Iraqi Reconstruction

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The Urban Legend

Tale: Iraq under US lead control has progressed much beyond what the "Left Wing Media" tells you Examples:

  • on Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts - exceeding the prewar average
  • a Coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of Iraq's 27,000 kilometers of weed-choked canals which now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women.
  • we have restored over three-quarters of prewar telephone services and over two-thirds of the potable water production.
  • there are 4,900 full-service telephone connections. We expect 50,000 by year-end.

Status: Misleading Although a lot of effort was made by troops, only 2% of the 2004 reconstruction budget was spent and most systems are not up to pre war levels

One line rebuttal: only 2% of the 2004 reconstruction budget was spent

Source: As Snopes has pointed out yhe 2 most popular versions of the mailings start with Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... and Did you know this ? and were probably inspired by a Coalition Provisional Authority briefing given by L. Paul Bremer.. on 9 October 2003. Some of the accomplishments cited in this piece were echoed in an 8 December 2003 Forbes magazine article by Caspar W. Weinberger..

Snopes: This particular e-mail entitled Did You Know This? managed to appear in Snopes Urban Legends pages who says These types of items are generally impossible to categorize with a single truth value because they typically contain a mixture of fact, opinion, subjective statements, inaccuracies, and literally true but often misleading claims.

Investigation: Snopes does have a point. It is impossible to put the entire laundry list of "accomplishments" into just one category. On hte specific reconstruction claims the Washington Post tells us that U.S. Funds for Iraq Are Largely Unspent

Only 2% of the 2004 reconstruction budget was spent

the Washington Post tells us that U.S. Funds for Iraq Are Largely Unspent: The U.S. government has spent 2 percent of an $18.4 billion aid package that Congress approved in October last year after the Bush administration called for a quick infusion of cash into Iraq to finance reconstruction, according to figures released Friday by the White House.

The U.S.-led occupation authorities were much quicker to channel Iraq's own money, expending or earmarking nearly all of $20 billion in a special development fund fed by the country's oil sales, a congressional investigator said.

Only $366 million of the $18.4 billion U.S. aid package had been spent as of June 22, the White House budget office told Congress in a report that offers the first detailed accounting of the massive reconstruction package.

Thus far, according to the report, nothing from the package has been spent on construction, health care, sanitation and water projects. More money has been spent on administration than all projects related to education, human rights, democracy and governance.

Of $3.2 billion earmarked for security and law enforcement, a key U.S. goal in Iraq, only $194 million has been spent. Another central objective of the aid program was to reduce the 30 percent unemployment rate, but money has been spent to hire only about 15,000 Iraqis, despite U.S. promises that 250,000 jobs would be created by now, U.S. officials familiar with the aid program said.

U.S. officials involved in the reconstruction blame security concerns and bureaucratic infighting between the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House for delays in the allocation of funds. By the time the Pentagon's contracting office in Baghdad began awarding contracts, the risk of kidnapping and other attacks aimed at foreign workers was so dire that many projects never began. Several Western firms that won contracts have summarily withdrawn their employees from Iraq.

Fewer than 140 of the 2,300 reconstruction projects that were to be funded with the U.S. aid package are underway...

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