It has been revealed that the United States Army has spent at least $8.2 billion in US taxpayer money in Iraq on contractors. The Pentagon has found some very interesting things in its recent audit of the military.
Back in March, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz reported that Iraq currently costs at least $12 billion a month. He said that the overall cost of Iraq and Afghanistan could go into the trillions.
Two US Senators had requested an inquiry in the same month in regards to Iraq’s oil revenues. It is to see that if Iraq could use its own oil revenues to pay for the rest of reconstruction. Both Senators explain that most of the costs of rebuilding Iraq have come out from the pockets of US taxpayers. They added that while Iraq has money in banks across the world, it had done little to help with its own reconstruction.
So far, the Pentagon’s audit reveals that the US Army’s spending did not follow federal rules. A majority of payments, if not all of them reveal that the US Army did not follow any of the rules imposed. In addition, there were barely any records on what the US Army has received from the contractors.
The Pentagon’s audit was released just in time for a US Congressional hearing on the matter. It revealed that the United States Military had lacked accountability in its spending habits. One such case was that $1.8 in seized Iraqi assets was spent in large stacks of cash.
Some interesting things revealed in the Pentagon’s audit at the House Committing on Oversight and Government Reform hearing revealed that in one instance, $320.8 million in Iraqi funds was used for an invoice for the “Iraqi Salary Payment.” But, there was no information on what the payment was for.
On another instance, an American contractor called IAP received $11.1 million in US taxpayer money. However, there has been nothing confirmed on what IAP had delivered in return for that hefty payment.
In short, the audit has revealed that the United States military paid huge sums of money. In return, it is unknown what it has received. Many could believe that the money was paid and nothing was given in return.
The Pentagon admitted that funds were mishandled and spent inappropriately. So far, it does not know why such huge payments were paid in the first place.
As this could be tied with Iraq and Afghanistan, this could be ammunition in regards to the general election race. In regards to Iraq, this has been the main platform of presumed GOP nominee Senator John McCain of Arizona. McCain has said that the issue of Iraq will either make or break his candidacy.
The eventual Democratic nominee could use this as ammunition against McCain in the general election. Right now, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois are fighting it out for the Democratic nomination. Many in both the Democratic Party and GOP are ready to accept Obama as the eventual nominee.
The Pentagon’s audit will provide powerful political ammunition.
Recently, Obama and McCain have clashed on the extension to the G.I. Bill drawn up by Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.