Sunday, July 30, 2006

Holy Enron, Batman! The US AID exposed!

Was anyone else surprisedto read this? The sort of thing they describe is this:

The hospital’s construction budget was $50 million. By April of this year, Bechtel had told the aid agency that because of escalating costs for security and other problems, the project would actually cost $98 million to complete. But in an official report to Congress that month, the agency “was reporting the hospital project cost as $50 million,” the inspector general wrote in his report.

The rest was reclassified as overhead, or “indirect costs.” According to a contracting officer at the agency who was cited in the report, the agency “did not report these costs so it could stay within the $50 million authorization.”

Now, why the cost overruns? It's all because the situation is so insecure that the majority of "reconstruction" money is going into military operations, dubbed "security" in these regions. At least, that's how it seems to me, especially since last night I was listening to Colby Buzzell on This American Life's "Strangers in a Strange Land" explaining to the local Sheiks why he couldn't do any public works projects there.

oh, yeah, things are going Great in Iraq. and um, the situation is just getting better and better with all the help from the US.
After checking out Juan Cole's blog today, I may just head over to the bodega on the corner to pick up a copy of the Sunday Times so that I can read Frank Rich's column, which points out that what with the disastrous situation in Lebanon, there's been a decrease in news from Iraq. Juan Cole says Rich is being unfair because,
If they tried to cover two important issues like Iraq and Israel-Lebanon, the television news producers would ask, how could they fit in the missing white women and the small town murder mysteries?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the corruption and theft in this govt. are unbelievable. The night before the NYTimes ran the article on the hospital overruns, I happened upon a televised Senate hearing, headed up by Sen. Dorgan who along with some other Dems were investigating fraud in reconstruction activities in Iraq.

Because they're in the minority, I think this committee hearing has no teeth, but it was just shocking to listen to the witnesses telling about the misuse of funds and the total absurdity of what is going on in Iraq. There were a couple of Iraqi medical staff and a couple of US experts. Incompetents replace anyone with experience in these ventures, and hundreds of millions of dollars are disppearing while the need on the ground for medical treatment is enormous. This morning's front page NYT's article tells us that AID's accounting methods are in fact shell games. You'd think US taxpayers!would be outraged by the disastrous misuse their money. Where are all those red meat conservative who hate paying taxes for services WITHIN the US. Are they celebrating the waste in Iraq? I don't get it.