US lawmakers blast plans for training Iraqi police

By RICHARD LARDNER | November 30, 2011 | 3:02 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats and Republicans are joining together in harshly criticizing a State Department program for training Iraq's police force.

Lawmakers at House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing Wednesday said it was a waste of money to spend nearly $900 million in the 2012 budget year on Iraqi police training.

They cited an October report from a U.S. government watchdog that said the training program lacked focus, could become a "bottomless pit" for U.S. dollars and may not even be wanted by the Iraqis.

That audit also found that only about 12 percent of the money actually will go to helping the Iraqi police. It said most will pay for security and other items such as living quarters for trainers.