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  • Thursday, November 10, 2005


    Management from Hell

    I love Molly Ivins' commentary. She's got a rapier wit and often provides a wry context for news items. Her recent piece titled Bush Gives management a Bad Name contains the following examples just after a recap of some of Michael Brown's FEMA emails during the height of the Hurricane Katrina crisis:

    Back in Iraq, the $30 billion appropriated for the reconstruction of Iraq is running out. According to a New York Times article on the report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, "Officials in charge cannot say how many planned projects they will complete, and there is no clear source for the hundreds of millions of dollars a year needed to operate the projects that have been finished. ... (The report describes) an array of projects that went awry, sometimes astonishingly, like electrical substations that were built at great cost but never connected to the country's electrical grid."

    After two-and-a-half years and $30 billion, electricity in Baghdad is on intermittently, just as it was two-and-a-half years and $30 billion ago.

    So you figure, "Of course nothing's getting done -- there's an insurgency, the country's sliding into chaos." Let's look to Afghanistan, where peace reigns. How goes the rebuilding there? Oops. According to The New York Times, a New Jersey company got the contract to build 96 health clinics and schools by September 2004. To date, nine clinics and two schools have been completed and passed inspection.

    Yep, the US is really improving the lives of people around the world with military intervention. Another little tidbit I picked up recently in the October Harper's Index:

    Total U.S. spending on poppy eradication and other antidrug efforts in Afghanistan last year: $780,000,000[U.S. Department of State]

    Amount it would have cost to purchase the country'’s entire 2004 poppy crop: $600,000,000

    Ain't economics fun?

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