Posted by: Shaun | May 23, 2008

Good money after ($8.2 billion of) bad

From the New York Times this morning:

A Pentagon audit of $8.2 billion in American taxpayer money spent by the United States Army on contractors in Iraq has found that almost none of the payments followed federal rules and that in some cases, contracts worth millions of dollars were paid for despite little or no record of what, if anything, was received.

[…]

In one case, according to documents displayed by Pentagon auditors at the hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a cash payment of $320.8 million in Iraqi money was authorized on the basis of a single signature and the words “Iraqi Salary Payment” on an invoice. In another, $11.1 million of taxpayer money was paid to IAP, an American contractor, on the basis of a voucher with no indication of what was delivered.

It’s certainly a good thing someone is looking into this prodigal allocation of Defense Department funds…five years into the war.  Is this really all that surprising, though?  With almost $20 billion of reconstruction aid funneled to Iraq and Afghanistan through various federal channels, we are still left with a pair of shattered countries, each with crumbling infrastructure, desperate power shortages, and, in Iraq’s case, stagnant oil production.  Should we really be shocked that taxpayer money is being siphoned off to by Ahmed Chalabi a new diamond studded collar for his purebred Affenpinscher?  Okay, I may have made that last part up, but you get the idea…

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Responses

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