Eight Billion Dollars MIA In Iraq
While they're admittedly too spineless actually to DO anything about the ongoing madness in Iraq, and almost certainly too spineless to stop Jug-Ears' insane projected attack on Iran, I will admit, some of the dog-and-pony-show hearings the Democrats are holding in the House are digging up some interesting dirt from the neocons' private cemeteries.
First there was U. S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' startling assertion that the Constitution contains no right to habeas corpus, and who knows? Those 435 yea-saying leeches may actually conduct an nvestigation into the politically-motivated firing of eight U. S. Attorneys sufficient embarrassing so that Mini-Me has to throw Gonzales off the sleigh to the wolves like he did Rummy.
Now former Iraqi viceroy Paul Bremer is actually being asked impolite questions regarding what happened to two thirds of the money allocated for Iraq's "reconstruction" under his regime, a thirteen month period from May of 2003 to June of 2004 when he was absolute ruler over the prostrate, conquered country and enjoyed more pure power of life and death than any American in history.
Interestingly, the February 6th Congressional hearings featuring Bremer were almost completely blacked out by the establishment news media and were only extensively reported and commented on in the foreign newspapers and on cranky left-wing sites like Mother Jones. "While the impetus for the hearing was a point of contention, there was one thing everyone could agree on regardless of their political persuasion: No one — not the committee members or the distinguished panel assembled to testify — had any idea how billions of dollars in reconstruction funds were ultimately spent"
To make a long story short, of the twelve billion dollars which were shipped to Bremer by the C-130-load, almost eight billion--let me repeat dat--eight billion dollars of that money simply disappearted.
"Shipped to Iraq by the ton on C-130 cargo planes laden with bricks of U.S. tender, the funding in question, held in the Development Fund for Iraq and totaling some $8.8 billion, was doled out by the CPA to Iraq's fledgling government ministries between October 2003 and June 2004. Ostensibly, the cash went to pay for such things as salaries and overhead. Where it actually wound up is another story entirely. A 2005 audit by the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that the CPA did not exercise adequate responsibility over DFI funds provided to Iraqi ministries through the national budget process and sought no assurance the monies were properly used or accounted for. The report raised the possibility that portions of the funding went to so-called ghost employees (whose only job responsibility would appear to be collecting a paycheck). It noted that though one Iraqi ministry had 8,206 on the payroll, CPA officials could confirm that only 602 of them actually worked there...[there is] another, more ominous possibility - that reconstruction funding may have wound up in the hands of insurgents and other militant factions."
Mother Jones continues, "The man ultimately responsible for overseeing the disbursement of the funds...was L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. envoy dispatched to head the CPA in May 2003. Testifying before Congress...for the first time since he left that post in June 2004, Bremer acknowledged 'mistakes' while also describing a dire situation in Iraq where sound financial management was next to impossible."
(So of course, our government immediately poured twelve billion dollars into such a situation. Sounds logical to me.)
The money consisted of $400,000 "bricks" of cash, was stacked on pallets and loaded onto transport planes, and the total amount of cash weighed 363 tons. One wonders what would have happened if any of the planes had crashed over the ocean or been shot down, but I am sure our government's creative accountants would have been up to finding some way to write it off.
The way it looks, we might as well have simply dropped all that money from helicopters over Baghdad. One of the government accountants who appeared with Bremer vowed and swore that his office could find no evidence of deliberate fraud, at least on the part of the Americans. The cash simply seems to have vanished and Bremer's pleas of ignorance may well be genuine; he may well honestly not have a clue where it went, which makes him probably the most incompetent dictator in history.
I very much doubt some Ali Baba and his forty thieves have stashed it all in some cave that will respond to "open sesame." It simply stretches credulity too far to believe that the bulk of it didn't end up in numbered Swiss bank accounts of people like the loathsome Achmed Chalabi, or with the Iraqi resistance movement. Looks like Hadji Reb isn't just killing American soldiers, he's conned Uncle Sam into footing the bill.
To make a long story short, Bremer got hauled up before the committee and he was asked point blank what happened to the missing 8.8 billion, and he basically bibbled his lips with his fingers and went bee bah boo, and he got away with it. Jewish Democratic committee chairman Henry Waxman's response was to set up a special web site for whistle blowers to report government waste.
I swear to God, I think sometimes Monty Python is writing the script here.