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Distressing Findings for U.S. Rebuilding Efforts in Iraq

New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/world/middleeast/29reconstruct.html?pagewanted=1&ref=world

Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/28/AR2007042801319.html

Summary: Federal Inspectors assessment of seven of eight recent reconstruction projects financed by the United States in Iraq have fallen into disrepair due to inproper maintenance, raising questions about the claims of rebuilding success made by Bush administration.

The glaring difference in leads between the Times and Post articles immediately caught my attention. The latter goes into great detail about the situation reported on Sunday: "In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle"

In comparison, the Post lead seems almost vague: "Inspections of eight facilities that were rehabilitated or built as part of U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq revealed problems with maintenance that suggest some such projects may not function as long or as well as planned, according to a federal oversight agency."

The New York TImes article also waits until much later in the piece to mention the specific agency conducting the inspections, giving priority to exploring the dichotomy the report suggests in claims previously expressed by the United States. The Washington Post mentions the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction in its second paragraph.

The coverage of the Washington Post article also seems to lay the blame for the downtrodden conditions at the seven projects at the feet of Iraqi maintenance practices. While the New York Times also notes that hospital workers contributed to the rotting of floors by using too much water to clean them, it takes a more objective view in
assigning responsibility.

Ultimately, the New York Times provides the most comprehensive and balanced coverage of the situation, utilizing clearer and more well-rounded reporting, with better attributions and wider prespectives concerning this topic.