Weapons of mass construction

For anyone wanting an insight into how reconstruction dollars are spent in Iraq, the recently published report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, is a must-read.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  October 7, 2006

|~||~||~|For anyone wanting an insight into how reconstruction dollars are spent in Iraq, the recently published report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, is a must-read.

It details what inspectors found at the US $75 million (IQD109.8 billion) Baghdad Police College, built by Parsons Corporation, when they visited it last month.

Most of the problems identified by inspectors related to the plumbing in the college, which was so bad that the effluent spilling out of it actually threatened the structural integrity of the building.

Rather than using standard t-joint fittings to connect pipes, like any 16-year-old on a plumbing trainee scheme would have done, the cowboys on this project instead cut out holes by hand, jammed the connecting pipes in and hoped for the best.

If that wasn’t bad enough, not one of the wastewater pipes was sealed, or even firmly attached – so the waste simply drained outside of the collectors rather than inside, accumulating between floors and gradually filling up every void.

The report states: “The amount of [waste] material was so pervasive that it had soaked through the reinforced concrete floors causing deterioration of the reinforcing steel.

“We witnessed a light fixture so full of diluted urine and faeces that it would not operate. As we continued our assessment throughout the second-floor bathroom, we identified evidence of large quantities of diluted urine dripping from the top floor down through the ceiling. During our visit, a substance dripped from the ceiling onto an assessment team member’s shirt.”

The report hilariously includes pictures of the inspector’s shirt cuffs, together with another picture pointing to the dripping ceiling where the foul-smelling liquid emanated from.

Who would have thought that the quest for evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq would have found so much of it dripping from the ceilings of the newly built Baghdad Police College?

I do hope the inspector can claim dry-cleaning on expenses. If not, perhaps Parsons might be prepared to foot the bill out of the $1 billion it has earned on ‘reconstruction’ projects like this one.||**||

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