Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Check Under the Couch Cushions...

Audit: $9 Billion Unaccounted for in Iraq Ya don't say! Gosh, what could preppie Pauly Bremer possibly have done with $9 BILLION? Gosh.
The U.S. occupation authority in Iraq was unable to keep track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to government ministries, which lacked financial controls, security, communications and adequate staff, an inspector general has found.

[...]

The findings were released Sunday by Stuart Bowen Jr., special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Bowen issued several reports on the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the U.S. occupation government that ruled Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004.

The official who led the CPA, L. Paul Bremer III, submitted a blistering, written reply to the findings, saying the report had "many misconceptions and inaccuracies," and lacked professional judgment.

Bremer complained the report "assumes that Western-style budgeting and accounting procedures could be immediately and fully implemented in the midst of a war.''

Oh, right. "Western-style budgeting"? Is that Enron-style budgeting? WorldCom-style budgeting? Halliburton-style budgeting? Sure seems like it! That said, shut the hell up, Bremer. As if putting numbers in one column and tracking expenditures in another column requires some sort of uniquely American mathematical sensibility. For the love of Pete, how do these people get away with this? Is this a bad time to bring up the fact that they started this illegal war of choice on a whim, so they don't have much room to complain that they could not keep track of taxpayer money cos there was a war on? No? Oh well. Can I make a snide remark about 'lacking professional judgment'? No? Dang.
U.S. officials, the report said, "did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial and contractural controls.'' There was no way to verify that the money was used for its intended purposes of financing humanitarian needs, economic reconstruction, repair of facilities, disarmament and civil administration.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Sunday the authority was hamstrung by "extraordinary conditions'' under which it worked throughout its mission.

"We simply disagree with the audit's conclusion that the CPA provided less than adequate controls,'' Whitman said.

You just can't make this stuff up! Isn't it simply dear that Pentagon spokesman Bryan "simply disagrees" that the CPA provided less than adequate controls, cos it's not like $9 BILLION is missing or anything. There would be no indication that the CPA was remiss in their managing of these monies, especially since $9 BILLION isn't, like, missing, right? I'm just sayin'.

But my favorite rebuttal of Bremer's is this:
-U.S. policy was to build up the Iraqi force guarding government facilities, and it was better to accept an imperfect payroll system than "to stop paying armed young men'' providing security.

Oh, that is rich beyond words. The man responsible for the assinine policy of firing all the young army men and then sending them home with their guns suddenly decides that he is willing to Halliburtonize the whole operation and pay for people who are not there because he is worried well after the fact about all the young men with guns that he's sent home to be armed and idle.

Par for the g.d. course for these weasels (apologies to weasels).