~ Dubya, to CNN, April 25, 2013
I know everyone wants to look to the future – to graduation parties and the Fourth of July and vacations – and no one wants to talk about depressing topics when important new stuff is happening like a Spice Girl and a supermodel becoming judges on “America’s Got Talent,” but something’s been bothering me for a while and I can’t seem to shake it:
Around $6.6 billion of what the U.S. spent on Iraqi reconstruction remains unaccounted for because of inefficiencies and bad management.
Read that again if you want. That’s MORE THAN SIX AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS.
Way back in 2005, a guy named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. who was director of something called the “Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction” announced that auditors couldn’t verify that taxpayer funds were spent for their intended purposes in Iraq. Bowen’s office also found that spare parts shipped to U.S. contractors went missing; almost 200,000 weapons – including over 100,000 AK-47 rifles – disappeared; tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles and other equipment and services that we provided to Iraqi security forces were unaccounted for; and thousands of “ghost employees” were added to Iraq ministry payrolls that were financed by us.
|Your worst nightmare|
Let’s do this again. That’s almost a BILLION AND A HALF DOLLARS.
Click here to read “Cheney’s Halliburton made $39.5 billion on Iraq war,” March 20, 2013.
Bowen went so far as to refer to the situation as “the largest theft of funds in national history.”
Since there were accusations that the United Nations’ Oil-for-Food Program in Iraq – created by the Clinton Administration in 1995 and discontinued when we invaded Iraq and the Coalition Provisional Authority, the transitional government set up by the U.S. and our allies, took over in 2003 – was corrupt and inefficient, U.S. officials should have known that Iraqi ministry officials couldn’t or wouldn’t guarantee every dime sent their way would be used for its intended purpose.
Bowen’s report was prepared for and delivered to Congress (which is a bit ridiculous since Congress is about as fiscally responsible as a lottery winner with a drinking problem) and covered by the media. A Pentagon spokesperson responded to the report by saying, “We simply disagree with the audit's conclusion that the CPA provided less-than-adequate controls over Iraqi funds that were provided to Iraqi ministries through the national budget process for hundreds of projects, essential services, Iraqi salaries and security forces."
In other words, “Nuh uh.”
|Why Do These Guys Look So Pleased?|
And apparently they don’t have to.
Click here to read, “Missing Iraq money may have been stolen, auditors say,” June 13, 2011.
|This is what billions buy...|
Photo of U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman HM1 Richard Barnett and Iraqi child courtesy REUTERS/Damir Sagolj.
Sources: CNN.com, Americans against the Tea Party, Asian Tribune, Los Angeles Times, International Business Times.