Iraq Funding Ponzi Scheme Bigger than Madoff’s; 8 Shiite Pilgrims Killed

The US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) has issued a report on as much as $125 billion unaccounted-for reconstruction and military equipment money in Iraq. Patrick Cockburn at the Independent quotes a US businessman active in Iraq after the US invasion who observed that Iraq was looted alright, but the big looting did not come at the hands of poor urbanites but rather at that of US officers. Although immense peculation was engaged in by Iraqi government and military figures, it seems unlikely that their US military minders were not complicit in the corruption.

As Digby points out, the same Republican congressmen who never hesitated to vote more hundreds of billions of deficit spending on the Iraq War are now suddenly shy about running a necessary Keynsian deficit to get us back out of the 2009 Depression. Their friends and cronies stole much of the money they used to just hand out like free samples. And they are now suddenly wise stewards of money and fiscal conservatives?

Cockburn says the Iraq embezzlement is a ponzi scheme bigger than that of Madoff. But both gigantic swindles were made possible by the same philosophy, that the “private sector” needs no government oversight or auditing, since the Magic Hand will operate to ensure probity. As Alan Greenspan recently admitted, his conviction that bankers would not steal from us because it would be bad for the bank was naive; I guess that is what comes of never growing out of Ayn Rand when you move into your twenties and later.

As Bush and his henchmen forsaw, an Iraq conquered by the US would be the gift that gave on giving to the military-industrial complex. Baghdad has put in orders for $5 billion worth of US military equipment, which will keep arms factories humming. Of course, if you had just showered a trillion dollars on green energy instead of on Iraq, we’d have it by now.

William Astore at Tomdispatch.com asks if the US military has become an imperial police force. Cockburn’s article raises the question of the purpose of the global police force, and the implied answer is that it is for plunder.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Iraqi youth of the lower and middle classes face 50% unemployment, which creates a severe hazard for the stability of the Iraqi state.

Worse, 60% of all Iraqi jobs are in the public sector, and the plummeting of petroleum prices because of the weak world economy may cause massive lay-offs, another menace to Iraqi stability.

On the other hand, Iran is sitting pretty in Iraq, having just won a $1.5 billion contract to build a new city in the Shiite Iraqi south.

The bombings and killings of Shiite pilgrims continued on Monday, with 8 killed and more wounded.

McClatchy reports on political violence in Iraq for Monday:

‘ Baghdad

– A roadside bomb targeted a mini bus carrying pilgrims near the Hamza intersection in Sadr city in eastern Baghdad around 10 a.m. Four people were killed and ten others were wounded including three women.

– A roadside bomb targeted a mini bus carrying pilgrims in Kamaliyah neighborhood in southeast Baghdad around noon. Four people were killed and thirteen others were wounded.

– A roadside bomb detonated in front of a house in Dora neighborhood in southern Baghdad around 8:30 p.m. One person was wounded.

Mosul

– A roadside bomb detonated in front of a house belongs to a policeman in Maamoun neighborhood in southeast Mosul. The policeman was injured with his wife and neighbor.

– A roadside bomb targeted an army patrol in Suq alMash in western Mosul. One soldier was killed.

– A roadside bomb targeted pilgrims who were in a ceremony for the Arbaniyah of the Imam Hussein at a Shiite mosque in Sada village in eastern Mosul. No casualties reported.

– Gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in Maidan neighborhood in downtown Mosul. One policman was killed and another was wounded.

– Gunmen opened fire on a civilian in the New Mosul in western Mosul killing him at once around 8 p.m.’

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