Iraq 101: Down the Drain

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Corruption costs Iraq $4 billion annually. $8.8 billion the U.S. gave the Iraqi government cannot be fully accounted for. More than 20% of the government’s Ministry of Interior staff are “ghost employees”—nonexistent workers who collect paychecks. As much as 30% of Iraq’s refined oil ends up on the black market or is illegally taken out of the country. The U.S. government says the insurgency raises $25 to $100 million a year smuggling oil. $9 billion in oil revenues has been lost, almost as much as Saddam Hussein stole from the U.N. Oil-for-Food program over five years.

 

 


 

With Friends Like These
41 cents of every dollar of American reconstruction money is spent on the Iraqi military or police. 3 cents goes to “democracy building.” A newly recruited Iraqi soldier makes $60 a month. Iraqi units report that half of their soldiers go awol when sent to new combat areas. The Pentagon says it’s trying to instill “a more deployable mindset.” Of the 323,000 members of Iraq’s security forces, 1/3 are considered “technically proficient” and only 10,000 are “politically dependable.” American trainers report that 70% of the police force has been infiltrated by militias. 90,000 rifles and 80,000 pistols supplied to the Iraqi security forces cannot be accounted for.

Coalition of the Dwindling:
When the War’s Supporters at Home and Abroad Got Cold Feet


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Babylonian Captivity
France reportedly paid a total of $25 million three of its kidnapped citizens; Italy paid Germany paid $8 million to free three.


Blood Money: What a Life Is Worth in Iraq
Economists have estimated each life lost in the war to be worth around $6 million. The reality on the ground is much different.

Bill Me Later: What the White House Said the War Would Cost

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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