Sunday, July 27, 2008

My favorite W speech: the gift that keeps on giving

I've noted before that I am possibly the only person who routinely celebrates the anniversary of W's May 2004 War College speech.

One of the less-noted passages in this speech pretty much epitomizes W's view of a perfect world - by what he promises the Iraqis:
America will fund the construction of a modern, maximum security prison. When that prison is completed, detainees at Abu Ghraib will be relocated. Then, with the approval of the Iraqi government, we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison, as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning.
Ah, yes: a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning is a new prison to replace Abu Ghraib!

What ever happened to that "modern, maximum security prison"?, you ask.
Report: Empty prison in Iraq a $40M 'failure'
By BRIAN MURPHY and PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writers
27 July 2008
BAGHDAD - In the flatlands north of Baghdad sits a prison with no prisoners. It holds something else: a chronicle of U.S. government waste, misguided planning and construction shortcuts costing $40 million and stretching back to the American overseers who replaced Saddam Hussein.
The contractor? Parsons. It was awarded the contract in March 2004, 2 months before W's speech.
"This is $40 million invested in a project with very little return," [special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, Stuart] Bowen told The Associated Press in Washington. "A couple of buildings are useful. Other than that, it's a failure."
The article notes that, in the waste that has been Iraq "reconstruction", $40M isn't much to speak of... but still!

... and, to be fair: there is a bright side!
The U.S. government pulled the plug in June 2006, citing "continued schedule slips and ... massive cost overruns."
It could have been even more of a financial fiasco!... then again,
... But they hadn't abandoned the hope of finishing the project — awarding three more contracts to other companies in a doomed effort.
Giving it the old college try. But, again: in the larger scheme of things, this is actually one of the better failures. It only cost $40M. Recall, we spent $50M on Laura Bush's children's hospital in Basra before abandoning that effort!

Stop the madness!

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