State Department Veteran: Iraq Wrecked Me For Nothing | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


State Department Veteran: Iraq Wrecked Me For Nothing

See, my book wasn’t aimed at cataloging the failures in Iraq per se, but in trying to make sure we didn’t do the same thing in Afghanistan. The initial title wasn’t We Meant Well, but Lessons for Afghanistan from the Reconstruction of Iraq. The early drafts were pretentious scholarly stuff, outlining our mistakes. Harvard Business School-like case studies. Maps. Footnotes. It would have sold maybe five copies, and so my editors encouraged me to add more funny parts. NPR’s Fresh Airactually added a laugh track to my interview. I figured I’d get the lessons across with humor more effectively anyway. In such situations, you have to think that way. You can’t believe that what you went through didn’t matter and keep getting out of bed every morning.

I now know officially that it did not matter. It was pointless. SIGAR shows I accomplished nothing.

SIGAR is the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, a government oversight body that is supposed to prevent waste, fraud, and mismanagement of the billions of dollars being spent rebuilding Afghanistan but that has its hands full just keeping a CVS receipt-length history of what’s wrong. Sound familiar?

SIGAR just released its “2019 High-Risk List,” which points out especially egregious things that will follow in the wake of any peace agreement in Afghanistan. Here are some quoted highlights:

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