And it is marching out the door, down the street, getting a cashier’s check at the bank, and heading to the Bahamas for some fruity drinks with umbrellas:
One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq’s defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country’s army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.
The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared.
“It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history,” Ali Allawi, Iraq’s Finance Minister, told The Independent.
“Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal.”
Before you get too upset about this, remember that we are going to spend 200 billion, without any thought, a long-term plan, or safeguards, to rebuild a bunch of people who live below sea level and got flooded. Because, you know- they will NEVER face a hurricane problem again.
Given how things went in Iraq, it would be quite an accomplishment if 200 billion was blown on the people it was meant for, rather than lost, never spent, or used for running empty trucks up and down a highway.
I don’t care all that much about this, for the same reason I cared little about the be all end all scandal, oil for food.
Corruption was there before we got there, to act like this is suprising is dishonest. When billions of dollars start floating around and changing hands in a ME nation with no government to speak of……this happens. Lose 8 billion here, have a billion stolen there; par for the course.
Nothing left to do except cut taxes to help pay for Katrina, and stay the course in Iraq.
The disturbing part about this specific billion, is that it appears to have been meant for the Iraqi Army to buy supplies. How can Iraqification work if the money disappears? Of course, now they have an excuse for it not working instead of the truth: it would have never worked.
Given the track record for the Administration That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, I’d say the initial $200 billion figure will balloon to much, much more.
I mean, remember their initial predictions for how much the war in Iraq would cost? Anywhere from “it’ll pay for itself” to “$50 million, tops.” And now we’re four times the high figure.
This’ll wind up at $1 billion before President CEO is done with things.
I would say the opposite. Things they care about get a small initial pricetag, then baloon. Katrina is something they don’t really care about, but public opinion says they must act like they care. So they can just promise plenty of money, then let it fade from the headlines without delivering any of it. but, if you can feed your corporate base with contracts without having to occupy another nation, why not go for the gusto?
Except for better or worse, those are OUR people, not some other sovereign (haha) nation. At least mis-managed funds will likely end up back in the US, however wrongly.
Wow. Mr. Cattan now that’s a pro! Maybe he should
be invited to work on the NOLA reconstruction efort.
He could teach those Halliburton folks a thing or two
about overinvoicing and purchasing shoddy materials.
Their past efforts are nothing compared to this.
With $200 billion it is possible to rebuild New Orleans the right way by taking into account what the Dutch and others who live below sea-level have learned, and by figuring out how to work with nature to get a safer NOLA (restore barrier islands, etc.). Whether this administration will do this is another story.
Just another example of the American Way. Why do you hate it so? If you wanted to pillage a few billion from the Treasury, start a war (Drugs, Terror, whatever), have no accounting process, and set up your lackies on the receiving end.
Somebody show me exactly what financial and auditing controls are in place on any of our military aid (Afghanistan, Columbia, Paraguay, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan).
You’re being robbed at both ends. Now, go back and keep voting for your respective parties.
Yeah, this story has been out there for about six months. A lot of that billion is being renegotiated with suppliers.
Baksheesh, graft, and outright theft have been par for the course in Iraq for decades. Getting past that is part of democratic growing pains.
Fortunately, Iraq now has a free press and an electorate for them to get all riled up.
“With $200 billion it is possible to rebuild New Orleans the right way by taking into account what the Dutch and others who live below sea-level have learned, and by figuring out how to work with nature to get a safer NOLA (restore barrier islands, etc.). Whether this administration will do this is another story.”
Keep in mind the Dutch have no Miss. river to contend with.
Closer analogy is the Mekong River delta.
Miss (like the Mekong) changes course regularly (say every 900 years). Miss is overdue for a course change, to the Atchafalaya. That route is shorter and steeper, by over 100 miles. The Atchafalaya lets out at Morgan City, about 140 miles west of NO.
Course nearly changed in 1973, with rains 20 % above normal. Corps Old River flood control structures are not going to prevent the change if we get over a “design flood”. About 30% of the flow now goes down to Morgan City (50% if a design flood comes). A course shift would move 90% to Morgan City.
This suggests a rebuilding of the Port of NO should be compared to a build up of Morgan City.
Not sure a river course change would make French Quarter unviable, or refineries or chemical plants north of NO. Barges can now come down to Morgan City, but not in the 35-barge flotillas used on the Mississippi.
If river course changed, 1500 miles of levees on the Miss (more mass than the Great Wall of China by far) would be fine as now built for protecting NO from the River.
Freedom is messy right?
Gotta link? If it’s been out there for so long, I wonder why anyone is making a fuss about it now.
You could google for it (I’m not going to); I remember Iraqi bloggers talking about it around the time the elected gov’t took office. It was in the Iraqi papers around that time apparently.
Yes, freedom is messy. The Ukraine is dealing with similar problems, as are the Philippines and other relatvely young democracies.
It was reported a while back as this shows:
But now it seems that the amount may be as much as 2 billion dollars. Wonder if Fox is going to be talking about this as much as they talk about the oil for food scandal?
And if that 1 – 2 Billion dollars isnt’ enough to make you sick, wait till you read the Time magainze cover story on Iraq. It will really highlight once again how completely inept and incompetent this adminstration is. How anyone can support these amateur bunglers is beyond me. A snippet or two from the piece:
ahhh.. yes, can’t wait to see what these guys do with the reconstruction of the Gulf coast.
Its a bustout.
Interesting; did not know this. Do you have estimates for how long it would take for a change in course to the Atchafalaya to occur? Since the Mississippi’s course is not the only reason to rebuild NO (you pointed out its refineries, chemical plants, etc.), why do you think the money would be better spent on Morgan City? (Never heard of it by the way, scuse the ignorance.)
Tall Dave is, as usual, full of it. He hasn’t even read the Indie’s article or he would know the Iraqi minister is saying the money was spent on crap at inflated prices, is now gone, stolen. How do you renegotiate that?
As for his comment on graft being an Iraqi kick, many reading this will immediately think “it must have been Iraqis, there can’t possibly be that level of corruption in the US military.” Oh yeah? Seen AP today?
A civilian Army employee and two business owners were arrested in a kickback scheme to supply furnishings at a new Pentagon-run hotel in the Bavarian Alps that is used by troops on leave from Afghanistan and Iraq, the Justice Department said Monday.
Steven G. Potoski, 45, former contracting director at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany, accepted more than $350,000 in bribes in cash, home renovations, trips, computers and tickets to such events as Oktoberfest and the Indianapolis 500, assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher said.
All told, Potoski is accused of accepting bribes from the two Americans, a British company and 12 German contractors to inflate costs and then split the profits for furnishings and other goods at the military-owned hotel. Think about it. The bribes totalled $350,000 so what must the splits of the inflated cost have been worth? Obviously enough for those bribes to show a profit commensurate with the risk.
Regards, Cernig @ Newshog
So much magical thinking crammed into one sentence.
More GOP corruption! What was Tall Dave saying about the Iraqis having a tradition of Baksheesh, graft, and outright theft? Is he sure he didn’t mean Republicans?
David Safavian, who was chief of procurement policy in the Bush administration’s Office of Management and Budget until late last week, was arrested Monday on charges of making false statements and obstructing a federal investigation.
The Justice Department announced that Safavian “allegedly aided a Washington, D.C., lobbyist in the lobbyist’s attempts to acquire GSA-controlled property in and around Washington, D.C.,” and that Safavian joined the lobbyist on a Scotland golf trip.
Safavian allegedly misled GSA officials when he said the lobbyist “had no business” with GSA prior to the golf trip, when in fact Safavian had helped the lobbyist “in his attempts to do business with GSA,” Justice said.
The lobbyist, though not named in the Justice announcement, is likely Jack Abramoff.
“Do you have estimates for how long it would take for a change in course to the Atchafalaya to occur? Since the Mississippi’s course is not the only reason to rebuild NO (you pointed out its refineries, chemical plants, etc.), why do you think the money would be better spent on Morgan City?”
Date of course change depends on when we have a flood that exceeds the “design flood” that the Corp structures are built to handle. Structures almost failed in 1973, per John McPhee’s Control of Nature book. Morgan City says the flood in 1973 was a 40 year flood. (See below.) Statistically, that suggests a 2.5% (2.5 x 40 =100) chance per year, to me at least.
I like the idea of diversified investment, not just in NO. We want to be able to move barges in high volume even if the river shifts course. That suggests to me a controlled a) building of structures outside NO for barge traffic and b) a controlled shift to the main flow to the Atchafalaya. About 30% now flows down the Atchafalaya to Morgan City.
NO could still be used for cruise ships and containers that go from ships to trains. I would envision a deepened facility at Port Morgan (down to 40 feet) and perhaps $400 million over 10 years for terminals to handle commodities (iron and steel, forest products, rubber, grain). Need facilities for about 16 barge lines. NO has had declining thru put (except for containers) in recent years.
Alternative is wait for a sudden change in river course, and then pay ten times as much on a “hurry up” basis. Ecologists would be thrilled, with good reason, about putting more water in the wetlands around Morgan City. Morgan City has a navigable waterway, but is not set up for flotillas of 35 barges. Not sure it should/could ever handle more than a limited number of barges per towboat (say 4-6).
From Morgan City:
“Although ponding of runoff produced by rainstorms and hurricanes causes significant flooding in Morgan City, the most severe flooding in the major part of the City has been caused from the Atchafalaya River, a tributary of the Mississippi River. Major floods of the Mississippi River and its tributaries occurred in 1927, 1937, 1945, 1950, 1973, 1974, and 1975. The flood of 1927 was the most disastrous in the recent recorded geological history of the lower Mississippi River Valley. A significant portion of land adjacent to the Atchafalaya River was inundated by the floodwaters of 1927. Flooding extended continuously from the Teche Ridge (west of Morgan City) to Lafourche Ridge (east of Morgan City). The flood of 1927 had an estimated recurrence interval of 50 years. The flood of 1973, which had an estimated recurrence interval of 40 years, was the largest flood on the Mississippi River since 1927. The maximum stage of the Atchafalaya River at Morgan City during the 1973 flood was 10.5 feet, or 2.5 feet below the top of the floodwall. During the 1973 flood, heavy losses were experienced by industries located on the Atchafalaya River side of the levee in Morgan City.”
Above was stated:
No, there’s no Mississippi River in Holland. There is, however, the Rhine River.
That’s only $1 billion out of $6 BILLION already spent on reconstruction. That’s down right saintly by Mid-East standards.
Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are wise to hold the other $193 billion in reserve, secured behind the thick walls of FORT KNOX, in case Iraq falls on hard times and REALLY NEEDS our help.
Mississippi is third largest river in the world – 3710 miles. Rhine is about 1/4 the size. Not sure the Dutch have the answers re swamps and Mississippi river. If asked, I suspect they would support course change.
I agree that Dutch could help advise about hurricane risk.
Note that NO areas are sinking. Large tracts were built on higher ground. Life of a house could see sinkage of 4-5 feet. Not sure the Dutch have that sort of problem.
I thought the $200B was to rebuild the entire area destroyed by Katrina, not just a part of it. But, yes, I do not expect the rebuild to go well because the pork & campaign contributions culture continues to thrive.
That’s the real point here. Stuff happens. Founding a country is tough. And a billion isn’t much compared with the UN-oil-for-food scandal. A billion was a day’s work for Kofi-the-pimp.
:O So mush Info :O