Mobutu Sese Seko, Ferdinand Marcos and Mohammed Suharto (all also US-backed military dictators) all took an order of magnitude more: tens of billions of dollars. Such a thing couldn't happen here, could it?
But this story from Friday's Washington Post, which talks about $15 billion in spending on Iraq that can't be accounted for properly, or in some cases at all, shows that the other stage of federal budgeting -- implementation -- is similarly broken, not working properly, and...well...you certainly get this picture as well.
It's also hard to come to any conclusion other than that the spending of taxpayer funds in Iraq bordered on, or actually was, simple and straightforward corruption.
Given the magnitude of the spending involved, Iraq may be the Bush administration's contribution to the biggest public corruption scandals of all time like Boss Tweed in New York, James Michael Curley in Boston, and Teapot Dome.
I'm not saying the Bushies are kleptocrats on top of being incompetent, plutocratic warmongers, but I wouldn't dismiss the thought, either.
Note Iraq has one of the most corrupt governments in the world. The example set by the government that set up that one probably has at least something to do with that. Also note that we attempted to put Ahmed Chalabi, a politician who presided over an Enron-like scandal, in charge of Iraq. Not exactly an exercise in good-governance.
(Posted by Ewan)