Tuesday, October 24, 2006

US contractors giving up on Iraq with goal unmet

WASHINGTON -- Four months after US forces rolled into Baghdad, US President George W. Bush declared his goal would be nothing less than to convert Iraq's infrastructure into "the best in the region" - yet US contractors today are readying to depart, leaving that goal unattained.

Since Bush's comment of August 8, 2003, nearly $50 billion has been spent to create what the US Army calls a record of "historic and magnificent accomplishments," rebuilding a nation neglected by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and shattered by war.

"Iraq's reconstruction is the largest and most complex reconstruction project ever undertaken in a single country," the army added, comparing its scale to the US Marshall Plan that helped restore post-World War II Western Europe to economic self-sufficiency.


According to the Pentagon's estimate, insurgents have reduced reconstruction progress by about 11 percent.

What's more, areas of Iraq unscarred by coalition bombing or street fighting were demolished by waves of looters. A "Report on Iraq Reconstruction" issued last month by the Pentagon conceded, "Looting was on such a massive scale after the fighting that whole buildings were dismantled piece by piece with all of the machinery, copper wire, and other fittings, stripped and removed."

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