Peter Van Buren, former State Department Foreign Service Officer in Iraq, discusses the minimal effect 63 billion dollars had on rebuilding Iraq since the 2003 invasion; his experience leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team with lots of cash but very little know-how; putting together laughably unhelpful conferences for hot-button issues like women’s rights; giving large cash handouts to Iraqis while public services in the US went unfunded; the Iraqi government’s minimal control outside major cities, where tribal mafia-like clans reigned; and why Prime Minister Maliki will allow the US occupation to continue, so long as he keeps getting free swag.

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