Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Iraq post-mortem

Congress did a smart thing by creating a special inspector general for U.S. activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The final report of the Iraq SIGIR is now out. Read it and weep.

Michael Gordon has a summary, mainly citing statements by US officials explaining what they saw going wrong.  I've just begun to look at the report, but what strikes me is hw much we tried to do, how much we spent, the noble aspirations, and the piddling results.

I know governments waste money in wartime, when urgency trumps efficiency. But I'm stunned and disappointed at how poorly coordinated and planned our nation-building turned out to be.

UPDATE: A key factoid from the report: Congress appropriated $60.6 billion for Iraqi reconstruction; $58.3 billion was actually expended. The money was channeled through five major programs and 18 smaller ones. The Defense Department controlled 87% of the funds.

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