At yesterday’s Oversight hearing, we heard the testimony of Judge Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, the Chairman of the Integrity Commission in Iraq. Until last month, al-Radhi was investigating fraud and bribery he believes to have cost the Iraqi government $18 billion. Since the establishment of the Commission, 31 employees and 12 of their family members were assassinated, often being tortured before being killed. Judge al-Rahdi shared the story of Mohammed Abd Salif, who was gunned down with his seven-month pregnant wife and of his Security Chief at the Commission, whose father was murdered and found hanging from a meat hook. The judge himself said he and his family have been attacked by the rockets and snipers of those determined to stop his investigations.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction have made recommendations on what can be done to improve U.S. strategies to combat corruption, but they were clear that the situation is getting worse, not better. In September, Judge al-Rahdi left Iraq for previously scheduled training session here in Washington. After he left the country, Prime Minister al-Maliki told reporters that al-Radhi had violated a government travel ban and suggested that the judge's decision to leave the country is proof that he was guilty of corruption himself.
Despite the efforts of American civilian and military employees to root out corruption and violence, which the GAO has shown need to be improved, these nightmarish conditions are the reality for those who are willing to stand and fight corruption in Iraq.