A BBC investigation concludes that as much as $24 billion has gone missing in Iraq, and much of it may have been embezzled by private companies and corporations brought there by Bush:
‘ For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC’s Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources. A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations. . .
Henry Waxman who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said: “The money that’s gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, its egregious. “It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history.” . . ‘
If you stacked singles up into the air in the amount of $24 billion, it would rise 1500 miles high. That is roughly the distance between New York City and Dallas, Texas– one dollar bill at a time.
In fact, all the $2 trillion or more that the US will spend on the Iraq War, including a lifetime of medical and psychiatric care for thousands of damaged veterans, will have been spent for no national purpose, but only so as to line the pockets of Friends of George and Friends of Dick. War is welfare for the right wing of the Republican Party.
My advice to the BBC if they want to follow up is to dig in some back yards in Vienna and McLean, Fairfax County, Virginia.
Someone assassinated the leader of the Al-Bu Nasr tribe on Tuesday, to which Saddam Hussein had belonged and from which many high Baath officials had come.
The Washington post reports at length on the snags the Bush administration has run into in negotiating a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq to specify the legal framework in that country for US troops and contractors. WaPo admits that Bush may just not be able to get a SOFA while he is in office.
McClatchy adds further details about how these negotiations are collapsing, and they bring up the possibility raised by some Iraqi parliamentarians that they may just ask the US troops to go home if a SOFA cannot be arrived.
Reuters speculates that the United Arab Emirates’ decision to send an ambassador to Baghdad may reflect an increasing conviction on the part of conservative Sunni regimes in the region that only stronger ties with Iraq can reestablish a bulwark against Iranian influence.
Turkish airstrikes on northern Iraq are becoming commonplace.
Nevertheless, al-Zaman reports in Arabic Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is requesting Turkish help in training and drilling Iraqi soldiers.
Aljazeera International on the boom economy in Kurdistan:
Aljazeera International on the crisis
And Part 2