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U.S. Wasted Billions in Rebuilding Iraq
August 30, 2010
This AP piece is maddening. It states, “More than $5 billion in American taxpayer funds has been wasted,” and then, “That amount is likely an underestimate.”
Likely an underestimate? HAHA.
Or what about the US Embassy in Baghdad, that 104-acre (42 hectares), almost three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar, 21-building homage to the American-mall-as-fortified-citadel? It costs more than $1.5 billion a year to run, and bears about as much relationship to an “embassy” as McDonald’s does to a neighborhood hamburger joint. According to a recent audit, millions of dollars in “federal property” assigned to what is essentially a vast command center for the region, including 159 of the embassy’s 1,168 vehicles, are missing or unaccounted for.
And, in other news:
Fitting context on this one would take me the rest of the day. Feel free to post the most ridiculous Iraq/Afghanistan contracts and boondoggles in comments.
Related: War is a Racket by Smedley D. Butler
A $40 million prison sits in the desert north of Baghdad, empty. A $165 million children’s hospital goes unused in the south. A $100 million waste water treatment system in Fallujah has cost three times more than projected, yet sewage still runs through the streets.
As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds has been wasted on these projects — more than 10 percent of the $53.7 billion the US has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency.
That amount is likely an underestimate, based on an analysis of more than 300 reports by auditors with the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. And it does not take into account security costs, which have run almost 17 percent for some projects.
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