The $37 billion the US has invested in Iraq reconstruction has achieved some victories, but the program's chance for success has been plagued by failing security, corruption, over-billing, shoddy construction, poor maintenance, and non-existent oversight, according to the latest report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
"If these projects are typical of the quality and effectiveness of operations and maintenance performance on transitioned projects, the value of the U.S. investment in Iraq reconstruction will be at risk," writes Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general, in the report. "Unless corrective action is taken, the useful lives of those projects will be significantly shortened."
IG inspections of eight completed projects across Iraq found that seven 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.
The only project deemed to be functional and sustainable was a police station in Mosul.
The report also indicated that the inspector-general has sent a letter to Parsons, a $3 billion-a-year construction and engineering firm and one of the largest contractors employed in reconstruction projects, asking for a response to charges of double-billing US taxpayers in the realm of $77 million.
The report's official two-page summary is here: Highlights___April_2007.pdf.
Click here for a link to a PDF of the full 627-page report.