Sunday, February 05, 2006

Tell Me Again, Why Are We In Iraq?

Before we invaded Iraq, it was a very corrupt country run by a very corrupt dictator. Now that we’ve spent over $238,000,000,000 supposedly to teach Iraqis the beauty of freedom and democracy, Iraq is an even more corrupt country run by an egregiously corrupt bunch of Iraqis and Americans. Donald Rumsfeld told us the war might cost $50-60 billion. When Bush’s economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey said the true cost would be $200 billion, Bush fired him. As I type this, the Iraq War Cost Clock says we’ve spent $238,754,475,063 and the cost goes up every second. Of course, the true cost of the Bush administration’s war is even higher, when you factor in the programs the US can’t afford to implement because we’ve mortgaged our souls to pay for the Bush administration’s unnecessary war. The NYT has an article this morning on the corruption in Iraq (“Oil Graft Fuels the Insurgency, Iraq and U.S. Say”) by Robert F. Worth and James Glanz. The lead paragraph says: “Iraqi and American officials say they are seeing a troubling pattern of government corruption enabling the flow of oil money and other funds to the insurgency and threatening to undermine Iraq's struggling economy.” If the Iraqis running the Iraq government didn’t already know all the tricks and refinements of corruption and graft, they could have learned from masters of the art, the disgraced Halliburton Co. which was formerly owned by VP Dick Cheney. Halliburton reaped over $10 billion in Iraq contracts, did shoddy work and over-billed our government $199 mil into the bargain. And now, it was reported on February 3rd that Halliburton’s subsidiary, Kellogg Brown, and Root just got a $385 billion contract to build temporary detention centers for Homeland Security. The NYT article says, “The reports of corruption have set off a major reform effort in recent months, with American advisers assisting internal investigations and promoting new rules like requiring financial disclosure forms for government officials.” That American advisers are assisting an investigation into corruption in Iraq is as funny as the CIA mounting a campaign to promote ethics among spies, which it did, and the military conducting its own investigation into Abu Ghraib abuses, which it did. And speaking of masters of the art of corruption, sleaze and cronyism,if you didn’t watch “Meet the Press” this morning with Tim Russert interviewing Tom DeLay’s house majority leader replacement John Boehner (R-OH), then get hold of a transcript for the show. (BTW, although it’s tempting to pronounce Boehner’s name Boner, it’s correctly pronounced Bainer.) The interview showed clearly that it would be business as usual with Boehner as majority leader. The only difference will be Boehner’s Midwestern-general accent instead of Tom DeLay’s Texas twang.

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