Friday, August 31, 2007

$9 Billion Gone

" . . . in March 2004, your company magically wins a contract from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to design and build the Baghdad Police College, a facility that's supposed to house and train at least 4,000 police recruits. But two years and $72 million later, you deliver not a functioning police academy but one of the great engineering clusterfucks of all time, a practically useless pile of rubble so badly constructed that its walls and ceilings are literally caked in shit and piss, a result of subpar plumbing in the upper floors."

Needless to say, they're not giving the money back, and the government isn't asking for them to account for it.

That Washington in general, and this administration in particular, is a hideous sink of filth and corruption is hardly a secret.

Here's a story showing us how we lost some of those $9 billion unaccounted-for dollars in Iraq. What it also shows is how the process acts to corrupt the armed services--- how servicemen, who once possessed honor and patriotism, are now becoming well-paid flunkies oozing defilement from every pore.

We also have the tale of how lower-ranking ex-servicement are turned into disposable cannon fodder.

"Thanks to low troop ­levels, all the military repair guys had been pressed into service to fight the war, so Skoug was forced to sit in the military storeroom on the base and study vehicle manuals that, as a civilian, he wasn't allowed to check out of the building. That was how America fought terrorism in Iraq: It hired civilian air-conditioning techs to fix Humvees using the instruction manual while the real Humvee repairmen, earning a third of what the helpless civilians were paid, drove around in circles outside the wire waiting to get blown up by insurgents. . .

" . . . Wolfpack washed its hands of Russell Skoug. The insurance policy he had been given turned out to be useless -- the company denied all coverage, beginning with a $72,597 bill for his stay in the German hospital. Despite assurances from Wolfpack chief Mark Atwood that he would cover all Skoug's expenses, neither he nor the insurance company would pay for the $16,000 trip in the air ambulance. Nobody paid for the operations Skoug had in Houston -- as many as three a day, every day for a month. And nobody paid for his subsequent rehab stint in another Houston hospital -- despite the fact that military law requires every company contracting with the government to fully insure all of its employees in the war zone."

And speaking of where the money goes, some of it goes from the US straight into the hands of the insurgents that are fighting us, via payoffs from contractors. But you can't blame the contractors if we're doing it ourselves: our new strategy in Iraq involves arming Sunni insurgent groups who have killed Americans.

Who knows? Maybe they'll follow the administration's example and stay bought.

We're certainly giving the Middle East an interesting exercise in democracy. "Oh," one can here the Iraquis saying, "democracy means that everybody in the government is on the pad? But we've been doing that for centuries!"

3 Comments:

Anonymous DangerousDan said...

The link for "arming Sunni insurgent groups" is missing an 'h' at the beginning of 'http' which makes it a non-standard protocol.

12:33 AM  
Anonymous David W Goldman said...

wow -- thanks for bringing attention to this article

12:53 AM  
Blogger dubjay said...

Dan, thanks for pointing that out. It's been fixed.

Dave, sometimes I wish I didn't know this stuff . . .

2:20 PM  

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