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Watchdog Finds Many Iraq Reconstruction Projects Subpar

Reviews of the Iraq rebuilding program show many sub-standard facilities, but construction companies say they face unusual challenges in a war zone. The NewsHour presents a report.

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  • JEFFREY KAYE, Reporter, KCET:

    Amid pomp and circumstance, hundreds of cadets graduated this summer from the newly rebuilt Baghdad Police Academy. The $73 million project was supposed to be a showpiece of America's Iraq reconstruction program. But to critics, it's an icon of incompetence; to others, it shows the challenge of rebuilding in a war zone.

    Pictures taken by investigators two months after the graduation showed human waste dripping from ceilings in the eight dormitories. One leaky room was nicknamed the "rain forest." The photos and descriptions are contained in a report issues by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, Jr.

    STUART BOWEN, JR., Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction: Sewage just drains through the floors, through the light fixtures, through the ceiling, fundamentally compromising the structure of the buildings and creating really a disastrous situation, an unusable facility.


    Bowen calls the Baghdad Police Academy the worst project he's seen since taking office in January 2004.


    We found that the plumbing was simply improperly installed in all eight barracks, so poorly that, when the facilities were used, that the plumbing burst.


    The company responsible for the Baghdad Police Academy is Parsons Corporation, the global engineering and construction giant headquartered in Pasadena, California.

  • JAMES MCNULTY, CEO, Parsons Corporation:

    The dormitories where the plumbing failures occurred is certainly regrettable, and it's not up to our standards.


    James McNulty, Parsons' chairman and chief executive officer, blames Iraqi subcontractors for the problems at the police academy.


    When we found out about the difficulties, we sent in the Iraqi plumbing contractor who did the work, and they have repaired the facility under the warning terms of their contract, at no cost to the government or to the Iraqis.