Monday, April 17, 2006

Because there are so many other causes

This New York Times editorial points to the tragedy that despite having burned through $200 million, the US has failed to built most of the Iraqi hospitals that it had planned to:

Two years ago, the United States government promised to build more than 140 badly needed health clinics in Iraq, bringing basic care to underserved areas outside the big cities. That could have done a lot of good, saving innocent Iraqi lives and building good will for the United States in places where it has grown dangerously scarce. A generous cost-plus contract was awarded to Parsons Inc., an American construction firm, to do the work, supervised by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Now, with roughly $200 million already spent and financing from Washington set to run out in less than nine months, it appears extremely unlikely that most of those clinics will ever be built. As The Washington Post reported earlier this month, the Army Corps of Engineers predicts that no more than 20 clinics will actually be completed — out of 142.


Let it not be said that thousands more Iraqis died needlessly because America walked away from its promise of health clinics with less than 15 percent of the job done.

The Times' heart is definitely in the right place, but this feels a little melodramatic. Of all the causes of needless death taking place in Iraq as a result of the US's actions, the lack of new health clinics must be pretty near the bottom.


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