War Profiteering: Follow the Money
We're spending five billion dollars a month in Iraq. That's $100,000 PER MINUTE. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have launched a project to find out how all of that money is being spent. The woman behind Follow the Money is Dina Rasor, a 25-year military contract investigator:
In a over two years, we have spent the equivalent to half of the 12-year Vietnam War or half of World War I with many fewer men under arms. Over a billion a week is all Rumsfeld asks. And the Congress and American public have willingly voted for this money because, as one general once told me," we need the best for our boys."The Bush administration gave KBR a $425 million monthly contract last year and they still couldn't find the resources to fix generators and air conditioners:
But there is a mismatch here. While the DOD is pouring buckets of water through the procurement sponge, only a few drops are reaching some of the troops. Troops will tell you that in the Green Zone or in the bigger camps "around the flagpole," where the brass hangs out, there are fancy facilities run by KBR and other contractors but that if you are deployed outside these zones, you will be hurting for vehicle parts, body armor, food and even drinking water. Even around the flagpole, some troops have told us that they are getting what they don't need but not getting what they do need to fight and win.
Various IAVA veterans tell stories about how the billion a week did not trickle down to them during the war and even months after the war. Perry Jefferies, several months after President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier and declared "mission accomplished," was forced to commandeer the rare shower trucks that came to Camp Caldwell so his hungry and desperate troops could drink the water. Ray Kimball will tell you how he frantically tried to keep his group of helicopters flying, while based at the Baghdad Airport, even though he did not get a single spare part delivered for two months after the war started.
The DOD and the Congress have been warned about what is going on; the General Accountability Office, the DOD Inspector General and Congressional hearings have scraped the surface of this fiasco. They have noted many problems such as the DOD and the contractors losing track of $1.2 billion of supplies while shipping it to Kuwait and Iraq from the US before the war even started. The American press has also done some stories about how KBR is ripping off the taxpayers but the Army continues to pay KBR's disputed bills. The lack of body armor story seemed to be the only item that caught the attention of the press and the public. But there are many more stories out there.Let's hope the 'liberal media' cancels tonight's interviews with paid generals and invites Dina Rasor on to discuss this project.