Joel Wing follows the patchy paper trail:

Despite its security and political issues, Iraq still has large amounts of money flowing through its coffers due to its oil industry. The problem starts there, as no one knows exactly how much petroleum is produced because of the lack of meters, a weak bureaucracy, theft, and corruption. Once the oil is sold and deposited, the trail gets murkier as the banks lack an efficient book keeping system. When the funds are distributed to the various ministries things get no better because of the paper-based system, the lack of trained and qualified staff, and political appointees. The IMF and United States have been pushing reform for several years now, but progress has been slow and uneven. They can only go as far as the Iraqis allow them, and so far, that’s only been in small increments. Until Baghdad wants real change, its finances will remain a wreck.

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