So Many Schools, So Much Paint


Reporters are starting to dig into the newest report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. As absolutely no one could have predicted, waste and corruption are making future-of-Iraq projects take excruciatingly long to get off the ground.

Those problems, as well as the continuing violence in Iraq, have prevented the United States from meeting its goals for the $34.8 billion appropriated for postwar reconstruction, the inspector general, Stuart Bowen, concludes in his quarterly report to Congress.

Investigators from Bowen's office inspected eight completed projects across Iraq and found seven of them weren't operating at capacity. Among the problems found: an unused oxygen system at a northern Iraq hospital, poorly maintained electrical generators in the Baghdad area and leaking water pipes causing ceilings to collapse in buildings used by security forces.

"If these projects are typical of the quality and effectiveness of operations and maintenance … the value of the U.S. investment in Iraq reconstruction will be at risk," the report says.

The whole report is here [PDF link], and most of it puts the best face on these problems.