Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dems Call For Probe On War Profiteering

By Cernig

Senate Democrats are planning to open another of the Bush administration's cans of worms - war profiteering.
Summoning the ghost of Harry Truman, the Senate's freshman Democrats on Wednesday called for the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate wartime profiteering in Iraq.
Truman was a freshman senator from Missouri in 1941 when he led an inquiry into waste and abuse in government contracting during World War II.

Under the 2007 version of his effort, spearheaded by Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jim Webb of Virginia, the proposed commission would investigate the mismanagement of private contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has resulted in $9 billion in taxpayer dollars unaccounted for.

Webb said the plan would create an eight-member Commission on Wartime Contracting, which would focus on the government's increasing reliance on private contracting during war.

He said it wouldn't create a new bureaucracy but would expand the role of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction by adding oversight of Afghanistan reconstruction and private contracts for security and logistical support to its portfolio.

The commission would issue a report after one year, a final report after two and then shut down.

...Between 2003 and 2006, the United States spent more than $300 billion to help stabilize and reconstruct Iraq, according to the Government Accountability Office.

"Government accountability was a major issue in all of our campaigns," Webb said of the freshman lawmakers. "There's been remarkably little accountability. We'd like to help the taxpayers of this country get their money back."

...Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota, said that as a former prosecutor, her office motto was "follow the money and you'll find the bad guys. That's what we're trying to do with the legislation."
Even General Pet's own guards are private contractors, as if the troops he leads aren't trusted enough or good enough. Yet official oversight has indeed been lacking while scandals and accusations of tactics which hurt efforts to win hearts and minds plague the industry.

Expect this one to be fought tooth and nail by the White House and "old-guard" Republicans with multiple losing of records, fillibusters, claims of executive privilege and anything else they can think of. They've all fed from the private contractor honeypot whether it from the overwhelmingly Republican campoaign donations from the industry or more directly.

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