$13 Billion in Iraq Aid Wasted Or Stolen, Ex-Investigator Says
By Dana HedgpethWashington Post Staff WriterTuesday, September 23, 2008; A19
A former Iraqi official estimated yesterday that more than $13 billion meant for reconstruction projects in Iraq was wasted or stolen through elaborate fraud schemes.
Salam Adhoob, a former chief investigator for Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity, told the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, an arm of the Democratic caucus, that an Iraqi auditing bureau "could not properly account for" the money.
While many of the projects audited "were not needed -- and many were never built," he said, "this very real fact remains: Billions of American dollars that paid for these projects are now gone."
He said a report that went to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other top Iraqi officials was never published because "nobody cares" about investigating such cases. Many investigators, he said, feared for their safety because 32 of his co-workers have been murdered.
Adhoob said he reported the abuses to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an agency charged by Congress with helping to root out cases of waste, fraud and abuse in the nearly $50 billion U.S. reconstruction effort. SIGIR spokeswoman Kristine Belisle said her agency continues to "actively follow up" on Adhoob's information, but she would not discuss ongoing investigations.
Read more http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/22/AR2008092202053.html
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
$13 Billion in Iraq Aid Wasted Or Stolen, Ex-Investigator Says
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 10:46 PM
Last July, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said U.S. troops should be out of Iraq “as soon as possible” and endorsed Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) withdrawal plan. Obama “talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes,” Maliki told Der Spiegel magazine.
Days later, as Obama wrapped up meetings with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh reiterated his government’s stance, saying “the end of 2010 is the appropriate time for the withdrawal.”
Negotiating the post-UN mandate security agreement with Iraq, Bush argued for more time and both sides ultimately agreed that all U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, not 2010, even though Bush has said previously that “if they were to say, leave, we would leave.”
Why did Bush go back on his word? A source tells ThinkProgress that White House communications staff were concerned that Maliki’s endorsement of the 2010 time line would damage Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign. Indeed, during an interview with Iraqi television last week (according to an Open Source Center translation), Maliki suggested that the U.S. presidential elections played a role:
Actually, the final date was really the end of 2010 and the period between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011 was for withdrawing the remaining troops from all of Iraq, but they asked for a change [in date] due to political circumstances related to the [U.S] domestic situation so it will not be said to the end of 2010 followed by one year for withdrawal but the end of 2011 as a final date.
In fact, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said that as part of the security agreement, Bush wanted U.S. troops to stay in Iraq even longer. “It was a U.S. proposal for the date which is 2015, and an Iraqi one which is 2010, then we agreed to make it 2011,” Talabani said.
But by endorsing Obama’s time line, Maliki indirectly slighted McCain, who has consistently and strenuously argued against setting a withdrawal date and has even said he wouldn’t mind having U.S. troops in Iraq for 100 years. But Maliki’s new position has left McCain scrambling, first saying its “a pretty good timetable,” but then denying he used “the word timetable” and later settling on “anything is good.”
Despite Bush’s constant refrain that commanders, not politics, will decide the course in Iraq, it seems that trying to help his party retain the White House is more important.
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 10:18 PM
For those who would not vote for Barack Obama based entirely on the color of his skin, you must not believe in America. You must not believe in the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ and I invite you to read it in its entirety.
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible…With Liberty and Justice for all."
by Mary MacElveen on Tue 23 Sep 2008 10:56 AM EDT
COMMENT: Mary MacElveen is one of the bright new op/ed writers who contributes articles to the media and this blogger. BILL CORCORAN, editor, CORKSPHEREWhat part of that pledge do you not get? We are one nation, who are supposed to be a united people, who cherish our liberties and most of all justice for all. A little piece of history for you; it was George W. Bush, John McCain and many within the Republican Party who tried to separate us as a people during these past eight years.
Not to vote for a candidate based solely upon the color of their skin; you are anything but patriotic. In fact anyone who would not cast their vote for either Barack Obama or other candidates because they are black or a part of any other minority group, you do not deserve to pledge allegiance to our flag since it is obvious you do not believe in it.
If you are a part of this group who cannot vote for Barack Obama because he is black and if you do wear a flag pin, kindly take it off. You dishonor it by wearing it.
Many of our soldiers who came home dead from this immoral Iraq War, were African-Americans and the blood they spilt was colored red, white and blue. On the battle field of this war and in wars past, they served and died as one along side with soldiers of other races.
In not voting for a candidate because of the color of his skin, you are failing to honor these brave soldiers who stepped up to the plate and gave their life for God and country. They not you knew what true patriotism was all about.
Black men who die on any battle field do so to protect your freedoms and one of them is the right to vote. How dare you dishonor them and discredit their contributions to this country. They paid the ultimate price as you revel in your hate and cowardice.
I have to wonder if this race-card would even be reported had the Republicans picked former Secretary of State Colin Powell as their candidate. Think about it. Is it because Senator Barack Obama is a Democrat that we are seeing this reported in the news?
If Colin Powell became a Democrat and ran for president: Would these same people not vote for him because of the color of his skin? I would remind these people that Colin Powell did serve in the military protecting your freedoms. Even the freedom to be a racist.
If Colin Powell ran as a Democrat, would Ron Fournier of the AP who has had close ties to the McCain campaign and Karl Rove even have written that article? Would he have even written that AP article that started this fire-storm of hate had Powell ran against McCain?
To me, Senator Barack Obama encapsulates what it means to be a true American because he grew up believing that anyone can serve as the president of this country. As a father, he is showing his two little girls exactly what it means to be an American. Maybe one of his girls will someday become the first African-American woman to go on to win the presidency.
What must his little girls think of folks who would not vote for their father because of his race? I do not know if Barack Obama or Michelle Obama have told them some cannot vote for their father because he is black. Most likely they have not shared this with them, but I do suspect they know of it. How horrible it must be for them if they do know of this. Are they thinking these racist people also hate them? If so, what a thing to do to a child. Those adorable little girls deserve a country united and not divided by racists as all children do.
In growing up in the sixties, I saw as a child the racial tensions beamed into my living room each night on the news and was deeply horrified. I never looked upon my friends who were black as being lesser people, but just friends. Together we played and got in trouble equally if we misbehaved. I always dreamed of a better future and when I first heard Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. give his, “I Have a Dream” speech his words filled me with immense hope for the future and it angers me that racism still exists today.
I am so proud as an American that one of the presidential debates will take place in Hempstead, NY which was my home town while growing up. In fact one of the most productive mayors it has ever had is a Republican and his name is James Garner who too is an African-American. Garner was the first African-American to be elected as mayor on Long Island. I hope there is some cosmic connection to this debate being held in my home town. In governing all of us, Garner never saw us as being white, black, Hispanic, Republicans or Democrats, but citizens he was charged by oath to govern equally. Garner lived and breathed Hempstead as its mayor. He once told me at my uncle’s funeral while I did move away, I will always be a Hempstead girl.
I do see a connection between both Garner and Obama. I do not look upon them as African-Americans, but a patriotic Americans. As an American, I was proud to have voted for James Garner and I am equally proud to cast my vote for Barack Obama on November 4th.
I look upon Barack Obama with reverence because he is at least connecting with me emotionally and reminding me what true patriotism is all about. In the midst of so much despair this nation has felt in its short history, at least he is giving me some hope for a better future. I crave that future of hope and not of one filled with more wars as McCain promises us. To lead us into more senseless wars is anything but patriotic since it weakens us as a nation. Should John McCain call upon you who are racists to send your sons and daughters into these wars: Will you sacrifice them?
The night that he gave his acceptance speech at the DNC, was a night filled with hope. When I saw those fireworks going off at Mile High Stadium, our ‘Star Spangled Banner’ came to mind and specifically these words:
“And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air…Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there….O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave…O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave”
As a gift to you to help drown out this hate coming from others, please click on this link to hear our nation’s song sung by Whitney Houston. Did you happen to black soldier in uniform saluting our flag? The thing is, he only sees himself as an American serving our country proudly.
Are any of you who choose not to vote for Barack Obama clearly showing we are the home of the brave? Or will you allow the cowardice of your racism to seize the day? Are we a free people when racists will further imprison us as a nation?
If this report of Americans refusing to vote for Barack Obama based on race disturbs you as much as me, then it is up to all of us to get to the polls to outnumber them. Through that action we are telling them, their message of racism has no place in this country. We must be the ones to stand up to them and say, it is we who believe in these United States of America.
To those who would cast their vote based on race, and if John McCain goes onto win the presidency, your collection of votes could have stopped four more years of failed Republican leadership. You could have said to all Americans we choose another direction. If God forbid McCain wins all I will say is: Don’t blame me, I voted for Barack Obama and it is you who have sentenced us all to another four more years of misery. How un-patriotic of you.
You may contact the author at, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 1:23 PM
President George W. Bush just can't keep his yap shut.
In his final appearance before the UN on Tuesday, Bush lashed out at Syria and Iran as countries that harbor terrorists.
Bush will NOT be happy until he has the ENTIRE world hating America.
Don't be surprised if Bush and Cheney try some underhanded way to go to war with either Iran or Syria before they leave office.
Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE
Bush lashes Syria, Iran as ‘terrorism’ sponsors
US President says terrorism ‘has no place in the modern world’ during his farewell speech to UN.
NEW YORK - US President George W. Bush accused Syria and Iran Tuesday of sponsoring terrorism and said that such violence "has no place in the modern world" in his farewell speech to the UN General Assembly.
"A few nations -- regimes like Syria and Iran -- continue to sponsor terror, yet their numbers are growing fewer and they're growing more isolated from the world," he said.
"Like slavery and piracy, terrorism has no place in the modern world," said Bush.
Bush told the UN General Assembly that it must enforce sanctions against North Korea and Iran over their nuclear programs.
Bush said UN members must uphold resolutions "enforcing sanctions against North Korea and Iran" and stressed "we must not relent until our people our safe from this threat to civilization."
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 10:47 AM
No one, including Gov. Sarah Palin, questions that Alaska's climate is changing more rapidly than any other state's. But her skepticism about the causes and what needs to be done to address the consequences stands in sharp contrast to the views of her running mate, Sen. John McCain, and place her to the right of the Bush administration and several other Republican governors.
By Juliet EilperinWashington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, September 23, 2008; Page A04
Click on link above to continue reading.
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 4:24 AM
Rush Limbaugh, who along with FOX NEWS and many others in the media who are out-and-out RACISTS, continues to bash Barack Obama with lies and smears.
MEDIA MATTERS reports on what Limbaugh said here: http://mediamatters.org/items/200809220015?lid=617760&rid=14896938
WATCH LIMBAUGH ON VIDEO MAKING RACIST ATTACK ON OBAMA BY CLICKING ON MEDIA MATTERS LINK ABOVE.
Limbaugh repeats baseless Obama smear: "He's Arab. ... [H]e's not African-American"
Summary: Rush Limbaugh baselessly asserted of Sen. Barack Obama: "Do you know he has not one shred of African-American blood?" Limbaugh continued: "He's Arab. You know, he's from Africa. He's from Arab parts of Africa. ... [H]e's not African-American. The last thing that he is is African-American."
On the September 22 broadcast of his syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh baselessly claimed that Sen. Barack Obama is "not black," and went on to ask: "Do you know he has not one shred of African-American blood?" Limbaugh continued: "He's Arab. You know, he's from Africa. He's from Arab parts of Africa. ... [H]e's not African-American. The last thing that he is is African-American."
Media Matters for America has previously documented that a similar claim was forwarded by Fox News contributor Monica Crowley when she guest-hosted the June 23 broadcast of The Laura Ingraham Show. A caller to the show claimed that Obama is "not really African- American. He's Arab." In response, Crowley said that "according to this genealogy -- and again, because I haven't done the research, I can't verify this -- but according to this guy Kenneth Lamb, Barack Obama is not black African, he is Arab African."
In a February 14 blog entry, "journalist, op-ed columnist, radio news-interview program host" Kenneth E. Lamb claimed -- without producing any evidence -- that "Sen. Obama is actually Arab-American" and that "Mr. Obama is not legally African-American." Lamb did not cite to any research or government documents, but invited readers seeking "proof" of his claims to "[r]esearch the Kenyan records for yourself," adding: "You will find that his father was officially classified as 'Arab African' by the Kenyan government."
From the September 22 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: These polls on how one-third of blue-collar white Democrats won't vote for Obama because he's black, and -- but he's not black. Do you know he has not one shred of African-American blood? He doesn't have any African -- that's why when they asked whether he was authentic, whether he's down for the struggle. He's Arab. You know, he's from Africa. He's from Arab parts of Africa. He's not -- his father was -- he's not African-American. The last thing that he is is African-American. I guess that's splitting hairs, I don't -- it's just all these little things, everything seems upside-down today in this country.
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 1:16 AM