In the last few weeks, the Administration has been pushing hard to show how sequestration has produced dire consequences even though it involved only $85 billion (including the implausible claim that thousands of illegal aliens had to be released due to the cuts). For some of us who have complained about the Administration giving billions to Israel and other countries, it was a hard sell even if you do not agree with sequestration. Now a report has come out showing, as has been discussed for years on this blog and other sites, most of the $60 billion given to Iraq in the last ten years was wasted or lost to open corruption. The long documented waste of billions did not cause either the Bush or Obama Administration (or Congress) to take meaningful steps to stop the funding or, better yet, pull out of the country.
In his final report to Congress, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen’s findings show open theft and waste that continued without correction from U.S. officials. The corruption enriched Iraqi leaders and left a string of unfinished buildings and projects across the country. Yet, officials continued to pour money into reconstruction despite media reports showing that the money was evaporating into the bank accounts of corrupt officials or doomed projects. There is no record of a single official being disciplined for this waste.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the U.S. funding was simply a case of “misspending of money.”
In total, U.S. taxpayers have so far spent $90 billion in reconstruction projects during a 12-year military campaign — over the amount now viewed as a dire shortfall due to sequestration. Both the Bush and Obama administration were long accused of disregarding the accounts of waste and corruption as billions gushed out of the treasury at a time of severe economic problems in the U.S.
When both military and diplomatic costs are considered, the U.S. has spent at least $767 billion since the American-led invasion. That is almost $700 billion spent on a lie over WMDs and a war continued by both Bush and Obama due to a lack of political courage to end it. Polls show a majority of Iraqis hate the U.S.
Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate committee that oversees U.S. funding, has expressed dismay at the report as if this is the first time she has heard of these problems. It has been years of constant media reports of corruption and waste. Yet, Collins and her colleagues have continued to appropriate billions in aid while cutting programs for U.S. citizens.
Both Congress and the White House (both Bush and Obama) deserve blame for this waste and yet no one seems particularly angry with our leaders. It is a curious state of affairs in a representative democracy. Citizens appear in an entirely passive state — disconnected from the failures and abuses of their government from waste to kill lists to torture.