Sunday, May 23, 2004

Iraq clusterfuck: Need a job? Send your resume to the Heritage Foundation, and we'll give you a $13 billion budget! 

The Brat Pack...

From the Department of Never Being Cynical Enough:

Remember how we've been saying (back; and [1]) instead of "CPA," "RNC/CPA," implying, in our oh-so-subtle corrente way, that the Coalition (heh) Provisional (heh) Authority (heh)[2] was nothing other than a branch of the Republican National Commmitee?

Blogger hyperbole, certainly, but good clean fun all the same. "We do but jest, poison in jest..." No offense!

Readers, it was all true:

Managing a $13 Billion Budget With No Experience
When the U.S. government went looking for people to help rebuild Iraq, they had responded to the call. They supported the war effort and President Bush. Many had strong Republican credentials. They were in their twenties or early thirties and had no foreign service experience.

Let's—following the example of their co-workers—call them "The Brat Pack."

When [The Brat Pack] showed up at the [Republican (heh) Palace] -- with their North Face camping gear, Abercrombie & Fitch camouflage and digital cameras -- they were quite the spectacle. But none had ever worked in the Middle East, none spoke Arabic, and few could tell a balance sheet from an accounts receivable statement.

They had been hired to perform a low-level task: collecting and organizing statistics, surveys and wish lists from the Iraqi ministries for a report that would be presented to potential donors at the end of the month. But as suicide bombs and rocket attacks became almost daily occurrences, more and more senior staffers defected.

Translation: The sane ones blow town, and only the wingnuts are left.

In short order, six of the new young hires found themselves managing the country's $13 billion budget, making decisions affecting millions of Iraqis.

And what, you may ask, were their qualifications for doing so? The light dawns:

For months they wondered what they had in common, how their names had come to the attention of the Pentagon, until one day they figured it out: They had all posted their resumes at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning think tank.

Surprise! And blowing past all the human interest stuff, we come to this:

Some also grumbled about the new staffers' political ties. Retired U.S. Army Col. Charles Krohn said many in the CPA regard the occupation "as a political event," always looking for a way to make the president look good.
(via WaPo)

It's just like a fairy story, isn't it? Show up with no skills, and in what seems like minutes, you're in charge of an entire country! And better yet, every day is a new day in which to make Dear Leader look good in the media!

Now, to be fair, The Brat Pack—no matter how hard they must have tried to shovel Iraqi money to their Republican allies—must have been able to spend a fraction of that money. Of the reconstruction money (another budget) just $2 billion of $17 billion available has been spent (back) because the security situation in Iraq is so bad).

And, oh yeah, The Brat Pack got the jobs from a single email, and didn't have to undergo a security check. Looks like if you hook up with the Heritage Foundation, you can get signed up faster than you or I could board a plane on a domestic flight...

Say, if Nick Berg had sent his resume to The Heritage Foundation, he might be alive today!

Alert reader pansypoo is right: We need a new word to use instead of "clusterfuck." Something just as vivid, but even more intense.

Lots more good stuff from the essential Atrios.

[1] Actually, the argument I make back here is a lot worse than that the CPA/RNC organization means that the war is all and only about Bush's re-election, at least in the minds of Republican operatives. Rather, the CPA/RNC is an extra-constitutional chain of command for running mercenaries. It would be interesting to know which of these bright young people—I hereby make the ritual disclaimer "if any"—was back-channelling Aby Ghraib torture photos into the West Wing, so Bush can compare them to the list of "bad guys" he keeps in his desk drawer.

[2]Kinda like that old joke about the Holy Roman Empire, right? Neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire? So with the CPA. I mean, can anyone believe that the same guys aren't going to be running the show when "sovreignty" gets transferred to the Iraqis? Pas si bete.

corrente SBL - New Location
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