Monday, August 27, 2007

Our Tax Dollars Killing Our Troops

This may be one of the more explosive stories about Iraq I've read. It's over the AP wire, but this is from The Seattle Times:

Iraq's deadly insurgent groups have financed their war against U.S. troops in part with hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. rebuilding funds that they've extorted from Iraqi contractors in Anbar province.

[snip]

Providing that security is the source of the extortion, Iraqi contractors say. A U.S. company with a reconstruction contract hires an Iraqi subcontractor to haul supplies along insurgent-ridden roads. The Iraqi contractor sets his price at up to four times the going rate because he'll be forced to give 50 percent or more to gun-toting insurgents who demand cash in exchange for the supply convoys' safe passage

[snip]

"Every contractor in Anbar who works for the U.S. military and survives for more than a month is paying the insurgency," the politician said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The contracts are inflated, all of them. The insurgents get half."

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said he was aware of the "insurgent tax" that U.S.-allied contractors are forced to pay in Anbar, though he said it wasn't clear how much money was going to militant groups and how much to opportunistic tribesmen operating on their own.

[snip]

"If I do it in the Green Zone, it's just putting gravel in ... bags and it would be about $16,000," the contractor said. "But they needed it for Ramadi and Fallujah. I submitted an invoice for $120,000 and I'd say about $100,000 of that went to the mujahedeen," as Iraqis sometimes call Sunni insurgents.


As I noted a few months ago, this sort of insanity is allowed to go on because the Iraqi cabinet members have a Constitutional right to block corruption investigations. Unless something significant changes in a hurry, any member of Congress voting to continue funding the reconstruction efforts is literally handing 50 cents of every dollar they approve to kill our own troops.

2 comments:

Jill said...

And that's how they should frame it when additional funding comes up for a vote. Of course they won't....

rmfretz said...

There is some hope, a walk down memory lane of the non-binding debate shows that at least Tim Ryan of Ohio may say something to this effect.

You would think the "fiscal conservatives" would get a clue on this. Any of them who don't need to be called out on it next year.