Just As I Thought

Reality is a bitch

The big headline on Washington Post.com this morning is “U.S. Has End in Sight on Iraq Rebuilding.”
This headline is quite misleading — not surprising, as the historically liberal Washington Post often takes a hawkish line on Iraq. They way they’ve written this headline makes it seem that we are headed for another “Mission Accomplished” moment, one can infer that the rebuilding of Iraq is nearly complete.
In fact, what we are seeing is the beginning of attempts to pull us out — and if not out, then back a bit. I predicted that this would happen, that the Bush administration will spend the time before the election to figure out ways to get us out of Iraq while still declaring victory.
In this case, we all know that very little rebuilding has happened, that the war goes on and you can’t rebuild in the middle of a war.

Since the reconstruction effort began in 2003, midcourse changes by U.S. officials have shifted at least $2.5 billion from the rebuilding of Iraq’s decrepit electrical, education, water, sewage, sanitation and oil networks to build new security forces for Iraq and to construct a nationwide system of medium- and maximum-security prisons and detention centers that meet international standards, according to reconstruction officials and documents. Many of the changes were forced by an insurgency more fierce than the United States had expected when its troops entered Iraq.

… The national electrical grid has an average daily output of 4,000 megawatts, about 400 megawatts less than its prewar level.

Iraqis nationwide receive on average less than 12 hours of power a day. For residents of Baghdad, it was six hours a day last month, according to a U.S. count, though many residents say that figure is high.

The Americans, said Zaid Saleem, 26, who works at a market in Baghdad, “are the best in destroying things but they are the worst in rebuilding.”

And here comes the excuses:

“The U.S. never intended to completely rebuild Iraq,” Brig. Gen. William McCoy, the Army Corps of Engineers commander overseeing the work, told reporters at a recent news conference. In an interview this past week, McCoy said: “This was just supposed to be a jump-start.”

Reality is beginning to intrude on the simplistic war plans of the Bush White House.

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