Shrink Wrapped Thieves

by digby

From the "why are we listening to them?" files:

The reconstruction effort, intended to improve services and convince Iraqis of American good will, largely managed to do neither. The wider investigation raises the question of whether American corruption was a primary factor in damaging an effort whose failures have been ascribed to poor planning and unforeseen violence.

The investigations, which are being conducted by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, the Justice Department, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command and other federal agencies, cover a period when millions of dollars in cash, often in stacks of shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills, were dispensed from a loosely guarded safe in the basement of one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces.

Former American officials describe payments to local contractors from huge sums of cash dumped onto tables and stuffed into sacks as if it were Halloween candy.

Think about that. The people who are now keening over "reckless spending" are the same ones who blindly sent pallet-loads of shrink wrapped hundred dollar bills to a war zone and didn't bother to keep any records. Now we find out that much of it found its way into the pockets of the people who were dispensing it. Gosh, what a surprise.

I don't know if you can find a better example of straight up GOP corruption than this. They invaded a country for no reason, looted the treasury and then handed out the money to all their friends in conservative movement, their contributors in the military industrial complex --- and even the active duty military itself, apparently. It was a huckuva scam. And yet, Barney Frank is the only elected Democrat I've heard make this case. Even now, the Iraq war is so sacred that the Democrats are still afraid to use the fact that the Republicans basically stole three trillion to discredit their phony arguments about the profligacy of the stimulus.

That's the beauty of the hissy fit. All their shrieking over the years about "supporting the troops" and "General Betrayus" made them immune from criticism about their looting of the treasury on that debacle in Iraq. Now that their fiscal mismanagement has brought the country to its knees and the only way to prevent a catastrophe is to have the federal government spend money to stimulate the economy and help the taxpayers keep roofs over their heads and food on the tables, they are staging a full-fledged tantrum over spending.

I don't want to hear anyone say even one more time that this is an ideological argument about fiscal responsibility. They wouldn't even allow anyone to ask what the price tag was for their Iraq debacle lest they be called out for treason. And, as predicted, it turns out they spent (and lost!) vast sums of of money. If this is a matter of sincere differences rather than opportunistic partisan obstructionism, then the difference it's about priorities, not ideology. Less face it, both parties will spend money on imperial ambitions (although only one really knows how to turn a profit at it.) Where they fundamentally differ is that the Republicans refuse to spend money to help the American people when they really need it.