Search This Blog

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Always follow the money

The Pentagon is still spending more than $1 billion per week in Iraq. You may have missed this what with the Iraqi elections and State of the Union, but the President just requested upwards of $80 billion in new appropriations for the conflict. That puts the cost of the war easily over $200 billion by most accounts.

Question: remember this?
"The forthcoming request also underscored how the war spending has clearly exceeded initial White House estimates. Early on, then-presidential economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey placed Iraq costs of $100 billion to $200 billion, only to see his comments derided by Bush administration colleagues."
John Kerry also took heat in the 2004 campaign for saying the war cost $200 billion. Oh well.

More important current question: are they spending it wisely?

Did you catch this headline earlier in the week? "Audit: U.S. lost track of $9 billion in Iraq funds."
Nearly $9 billion of money spent on Iraqi reconstruction is unaccounted for because of inefficiencies and bad management, according to a watchdog report published Sunday.
It's actually "only" $8.8 billion lost between October 2003 and June 2004, but the inspector general's report is disturbing nonetheless:
Severe inefficiencies and poor management" by the Coalition Provisional Authority has left auditors with no guarantee the money was properly used," the report said.

"The CPA did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial and contractual controls to ensure that [Development Fund for Iraq] funds were used in a transparent manner," said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., director of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
It looks like someone knows which ministry is to blame:
"CPA staff identified at one ministry that although 8,206 guards were on the payroll, only 602 guards could be validated," the audit report states. "Consequently, there was no assurance funds were not provided for ghost employees."
Maybe the ghost guards were watching ghost detainees? Those were the prisoners moved around within prisons in Iraq so that the International Red Cross inspectors could find them.

So much secrecy...

Former CPA administrator Paul Bremer disputes the findings, as does the Pentagon.

Hmmmm, how does this compare to the oil-for-food scandal?

No comments:

Post a Comment