"The government of Prime Ministe Nuri Kamal al-maliki is systematically dismissing Iraqi oversight officials, who were installed to fight corruption in Iraqi ministries by order of the American occupation administration, which had hoped to bring Western standards of accountability to the notoriously opaque and graft-ridden bureaucracy here." NY Times
Surprise! Surprise!! Those naughty boys in Baghdad are stealing money from their own government! What a surprise! I wonder if this happens anywhere else in the Middle East?
Liberation from Saddam’s "yoke" was supposed to bring a new day of enlightened behavior and thinking, but humanity clings to its rotten old ways. Surprise! Mufaja’a!
The neocons must be soooo disappointed.
In the US we flatter ourselves with the thought that "power flows from money." We have tried to believe that "money flowing from power" was an alien thought.
The Bush Administration corrected that. In their time money flowed from power here as well.
What will the situation be in the Obama Nation? pl
It suffices to state that the basic defenses against corruption are at least in part those of disclosure and accountability. Without the first no accountability. WAPO this morning in my country edition (VA) has article about Paulson and his evolution. Almost reads like campaign literature for his retention by OBAMA. What is not pointed out is that virtually no transparency on the $700B stimulus money or the over $2T (yes that is Trillion) paid out under other guises by the Treasury and FED, and of course back door TAX EXPENDITURES (a term coined by Harvard Law Prof Stanley Surrey long ago to identify where the tax code actually benefits some org directly or indirectly)such as the gift to Wells Fargo for taking over another bank. At any rate the cut in budgets of the corporate audit programs of IRS and the Public Integrity unit of DOJ never seem to make the news. My guess is that you (PL) again have nailed this issue cold.
I was tempted to ask you about this and another matter reported yesterday at the same time as the SOFA was ‘signed, sealed, and delivered’ to the Iraqi parliament for ratification…
… the other matter being the reports that the US military is forcing Iraqi interpreters to appear unmasked in public.
Isn’t this all just one step forward and two steps backwards, at best?
More importantly, what plans should the US make for the middle of this transition when we’ll have only a modest combat force in country, it will largely be relegated to isolated bases, and the risks of getting ‘trapped’ on a large scale will be increased? Do we have to depend upon the increasing reliability and loyalty of the Iraqi Army (esp. the officer corps) and is that a reasonable thing to do (in your opinion)?
I have forced myself to agree with those who state that Obama will have so much on his plate in early 2009 that he should accept a period of relative calm in Iraq as a good thing…
… but how long can it last? (or more importantly, what would you suggest should be done to improve its chances of enduring?)
Let’s just hope that, among other factors, the Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is in good health and is well guarded…
PL: In their time ….
Is it not mind numbingly sad and frustrating to know that what we now see in Iraq is the Bush admin’s direct (but inadvertent) response to the horrific attacks of 9/11?
Back then, Sunni religious fanatics stole a page from the `Shiite Religious Fanatic Playbook’ (rem: 1980s) and successfully suicide bombed the WTC: Nearly 3000 were murdered and billions of dollars in damage were incurred.
Supposedly, to prevent another such attack, the Bush admin repeatedly lied to the American people about the actual threat Iraq posed to the US and thereafter deposed SH.
Now, after oceans of blood and treasure have evaporated in the desert of Iraq, all we see is a burgeoning anti-American, pro-extremist Iranian, Shiite fundamentalist regime which the US will no doubt have to deal with after it has been expulsed.
Shame on the Bushies!!!
Shame on the Bushies!!!
I should have responded to *your* question:
How will the Obama administration deal with the duality of money and power in modern politics both in foreign policy considerations as well as internally?
Three things seem obvious:
– The centrality of the US Dollar is a thing of the past, though an alternative is still to be determined…
– The ideology of “free” markets is equally challenged, and a vision between “unfettered” and “centrally planned” is becoming the norm…
– Transparency and accountability are on everyone’s lips but a hard road to walk because they imply a relinquishing of newly acquired prerogatives and powers…
So here’s a question:
What can the Obama administration do to distance itself from the principle that power and money are destructively intertwined?
I couldn’t resist, the irony was too much;
Darth Vader: I’ve been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now *I* am the master.
Obi-Wan: Only a master of evil, Darth.
What will be the situation in the Obama Nation?
The more things change the more they stay the same. I am going to withhold judgment and give him the benefit of doubt. However, my cynicism is rising each day as I hear more about his nominees and the axe they have to grind.
Business as usual, but slicker and smarter except the bar has been lowered considerably. Just one rub. The internet that gave rise to Obama and which he used to gain the WH will be the same internet that monitors him with the same scrutiny it gave the neocons. We need finish the other half of the job of giving this two-winged party the heave ho.
this is a “dead-end” topic
there is an established place in US media narrative for tales of political corruption in other countries but there is established place for tales of political corruption in the us
this is a bipartisan policy
that favors neither republicans or democrats
it is unusual when us media talks about us influence peddling
during GW’s years the press routinely talked about the weekly republican power meeting with k street lobbyists as well as the policticalization of federal governemtal operations
rarely was this framed as poor practice, a bad image, not appropriate or possibly corrupt
it was seen as making use of power
there is no place in usedia for speculating about the reasons for exorbitant speaking fees and social and business entanglements of people like general powell, GHW bush, kissinger, and others, except bill clinton’s fees and
entanglements which are always an exception to the rule,
even enron and the current wall street bailouts are not discussed in terms
hank paulson’s hundreds of millions of personal gains from subprime mortgages are not publically discussed
i bet those corrupt guys in iraq wish they had the cloak of invisibility that paulson does
i am 66 and i have always marveled at the lack of stories about corruption, “profiteering” or bad behavior by us citizens, companies, or troops during WWII, the occupation of germany, austria, japan, the marshall plan et al
i guess we just happen to live in the land of “everyone is a good guy”
except for people who get caught and bill clinton, former governor spitz, and people investigated by the
department of justice or the fbi for political reasons like the governor of alabama, mayor of detroit, etc
Based on who Obama has so far chosen to surround himself with, it is hard to imagine that the golden age has arrived. However, my looking glass vision suggests that if we are to be bailed out of our massive real estate (equivalent to the Dutch tulip) bubble, those holding the purse strings will demand transparency, as the IMF does. I suspect some of the Paulson feeding frenzy may relate to this worry.
The other option (hope not) is the Argentina option, as hundreds of trillions of dollars of CDO debt de-leverages. Of course the
swine feeding at the govt rough may prefer the Argentina option, hopefully Pres. Obama does not.
Maybe they are just following Bremer’s lead? And while we are at it let’s ask Hank Paulson about those Western Standards of Accountability as opposed to the notoriously opaque and graft-ridden bureaucracy that this Administration “eschews.”
Any critique from the U.S. is just sheer chutzpah.
What will be the situation in the Obama Nation? Well, just look at the situation in the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. There is a revolving door between holding public office and spending time in prison.
All of you who chose never to investigate Obama’s past before the election can start now with Tony Rezko and go from there, if you care to be bothered. Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times archives are helpful, unless they have been scrubbed.
With the staggering amount of corruption (i.e., “unaccountable” payouts) that agencies and their IGs of the US government have turned up regarding the tens of billions of dollars under US control in Iraq, al-Maliki is showing that he has learned “democracy” real good from his tutors. Ah, the sights and sounds of the end-game!
The Iraqis are nothing if not attentive to the crooks led by Bremer and CPA. Why should it surprise anyone that the Iraqis are taking the baton from the Americans?
We’ll soon find out where Obama stands on waste and abuse. The DOD has advanced an FY 2009 budget of $515 Billion (on top of supplements for the wars), roughly half of which will go to the labor, overhead and G&A of those super-patriotic DOD contractors. If Obama hustles these companies off the dole he will have achieved a miracle.
Sooner or later the military leadership has to be forced to make do with less. Personnel and training should survive future cuts but new procurement for gadgetry should be banned for a couple of years.
You don’t really think that the Iraqis learned corruption from us do you? pl
Of course they have practiced “corruption” openly for centuries. From the U.S., they learned how to say; “we’re from the guvment and we’re here to hep you!
Noooo. Not so fast. They were good at that as well. pl
PL: They were good at that as well.
They were also proficient at forming rabid anti-American mobs, making successful suicide bombing attacks, taking and executing hostages, and so on.
You’re doing a heckuva job Bushies!!
Now, if the Bushies will only go to Iraq so that they can `feel the love’ in person….
Iraqi Shiites burn Bush effigy to protest US pact
BAGHDAD – Thousands of followers of a radical Shiite cleric protested a proposed U.S.-Iraqi security deal Friday, burning an effigy of President George W. Bush in the same square where Iraqis beat a toppled Saddam Hussein statue five years ago.
While it is easy to shake the head at those wacky corrupt Ayrabs (not that Im accusing you of that, sir) what is truly remarkable is the lack of foresight and transparency that went into the effort initially. My big question for the Obama folks would be to what extent they will sit down and audit the whole Iraqi venture. Will we see Paul Bremer give evidenc ein court for criminal neglicence?