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Iraq Reconstruction Report Documents Waste, Corruption

Stuart Bowen, the US official in charge of monitoring $60 billion spent by the US on Iraqi stabilization and reconstruction, says 15% was wasted, millions were stolen and the US government is still not properly organized to carry out such operations, writes Barbara Slavin.
U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer (L), former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, and Stuart Bowen, the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, are sworn in at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the management of U.S. funds in Iraq, on Capitol Hill in Washington February 6, 2007.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STATES) - RTR1M2AQ

If the United States ever tries to rebuild another broken country — say, Syria — it should focus on security, start small and make sure there are independent people on the ground to monitor the projects from the start.

These are among the common-sense lessons gleaned from the checkered record of Iraq, where the US has spent nearly $60 billion on so-called stabilization and reconstruction — of which at least $8-10 billion was wasted due to lack of security, poorly executed contracts and corruption, according to a new report

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