Who Stole Iraq?
The Real Reason the U.S. Invaded Iraq during Gulf War II
Leonard Le Blanc
Seate Services Publishing, Bangkok, 2020, 234 pages
Book Review published on: November 19, 2021
Who Stole Iraq? is a personal account of the experience of Leonard Le Blanc, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve who retired after twenty-six years of service. This narrative describes Le Blanc’s experience working in Kuwait and Iraq when he was hired on as a security subcontractor. As he notes on page 42, “This long, complex, almost unbelievable, nearly ‘biblical’ saga would be worthy of a Fredrick Forsythe, John le Carré, or Len Deighton thriller. All except it is completely non-fiction. All of it is true.” He notes that this is part 1 of the “knew or should have known!” series of books on his service.
Throughout the book, Le Blanc recounts the investigations and engagements he undertook to investigate corruption. He reports them in a chronological diary fashion as he seeks to uncover wrongdoings and corruption at major U.S. facilities throughout Iraq including Camp Prosperity, Camp Liberty, and Camp Victory. As part of this endeavor, he lays out specific instances of what he uncovered during his daily security inspections working for Kellogg Brown and Root and Combat Support Associates. As major U.S. defense contractors, these two firms were responsible for logistical support for all U.S. troops in Iraq. For instance, on page 103, Le Blanc details what he deemed a random routine security at Camp Prosperity where he uncovered unsecured connex boxes, and he recounts how he purchased half a dozen security locks. He also recounts how he constantly had to deal with the roadblocks by a human resources representative without the representative even asking a simple question and not getting Le Blanc’s side of the story. The corruption racket he uncovered is tough to read about because taxpayer funds were spent with virtually no apparent oversight.
Le Blanc concludes his book with a chronology of correspondence and whistleblower lawsuits. The first letter he published was an April 2015 letter to the U.S. attorney general at the time, Eric Holder, wherein Le Blanc demanded investigations into the federal whistleblower lawsuits against both Kellogg Brown and Root and Combat Support Associates. He affirms the chronology in his letter, and he also publishes a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice and subsequently addresses a letter by counsel for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
This is a tough book to read. Le Blanc documents the disregard shown by major defense contractors, and it should be a teachable moment for all who have responsibility to serve as custodians of assets in their care on behalf of the American people. There needs to be a clear line of accountability so that the appearance of impropriety will never occur. If there is no confidence in the back-end operations supporting the troops, it will be the troops that suffer. In the end, this is all that matters.
Le Blanc currently lives in Thailand where he serves as the dean and vice president of the International Advancement for the American University Sovereign Nations.
Book Review written by: Sgt. Mike Pouraryan, California State Guard