relocated.

‘‘Sometimes, the only way to go is to pay off the contractor and put it out for new bids,'' the major said with a weary chuckle. He said the water treatment plant was one of four that he was considering repossessing, even though he has paid out more than $200,000 on each one."


http://www.helenair.com/articles/2005/09/18/national/hjjejaibjjiehi.txt
 

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