Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Spending Your Money in Iraq

Yesterday I wrote a little piece about Iraq in which I briefly mentioned that the U.S. is planning to spend $60 million dollars to get 30,000 "corrupt, violent or useless" members of the New [and Improved] Iraqi Police Force to resign.

This left me to wonder about what other creative ways the Bush administration might develop to spend our tax dollars in Iraq.

Well, how about that bribery program?

Even patrol leaders now carry envelopes of cash to spend in their areas. The money comes from brigade commanders, who get as much as $50,000 to $100,000 a month to distribute for local rehabilitation and emergency welfare projects through the Commanders Emergency Response Program.

There are few restrictions on the expenditures, and officers acknowledge they consider the money another weapon.


"I'm trying to give them something to do rather than take shots at someone," said Sinclair, who said he gets $50,000 every three or four weeks to distribute. "It's not bribery. It's priming the pump. And it works well."

Pretty cool, huh?  I'm sure that none of that easy cash winds up in the black market or in the hands of the insurgents our men and women are fighting, aren't you?  I imagine a portion of this slush fund finds it's way into the pockets of our underpayed and overworked soldiers, so it's not all bad.

Oh, and let's not forget Halliburton.  Looks like Dick Cheney's company is as careful with government equipment as, say - Florida is with their electronic voting records:

Halliburton Co. has lost $18.6 million of government property in Iraq, about a third of the items it was given to manage, including trucks, computers and office furniture, government auditors claim.


"This occurred because [Halliburton subsidiary] KBR did not effectively manage government property," Bowen wrote. "As a result, we projected that KBR could not account for 6,975 property items from an inventory of 20,531 valued at $61.1 million."
Kudos to rorschach for being the first one on the bribery story.