Iraq – More corrupt and more corrupter

On October 18, 2008, unbossed reviewed congressional testimony on corruption in Iraq that reaches well into the al-Maliki government and has meant that billions of US dollars has been lost.

Yesterday the New York Times report in Premier of Iraq Is Quietly Firing Fraud Monitors reported on events related to the testimony at that hearing.

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Armistice Day, 2008

Here is a lightly revised version of a piece published two years ago on Veterans’ Day.

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You’d see me with my puffy, petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. ‘Poor young chap,
‘I’d say — ‘I used to know his father well;
Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.’
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I’d toddle safely home and die — in bed.

-Seigfreid Sassoon, WWI vet

Armistice Day, Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, Poppy Day: Name changes should never efface the memory of the terrible origins of this holiday. November 11 marks the armistice in World War One, a pointless conflict that was allowed to drag on for years because of its very pointlessness. Leaders saw no advantage to themselves in acknowledging the stupidity of the war by calling it off. Instead, they preferred to keep expanding it.
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Woodward discovers that the “surge” is overhyped

In the Washington Post today Bob Woodward reports that the reduction in violence in Iraq during the past year isn’t entirely due to the increase in troops, as the Bush administration and its apologists would have it. Who would have figured that out were it not for Woodward’s ballyhooed access to the White House? I mean, apart from all the bloggers who’ve been saying this for the past year.

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On Keeping an Eye on Contractors in Iraq

A few years ago, Frontline aired an investigative report into the use of private contractors, including private security contractors mercenaries. link

That report was devastating in its findings, primarily that the use of private security contractors mercenaries was contributing to unrest and was taking the military away from its mission in order to protect the private security contractors mercenaries.
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Playin’ GWOT-cha! with the DOD

This may be the most important – and telling – two lines ever in a GAO report on the Global War on Terrorism – out this afternoon:

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation

We requested comments from DOD, but none were provided.

Well, it’s only a report about the taxpayers’ dollars and how they are being spent . . . and how the GWOT is progressing.
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McCain: Don’t choose to lose in Iraq

This morning’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on Iraq showed pretty decisively that the Bush administration’s policies are made of straw. Their chief advocate in the Senate, John McCain, delivered an uninspired and somewhat risible defense of them. Here is the conclusion of John McCain’s prepared remarks (PDF):

Congress must not choose to lose in Iraq. We should choose, instead, to succeed.

That’s a measure of the depth of his thinking about the morass McCain helped the nation to get into.
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Bush has no regrets

In a speech today at the Pentagon, George Bush declared that he has no regrets about an unnecessary and costly invasion of Iraq. Bush might have been drawing his inspiration from Edith Piaf, whose 1960 recording of Je ne regrette rien was dedicated to the Foreign Legion then fighting to subdue Algeria.

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
All the things
That went wrong
For at last I have learned to be strong

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
For the grief doesn’t last
It is gone
I’ve forgotten the past

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