Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Incompetence, The Corruption, The Cronyism in Iraq: A Story That Comes Three Years To Late From the InBed Media

U.S. troops relax in Baghdad's Green Zone, where many Coalition Provisional Authority staffers spent their days.
Photo Credit: 2003 Photo By Marco Di Lauro -- Getty Images Photo

The foxes fouled the henhouse! Who'da thunk it?

Early U.S. Missteps in the Green Zone
Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq

After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade .

Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.

The decision to send the loyal and the willing instead of the best and the brightest is now regarded by many people involved in the 3 1/2 -year effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq as one of the Bush administration's gravest errors. Many of those selected because of their political fidelity spent their time trying to impose a conservative agenda on the postwar occupation, which sidetracked more important reconstruction efforts and squandered goodwill among the Iraqi people, according to many people who participated in the reconstruction effort.

The CPA had the power to enact laws, print currency, collect taxes, deploy police and spend Iraq's oil revenue. It had more than 1,500 employees in Baghdad at its height, working under America's viceroy in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, but never released a public roster of its entire staff.

Interviews with scores of former CPA personnel over the past two years depict an organization that was dominated -- and ultimately hobbled -- by administration ideologues.

It took the Washington Post and the rest of the corporate media three years to report on what was happening in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq? It's not like it was boots-on-the-ground in-the-trenches work. These guys were sitting at desks squandering taxpayer funds, while the corporate media was covering bullshit terror alerts as though they were real. Which they still do.

I'll be impressed when the Post or some other organ of the Mighty Wurlitzer reports truthfully about how the Bushies are getting ready to do it again in Iran. Second verse, same as the first.

1 comment:

Mike said...

republicans are all corrupt and now they are trying to frame good democrats with oil money
they must be stopped