Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 26, 2007

GOOD STEWARDS....It hasn't been an especially good week for the Bush administration when it comes to responsible use of taxpayer dollars. The news on Monday was discouraging...

After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money. The strategy to improve the Pakistani military, they said, needs to be completely revamped.

...and the news today is nearly as bad.

A September 2007 State Department report, obtained by TPMmuckraker, found that contractors DynCorp and Blackwater can't account for $28.4 million in U.S. government-issued property in Afghanistan, including armored cars, guns and radios.

The report, prepared by the State Department inspector-general's office, hits the department for its lack of "adequate internal control over the government property held by contractors." It calls the property lists provided by State officials managing the contract in Afghanistan "incomplete and, therefore, unreliable." The $28.4 million worth of missing or poorly-documented property represents 21 percent of the government property held by DynCorp and Blackwater.

In some cases, the property has disappeared into a bureaucratic morass, thanks to State's improper bookkeeping. But in other cases, the property appears to be simply gone.

Of course, it's not just this week -- we've known for quite a while that the administration "lost track" of $9 billion in Iraqi reconstruction funds, which was followed by the administration being "unable to account" for $1.2 billion it had awarded to DynCorp in Iraq.

I seem to recall a certain president warning voters that Democrats aren't good stewards of our tax dollars. It'd be funny, of course, if it weren't so expensive.

Steve Benen 7:31 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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Comments

Obviously, illegal immigrants have taken that money and donated it to Hillary's campaign!

Posted by: RepubAnon on December 26, 2007 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

I wish someone would lay out in detail exactly how these trillions will be paid back (I believe we're borrowing the money from China, principally?), by which generation(s) and at what cost to our economy and fiscal standing in the world --

It's referred to frequently but never explained....

Posted by: aghast on December 26, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

On the plus side, Swiss banks are kicking ass!

Posted by: SnarkyShark on December 26, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Just in case we've lost track on what budget numbers mean: a billion is one thousand million dollars. Five billion is five times that amount and that's quite a chunk of change to most people. Think what we could do if we spent all that war money on our internal needs like health care, infrastructure and education. Of course, it is a little harder to steal money dedicated to domestic projects although the Katrina recovery debacle seems to indicate that it's still possible.

Posted by: sparky on December 26, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

goddamn, these stories just make me insane. the staggering looting of the u.s. treasury -- and all committed by these uber-patriots who rape the taxpayer (and in dyncorp's case, employees (allegedly)) and degrade the institutions of this country. and the tragic thing is, these fucking pigs will never be held accountable. these mercenaries, these super patriots, are the gravest threat to this country second only to cheney. and the linkage is horrifying.

blackwater and dyncorp will turn their guns on americans; congress is impotent against them, the security establishment has embraced them. the training of police departments from across the country ensures a certain loyalty i would suspect. new orleans was just dipping the toe...

Posted by: linda on December 26, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

"..can't account for $28.4 million in U.S. government-issued property in Afghanistan, including armored cars, guns and radios. "

Um, did you ever, in your inifinite (more like inifinitestimal) wisdom ever think that maybe the ultimate destination of these funds are TOP SECRET and therefore these companies are not at liberty to say. When we were fighting WWII, I don't remember all these muckraker journalists who put their own egos ahead of the good of the country and tried to uncover where every penny of the war effort went to. Was there probably some corruption? Sure, but the money was overhelmingly spent for a good purpose, and the amount of good to be accomplished by digging up a few loose bits of corruption would cause untolled damage.

Ever stop to think that Iraq could have been pacified a lot easier had you idiots been on board since the beginning.

Posted by: egbert on December 26, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

egbert, who are you talking to?

Posted by: md 20/400 on December 26, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert, did you ever hear of the Truman commission????

Posted by: sparky on December 26, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'm always amused that conservatives will freak out if a poor person gets a double allotment of food stamps, which may cost the Amercan taxpayer a couple hundred bucks, yet not bat an eye when they read about war profiteering or just bad accounting by the Pentagon that costs the taxpayer billions of dollars.

Their souls and/or their cranial cavities must be empty....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 26, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Um, did you ever, in your inifinite (more like inifinitestimal) wisdom ever think that maybe the ultimate destination of these funds are TOP SECRET and therefore these companies are not at liberty to say. When we were fighting WWII, I don't remember all these muckraker journalists who put their own egos ahead of the good of the country and tried to uncover where every penny of the war effort went to.

When she was homeschooling your ignorant ass, your mommy left out the Truman Committee, you drooling, moronic fuckwit.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 26, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Ever stop to think that Iraq could have been pacified a lot easier had you idiots been on board since the beginning.

Nope. Sure didn't. Seein' as how it has always been and will remain forever an illegal invasion, and unjust occupation, It sure as fuck is not incumbent upon those of us who are and have been right all along to make an illegal act any easier. That is called "being complicit."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 26, 2007 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

You can tell egbert is an automated troll because he always refers to a guest blogger as Kevin.

I believe all the private companies involved in the loss of taxpayer dollars should be made to repay every penny out of their own pockets. That's the way it used to be. Early in my Federal Government career, a GS-4 Supply Clerk I worked with and who was in charge of an imprest fund (petty cash) came up $150 short. She had to repay the lost money out her own pocket.

We know the Repugs are crooks and the Dems are spineless whimps. However, I believe that the majority of Americans are spineless whimps also because they never get outraged at these staggering number of taxpayer dollars lost.

Posted by: Mazurka on December 26, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah it seems like 5 billion too much.
We could have done te job by now like we did in Tora Bora. Look at the trillions spent in Iraq ..the results are overwhelming compared to Afghanistan.If we had our troops in the mountains of Afghanistan ..we would not lose a soul like those idiot Paks ..maybe a thousand soldiers lost.

We could have done the job much better in much less money...for sure.

Regards

Nasir

Posted by: Nasir Shah on December 26, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Heh! You find it surprising when criminals steal? That is their job!

Posted by: jay boilswater on December 26, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans always fuck up a good economy. Money is like manure, it doesn't do any good unless it is spread around, and that is something that will not penetrate their thick fucking skulls. The R's are so fucking greedy they always kill the goose that lays the golden egg in order to get it all NOW. Fiscal responsibility my ass. R's are the worst managers of the economy.

Posted by: angryspittle on December 26, 2007 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK
It hasn't been an especially good seven years for the Bush administration when it comes to responsible use of taxpayer dollars.
Edited for accuracy. Posted by: R Johnston on December 26, 2007 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

I see this, and the other manifest failures of the shrub regime, as perfect examples of GOP governance. This is, after all, a group which feels that government is inherently incapable of doing anything right. So, as soon as they get power, the aim to prove this by doing things as disastrously poorly as possible.

The response to FEMA was another example of this. How can you trust a group of people which explicitly says that it hates government to do a good job of governing? That's like hiring someone who hates cooking to be an executive chef.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on December 26, 2007 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Argh... that'll teach me to hit post instead of preview first... I meant the FEMA response to Katrina, obviously.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on December 26, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

WTF? You expect us to keep track of every PENNY?

Posted by: bob in fla on December 26, 2007 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

The purpose of the Bush administration is to further the corporate welfare state. That's it.

Posted by: sean on December 27, 2007 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

I seem to recall a certain president warning voters that Democrats aren't good stewards of our tax dollars. It'd be funny, of course, if it weren't so expensive.

Any chance of us hearing the Democratic candidates on the campaign trail using this to blast the GOP for their blatant theft of billions of taxpayer dollars paid by hard-working Americans? And if they did do it, any chance of the media prominently reporting it? Any chance of this getting front and center treatment on the Sunday morning gasbag shows?

No, didn't think so.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Hardware for the January 20, 2009 coup d'etat?

Posted by: Ray Waldren on December 27, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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