Buying enemies in Iraq
During the Iraq war — especially during the “surge”– battalion commanders were “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.” Washington poured as much as $4b into this kind of effort to “improve relations” with Iraq. There’s a lot wrong, in my view, with paying off “ex-rebels” to stop killing Americans, and in my book I criticized this tactic at length. At the time it was hailed as a stroke of military genius. From a new audit of the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP), we learn that: “the report is detailed evidence that at least a portion of CERP in Iraq may have fed the insurgency these funds were aimed at stopping.”
Here’s another angle on what our policy bought us in Iraq.
img: flickr/U.S. Army