Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The State of Reconstruction

Andrew Sullivan is moaning about the state of the reconstruction in Iraq. He refers to this New York Times piece on how the reconstruction is going. Here is my answer to Andrew and the NYT piece:

Wars are expensive, money is often ill spent, no plan survives contact with the enemy.

Before a rebuilding plan can be initiated surveys need to be done of requirements. Not having a plan is not the same as the inability to plan. TBD (To Be Determined) is not dishonorable or a sign of incompetence.

When you are in a rush mistakes will be made.

And only $30 bn on rebuilding? Cheap so far. And 2/3s of the projects completed? If projects are proportionate to dollars that says $15 bn will be needed to finish. About 5% of the yearly Congressional pork budget. Certainly there is a bridge or two we can cut to make up the difference.

Repeated changes of priority costing time and money? Didn't any one tell Glanz [the NYT reporter - ed.] that there is a war going on?

Prices for building materials going up because of increased demand? Isn't that a sign that a lot of building is going on? Isn't that good?

A substation with no connection to the grid? Consider it a storage area for heavy equipment. All is not lost.

25% of project money spent on security? A sign that we still have an enemy.

Innovate, adapt, overcome. If it doesn't work out: learn, adjust, try again.

Did I mention the Iraqi Army and Police? No shortage of recruits. Despite the continuous attacks on those waiting in line to join. Would that we all had such guts in the face of the enemy.

In wars against guerillas the metric of success is the advance of self government. The number of purple fingers increased since the last election.

I'll have another history lesson soon.


BTW more even that people in Iraq, you are the target of the attacks. It is important to keep that in mind. Home front morale is as important as troop morale. Do your bit to raise it.

1 comment:

Dave Schuler said...

I agree with your fundamental point but I do have a quibble: I think that, is in nearly everything else in life, the 90% rule will apply to re-building Iraq. 90% of the costs will be incurred in the last 10% of projects.