Wednesday, January 25, 2006

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Cash meant for Iraqis 'misused'

BBC NEWS Middle East Cash meant for Iraqis 'misused' This news of US government corruption related to reconstruction in Iraq is likely to be overlooked by most, but the truth is, it is the tip of a disgusting iceberg of corruption and deception related to Iraq. Just the thought of all that money wasted by this administration's incompetence makes my stomach turn. This corruption has hurt everyone who has been concerned about Iraq in good faith, from Liberal to Conservative.

How dare they think that they have any right to use taxpayer money in such an irresponsible way? Taxpaying Americans, especially those who pay honestly, do so with the implicit assumption that their money will be used to pay for the operations of government that benefit Americans and serve our interests as a nation. This fraud, which of course is not beyond my imagining of what this current administration is capable of, has betrayed that trust. I'm not naive enough to think that this is the only black mark on the US government, or that this administration is the only one to sink to this level of depravity. What really gets my goat in this case is that the honest taxpayers across the political spectrum who expected our country to commit in a serious way to reconstruction in Iraq, which convinced some of them to vote for Bush in the last election, were lied to and deceived. Yet I am well aware that the likelihood of them getting angry enough to kick him out is slim at best -- they are still starry-eyed over his religion.

The Iraqis have suffered a double indignity at our hands. I'm not talking about the insurgents or the terrorists. I'm talking about the regular people of Iraq. They never asked for us to destroy their country in the name of their freedom, yet we deigned it our responsibility to do so. And this is how we pay them back for letting us put on the anti-terrorist show: we steal money meant to help them recover and rebuild a functioning country. What a lie. What more proof does the world need that the US, as currently led by the Bush administration, is in itself a danger to humanity. That money could never have been meant to actually rebuild anything for the Iraqis. Look to other post-disaster and war programs the US has funded: the Tsunami, the Balkans. While the progress in those cases has been painfully slow and faced many bureaucratic hurdles, work was being done in good faith. For the most part, the contracts and grants dispersed and managed by USAID and cooperating NGOs were implemented to the benefit of the people who survived. There have been many problems, of course, but nothing like this.

Why, then, did the US government choose not to follow normal, proven procedures for reconstruction programming? This article postulates that it is because of the desire for secrecy before the war. However, that isn't enough. Once we began hostilities, they should have begun to plan for recovery openly, taking advantage of experts in the field. They did not, proving once again that this administration has no interest in the sustainability of change in Iraq. That was never the point.

When we start to take a hard look at the Iraq crisis, I think that we'll be able to see the outlines of the truth about the Bush administration. Nothing they have done to date makes sense within normal American logic or reasoning if we assume that the goal was a stable and democratic Iraq and the end of terrorism, but it must be the result of some coordinated thought process. So what is the motivation? What is the goal? I shudder to think that the entire point of all this death and destruction was only meant to enhance Bush's political standing and take attention away from the crimes his administration is committing against the American people on the domestic front.

Someone will have to tell me what part of this doesn't look exactly like any typical Latin American or African dictatorship. Spying on civilians, limitation or elimination of judicial procedures on executive order, punishment for straying from the party line, senseless war (see the Falklands Islands conflict for another, albeit less drastic, example), propaganda...

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