12 April, 2005

Reconstruction contracts redux

A year ago or so (when he was still living with me), Dan and I put together a list of things that the U.S. should have done if it wanted to do right by Iraq. It's actually replicated in the first post ever on this blog. I still think it was a good list, and if we had put some effort into publicizing it and spreading it around it might even have done some good. Now it's just a muttered "told ya so".

Case in point: Juan Cole talks about how the American contractors are flubbing everything.
The American contractors that did the work, did it in the American way. The Iraqi engineers and technicians had their own techniques and equipment and spare parts. After the Gulf War in 1991, they were able to get the electricity grid back up, using indigenous methods, in less than a year.

It was widely alleged that the Americans spent far too much on the work done, and that local Iraqi firms could have done it better, cheaper and more quickly. And the problem of putting in a lot of unfamiliar American equipment may well be that Iraqi technicians don't know how to work it or keep it up without special training.

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