Via BBC News:
Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 22:34 GMT 23:34 UK
Little progress on halting Iraq's decay
By Robert Plummer
Business reporter, BBC News
The US troop surge in Iraq has been accompanied by a similar surge in the amount of US funds devoted to Iraqi reconstruction -but with just as debatable an effect.
By the end of 2006, Washington had provided $37.45bn to help rebuild Iraq's
shattered infrastructure. Figures issued just six months later showed that the total has since swollen to $44.54bn - an increase of nearly one-fifth.
But ordinary Iraqis have seen no benefit from this extra cash.
Baghdad's electricity ministry recently warned that the national power grid was close to collapse, while water supplies in the Iraqi capital have been cut off for days at a time.
Conditions are arguably worse than at any time since the US-led invasion overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003. The office of the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (Sigir), a kind of super-auditor for rebuilding efforts, has singled out widespread corruption and economic mismanagement as the source of the continuing decay.