...As the U.S.-funded portion of Iraq reconstruction nears its end, American officials and contractors fear that thousands of successful projects could lead to failure. There is no guarantee that most Iraqis will be able to benefit from the effort.
"We accomplished a significant amount of work. But it was just overwhelmed by the overlay of violence," said Clifford G. Mumm, who has spent much of the past three years in Iraq managing projects for Bechtel Corp. "It's hard to be very optimistic."
U.S.-funded projects have long been a target for sabotage. Many of those that were spared remain unused by a population paralyzed by violence.
Yet those inside the reconstruction effort say security concerns were hardly the only problem. Poor planning and coordination by U.S. officials meant that even successful individual projects failed to do the job; for example, health-care centers were built at great cost but had no water and sewer service. Poor work-site management by contractors meant that some projects went awry. And now that the United States is handing over reconstruction efforts to Iraq, many involved with the process worry that the Iraqis don't have the training or the money to keep U.S.-built facilities running. Read on..