I misplace my wallet from time to time, too. It happens. By Liz Goodwin for The Lookout:
More than $6 billion in Iraq reconstruction funds lost
The Iraqi and U.S. governments have been unable to account for a substantial chunk of the billions of dollars in reconstruction aid the Bush administration literally airlifted into the country. If the cash proves to have been stolen, the heist could represent "the largest theft of funds in national history," according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The Times' description of how the billions of dollars entered the country is a must-read:
Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.
Special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction Stuart Bowen told the paper the missing $6.6 billion may be "the largest theft of funds in national history."
Iraqi officials say it was the U.S. government's job to keep track of the funds, which were brought in as an emergency measure to keep basic infrastructure going after Saddam Hussein's ouster. House Government Reform Committee investigators found in 2005 evidence of "substantial waste, fraud and abuse in the actual spending and disbursement of the Iraqi funds."
Witnesses testified that millions of dollars were shoved into "gunnysacks" and disbursed to Iraqi contractors on pick-up trucks, with what seemed to be little financial controls or accounting on the part of the U.S. government.
Keep this story in mind as you watch your local libraries, parks, schools, and other resources shutdown or cut back in the next year or so. Ask yourself what we, the American people, not the Iraqi and Afghan people, got for those trillions spent in improving the lives of our good friends and strong allies.
Posted on 06/16/2011 11:50 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden