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Election was good news, but what else has been going on?

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BAGHDAD ? Skyrocketing security costs have forced American officials here to slash about $1 billion from projects intended to rebuild Iraq's shattered infrastructure, dealing another blow to U.S. plans to pacify Iraq by improving basic services.

William Taylor, a U.S. diplomat who oversees Iraqi reconstruction efforts, said the country's violent insurgency had created a "security premium," gobbling up money that otherwise would have been spent to provide clean water, electricity and sanitation for Iraqis.

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