Newsweek makes an interesting point:
Paul (Jerry) Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, proudly announced the reopening of Iraq?s schools this month, while White House officials point to the opening of Iraq?s 240 hospitals. In fact, many schools were already open in May, once major combat ended, and no major hospital closed during the war.
Joshus Micah Marshall comments:
If you go back to last fall, or even the early months of this year, there was plenty of talk about reconstruction in Iraq. But if you look closely most of the talk was about social and political reconstruction: building a free press, purging the army of Baathists, creating the building blocks of a rule-of-law society, and so forth….Certainly, there was a recognition that we'd need to rebuild stuff that we broke in the course of prosecuting the war. But the entire focus of reconstruction underwent a wholesale transformation in the months after the war.
…Building bridges and schools can be terribly expensive. But it's something we know how to do and something that shows concrete results. Building civil society can be, to paraphrase Bolivar, like plowing the sea.
Update: Several commenters point to news accounts that do describe important hospitals getting closed (and worse), indicating that Newsweek either is wrong or is foolishly sitting on one hell of an interesting story about those earlier reports. (Or perhaps, as Charles Paul Freund suggests, is being coy about how it defines "during the war.")