Big headlines today about reconstruction funds gone missing in Iraq. To those of us who have read and still read the reporting and books published since 2003, this is not news. But the Pentagon just released a new report from its Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction. Of $9.1 billion allocated between 2003 and 2007, 96% cannot be accounted for. They don’t seem to be saying outright that it’s all gone missing; they’re just saying they don’t know what it was used for.
The BBC story noted “The US military said the funds were not necessarily missing, but that spending records might have been archived. In a response attached to the report, it said attempting to account for the money might require “significant archival retrieval efforts”.
Well, okay then.
I’m looking at how this is being reported. Once again,The Washington Post marches to the beat of its own drummer. As in all things Iraq, it marches to the beat of the Bush administration.
A brief review of the reporting shows:
- The Washington Post article entirely devoid of links, even to the Pentagon report. It says only $2.1 billion is unaccounted for.
- The LA Times article with numerous links, including one to the Pentagon report. It cites $8.7 billion unaccounted for.
- The article at Think Progress is link rich, and leads with links to a number of the Pentagon report, quotes from the relevant Pentagon report, and cites the $8.7 billion in funds not accounted for. They also bother to point out that this is 96% of the 9.1 billion original allocated, a point made by the Inspector General.