Report Warns of Billions Wasted in Iraq, Afghan Projects

Nations Can't Keep Massive US Projects Running

The Commission on Wartime Contracting has issued a new report (PDF) warning that in addition to the already heavily documented problems of corruption, billions of dollars may be being wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan aid projects simply because those nations can’t keep them running.

This is perhaps unsurprising, but the penchant for the US to create enormous public works projects in rural Iraq and Afghanistan has left those nations with enormous boondoggles that they either can’t upkeep, can’t staff, or don’t have the right people to operate.

This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, as in 2009 we reported on the Nasiriyah water plant, which the US built at a cost of $270 million running at bare bones capacity over lack of training for the workers. Or the massive US-built hospital immediately closed because Iraq couldn’t supply it with electricity, let alone doctors.

The new report takes both the Defense and State Departments, as well as USAID to task for failing to consider the sustainability of such projects, attributing it to poor planning and overly ambitious proposals.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.