Money as Weapons: $2.8 Billion In Iraqis' Hands
The U.S. Commander's Emergency Response Program, a little-known fund that uses a field manual called "Money as a Weapon System," has so far spent at least $2.8 billion to help in the Iraq reconstruction efforts -- without normal international redevelopment protocols or government purchasing rules, The Post's Dana Hedgpeth and Sarah Cohen report today.
A review by The Post included analysis of a government database detailing more than 26,000 CERP records; congressional documents and audits; and interviews with troops and their commanders who have worked on the projects.
Among the expenditures, in cash:
-- $500,000 on action figures made to look like Iraqi Security Forces.
-- $100,000 worth of dolls.
-- $75,000 to send a delegation to a women's and civil rights conference in Cairo.
-- $50,000 on 625 sheep for people described in records as "starving poor locals" in a Baghdad neighborhood.
-- $48,000 on 6,000 pairs of children's shoes.
-- $14,250 on "I Love Iraq" T-shirts.
-- $12,800 for two pools to cool bears and tigers at Zawra Park Zoo in Baghdad.
For another take on the program, read the Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr. in his blog, Government Inc.
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