Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Loophole And The Damage Done

Yesterday TPM's intrepid reporter Paul Kiel reported that the Bush Administration closed a loophole they secretly created in a rule requiring our overseas contractors (read: Iraq & Afghanistan) to self-report fraud and waste. The loophole excluded all contractors billing $5 million+ (read: all of them). Never mind that due to it's self-reporting nature this rule had no teeth. It was drafted by Bush's own Justice Department!

As long as your company defrauded the American people out of a very large amount of money, the Bush Administration not only didn't care, their policies both encouraged it and then went out of their way to protect you. Very nice. Can we trust them at their word this loophole has been closed? No fucking way.

It occurs to me that this is yet another staggering example of a fundamental truth about warfare (or anything else for that matter) that Bush and his pals got backwards. As per usual it comes at great expense to our country. The difference here is that here it resulted in great profit to them and their friends. It's truly amazing what a President can get away with when he flouts The Constitution. If just for his interpretation of the unitary executive theory alone, John Woo has reserved himself a prime spot in Hell's VIP lounge.

Where was I? Oh yeah, "fundamental truths about war." Since time immemorial invading armies have pillaged those countries they invade. In Iraq, the Iraqis continue to loot their country and ours while our "reconstruction"/military contractors also plunder the US treasury.* And we don't even know the half of it yet.

The ugly truth is even if the fraud loophole is now closed the damage has been done and done and done. The US Treasury has been looted by Republicans and their favorite campaign contributors. This includes those neophytes i.e. Blackwater who established new companies specifically to cash in on "GWOT." The lion's share will be applied to Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater, Lockheed Martin, Dyncorp, et al's bottom line and to provide post-Bush positions for their soon to be unemployed benefactors. Be forewarned that a significant tithe of these ill-gotten gains will be plowed back into future Republican campaigns and/or decidedly un-American causes (i.e. Focus On The Family, Freedom's Watch, blah blah blah).

Yes, these looters and fraudsters will hedge their bets and contribute serious money to Democrats this election cycle. They are not fucking stupid. They may even give a little more this time around to Dems than Repubs. But I will guarantee this cash won't come close to matching their total Republican campaign contributions during any election period in the last ten years.

For example, in the '06 election cycle alone Halliburton's PAC alone gave 97% or about $160,000 to Republicans. I imagine the other 3% went to John Murtha and DIPO (Democrat In Perception Only) Joe Liebermann. This doesn't include money contributed by Halliburton execs and their families