Iraq's Missing Billions (2006)
Channel 4 Dispatches
George W. Bush declared that billions of dollars entrusted to the American Coalition would go toward developing infrastructure in Iraq. Rich with close to 20 billion dollars of Iraq's money, and full of promises, the coalition went into the war torn country. But after only fourteen months, nearly all of the money was spent. No accountability. No records. With Iraq's essential services now worse than before the war, where has all this money gone? How can this be explained?
In a hospital room in Iraq, a newborn baby struggles to breathe. Doctors are deeply frustrated by the severe lack of equipment to save her. The hospital, meant to have benefited from a $4 million refit, is a germ-infested, dilapidated structure with raw sewage leaks in the kitchens and operating rooms. It has melted lighting fixtures. Ants crawl around on the floors. This hospital is just one example of how the huge funds allocated for restoration have somehow gone missing.
In this revealing documentary, Dr. Ali Fadhil, a young Iraqi doctor, sets out to learn what has led to the catastrophic results when money was put into the care of the U.S. led coalition. What emerges is a disturbing tale of corruption and fraud.
As word spread of the kind of money that could be made in Iraq, foreign contractors negotiated deals fast and furiously. There was no oversight of projects. "As trustees, we did a very poor job," admits Frank Willis, a senior member of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). "We should have spent the money on the Iraqi people, rather than putting it in the pockets of foreign business." According to the United States' own figures, Iraq's essential services are worse than before the war, with the country producing less electricity, oil or clean water.
Iraq's Missing Billions is produced and directed by Callum Macrae. Chris Bryer is the executive producer.