At least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that was given to Iraqi ministries by the former U.S.-led authority there cannot be accounted for, according to a draft U.S. audit set for release soon.
The audit by the Coalition Provisional Authority's own Inspector General blasts the CPA for "not providing adequate stewardship" of at least $8.8 billion from the Development Fund for Iraq that was given to Iraqi ministries.
Today from WaPo:
As little as 27 cents of every dollar spent on Iraq's reconstruction has actually filtered down to projects benefiting Iraqis, a statistic that is prompting the State Department to fundamentally rethink the Bush administration's troubled reconstruction effort.
Between soaring security costs, corruption and mismanagement, contractors' profits, and U.S. governmental costs, reconstruction funding is being drained away, leaving little left to improve the lives of Iraqis, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies. Senior administration officials and congressional experts on the reconstruction effort called the analysis credible. One senior U.S. official familiar with reconstruction suggested as little as a quarter of the funding is reaching its intended projects.
[. . .]
But administration officials, lawmakers and think tanks say major changes are needed not only in what the reconstruction money is spent on but also how it is spent. Too much money has been filtered through major American businesses such as Halliburton Co. and Bechtel Corp. on large-scale electricity, water and oil infrastructure projects, and not nearly enough has gone to smaller, more decentralized reconstruction efforts that could be handled by Iraqis, they say. [my emphasis]
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. VP Heart Condition lied through his teeth last night. Even when he said that Hallibuton was the only firm able to handle such a big contract. My dad did business with the U.S. government, especially the DoD, and I know something about how government contracts are awarded. If the contract is large, like the how-many-billion-now-blank-check we gave Halliburton, most times it is broken up to allow more smaller places to bid on it. Several smaller places could do the same job and also keep costs down. One would be afraid to overbill because it would raise a red flag if the others didn't. This is why Halliburton can charge $45 for a case of soda or hundreds per load of laundry.
Cheney used his influence to facillitate Halliburton's billion-dollar rip off of the American people, period.
Oops, almost forgot. Thanks to Kevin at Lean Left for the link.