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There are critics who argue the Iraqi reconstruction effort has been wasteful, and I support that thought.

I do not disagree that the Iraqis deserve medical clinics, schools, etc. As a registered nurse, this is at the core of my beliefs. I disagree with the idea that the major difference between the Marshall Plan and rebuilding Iraq is the war zone in which it takes place ("Providing hope for Iraqis," letter, Dec. 21).

We are building to standards the Iraqis will not maintain and with contractors who are not held responsible to deadlines and how taxpayers’ money is spent.

We have built hospitals that went millions of dollars over budget, roads to nowhere, clinics that cannot be staffed, and schools with no teachers and have given people generators that have yet to be hooked up. Some of the projects we have built are complex; they require maintenance, operations and maintenance funds, training and security — all of which have taken the U.S. years to perfect.

We need to let the Iraqis put pressure on their own government to build and maintain their untaxed provinces before we leave. In the six years we have been here, we have seen little evidence that this will happen. The taxpayers’ money we spend neither prepares the Iraqi government to run the country nor keeps U.S. soldiers or Iraqi citizens safe.

First Lt. Jennifer LeathersBasra, Iraq


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