Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The First of Many Left to Come

August 28, 2007

Iraq Weapons Are a Focus of Criminal Investigations



BAGHDAD, Aug. 27 — Several federal agencies are investigating a widening network of criminal cases involving the purchase and delivery of billions of dollars of weapons, supplies and other matériel to Iraqi and American forces, according to American officials. The officials said it amounted to the largest ring of fraud and kickbacks uncovered in the conflict here.
The inquiry has already led to several indictments of Americans, with more expected, the officials said. One of the investigations involves a senior American officer who worked closely with Gen. David H. Petraeus in setting up the logistics operation to supply the Iraqi forces when General Petraeus was in charge of training and equipping those forces in 2004 and 2005, American officials said Monday.
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It's really discouraging and this is so obviously just the very first (and probably smallest) of corruption after corruption yet to come.
There are few crimes as filthy as those that occur as troops are fighting and dying in a war. Tens, probably hundreds of billions have been stolen in Iraq. Agonizingly, every cash stash of Saddam's was accounted for at the same time that cargo planes with cash stacked on pallets was being flown in to buy whatever support we needed to buy.
A straight deal can't be begun that way. There's never a time to become honest.
Of all the sorry stories of our sorriest war, the financial corruption while men and women are dying is the sorriest.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Iraq War, check out Opinion-Columns.com