Thursday, September 14, 2006

Feature Not a Bug

From an interview with T. Christian Miller on Fresh Air:

GROSS: Now you've documented a lot of corporate greed and contracts given to corporations by Americans with the works finally not done or not done well. Do you think a lot of this work could've just gone to Iraqi companies and to Iraqi workers?

Mr. MILLER: Yes, absolutely. And three and a half years later, we're doing that finally. One of the greatest tragedies of the reconstruction, in my opinion, is that we're giving up on it. The money runs out at the end of this month. Biggest chunk of money needs to all be contracted out by the 30th of September. And here we are, three and a half years later, there's no more money in the pipeline for the reconstruction of Iraq. This is at a time when we finally figured out that, you know, we can--actually can send some money to the Iraqi firms. They can do a lot of this work.

Yes, some of that money's still going to get wasted. But it'll be wasted with Iraqi firms and, hopefully, it will trickle down somewhere in the Iraqi economy. And so here we are, we've learned these lessons, and we're going to give up on it. To me, that just doesn't make sense. It takes away a tool that our soldiers, our diplomats, our public servants need in Iraq. And to not send more money--and I acknowledge a lot of it's been wasted and there's been fraud and abuse--but to give up on that effort now seems to me the final tragic mistake of the reconstruction.

Where's the fun in reconstruction if Iraqis are getting the money?