Nobody said US war-making was smart; paying insurgents off who then attack us

No commentary required (and similar things are clearly happening in Afghanistan, I heard it discussed routinely during my recent visit there). Eli Lake reports for The Daily Beast:

During the war in Iraq, battalion commanders were allocated packets of $100 bills and authorized to use them for anything from repairing a schoolhouse to paying off ex-rebels and paying blood money to the families of innocents killed by U.S. forces. But a new audit finds that in some cases that cash made its way to the pockets of the very insurgents the United States was trying to fight.

The money was part of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP), and from 2004 to 2011 the U.S. government poured $4 billion into it in Iraq. And because the Pentagon gauged CERP a success, a similar initiative is under way in Afghanistan. “We think CERP is an absolutely critical and flexible counterinsurgency tool,” Michele Flournoy, who was then undersecretary of defense for policy, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2010.

But was CERP really a success in Iraq? A 2012 audit conducted by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) and released to the public on Monday found that 76 percent of the battalion commanders surveyed believed at least some of the CERP funds had been lost to fraud and corruption. “Commanders sometimes perceived the corruption as simply a price of doing business in Iraqi culture and others perceived it as presenting a significant impediment to U.S. goals,” the report says. “Several asserted that reconstruction money may have ended up in the hands of insurgents.”

one comment
  • http://willybachpoeticthoughts.blogspot.com Willy Bach

    North Americans seem to suffer from a failure of the imagination. They understand nothing about other peoples' cultures. They think they can blow up their family members and just hand out some money and everything will be alright. As if that would work back home, right? No one asked them to violently invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq (the hundreds of other places they've gone to uninvited).

    They call it counterinsurgency warfare when they pretend to be friends before they do one of their routine revenge massacres. It is alleged this is intelligent warfare, but it is really dumb. Giving away money won't remove the pain, nor will it make the people respect or like the US. People will assess them as cruel and stupid.