$100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures

Why is Congress about to authorize umpteen millions more for Iraq when the Bush administration can't account for $100 million? Is $100 million now considered pocket change?

$96 million is said to be lost from fraud, and another $7 million simply unaccounted for.

U.S. civilian authorities in Iraq cannot properly account for nearly $100 million that was supposed to have been spent on reconstruction projects in south-central Iraq, government investigators said Wednesday.

There are indications of fraud in the use of the $96.6 million, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. A separate investigation of possible wrongdoing continues. More than $7 million of the total is unaccounted for, the report said. An additional $89.4 million in payments do not have the required supporting documents.

Can you spell corruption?

The money at issue is from proceeds from Iraqi oil sales and seizures from the former government of Saddam Hussein. Distribution of the money was handled first by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S.-run occupation government in Iraq from 2003 to June 28, 2004.

After that, the money was overseen by the Joint Area Support Group-Central, which is managed from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital....."The U.S. risks fostering a culture of corruption in Iraq," said Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.

Considering that the Real ID Act is tied to the Iraq spending bill, Congress ought to reject the whole thing.

It's time to go back to the drawing board. Money to continue the war, no. Money to get out of Iraq, yes - after the Real ID Act is severed from the spending bill.

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    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#1)
    by mattd on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:43 PM EST
    The headline, as of this writing, says "$100 Missing in Iraq War Expenditures." The story makes it clear that TalkLeft is talking about $100 million, which makes a bit more sense to get worked up about... [Thanks, I'll fix it.]

    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#2)
    by Linkmeister on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:43 PM EST
    "Risks?" "Risks?" Russ, buddy, you're far too late. I'd imagine that under Saddam's rule corruption of the "who you know" variety was endemic. Under Proconsul Bremer I doubt it changed much, except in personnel. That horse left the barn a while back. Where IS Bremer these days, anyway?

    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#3)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:43 PM EST
    As the US Congress moves to pass “emergency” funding worth $82 billion for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, reports of rampant corruption involving private contractors receiving much of these funds continue to surface. Abuses include charges well beyond contract specifications, failure to deliver services charged for, and the most blatant forms of bribery and fraud, the costs of which have been accepted by the recently installed Iraqi government or its predecessors, the interim Iraqi government of Ayad Allawi, and the initial US occupation government, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).
    As Congress approves $82 billion more Wholesale corruption exposed in Iraqi contracts By Jamie Chapman, 5 May 2005

    Is $100 million now considered pocket change?
    It is, compared to the total costs of the war.

    Spare some change, anyone? Anyone who's ever wondered how politicians enter office rich and leave richer, despite "modest" salaries now knows how to work the trick...lots of pork and some bbq sauce always sticks to your clothes....

    This is what these wars are really about. The opportunity to open the government cash register and really get at the bucks. This particular article is about 100 million that can't be accounted for, but the no-bid contracts, the price gouging by KBR, Halliburton, et al are all more of the same thing. Thank goodness we don't have to pay the individual troops very much to patrol, get shot at, get blown up so that the war profiteers can fill their pockets. And of course, the really sad thing, what if the people who got away with the 100 million plus have to pay taxes, or pay estate taxes to pass their hard earned wealth on? It's heart-breaking.

    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#7)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:46 PM EST
    “Can you spell corruption?” Can you spell bureaucracy? Business as usual folks.

    Anyone who wants a synopsis of how Halliburton/KBR/Bechtel operates should check out the Big Dig here in Boston. You all got really reamed - there are leaks everywhere and a whole bunch of $$ can't be accounted for. File this under SWEIN (so what else is new?)

    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#9)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:46 PM EST
    That is nothing just wait and see how much money disappears into that part of the world. but its advantageous for bush and business, and it will help in the real plans of our non government for dismantling our rights and in the end our nation.

    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#10)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:46 PM EST
    That's just reconstruction money. It's not part of the military budget.

    Where are our right wing friends on this thread?

    Counting their money...

    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:47 PM EST
    No different than a stick up man robbing a federally insured bank. Except the stick up man gets 25-life if caught, these thieves get tax cuts.

    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#14)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:47 PM EST
    I would like to put this in perspective with the kind of waste and theft occurring in programs that progressives perhaps might champion. Medicare has been documented to waste billions each year in overpayment and lose millions in contractor fraud (sound familiar?). Medicare often pays several times what other government directed health care programs pay for routine supplies, i.e. the VA. The department of education funds higher education for an untold number of fictitious students at fictitious institutions; the real black mark is over $20 billion in loan defaults. The IRS overpays almost $10 billion for the earned income tax credit; the department of agriculture has documented millions in embezzlement on government issued credit cards alone. If it takes poor accounting and theft in federal ventures despised by the left; great, whatever it takes to wake you people up. But I’ll remind you that the $100 million is simply missing due to poor accounting, the kind that occurs daily in ALL federal accounts. Just tack that onto the ~$25 billion reported ‘unreconciled’ by the Department of the Treasury as a matter of its yearly financial report. That’s something like 1/3 the entire GDP for Canada or even Mexico, simply missing. It is a set feature of federal government, not just a part of GOP favored spending. The feds spend ~20% of the entire US GDP; really, did you expect anything different? What’s $100million missing in a ~$200 billion venture? Good enough for government work.

    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#15)
    by aw on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:48 PM EST
    Pig: The Frist family corporation had to pay a $1 billion fine for medicare fraud. Imagine how much those thieves actually got away with. That was pure thievery; you can't blame government accountants for that.

    Re: $100 Million Missing in Iraq War Expenditures (none / 0) (#16)
    by john horse on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:49 PM EST
    pig, Waste and fraud will never be eliminated but they can be greatly reduced. What steps we take should be determined by the benefit relative to the cost. For example, we could save millions if not billions by providing more oversight and tightening our procurement procedures in Iraq (not to mention there is something especially egregious about profiteering during a war). Take another example. 2/3 of all IRS audits are for people filing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). While it is true that the EITC overclaims were about $11 billion, they are only a small portion of the $195 billion in unpaid taxes. Taxpayers would get more bang for their buck by having the IRS go after higher-income taxpayers. You may never eliminate government waste and fraud but you can sure reduce it.