March 15, 2013
Why Iraq's Reconstruction Failed
R. Jeffrey Smith, The Atlantic
After U.S. and allied warplanes destroyed a key bridge carrying 15 oil and gas pipelines in northern Iraq during the 2003 conflict there, officials in Washington and Baghdad made its postwar reconstruction a top priority. But instead of spending two months to rebuild the span over the Tigris River at an estimated cost of $5 million, they decided for security reasons to bury the pipelines beneath it, at an estimated cost more than five times greater.
What ultimately happened there tells the story -- in a microcosm -- of a substantial chunk of the massive nine-year U.S. effort to reconstruct Iraq.