Friday, April 6, 2007

Not Another Dime for Reconstruction

Regardless of which side of the Iraq War debate you fall on, one thing should be universally agreed upon: The American taxpayer should not be footing the bill for institutionalized corruption. However, as was pointed out in an AP article yesterday that is exactly what we are doing. Radi al-Radhi, who runs the Public Integrity Commission for the Iraqi government, reported over the last 3 years over $8 billion has been stolen. Here's part of the reason:

Corruption in the country, while traditionally rampant, is encouraged by constitutional clause 136 B, al-Radhi said. It gives Cabinet ministers the power to block his investigations.

So far, he said, ministers have blocked probes into the theft or misspending of an estimated additional $55 million in public funds.
That's right, we are pouring our taxpayer dollars into rebuilding a country that feels it is a Constitutional Right to be corrupt. In January, Stuart Bowen Jr., the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction handed Congress a report detailing some of the issues in Iraq, which included:

Corruption continues to limit the ability of the GOI to manage reconstruction efforts and key areas of economic policy. The Iraqi Ministry of Oil estimates that Iraq loses $700 million of revenue each month because of oil smuggling.
With oil closing at $64.28 a barrel yesterday, that works out to almost 11 million barrels a month that just disappear, or 130.7 million barrels a year. Put another way, that 11 million barrels would be enough crude oil imported to cover all of the needs for the US (gas, plastic, home heating oil, etc.) for more than a day each and every month. That would be impossible to pull off without some kind of consent, and taxpayers are putting up the cash that allows it to continue.

I've written before about the absence of criticism when it comes to Iraq from those who pound their chests about being fiscal conservatives. The extreme anti-government crowd that masquerades as fiscal conservatives, like our own Representative Scott Garrett, rail against providing reconstruction aid to the Americans victimized by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, citing corruption as their reasoning. However, you will be hard pressed to find a single quote about the abuses in Iraq (I know, I've looked). The abuses in Iraq are at least 800% worse than those of the still devastated Gulf Coast region, and apparently are constitutionally protected to continue into eternity.

This sort of abuse isn't a slap in the face to the American taxpayer; it's a kick in the crotch. It needs to come to an end, and come to an end now. Our Congress either needs to demand more accountability, cut off the reconstruction funding until the Iraqis can get their stuff together, or get voted out of office in 2008. The unborn children of my unborn children are going to be paying for this war, with interest, and it is a complete dereliction of duty that Congress continues to allow this garbage to go on.

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