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September 18, 2005 11:15 PM   Subscribe

What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn? "The money missing from all ministries under the interim Iraqi government appointed by the US in June 2004 may turn out to be close[r] to $2bn... Many Iraqi soldiers and police have died because they were not properly equipped. In Baghdad they often ride in civilian pick-up trucks vulnerable to gunfire, rocket- propelled grenades or roadside bombs. For months even men defusing bombs had no protection against blasts because they worked without bullet-proof vests. These were often promised but never turned up."
posted by Rothko (20 comments total)

 
$1 billion? didn't we spend like $300 billion on this mess so far? If I lose a penny, I don't worry about it so much.

What's Iraq's actual operating budget?
posted by delmoi at 11:36 PM on September 18, 2005


Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and "rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes.

Bu$h wins, U.S. loses.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:06 AM on September 19, 2005


delmoi, if a billion or two is beneath notice then you also dismiss the oil for food scandal as mere pocket change, right?

Iraq spends about $1.3b on defense yearly, so this fraud represents most of their own defense expenditure. Beyond the question of whether you'd stop to piss on a burning pile of benjamins, it might say something about how well the Iraqis are managing themselves: if they'd spent this $1b better maybe it would have meant saving the U.S. a much greater sum.

Of course the fact that this scandal is coming out might mean they're doing a better job now. Was Bremer just a total sleazebag fuckup or did he do anything right?
posted by fleacircus at 1:21 AM on September 19, 2005


Where has all the money gone?
posted by grahamwell at 1:29 AM on September 19, 2005


Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organized suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and "rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes.

Ummm... so, are we supposed to just assume that Americans are smarter than Iraqis?

It's possible that skimming the cash would require some intimate knowledge of the workings of some US government agency, but I doubt it. This sort of skim goes on in corrupt countries run by puppet governments all over the world. It should come as no surprise when it happens in Iraq.

All we're seeing here is further evidence that even the Iraqis who are cooperating with the occupation don't think that what we're creating there is supposed to be anything like a real government. Like boiler room operators who are happy to make their sales and take their commissions until the cops kick down the door, they know their operation is a scam and they just don't care.

Another point worth making: The article discusses Iraqi security forces and police who are going without armor and arms. Well remember, the US administrators over there don't trust these Iraqi forces any further than they can piss underwater. Remember the bus load of recruits who got ambushed? Well, they weren't armed because they were going on a short vacation and the people in charge didn't trust them to return. The fear was that they'd go awol and join the insurgents, taking along their shiny new US supplied machine guns.

Perhaps similar concerns would partially explain the lack of diligence in arming the Iraqi forces.
posted by Clay201 at 1:47 AM on September 19, 2005


Al Jazeera has it as "billions" missing, and that's completely separate from the 7 to 9 billion that went missing from the CPA when Paul Bremer was in charge.

Talk about "throwing good money after bad"... oh well. It's not my money.
posted by clevershark at 4:43 AM on September 19, 2005


and there are lessons for NO too: ... The model we should look at is the Coalition Provisional Government in Iraq. That too was going to be a bold and courageous experiment in laissez-faire wet-dream governance. Instead it was the biggest boondoggle in history with more than 8.8 billion dollars officially unaccounted for and undoubtedly tens of billions more wasted on fraud and corruption. Bush's base, by which I mean corporate America, did very, very well. They will undoubtedly do well in Boondoggle Part Two as well. ...

posted by amberglow at 4:47 AM on September 19, 2005


In Baghdad they often ride in civilian pick-up trucks vulnerable to gunfire, rocket- propelled grenades or roadside bombs.

That has little to do with money and more to do with policy. The U.S. Military doesn't want Iraqi's to have armour because it could end up on the wrong side.
posted by srboisvert at 6:24 AM on September 19, 2005


From grahamwell's link:

"On 12 April 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Erbil in northern Iraq handed over $1.5 billion in cash to a local courier. The money, fresh $100 bills shrink-wrapped on pallets, which filled three Blackhawk helicopters, came from oil sales under the UN’s Oil for Food Programme, and had been entrusted by the UN Security Council to the Americans to be spent on behalf of the Iraqi people. The CPA didn’t properly check out the courier before handing over the cash, and, as a result, according to an audit report by the CPA’s inspector general, ‘there was an increased risk of the loss or theft of the cash.’"

How fucking stupid is our government sometimes? First they decide to pay a provisional goverment in what is the currency of the black market ($100 bills), then they decide to make sure it gets there by hiring a local courier. In a war zone. Without making sure the courier was legit and able to do the transaction. That is just so monumentally stupid I don't have any reaction but to shake my head and sigh.
posted by shawnj at 6:40 AM on September 19, 2005


The true irony in all of this is that most likely, it's not Iran that is funding the insurgents, but our own incompetence with currency that is the most widely accepted form of payment on the black market that has funded them.
posted by shawnj at 6:43 AM on September 19, 2005


shawnj:

I have no evidence to back up my theory, but I have to tell you that my first thought on reading that bit about using the wrong courier is that it's an incredibly obvious (and rather half-assed) cover-up for a very impressive round of larceny.
posted by Clay201 at 6:59 AM on September 19, 2005


Buffalo Soldiers?
posted by cytherea at 7:58 AM on September 19, 2005


Shocking.
posted by AspectRatio at 8:00 AM on September 19, 2005


My first thought went back to seeing "Lord of War" this weekend. Maybe we should play up the "Al Qaeda might have taken it" angle to get conservatives interested.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:11 AM on September 19, 2005


Grahamwell, that's an interesting and infuriating article. I had no idea that the money squandering had been so flagrant, but I am happy to know that there are lawsuits and investigations pending. Good for Waxman among others.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:43 PM on September 19, 2005


What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?

I'd check Cheney's pants first.
posted by nofundy at 1:11 PM on September 19, 2005


I'd check Cheney's pants first.

heh, heh. maybe it got 'offshored' to Haliburton...
posted by TrinityB5 at 2:32 PM on September 19, 2005


Look, this war was clearly based on ideology and *snicker* setting the Iraqi people *chortle* free, it has nothing to do with money.

*Phhtthaw haw haw*

Man, didn't think I could keep that up.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:44 PM on September 19, 2005


I thought they lost track of $9 billion dollars.
posted by sultan at 9:34 PM on September 19, 2005




OH MY GOD! It's 1 Billion Dollars in his PANTS!!!

Oh wait no, that's something else...
posted by mikojava at 11:27 PM on September 19, 2005


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