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Waxman Probes Iraq Reconstruction Aid


The actual banner on the White House's official website from before the war started.

This past week, California Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman opened hearings into the waste and fraud of the Iraqi reconstruction from nearly the last four years. The first major attempt to account for billions that have gone missing and management practices that favored partisanship rather than professionalism.

The mere idea of a Truman-style committee on profiteering and waste within the nation's defense apparatus would, to the ordinary American, seem like a good idea.

Six days ago was the fourth anniversary of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell flushing his and America's credibility down the toilet before the United Nations Security Council. We are fast approaching the fourth anniversary of the initial invasion. (I remember staying up all night that first week, quietly in my dorm room during Spring Break.)

To think that the U.S. Congress is just now getting around to asking questions about large quantities of money that just mysteriously went missing and other nefarious dealings inside occupied Iraq, it is just appalling. Shame on the Republican-controlled Congress for ignoring their constitutional duties for so long.

That said, it should be noted that today, Sunday, February 11, 2007 marks the 1,400th day since President Bush stood in front of a banner declaring "mission accomplished," stating that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended" and that "[i]n the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."

The first two days of the four day hearings were the main events. Rep. Waxman's opening statement can be found here. [PDF]

Last Tuesday, famed Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) administrator L. Paul Bremer [testimony – PDF] appeared before the Waxman-led Committee on Oversight and Goverment Reform, shoulder to shoulder with Stuart Bowen [testimony – PDF], Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). [Crooks & Liars video here and here.]

The following day, family members of the four Blackwater USA employees killed nearly three years ago testified, as did representatives of private military corporations on the U.S. government's reliance on their PMCs.

 Billions were sent to Iraq on pallets; shrink-wrapped into bricks. The $100 bills, 363 tons worth, were loaded onto C-130 cargo planes bound for Iraq.

Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show took his shots at Bremer and lampooned Rep. Darrell Issa’s shameless attempt to minimize just how much money the CPA lost.

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