16 July 2005

So who's guarding Iraq's borders?


The GAO says the Pentagon has no business handing money, or words to that effect.
The federal government's chief investigator yesterday blasted the Pentagon for its ''atrocious financial management," saying the Defense Department was not able to give federal oversight officials a full accounting of the $1 billion being spent each week on the war in Iraq.

''If the Department of Defense were a business, they'd be out of business," David Walker, comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office, said at a breakfast with reporters yesterday. ''They have absolutely atrocious financial management."

The GAO has been examining the Pentagon's Iraq expenses, and ''we're having extreme difficulty in getting the Department of Defense to provide a full accounting of what they're spending" there, Walker said. ''I can't understand how we're spending $1 billion a week."
When it comes to spending money, drunken sailors ain't in it. These guys are real pros at mismanaging the public purse.

And here's where some of that money is going. Turns out that many of those vaunted Iraqi soldiers don't exist, and their "commanders" are pocketing their salaries. Mahmoud Othman, a member of Iraq's parliament, says that there may be as few as 40,000 in the Iraqi army, rather than the 150,000 the US says there are.

If true, this is gonna make going home just a little harder for the US troops.

Didn't these guys talk to anyone with any experience in developing or post-conflict countries? Of course many are just going to abscond with any funds that don't leave an ironclad audit trail.