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September 27, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CORRUPTION....The State Department isn't impressed with anticorruption efforts in Iraq's government ministries:

The Ministry of Interior is seen by Iraqis as untouchable....Corruption investigations in Ministry of Defense are judged to be ineffectual....corruption investigations are clearly inadequate in the Ministry of Trade. The Ministry of Health is a sore point....Anticorruption cases concerning the Ministry of Education have been particularly ineffective....the Ministry of Water Resources it is effectively out of the anticorruption fight....the Ministry of Labor & Social Affairs is hostile to the prosecution of corruption cases....In the Ministry of Displacement & Migration there has been only one investigation initiated or complaint made about any person identified with the Shia. Anticorruption activity efforts are in practical measure devoid in the Ministry of Science and Technology....In the Ministry of Youth & Sports no cases have made it to trial because the minister has granted Article 136B immunity from trial on wholesale bases....Only one conviction has ever come from corruption cases in the entire city of Baghdad.

Did I leave any out?

Actually, yes. The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Oil, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Housing and Construction, and the Ministry of Electricity are also hopelessly corrupt. I think that's all of them.

Kevin Drum 2:39 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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The State Department should be neither impressed nor surprised.

Corruption within an illegitimate, ineffectual government that relies for support and protection on a larger illegitimate, ineffectual government? Golly.

Posted by: Boolaboola on September 27, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Not to excuse the actions of any ministry named here, but perhaps State should STFU about Iraqi corruption as long as it's got a gag order on Blackwater misbehavior.

Posted by: shortstop on September 27, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

The US State Department is also hopelessly corrupt.

Posted by: Brojo on September 27, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

What do you expect when your template is the United States?

Posted by: steve duncan on September 27, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

A government that sees its rule as a source of riches and self-dealing. How strange those Iraquis are.

Posted by: Anon on September 27, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Government is inherently corrupt. Any conservative can tell you that. The important thing is that Iraq is on the way to being a democracy and beacon of hope to the Middle East.

Posted by: Al on September 27, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Another "Mission Accomplished" by Shrub - Having his policies of "A government of the cronies, for the cronies, and by the cronies"

Tom Pendergast and Mayor Daley would be soooo proud.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 27, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I worked 3 years in the Middle East. The consensus among oil field workers there is that Iraq is the most corrupt country in the Middle East. It's not a matter of a little baksheesh (tips) but a lot of rashua (bribery) and serious extortion.

Nigeria is the consensus for most corrupt country in the world.

Posted by: anandine on September 27, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

this goes a long way in explaining why Iraq wants the US to stick around..$$$$$

Posted by: T2 on September 27, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Is Al in favor of no form of government as the living arrangement for people? Since government is inherently (inexorably, irretrievably?) corrupt I'd expect no further criticism of politicians of either party since guilt for this inherent fault is shared and universal.

Posted by: steve duncan on September 27, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

It is important to remember that the Iraqi government has been corupt for many years prior to the American invasion.

Liberals should not get caught in the trap of assuming regime change, which is quick, will result in cultural change which can take generations.

It is a trap conservatives have fallen into with the very idea of 'invasion will transform and democratise the middle east'.

It's a trap we are all paying for.

"The important thing is that Iraq is on the way to being a democracy and beacon of hope to the Middle East."

That's a joke. I can tell you that the post war mis-management of Iraq has become a poster boy for the failures of democracy throughout the middle east and is a mill stone around the necks of democratic advocates.

Far from protecting our freedoms the Iraq war has done a huge amount to damage the west by offering an example of the dangers of democracy and driving our allies (secular, democratic people from the middle east) into silence.

Posted by: Colin on September 27, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom is messy!

Bush Roools!

Go, Al, go!

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on September 27, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Drum: I think that's all of them.

But no one could have predicted that it would turn out this way! Really!:

The Bush administration has drafted sweeping plans to remake Iraq's economy in the U.S. image. Hoping to establish a free-market economy in Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. is calling for the privatization of state-owned industries such as parts of the oil sector, forming a stock market complete with electronic trading and fundamental tax reform.
Execution of the plan -- which is expected to be complicated and possibly contentious -- will fall largely to private American contractors working alongside a smaller team of U.S. officials. The initial plans are laid out in a confidential 100-page U.S. contracting document titled "Moving The Iraqi Economy From Recovery to Sustainable Growth."
The plan makes scant mention of any involvement of multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, both key players in similar reform efforts in Russia and Eastern Europe. Still, Bush administration officials have said they would welcome World Bank and IMF help in Iraq, but how those would be reconciled with projects such as the AID restructuring blueprint remains unclear.
"This will not be credible to the Iraqi people or anyone else if we try to do it ourselves," said Edwin Truman, a former top international finance official at the Federal Reserve who served in the Clinton administration's Treasury Department. "The World Bank and the IMF have a lot more experience and a lot more credibility in this than the U.S. government."
Other experts on post-communist reform efforts say it would be a mistake for the Bush administration to stress swift privatization, a policy that met with mixed success across the former Soviet bloc. In many countries, rapid privatization of state-run enterprises led to sharp disruptions in jobs and services, as well as rampant corruption.

...Ladies and Gents, your Republican administration of conservative policy at work...

Posted by: grape_crush on September 27, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that stands in *striking* contrast to the Gonzales Department of "Justice" (no non-Republicans need apply), the Powell-Rice Department of State (sixteen words; Blackwater), the Chao Department of Labor (mine safety enforcement, anyone?), Chertoff's DHS (on general principles), Rumsfeld's DoD, Mike Brown's FEMA, the Abramoff-DeLay-Reed-Norton DOI/BIA mess, and, well, you get the picture.

On the other hand, at least we don't all have bird flu yet. HHS must be slacking.

Posted by: Chris on September 27, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on September 27, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

It's morning again in Iraq...Prouder, Stronger, Better

Posted by: Reagan's Ectoplasma on September 27, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Al has apparently bought into the Maoist belief that "revolution grows out of the barrel of a gun". Conservatives falsely assume that a society still very much in the Middle Ages can skip over the Reformation, Age of Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution and land right in the Modern Era. It didn't happen that way in Western society - why would we presume that it could happen in Iraq?

Those who do not understand the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 27, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

What's the point here? That this would have been better if Iraq was run by Saddam, his sons, and his goon squads for the next thirty years?

So many of these issues seem to ride on the idea that prior to 2003, Iraq was no different than Switzerland.

At least the concept of investigating corruption exists there now. The rest will take time, luck, and probably at least a couple more elections.

Posted by: harry on September 27, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Conservative Deflator, I think Mao said power grows out of the barrel of a gun. And probably all Western political science writers and professors wouldn't disagree with him, although they might use different words to say the same thing, and fail to attribute it to Mao, so that it doesn't sound so dramatic and so they're not associated with him.

Posted by: Swan on September 27, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Ministry of Silly Walks is functioning well, though.

Posted by: Glenn on September 27, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Bush has done the same thing to both governments: the United States and Iraq.

I never seen anything close to the present level of corruption in the United States.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on September 27, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: harry: What's the point here? That this would have been better if Iraq was run by Saddam, his sons, and his goon squads for the next thirty years?

...At least the concept of investigating corruption exists there now. The rest will take time, luck, and probably at least a couple more elections.Yes, Saddam would have been better. He was getting old, and his sons were probably too loony to have lasted.

Corruption is not compatible with democracy since it always tries to perpetuate itself in power, and since corruption rises to the top, it is only necessary that a small percentage of the people be corrupt for democracy to fail. Latin immigration is doing the same for our country. Note the total corruption in border enforcement by both parties.


Posted by: Luther on September 27, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Ya Know, Harry, if Saddam wasn't sitting on a sea of oil the neo-cons wouldn't have cared about Saddams sons or his goons.

This is just the same bad idea that Kissinger had back in 1975. [Miles Ignotus article] Guess what Harry, Saddam didn't become President until 1979.

And even back to the Carter Doctrine [1980]:
"An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Posted by: Ya Know.... on September 27, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK
Not to excuse the actions of any ministry named here, but perhaps State should STFU about Iraqi corruption as long as it's got a gag order on Blackwater misbehavior.
My guess is that this report was put together by professionals (among the few who have not left State in disgust). The Blackwater gag order is no doubt flows from the puppeteer (Cheney) to the puppet (Rice) that runs State. Posted by: little ole jim from red country on September 27, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Government is inherently corrupt. Any conservative can tell you that. The important thing is that Iraq is on the way to being a democracy and beacon of hope to the Middle East. -AL

And, AL, thanks for finally admitting that the moral majority was utter BS. If Iraqi is such a beacon of hope why have nearly 4 million of its inhabitants and 75% its doctors fled?

Posted by: Ya Know.... on September 27, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

harry:

You might want to ask Secretary of Defense Robert Gates why he sold cluster bombs to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s when he was Deputy Director of the CIA? Let’s not forget that Saddam Hussein was a monster that American conservatives created!

TCD

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 27, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

According to Secrecy News, the State Department classified this report on corruption to try to keep it a secret. Oh well.

Posted by: woebegone on September 27, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

I have it on good authority that the Ministry of Corruption has been operating entirely within its budget, and I can vouch for the honesty and integrity of its ministers and employees.

---C. Rice
U.S. State Dept.

Posted by: CT on September 27, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Completely off topic, but sort of revisiting the Bob Herbert "debate" and my contention that Juan Williams is a complete fucking tool . . .

September 26, 2007
Can We Please Shut Down the Print Washington Post?

From http://jackandjillpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/09/many-faces-of-juan-williams.htm:

Juan Williams today:

Integrated schools benefit students, especially minorities. Research on the long-term outcomes of black and Latino students attending integrated schools indicates that those students "complete more years of education, earn higher degrees and major in more varied occupations than graduates of all-black schools." That conclusion is reflected in the lives of the Little Rock Nine, who represent the black middle class that grew rapidly as better schools became open to black people during the 1960s and '70s...

Juan Williams three months ago:

It is time to acknowledge that Brown’s time has passed.... [T]he decision in Brown v. Board of Education that focused on outlawing segregated schools as unconstitutional is now out of step with American political and social realities.... Desegregation... does not equip society to address the so-called achievement gap between black and white students that mocks Brown’s promise of equal educational opportunity...

Juan Williams today:

Nationwide today, almost half of black and Latino children are in schools where less than 10 percent of the students are white. Those essentially segregated schools have a large percentage of low-income families and, according to researchers, "difficulty retaining highly qualified teachers." Meanwhile, the average white student attends a school that is 80 percent white and far more affluent than the schools for minority students. This trend toward isolation of poor and minority students has consequences -- half of black and Latino students now drop out of high school...

Juan Williams three months ago:

Desegregation does not speak to dropout rates that hover near 50 percent for black and Hispanic high school students...

Can we shut it down now? Please?

Posted by: JeffII on September 27, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

harry on September 27, 2007 at 4:01 PM:

What's the point here? That this would have been better if Iraq was run by Saddam, his sons, and his goon squads for the next thirty years?

What's your point, Harry? Like you gave a rat's ass about well-being of the Iraqi people prior to the invasion of Iraq...I am guessing that your compassion for the plight of the Iraq people began right around the time Dubya lost his WMD and Saddam/Al-Qaeda justifications for the continued occupation of Iraq.

Dubya's Folly in Iraq has probably killed and displaced as many Iraqi civilians in four years as Saddam Hussein and "his goon squads" did in a decade. No one is pretending that Iraq under Hussein was paradise, but people had water and electricity for more than a couple of hours out of the day, Iraqi families weren't living as refugees in Syria and Jordan, making ends meet by selling themselves for sex...the list goes on.

You're an effing pathetic excuse for an American, Harry. Pathetic.

Posted by: grape_crush on September 27, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK
Did I leave any out?

You neglected to mention every relevant agency of the present US Administration (especially the Departments of State and Defense.)

Which, given who is dictating policy in Iraq (including putting armed private forces on the street despite contrary direction from the "Government" of Iraq), is a rather major oversight.

Of course, I suspect the State Department, being one of those agencies, also overlooked those in its list of hopelessly corrupt government agencies in Iraq.

But the whole "blame the puppets" thing that the US government has been engaged in quite a bit recently is simply a fallback position to make sure that Americans who don't fall for the "blame the Democrats" line still manage to avoid blaming the people actually responsible for the disaster resulting from the Bush Administration's misguided invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 27, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! It sounds just like home.

Posted by: MNPundit on September 27, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Not to excuse the actions of any ministry named here, but perhaps State should STFU about Iraqi corruption as long as it's got a gag order on Blackwater misbehavior. Posted by: shortstop

I've been thinking the same kind of thing the last three days every time I hear a news report about the Bush administration condemning the junta in Burma.

Posted by: JeffII on September 27, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

I've been thinking the same kind of thing the last three days every time I hear a news report about the Bush administration condemning the junta in Burma.

And that understandable attitude is, to me, why Bush has been such a tragedy for our country. Because of course our President should be condemning the Myanmar junta, as loudly as possible. But Bush has squandered our moral authority to do so.

Posted by: Glenn on September 27, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

condemning the Myanmar junta, as loudly as possible. But Bush has squandered our moral authority to do so. Posted by: Glenn

"Myanmar"? Isn't that that shiny shit they make the balloons out of that they sell at the grocery check-out lanes?

Posted by: JeffII on September 27, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that this report was put together by professionals (among the few who have not left State in disgust). The Blackwater gag order is no doubt flows from the puppeteer (Cheney) to the puppet (Rice) that runs State.

My guess is the same as yours, jim--but the timing is ironic, and makes legitimate complaints about corruption in Iraqi ministries prone to accusations of hypocrisy on State's part.

Posted by: shortstop on September 27, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Myanmar"? Isn't that that shiny shit they make the balloons out of that they sell at the grocery check-out lanes?

Yes. And "mylar" was a mass murder of unarmed civilians.

Posted by: shortstop on September 27, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

ABC News has more on the report.

Posted by: refruiterator on September 27, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone give a DAMN (a rats ass) about the DOJ and corruption in Iraq?

Didn't Gonzales, who prosecuted Dem government officials merely for the fact that they were liberals – just leave because of corruption of DoJ? Not that the DoJ is every going to cleaned itself up (at least not till Bushie leaves) immediately after all the intercourse with the Bushies people so lets get real.

20 of Bush's own people - oversee all the oil that ends up on blackmarket in Iraq - and that is nearly 80 percent of Iraqi oil, so Bushie can't talk about corruption when he IS corruption.

Hey, I know - lets give private security firms the right to shot anyone, anytime for any reason? Hell Iraqis are nothing if not a big part of a shooting gallery for cocky ex-military members making 240 thousand a year.

Yes, Iraq is one big scene of corruption and the Bushies are the living, breathing head of all of it. All Bushies wants is that damn Hydrocarbon Framework law signed and than he say benchmarks have been met and he'll leave Iraq - in the throes of the killing fields. It isn't really about the oil for Bushie and Cheney - it's about *ucking people over - oil people, Iraqis, whoever, whatever.

The Republicans have become the nastiest people on the face of this earth right now. How does the nations Doj talk about corruption when it IS corruption.

Posted by: Me_again on September 27, 2007 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Nor should they be impressed. Spoilers retain incentives to continue such corruption. It is likely intractible. This administration has been totally unprepared for post-war aspects...the larger implications remain. And the handing out of large quantities of benjamins early on--without accountability (Bremer) certainly fostered the culture of corruption.
This adminstration must leave office

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 27, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

How do you speel CORRUPTION? Bush & Cheney!

Posted by: Al on September 27, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

From TPM, "a new letter from House oversight committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice charges that State Department officials have refused to answer Congressional investigators' questions about corruption in the Iraqi government unless the committee agrees not to disclose their answers.

That's not all. In the letter, Waxman charges that State has instructed Blackwater not to cooperate with the committee's inquiry into its operations in Iraq (more on that soon), and that Condoleezza Rice herself has refused to testify about either corruption within the Maliki government or any aspect of the Blackwater controversy.

Oversight investigators identified two State Department watchdogs, Vincent Faulk and Christopher Griffith, whom they sought to interview about corruption in the Maliki government. (David Corn recently unearthed some evidence for that contention.) A State Congressional liaison informed Waxman that the department had no objection -- provided that their answers not be released to the public.

In an e-mail yesterday, State's Joel Starr said that in the interests of retaining positive ties with the Maliki government, there were just a few things that couldn't be aired publicly:

Broad statements/assessments which judge or characterize the quality of Iraqi governance or the ability/determination of the Iraqi government to deal with corruption, including allegations that investigations were thwarted/stifled for political reasons.
Statements/allegations concerning actions by specific individuals, such as the Prime Minister or other [Iraqi] officials, or regarding investigations of such officials.


Waxman calls State's position "absurd" and "ludicrous." It means that Faulk couldn't give an unclassified answer to investigators if they asked whether Maliki's government is corrupt. For good measure, State subsequently classified a whole bunch of documents the committee had asked for, including internal assessments of Iraqi corruption.

Finally, Rice herself, through staff, told Waxman that she won't testify about her role in Iraqi reconciliation -- which, after all, is supposed to be what ends the war. Apparently Rice's aides told the committee that she has some "other interest" in testifying before a different congressional panel, thereby precluding an appearance before the House oversight committee. Waxman, again, isn't having it: he requested Rice to order her staff to cooperate with the corruption investigation; release Blackwater from its gag order; and to pencil in some time for the committee next month."

What's the psychology here, do you think?

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 27, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

What is most depressing is that by the time the general public realizes what is happening it will be too late. How long before we pay for our opinions with our lives?

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08! on September 27, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

let's not leave out how corrupt the State Department is. Are they not impressed because these ministries aren't as corrupt? because they aren't falling in with the Halliburton rip-em-off as fast as you can policy?

Honestly, pots calling kettles black.

Posted by: Carol on September 28, 2007 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Missing Iraq $$$ - Palmocracy Do's and Don'ts
My Mother often tells the story how, some 60 years ago, a local small town official, to explain politics to her said, "When it comes to politics, its like this. Spit in one hand and put money in the other and see which way their head starts tilting."
Think of the upturned palms in Washington. Think of the K Street money machinery. Think of the billions we hand out to dictators and despots worldwide wide who align with us or at least give good lip service.
The proper term for this form of government is a "Palm-ocracy."
The goal in Iraq was to form a 'palmocracy' with Chalabi as the bursar in chief. It's the American way. Why then does everybody from Rep. Waxman, the Nation magazine and its liberal sisterhood and the blogosphere go ape because a few billion $$ are missing in Iraq? It makes no sense to me. The $$ failure in Iraq is not that a truck load or two of $$$ are missing but that BushCo failed to to find a home for this moola which had any sustainable political or military weight to it. If it's ten billion a week to fight the war and accrue dead troops, what is the fuss that a few days cash flow went missing in a hemorrhaged buyout?
This thinking gives rise to the following timeless lessons encapsulated in 'Rules for Invading Sovereignties' from "Palmocracies, Foreign & Domestic" the remorsefully edited edition, 'Wolfowitz Cheney Press.'
Never invade a country to promote aligning interests unless you can, with certainty, determine who you can effectively bribe.
Also, never attempt to occupy a country with two Popes.
--cognitorex blog--

Posted by: cognitorex on September 28, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Transparency International - the keeper of the country corruption index reported that Iraq was the third most corrupt country in the world at this time. Somalia and Burma were tied for Most Corrupt. Iraq was next in line.

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