In his final report to Congress, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen's conclusion was all too clear: Since the invasion a decade ago this month, the U.S. has spent too much money in Iraq for too few results
The reconstruction effort "grew to a size much larger than was ever anticipated," Bowen told The Associated Press in a preview of his last audit of U.S. funds spent in Iraq, to be released Wednesday. "Not enough was accomplished for the size of the funds expended."
Ten years and $60 billion in American taxpayer funds later, Iraq is still so unstable and broken that even its leaders question whether U.S. efforts to rebuild the war-torn nation were worth the cost.
The abysmal Iraq results forecast what could happen in Afghanistan, where U.S. taxpayers have so far spent $90 billion in reconstruction projects during a 12-year military campaign
With all the money the U.S. spent, you can go into any city in Iraq and you cannot find one building or project that stands as a testament to America’s investment
Iraq’s acting minister of the interior, Adnan al-Asadi, told the inspector general.
“You can fly in a helicopter around Baghdad and other cities, but you cannot point a finger to a single project that was built and completed by the United States.”
It's worth noting, as the AP does, that SIGIR's report looks only at the $60 billion used for reconstruction. Including military spending, the cost tops $767 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Foreign Policy's Christian Caryl offers at least one success story. "The Special Inspector General does note that the Iraqis managed to carry off an impressive series of peaceable elections during the period in question, an achievement duly described as a "reconstruction success story." But that's pretty much where the good news ends. The SIGIR report notes, for example, that the State Department wasn't able to measure the impact of the grants it awarded for "democracy-building activities," which included things like offering advice to women's groups and teaching political parties how to garner votes."
Perhaps not worth $1,500 a minute in waste.
As the Curse of Bush Administration continues to rear it ugly head!, by reason of the hands to the Pawn of Satan George W Bush
The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the "dirty wars" in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation
And accelerated the country's descent into full-scale civil war, Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was
Nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows, after the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces.
The special police commando (SPC) membership was increasingly drawn from violent Shia groups such as the Badr brigades.
The open support by the Bush administration for torture and other harsh methods strengthened the proclivity towards indiscriminate violence.
The International Red Cross reported massive overcrowding in Afghan prisons, “harsh” conditions, a lack of clarity about the legal basis for detention, and people being held “incommunicado” in isolation cells where they were “subjected to cruel treatment in violation of the Geneva Conventions.”
Udisclosed numbers have died in custody, including several thousand who were transported under the oversight of CIA-backed warlord Rashid Dostum in unventilated containers, where they suffocated to death or were shot
In Iraq, much as in Vietnam three decades earlier, American training programs have contributed to the shattering of the societal fabric.
The mission was initially headed by Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner who won fame in leading rescue efforts at Ground Zero on September 11 and was later convicted and sentenced to four years in prison on charges of tax fraud and public corruption.
In spite of hundreds of millions in funding, the Iraqi National Police (INP) remains under-equipped and riddled with cronyism and corruption.
Police were so poorly motivated and paid that many sold their bullets and uniforms on the black market.Historically, the forces trained by the United States to subdue their own countrymen have taken on the air of paid mercenaries with little loyalty to their benefactor or the cause that they purportedly represent.
Iraq is no exception to this general rule.
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