• Inspector General: State Department Wasted $200 Million on Iraq Police

    July 31, 2012

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Iraq

    Unrelated News: When the city of Scranton, Pa., found itself down to its last $5,000 in the bank last week, it unilaterally cut the pay of city workers— including police officers and firefighters— to the minimum wage, just $7.25 an hour. “The teenagers who work at the ice cream stand not far from my house, they make $8.50 an hour — that’s a dollar and a quarter more than I now make,” said John Judge, a 10-year veteran firefighter.

    U.S. auditors have concluded that more than $200 million was wasted by the State Department on a training program for Iraqi police that Baghdad says is neither needed nor wanted.

    The Police Development Program— which was drawn up to be the single largest State Department program in the world — was envisioned as a five-year, multibillion-dollar push to train security forces after the U.S. military left last December. A report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), released Monday, found that the American Embassy in Baghdad never got a written commitment from Iraq to participate. Now, facing what the report called Baghdad’s “disinterest” in the project, the embassy is gutting what was supposed to be the centerpiece of ongoing U.S. training efforts in Iraq.

    According to the report, the embassy plans to turn over the $108 million Baghdad Police College Annex to Iraqis by the end of the year and will stop training at a $98 million site at the U.S. consulate in the southern city of Basra. Additionally, the number of advisers has been cut by nearly 90 percent — from 350 to 36.

    SIGIR auditors noted that it “has clearly been difficult” for American diplomats to secure a solid commitment from Iraq’s government to participate in the training program. Still, the report concluded, “the decision to embark on a major program absent Iraqi buy-in has been costly” and resulted in “a de facto waste.”

    In its last on-the-record comments about the failed police program, the State Department stated “We have no intention to cancel our police training program in Iraq… As you know, we are absolutely committed to supporting Iraqi self-reliance… And in this case, they are asking us to continue the advisory and training program but to downsize it.”

    All told, SIGIR said the United States spent about $8 billion to train and equip Iraqi police since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

    The Associated Press gently opined that “the findings call into question funding needs at the largest U.S. embassy in the world.”

    I am not so gentle: at a time when American towns cannot afford to pay their own cops a living wage, the State Department diplomats who went ahead with a $200 million program for police in Iraq without local buy-in should be brought to trial for gross waste and mismanagement. This level of incompetence is criminal. This track record demands that State no longer be allowed to touch reconstruction money (Haiti, Afghanistan) without adult supervision. People, we need this money at home. Stop. the. waste.

    Bonus: According to the most recent SIGIR report, the Department of State has 1,235 U.S. government civilian employees and 13,772 contractors (5,737 of whom were providing security services) on the payroll in Iraq.



    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...

      1

      Ah yes..another nomination for Great Moments in Stupidity

      Did I mention..unfuckingbelievable.

      State Department should be renamed The Department of:

      A. Galactic Stupidity

      B. Waste and Graft

      C. Imbecilic Thinking

      D. Ineptitude

      ya know, day after day after day..I see how criminally insane the State Department really is.
      I mean..there is no rational way to reconcile the actions within this department other than monumental stupidity. There should be a test for every employee at State with one fucking question.
      Did your mother pinch your umbilical cord?

      07/31/12 1:24 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      The State Dept version of the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch:

      Nuland: Please. Moving on?

      QUESTION: Yeah. Iraq.

      MS. NULAND: (oh, shit) Yeah?

      QUESTION: I realize this was addressed by the Embassy yesterday, but I just want to get from here – you know what I’m talking about, yes? – in terms of the elimination, or reported elimination, of the Iraqi police training program. This – the report said that it was being considered that the whole program could be – could vanish, that it could go away. The Embassy, while it denied that, didn’t say that it wouldn’t be substantially cut or whittled down to a mere fraction of what it originally had been planned to be. Can you just clarify what exactly is – what are the plans for the police training program?

      MS. NULAND: Well, first let me clarify we have no intention to cancel our police training program in Iraq. What we are engaged in, in collaboration with the Iraqis, is a right-sizing exercise for this program along with all of our programs. As you know, we are absolutely committed to, first of all, supporting Iraqi self-reliance. So if they tell us they need less support, we are going to downsize. And in this case, they are asking us to continue the advisory and training program but to downsize it, and also to saving the U.S. taxpayer money wherever we can.

      QUESTION: Okay. This is the second time in – since the beginning of the year that this particular publication has written something about the Embassy which you had a serious dispute with. Both times it has been cast – the reports have cast these reductions or slashing of personnel as serious miscalculations by the Administration in terms of its Iraq policy. What’s your feeling about that, that characterization of it?

      MS. NULAND: Well, again, it’s important to appreciate that we are in a new phase with Iraq. We’re in a phase where it is up to the Iraqis to decide precisely what kind of footprint they want by foreign support, foreign countries offering support, offering assistance in the context of their overall approach to their sovereignty.

      There you have it. It’s not dead. It’s merely resting. Now about that INL Afghanistan Police Program…

      http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15540

      07/31/12 4:22 PM | Comment Link

    • VN MADE » Imperial Reconstruction and Its Discontents said...

      3

      [...] still flow out. Choose your favorites; here are usually dual new ones of mine: a news that a $200 millionyear-long State Department troops training module had shown no formula (none, nada), in partial [...]

      08/16/12 5:03 PM | Comment Link

    • How Not to Reconstruct Iraq, Afghanistan — or America said...

      4

      [...] still pour out. Choose your favorites; here are just two recent ones of mine: a report that a $200 million year-long State Department police training program had shown no results (none, nada), in part [...]

      08/16/12 9:22 PM | Comment Link

    • How Not to Reconstruct Iraq, Afghanistan — or America | Crystal Vizion said...

      5

      [...] still pour out. Choose your favorites; here are just two recent ones of mine: a report that a $200 million year-long State Department police training program had shown no results (none, nada), in part [...]

      08/17/12 12:18 AM | Comment Link

    • Peter Van Buren: Imperial reconstruction and its discontents — War in Context said...

      6

      [...] still pour out. Choose your favorites; here are just two recent ones of mine: a report that a $200 million year-long State Department police training program had shown no results (none, nada), in part [...]

      08/17/12 12:18 AM | Comment Link

    • Imperial Reconstruction and Its Discontents said...

      7

      [...] still pour out. Choose your favorites; here are just two recent ones of mine: a report that a $200 millionyear-long State Department police training program had shown no results (none, nada), in part [...]

      08/17/12 10:36 AM | Comment Link

    • Imperial Reconstruction and Its Discontents « Protestation said...

      8

      [...] still pour out. Choose your favorites; here are just two recent ones of mine: a report that a $200 millionyear-long State Department police training program had shown no results (none, nada), in part [...]

      08/19/12 8:10 AM | Comment Link

    • How Not to Reconstruct Iraq, Afghanistan said...

      9

      [...] still pour out. Choose your favorites; here are just two recent ones of mine: a report that a $200 million year-long State Department police training program had shown no results (none, nada), in part [...]

      08/21/12 9:17 PM | Comment Link

    • How Zionist Empire Rebuild Countries After Invasion « ♡ The Tale Of My Heart ♡ said...

      10

      [...] your favourites; here are just two recent ones of mine: a report that a $200m year-long State Department police training programme had shown no results (none, nada), in part [...]

      11/6/12 1:00 AM | Comment Link

    Leave A Comment

    Mail (will not be published) (required)