Thursday, September 28, 2006

That Good Old American Can't-Do Spirit

Remember right after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, when the National Museum and Library in Baghdad were ransacked by looters as well as organized gangs of thieves? Remember how U.S. troops just stood by and did nothing while priceless historical and artistic treasures were carried off or destroyed? And remember how, while this was going on, those same U.S. troops guarded the Iraqi Oil Ministry so fiercely that no one could even get close to it? There was lots of commentary at the time about the obvious message: that the Bush administration was far more concerned about protecting fossil fuel for Americans' gas tanks than it was about the fact that the 10,000-year-old beginnings of human civilization were being irretrievably lost.

Think about that when you read this story in today's Washington Post about the disastrous results of the U.S. military's plans to build the largest, best-equipped police academy in Iraq [emphasis mine]:

A $75 million project to build the largest police academy in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S. investigators have found.

The Baghdad Police College, hailed as crucial to U.S. efforts to prepare Iraqis to take control of the country's security, was so poorly constructed that feces and urine rained from the ceilings in student barracks. Floors heaved inches off the ground and cracked apart. Water dripped so profusely in one room that it was dubbed "the rain forest."

"This is the most essential civil security project in the country -- and it's a failure," said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an independent office created by Congress. "The Baghdad police academy is a disaster."

Bowen's office plans to release a 21-page report Thursday detailing the most alarming problems with the facility.

Even in a $21 billion reconstruction effort that has been marred by cases of corruption and fraud, failures in training and housing Iraq's security forces are particularly significant because of their effect on what the U.S. military has called its primary mission here: to prepare Iraqi police and soldiers so that Americans can depart.

Think about that for a while.

1 comment:

Daniel DiRito said...

See a tongue-in-cheek visual of the premiere of “Police Academy – Baghdad” starring George, Dick, & Donald…here: