As a result, in Fallujah, for example, a $30 million project tripled in cost to nearly $100 million, and only reached one-third of the homes it was originally intended to serve.
In 2005, the US government partnered with the Iraqi government to improve a dam in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, funding 21 contracts worth $27 million. When SIGIR inspectors visited the dam in 2007, they found that the project was poorly designed and that $19 million worth of equipment bought to improve the dam wasn’t being used.
Sons of Iraq
The widely hailed Sons of Iraq (SOI) program, which paid former Sunni insurgents to lay down their arms beginning in 2007, was one of the Pentagon's most widely funded programs. The US military used what were known as Commanders’ Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds to pay chiefs to keep their people off the battlefields.
The CERP contracts amounted to 780 separate agreements calling for the stationing of 100,000 Sunnis across Iraq, for a total of $370 million in CERP funds. The workers were supposed to take jobs “providing security for buildings, checkpoints and battlefield.”
Yet the contracting process “was far from transparent,” SIGIR noted. “Program managers could not tell whether SOI members received their US-funded salaries, and Defense was unable to provide any evaluations of the program’s outcomes.”
In short, it concluded, “Financial controls were weak.”
This was the largest individual health-care construction project, which USAID awarded to the defense contractor Bechtel in 2004 for $50 million. The hospital was supposed to be a state-of-the-art pediatric cancer-treatment facility.