Skip to comments.Senators Denounce U.S. on Iraq Rebuilding
Posted on 09/15/2004 5:02:37 PM PDT by TexKat
WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday denounced the Bush administration's slow progress in rebuilding Iraq, saying the risks of failure are great if it doesn't act with greater urgency.
"It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing, it's now in the zone of dangerous," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., referring to figures showing only about 6 percent of the reconstruction money approved by Congress last year has been spent.
Foreign Relations Committee members vented their frustrations at a hearing where the State Department explained its request to divert $3.46 billion in reconstruction funds to security and economic development. The money was part of the $18.4 billion approved by Congress last year mostly for public works projects.
The request comes as heavy fighting continues between U.S.-led forces and a variety of Iraqi insurgents, endangering prospects for elections slated for January.
"We know that the provision of adequate security up front is requisite to rapid progress on all other fronts," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ron Schlicher.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said circumstances in Iraq have changed since last year. "It's important that you have some flexibility."
But Hagel said the shift in funds "does not add up in my opinion to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we're winning. But it does add up to this: an acknowledgment that we are in deep trouble."
Hagel, Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and other committee members have long argued even before the war that administration plans for rebuilding Iraq were inadequate and based on overly optimistic assumptions that Americans would be greeted as liberators.
But the criticism from the panel's top Republicans had an extra sting coming less than seven weeks before the presidential election in which President Bush's handling of the war is a top issue.
"Our committee heard blindly optimistic people from the administration prior to the war and people outside the administration what I call the 'dancing in the street crowd,' that we just simply will be greeted with open arms," Lugar said. "The nonsense of all of that is apparent. The lack of planning is apparent."
He said the need to shift the reconstruction funds was clear in July, but the administration was slow to make the request.
"This is an extraordinary, ineffective administrative procedure. It is exasperating from anybody looking at this from any vantage point," he said.
State Department officials stressed areas of progress in Iraq since the United States turned over political control of Iraq to an interim government on June 28. They cited advances in generating electricity, producing oil and creating jobs.
Schlicher said the department hopes to create more than 800,000 short- and long-term jobs over two years, saying, "When Iraqis have hope for the future and real opportunity, they will reject those who advocate violence."
Congress approved the $18.4 billion in November as part of an $87 billion package mostly for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the time, administration officials said the reconstruction money was just as important as the military funds. But only $1.14 billion had been spent as of Sept. 8.
"It's incompetence, from my perspective, looking at this," said the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Joseph Biden Jr. of Delaware.
In separate action Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to shift $150 million from the $18.4 billion to buttress U.S. efforts to help victims of violence and famine in the Darfur region of Sudan and nearby areas. The transfer was approved by voice vote with bipartisan support.
Under the State Department's proposal for the $3.46 billion, spending for police, border patrols and other security measures would be boosted by $1.8 billion to a total of $5 billion. There would be 45,000 more police, 16,000 more border patrol guards and 20 additional National Guard battalions.
Water and sewer programs which would shrink from more than $4.2 billion to more than $1.9 billion, and electricity funding would be reduced by more than $1 billion from $5.47 billion.
Hagel compared the U.S. spending to other nations' delays in providing debt relief to Iraq and following through on pledges for economic aid. Considering those issues along with the high number of U.S. casualties, Hagel said there should be no "grand illusions, kidding ourselves about who's carrying the burden here, big time big time. It's the United States."
On the Net:
Senate Foreign Relations Committee: http://www.foreign.senate.gov
You do know the difference between criticism for self aggrandizement and constructive criticism. Hagel doesn't.
A war of attrition against the Jihadists is a losing proposition.
You better get used to it because it will be the status quo for our lifetimes. There are 1 billion Muslims in the world and about 10% of them wnat to murder your children.
Jihadists are firmly in control of several large cities, which is not too good.
Perhaps, perhaps not. From my point of view, luring an enemy in to a kill zone is good thing. Hopefully thats the long range plan and the Iraqi government gets aboard that train.
Well, if you've listen to the Bush admin describe the fronts in the WoT, killing the terrorists is only part of it. They know a war of attrition is a loser. That's why they're trying to shut down the madrassas in Pakistan, trying to change the curriculum in Saudi schools, etc.
One thing I know Bush will not do is to simply wipe off the map those cities which are in control of the Jihadists.
While it's easy (and lazy) to say "Nuke Fallujah," fact is, that isn't going to happen. Therefore, the fact that an entire city is a "kill zone" is not relevant.
You're living in a dream world Guillermo.
It will take generations to change the minds and hearts of a certain percentage of Muslims. In the meantime, the operators will be hunted and killed. There can be no other way. Time is running out. WMD are proliferating and it should be obvious to you that they will use them if they can.
If you think you can attack the "root cause" while not attriting the islamofascist operators, you better think again.
Yeah, maybe you should re-read my post, and put it in it's proper context.
Or maybe you meant to post to another poster, because I nevver said to quit fighting, or to nuke anyone.
A war of attrition against the Jihadists is a losing proposition.
While it's easy (and lazy) to say "Nuke Fallujah," fact is, that isn't going to happen
These written by your evil twin? :-}
Uh, yeah, I was referring to the "Nuke Iraq" crowd and how unrealistic they are.
And yes, a war of attrition is a losing proposition, but fighting the Jihadists militarily is not a war of attrition IF IT IS COMBINED WITH OTHER TACTICS AND STRATEGIES (which it is).
Iraq is bigger than the Sunni triangle.
There is absolutely no comparison whatsoever between the German occupation and Iraq.
The Werewolves were militarily completely ineffective and not supported by the German people. They killed a grand total of 49 GI's. Even as they were doing their thing German girls were doing black GI's for candy bars and cigarettes.
The Iraqi insurgency is quite effective, growing in strength, and apparently has majority Sunni support.