Monday, January 08, 2007

Bush $1bn jobs plan to draw Iraqis into fold

The battle to win the war in Iraq will apparently be not only include a surge of 20-30,000 US troops, but will include an absolutely massive hearts-and-minds campaign:

"The other sweetener will be a doubling of reconstruction efforts. Up to $1bn is to be spent on a programme in which Iraqis are employed to clean the streets and repair and paint schools.

The Pentagon-run scheme would try to draw young men away from insurgent groups and back into the mainstream economy. It would be administered by officials embedded in US combat brigades in a bid to persuade Iraqis that the Americans were there as a force for good and not just of occupation."

The 'embedding' issue will clearly be one for humanitarian organizations to fume about; more importantly, even the least-experienced development worker would ask about the sustainability of spending 1 billion US dollars on ad hoc employment generation projects....