Sunday, November 20, 2005

An Iraqi's Eye View

Amidst all the claims of progress being made in Iraq, of wonderful building and rebuilding projects going to completion, of improvements in the quality of life, someone had the gall to point out a naked emperor. In this case, it was some disgusted Iraqis who are trying to live in the chaos visited upon them by the good old US of A. Iraq's Azzaman tells the story.

The engineering corps from the U.S. occupation troops in Iraq say they have spent $14.5 million to improve education, electricity supply and sewage facilities in the southern city of Diwaniya.

A statement by the body organizing U.S. civil projects in the country said the sum was spent on 500 projects which were all implemented by Iraqi contractors.

These projects have contributed to improving educational, electrical and sewage systems,” the statement written in Arabic said.

Diwaniya is the capital city of al-Qadisiya province with an estimated population of nearly half a million people.

A later statement said the troops have allocated an additional sum of $500,000 to furnish 10 schools with modern supplies.

However, residents from Diwaniya disputed U.S. and Iraqi government reports of a tangible improvement in the standard of municipal services.

...Another resident, Hayder Abedali said he believed the U.S. and Iraqi government were allocating money for reconstruction. “But that is only as far as figures go.”

He said most of the allocations were wasted due to rampant corruption.

Residents from towns other than the provincial center of al-Qadisiya had a darker picture of conditions.

“These statements are false and contrary to the situation on the ground,” said Qassem Mansour from al-Hamza town.

“There is large-scale deterioration of an already collapsing infrastructure. All those in charge of the situation in the country are to blame,” said Mansour.

Shamkhi al-Hussein said official statements on reconstruction were making him “sick.”

“There is no transparency, no accountability. For this reason the province is descending into chaos as far as provision of utilities is concerned,” he said.
[Emphasis added]

Fraud and corruption seem to be the primary reasons for the chaos, and since the American contractors are in charge, the blame can hardly be laid solely at the feet of insurgents. Those no-bid contracts don't look so hot anymore.

Here is the truly wrenching part:

Mounds of garbage dot city center with untreated water inundating the streets.

Way to go, George.


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