US wasted billions in Iraq

2013-03-06 23:27

Washington - After invading Iraq ten years ago, the United States spent $60bn on a vast reconstruction effort that left behind few successes and a litany of failures, an auditor's report said on Wednesday.

The ambitious plan to transform the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein has been marked by half-finished projects and crushed expectations, according to the final report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen.

The aid effort was plagued by in-fighting among US agencies and an improvised "adhocracy" approach, with no one clearly in charge of a massive investment that was supposed to put Iraq on a stable footing, said the report to Congress.

"Management and funding gaps caused hundreds of projects to fall short of promised results, leaving a legacy of bitter dissatisfaction among many Iraqis," it said.

Some of the reconstruction money was stolen, with a number of US military officers and contractors now imprisoned for fraud, while other funds remain unaccounted for to this day, it said.

Of $2.8bn in Iraqi oil revenues handled by the US Defence Department, officials could not produce documents accounting for the use of about $1.7bn, including $1.3bn in fuel purchases, it said.

The lengthy report highlighted some of the worst examples of mismanagement and graft and included interviews with senior Iraqi and US officials who mostly regretted the outcome of the reconstruction programme.

"The level of fraud, waste, and abuse in Iraq was appalling," Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, was quoted as saying.

She was "especially angry when she learned that some reconstruction money found its way into the hands of insurgent groups," the report said.

Both Iraqi and US officials agreed that the Americans ignored the advice of Iraqis or never bothered to consult them before launching costly projects, with sometimes disastrous results.

The litany of failures included a new police academy with raw sewage leaking through ceilings, a subcontractor charging $900 for a control switch valued at seven dollars and a project to build large prison in Diyala province that was eventually abandoned, despite an investment of $40m.

  • Mthuthuzeli Nojaholo - 2013-03-07 00:52

    A lot of people made a lot of money alright, and that includes the security companies, construction companies and the politicians who receive campaign donations from these corporations, and the Generals who retire and become consultants for these corporations. The only people who are screwed are the US tax payers who are sitting with a $14 trillion baby, but so long as the Super Bowl and McDonalds keeps going, all is well.

      Piet Boerie - 2013-03-07 04:59

      Saddam was a bad man but an even much viler evil man Cheney put him there. Dick Cheney has been in successive US governments for over 30 years AND HAS HELD PUBLIC OFFICE BUT NO ONE HAS EVER VOTED FOR HIM.

      Ziyaad Adams - 2013-03-07 08:22

      Screw the US taxpayer, I'm pretty sure the Iraqis got screwed even harder, in their own country!

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-07 09:18

      Re Iraqis being screwed, I was watching a John Pilger documentary yesterday about US barbarism in Iraq, and what the Americans did to that country and its people who had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein, was clear unadulterated murder on a grand scale on par with the Nazis. That country has still not recovered!

  • chikomborero.dumba - 2013-03-07 01:35

    And you only realise this now!

  • adrian.hill.750 - 2013-03-07 03:31

    Oh look, South Africa on a grand scale. I bet if Juliaaaas lived in the US that he would have gotten the contracts to rebuild all the bridges.

  • Sheldon Matthys - 2013-03-07 05:53

    Heading should be. US killed thousands under bogus WMD claims.

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-03-07 08:32

      Or, 'Saddam killed millions for Fun : Someone did something'

  • Khethu Ndlovu - 2013-03-07 09:56

    The african or the american way?

  • The Hoff - 2013-03-07 10:17

    Yes, but who cares? At least America gave Iraq the greatest gift of all... DEMOCRACY! lol

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-07 10:34

      And freed Iraqis from their oil fields!

      Sasha D - 2013-03-07 14:57

      Precisely Fidel. The Iraq war was all about economics and the pretense of going in there to secure WMDS, which later evolved to bringing democracy to the Iraqi people, was just a ruse to worm their way in.

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