Iraq: $60 billion and nothing to show

March 6, 2013 at 8:39 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 6 (UPI) -- A top Iraqi minister said you can't find a single project in Iraq today that was built and completed by the United States during the past decade.

The statement by Iraqi Interior Minister Adnan al-Asadi is contained in a report released Wednesday about the shortcomings of a $60 billion rebuilding effort in that country, The Washington Post reported.

"With all the money the U.S. spent, you can go to any city in Iraq and you cannot find one [completed] building or project," al-Asadi told Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he was grateful for America's investment but told Bowen he wished the billions in aid "could have brought great change to Iraq" if it had been managed better.

Bowen's 171-page assessment, "Learning from Iraq," is his final major report.

In addition to covering the money spent on projects, the report also provides summaries of interviews with senior U.S. and Iraqi officials, The New York Times reported.

Officials from both countries said the United States took on too many large projects and often did not consult sufficiently with the Iraqis about which projects were needed and how best to go about them.

Ryan C. Crocker, who served as American ambassador in Iraq from 2007 to 2009, said that a major problem was the United States' failure to obtain "genuine" Iraqi support for major projects.

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