Friday, August 31, 2007

We Have Been Getting Swindled in Iraq

Go to Rollingstone Magazine and read "The Great Iraq Swindle". Learn how your tax dollars are being spent wasted by government "contractors". Where is the Bagdad police academy that we paid Parsons, a private construction company, at least $74 million to build?
In a report released yesterday, inspectors found that the Baghdad Police College posed a health risk after feces and urine leaked through the ceilings of student barracks. The facility, part of which will need to be demolished, also featured floors that heaved inches off the ground and a room where water dripped so heavily that it was known as "the rain forest."
And then you have the typical Bush loyalist appointing the inept to important positions in Iraq.
The day he arrived in Baghdad, he met with Thomas C. Foley, the CPA official in charge of privatizing state-owned enterprises. (Foley, a major Republican Party donor, went to Harvard Business School with President Bush.) Hallen was shocked to learn that Foley wanted him to take charge of reopening the stock exchange.

"Are you sure?" Hallen said to Foley. "I don't have a finance background."

It's fine, Foley replied.
How about the security contract won by Custer Battles?
The bid that Custer claimed to have spent "three sleepless nights" putting together was later described by Col. Richard Ballard, then the inspector general of the Army, as looking "like something that you and I would write over a bottle of vodka, complete with all the spelling and syntax errors and annexes to be filled in later." The two simply "presented it the next day and then got awarded about a $15 million contract."
Or the contract Custer Battles got to "distribute" new Iraqi money?
The contract to help distribute the new currency was won by Custer Battles, a small American security company set up by Scott Custer and former Republican Congressional candidate Mike Battles. Under the terms of the contract, they would invoice the coalition for their costs and charge 25% on top as profit. But Custer Battles also set up fake companies to produce inflated invoices, which were then passed on to the Americans.
A jury finds Custer Battle guilty of cheating taxpayers but a Reagan-appointed judge sets the verdict aside.

All this just in the first two pages of a 5 page article. Oh yeah. This afternoon on NPR, I was listening to a soldier explaining how the VA will not pay for his prosthetic limbs because the "temporary" ones he had were good enough.

Is anyone else outraged by all this?

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