Jackie Northum presents this two-part series on Morning Edition today. The first part aired this morning, and can be heard here. She describes the rebuilding process as “riddled with waste, corruption, and plain poor workmanship,” but is quick to highlight some successes in water treatment plants, trains, power plants, and schools. The problem she notes is that all these major projects were completed prior to 2004. With the security situation on the rise, much of the work in Iraq has either been sabotaged or left abandoned.
She speaks with one man who is encouraging International companies to invest in Iraqi businesses. He provides security and serves as a go between so people may see what Iraq has to offer.
Iraq’s proposed 2007 budget is more than $10.7 billion, much of which would go to rebuilding the Anbar province, which a recent New York Times article described as, “undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence is ebbing in many areas, shops and schools are reopening, police forces are growing and the insurgency appears to be in retreat.”
She closes with the conclusion that “US officials once described the reconstruction process as ‘A gift to Iraqi people’, but since the invasion Iraqi’s have less electricity and less water than they did five years ago.”
Listen to Morning Edition tomorrow as Jackie Northum explores more of the reconstruction of Iraq.
In the meantime, here’s some related reading:
NPR Politics and Society Page
Boston Globe on Crumbling Rebuilding Projects (and NYTimes, login required)
Washington Post on the Shortage of Expert Workers