Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Meanwhile Back in Iraq...

With signs of progress in provincial elections comes a reminder of years of US blundering in a report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction on $50 billion spent there.

Titled "Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience," it points to waste and failures caused by "blinkered and disjointed" pre-war planning of projects pursued amid chaos.

"Why was an extensive rebuilding plan carried out in a gravely unstable security environment?" asks Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general.

Another question to add to a long list of Bush Administration incompetence now headed by regulatory failures of the US financial system, the aftermath of Katrina and other bumblings large and small.

The report on Iraq echoes the common theme to be found in the mismanagement of everything for eight years: nobody in charge.

"The overuse of cost-plus contracts, high contractor overhead expenses, excessive contractor award fees, and unacceptable program and project delays all contributed to a significant waste of taxpayers' dollars," the report says.

As Iraq starts to fade in the rear-view political mirror, its lessons about competence and transparency should be taken to heart in Washington as Congress and the White House embark on the biggest reconstruction of all--the American economy..


jf said...

We ought to have a "Truth to Power" award, something like the Oscars, or the Nobel prize. Bowen deserves a nomination.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes that the gross mismanagement of funds related to "construction projects" in Iraq were an accident is extremely naive. Secular violence in Iraq tapered off area by area as the cash flowed in to "rebuild" the Iraqi infrastructure. We couldn't be seen buying off these groups because that would mean that we weren't the liberators as advertised by those in favor of this mess. So the surge worked and the monies went into the hands of those that wanted it the most.

Anonymous said...

I really hate to compare reality to fiction but.. The main plot line in The Godfather II was the mob's corruption of the Cuban government in order have a home, so to speak, where the government itself is looking the other way while their criminal enterprises generate obscene amounts of money. I refuse to believe that such incompetence on the part of our government agencies is possible. This wasteful spending, the misplacement of vast sums of money, the lack of oversight HAD to have been done on purpose.