• No Sweat
  • Monday, November 20, 2006

    The Worst Republican Corruption

    Generally I highlight Republican Corruption one individual politician at a time, allowing the sheer number of individually corrupt Republican politicians send the message that the Party itself is corrupt. But there is an even more systematic corruption in the Republican Party where cronies and corporations with close links to the Bush administration get such favoritism that the nation gets sacrificed for greed. I have touched on this when I discuss the Halliburton link, and when I discussed the dire consequences of the Bush administration's cronyism when discussing the aftermath of Katrina.

    There is a Daily Kos article that goes into considerable detail regarding the systemic corruption that has infested today's Republican Party and which fully justifies my frequent use of the term "Halliburton Republican" when referring to today's Republican Party. Even as Bush is asking for a record amount of money to conduct his war based on lies and without an exit strategy, we have to remember (and publicize) the almost complete lack of accountability of the Bush Administration and it's corporate cronies.

    The key points are from the government's General Accounting Office:

    After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the President announced a Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), requiring the collective instruments of the entire federal government to counter the threat of terrorism. Ongoing military and diplomatic operations overseas, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, constitute a key part of GWOT...

    Since 2001, Congress has appropriated about $430 billion to DOD and other government agencies for military and diplomatic efforts in support of GWOT. This funding has been provided through regular appropriations as well as supplemental appropriations, which are provided outside of the normal budget process. Since September 2001, DOD has received about $386 billion for GWOT military operations. In addition, agencies including the Department of State, DOD, and the Agency for International Development have received since 2001 about $44 billion to fund reconstruction and stabilization programs in Iraq ($34.5 billion) and Afghanistan ($9 billion) and an additional $400 million to be used in both Iraq and Afghanistan..."

    This is what it is costing us in dollars. Let's also remember the blood that has been shed. And let's also remember that Bush has, in essence, declared this war the "Forever War." But where has all this money gone? Even the General Accounting Office seems usure of that:

    Since 2001, U.S. government agencies have reported significant costs associated with GWOT, but GAO has concerns with the reliability of DOD's reported cost data. Through April 2006, DOD has reported about $273 billion in incremental costs for GWOT-related operations overseas--costs that would not otherwise have been incurred...GAO's prior work found numerous problems with DOD's processes for recording and reporting GWOT costs, including long-standing deficiencies in DOD's financial management systems and business processes, the use of estimates instead of actual cost data, and the lack of adequate supporting documentation. As a result, neither DOD nor the Congress reliably know how much the war is costing and how appropriated funds are being used or have historical data useful in considering future funding needs.

    We are pouring money down this pit and losing the lives of our soldiers for what? We already know that some companies, like Halliburton, have over-charged the government for services poorly rendered.We already know that other companies involved, like Exxon/Mobil, make record profits even while consumers are over-charged and workers underpaid. And, of course, Robert Greenwald's film "Iraq for Sale" outlines the whole Repubican war profiteering scam. The basic message is we are being asked to foot the bill despite seeing no adequate accounting and no positive results. It is another example of the way Republicans have forgotten Eisenhaur's message about the dangers of a military-industrial complex and how, since at least Reagan, we have seen complete fiscal irresponsibility under Republican administrations, leading to record deficits with poor accounting.

    I call on the Democrats to demand, before a single penny more is allocated to Bush's wars, a.) accountability in and auditing of the war and the "rebuilding" of Iraq and Afghanistan; b.) restoration of veteran's benefits; c.) an increase in combat pay for our soldiers; and d.) a genuine exit strategy outlining the specifics of under what conditions Bush would agree to a withdrawal. Not one penny more should go down the maw of this insatiable beast that is Bush's military-industrial-evangelical complex. Write Congress and the media telling them what you think.


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