Report from auditors finds that massive US programme to train Iraqi police was unwanted and led to ‘de-facto waste’.
More than $200m was wasted on a programme to train Iraqi police that the government in Baghdad neither needed or wanted, US auditors have found.
The Police Development Programme, which was to be the single largest programme launched by the US State Department anywhere in the world, was envisioned to be a five-year, multi-billion dollar effort to train local security forces after the US military pulled out last December.
A report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, to be released today, found that the US embassy in Baghdad never received a written commitment from Iraq to participate in the programme.
Now, facing what the report called Baghdad’s “disinterest” in the project, the embassy is massively cutting what was planned to be the centrepiece of ongoing US training projects in Iraq.
According to the report, the embassy now plans to turn the $108m Baghdad Police College Annex over to Iraqis by the end of 2012, and will also stop training at a $98m site in the southern city of Basra…
“A major lesson learned from Iraq is that host country buy-in to proposed programmes is essential to the long-term success of relief and reconstruction activities”…auditors wrote in a 41-page summary of their inspection…
In ordinary English – understand we’re talking about a government made up of survivors of Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
The report concluded, “the decision to embark on a major programme absent Iraqi buy-in has been costly” and resulted in “a de-facto waste”…The findings have called into question funding needs at the US embassy in Baghdad, the largest such mission in the world…
In a July 26 letter responding to a draft of the report, Carol Z. Perez, an acting US assistant secretary of state, said that the embassy would be requesting additional funding for the police training programme in 2013…
Moreover, Perez said, the embassy had been assured by Adnan al-Asadi, the Iraqi principal deputy interior minister, that his country is committed to a streamlined version of the training programme.
The auditors, however, said that those assurances fall short of a written commitment. They quoted al-Asadi as telling US inspectors that the police training programme was “useless”.
Bush’s imperial adventure into the Middle East will go down in history as comparable to the political and military disaster that was VietNam. We weren’t wanted. We did nothing useful to improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis.
We convinced the few people who may have been sympathetic to the United States in the Middle East and the rest of the world – that our foreign policy is as backwards as the rules of order governing Congress. And our nation is run by liberals and/or conservatives who have learning nothing from our past – or the failures of every imperial nation that preceded us.