Were it not for the horrific events in the London Underground, this would have been the big story today. The profligate waste of US taxpayers’ and Iraq’s money is inexcusable.
The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8bn that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it has gone. A further $3.4bn appropriated by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance “security”.
Although Bremer was expected to manage Iraqi funds in a transparent manner, it was only in October 2003, six months after the fall of Saddam, that an International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) was established to provide independent, international financial oversight of CPA spending. (This board includes representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.)
The IAMB first spent months trying to find auditors acceptable to the US. The Bahrain office of KPMG was finally appointed in April 2004. It was stonewalled.
You might say that it’s in poor taste or shows a lack of discretion for me to bring this up with all that has gone on in London today. I would answer that I feel that there exists a direct link between this shameful display of foolhardiness, graft, and corruption and the London bombings. If we really wish to fight terrorism, it needs to be fought on real terms with an eye towards eliminating the circumstances which produce terrorists. Destroying a nation’s infrastructure and then looting its treasure while making vague promises about “bringing democracy” is no way to fight terror.