08 February 2007

A Pallet of Cash for Every Iraqi Neighborhood

This is easily the most absurd news story of 2007, excerpted here:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The Federal Reserve sent record payouts of more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets aboard military planes shortly before the United States gave control back to Iraqis, lawmakers said Tuesday.

Bills weighing a total of 363 tons were loaded onto military aircraft in the largest cash shipments ever made by the Federal Reserve, said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone? But that's exactly what our government did," the California Democrat said during a hearing reviewing possible waste, fraud and abuse of funds in Iraq.

On December 12, 2003, $1.5 billion was shipped to Iraq, initially "the largest pay out of U.S. currency in Fed history," according to an e-mail cited by committee members.

It was followed by more than $2.4 billion on June 22, 2004, and $1.6 billion three days later. The CPA turned over sovereignty on June 30.

The special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, said in a January 2005 report that $8.8 billion was unaccounted for after being given to the Iraqi ministries.

[The Republican defense?]

"We are in a war against terrorists, to have a blame meeting isn't, in my opinion, constructive," said Rep. Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican.
[end of excerpt]

Let's see. Iraq is in chaos, has a central government with no real authority, and we send it billions of dollars ... in cash? $8.8 billion was unaccounted for? This act of fiscal nonchalance from an administration that claims that it can’t afford to combat climate change? $8 billion is more than the Environmental Protection Agency's entire annual budget! More than the budgets for the National Science Foundation or the Small Business Administration! This isn't money that was spent on Iraq instead of the environment, research or entrepreneurship. This is money that was shipped into war-torn Iraq on pallets and LOST!

If you can read this and not feel outraged, you ought to be doing ads for the company making your beta blocker. Speaking of which, when are people going to begin to demand drug testing for the Bush administration?

By the way. I heard this morning that 40% of foster kids in America become homeless within a year of turning 18 and having to suddenly fend for themselves. Too bad we don’t have any money for that kind of thing.

No comments: