Reporting Larry Richert
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PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – After 10 years and $60 billion of American money, Iraq is still broken. Money has been misspent, security is still questionable and the country is still unstable.
The problems in Iraq have been published in a new report from the U.S. government that says that our intent in Iraq — which was to topple a corrupt government and make the country an independent ally to the US — has failed in a very disappointing way. In other words: Iraq wasn’t worth it.
Try saying that to the soldiers who risked their lives fighting in Iraq, the families whose loved one never came home, or the veterans with missing limbs. Was their sacrifice not worth it?
KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert talked to Ben Keen, a two-tour Iraq Veteran, about what he thinks of the idea that Iraq wasn’t worth the fight.
Keen is the founder of Steel City Vets, an organization that helps local returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan get acclimated to civilian life. He thinks that while the misspent money — which equates to $15 million dollars a day — and corruption are a fact of the mishandling of Iraq reconstructions, the fighting and work he and other Americans did there was definitely worth it.
“I was part of a school reconstruction project where we went into a school that was just four walls,” says Keen. “The engineers went in, rebuilt the entire thing and we put a couple hundred kids back to school who hadn’t been able to go in four to five years.”
And while there is still violence like daily roadside bombs and much of the country still very dangerous, Keen believes the work he did like toppling the Saddam regime, reopening schools and sewage plants, and spreading good will there was worth something.
“It would be interesting to go back and see if I could find some of these students, since this was 10 years ago,” says Keen. “Did they stay in school? Go to college? Are they still alive?”