Monday, October 8, 2007

Money Is No Object!

Regardless of how you feel about the war, one thing we should all be furious about is the horrendous mismanagement of the financial resources allocated for the war. Rolling Stone recently ran a great article titled The Great Iraq Swindle that details the waste, fraud and malfeasance of the sleazy businessmen who are stealing billions of dollars that should be going towards the support of our troops.

The article is full of great stories that you'll find impossible to believe. And it's not just about the waste involved; it's how it's all done at the expense of our troops. It's also about how - in very real and scary ways - these companies are supporting Al Qaeda and insurgents. And it's how the Bush administration and Congress don't care enough to do a dang thing about it - and, in fact, have created and supported this environment. But, most infuriating to me, is that all this is done at the expense of the men and women who need it most.

Not to spoil the punchline, but here's the final paragraph:

According to the most reliable ?estimates, we have doled out more than $500 billion for the war, as well as $44 billion for the Iraqi reconstruction effort. And what did America's contractors give us for that money? They built big steaming shit piles, set brand-new trucks on fire, drove back and forth across the desert for no reason at all and dumped bags of nails in ditches. For the most part, nobody at home cared, because war on some level is always a waste. But what happened in Iraq went beyond inefficiency, beyond fraud even. This was about the business of government being corrupted by the profit motive to such an extraordinary degree that now we all have to wonder how we will ever be able to depend on the state to do its job in the future. If catastrophic failure is worth billions, where's the incentive to deliver success? There's no profit in patriotism, no cost-plus angle on common decency. Sixty years after America liberated Europe, those are just words, and words don't pay the bills.

We should be outraged! We should be mad as hell and vow that we're not gonna take it any more. But apparently we don't really care all that much about supporting our troops after all . . .

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