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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Oh, And While We're Screwing Things Up, Can We Waste Money, Too?

Above: a guard with $58 million in cash that our government gave to a convicted felon to disburse in Iraq for rebuilding.

This one speaks for itself:

Robert J. Stein Jr. could not have been clearer about his feelings toward the American businessman who was receiving millions of dollars in contracts from Mr. Stein to build a major police academy and other reconstruction projects in Iraq.

"I love to give you money," Mr. Stein wrote in an e-mail message to the businessman, Philip H. Bloom, on Jan. 3, 2004, just as the United States was trying to ramp up its rebuilding program in Iraq.

As it turned out, Mr. Stein had the money to give. Despite a prior conviction on felony fraud that his Pentagon background check apparently missed, Mr. Stein was hired and put in charge of at least $82 million of reconstruction money in the south central Iraqi city of Hilla by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the American-led administration that was then running Iraq.

Might some of that money been better spent at home, where we just cut $39.5 billion from programs that help the least among us, including students, the disabled, and the elderly?

Or even, say, actually rebuilding Iraq, so its people don't want to kill our kids quite so much?

Just asking.


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