At least $8 billion of the money the U.S. poured into Iraq for reconstruction was wasted, says a report from the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
“Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction , considers $8 billion of that money wasted,” reports Wired’s Danger Room. Some projects got started and never finished in part because “The U.S. was overeager to hand over construction projects to Iraqis that lacked the capacity to finish them,” writes Danger Room. Sometimes more cash was disbursed than was requested. In other cases, the waste was due to bribes, kickbacks, and the like. And much of the problem was the lack of any means of tracking where money went and holding people accountable.
“That isn’t nearly the whole story of the Iraq War’s expense. Bowen is only looking at reconstruction money, not the cost of military operations in Iraq, which totaled over $800 billion,” notes Danger Room.
The report concludes that without a concerted effort to implement changes, the U.S. government will make the same mistakes the next time it is faced with a similar stabilization and reconstruction effort.
Photo credit: flickr/U.S. Army