I read about billions of dollars missing in Iraq years ago (early 2005) but GOP leaders in congress didn’t want to investigate it – IMO, might be embarrassing to them… And thus refused oversight… Just like the GOP ignored Tom Foley…
Alleging incompetence and cronyism, US House Democrats opened an investigation into billions of missing dollars meant for rebuilding Iraq under former Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer.
"There were extraordinary reports last fall that the CPA was filled with inexperienced and unqualified political cronies," House government reform committee head Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record) said.
"This hearing will give us a chance to probe these allegations and find out what role incompetence and political cronyism played in the debacle that Iraq has become," he said.
Bremer served as the chief US civil administrator in Iraq from May 2003, shortly after the US-led invasion to topple late dictator Saddam Hussein, until June 2004. In December 2004, Bush honored Bremer with the Medal of Freedom.
But with the continuation of civil strife and the setbacks to rebuilding in Iraq nearly four years after the invasion, Bremer's work has come under deeper scrutiny.
In his first appearance before the Democratic-controlled Congress, Bremer admitted there had been problems.
"The prewar planning was inadequate," he offered in testimony to the committee.
But to an official audit that in January 2005 revealed the "disappearance" of some nine billion dollars under his responsibility in Iraq, Bremer testified: "I know of no person who spent some meaningful time in Iraq who thought it was possible, under the conditions we worked," to impose modern accounting practices on money the authority spent.
Bremer also took the blame for another of his controversial decisions, to remove members of Saddam's Baathist party from institutions, which analysts say has increased sectarian violence.
"The mistake I made was to let the Iraqi officials implement it," and they took de-Baathification farther than he had intended it.
"The CPA laid a solid foundation for waste and fraud, with its lack of transparency and accountability," said Democrat Lacy Clay said.
Stuart Bowen, the inspector general for the US Iraq authority, urged the committee to continue its work.
"This situation cries for more oversight, something that provides feedback to the interim government about how the money was used," he told the committee.
Republicans hinted Democrats were grandstanding in the hearings, which will continue through the week, taking aim at military contractors working in Iraq.
Somehow, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg of what really has been happening over there…
Mismanagement like never before witnessed in the history of America…
Does anybody see a pattern here? Perhaps Katrina comes to mind…