We knew it was bad, but even so, the latest report on an American contractor's failures in the rebuilding of Iraq is shocking. The report, by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, looks at the work of the Parsons Corp. What the I.G. found was dispiriting at best: Out of the 11 major job orders the I.G. examined, eight were terminated by the U.S. before they were completed. The New York Times says the reasons for the terminations included "weak contract oversight, unrealistic schedules, a failure to report problems in a timely fashion and poor supervision by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which managed the contracts."
Naturally, Parsons wants to share some of the blame, and given what we know about American administration of postwar Iraq, it might just have a point. In a statement, a company spokeswoman said, "Parsons put forth its best efforts ... while simultaneously contending with constantly changing demands by government officials regarding what they wanted, where and for how much." And, the Times reports, the spokeswoman blamed some of the failures on the Iraqi workers with whom they were forced to work by the U.S.