Friday, May 28, 2004

Iraq clusterfuck: The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles 

Except now it's been put on a solid business footing:

As the United States spends billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq's civil and military infrastructure, there is increasing evidence that parts of sensitive military equipment, seemingly brand-new components for oil rigs and water plants and whole complexes of older buildings are leaving the country on the backs of flatbed trucks.

By some estimates, at least 100 semitrailers loaded with what is billed as Iraqi scrap metal are streaming each day into Jordan, just one of six countries that share a border with Iraq.

Recent examinations of Jordanian scrapyards, including by a reporter for The New York Times, have turned up an astounding quantity of scrap metal and new components from Iraq's civil infrastructure, including piles of valuable copper and aluminum ingots and bars, large stacks of steel rods and water pipe and giant flanges for oil equipment — all in nearly mint condition — as well as chopped-up railroad boxcars, huge numbers of shattered Iraqi tanks and even beer kegs marked with the words "Iraqi Brewery."

"There is a gigantic salvage operation, stripping anything of perceived value out of the country," said John Hamre, president and chief executive of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan Washington research institute, which sent a team to Iraq and issued a report on reconstruction efforts at the request of the Pentagon last July.

"This is systematically plundering the country," Dr. Hamre said. "You're going to have to replace all of this stuff."
(via the New York Times)

"Freedom's untidy."

I guess it turns out to be a good thing we've only been able to spend $2 billion on Iraqi reconstruction instead of $17 billion, eh? Since as fast as we replace the infrastructure, the Iraqis cut it up with blowtorches and ship it off to Jordan as scrap. [Tinfoil hat time: Infrastructure like radio towers, perhaps?]

Hey, and guess who's on the hook for replacing it all, again? We are!

corrente SBL - New Location
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The Washington Chestnut
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