And the Waste Goes On…

So, apparently there’s another contracting company to add to the list of tax dollar abusers. They’re called the Parsons construction group. They were supposed to do improvements on a prison in the flatlands north of Baghdad, but Parsons continually fell behind schedule, causing the Pentagon to cancel the project.

The big problem? The prison was part of an almost $1 billion contract to build border posts, courts, police training centers and fire stations, all in hopes of restoring Iraq’s infrastructure. Yet Parsons only completed 18 out of the 53 project stipulated in its contract, and although they were paid for the minimal work they did on the prison, the structure is now empty and useless, due to structural weaknesses Parsons did not fix. In the end, Parsons made out with a barrel full of cash, and the much blood-stained region of Diyala never got its infrastructure.

“In the pecking order of corruption in Iraq, the dead-end prison project at Khan Bani Saad is nowhere near the biggest or most tangled. Bowen estimated up to 20 percent ‘waste’ or more than $4 billion from the $21 billion spent so far in the U.S.-bankrolled Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund.”

So reported Brian Murphy and Pauline Jelinek in the Huffington Post. I read this right after I read a headline about how President Bush will have compiled the largest federal deficit in U.S. history — $482 billion to be exact. So I have to wonder: how much of our tax dollars have been wasted in this same careless manner?

The Bush administration has taken outsourcing of essential government services to new extremes, especially in Iraq. Yet the record is so riddled with waste, corruption and other abuses that you have to wonder: Are these people really that incompetent? Or was the point along to enrich their friends and cronies?

Along those lines, the Wall Street Journal reports that Iraq war architect Richard Perle is part of a group negotiating a deal to invest in oil fields in . . . wait for it . . . Iraq! This, despite the fact that the Bush administration has argued against any oil deals until Iraq passes a new oil law governing the distribution of resources among Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions.

You can find out how much you paid for the Iraq war last year with Progressive Future’s Invest in US Calculator. And while you ponder how much of that money went to enrich KBR, Blackwater, Parsons and the like, you can also see what that money would buy in terms of health care, clean energy and better care for our troops. And when you do, please consider signing our Invest in US petition. We’re planning on  distributing this petition far and wide, from Congress to the Party Platform Committees to the media. It’s time for a new direction for America, where all citizens can be proud of how their tax dollars are spent.

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