Reconstruction Funds Disappear

Reconstruction? You mean Reconstructed.

Close behind U.S. tanks and troops, America's big builders invaded Iraq three years ago. Now the reconstruction funds are drying up and they're pulling out, leaving completed projects and unfulfilled plans in the hands of an Iraqi government unprepared to manage either.

The Oct. 1 start of the U.S. government's 2007 fiscal year signaled an end to U.S. aid for new reconstruction in Iraq.

"We're really focusing now on helping Iraqis do this themselves in the future," said Daniel Speckhard, reconstruction chief at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Many Iraqi government ministries aren't able yet to pick up where the Americans leave off, he said: "They're very bad at sustainment in terms of programs and projects."

In 2003, Congress committed almost $22 billion to a three-year program to help Iraq climb back from the devastation of war, the looting that followed and years of neglect under U.N. economic sanctions and Saddam Hussein's rule.
Of that $22 billion, $6 billion had to be diverted to security costs, and much of the rest was wasted on "bureaucracy, corruption, incapacity and the spending of money on unimportant projects." $9 billion went "unaccounted for," which the conservatives out there will quickly remind you doesn't necessarily mean that it was stolen, but instead only means that we lost the receipts. Heaven forbid we have hearings on such a thing. The terrorists might take that oversight as a sign of weakness - that America doesn't have the will to throw billions of dollars into a black hole just to spite Osama. Thank god we've got President Bush to remain steadfast in the face of such rampant, terrorist-loving corruption.

So, even though the capital of the oil-rich country is only getting 5 hours of electricity a day, our job is done. Since we broke it, we own it, and we've done the Iraqis proud...

You know, our responsibility to the Iraqis was the one thing that made me support the war after the invasion. But we have failed the Iraqi people on almost every front, and now we are giving up entirely. The cessation of reconstruction funds is an attempt to cut our losses, so why are our troops still there? Why is the money more important to save than our soldier's lives?

No doubt, after the election we will see a change in the national debate about Iraq. Republicans will abandon the effort in droves, and a withdrawal timetable will be set based on Baker's Iraq Study Group. If this is the reality, why wait until after the elections? How many noble Americans must die so that God's Own Party can hold on to power?

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