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Tilting at Windmills

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November 3, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DEADLINES....Republicans may say they don't believe in deadlines for Iraq, but it turns out there's one deadline they do believe in. The Pentagon budget signed a couple of weeks ago includes a hard date for putting Stuart Bowen, the Inspector General for Iraq, out of business:

The order comes in the form of an obscure provision that terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, on Oct. 1, 2007. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation.

That's a real shocker, isn't it? The official excuse from Duncan Hunter (RRunning For President), who inserted the provision, is that he wanted to return to a "non-wartime footing" for all this inspection stuff. That seems a little funny considering how relentlessly Republicans remind us that "we're at war," but maybe I've misunderstood this concept all along. After all, as our commander in chief tells us, war is hard.

But at least it should soon be a little easier for Halliburton.

Kevin Drum 2:08 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (73)

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Comments

This suprises anyone? By a year from now, the Repubs might be in so much shit that Bush cuts and runs himself.

Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on November 3, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

Duncan Hunter (R-Unconnected From Reality), more like.

Posted by: Warren Terra on November 3, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

I guess iraqi dollars aren't that "sweet" anymore.

Bechtel and Halliburton have lost the taste for it.

Sounds like cut and run to me.

Posted by: James on November 3, 2006 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

The House's number one priority beginning Jan 2007 should be to investigate all the tax payer $ that the GOP has wasted and stolen in its Excellent Iraqi Adventure.

Posted by: Disputo on November 3, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

The Pentagon budget signed a couple of weeks ago includes a hard date for putting Stuart Bowen, the Inspector General for Iraq, out of business:

CLICK THE LINK. ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK. All the bill does is it returns inspection powers back to the inspector generals of the Department of State and Defense. What's so wrong with that? After all, it's their job to do any investigation.

Link

"The idea, Mr. Holly said, was simply to return to a non-wartime footing in which inspectors general in the State Department, the Pentagon and elsewhere would investigate American programs overseas. The definite termination date was also seen as helpful for planning future oversight efforts from Bush administration agencies, he said."

Posted by: Al on November 3, 2006 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

I did click the link. And it supports Kevin's interpretation more than yours... on "both sides of the aisle."

Posted by: Cal State Disneyland on November 3, 2006 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

LICK THE CLINK! ALWAYS LICK THE CLINK! Pathetic.

Hunter ... wanted to return to a "non-wartime footing" for all this inspection stuff. That's pretty clear, isn't it?

Posted by: bad Jim on November 3, 2006 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

Three of the companies that have been a particular focus of Mr. Bowens investigations, Halliburton, Parsons and Bechtel, said that they had made no effort to lobby against his office.

On yeah, and now Bechtel is "cutting and running" too, leaving Iraq.

With so much talk about how much corruption is going on in Iraq, Bush appears to be trying hard to lose the war there. It's like Iraq was simply a clearing house for massive corporate give-aways of huge amounts of taxpayer money but nothing else.

This all with Bush declaring that Rumsfeld will stay in office till the end of Bush's term, right in front of massive poll numbers showing that most Americans have had enough of "stay the course".

Those nearly 3000 dead American troops are completely meaningless to Bush.


Posted by: Cheryl on November 3, 2006 at 3:56 AM | PERMALINK

Al, for God's sake, click the link yourself:

"Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.

"And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowens supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip...

"The idea, Mr. Holly said, was simply to return to a non-wartime footing in which inspectors general in the State Department, the Pentagon and elsewhere would investigate American programs overseas. The definite termination date was also seen as helpful for planning future oversight efforts from Bush administration agencies, he said.

"But in Congress, particularly on the Democratic side of the aisle, there have long been accusations that agencies controlled by the Bush administration are not inclined to unearth their own shortcomings in the first place.

"The criticism came to a head in a hearing a year ago, when Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, induced the Pentagons acting inspector general, Thomas Gimble, to concede that he had no agents deployed in Iraq, more than two years after the invasion...

"While the quality of Mr. Bowens work is seldom questioned, he is sometimes accused of being a grandstander who is too friendly with the news media. Mr. Bowen has responded that it is standard procedure to publicize successful investigations as a way of discouraging other potential wrongdoers."

Combine this with the fact that a lot of Republicans themselves express rage at the new provision, and the case seems solid: Bowen was too energetic in exposing the Bushites' dirty laundry, and got slapped down as a direct result. (Hunter, by the way -- besides furiously opposing any Congressional attempt whatsoever to monitor torture activities by the Pentagon or CIA -- has previously been attacked by the decidedly non-dovish "Space News" for being an absolutely relentless pork hunter for his district, and willing to damage the nation's actual defense in that cause.)


Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on November 3, 2006 at 5:00 AM | PERMALINK

I can't wait until after the election when the new Congress starts investigating the Bush-Cheney crime family.

Posted by: trublu on November 3, 2006 at 5:06 AM | PERMALINK

Notice that whenever Al strays from attacking liberals his posts are quite weak?

No mention of the word "liberal" above and look at what he writes. Pathetic.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 3, 2006 at 5:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bowen's work has been very good.His 10/31/2005 report,for example,contained a summary of a human resources review conducted in late summer of that year. Among the items:
a)post war planning in WWII for the occupation of Germany and Japan started in Feb. 1942.Gen. Jay Garner said that for Iraq he was charged for a March event in February.

b)the intra-Cabinet struggle over post war staffing resulted in the DoD winning out over State.When less than half the number of billets required were filled,the CPA was forced to use Republican operatives;long on loyalty,short on experience.The other Cabinet officers refused to offer up any of their experienced people.This also meant the CPA had to use more Iraqis,as well.(Rumsfeld seems to not play well with others.)

Other reports deal with the changes in scale (fewer projects than initially planned for)as well as scope.Read the reports about the northern oil pipeline,the Basra hospital,another hospital where the cables for the elevator had been misinstalled causing the deaths of 2 Iraqis (oops) and other planning gaffes.


Note that 2 years into the occupation,an infrastructure security force was created because nobody thought of the need to defend things like oil pipelines and electric transmission towers.I think something more than 75% of insurgent attacks are against these targets.Those brown people seem smarter than your average bear.

I don't think there is any doubt that Hunter wanted to stop Bowen from talking to the press.It has surprised me that the disclosures have gotten less play than they have although attacks on infrastructure don't film well.

Good post,Kevin and you are quite correct in your analysis.Well,ok,let's just say I agree with you.

Posted by: TJM on November 3, 2006 at 5:59 AM | PERMALINK

During the Vietnam War, Rumsfailed wanted to investigate Halliburton for war profiteering. Ironic, isn't it? He must own stock now or something.

Posted by: merlallen on November 3, 2006 at 6:14 AM | PERMALINK

All this oversight has emboldened the terrorists!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on November 3, 2006 at 7:17 AM | PERMALINK

ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK. You'll find that the accusations of Republican corruption, incompetence, breaking the law, or sleazy sexual hypocrisy are denied...by the Republican accused.

Wow! What a revelation!

Posted by: Gen. Idi Amin on November 3, 2006 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

The inspector general for Iraq is obviously unnecessary. We can trust the no-bid contractors who do the work (for big bucks) that our armed forces could be doing (for their regular military pay). Yeah, sure we can. But do the contractors thereby free up our men and women for more specifically military activities? No. The soldiers end up providing guard duty for the high-priced contractors who are doing the soldiers' jobs.

War is money.

Posted by: Zeno on November 3, 2006 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

This whole war is a faith-based enterprise. We're on a mission from God. The only oversight we need is by his Appointed One, our Dear Leader.

Posted by: Wingnut on November 3, 2006 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

If the Dems do not win at least one house of Congress next week, we can look forward to a stream of official happy news from Iraq, "proved" by the new inspector general working directly for Rummy.

Posted by: Divider in Chief on November 3, 2006 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: I think the correct affiliation is:

Duncan Hunter (R-Running For President and From Justice)

Posted by: kackls on November 3, 2006 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Nice touch by Duncan to ask Sen Ted Stevens of Alaska to be his running mate in 08. Sort of a "Meet the Porkers".

Bechtel and Parsons are only leaving Iraq because of more lucrative endeavors in Tierra del Fuego building slides for Penquins.

Remember only three more days, or 123rd of a Friedman, for National House Cleaning Day. Bring brooms and plenty of disinfectant.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 3, 2006 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

I find it ironic that when Republicans want to cut taxes for the wealthy and for corporations they always use some variation of "it's your money," but then resist any attempt by folks to make sure that "our money" is being spent on the things it's supposed to spent on instead of paying for private jets, fancy dinners, slush funds, etc. I mean it is "our money," and we should do everything possible to make sure what money we do give to the government via taxes is spent properly.

Posted by: idlecrank on November 3, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

he wanted to return to a "non-wartime footing"

Well, of course. The mission was accomplished years ago. This is just the last throes of some dead enders. Let's have another election to show how much Iraqis love democracy.

Posted by: tomeck on November 3, 2006 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Bowen has been successful because he has freedom to be independent and work across agencies.

Bringing Iraqi contract auditing back to the Pentagon is guaranteed to kill oversight.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on November 3, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Sure, war is hard. Everyone understands that. But this guy Stuart Bowen is making profit-taking the Republican way hard, and that's just unecessary and wrong.

Why does Stuart Bowen hate America? Does he want the terrists to win? And if so, shouldn't he change his affiliation to Democrat?

Posted by: jsegall on November 3, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, parody Al can pull this off while keeping a straight face!

The definite termination date was also seen as helpful for planning future oversight efforts from Bush administration agencies, he said.

While it's a quote from the article he insists we read, he manages to let it pass without so much as a guffaw! What a talent!

Posted by: bigcat on November 3, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

The pertinent question at this juncture is:

Exactly what would George W. Bush and the GOP have done differently if they were being paid in cash by Osama bin Laden?

Is there anything they could have done, any overlooked strategy that might have been more helpful to al Qaeda's cause?

Nothing immediately comes to mind.

Posted by: CK Dexter Haven on November 3, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Bechtel and Halliburton are just afraid that if the dems take over and their are some investigations that they (and their CEOs) could be held accountable for BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF FRAUD!

Just another sign that the repug internal polls don't look too good - they have to get out of Iraq before the elections.

Posted by: hdl on November 3, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Cheryl: It's like Iraq was simply a clearing house for massive corporate give-aways of huge amounts of taxpayer money but nothing else.

Bingo!

Bush's Iraq War is, quite simply, the largest organized crime heist / armed robbery in history.

Posted by: Stefan on November 3, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad Kevin couldn't find a reliable source for this story. The New York Times has become worse than Rush Limbaugh at political spinning and outright lying.

E.g., their story about Kerry's bungled joke quoted him as having said:

Do you know where you end up if you dont study, if you arent smart, if youre intellectually lazy? You end up getting stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.

In fact, Kerry never mentioned Bush. That last sentence is a fabrication.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 3, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, where is Amy to talk about Haggard?

Posted by: bubba on November 3, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

I mean it is "our money," and we should do everything possible to make sure what money we do give to the government via taxes is spent properly.

To amplify, it's all a question of framing when you are trying to get this message out to the voters. That's why, for example, you should never refer simply to the money spent in Iraq, but always refer to it as "American taxpapyers' money" or even better "hard-working American taxpayers' money." Remind the voters that every penny wasted to incompetence or stolen by fraud and corruption is a penny out of their own pockets.

Posted by: Stefan on November 3, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

As usual, whenever the Republicans try to remove a layer of bureaucracy, the liberals complain.

Kevin, when will liberals like you realize that big government is part of the problem, and less bureaucracy is part of the solution?

Posted by: Al on November 3, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, ex-Liberal for mentioning that four or was it five more US troops were killed yesterday in Iraq. Your concern for them is so deeply felt.

One good thing for the Liberals of this world, when you "departed" their ranks, the IQ level vastly improved.

But, continue to beat a very dead horse.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 3, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

In fact, Kerry never mentioned Bush. That last sentence is a fabrication.

The Times clearly stated that was the prepared statement.

Posted by: Ack Ack Ack Ack on November 3, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Al,

Oversight dosn't fall under the normative understanding of bureaucracy. It isn't considered a 'layer.'

Posted by: Ack Ack Ack Ack on November 3, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, ex-liberal, keep mentioning Kerry and you keep Iraq front and center in the news. Let's remind everyone of what a miserable fiasco Bush has made of the Iraq War.

Posted by: Stefan on November 3, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

After all, as our commander in chief tells us, war is hard.

Bush is Barbie, and war is his "math."

Posted by: Vincent on November 3, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

The trools on this site remind me of the boiler room scenes from "Prime Gig". Each morning, upon entering the swank confines of the building, the sellers would receive their marching orders from Kelly Grant, their guru of telemarketing.

All was well, until one morning they walked into an empty shell as Kelly had taken the loot and run.

You trools, are working for George "Kelly Grant" Bush, and one fine day the above scene will be replicated.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 3, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

"The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference..." Wha? Is this true that Dems were in a conference on this bill? Was there really debate in the conference over this item? This does not sound right to me.

Posted by: TD on November 3, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Nobody could have predicted that the war would end up transferring huge amounts of taxpayer money to the friends of Cheney.

Posted by: craigie on November 3, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Paul-3 - Trools...I like it! Trolling Fools! Trools!

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 3, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Impeach.

Remove.

Prosecute.

Punish.

Justice.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on November 3, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Ack Ack Ack Ack The Times clearly stated that was the prepared statement.

Ack^4 - the Times has already admitted that they were wrong. They ran a correction today:

A Political Memo article yesterday about the fallout for Senator John Kerry over what he called a botched joke referred incompletely to the differences between prepared remarks and what he actually said about the Iraq war to students at Pasadena City College in California on Monday. Mr. Kerry not only dropped the word us, but he also rephrased his opening sentence extensively and omitted a reference to President Bush. Mr. Kerrys aides said that the prepared text read: Do you know where you end up if you dont study, if you arent smart, if youre intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush. What he said: You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you dont, you get stuck in Iraq.

The Times deserves congratiulations for printing the correction so promptly. They deserve derision for including this correction in the "For the Record" section, which is supposed to represent errors of no significance, like misspelling someone's middle name.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 3, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib, I was under the impression that the topic of this thread had to do with the IG for Iraq getting a pink slip.

Not trying to change the subject, are you?

Posted by: Wonderin on November 3, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Remind the voters that every penny wasted to incompetence or stolen by fraud and corruption is a penny out of their own pockets.
Posted by: Stefan on November 3, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is - the Free Market Fundamentalists have convinced a significant proportion of taxpayers, that since this money is "Borrowed" - and China can't afford to call us on it, they're too deeply leveraged, that it's basically "free money". They think that the tax cuts will grow the economy so fast, that it won't matter. They also believe (the gullible morons) that the money that Cheney's friends are getting, will be invested, which will create more jobs.

These idiots are more gullible than the Christian Fundamentalists who were conned into thinking that the GOP was the Party of Moral Values.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on November 3, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal,

It is an error of insignificance because the Times correction is referring the Times poor reporting about the differences between the prepared statement and what he actually said. The initial article still states: Mr. Kerrys prepared remarks to California students on Monday called for him to say, Do you know where you end up if you dont study, if you arent smart, if youre intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush. In his delivery, he dropped the word us. That is, all they did was incorrectly state the differences between what Kerry said and what he was intended to say. This isn't that difficult.


The wrong people die in wars.

AAAA

Posted by: Ack Ack Ack Ack on November 3, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Oh sure, the thread is supposed to be about the Special IG and Duncan the Hunter (actually hate to deride a former Airborne type), but

With count down to National House and Senate Clearing and Cleaning Day, can we please get back to Clinton's Penis?

Posted by: stupid git on November 3, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Hehe. Soon as I saw the article in the NYTimes I wondered what the trolls would be saying. So far I see "We're just removing a layer of bureaucracy" and "Look! Over there! It's Kerry!"

Keep it up folks, I want to hear all your justifications. That's your tax payer dollars being squandered and defrauded so that a few Bush cronies can get rich. You trolls are not the ones with the ever-fattening pockets. You're being defrauded with the rest of us.

I can only conclude that you don't mind the foxes raiding the henhouse as long as they're Republican. And no guard dog, not even one with R stamped on his tags, should stand in their way.

Posted by: Librul on November 3, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bush's Iraq War is, quite simply, the largest organized crime heist / armed robbery in history.
Posted by: Stefan

Absolutely. But it's not just the war.

It's kleptocrasy on an previously unimaginable scale. Leaving nothing behind but a mountain of IOU's to China.

Posted by: CFShep on November 3, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

"Non-wartime footing"?

Does that mean we're no longer at war?

Then we don't need the Patriot Act anymore! We can stop torturing people! Hooray!

Posted by: Bill Camarda on November 3, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone else remember the $9 BILLION (yes, with a "B") of American taxpayer money that went missing in the first year of the war?

No? Just me, then? Seems like that would have been a story the media might have sunk its teeth into.... *cue hollow laughter*

Posted by: Stefan on November 3, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

AAAA It is an error of insignificance because the Times correction is referring the Times poor reporting about the differences between the prepared statement and what he actually said.

Ack - To illustrate the kind of minor correction the Times normally puts in For the Record,, here's the correction above the Kerry item:

Because of an editing error, an obituary on Wednesday about P.W. Botha, the South African prime minister who tried to preserve the apartheid system, misstated the year his first wife, Anna Elizabeth Rossouw, known as Elise, died. It was 1997, not 1977.

Whether Kerry meant it or not, his actual words were hurtful to many in our armed forces. Furthermore, his statement was a major news story for a couple of days. The Times original version totally changed the meaning of the words Kerry said. This correction should not have been hidden as the 3rd item down in For the Record.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 3, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Please, I beg of you...Keep bringing this issue up until 7:00 p.m. western time, Tuesday November 7th. We would appreciate it very much if you could keep that foxfire burning.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 3, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that 'Trools' is a great neologism. It sums up our barking mad trolls/fools to a 't'.

Bravo Paul.

"I don't hate America. In fact, think it's one of the best countries anyone ever stole." Mickey Z.

Posted by: CFShep on November 3, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Stuart Bowen was a good 'ol boy from Texas who rode into Washington on Bush's coattails, but a problem developed becaus, unlike a lot of the other corrupt Bush lackeys in ten gallon hats, when it came to Iraq he actually did his job of oversight.

You can imagine the surprise and horror of the administration and the Repugnacious in Congress.

Through Stuart Bowen we found out about no-bid contracts awarded like candy, often to unqualified companies; millions of dollars misappropriated at every turn; false progress statements from contractors (e.g. "painted schools," the fetish of every war enthusiast); infrastructure that was in some cases in worse shape than it had been pre-war despite billions given to private companies; and truly obscene stories like the hundreds of planned health clinics, only four of which have been completed and not one of which has opened despite 75% of the funds having been exhausted.

In an Iraq increasingly devolving into complete and utter chaos, Bowen has became a political liability for the shameless propagandists of this mess. Since he was one of the very few elements they could actually control, it was necessary that he be axed to protect their image.

Posted by: trex on November 3, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: "Anyone else remember the $9 BILLION (yes, with a "B") of American taxpayer money that went missing in the first year of the war?"

No worries. That money went to equip the Mahdi Army and Badr Brigade. These well-armed Iraqi troops are in the process of standing up so the Americans can stand down. Who can doubt that we are free to leave with a clear conscience when Iraqi interests are protected by THREE armies, supplemented by miscellaneous tribal militias? Not to mention the Peshmerga in the north.

With such a glorious plethora of armies, Iraq is well prepared to start efforts to enjoy the democracy smeared across their country like cold cream cheese on Wonderbread.

Posted by: cowalker on November 3, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal you're an idiot

stfu and dont vote

Posted by: Ack Ack Ack Ack on November 3, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

No worries. That money went to equip the Mahdi Army and Badr Brigade.

Wouldn't it be ironic if they were to end up equipped with body armor more quickly than it was distributed to American troops?

They're already much better armed than the Iraqi police.

No worries though, Republicans tell me every day that the only thing I have to worry about in Iraq is "terrorists," not powerful sectarian militias that have engaged coalition forces -- and that's good enough for me.

Posted by: trex on November 3, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be ironic if they were to end up equipped with body armor more quickly than it was distributed to American troops?

Hey, they already have our weapons. Tell me if this isn't the mother of all fuck-ups:

U.S. Is Said to Fail in Tracking Arms Shipped to Iraqis
By JAMES GLANZ
Published: October 30, 2006

The American military has not properly tracked hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces and has failed to provide spare parts, maintenance personnel or even repair manuals for most of the weapons given to the Iraqis, a federal report released Sunday has concluded.

The report was undertaken at the request of Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and who recently expressed an assessment far darker than the Bush administrations on the situation in Iraq....

The answers came Sunday from the inspector generals office, which found major discrepancies in American military records on where thousands of 9-millimeter pistols and hundreds of assault rifles and other weapons have ended up. The American military did not even take the elementary step of recording the serial numbers of nearly half a million weapons provided to Iraqis, the inspector general found, making it impossible to track or identify any that might be in the wrong hands.

Exactly where untracked weapons could end up and whether some have been used against American soldiers were not examined in the report, although black-market arms dealers thrive on the streets of Baghdad, and official Iraq Army and police uniforms can easily be purchased as well, presumably because government shipments are intercepted or otherwise corrupted.....

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/30/world/middleeast/30reconstruct.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Posted by: Stefan on November 3, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, that story illustrates precisely why we need to eliminate oversight in Iraq.

With continued oversight, we're just going to hear more bad stories like that which will only serve to embolden our enemies. We need to hear the good news out of Iraq, like the fact that in Irbil there are now more falafel stands than there were under Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: trex on November 3, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, I have to disagree. It's the aunt, or maybe the great-aunt of all fuck-ups.
Momma is still having left 380 TONS of extremely high grade explosives completely unguarded at Al Qaa Qaa, so that various insurgents and terrorists could stock up on them.

Posted by: kenga on November 3, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I could sure go for some falafel myself just at the moment.

Yum.

Posted by: CFShep on November 3, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

As much as you might be tempted to do so, I would recommend against going to Irbil for lunch.

Posted by: trex on November 3, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, I thought he was Duncan Hunter (R-Brent Wilkes/Duke Cunningham Bribery Conspiracy).

Hasn't he been indicted yet?

Posted by: biggerbox on November 3, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

As much as you might be tempted to do so, I would recommend against going to Irbil for lunch.
Posted by: trex

Grin. 'Preciate the advice.

No I was thinking more along the lines of one of the three, count 'em three, Syrian/Lebanese or Greek places in my neighborhood. Two are on Kaliste Saloom Road and thus practically on my doorstep...we're more cosmopolitan down here than you might think.

Posted by: CFShep on November 3, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, I have to disagree. It's the aunt, or maybe the great-aunt of all fuck-ups.
Momma is still having left 380 TONS of extremely high grade explosives completely unguarded at Al Qaa Qaa, so that various insurgents and terrorists could stock up on them.

Yeah, but that's at least partly excusable given the rush of the invasion. It was at least partially an oversight -- an inexcusable and deeply incompetent oversight, of course, but an act of omission.

In this case, however, it's an act of comission -- there's an active, ongoing effort to ship unregistered weapons to Iraq, bought and paid for by the American taxpayer, while knowing full well that there's a raging civil war in that country. It takes a degree of extra effort to fuck up this bad.

Posted by: Stefan on November 3, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Stephan,

I've told you before that Clinton cut the funding for pens, ink and quills for DoD. How else could the Pentagon have kept track of those weapons?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 3, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

It takes a degree of extra effort to fuck up this bad.

Which means that someone's going to get the Medal of Freedom for this one.

Posted by: trex on November 3, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Luckily for us an actual reporter (Bill Torpy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution) went to an actual military base (Fort Benning, Ga.) and interviewed actual soldiers about the Kerry remarks. Capt. Tom Visel said,"It sounds like he wanted a sound bite and picked a bad one. It was stupid not to apoligize and deflect the anger. Politicians misspeak all the time. He should say so and move on. I don't think he has real contempt against the services. He certainly realizes that this is not the army of Vietnam, with no disrespect to them." (Did he just call the Vietnam era army dumber than the current army?)

Pfc Perry Jones smiled and said,"I'm pretty sure he didn't mean it that way (that the army was dumb). We thought with the election coming up we'd be pulling out." (He thought the Republicans would play politics with the troops?)

His more realistic friend, Pfc Andrew Bracero said,"Sooner or later, we're all going."

Staff Sarg. John Rowe said,"He meant it about the war, not necessarily against the troops. (Here's my favorite part) Most military people are fed up with the Republicans right now, at least in my social circles."

Posted by: TD on November 3, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Librul: Keep it up folks, I want to hear all your justifications. That's your tax payer dollars being squandered and defrauded so that a few Bush cronies can get rich. You trolls are not the ones with the ever-fattening pockets. You're being defrauded with the rest of us.

Just curious:

How do you know they're not fattening their own pockets? What information do you have about the trolls in question, that you know they are not intimately connected with the war profiteers? Seems to me that changing the subject in just this way would be way high up the priority list of those with the most to lose if real oversight and enforcement continues.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Nitnorth on November 3, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Back in June, when Bush nominated David H. Laufman to be the next DoD Inspector General, I warned that the man is not qualified for the job by the normal standard of what the job entails. He is, however, a partisan hack who has been loyally prosecuting some war-on-terra cases, to an extreme, for Bush Co. in the eastern district of Virginia.

Earlier in his career, Laufman also showed himself to be a reliable Republican "cleaner" (in the phrase of Robert Parry) with regard to several investigations of Republican wrongdoing. I was concerned that Laufman was being appointed to this post in order to keep a lid on scandals, rather than expose them. I corresponded with Parry about Laufman, and he confirmed that Laufman is no damn good.

Here is my post from June on Laufman. See also the post written as a follow-up by Cernig, linked to in the comments:

http://smintheusblog.blogspot.com/2006/06/is-david-laufman-really-qualified-to.html

What Duncan Hunter did, then, was transfer the power to expose corruption, waste, and fraud in Iraq to an office that may soon be occupied by somebody who cannot be relied upon to shield investigations from Rumsfeld's or the White House's ire.

Nothing in Laufman's written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee convinces me that he can really be trusted with such an important post. Quite the opposite: Laufman talks about how the SecDef has the right to interfere in or block IG investigations, and he also says that SecDef ought to be allowed to see many reports in draft and propose alterations. Here's that link:

http://www.senate.gov/~armed_services/statemnt/2006/July/Laufman%2007-18-06.pdf

I don't know why Laufman has not already been confirmed for this post. Perhaps some Senator has had the sense to slow the nomination down. I notice that my blog post comes first in a google search for Laufman and "inspector general", so maybe it has been getting some eyeballs in DC.

Posted by: smintheus on November 3, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Here's another deadline.

Convict and sentence Saddam just a day or two before the election.

Check.

Posted by: curious on November 4, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

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