Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D. is the Francis Walsingham Fellow at The American Conservative Defense Alliance (www.ACDAlliance.org) and a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer.
Philip Giraldi was the foreign policy advisor to Ron Paul during his last presidential run.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz predicted in 2003 that the cost of the Iraq war would be covered by Iraqi oil revenue, which would also pay for reconstruction. The Iraq war has in fact cost the United States more than $900 billion, including more than $145 billion US and Iraqi dollars for rebuilding and local contracting to support US forces. Six years of reconstruction has been a failure, with most projects unfinished or so poorly built that they have been abandoned. Water and electricity has not been restored to the level enjoyed under Saddam Hussein. Even those inclined to look on the bright side acknowledge that at least $13 billion has been lost to fraud, theft, and waste. Most would put the number much higher, possibly as much as $125 billion if one includes both American and Iraqi money.
Just as the United States is winding down its reconstruction of Iraq, the largest nation building project in history, President Obama wants to do the same for Afghanistan only do it better and bigger. Before he gets in too deep, he should listen to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) which is sounding alarm bells over concerns that the White House is not sharing with it plans for the reconstruction. GAO envisions massive multi-billion dollar shortfalls bringing projects crippled by corruption and waste grinding to a halt. Government auditors note that more than $5 billion in reconstruction funds already cannot be accounted for in Afghanistan.