Hit & Run

GAO: Long Way to Go in Iraq

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A new GAO report on the efforts to rebuild Iraq finds some problems. From a Knight-Ridder report, as run in the Seattle Times:

In a few key areas ? electricity, the judicial system and overall security ? the Iraq that America handed back to its residents Monday is worse off than before the war began last year, according to calculations in a new General Accounting Office report released yesterday.
The 105-page report by Congress' investigative arm offers a bleak assessment of Iraq after 14 months of U.S. military occupation. Among its findings:

? In 13 of Iraq's 18 provinces, electricity was available fewer hours per day on average last month than before the war. Nearly 20 million of Iraq's 26 million people live in those provinces.

? Only $13.7 billion of the $58 billion pledged and allocated worldwide to rebuild Iraq has been spent, with $10 billion more about to be spent. The biggest chunk of that money has been used to run Iraq's ministry operations.

? The country's court system is more clogged than before the war, and judges are frequent targets of assassination attempts.

? The new Iraqi civil-defense, police and overall security units are suffering from mass desertions, are poorly trained and ill-equipped.

? The number of what the now-disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) called significant insurgent attacks skyrocketed from 411 in February to 1,169 in May.