Was the Iraq War Worth It?

03/12/13 Robert Lorei
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Good morning, welcome to Radioactivity. I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up today we’ll look back at the US invasion of Iraq- which began ten years ago this month. We’ll look at the money we spent on Iraq reconstruction and where that money went.

But first we’ll speak with a former foreign service officer- Peter Van Buren. He spent a year in Iraq as a State Department Foreign Service Officer serving as Team Leader for two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Now he writes about Iraq and the Middle East at his blog, We Meant Well. His book, “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People” (Metropolitan) was published two years ago. He says that by invading Iraq, the US did more to destabilize the Middle East than anyone imagined and that the US will pay the price for it for a long, long time.

He joins us live right now.

Of the $60 billion the U.S. poured into reconstruction efforts,”$8 billion of that money wasted outright.” These were the numbers given last week by Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), whose office released a “mammoth” report on Iraqi reconstruction programs “which cost the U.S. taxpayers, on average, $15 million every day from 2003 to 2012.”

There was an almost total blackout on this news last week—with many of the major TV networks failing to mention this story or to mention it only briefly. One exception was the PBS News Hour which interviewed Bowen last week. Here’s that interview, conducted by Judy Woodruff.

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