- The Washington Times - Friday, August 30, 2013

The watchdog for U.S. spending on reconstruction in Iraq has words of warning if the U.S. military intervenes in Syria: You break it, you buy it.

“Should [Syrian President Bashar] Assad fall, the needs are going to be immediate and substantial, and like it or not, we’re going to have to play a significant role in meeting those needs,” Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the U.S. special inspector general for war reconstruction in Iraq, told defense reporters Thursday.

Mr. Bowen said it would cost “tens of billions” of dollars to help Syria begin to recover. The most immediate needs would be rule of law programs, financial system stabilization and restoring sovereignty.

“Taxpayers rightly are exhausted by $160 billion spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the president has rightly said we want to invest in rebuilding at home. All understandable responses and worthy goals, but they don’t dispose of our obligations when a fragile state moves to total failure,” he said.

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