Friday, February 16, 2007

Waste and corruption in Iraq

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As if so much else hasn't gone wrong in Iraq, consider the waste:

About $10 billion has been squandered by the U.S. government on Iraq reconstruction aid because of contractor overcharges and unsupported expenses, and federal investigators warned Thursday that significantly more taxpayer money is at risk.

The three top auditors overseeing work in Iraq told a House committee their review of $57 billion in Iraq contracts found that Defense and State department officials condoned or allowed repeated work delays, bloated expenses and payments for shoddy work or work never done.

More than one in six dollars charged by U.S. contractors were questionable or unsupported, nearly triple the amount of waste the Government Accountability Office estimated last fall.

"There is no accountability," said David M. Walker, who heads the auditing arm of Congress. "Organizations charged with overseeing contracts are not held accountable. Contractors are not held accountable. The individuals responsible are not held accountable."

At least the warmonger-in-chief was held accountable, sort of, in November's midterms, along with his rubber stampers in the House. And at least his power-tripping SecDef was booted out, finally, if never really held accountable for what happened on his watch.

But isn't it side-splittingly funny how the tax-obsessed warmonger-in-chief -- the man who slashed taxes on the rich and who now wants to slash social programs for the poor -- has waged a war so thoroughly wasteful and corrupt in its implementation? As Cernig puts it, "[t]hese people are playing fast and loose with someone else's money... YOURS!"

You're paying for this disaster of a war. And you're paying for more than you think.

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