WASHINGTON — Ten years and $60 billion in American taxpayer funds later, Iraq is still so unstable and broken that even its leaders question whether U.S. efforts to rebuild the war-torn nation were worth the cost.
In his final report to Congress, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen's conclusion was all too clear: Since the invasion a decade ago this month, the U.S. has spent too much money in Iraq for too few results.
The reconstruction effort "grew to a size much larger than was ever anticipated," Bowen told The Associated Press in a preview of his last audit of U.S. funds spent in Iraq, to be released today. "Not enough was accomplished for the size of the funds expended."
In interviews with Bowen, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the U.S. funding "could have brought great change in Iraq" but fell short too often. "There was misspending of money," said al-Maliki.
"You think if you throw money at a problem, you can fix it," Kurdish government official Qubad Talabani, son of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, told auditors. "It was just not strategic thinking."
The abysmal Iraq results forecast what could happen in Afghanistan, where U.S. taxpayers have so far spent $90 billion in reconstruction projects during a 12-year military campaign that, for the most part, ends in 2014.
To date, the U.S. has spent more than $60 billion in reconstruction grants to help Iraq get back on its feet after the country that has been broken by more than two decades of war, sanctions and dictatorship. That works out to about $15 million a day.
And yet Iraq's government is rife with corruption and infighting.
- Jason Chaffetz: Mitt Romney is leaving door...
- Extended warranties a big sell. Are they...
- Scholarship lotteries, popular with everyone,...
- 'I am Adam Lanza's Mother' author Liza Long...
- Racing wildfire engulfs homes in California town
- Top 15 states for education
- Wearing this one thing can help boost a...
- President Obama: Ebola outbreak a threat to...
- Jason Chaffetz: Mitt Romney is leaving... 67
- US wealth gap putting the squeeze on... 26
- Obama 'confident' of Islamic State... 19
- Americans link violence with Muslims,... 13
- Utah's Gov. Gary Herbert eyes more... 11
- Chicago, NY, Hawaii on Obama library's... 10
- Can Obama wage war without consent of... 5
- Rare snowstorm slams Rockies states,... 5