Tuesday, February 15, 2005
IOKINAR - Baghdad Style
Millions of dollars were wasted by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) that ran Iraq after the fall of Baghdad, a former official has said.
Huge cash payments were made to Iraqi contractors out of the back of pick-up trucks, in scenes reminiscent of the "Wild West," he said.
Former CPA officials told the US Senate that sackfuls of money were often "tossed about like footballs".The former head of the CPA and the administration have denied wrongdoing
Senator Byron Dorgan, who heads the Senate Democratic Policy Committee that held Monday's hearing, said "millions, perhaps billions of dollars have been wasted and pilfered".
Former CPA official Franklin Willis told the hearing there had been widespread abuse and waste of money at the authority.
He showed pictures of himself and other US officials holding plastic-wrapped bundles of $100 notes totalling $2m, which he said was used to pay a security contractor.
"We told them to come in and bring a bag," Mr Willis said.
He added that "a combination of inexperienced officials, fear of decision-making, lack of communications, minimal security, no banks and lots of money to spend" led to chaos that was typical of the Wild West.
Source: BBC (Feb 15, 2005) Iraq agency 'run like Wild West' (Emphasis added)
I recall reports that many of the CPA's administrators had originally sent résumés to the Heritage Foundation and were surprised at being recruited by the CPA for positions they had neither the background nor the experience to perform. They were, however, strong Bush supporters.
Shouldn't investigations of possible financial mismanagement (both UN and US) be based on something other than politics?