Oops! Pentagon Loses Track Of $6.6 Billion
In a mind-boggling example of government corruption, billions of dollars flown to Iraq for post-invasion “reconstruction” have vanished and may never be recovered.Bundled in chunks of $100 bills, the cash was sent from the U.S. to Iraq in turboprop military cargo planes known as C-130 Hercules. About $2.4 billion fit in each aircraft and 21 flights made trips, transporting a total of $12 billion in American currency to Iraq by 2004.For years federal audits have determined that more than half the money cannot be accounted for but there seemed to be some hope that some of the funds could be retrieved. However, this week the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (Stuart Bowen) essentially confirmed that $6.6 billion in cash was likely stolen and may never be recovered.Bowen referred to it as “the largest theft of funds in national history,” in a newspaper report that points out the missing money is enough to run a major public school district for an entire year. The story also says that the mystery is a growing embarrassment to the Pentagon, which has long asserted that it could track the cash if given the time to do it.This is simply the latest of many reports documenting the pervasive fraud and waste inIraq reconstruction efforts, which have received more than $100 billion from U.S. taxpayers. In the last few years Inspector General audits have exposed the sordid details of costly projects that never got completed or are rife with excessive delays and shoddy work.