Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The $12 billion benchmark

There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people....
-- Paul Wolfowitz, 3/27/03
It was assumed at the time of this statement that, by "this," Wolfowitz was referring to Iraq reconstruction. These days, "this" has taken on a rather murkier meaning. Given the latest news, the meaning of "this" seems entirely unknown. Plunder is one word that comes to mind.

Two years ago, the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, the man the GOP Congress tried to get rid of last fall, reported that, under the fine management abilities of L. Paul Bremer, the CPA "lost track" of some $9 billion in Iraq reconstruction funds. It was claimed that these funds were Iraqi money from seized assets, Oil-for-food revenues, etc. At the time, both the Pentagon and Bremer disputed the number, with a Pentagon spokesman then saying that they "simply disagree" with the conclusions. In the world of truthiness, this is all that is needed as countervailing evidence. To this day, no one knows what happened to those funds.

Today, we learned that that number is now up to $12 billion in revenue, Iraqi assets that have disappeared in the reconstruction money pit of Iraq.
... as much as $12.7 billion in cash from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, sent to Iraq during Bremer's watch between May 2003 and June 2004, was unaccounted for.
How does that happen? Well, it seems pretty easy when you ship bales of shrink-wrapped cash into a war zone.
The U.S. Federal Reserve sent record payouts of more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets aboard military planes shortly before the United States gave control back to Iraqis, lawmakers said on Tuesday.
...

Bills weighing a total of 363 tons were loaded onto military aircraft in the largest cash shipments ever made by the Federal Reserve, said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

On December 12, 2003, $1.5 billion was shipped to Iraq, initially "the largest pay out of U.S. currency in Fed history," according to an e-mail cited by committee members.

It was followed by more than $2.4 billion on June 22, 2004, and $1.6 billion three days later. The CPA turned over sovereignty on June 28.

Now, we already knew this had happened, maybe not the exact numbers, but we knew that people had so much cash around, they literally didn't know what to do with it. I am reminded of Frank Willis, a former senior official with the governing CPA, informing the world that, while Iraqis were suffering destitution,
We played football with some of the bricks of $100 bills
But it is only under Henry Waxman's tutelage that Congress is finally waking up to the debacle that is otherwise known as the L. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority. Bremer, you'll recall, was awarded the Medal of Freedom by George Bush with these fine words:
Every benchmark . . . was achieved on time or ahead of schedule, including the transfer of sovereignty that ended his tenure.
To date, other than the sham "transfer of sovereignty" claimed, these "benchmarks" have remained unstated.

4 Comments:

Anonymous hotpotatomash said...

oil for food! oil for food! we got rid of a tyrrant! we got rid of a tryrrant! imagine if saddam was still in power! imagine if saddam was still power! oil for food! oil for food!

waxman is as good a congressman that exist by my humble estimation. add his sticktoitiveness and smarts to the lies built upon lies used to cover up illegal activity and you can be sure the shit will fly soon.

the only probelm is that i can't imagine what he could uncover that is worse than what we know already. lying into war, torture, habeas, spying on americans, unparalleled death and destruction, etc.

1:03 PM  
Blogger The Misanthrope said...

Hotpotatomash, you hit the nail on the head, what we already know should have been enough to through the entire administration in jail, and at a minimum thrown out of office.

6:21 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Mash, misanthrope,

You guys are indeed correct. How much more needs to be uncovered? How many more lies and decrepitude need exposing before someone in this so-called government will put a stop to it all? It shouldn't take anymore, which means to me that this will continue until this country's citizens -- last buffer against this insanity -- finally rises up. Of course, our friends in the corporate media are doing their part to keep a lid on the outrage.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Robb said...

Ummm, can I have my tax refund please??? Right now.

9:58 PM  

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