Date registered: Jan 2005
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Gunnysacks and truckloads of YOUR money in Iraq
A little item from the AP caught my eye. Frank Willis, formerly of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, told a bizarre story to a Senate committee about the distribution of rebuilding money in Iraq. He said that, basically, money was kept in a vault in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces, and from there it was distributed in a "Wild West" sort of way. That is, cash was stuffed into knapsacks, onto pickup trucks, and the like, to be distributed to "contractors" who were to fix the many infrastructure problems in Iraq. He told of one "contractor" whose gunnysack was stuffed with $2 million dollars in cash, and of pickup trucks zipping around Baghdad with money being tossed to deserving, or perhaps undeserving, citizens. Though the money leaving the vault was counted, there was no accounting for these funds after they left American hands--no certainty that the money actually went to pay for what it was supposed to pay for. And as we've all read, the rebuilding of the Iraqi infrastructure has progressed at barely a snail's pace. Paul Bremer, former administrator of the CPA, defended the procedure as the only way money could be paid out, given that there was no banking system in place after the war.
Just a thought as you, like I, write those hefty checks to the IRS--how do you feel about your hard-earned buckeroos being more or less flung to the wind in Iraq? Might there be a need or two in your town or city for truckloads, or gunnysacks, of cash?