An article in the October 24th issue of The American Conservative rips the Bush Administration a new one over their failure in Iraq; not only in terms of the original goals of the invasion, but also in the billions of dollars lost to corruption that’s taken place:
The United States invaded Iraq with a high-minded mission: destroy dangerous weapons, bring democracy, and trigger a wave of reform across the Middle East. None of these have happened.
When the final page is written on America’s catastrophic imperial venture, one word will dominate the explanation of U.S. failure—corruption. Large-scale and pervasive corruption meant that available resources could not be used to stabilize and secure Iraq in the early days of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), when it was still possible to do so. Continuing corruption meant that the reconstruction of infrastructure never got underway, giving the Iraqi people little incentive to co-operate with the occupation. Ongoing corruption in arms procurement and defense spending means that Baghdad will never control a viable army while the Shi’ite and Kurdish militias will grow stronger and produce a divided Iraq in which constitutional guarantees will be irrelevant.
The American-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority could well prove to be the most corrupt administration in history, almost certainly surpassing the widespread fraud of the much-maligned UN Oil for Food Program. At least $20 billion that belonged to the Iraqi people has been wasted, together with hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Exactly how many billions of additional dollars were squandered, stolen, given away, or simply lost will never be known because the deliberate decision by the CPA not to meter oil exports means that no one will ever know how much revenue was generated during 2003 and 2004.
The article is long and stunning in its vehement condemnation of the situation in Iraq. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to read something like this in a liberal publication, but in a conservative one it’s quite surprising and gives me hope that perhaps the conservatives are wising up a bit in regards to Bush’s disastrous foreign policy. It’s an excellent read.
Props to Life In Bush’s America for digging it up.