Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What a mess

It’s hard to believe that Mr. 25 percent Approval Rating expects us to cough up another $46 billion to finance his boondoggle in Iraq.

New reports out today confirm that the Bush administration is far too incompetent to keep track of the money it has recieved so far.

The U.S. State Department is unable to account for most of $1.2 billion in funding that it gave to DynCorp International to train Iraqi police, a government report said Tuesday.
"The bottom line is that State can't account for where it went," said Glenn D. Furbish, who was involved in putting together the 20-page report for the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction (SIGIR).
The Department of State's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) "did not have the information needed to identify what DynCorp provided under the contract or how funds were spent," the report said.

And it’s not just this one contractor that’s the problem, according to the NYTimes:

A pair of new reports have delivered sharply critical judgments about the State Department’s performance in overseeing work done by the private companies that the government relies on increasingly in Iraq and Afghanistan to carry out delicate security work and other missions.

A State Department review of its own security practices in Iraq assails the department for poor coordination, communication, oversight and accountability involving armed security companies like Blackwater USA, according to people who have been briefed on the report. In addition to Blackwater, the State Department’s two other security contractors in Iraq are DynCorp International and Triple Canopy.

At the same time, a government audit expected to be released Tuesday says that records documenting the work of DynCorp, the State Department’s largest contractor, are in such disarray that the department cannot say “specifically what it received” for most of the $1.2 billion it has paid the company since 2004 to train the police officers in Iraq.

But I’m afraid this is the best we can expect from a Republican administration today. They think their only job is to pass out government booty by the billions to their favorite private contractors and then don’t bother to follow up and make sure the funds are used properly. I’m sure they see that as unneccessary government intervention in business. But the result is that we are flushing our money down the drain in Iraq.
And unfortunately all of this is not new:

Corruption within the Iraqi government is costing the country billions of dollars, the US official monitoring reconstruction in Iraq has said.
Stuart Bowen told the BBC that Iraq was facing a second insurgency of corruption and mismanagement.
He said Iraqi government corruption could amount to $4bn (£2.1bn) a year, over 10% of the national income, with some money going to the insurgency.

And more here:

In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.

U.S. officials have previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time that inspectors have found that projects officially declared successes - in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections - were no longer working properly.

The inspections ranged geographically from northern to southern Iraq and covered projects as varied as a maternity hospital, barracks for an Iraqi special forces unit and a power station for Baghdad International Airport.

At the airport, crucially important for the functioning of the country, inspectors found that while $11.8 million had been spent on new electrical generators, about three-quarters of the generators were no longer functioning.

At the maternity hospital, a rehabilitation project in the northern city of Erbil, an expensive incinerator for medical waste was padlocked - Iraqis at the hospital could not find the key when inspectors asked to see the equipment - and, partly as a result, medical waste including syringes, used bandages and empty drug vials were clogging the sewage system and probably contaminating the water system.
The newly built water purification system was not functioning, either.

Waste. Fraud. Corruption. And all of it being put on Uncle Sam’s credit card for our children and grandchildren to pay for someday. Thanks Republicans!
And they wonder why they are struggling in opinion polls these days. It must be that nasty liberal media.

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