Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How the American Taxpayer Got Plucked in Iraq

A 'must read' story about a chicken factory we paid to build in Iraq. It'd be funny if it happened to someone else. Bureaucracy works in mysterious ways its blunders to perform. part of the George W. Obama global wars of terror...

When we opened one fridge door, expecting to see chickens chilling, we found instead old buckets of paint. Our guide quickly noted that the plant had purchased 25 chickens that morning specifically to kill for us and to feature in a video on the glories of the new plant. This was good news, a 100% jump in productivity from previous days, when the plant killed no chickens at all.

According to our press release, the key to the project was “market research which indicated Iraqis would be willing to pay a premium for fresh, halal-certified chicken, a market distinct from the cheaper imported frozen chicken found on Iraqi store shelves.” The only problem was that no one actually did any market research.

In 2010, most Iraqis ate frozen chicken imported from Brazil. Those crafty Brazilians at least labeled the chicken as halal, and you could buy a kilo of the stuff for about 2,200 dinars ($1.88). Because Iraq did not grow whatever chickens ate, feed had to be imported, raising the price of local chicken. A live bird in the market went for about 3,000 dinars, while chicken from our plant, where we had to pay for the feed plus the workers and who knew what else, cost over 4,000 dinars, more than the already expensive live variety and almost double the price of cheap frozen imports.

How many PRT staff members does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One to hire a contractor who fails to complete the job and two to write the press release in the dark.

VIPs didn’t drive, they flew, and so tended to see even less than regular war tourists. Their visits were also more highly managed so that they would stay on message in their blogs and tweets. It turns out most journalists are not as inquisitive as TV shows and movies would have you believe. Most are interested only in a story, not the story.

Therefore, it was easy not to tell the journalist about the chicken plant problems. Instead, we had some chickens killed so the place looked busy. We had lunch at the slaughter plant -- fresh roasted chicken bought at the market. The Iraqis slow roast their chickens like the Salvadoreans do and it was juicy, with crisp skin. Served lightly salted, it simply fell apart in your mouth. We dined well and, as a bonus, consumed the evidence of our fraud.

Like using a frozen chicken as a murder weapon. Do not miss this.


Fixer said...

Same way Rethugs do everything. Half-assed and incompetent. The term "market research" should be inscribed on the tombstones of many a business.

mandt said...

I knew they wazn't Fosters!

Gordon said...

The term "market research" should be inscribed on the tombstones of many a ...