January 24, 2006
Look, nobody wants to say "We told you so," but we told you so:
The first official history of the $25 billion American reconstruction effort in Iraq depicts a program hobbled from the outset by gross understaffing, a lack of technical expertise, bureaucratic infighting, secrecy and constantly increasing security costs, according to a preliminary draft...A fine example of our tax dollars at work! And that's just $25 billion of reconstruction money down the drain. We now know the total cost of this fiasco is going to cost us over $2 trillion.
In the document, the paralyzing effect of staffing shortfalls and contracting battles between the State Department and the Pentagon, creating delays of months at a stretch, are described for the first time from inside the program.
The document also recounts concerns about writing contracts for an entity with the "ambiguous legal status" of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the question of whether it was an American entity or a multinational one like NATO.
Ah, remember the quaint old days when we were
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz: “There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”As Gavin & Friends would say: Sadly, no.