After more than 2½ years of sputtering reconstruction work, the United States' "Marshall Plan" to rebuild [Iraq] is drawing to a close this year with much of its promise unmet and no plans to extend its funding.Certain people got pretty fucking rich with that $18,600,000,000.
The $18.6 billion approved by Congress in 2003 will be spent by the end of this year, officials here say. ... With the country still a shambles, U.S. officials are promoting a tough-love vision of reconstruction that puts the burden on the Iraqi people. ...
"If they say they have spent money, where is it?" asked Salah Qaragholi, 30, a barber in the poor neighborhood called Zafraniya. "Where are the projects? The electricity is only four hours a day."
Baghdad's roads are an obstacle course of barriers, potholes and debris. Many government and office buildings are either still gutted or strung with webs of electrical wire connecting to generators that run 12 hours on good days. A brown haze fouls the air and pools of sewage overflow dot the streets.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2006: