Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Bush pulls the plug on Iraq reconstruction

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Bush pulls the plug on Iraq reconstruction

The Bush administration has scaled back its ambitions to rebuild Iraq from the devastation wrought by war and dictatorship and does not intend to seek new funds for reconstruction, it emerged yesterday.

In a decision that will be seen as a retreat from a promise by President George Bush to give Iraq the best infrastructure in the region, administration officials say they will not seek reconstruction funds when the budget request is presented to Congress next month, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

The $18.4bn (£10.6bn) allocation is scheduled to run out in June 2007. The move will be seen by critics as further evidence of the administration’s failure to plan for the aftermath of the war.

A decision not to renew the reconstruction programme would leave Iraq with the burden of tens of billions of dollars in unfinished projects, and an oil industry and electrical grid that have yet to return to pre-war production levels.

The decision is a tacit admission of the failure of the US rebuilding effort in the face of a relentless insurgency.

Maybe wars aren’t really very good for nations. Maybe wars are even worse for nations than vicious dictators are. Maybe there are better ways than shock and awe invasions to topple dictators, or at least ways that have less disastrous consequences. Maybe the U.S. is not militarily omnipotent.

Maybe the best thing we could do for Iraq now is free up a little extra reconstruction budget by getting our troops the hell out of there, and establishing good relations with the resulting Iraqi government or governments, and helping them rebuild.