PEEK

Revealed: Unpublished Fed Document Highlights Costly Rebuilding Blunders in Iraq

The people who were given the task of rebuilding Iraq had absolutely no interest in doing so.
T. Christian Miller wrote a definitive work a couple years ago called Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq. Late last week, Miller, who used to work for the LA Times and now writes for the online investigative unit Pro Publica got his eye on an unpublished document detailing the history of the failed reconstruction project in Iraq, and the only thing surprising about it is that the Pentagon allowed the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, to write it up at all. The blinding incompetence and ignorance, the sustained money funnel into the hands of contractors, and the ideological warfare that led to over $100 billion in waste and fraud, all to simply replicate what we spent even more billions destroying without improving the basic lives of Iraqis, is just astounding. You can pull out anecdote after anecdote that will absolutely floor you.

It also concludes that when the reconstruction began to lag — particularly in the critical area of rebuilding the Iraqi police and army — the Pentagon simply put out inflated measures of progress to cover up the failures.

In one passage, for example, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is quoted as saying that in the months after the 2003 invasion, the Defense Department "kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces — the number would jump 20,000 a week! 'We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000.'" [...]

When the Office of Management and Budget balked at the American occupation authority's abrupt request for about $20 billion in new reconstruction money in August 2003, a veteran Republican lobbyist working for the authority made a bluntly partisan appeal to Joshua B. Bolten, then the O.M.B. director and now the White House chief of staff. "To delay getting our funds would be a political disaster for the President," wrote the lobbyist, Tom C. Korologos. "His election will hang for a large part on show of progress in Iraq and without the funding this year, progress will grind to a halt." With administration backing, Congress allocated the money later that year.
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