Monday, May 26, 2008

Misplaced Money

Your boss is auditing your department and finds that there is some missing money unaccounted for anywhere. You would probably be in trouble, right? Now, what happens when it is the Pentagon and $15 billion is missing.

But this story from Friday's Washington Post, which talks about $15 billion in spending on Iraq that can't be accounted for properly, or in some cases at all, shows that the other stage of federal budgeting -- implementation -- is similarly broken, not working properly, certainly get this picture as well.

In fact, it appears as if virtually every procedure and law designed to prevent just this type of malfeasance was circumvented.

This spending was done in the midst of a national emergency and some of the usual safeguards couldn't be followed in the interest of national security and getting the job done quickly, right?

Nonsense. The Pentagon's own inspector general confirmed that this lack of concern for procedural safeguards was blatant and commonplace. That makes it hard to come to any conclusion other than that they were ignored rather than expedited or poorly executed.

It's also hard to come to any conclusion other than that the spending of taxpayer funds in Iraq bordered on, or actually was, simple and straightforward corruption.

Given the magnitude of the spending involved, Iraq may be the Bush administration's contribution to the biggest public corruption scandals of all time like Boss Tweed in New York, James Michael Curley in Boston, and Teapot Dome.

Now who wants to bet that the Dems in Washington will do a lot of grandstanding about the outrageousness of this, but nothing substantial will come of it? I mean, we wouldn't want to do the right thing after all. If anything happens (*snort*), it will be a couple of low-level flunkies who resign, but no one will face any serious repercussions or prosecution over this.

I'd love to be proved wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.

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