Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The United States has completed 82 percent of its planned projects, having spent $15 billion. Those funds have brought oil and electricity production above prewar levels. They have given 5 million more people access to sanitized water. And they have paid for more than 1,200 security facilities such as fire and police stations.

The reconstruction program, though, is also littered with notable failures. A project to create more than 140 primary health-care centers resulted in 20 so far. Baghdad residents still have about eight hours of electricity per day, less than they did before the war, even as power supplies improve in other parts of the country. And a crucial oil pipeline that could have brought the fledgling Iraqi government nearly $15 billion in badly needed revenue remains more than two years behind schedule.

With more than two-thirds of reconstruction funds spent and more than 90 percent already directed to specific projects, reconstruction officials are reckoning with the fact that they will not accomplish all they had hoped. Security costs are a major reason why, but Bowen's office has reported that mismanagement and poor planning also played a role.