George W keeps whining about it. “Buckshot” Cheney keeps growling about it.
The “it” is the dastardly media’s scurrilous failure to report what these war protagonists see as their glorious “successes” in Iraq. Yes, there’s violence, they say, but what about all the good we’re doing by building hospitals, schools, and such?
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This “Good News” viewpoint was recently expressed by the brigadier general in charge of the Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq: “What you don’t see [in the news coverage],” he barked, “are the successes in the reconstruction program… making a difference in the lives of everyday Iraqi people.” He implored the media to look beyond the bombings and cover these successes.
Unfortunately for him, he got his wish. A new report by a federal oversight agency – the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction – examined eight projects that the U.S. has officially declared successful. The agency found that seven of them no longer function properly, due to such factors as poor initial construction, lack of any maintenance, and simple neglect.
One of the projects – building an expensive incinerator for medical waste in a Northern Iraq maternity hospital – had been the subject of a gushing news release by the Army Corps just last year. “This incinerator will “keep medical waste from entering into the… water systems,” the release enthused.
Great! But when the inspectors went to witness this achievement, the incinerator was padlocked and no one could even find the key. Apparently, no one had bothered to train the medical personnel on how to use the machine. The inspectors also found that medical waste was clogging the sewage system and likely was contaminating the area’s water supply.
At a time when American hospitals, schools, and other facilities desperately need repairs and upgrades, it’s a crime that our officials are wasting billions of dollars on bungled Iraq reconstruction projects.
“Inspectors Find Rebuilt Projects Crumbling in Iraq,” New York Times, April 29, 2007.