7 thoughts on “US administration admits Iraq ‘reconstruction’ failed

  1. Iraq reconstruction ‘faces uncertainty’
    Pauline Jelinek
    January 30, 2009 – 5:39PM

    The often chaotic and wasteful $US125 billion ($A191.75 billion) Iraq rebuilding effort will face new trouble and uncertainty this year despite the decline in violence there, a US military audit report says.

    A separate report on Afghanistan said there is no coherent strategy for that country’s $US32 billion ($A49.09 billion) reconstruction campaign.

    In Iraq, the nation’s shifting power base and finances will force fundamental changes in the now nearly six-year-old rebuilding effort, as will questions about security when the United States draws combat forces out of Iraqi cities in the northern summer, said the report released on Friday by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen.

    A new agreement governing the American presence in Iraq means US contractors will no longer have immunity from Iraqi laws. That could entice some of them to quit the country when the government finishes writing new rules on contractor licensing, taxes, registration of their firearms and so on, the report said.

    Also, the big drop in global oil prices over the past six months has forced Iraqis to trim their budget plans and could have “severe consequences for Iraq reconstruction, fundamentally altering government of Iraq plans to fund large-scale capital improvement projects” themselves, the report said.

    The reconstruction effort in Iraq totals $US125 billion ($A191.75 billion), including US funding of $US51 billion ($A78.23 billion); Iraqi funding of about $US58 billion ($A88.97 billion) and international funding of $US17 billion ($A26.08 billion), not all of which has been spent.

    For Afghanistan, the United States has appropriated but not fully spent $US32 billion ($A49.09 billion) for humanitarian aid and reconstruction while other nations have contributed $US25.3 billion ($A38.81 billion), said a separate report released late on Thursday by the office of Arnold Fields, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

    Congress recently approved creation of the new SIGAR audit office, which mirrors the one set up to oversee Iraq reconstruction spending. That office has routinely found glaring examples of fraud and waste in a wide range of projects to provide police stations, schools, improve basic services such as electricity and water and programs to teach Iraqis skills needed for better governance.

    Fields has been just getting his work underway in recent months.

    “I fear there are major weaknesses in strategy,” he said in only his second quarterly report.

    Although he said his agency has not yet done an in-depth review, he found in recent trips to Afghanistan “a broad consensus … that reconstruction efforts are fragmented and that existing strategies lack coherence”.

    He said government officials there want a greater say in the building plan.

    Retired Marine Major General Fields said he has finished setting up a permanent office in Kabul and has 30 employees at three Afghan locations.

    © 2009 AP

  2. Feb 2, 5:04 AM EST

    Commission gets grim report on wartime spending

    By RICHARD LARDNER
    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A new commission examining waste and corruption in wartime contracts is getting a grim report from government watchdogs who say poor planning, weak oversight and greed combined to soak U.S. taxpayers and undermine American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, says U.S. taxpayers have paid nearly $51 billion for a wide array of projects in Iraq – from training the Iraqi army and police to rebuilding the country’s oil, electric, justice, health and transportation sectors.

    Some of these projects succeeded, Bowen informed the Wartime Contracting Commission at its first public hearing, according to his written testimony, but many did not. Violence in Iraq along with constant friction between U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad were also major factors that undercut progress.

    The U.S. government “was neither prepared for nor able to respond quickly to the ever-changing demands” of stabilizing Iraq and then rebuilding it, Bowen said in his written testimony. “For the last six years we have been on a steep learning curve.”

    A lengthy study by Bowen’s office, “Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience,” reviews the problems in an effort the Bush administration initially thought would cost $2.4 billion.

    Overall, the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have paid contractors more than $100 billion since 2003 for goods and services to support war operations and rebuilding projects in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Congress created the bipartisan panel a year ago over the objections of the Bush White House, which complained the Justice Department might be forced to disclose sensitive information about investigations.

    There are 154 open criminal investigations into allegations of bribery, conflicts of interest, defective products, bid rigging and theft stemming from the wars, Thomas Gimble, the Pentagon’s principal deputy inspector general, said in his testimony.

    Gimble noted that contracting scandals have gone on since the late 1700s when vendors swindled George Washington’s army.

    “Today, instead of empty barrels of meat, contractors produced inadequate or unusable facilities that required extensive rework,” Gimble says. “Like the Continental Forces who encountered fraud, the (Defense Department) also encounters fraud.”

    Gimble’s office found that a small number of inexperienced civilian or military personnel “were assigned far-reaching responsibilities for an unreasonably large number of contracts.”

    He cites an account tapped frequently by U.S. military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan to build schools, roads and hospitals. More than $3 billion was spent on these projects, which were not always properly managed.

    “In some instances, there appeared to be scant, if any, oversight of the manner in which funds were expended,” Gimble says. “Complicating matters further is the fact that payment of bribes and gratuities to government officials is a common business practice in some Southwest Asia nations.”

    In an advance copy of the “Hard Lessons” report, Bowen says his office found fraud to be less of a problem than persistent inefficiencies and hefty contractor fees that “all contributed to a significant waste of taxpayer dollars.”

    Styled after the Truman Committee, which examined World War II spending six decades ago, the eight-member panel has broad authority to examine military support contracts, reconstruction projects and private security companies.

    The leaders are Mike Thibault, a former deputy director at the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and Grant Green, a former official at both the State and Defense departments.

    The panel has until August 2010 to produce a final report. Along the way, it can refer to the Justice Department any violations of the law it finds.

    The inspectors general at the State Department and USAID were also testifying at Monday’s hearing.

    On the Net:

    Commission on Wartime Contracting: http://www.wartimecontracting.gov

  3. Posted by: “bigraccoon” bigraccoon1@verizon.net

    Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:32 pm (PST)

    Time To Rebuild This Country

    Dec 12, 2011

    Republicans Who Said Yes to War Spending Now Say No to Job-Creating Investments Here at Home

    In the coming days, President Obama will keep his promise to bring a responsible end to the nearly nine-year long Iraq War. This is an important moment for the nation, our men and women in uniform, and for the progressive movement, which fought tirelessly to bring this war to an end.

    Our country, however, still faces many urgent challenges — perhaps none more urgent than putting 14 million Americans back to work. As the Iraq War comes to an end, it’s time to invest some of the savings to rebuild our own country. Yet, the very same Republican leaders who voted to take us to war and committed more than $800 BILLION to the Iraq War without offsetting any of the costs are now refusing to make investments in this country to put millions of Americans back to work and create an economy that works for everyone — even though these programs are fully paid-for.

    Republican Leaders Have Voted for $1 TRILLION in War Spending Since 2002

    From the run-up to the Iraq War in the fall of 2002 through 2010, Congress voted to spend more than $1 TRILLION on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other related costs — including more than $120 BILLION on worthy programs in Iraq and Afghanistan like building roads and schools that are nearly identical to the job-creating investments President Obama and Democrats now want to make in the United States. About four-fifths of this $1 TRILLION in war-related spending — about $800 BILLION — went toward the Iraq War.

    Republican leaders in Congress have almost uniformly supported this spending — with the only exceptions coming in 2009 and 2010 after President Obama came into office. For example:

    Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) voted for $997 BILLION in war-related spending from 2002-2010.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted for for $1.07 TRILLION in war-related spending from 2002-2010.
    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)voted for $997 BILLION in war-related spending from 2002-2010.
    Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) voted for $913 BILLION in war-related spending from 2002-2010.
    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) voted for $1 TRILLION in war-related spending from 2002-2010.
    This spending all went on the national credit card, thanks in no small measure to the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, whose benefits heavily skewed toward the wealthiest Americans and did nothing to create jobs.

    Republican Leaders Refuse to Support Investments Here at Home

    In September, President Obama laid out his plan to put millions of Americans back to work: the American Jobs Act. Republican leaders immediately assailed the proposal — citing its cost and its reliance on asking the very wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.

    Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor have refused to even bring the president’s jobs plan to vote in the House of Representatives.
    Sens. McConnell, Kyl, and Graham have repeatedly voted against investing here at home to rebuild America and put Americans back to work:
    Oct. 11: 100 percent of Senate Republicans voted against millions of American jobs in order to protect the very wealthiest Americans — the top 0.5 percent — from having to pay their fair share.
    Oct. 20: 100 percent of Senate Republicans voted against nearly 400,000 jobs for teachers, firefighters, and cops in order to protect the very wealthiest Americans — the top 0.5 percent — from having to pay their fair share.
    Nov. 3: 100 percent of Senate Republicans voted against 450,000 Americans jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, airports, and other critical infrastructure in order to protect the very wealthiest Americans — the top 0.5 percent — from having to pay their fair share.
    Dec. 1: 98 percent of Senate Republicans voted to raise taxes on 160 MILLION working Americans in order to protect just 345,000 millionaires from having to pay their fair share.
    Dec. 8: 98 percent of Senate Republicans voted to raise taxes on 160 MILLION working Americans in order to protect just 345,000 millionaires from having to pay their fair share.
    Unlike the $1 TRILLION in war-related spending over the past decade, these investments in rebuilding America and putting Americans back to work were entirely paid for by asking the very wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.

    IN TWO SENTENCES: It’s time to rebuild this country and put Americans back to work. It’s shocking that the same Republican leaders who voted for $1 TRILLION in deficit-financed war spending now refuse to support the fully-paid for investments we need to put Americans back to work and create an economy that works for everyone.

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