BAGHDAD -- The Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request going before Congress in February, officials say. The decision signals the winding down of an $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding effort in which roughly half of the money was eaten away by the insurgency, a buildup of Iraq's criminal justice system and the investigation and trial of Saddam Hussein.
Just under 20 percent of the reconstruction package remains unallocated. When the last of the $18.4 billion is spent, U.S. officials in Baghdad have made clear, other foreign donors and the fledgling Iraqi government will have to take up what authorities say is tens of billions of dollars of work yet to be done merely to bring reliable electricity, water and other services to Iraq's 26 million people.
"The U.S. never intended to completely rebuild Iraq," Brig. Gen. William McCoy, the Army Corps of Engineers commander overseeing the work, told reporters at a recent news conference. In an interview this past week, McCoy said: "This was just supposed to be a jump-start."
So, let's see: we bomb Iraq's infrastructure -- which, granted, was quaintly antique by the war's beginning, but it was functioning -- until it can't function any more, we loose an insurgency that takes care of doing in quite a lot more of Iraq's quaintly antique infrastructure ... and then we say, "Bye, y'all! Have fun rebuilding all the stuff we broke! Watch out for that mad bomber over there! Ta!"
... Well, all-righty, then!
Good evening. I have asked for this time to keep you informed of America's actions in the war on terror. [...] In Iraq, we are helping the long suffering people of that country to build a decent and democratic society at the center of the Middle East. Together we are transforming a place of torture chambers and mass graves into a nation of laws and free institutions. This undertaking is difficult and costly — yet worthy of our country, and critical to our security. [...] America has done this kind of work before. Following World War II, we lifted up the defeated nations of Japan and Germany, and stood with them as they built representative governments. We committed years and resources to this cause. And that effort has been repaid many times over in three generations of friendship and peace. America today accepts the challenge of helping Iraq in the same spirit — for their sake, and our own. [...] Our strategy in Iraq will require new resources. We have conducted a thorough assessment of our military and reconstruction needs in Iraq, and also in Afghanistan. I will soon submit to Congress a request for $87 billion. The request will cover ongoing military and intelligence operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, which we expect will cost $66 billion over the next year. This budget request will also support our commitment to helping the Iraqi and Afghan people rebuild their own nations, after decades of oppression and mismanagement. We will provide funds to help them improve security. And we will help them to restore basic services, such as electricity and water, and to build new schools, roads, and medical clinics.This effort is essential to the stability of those nations, and therefore, to our own security. Now and in the future, we will support our troops and we will keep our word to the more than 50 million people of Afghanistan and Iraq...
Apparently, electricity, water, schools, roads and medical clinics are no longer necessary for Iraq's stability. So nice to know that. I'm sure that the people who die because there aren't any clinics near them -- what with people blowing things up hither, thither and yon -- will be thrilled to know that their country is so very stable as they lay there bleeding out in the middle of the road -- pardon, in the middle of the dirt and rubble that once upon a time was a road, since we're not rebuilding those things either.Posted by iain at January 04, 2006 04:55 PM