Wednesday, March 06, 2013

GOP Amnesia: U.S. Wasted Billions Rebuilding Iraq

With the Congressional Republicans whining incessantly about the budget deficit which they try to hang on Barack Obama, they conveniently have amnesia when it comes to the billions of dollars squandered on the Iraq War and the so-called nation building that followed (they also have amnesia on the role that the Bush tax cuts played in exploding the deficit).  Countless needless deaths, waste, corruption and incompetency seem to be the main hallmarks of the Iraq fool's errand launched by Chimperator Bush and Emperor Palpatine Cheney.  An article in Think Progress looks at some of the sums of money that might just as well have been heaped in a pile and set afire for all that they did not accomplish.  Here are some highlights:

As the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq approaches, the body charged with overseeing Iraq’s reconstruction has issued its final report, capping a tale of spending far too much money for very little results.

Appointed in Oct. 2004, over a year into War in Iraq, the Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) was charged with being a watchdog over the use of funds provided for rebuilding the Iraqi state after the downfall of Saddam Hussein. Those reconstruction and stabilization efforts wound up costing nearly $60 billion — or about $15 million per day — with up to $10 billion of that amount wasted, according to SIGIR Stuart Bowen.

The examples provided of fraud and abuse of the system are staggering both in number and nature. Among the most telling boondoggles is an $108 million waste-water treatment facility in Fallujah, Iraq that will be completed eight years over schedule. Once finished in 2014, it will only service 9,000 homes and require an additional $87 million from Iraq to provide service to the rest of the buildings in the city.

In terms of outright abuse, Iraqis and Americans alike were culprits, with one former Iraqi Defense Minister’s squandering $1.3 billion.  .  .  .  . former U.S. Army Major John Cockerham was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison for siphoning off millions of dollars from reconstruction projects by accepting bribes from various contractors.

The majority of Bowen’s lessons learned provided to Congress deal extensively with the completely unprepared way in which the United States chose to rebuild Iraq.  Bowen gives seven ways to better perform rebuilding operations in the future.  .  .  . 

Many of those suggestions belie the cavalier attitude struck by Republicans at the beginning of the war in 2003, despite a near complete lack of planning by the Bush administration to provide for rebuilding Iraq. “Each day it gets better,” then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in May 2003 of the reconstruction efforts. Rumsfeld also insisted that “the bulk of the funds for Iraq’s reconstruction will come from Iraqis” in October of that year. $60 billion later, Iraq has proved to be nowhere near the “cakewalk” predicted by George W. Bush adviser Kenneth Adelman predicted in 2002.

The GOP lies about the real sources of the nation's deficit are brazen to say the least.  The GOP voted for and approved all of the Bush/Cheney disasters that continue to haunt us to this day.  Yet the GOP demagogues now pretend to be the GOP is party of fiscal restraint that will save the country.  Would that they had shown some fiscal restraint and not taken the country to war needlessly a good portion of the nation's debt would not now exist.

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