Sham spending in reconstruction projects has cost US taxpayers at least $1.5 billion in Iraqâ€™s new era, a report says.
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction reported Tuesday that the money was wasted on US reconstruction efforts in Iraq between 2004 and 2013.
The report urged the US Congress to create a new agency called the Office for Contingency Operations to prevent future waste and excess.
â€œIf it had existed at the outset of the Iraq program, the United States might have avoided wasting billions of taxpayer dollars,â€ said the report, titled â€œLearning From Iraq.â€
US reconstruction efforts lacked legitimacy and the support of the Iraqi people, said John Herbst, the director of the Center for Complex Operations at the National Defense University in Washington.
â€œYou must have sufficient security before engaging in reconstruction activity,â€ said Herbst. â€œThat cost us billions of dollars and too many lives.â€
In Iraq, the price tag for the war, according to nonpartisan congressional researchers, was at least $806 billion, although that figure doesn’t take into account related expenses such as coming decades of veteransâ€™ benefits and other costs including medical treatment and job retraining for wounded soldiers.
According to a study by Harvard scholar Linda Bilmes in March, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will cost the US between $4 trillion and $6 trillion in the long term.