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NYT: Gov't report spotlights Iraq rebuilding blunders

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by 2muchcoffeeman, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    Excellent enterprise work by the Times here. Pulitzer material?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/world/middleeast/14reconstruct.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=print
    <blockquote>   BAGHDAD — An <a href="http://projects.nytimes.com/reconstruction">unpublished 513-page federal history</a> of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure.
       The history, the first official account of its kind, is circulating in draft form here and in Washington among a tight circle of technical reviewers, policy experts and senior officials. It also concludes that when the reconstruction began to lag — particularly in the critical area of rebuilding the Iraqi police and army — the Pentagon simply put out inflated measures of progress to cover up the failures.
    In one passage, for example, former Secretary of State <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/colin_l_powell/index.html?inline=nyt-per" title="More articles about Colin L. Powell.">Colin L. Powell</a> is quoted as saying that in the months after the 2003 invasion, the Defense Department “kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces — the number would jump 20,000 a week! ‘We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000.’ ”
       Mr. Powell’s assertion that the Pentagon inflated the number of competent Iraqi security forces is backed up by Lt. Gen. <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/ricardo_sanchez/index.html?inline=nyt-per" title="More articles about Ricardo S. Sanchez.">Ricardo S. Sanchez</a>, the former commander of ground troops in Iraq, and <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/l_paul_iii_bremer/index.html?inline=nyt-per" title="More articles about L. Paul Bremer III.">L. Paul Bremer III</a>, the top civilian administrator  until an Iraqi government took over in June 2004.
       Among the overarching conclusions of the history is that five years after embarking on its largest foreign reconstruction project since the Marshall Plan in Europe after World War II, the United States government has in place neither the policies and technical capacity nor the organizational structure that would be needed to undertake such a program on anything approaching this scale.
       The bitterest message of all for the reconstruction program may be the way the history ends. The hard figures on basic services and industrial production compiled for the report reveal that for all the money spent and promises made, the rebuilding effort never did much more than restore what was destroyed during the invasion and the convulsive looting that followed.
       By mid-2008, the history says, $117 billion had been spent on the reconstruction of Iraq, including some $50 billion in United States taxpayer money.
       The history contains a catalog of  revelations that show the chaotic and often poisonous atmosphere prevailing in the reconstruction effort. . . .

       Titled “Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience,” the new history was compiled by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, led by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., a Republican lawyer who regularly travels to Iraq and has a staff of engineers and auditors based here. Copies of several drafts of the history were provided to reporters at The New York Times and ProPublica by two people outside the inspector general’s office who have read the draft, but are not authorized to comment publicly. . . .
        In the preface, Mr. Bowen gives a searing critique of what he calls the “blinkered and disjointed prewar planning for Iraq’s reconstruction” and the botched expansion of the program from a modest initiative to improve Iraqi services to a multibillion-dollar enterprise.
       Mr. Bowen also swipes at the endless revisions and reversals of the program, which at various times gyrated from a focus on giant construction projects led by large Western contractors to modest community-based initiatives carried out by local Iraqis. While Mr. Bowen concedes that deteriorating security had a hand in spoiling the program’s hopes, he suggests, as he has in the past, that the program did not need much outside help to do itself in.
       Despite years of studying the program, Mr. Bowen writes that he still has not found a good answer to the question of why the program was even pursued as soaring violence made it untenable. “Others will have to provide that answer,” Mr. Bowen writes.
       “But beyond the security issue stands another compelling and unavoidable answer: the U.S. government was not adequately prepared to carry out the reconstruction mission it took on in mid-2003,” he concludes.</blockquote>
    The first link in the story (and also this one) takes you to the report itself: "The draft of a federal report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Annotations are based on the review's findings. The draft was provided to reporters at The New York Times and ProPublica by two people outside the Inspector General's office who have read the draft. "
     
  2. lono

    lono Active Member

    I wish I could say this was surprising.

    Instead, it's simply more evidence of the mind-boggling — some would say criminal — dishonesty of Fredo's frat boys.

    They can't be run out of office too soon.
     
  3. Tell me again why it's a bad idea to prosecute some of these morons.
    Defend this. Please. Someone. Find any administration anywhere ever that fucked so many different things up to such a faretheewell just because they were too fucking stupid to do anything else. The one guy who didn't know there weren't warlords in Iraq? Jesus. I swear to Christ, these people should be cleaning bedpans at Walter Reed until their fingers bleed and then they should all be shipped to Baghdad and forced to work in a trauma ward or a morgue until they drop dead, after which their bodies should be dragged into an alley so that feral dogs clean their bones, which are left to bleach whitely in the sun forever.
     
  4. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    liberal fucking press.
     
  5. Beaker

    Beaker Active Member

    These guys have rewritten the manual concerning how to totally fuck up a war effort.
     
  6. D-Backs Hack

    D-Backs Hack Guest

    And I'm sure all of those guys would be bummed if the real mission in Iraq hadn't been accomplished.

    But it has. In spades.
     
  7. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    It's not Pulitzer material because they didn't write the report, someone just leaked it to them. This is the Pentagon Papers of Iraq reconstruction.
     
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