How can Iraq be rebuilt when the money is stolen?

We have all heard about how officials and companies are making the money assigned to rebuild Iraq disappear. But did you know that recently there’s also been a record number of US soldiers convicted of such theft and bribery? Devote 2 minutes to watching Gayane Chichakyan reporting:

Isn’t it interesting how little coverage the issue of the missing billions have had in the media? The US military promised they would help rebuild war torn Iraq. Sure, there has been some aid, but unfortunately war contractors are getting away with billions of dollars in profits. In some parts of Iraq there is still no running water,even though someone has been paid to arrange that.

War profiteers steal billions

What amazes me even more is that many war time contractors have been given money to build hospitals that never opened and jails that will never hold any prisoners. On top of it these contractors that have stolen billions from US tax payers have complete impunity from the justice system. Congress has cut the funding to these contractors, but their report will be sealed until 2031. For more in-debth coverage of the problem  watch this interesting video:

Only going after petty thiefs

Isn’t it amazing that soldiers stealing a few thousand dollars are taken to court while US contractors pocketing billions have immunity? Makes you wonder what the US congress is doing, doesn’t it? Can’t help wondering if they will honour their promise to rebuild Iraq? It’s worth remembering that Iraq is still paying Kuwait for the damage they caused when they invaded.

If it wasn’t so critical to rebuild Iraq we could just say that we were not surprised. But the UNHCR  is concerned about almost 2 million people inside Iraq and about 3,4 million originating from Iraq. In other words more than five million people are yet to be able return home to a safe and sound environment. Many of them live in deplorable conditions in camps and it’s actually these people’s lives the people stealing the funds are ruining.

So how can Iraq be rebuilt? Not only are corrupt officials bagging the money but contractors and US soldiers as well. The longer we wait the more problematic the situation in Iraq will be. It’s already the Wild West and the sooner it’s rebuilt the better for not only Iraq but the world. We don’t need another failed state. One solution would be for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to coordinate an effort. But that’s unlikely considering the role Iran is playing in Iraq. Is it likely that Iran will rebuild it? Or does it serve their interest to keep Iraq the way it is? Maybe The Arab League could be in charge of rebuilding it? After what happened to the UN in the country, is it likely the United Nations would be prepared to coordinate the effort? Or should the US take its responsibility and find new funds to rebuild the country? What’s your opinion? And how can we assure that money allocated will be used to rebuild Iraq and not end up in someone’s pocket?

Videos: RT America – YouTube

24 thoughts on “How can Iraq be rebuilt when the money is stolen?

  1. Catarina,

    Your articles are always deep and give me something to think about. Yes it is a shame the way that companies are profiteering over in Iraq and a shame that it gets so little coverage over here in America. As for Congress we no longer expect them to be on the side of the little people and it is interesting how they can waste so much money but tell us that they have to cut back on what we get and they get our money from us. I am so ashamed of the things that we do, sometimes it gives me a headache when I think about it. The lack of thought for our fellow man is appalling and we are going to pay for it, not just in America, all over the world.

    Happy Blogging,
    Jenn

  2. I wish I had a solution to the rampant corruption that plagues society today, but I don't. It just seems to be a fact of life in all parts of the world, and from those who have (lots of!) money as well as those who don't. As you say, the sad fact is that it seems that it's only the "small people" that are prosecuted. The big ones escape unscathed and protected by the politicians.

    Having said that, stealing from anyone is terrible and should be punished, but stealing from your own poor people is a magnitude worse and should be even more harshly dealt with. What a pity it won't (look just down the road at Afghanistan and what Hamid Karzai and his family have very publicly got up to).

    1. True Guy. But somehow we have to succeed in doing so. Rebuilding Iraq will be difficult and some money will disappear. But it should be possible to at least improve the situation so that some of the 5 million displaced can go home.

  3. Hi Catarina,

    Unfortunately I am not surprised as I read a similar thing was happening in some countries affected by the Tsunami. What I can't understand is why the UN didn't co-ordinate the rebuilding with audits as part of the process. My guess is unless there is an independent body that has the power to oversee the efforts to make sure the rebuilding happens the corruption will continue.
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    1. Yes Susan, the catch is to find an independent body that will, at least, minimize, corruption. Not sure how that can be done. But somehow Iraq has to be rebuilt, even if some money disappears.

  4. Catarina what a great indepth article. I wish I had the answer or even knew what to comment…

    As I live in the UK it's slightly different but still the UK went in with the US and now look at the country's dire states…

    I hope I live to see Iraq being rebuilt but I personally think it will take years, these countries are so corrupt (as is the UK and US lol)
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  5. Insightful article. I hope someday we see a peaceful iraq. COrruption is everywhere and there has been no solution so far. It's sad but still we should not give up hope.

    Thanks for sharing
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  6. I think Loaning the government the money it needs to make good on the appreciated value of the currencies, creating large scale indebtedness and End the war and begin a reconstruction phase which will appreciate the value of the nation's currency.

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  7. Catarina…very nice, detailed article.

    Unfortunately this problem won't go away. Corruption will always exist. Governments will only do a proper job if it benefits the country. At least that's what I think 🙂

    More awareness is definitely needed to stop this stealing. If you search on Google engine or News, you'll find there's not much info on this problem.
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    1. Glad you agree with me Alan. Catch is Iraq needs to be rebuilt due to the 5 million people that are displaced as a result. Maybe the US could invest in Iraq or, like Europe, take refugees.

  8. This is the very first I've even heard about this. Talk about an outrage!

    Countries around the world must have a pretty low opinion of Americans when things like this are happening.

    War profiteering is nothing new, but I can't even fathom it on this type of scale. 60 Billion dollars!
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  9. Interesting points Srinivas.

    Please note that I'm Swedish and knew from the beginning that it was a huge mistake to invade Iraq.

    Know for a fact that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told George W. Bush what would happen. But your president didn't listen. Don't know about you, but I have lived and worked all over the world and am not slumbering:-)

  10. Catarina, Nice points, I was aware about the issue but not knowing that is is on this scale. It is lot of money which is going waste. I think this might not stop but a proper media attention can save some money.
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