NPR: The Greedy Battle For Iraq's 'Hearts And Minds'Submitted by radiofriendly on Mon, 09/26/2011 - 13:00
For years federal auditors have reported that millions of American dollars have been wasted or are unaccounted for in the effort to rebuild and stabilize Iraq.
State Department employee Peter Van Buren gives a ground-level account of that waste and corruption in his book, We Meant Well – How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds off the Iraqi People. Van Buren was a veteran Foreign Service officer who'd spent much of his career in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan when he volunteered for Iraq service in 2009.
...In Iraq, we had money everywhere. It was literally in boxes you had to step over. At one point in time, I had $100,000 in a safe in my office. I felt like a drug dealer pulling out bundles of money. There was so much money that the Iraqis invented a new slang term in Arabic that means 'a large pile of hundred dollar bills.'