Monday, September 19, 2005

Yipee Ki Aye! 

Recently, I was dandling the nephew in front of his parents' newest toy, one of those giant flatscreen digital microwave discotheque Slake-Moths, watching good old fashioned Amurkin violence in the form of the execrable Mr. Willis' Die Hard with a Vengance. The part that struck me as most absurd, in a veritable smorgasbord of absurdities, was when the villain, attempting escape with billions of dollars of gold in the back of one truck followed by Mr. Willis' character in another laden truck, offers the hero "$13 billion" in exchange for allowing the escape. Of course, being the Great White Police Officer, he never considers, even for a moment, taking the prize and letting the villain go. Let's leave aside the problems with converting such sums of gold into cash for now.

I thought to myself that Willis' character was clearly a fool. Billion is a number few human minds can truly appreciate. Multiplied by thirteen...as an imaginative excercize it's quite fraught with possibility. Billions and billions of dollars, even their current somewhat unstable state, would be enough, concentrated in the hands of the right left-leaning people, to eradicate poverty in entire regions of the nation, or successfully treat every drug addict or educate every poor child...perhaps even break the grip of the Republicrat parties hold on American politics. Take a second, unselfish progressive reader, and imagine what you could do.

Now I have to tip Kos for this one, I've not been online a lot today and he's one of my top five news update stops. The Independent has done some really choice work lately, making me long for a British passport. Here's the intro:

One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.
The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared.
"It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's Finance Minister, told The Independent.
"Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal."

Before I give you the really special part, let me ask you: what groups come to mind when you first read this news? I'm patting myself on the back today, as I got it right:

Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry.
Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and "rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes.

We've all read about the Halliburton billing "problems" and KBR's overcharging for services never rendered and on and on and so forth and so forth. We've also heard a lot about Mr. Cheney buying a new house, and various other shopping trips by other increasingly well-off members of the administration and their friends. But as I've been finding out as I do research on the topic, we don't hear about their agents actually on the ground in Iraq very much. The individual people themselves carrying out the Boosh Assministration's little War on Brown People. Mercs, "experts," contractors, consultants, etc. Nameless to most of us, I often wonder, in addition to spending a lot of time in the Green Zone, what other rewards are to be found in the middle of an increasingly violent war zone. Now we have some idea.

There's theft, and then there's "nation building." Ironically, the villains' goal in the Die Hard movie I mention is to buy a country for an army of forcibly retired former East German Stassi thugs, who've turned to crime after the Wall fell. Now I have a real life example, not the first one I'm sure, but one of note if for no other reason than the size.

When you think about the people on the ground in Iraq (and let me stress: I DO NOT refer to members of the armed forces here, but mercs and 'consulting' paraprofessionals alone) and you think about the escalating violence, the lack of progress in 'rebuilding' and the establishment of an Iraqi military/police force, when you think about the car bombs and Prophet of the Month calling for this or that holy war, when you think of the destruction and despoilment of the museums- what does it look like in your head?

Now, think about these same people currently being employed in NOLA. And think of their share of these newly lost billions, and what kind of Kingdom they are going to build.

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


copyright 2003-2010

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?